Monday, February 28, 2011

My "Go-To" Lunch

I get asked all the time, "But what do you eat for lunch?  I don't want to only eat salad!"  Lately I have been eating a wrap for lunch, almost every day.  I am definitely a creature of habit, and why change a good thing?  It starts with one of my favorite products that I purchase at Whole Foods.  A French Meadow Bakery, Organic Sprouted Grain Tortilla.  It has 150 Calories but 9g of Protein, just in the wrap!  I fill the wrap with an assortment of veggies and meat.  My favorite is layering one tortilla with roasted red pepper hummus, lots of lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomato, turkey breast (nitrate free!), and slices of avocado.  I then roll the wrap up and ENJOY!  You can switch it up by using mustard or your favorite salad dressing on the tortilla to hold it all together, and use whatever veggies you prefer.
Organic Sprouted Grain Tortillas

Tortilla filled and ready to wrap - roll to side that only has hummus (to hold wrap closed)
Finished Wrap (cut in half)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Today's Impromptu Breakfast

This morning I threw together turkey kielbasa and some frozen bell pepper strips I had in the freezer.  It turned out to be delicious (and high in protein and veggies!).  I love the Wellshire brand - All Natural Smoked Fresh Turkey Kielbasa (no preservatives/turkey raised without antibiotics).  Nutritional Information (2 oz): 80 Calories, 3.5g Fat (1g Sat.), 35mg Cholesterol, 400mg Sodium, 1g Carb, 11g Protein. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Week of Drinks...

This week I have decided to review at least one different healthy drink/shake every day.  I have been looking to find new protein shakes and also add in some healthy "greens" type drinks as well.   Hopefully we will all find some new great products this way!

Monday, February 21st - Naked "Green Machine" (no added sugar)
Fruit: Apples, Bananas, Kiwi, Mango + hint of Pineapple

Boosts: Spirulina, Chlorella, Broccoli, Spinach, Blue Green Algae, Garlic, Barley Grass, Wheat Grass, Ginger, & Parsley

Nutrition (1 Cup): 140 Calories, 0g Fat, 15mg Sodium, 33g Carbs, 28g Sugar*, 2g Protein

*No Sugar Added (naturally occurring in fruit) 
No preservatives 

My Review: The Green Machine might look a little strange at first, but it actually tastes great!  It makes a great mid-day snack, packed with fruit juice and healthy boosts!  I think 1/2 cup to 1 cup is a good serving size to stick to.  I'll definitely be keeping this little green drink in my regular lineup.

Tuesday, February 22nd - SPIRU-TEIN "Simply Natural Original Vanilla"
 I found this drink mix at the local health food/grocery co-op and decided to give it a try.  It is unsweetened, vegetarian and contains rice, pea and soy proteins.  I mixed the packet with 4 oz. Silk soy milk and 4 oz. water in my handy protein shake mixer with blender ball.  Since I chose the unsweetened version, I didn't have really high hopes for a flavor delight.  The drink turned out very think and almost green color.  I drank half of it, but it was a little thick to choke down.  If I were to try it again, I might add berries, honey or agave nectar to switch up the taste (and maybe extra water to thin it out).  I don't think I am going to add this drink into my nutritional playbook.

Nutrition (One packet): 80 calories, 0g Fat, 140mg sodium, 5g carbs, 14g protein.

Wednesday, February 23rd - Amazing Grass Green SuperFood Chocolate Drink Powder
I am a big fan of getting my "greens" in many different forms.  I take vegetable pills every day that supply "greens" I wouldn't normally consume in my regular diet.  What makes this "green" drink so great is that it is infused with natural cocoa and is made with Organic Greens.
Green Food Blend: wheat grass, barley, alfalfa, spirulina, spinach, chlorella, & broccoli
Antioxidant Blend: acai, maca, carrot, beet, raspberry, rose hips, pineapple, green tea & acerola cherry),
Fiber Blend:  flax seed powder, oat fiber and apple pectin fiber

Nutrition (1 Packet): 30 Calories, 1g Fat, 0g Sugar, 38mg Sodium, 2g Protein, 4g Carbs, 2g Fiber

My Review: *Dissolve mix in 1 oz water before adding to soy milk (or regular milk).  It tastes pretty good, texture can take a little getting used to, but all-in-all I will drink it again.

Thursday, February 24th - GNC Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60
For those looking for a little more Protein punch and a more traditional protein powder, I would recommend the GNC Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60.  The serving size is 3 scoops, but I only use 1 scoop (in water, because it has a great taste that mixes well with a "blender ball" shaker).  It is whey protein, low in carbs and very low in sugar.  1 Scoop packs 20g Protein, 93 Calories, less than 3 carbs and less than 1g sugar!

Friday, February 25th - Odwalla Vanilla Al'Mondo (Soy) 
I absolutely *LOVE* the Vanilla Al'Mondo soy-based drink by Odwalla.  It packs a big protein punch and tastes absolutely amazing - but watch the serving size (each container is actually 2 servings).  *Careful not to drink the whole thing or you will be consuming almost 400 calories.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Herb Box

Today I had a wonderful solo lunch at the Herb Box in Scottsdale. I ate outside on the patio of their lower level cafe/grocery, which offers convenience yet the same high quality food as their full service restaurant. I ordered the Turkey Avocado Wrap sans cheese and substituted hummus for the cream cheese that typically holds the wrap together. I love that their lunch wraps and sandwiches are served with house-made sweet potato chips, they are amazing! I cut the wrap in half and portioned out half the chips (I brought the rest home, probably going to eat it for my 3:30 meal before the gym). I try to eat small consistent meals throughout the day, never going more than 3 1/2 hours without eating at least a small snack (like 100 calories of raw almonds).

Portioned out for now and later (always do this before you start eating)
The service at the Herb Box was amazing!  The staff was friendly, helpful and even remembered my name every time I went in to ask them for more water, napkins, and even tape to rewrap my sandwich! I will definitely be bringing my girlfriends, husband and family back to the Herb Box to eat :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kale Salad (Really delicious!)

Kale is one of those "super foods" that everyone should eat more of.  Packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, kale is anti-inflammatory and helps you avoid chronic inflammation.  It also provides more than a days worth of your Vitamins K and A, along with a large amount of fiber and calcium.  Its high level of beta-carotene has also been shown to prevent heart disease, cancers and other chronic diseases.  Kale has so many health benefits yet most people never eat it!  I have a delicious kale salad I like to make, hopefully others will enjoy it and add kale to their regular diet.
Prepared Kale Salad
1 1/2 Cups Kale Salad Mix
2 Tbsp "Follow Your Heart" Creamy Miso Ginger Dressing
1 Tbsp Raw Sunflower Seeds
Fresh ground pepper to taste
*All the ingredients from Whole Foods Market

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekend Hike

I'm always trying to come up with fun activities to stay active during the weekend. The weekends are meant for fun with family and friends, but sometimes the usual choices (movies, BBQ's, etc.) can derail your healthy lifestyle. This weekend, I went back to an 'old favorite' - a plain and simple hike. My husband and I hiked Camelback Mountain and had a great time doing it! The best part is reaching the top where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful views of Phoenix and the East Valley. We took the Cholla trail which is about 3 miles roundtrip and takes a couple hours on weekends when the trail is busy. Most cities have numerous hiking trails and a quick google search can find you all the information you need before you go. If you are a novice hiker, I'd start off slow and with a trail marked as 'easy' or for beginners. I always bring a cell phone, sunscreen and plenty of water on our hikes!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Drink water to avoid over eating

Sitting at the salon getting my hair done, I was devouring the February issue of Cosmopolitan. Low and behold, one of my favorite weight loss strategies was featured as it's own article! I always instruct clients to drink 2 glasses of water before dinner. This serves 2 purposes in my opinion, it identifies true hunger from thirst and fills the stomach before the meal (so less food is needed to feel full). Water has so many health benefits and is a necessity of a healthy body, doing this will help ensure you get your 8 glasses per day!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday's Fit Breakfast

This weeks Friday Fit Breakfast is actually a product spotlight for those needing a little more oomph in their AM meal.  This is a breakfast burrito I bought for my husband, who is 6'5" and works out five times per week, therefore he needs more carbohydrates and protein than I do to get his day started right.  It's a PJ's Organics brand Breakfast Burrito with eggs, turkey sausage and cheese.  And of course, this breakfast burrito is quick and convenient for those that are rushed in the morning, much better than grabbing fast food on the go!

Nutritional Information (1 burrito): 310 Calories, 7g Fat, 1g Sat Fat, 660mg Sodium, 46g Carbs, 2g Fiber, 13g Protein

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Product Spotlight - Cindy's Kitchen dressing

Due to my allergies to dairy and egg white, I have a hard time finding salad dressings that are natural, lower calorie, dairy/egg free and most importantly DELICIOUS.  I found this dressing while shopping in the produce section of AJ's Fine Foods in Phoenix, Arizona.  Cindy's Kitchen All Natural Honey Dijon Vinaigrette is all natural, sweetened with honey and lemon juice, unlike the others that were sweetened with white sugar.  It only states "Dairy Free" but none of the ingredients lead me to believe it contains egg yolk or egg white.
$6.99 @ AJ's Fine Foods
Nutrition for 2 Tablespoons: 110 Calories, 10g Fat, 1g Sat Fat, 70mg Sodium, 6 Carbs, 4g Sugar, 0g Protein.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Almond Candy Bar

I just got these new candy trays and decided to give them a try.  I decided to use a coconut oil base, due to the health benefits of the oil.  Coconut oil has been shown to be heart healthy and aid in weight loss.  It is high in lauric acid which fights viruses and bacteria in the body. It also contains Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Iron and numerous other antioxidants.  This is a great recipe to get your chocolate fix and add some healthy coconut oil to your diet.  I also added almonds, which are heart healthy and believed to aid in healthy weight maintenance. *This recipe yields 4 servings of candy.

2 T Coconut Oil
2 T Scharffenberger Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 T Light Agave Nectar
100 Calorie Pack Almonds
1 T Soy Milk 
1 tsp Espresso

1.  Chop 100 Calorie Pack of almonds into small chunks

2) Line Candy Bar Mold with almond pieces and set aside 

 1) Add 2 T Coconut Oil to pan and simmer over low heat until liquified.

2) Next add 2 T Scharffen Berger Cocoa and 1 T Light Agave Nectar

3) OPTIONAL: Add 1/2-1 T Soy Milk and/or 1 tsp fresh espresso (careful not to over-do it on espresso)

4) Simmer all ingredients together over low heat 

 5) Pour warm chocolate mixture over almond pieces in candy mold

6) Place candy mold in freezer to set, covering later with foil.  
Let freeze overnight for best results.

7) Finished Candy Bar! 
I store my uneaten candy in freezer.

Nutritional Information 1/4 Recipe (including soy milk):
114 Calories, 10g Fat, 2mg sodium, 6 Carbs, 1g Fiber, 4g Sugar, 1.5g Protein

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

When to choose Organic?

We all know that the massive amounts of pesticides being sprayed on fruit and veggie crops can be harmful to our health.  But which fruits and veggies are the worst pesticide offenders?  Which ones are really worth shelling out the extra money for your peace of mind?  I try to buy all organic fruits and veggies, but many of my clients want to save some money and only buy organic versions of what they would consider "the worst".  I have compiled this list to outline which fruits and veggies are best bought organic, and which ones typically contain lower levels of pesticides.

Worst Offenders
Bell Peppers
Lettuce/Kale/Spinach (Salads)

Least Offensive (Notice: many have thick skins that are removed before consumption)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tex-Mex Chili

Today for lunch, I decided to make this delicious Tex-Mex Chili for my husband.  I adapted a recipe I got from Whole Foods online, adding an additional 4 oz of lean ground sirloin, substituting pinto beans for black beans, and used an italian squash.  I adapted the recipe to fit his taste and nutritional needs, I felt that the original recipe could use a little more protein punch.  It's a great meal to make ahead of time and reheat on the go!  You can also experiment with what your family likes, sometimes we add finely diced jalapeño peppers for some extra heat.

Tools: Cast Iron Enameled Casserole, I LOVE my Martha Stewart Collection Cast Iron Pot
12 oz. Organic/Natural Lean Ground Beef (I used 90%)
2 Cups Organic Chicken Broth (Pacific brand)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (about 15 oz)
1 Can Pinto Beans (about 15 oz), drained and rinsed
1 Cup Whole Kernel Corn
1 medium Sweet Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Italian Squash (or zucchini), cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp Mexican Seasoning (Spice Hunter)
1 Cup Fresh Salsa (Vegetas brand)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
*finely diced jalapeño (optional)

Chop sweet onion and garlic clove
Cut Squash (or zucchini) into small chunks
1) Heat 1 TBSP EVOO in Casserole and add ground beef, cook until browned.
2) Remove beef from casserole and drain.  I like to use my mesh sieve for this.
3) Add Onion & Garlic to casserole and saute until onion is transparent
4) Add beef & 2 TBSP Mexican seasoning to onion/garlic, mix well.
5) Add all remaining ingredients, mix well, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
Ready for hubby with a dollop of light sour cream!
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Recipe Yields about 6, 1-Cup Servings
205 Calories, 6g Fat, 595mg Sodium, 24g Carb, 8g Fiber, 17g Protein

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Feeling stressed?

Life can get pretty stressful sometimes, especially when you add trying to lose weight and exercise to the mix.  Studies have shown that stress and lack of sleep are directly correlated to an increase in abdominal fat.  While trying to lose weight, it is important to get adequate sleep (preferably 7-8 hours, nightly) and reduce stress levels.  I have listed a few of the ways that I personally like to relax and reduce stress in my own life, I also recommend these strategies to my clients who are feeling frazzled.   

Play some tunes - Before going to sleep at night, I like to lay in bed and listen to tranquil music.  I love my CD Circle of Compassion which is Native American flute music by a very talented artist, Marina Raye.  Light an aromatherapy candle in a soothing scent and relax while all your stresses melt away.

Coffee date with a girlfriend - spending time with a good friend can help to reduce stress levels.  Visiting and sharing stories helps to reinforce positive bonds with those important to you, creating a positive emotional response and reducing levels of stress.  If you don't have time to meet in person, a quick phone call or text can be a quick pick-me-up.  The best part is, you are helping to give your friend the same lift!

Rent a Comedy - Studies have demonstrated that positive endorphins are released when we laugh, so get those endorphins going by renting a funny movie.  Combine more than one stress-reducing activity by inviting some friends over to laugh with you!  

Yoga - Yoga can be a great stress reliever.  It allows you to focus on yourself and look inward while finding peace.  There are many types of yoga that fit various fitness levels and personal goals.  I have enjoyed everything from Hatha yoga to Bikram yoga.  Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and work toward your fitness goal simultaneously.

Take your dog for a walk - Getting outside and breathing fresh air will do a lot to reduce your stress levels.  You will also feel good knowing that you did something fun and healthy with your pooch.

Massage - If you can afford the cost and time, a massage is a great way to relieve stress and tension.  I particularly enjoy a nice massage when exercising vigorously (or starting a new exercise routine).  Make sure you speak up and ask for what you want, to get the most out of your massage you should have good pressure but be comfortable.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dining Out

I am a very social girl and *love* my lunch dates, happy hour dates & dinner dates with friends!  For many of us this hinders (or completely sidelines) our health and fitness goals.  I would never tell my clients to become social recluses and abandon their friends on a quest to health and wellness.  The key is choosing the right restaurants, eating the right portion and (when possible) going in with a plan!  I love that many cities now have an abundance of natural/health oriented restaurants, these are obviously the best choice when eating out with friends but you can't always dictate the restaurant choice.  My plan of attack is to google the restaurant menu, even from my iPhone if I have to, and choosing my meal ahead of time.  By planning my meal (and special requests) ahead of time, I don't make a hasty and unhealthy decision while ordering.  I typically order salads because I love to load up on nutrient rich veggies, requesting no cheese or croutons which are calorie/fat laden and dressing on the side (balsamic is my favorite, but I don't shun dressings - just watch portion size and only use 2 Tbsp).  A couple hidden dangers in salads are glazed nuts & tortilla strips.  Glazed nuts can sabotage your healthy salad into having the sugar content of a candy bar and tortilla strips can add unnecessary calories and saturated fat.

Today I went to La Bocca Pizzeria with a girlfriend and had a wonderful lunch!  I chose a small chicken caesar salad with no parmesan cheese and no croutons.  The salad was of appropriate size, approximately 4-5 ounces of grilled chicken, 1 sliced tomato, and 3 cups romaine lettuce.  My estimate is that the entire salad had 400-425 calories maximum, but it was very satisfying!

Dinner out with my girlfriends (I'm on far left)