Category Archives: Nutrition

5 ways to control hunger

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“My diet is going great! I am just starving all… the… time.”

Words from my client, in which we had a giggle over, and then following by a mini perspective session. Because I have been there before, but also learned you can only go around starving all the time before you finally give in and just say screw it.

You may know from my blogs that in college, during spring training for volleyball I might add, I did the Slim Fast mean plan. Shake for breakfast, shake for lunch and a sensible dinner.

Had to take a brief typing pause to put my hands over my face and shake my head. It’s okay because it was a true learning experience and one of the main reasons I lean toward a mindset based  philosophy in creating healthy habits over writing meal plans for people.

I had the same feelings as my client had. It wasn’t too bad. I liked the chocolatey shakes, I was just starving all… the… time! I couldn’t wait until dinner because the food tasted sooooo good! My willpower held up for a solid month until I had a panic one day.

Am I suppose to buy these shakes forever? What will I do when I don’t have them? Just like all meal plans or strict diets and guidelines I had a false sense of comfort. It felt good to be in control but I was left without the tools necessary to continue. Lesson learned.

Keep in mind there is a middle ground. You do not have too either be starving or indulge completely. You can keep your hunger in check in a way that leaves you feeling like you can trust yourself to make good food choices on any given day.

Here a few tips to help control your hunger so it doesn’t feel like it is controlling you.

Do less steady state cardio.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is doing steady state cardio for 30, 45, 60 minutes plus. Some are able to control their hunger, others struggle big time.

If you notice a pattern in wanting to eat more after longer cardio sessions I strongly encourage you to try a new way. Choose shorter, more intense cardio sessions, and strength training as they create a different hormonal response which will effect your hunger and craving in a more preferable fashion. Less hunger. Less cravings.

 Eat more protein.

While I do not encourage over consumption of protein, I am a big believer that protein should be included at most meals or snacks during the day as it is incredibly satisfying. I see people make the biggest mistakes at breakfast choosing cereal, muffins, or yogurt high in sugar.

This will cause a quick spike in blood sugar levels and a quick drop leaving you hungry and craving more. Adding protein will help slow the digestion and slow the spike in blood sugar levels.

Back off the artificial sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners can sometimes cause you to crave more of the sweet stuff.  This is often the case with diet soda drinkers or low calorie drinks. Though you may feel full temporarily they trick your body into feeling full until your true hunger kicks, your body realizes it is missing calories and causes you to eat even more.

Balance your fat and carbohydrate intake.

As in make sure you have enough of both. This is one that will take a little bit of experimentation on your part. I have seem some people do really well on higher fat, lower carb diets and I have seem some people do better on slightly higher carb and lower fat diets.

The main point I want to emphasize is do not be scared of either. I personally do better when my carb intake is slightly higher. I went through a phase where I tried to limit my carbs at night, only to overeat before bed time because my body was craving for more.

Once I added in a small portion of carbs I was able to control my hunger and cravings better AND sleep more soundly. You must be the detective and investigate to see what works for you.

Eat less processed foods and more veggies.

Vegetables contain more water and fiber and will keep you fuller longer. Plus they are full of tons of vitamins and minerals that play a crucial part in your health.

Processed foods are designed to taste good. They are loaded with a combination of fats and sugars that our tastes buds just love and keep us coming back for more and more and more. Plus they are often high in fat or sugar, or both, and low in fiber and protein, therefore are not feeling and leave us feeling never satisfied. Ever try to eat a plate full of broccoli? But a bag of chips? Box of cookies. It is so much easier to overindulge.

Keep in mind that hunger is not inherently “bad” but you do not need to feel starving all the time to make progress.

Feeling starving all the time does not indicate success and feeling satisfied does not indicate failure. Keep on practicing and you will find what works for you.

In the mean time grab the free  Ideal body Cheat Sheet which I created to help you learn how to make progress without being stuck to rules and restrictions.

Additional resources here, here, and here.

How to break your soda (or diet soda ) habit

What ever happen to the days of having a burger, soda and fries for dinner and just calling it a day? Is that so horrible? No it is not. But if you consider a soda in the 1950’s was 6.5 ounces you can easily see how we have double and tripled our servings in not only one sitting, but one day.

Think about it this way. 

A 20 oz soda has 15-18 teaspoons of sugar. Think about what it would be like to sit with a jar of sugar and a teaspoon and take 15 bites of sugar.

Now think about if you happen to get a 40 oz soda and taking 30 bites of sugar. Yikes! Would you ever do this? If not, why would you drink it. (This can apply to other sugary drinks like juices and lattes).

The over consumption of sugary drinks can lead to a host of conditions from diabetes to heart disease to harming the health of your bones. And if you are trying to lose weight or be healthier and have a high soda intake, this could be the one thing that could change your health around.

Now if you are a diet soda fanatic, don’t get to excited because diet soda is not all that much better.

The trouble with diet soda is it tricks us. As soon as the soda hits our lips our body is expecting that sugar rush, so it occupies us, temporarily. It makes us feel like we are full or satisfied but when the body realizes it did not get the intake it was expecting, it throws our cravings and energy levels out of whack making us crave more, eat more, etc. Some studies argue that diet soda is just as bad for your health as regular soda

Susie Swithers, a Purdue University professor commented, “One large study found that people who drank artificially sweetened soda were more likely to experience weight gain than those who drank non-diet soda. Others found those who drank diet soda had twice the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, often a precursor to cardiovascular disease, than those who abstained.”

It is not a question of what is better or worse for you, it comes down to if any soda is really good for anyone in the first place.

So you get it. Soda is not your best choice and you probably already know this, but you still struggle to make a change. I am all about helping YOU change your habits, because I will argue that it is not as much about WHAT we do, but why we do it and how to change it.

 My lightbulb moment.

In high school I developed a stress fracture in my lower leg and was required to sit out for three weeks. My doctor mentioned that it would be best to limit things like soda and encourage milk intake to keep calcium levels high to keep my bones healthy and be able to prevent things like this is the future.

I think this was pointed out to me at the time mostly because of my young age, but for whatever reason it snapped a lightbulb on in my head and I have not had a full soda in 15 years. Well, maybe one or two but it was most likely in a jack & coke. 😉

How to break your habit:

Go warm turkey.

Like instead of cold turkey? Cheesy joke aside, you don’t have to give up every sip of soda this very second (though that approach may work for some people). Could you just try having less?

If you have two sodas a day could you have one and a half and dump out the rest?  Could you have one soda at the time your crave it and replace your other soda with water? You would save hundreds of calories a week on sugar by making this small change alone.

Create a delay.

Often times reaching for a soda has just become a habit. We do it without even thinking about it. But ask yourself what are you really craving when you reach for a soda and why you claim that you have to have it. There is always an reason behind why we do things.

The next time you want a soda trying creating a pause. Wait 1 minute and ask yourself if you need it. If you do and decide to drink it that is fine. Next time try increasing that delay. Often it is more about having that something instantly than the soda itself.

Your lightbulb moment, your health!

This is what I did. I didn’t even have to think about it. It was my health and performance first and soda was getting in the way. This may or may not work for you but if you stop focusing on the feeling that you just can’t have it because it is bad for you and the reasons why it might be causing adverse health conditions it could change your habits and in turn improve your health.

 You can check out additional reading and resources here, here & here.

3 simple carbohydrate guidelines

Your brain needs a minimum amount of 130 grams of carbs per day for the brain to function optimally (not even counting exercise) and here we are cutting carbs, avoiding carbs, and skipping carbs at the worst possible times!

As always this is not the exact case for everyone and some people do really well with lower carbohydrate intake, when paired with the appropriate fat and protein intake. Many factors are involved including the size of your body, your activity levels, your goals, and how much fat and protein you are taking in. Regardless do not automatically assume that carbs are the enemy. If you do not know where to start or feel that you struggle with carb intake, start by following my 3 simple guidelines that have nothing to do with numbers.

Strategize carbs.
Your golden opportunity for carbs.
How to choose the right carbs for you goals.

 

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A little bit of knowledge for you

Carbohydrates are one of the primary macronutrients (others are fat and protein). You know this right! For every gram of carbohydrates there is 4 calories of energy. Protein also has 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories and alcohol has 7.

ALL carbohydrates are broken down into the body into simple sugars whether you are consuming cookies, rice or vegetables. Yes vegetables are considered a carb and yes vegetables are broken down into simple sugars. When they are broken down and released into the bloodstream this is when the hormone insulin is released to help with the amount of sugar in the body. This is not always a bad  thing which I will go into further in a bit.

Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source of the brain and the body’s primary source for immediate energy.

The trouble is more than carbohydrates intake itself, it is the sheer volume of intake paired with a high fat, high sugar diet that has caused such a poor view of carbs. So what can you do?

Choose the right carbs for your goals.  

Before you ban carbs completely ask your self these questions.

Am I eating quality carbs right now?

Am I eating them in proper amounts? 

Are you eating muffins, high sugar yogurt, cookies, pastries, drinking a lot of alcohol, munching on bags of goldfish and pretzels, drinking bottles of juice or sugary coffee? If the answer is yes remember these types of carbs provide little nutrition value, have little fiber and can cause you to be craving more an hour later.  What kinds of carbs, and in what quantity?  Are they in line with your goals?

Before you claim carbs to be the culprit for your lack of success, start by choosing healthier carbs that have more nutrient value and are higher in fiber.  Why? Because carbs that are higher in fiber and lower in sugar will enter the bloodstream slower (less spike of you insulin levels) resulting in more stable blood sugar which will help control your hunger, energy and craving levels. There is a purpose to this. This is also why it is often recommended to eat a carb source with a protein source to help slow the digestion and absorption. This leads me to my next point.

Strategizing carbs.

Pair carbs with protein and/or fat to help slow the digestion and absorption at most of your meals. Again this can help stabilize hunger and energy levels.  Eggs and toast, greek yogurt and fruit, chicken and rice or vegetables. These are all examples of pairing a carb with a protein.

I have been pairing my carbs and protein and fats for years now, to the point where it has become effortless.  But I have one vivid memory of going to a meeting where breakfast was going to be served. I wasn’t too stressed because surely they would have something I wanted to eat. The options were coffee, orange juice and pastries. I was starving and reluctantly ate all three in moderate portions but the rest of the morning I felt pretty horrible. I had low energy, headaches and was starving by lunch. I would almost rather eat nothing than just a pastry for breakfast. Pairing my foods groups has been one of the best tools I have used over what “exactly” I should eat. (This is not to say I never eat a cookie by itself or a piece of fruit but I use this strategy often).

Your golden opportunity for carbs.

I often have clients tell me they skip carbs post workout, especially if it is late at night, because they do not want to “ruin” all the work they just did. This is the absolute worst thing you can do for your bodies recovery and it will catch up with you.  Post intense workout your muscles are more insulin sensitive meaning they will uptake carbs and send them directly to the muscles to replace their energy stores instead of being stored as fat. Though post workout you may feel you will undo all the hard work if you eat, you are actually missing out on the prime time to eat.

So can eating less carbs give you results? Perhaps but they are almost always temporary because many cannot sustain this way of eating. Keep in mind eating more carbs can actually help some individuals lose fat and keep it off. Until you figure out your formula follow my simple rules.

More of the “healthier” carbs like vegetables, fruits, brown rice, potatoes, beans, and less of processed carbs.

Pair your carbs with a fat or protein to help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Don’t miss eating carbs post workout.

Additional reading:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-carbohydrates

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/low-carb-diets

 

 

How to break a plateau when eating less and exercising more does not work

The other day I was talking with a client who was feeling so stuck in her results, that she just was not making any more progress, despite exercising  2 hours a day, 6 days a week for months and months. She was exhausted and not seeing results.  Her automatic thought process was about how to do MORE exercise and tighten up to her diet again, to get better results.

You may have experienced this before in some sense, and you may have also gotten to the point where you simply cannot just do more exercise or eat even less.

Because there is a limit on the amount of calories you can reduce and only so many hours in a day. That is always why I coach my clients to find the most time efficient exercise and most sustainable way of eating to maintain or the get results.

In other words what is the least amount of exercise you can do and the least “strict” you have to be to get results.

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When it come to breaking a plateau the absolute best way to break through is to trust the process of change.

I know you are thinking “Duh Adele, of course I need to change something if I am not getting results.” But I can’t help but repeat it again and again as I so often see people get stuck in the cycle of doing the same thing over and over again and not getting the results they are looking for. And expecting a different outcome. Isn’t this the definition of insanity we hear about?

So what can you do to break a plateau?

Trust the process. It is scary to try something new when it comes to eating and working out without ultimately knowing the outcome. We think if we are less strict on our diets or cut back on our workouts we will automatically blow up and gain 20 lbs.

BUT if you can learn to trust a new way it may lead you on the exact path you are seeking.

Take a break by EL,EL. The Eat Less, Exercise Less method was coined by the company Metabolic Effect and used as a way to give our bodies and metabolisms a break from excessive exercising and strict eating. Essentially if you exercise more you need to eat enough to meet your needs and if you are exercising less then you don’t need to eat as much.

The worst combo? Eat less, exercise more which you can read more about here. If you are constantly restricting food and working out more, trust yourself to take a week or two off.

Reduce your caloric intake AND your workouts and give your body and metabolism a break. This will not work the same if you reduce your calories and still keep  working out intensely. With EL,EL two traditional weight training sessions (think non CrossFit) are recommended and tons of walking!

Take a closer look at your workouts. Like my client above, she was working out hours on end and not seeing results. You can only workout so much in a day. Working out two hours a day is not only inefficient for our body, it is stressful on our time and our lives, especially when we have work and families.

If you are not getting results, change something. I told her to try 3 strength training days a week and if she must, one higher intensity cardio day for no more than 20 minutes. She automatically will give herself 5 more hours of time a  week.

If you are on the unmotivated find an accountability partner or hire a coach.

Check your nutrition. “It’s not my eating, I am doing everything right.”  Sorry but if you are not getting results, you are not doing something right with your nutrition. Perhaps your intensity in your workouts could account for a few pounds, but if you have a significant amount of weight to lose or are trying to shred that last percent of body fat, your nutrition is not right, if you are not seeing results.

With my clients I encourage the 2-2,1-1 food journal method. This is a method I created because who wants to record what they eat every single day? Not me. SO I suggest the following:

2-2,1-1 = 2 days on 2 days off, 1 week on 1 week off

1. Record what you eat for two days.

2. Take two days off and repeat.

3. Take 1 week off.

4. Record what you eat the next week for 2 days on 2 days off.

Once you evaluate what is or is not working for you, then transition to 2 days on 2 days off, 1 month on 1 month off. This is a great way to check in with your nutrition, without having to record it every single day or every single week. Eventually the goal is to get to the point where you only check in when you feel like it.

Check your stress and sleep levels. You are doing everything right and not seeing results. If this honestly sounds like you you may need to check your stress levels and sleep patterns because  both can have a drastic impact on your physique if stress is high and sleep is low. Make these a priority AS MUCH as your nutrition and workouts.

Get to bed early, create a relaxing night time routine, and find ways to include relaxing activities into your weekly routine whether that is naps,  massages, baths, meditating, 20 minutes of reading, any activity you find relaxing but not in the zoning out style (think tv or facebooking).

Remember all these methods take trial and error, trial and error, trial and error. And then success! Have patience with the process and with yourself.

 

What to do when you just love food + the bread halo

IMG_6843“I just love food too much.”

Is this you? I get you! Because I love food too! I know many people who love food and are able to maintain their physique and not let their enjoyment of it get in the way. Food should be tasted, enjoyed and respected. So using this as an excuse to reaching your goals is invalid. To me anyways.

 Now this is said with no judgement but to give a different perspective and to have your ask yourself what would change if you started to view food as a relationship. It actually is if you think about it. We either have a healthy or unhealthy relationship with food. We either respect it or we don’t. We are either aware of how it will effect us or we are not. We either view it with love and appreciation or with frustration or negativity.

We are so judgmental to our poor foods and they are either good or bad, or used with severe restriction or extreme indulgence.  Food is a relationship and should be appreciated and not taken advantage of just like our human relationships.

So lets talk food judgements with The Bread Halo, a term I coined myself, which shows just how much conditional love and respect we give to food.

I see people avoiding healthier foods like potatoes, bananas, watermelon, and bread because of the higher sugar, carbs, etc and feel virtuous and strong for doing so, but then binging at night because they have been depriving themselves for too long. Instead of indulging in a slice or two of bread or a banana and peanut butter or a potato, they go all out and eat pizza, poptarts and ice cream sandwiches.  They avoid these perceived “imperfect” foods all day but then eat foods that are way less healthy.

So why do we feel successful from staying away from bread (or other healthier foods) if it is going to lead to an all out indulgence in processed foods? My point being if you are starving at night or want something filling try eggs and toast, a peanut butter and banana, or find a protein you like and make a shake. These snacks are filling but only a few hundred calories and sure beat 500-700 easy calories of lower quality foods. I am not saying ice cream or pizza is bad, but how often can we stop at just a few bites or just a slice?

So what can you?

Break the habit. You must train yourself to break the habit before or while you are doing this which i know is ironically the hardest part. If your habit is to have something sweet after dinner, which leads to bowls of ice cream you need to find something to distract your mind and fill your time. I like to use this by a tool called Delaying Gratification which I read in the book The Willpower Instinct.

There is something about instant gratification that we thrive off of, thrive in a sense that it makes us feel good temporarily.  We want something instantly. Studies actually show that the longer you wait for something, the less important it is to you. The longer you wait for something the easier it is to say no. 

So how can you implement this with eating? The next time you are tempted by late night snacking, dessert, fast food, going back for seconds when you are stuffed, try this:

Wait 10 minutes.  Create distance from the food by doing something else or just lay down and chill out for 10 minutes. If in 10 minutes you still want that particular food, you can have a few bites. Wait 10 minutes and have a few points. Practice this like you would practice anything else in life. When food becomes less about the immediate gratification it makes it easier to say no. Give this a try and see how it works for you. You might give in the first few times and that is fine, but once your train yourself to develop this habit you may find that what you are craving is not really what you want.

It is okay to be hungry. Because we are so use to having food the second we want it, it is like we are almost fearful of becoming hungry. But remember, eating is a blessing and a responsibility.

Our bodies will survive without eating every 6 hours or every 3 hours, it is just that we have conditioned our bodies to do so. Have you ever had a moment where you were starving and had no access to food? You went to your favorite restaurant starving and there was an hour and 30 minute wait? At first you probably anxiously fidgeted in your discomfort but once an hour passed you were ok. It was just getting pass that initial state of hunger. I like to practice with a 12 hour fast overnight. Meaning if I eat my last meal at 7 p.m., I will not eat my next meal until 7 a.m. This allows be to *practice* responsibility when it comes to food and not feeling like I have to eat just because the clock says so. If I wake up truly starving, I will of course eat.

Stop when it no longer tastes like a 10. I find this helpful when I am snacking or craving a sweet treat. I will indulge in a few bites and they usually tastes amazing but beyond that it is hard to tell if I am truly enjoying it, or it just eating mindlessly without really tasting the food.

Food is essentially about survival but also about social enjoyment. There just gets a point where we almost are greedy with it and instead of using if for the betterment of our lives we use it as a cover up for discomfort and not facing other issues, such as boredom, loneliness, or use it as an escape.  It is not really that you just love food so much. It is that you love the escape it gives you.

Often times we commit to make a change but only until it becomes too uncomfortable. We commit to eating better and exercising more until we are faced with a situation where the exercise is really hard or food is too tempting and then we say screw it and give in because we do not want to face the discomfort. But remember eating has a lot to do with the attachment we give it.  Without the attachment it is just fuel and information for our bodies.  Stressful or not.  Lunch time or not. Hungry or not. Wanting it or not. The cool thing is you get to decided what it gets to be.

 

How you can eat food that tastes amazing and still have the body you want

The other day on Facebook I posted some quick thoughts on retraining your taste buds. You may not guess it now but I vividly remember one summer in my college years where I had all these coupons to Taco Bell for a buy one, get one free Nachos Bell Grande. I would devour one and pick at the next. During that time I also loved grande, white chocolate mochas from Starbucks. It was like drinking liquid sugar! Well, it actually is but that is beside the point.

At the time these things tasted amazing to me but they sure did not make me feel all that great or do any thing to help me maintain my physique. But I was 20, and always had my volleyball training in the fall that would whip me back into shape with double day during hell week.

When my senior year was over, I had this moment where I realized that I would not have volleyball training to fall back on and I would have to make some adjustments. Plus working out to be able to eat more is not a game I like to play anyways. So I gradually started to eat healthier. More fruits and veggies. Less fast food. Less Starbucks. No more Taco Bell. Ha! I have pretty much trained my taste buds to where that kind of food is no longer appealing at all and I have a much simpler palate.  And when I have richer foods, I go for the good stuff and enjoy every bite of it.

Choose general healthy eating before you try paleo, gluten free, or any type of detox.

Remember being bloated and having unpleasant digestive issues is not the norm. I have clients who say they feel like they need to go paleo or detox because of this but when I look at what they are eating, it is eating out or at fast food, 5-8 meals a week!  I encourage you to try a general healthy eating plan first before doing any thing more extreme.

Eating whole, natural food, like meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs etc is almost like a detox in itself, especially if you are coming from a high processed, high sodium diet. These foods help balance blood sugar levels and provide a consistent flow of nutrients to the body that help manage energy, hunger and cravings.

Train your taste buds. More quality foods, more often.

Do I eat “processed” varieties of foods or food from packages. Why yes, yes I do. But for the most part I eat foods in their whole state. Eating is not about being perfect, it is about being consistent. And if you start by trying to be hardcore, strictly organic, never eating anything that comes in plastic or cardboard, you are going to drive yourself crazy.

The thing is once you develop a healthier way of eating, more consistently you started to crave healthier foods. And once you start to crave healthier food, the greasy, uber sweet food will not be as appetizing.

When I sit down to eat, I get as excited to eat my big ass salad as I do to eat a chocolate chip cookie. Food is not good or bad. Food is not all or nothing. Food is not cheat or no cheat. Food is information for our bodies that will help determine how we feel and how we perform each and everyday.

How to transition your taste buds.

  • Add a little yummy to your salads. Eating salads does not have to be ice berg lettuce with carrot strips and a drizzle of olive oil, bleh! Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, avocado, olives. I use the OXO salad chopper and will add spinach, cabbage, mushrooms, bell pepper and chop it up super fine restaurant style. I then add diced chicken, avocado and some feta cheese with a light dressing. It tastes amazing!!
  • Order your grande Starbucks mocha with 2 pumps of sweetener instead of 4! Yes, that is a start. It will not taste as sweet but I bet you will still enjoy it.
  • If you get one of those packets of taco seasoning, get the low sodium kind and only add half the packet.
  • Try changing one of your meals during the day.  Tell yourself that no matter what you are going to make sure you have at least one healthy meal a day and go from there. That doesn’t mean you have to let go at the other meals, but if all else fails you will have eating one healthy meal each day.
  • Change the way you prepare things. Eating vegetables does not have to be steamed broccoli and  raw celery if you do not enjoy it.   It does not have to be bland and unappetizing. The other day I baked asparagus fries that came out slightly crispy and delicious and put a small handful of spinach in my protein smoothie. Couldn’t even taste it!

These are little changes that will make a big difference. I promise you will feel so much better and you will start developing a palette for more natural foods. And then you will actually enjoy and crave a healthier way of eating.

 

 

 

How to keep meal prep stress free and simple

Meal prepping is not for everyone but prepping in some form can help you relieve a whole lot of stress and make better decisions during the week.

I’ve been at both extremes, from having nothing prepped to having everything prepped for the week, and I can say from experience I am not a fan of either. Having nothing ready to go when I come home from a long work day is stressful but having two day old soggy vegetables in tupperware is far from appetizing. And I am a big believer that you should always enjoy the food you eat.

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I want to give you insight on how I found an in between way of meal prep, moderation meal prep if you will, that takes loads of stress off me during the week. Especially when the last thing I feel like doing is cooking or stopping to get food after work.

On Sunday, I prep part of my food at the same time. Here is an exact example from this past weekend.

I baked some chicken in the oven, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

I was feeling extra motivated and decided to make pork stuffed cabbage, that cooked in the crock pot all day long, to eat Sunday night. Simply rolling the pork mixture in cabbage leaves is enough to make me feel a bit fancy, as you can see by the top 3 images. You can get the recipe here.

When that was in the crock pot I chopped up the cabbage because I knew if I didn’t do it then, it would not get done.

While my cutting bored was out I imperfectly diced a couple sweet potatoes to easily pop in the oven to bake later in the week.

By this time my chicken was out of the oven and cooled. I diced it up and put it in a glass tupperware for salads, sandwiches, rice and chicken bowls, etc.

There ya go! I plan to have the left over pork/cabbage tonight and I will simply roast my sweet potatoes in the oven prior. Tomorrow I will will probably use some chicken for lunch, in form of a rice bowl, and for dinner in form of a salad.

For later in the week I also have:

  • frozen turkey burgers
  • already shredded brussel sprouts to roast
  • microwavable broccoli that I can add some butter and seasonings too
  • pre cooked brown rice
  • eggs for an egg and veggie scramble
  • protein bars, fruit, nuts, and chocolate for snacks.

I keep my prepping and cooking time to a minimum and also have back up options for quick go-to meals. If you find you are constantly making poor food choices, I highly encourage you to give it a try and find out what works for you. This is all part of my philosophy with YOUR Meal Design, which is a 30+ page guidebook to creating your,own, unique, rules, when it comes to eating, coming next month.To receive more information and to be notified when it is available, get on the wait list here.

Also, I would love to hear from you! Do you meal prep? And if so what is your plan?

 

5 Simple (1 fancy) Ways to Eat Your Eggs

Eggs are such as staple in my diet and I eat them at all times of the day. I don’t fear the egg yolk and the cholesterol as it is not deemed as bad as it once thought was. However I simply choose whether or not to eat the yolk based on the carbs, protein and fat content in each meal. One of my own, unique, rules when it come to eating is that I feel the best when I have a mixture of all three (carbs, protein, and fats) in most meals. I have put together 5 simple (well one way is what I call fancy) ways to eat your eggs.

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Breakfast burrito. 

Saute any combo of veggies in a pan until they are almost done. Add 2 whole eggs and 1 egg white and scramble the entire mixture together. Add a breakfast meat of your choice if you desire. Wrap in a tortilla and serve. Top with hot sauce or avocado if desired.

Back to basics eggs and toast.

Don’t be disappointed with this one as it can be a great meal anytime of day. I use 2 slices of ezekiel bread and 2 whole eggs. The whole meal is only 300 calories and leaves me full for hours. This takes almost exactly 5 minutes to make in the morning.

Peanut butter oats.

Cook 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal, 1/2 cup of liquid egg whites, 1/2 cup of water in a microwave on high for two minutes. (Watch for overflowing).  Let cool and add a tbsp of peanut butter. It is like a mini oatmeal bake! And the topping options are endless. Fruit, nuts, coconut shreds. Get creative!

Hard boiled eggs and fruit. (Cook eggs in muffin tin).

Set oven to 325. Place an egg in each individual muffin tin. Set timer for 30 minutes and cook. Place the eggs in cool water for 10 minutes to cool down. You need a little more time for this one but at least you do not have to watch a pot of boiling water.

Choose fruit of your choice and you are good to go!

Ok its time to get fancy.  I am not a huge fan of cooking as you can tell by my simple recipes but I love this recipe if I have a little more time and effort that I want to put into breakfast, or dinner. Check it out!

 Mushroom and Spinach Fritta

Ingredients:

2 whole eggs

4 egg whites

1/2 onion diced

2 cups  baby spinach

1 cup of sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup of feta or parmesan cheese

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 sprig oregano, rosemary or thyme

Pinch of cayenne pepper if you like a little heat

 Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a medium skillet and brown your mushrooms.  Add the onions and cook until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute and then add the spinach. It will seem like a lot of spinach but it will wilt as it cooks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then remove from heat.
  • Whisk egg and egg whites together in a small bow and add cayenne pepper if desired.
  • In a large skillet heat oil on low heat.
  • Add the spinach mixture and spread evenly. Then add the egg mixture.
  • Cook until it starts to set.
  • Mix together your herbs and cheese of choice and sprinkle the mixture on top.
  • Place the pan in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes or until the middle is firm.
  • Remove and let cool.
  • Slice and serve with avocado slices or a side of fruit or toast.

Enjoy and I would love to hear your favorite egg recipes!

To protein shake or not

Just like all other foods, protein shakes get quite the debate on whether they are healthy or not, and whether we should or should not use them. Here is a quick breakdown about protein shakes and some insights on why you may or may not want to use them. Check it out and then decide for yourself.

What are protein powders?

Protein powders are dietary supplements that contain higher amounts of protein. Some contain a mix a carbohydrates and small amounts of fat, but still have a moderate to high source of protein.

Why would I want to use them?

Protein powders can be an easy way to add extra protein to your diet, are highly convenient and can be a good way to balance a smoothie/shake to be a meal or snack. A smoothie made with a liquid and fruit will not help with satiety as much it would if there was additional protein added.

You can also take them anywhere without worrying about them having to spoil. For example, when you are on the run, it is easier to drink a quick shake then break out a chicken breast.

Soy, hemp, rice, egg, whey? What’s the difference?

Precision Nutrition gives you the best quick breakdown of the different types of powders below. I took the following breakdown from their website and be sure to check it out as they have tons of great resources!

Rice protein – Hypo-allergenic, gluten-free, neutral taste, economical. 100% plant-based. May be derived from genetically modified rice.

Egg protein – Fat-free, concentrated amounts of essential amino acids. May upset stomach.

Milk protein (includes whey, casein, calcium caseinate, and milk protein blends) – May enhance immunity, high in BCAAs, contains lactose, highly studied. May cause digestive upset or other symptoms in people sensitive to whey, casein, and/or lactose.

Pea protein – No saturated fat or cholesterol, highly digestible, hypo-allergenic, economical. Rich in lysine, arginine and glutamine. 100% plant-based.

Hemp protein – Provides omega-3 fats, most forms provide fibre, free of trypsin inhibitors, can get in raw form, high in arginine and histidine. 100% plant-based.

Soy protein – May have benefits for cardiovascular disease, contains some anti-nutrients, may be derived from genetically modified soy. 100% plant-based.

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Why would I choose one over the other?

As you can see, some of the proteins are 100% plant based which may make your decision based on food preferences. Some protein powders can also be more difficult on the stomach and harder to digest.

Some protein powders may be used as a meal replacement, as they typically have a little more fat and more carbs.

Some protein powders may be used to get additional protein in strictly, while some have carbohydrates which may be a better choice post workout as you want to get in a balance of protein and carbs.

But protein powders are not real food?

Protein powders are not whole food, though they are derived from whole food sources.  There is often a great debate that powders are loaded with chemicals and additives, are completely unhealthily and not “real food.” The thing is “real food” can be different from one person to the next.

Here is my .02.

There are many things that could potentially be unhealthy from certain foods, additives, or drinking from plastic bottles. When it comes to protein powder, decide if you like it and if your body reacts well to it. I find protein powder to be a great quick post workout meal. Liquid post workout is often recommended to get into your system quicker.

However, you will not find me with a protein shaker as I always have to use a blender and add fruit, almond milk and lots of ice. I whip up this tasty treat that to me, tastes like a chocolate milkshake.

1 scoop of chocolate protein powder ( I use Shakeology, Dynamtize or VegaSport depending on what I have around)

8-10 oz of almond milk

1/2 banana

Handful of frozen cherries

1 Tbsp of cocoa powder & 1 tbsp of PB2

Lots of ice.

Blend for a minute and eat with a spoon.

Like everything else, decide if protein powder FITs your eating and fitness philosophy .

6 Food and Fitness Realizations That Changed My Life


The beauty of the fitness journey is we are always learning and always adjusting. I think about how I use to eat and workout, even just 4 years ago, and it has completely shifted.  My new rules of food and fitness serve me so much better and have changed the way I approach eat and every day.

Old: All or nothing.

I use to either eat super strict or not care. Neither one made me feel good physically or emotionally.

New: Moderation. 

It doesn’t matter whether I am at home, out to dinner, on vacation, or at a friends house, I eat the same. I make healthy choices with strategic indulgences. Deprivation doesn’t feel good but neither does being super stuffed. I could end up at  Jack In The Box and still make a healthy choice. I think. 😉

Old: What the scale says.

Oh that scale. I really don’t think it counts for a whole lot if it is within a few pounds. There is nothing more meaningless then stepping on a scale every day and judging your progress or self worth by a pound or two.

New: How my clothes fit.

How clothes fit are a much better indicator or if you are gaining or losing fat/weight. When using a scale you could be down a few pounds from a night of drinking. Healthy? Not necessarily. Or up a few pounds from extra sodium in last nights meal. Unhealthy. Not necessarily. Of course the scale can be a good indication and progress for some, but it is not the only one, and should definitely not be used to judge worth.

Old: Keep food out of the house.

I use to keep tempting food out the house and this can be a great initial tool to use when practicing moderation. The trouble is, unless you confine yourself to your home, you will be faced with tempting foods at some point. I had a phase where I just said no to things like ice cream in the house. Then I went crazy and said no to peanut butter in the house. I was scared that one bite would turn into the whole thing.

New: Keep food in the house and practice self trust.

Here is what I did. I would *practice* by keeping those mini Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or individual peanut butter packets in the house. It was there in case I wanted it but not so stressful that I would eat all of it. Once I developed that self trust, I introduced those foods back into the house without feeling the stress that I might eat it all.

Old: Eating on a clock.

Eating 6-8 meals is a modern way of eating. We train ourselves to to be hungry 6-8 times a day.  I did follow this strategy for quite a few years, and I think it can be helpful for some people, but for me it became stressful and I was always hungry. I pack my lunch almost everyday and trying to shove 6 meals into my lunch bag was not fun or convenient.

New: Listening to my body.

I still eat 4-5 meals/snacks a day but I do practice with the cues my body gives me. Am I hungry? Am I craving something? Am I thirsty? If I am not super hungry first thing in the morning I don’t make myself eat. But because I know my body, I will make sure I eat within a few hours so I do not get cranky by lunch time.

Old: Working out to burn calories (lots of running and long workouts).

I gotta tell you. I am not a fan of heart rate monitors that boast 900 calorie sweat sessions. Often the more you burn, burn, burn, the more you eat, eat, eat. Tons of calories burned is not the answer to your goals.

New: Working out to build lean muscle.

My workouts are short and sweet now and consist of three days a week of weight lifting, one day of intervals, one yoga or pilates session, and lots of dog walking. I would rather preserve my lean muscle and manage my appetite, then be a slave to calories burned.

Old: Never letting myself get hungry

I use to NEVER let myself get hungry. With the slightest acknowledge from body that I might need a calorie and  I would immediately grab a snack.  I would fear I would eat everything in sight if I got too hungry.

New: Letting myself get hungry

It is ok to let yourself get a little hungry. I have, over time, developed trust with myself that I will make good choices, even when I am starving. And when I am a little hungry, food tastes better. When I eat not to let myself get hungry, it is not as enjoyable.

These practice may take time to develop, but I would love to hear from you, if any of these resonate, or if you have any old versus new rules that you use.