Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eat Clean, Get Lean

We all have processed foods in our cabinets and refrigerators.....it is the American way. 

Here is a challenge for you - take one of your processed foods out - lunch meat, pasta in the box, crackers - and look on the back.  How many ingredients are listed?  Probably more than 5....no bueno.

I hear it all the time 'you eat so clean!' - yes I do and you can too and let me tell you why you should.

When I say eating 'clean', by clean I mean I eat whole foods without additives, preservatives and chemicals.  Foods like cooked long grain brown rice, fresh vegetables, cooked vegetables, seasoned fresh cooked ground turkey, chicken breasts, fish, pork, etc.

Most of my clients are just starting out on their nutritional journey so I don't want to cut out everything immediately - mostly clean items with a few processed items here and there that are lower in fat and calories.  But eventually, the goal is to eat as clean as possible.  Why?  A lot of reasons.

First off- if you are trying to lean out and lose weight, preservatives, chemicals and additives can work against you.  Preservatives are added to make foods last longer on the shelves of your local supermarket.  However, preservatives are foreign to our bodies and we do not know how to process them....so what happens to them?  Yup - you guessed it.  They turn into fat.  The worst villains of preservatives are trans fats/hydrogenated oils.  These are oils that have been solidified with hydrogen and then added to food to preserve it. When you eat any processed food that contains these preservatives, you are consuming this fat.  Your body cannot digest these preservatives they way it can digest clean food, thus it is stored as fat.When you eat processed food that has been preserved in this way, you are eating this fat. Trans fats have been linked not only to obesity, but many other health issues.

Another to steer COMPLETELY clear from - high fructose corn syrup.  High fructose corn syrup can be found as an additive in most condiments (jellies, ketchup, syrups) and many beverages such as juice and sodas and even cereals!  The body cannot breakdown high fructose corn syrup the way it can simple sugars....so guess what it becomes?  FAT!

Many fruits and vegetables are sprayed with toxic chemicals that do not belong in your body.  Many times these chemicals are fat soluble which means your body responds to the consumption of these items by storing them as FAT.

Our bodies are not designed to digest processed foods carrying additives, preservatives and chemicals.  These harmful ingredients disrupt the natural chemistry and have been shown to result in cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, allergies, stomach ulcers, premature aging, hypoglycemia....and the list goes on and on!   Consuming additives, preservatives and chemicals disrupt the bio-chemistry of hundreds of thousands of living cells in your body.

The good news?  The life of most cells is short and your body is constantly generating new cells.  This rebuilding process comes from the bloodstream - but when the bloodstream is laden with toxins, this disrupts the rebuilding of cells. 

So what do you do?  Feed your body with good, wholesome, clean ingredients.  Shop and purchase organic foods free of pesticides and chemicals.  Read labels and stay away from anything with ingredients you cannot pronounce.  Not only will you FEEL amazing inside and out, but you will shed pounds by leading a healthier clean living!

Not sure where to start?  Try this:

Grocery List (organic):
fat free milk
Brown rice
green veggies (frozen are great!  They are convenient!  Most do not contain preservatives but stay away from any with added sauces or spices.  All you need are the veggies)
no sugar added pasta sauce
sweet potato's
white fish
lean ground turkey or chicken
lemon pepper seasoning
100% whey protein

1/2 cup oats cooked in water topped with skim milk and 1/4 cup berries
3 egg whites topped with salsa

Protein shake
Small apple

5 oz lean ground turkey with 1/2 cup brown rice and 1 cup veggies
1/4 cup no sugar added pasta sauce to top

1/2 sweet potato
1/2 cup green veggies topped with salsa

5 oz white fish broiled with lemon juice and lemon pepper seasoning
2 cups of green veggies topped with salsa

Healthy, clean, filling and delicious!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Leftover Turkey Moroccon Tangine - Mmmmmm!!

Nothing to do with that leftover Turkey?  How about a Moroccan Tangine?  Sound good?  Mmmmm it IS!  And you may even have the ingredients at your house leftover from Thanksgiving cooking ingredients!
12 ounces of white meat turkey breasts cut into chunks
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (I make mine with 3 small sweet potatoes instead and it is delicious!  Peel and chop)
2 cans garbanzo beans (reduced sodium), drained and rinsed
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (14 ounce) can vegetable broth
1 tablespoon stevia
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 dash cayenne pepper
Mix the turkey, squash or sweet potatos, garbanzo beans, carrot, tomatoes with juice, broth, stevia, and lemon juice in a stockpot. Season with salt, coriander, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue cooking 30-45 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Makes 6 servings
Calories per serving (About a cup and a half)
2.4 g

Friday, November 19, 2010

But Why?

This is my new favorite phrase this Holiday season:

'I am scared I will gain weight over Thanksgiving because I know I will overeat.'....But why?

'I have to make all the traditional thanksgiving foods'....But why?

'I always gain weight from Thanksgiving to New Years'...BUT WHY DO YOU HAVE TO?

You Don't.

Keep in mind, Thanksgiving is one meal.  Not 4 day's worth of overindulgeence and inactivity parked in front of the couch watching football.  Am I saying you can't enjoy yourself?  Absolutely not.  But remember....the Holidays are not an excuse to ransack everything you have been working so hard towards!

The average American consumes 5,000-8,000 calories and 230 grams of fat on Thanksgiving in ONE SINGLE MEAL!  That's 4-6 days of calories and a whole week of fat for someone on a 1500 calorie a day nutrition plan!  Even scarier...the average American gains 7-10 pounds from November-January.  And with all the football game and parade watching that ensues, it all adds up to larger than normal amounts of inactivity and extra pounds on the scale.

If you recall from previous posts, I tell my clients to eat clean all week and allow themselves one cheat meal per week to look forward to, keep them sane, help keep their nutrition plan on track and help keep their metabolism fired up.  So - most people obviously will want to use Thanksgiving as their cheat day - GREAT!  But there is absolutely no reason to fill your body up with that many calories in one day.  Think about it:  3500 calories = 1 pound.  If you are in a 1,000 calorie deficit each day with a combination of calorie cutting and exercise, that adds up to 7,000 calories and 2 pounds lost in a week.  On the flip side, if you consume 7,000 calories or more in ONE DAY and are not being active...guess what happens?  Yup - fat is gained.  This doesn't even take into consideration the 2-3 days of noshing on leftovers and continuing the calorie gorging.

What can you do?  So you are going to your Aunt Betty's for Thanksgiving and you know she will cook all the butter laden, gravy soaked fixin's....have some!  But eat normal portion sizes!  You don't need to pile you plate full.  Stock up on salads, vegetables and white meat turkey, stay away from the buttery potato's, rolls and desserts if they tempt you too badly - or just have small portions of them.  Pay attention to your body - when it says you are full, stop eating!

If you are cooking - why not try some new healthier recipes?  My family always makes traditional dishes like baked sweet potato slices with marshmallows, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and pineapple; mashed potatos and gravy and buttery rolls But this year, my Mom and I have decided on a new menu: roasted turkey stuffed with herbs and spices and lemon juice; a roasted vegetable medley with acorn squash, sweet potatos, beets and asparagus; brown rice; salad; and baked apples with cinnamon, stevia and walnuts.  How delicious does that sound?  And it's all low cal, low fat and healthy!  Who says you have to follow all the 'old traditions' - make some new ones!

Get out and exercise - make it a family affair!  Like the Turkey Trot 5k race on Thanksgiving morning for you Denver-ites http://www.runningguru.com/EventInformation.asp?eID=MHUWTTet.  If you don't have a Thanksgiving day 5k in your neighborhood - get the family together for an after dinner walk, play a fun outdoor game like flag football, challenge each other to an obstacle course at the park - just get moving and make it fun and enjoyable with each other!

We have one body - be thankful for it and reward it with good and healthy choices this Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tarrah's Extra Lean Turkey Chili - Mmmmmm!

I love cooking in the Fall - there are so many great ingredients to use for hearty, protein-ladden, healthy dishes!  One of my fave's is my Mom's Texas Chili - that I re-vamped and made super lean :-)

This recipe is simple and is great for Sunday football parties and quick lunches or dinners.  You can keep it stored in the fridge for a few days and even freeze it.  I like to serve mine the traditional Southern way over brown rice with a sprinkle of 2% milk shredded cheese on top -yummmm!

2 lbs Jennie-O Extra Lean Ground Turkey
2 cans Rotel
2 cans (12oz) Tomato Sauce
1 can reduced sodium chili beans
1 can reduced sodium kidney beans
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 package Williams Chili Seasoning
(optional) diced jalape├▒os for added spice!

Brown ground turkey and put in simmering pot.  Add rotel, beans, tomato sauce, chili seasoning and garlic.  Stir until combined.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minnutes for flavors to combine

Yields 10 servings (about a cup each)
Nutrition FactsPer Serving:


Thursday, November 11, 2010

What do you mean I'm not eating enough?

I've seen it time and time again - clients thinking they are outsmarting their bodies by consuming too few calories.  When you do not consume enough calories...guess what happens?  You actually WON'T LOSE!

Yup - you heard it.  In terms of calories, if you're not eating enough, your body will most likely go into a 'storage mode'. This is because the moment your body thinks its not getting enough food, it will horde all the calories and hold onto the fat since it thinks its going into starvation mode. Your body will also slow down your metabolism because it thinks a "fasting state" may be close and it will want to conserve as much energy as possiblee and protect the function of the internal organs.  Long-term, the body metabolizes the lean muscle tissue that burns calories.

So for all you non-believers of 'Eat to Lose' - it actually IS true.  Fueling your body with (good) calories fires your metabolism.  Eat frequent meals throughout the day - (3) 400 calorie meals and (2) 150 calorie snacks is what I shoot for on a 1500 calorie diet.  Eating more frequently fires up your metabolism and keeps your blood sugar level throughout the day thus reducing hunger and the urge to binge.

Please Please PLEASE don't fad diet!! I cringe at the sound of the new fad diet 'HCG' which relies on injections of the hormone Human Choriogonadotropin (HCG) and a restricted 500 calorie a day diet.  No one should EVER go below 1000 calories per day (I tell my clients not to go below 1200)  ...this will put the body in starvation mode.  Do people lose weight from HCG - sure....initially they drop a lot but why?  Not because of some hormone injection...because they are eating 500 CALORIES A DAY!  Go from to eating Red Robin every night to 500 calories a day and you will drop; but guess what?  You will gain it back when you come back to the surface of starving your body.  After a few weeks on the 500 calorie diet, HCG dieters are put on the 'maitenence stage' where other foods are slowly introduced back into the diet.  Why do you think that is?  Maybe because if you continued eating 500 calories a day for prolonged periods, your body would cease to drop anymore weight because it goes into starvation mode.

I have had 2 clients and 1 family friend try HCG.  They lost over 20 lbs a piece.  Not one of them kept it off.

Bottom line - EAT!  When people tell me they are doing HCG and some other fad diet, I tell them I get to eat oatmeal with berries and milk and lean turkey for breakfast, veggies and cheese for a snack, a homemade burrito bowl with brown rice and chicken and salsa for lunch, sweet potatoes and egg whites for a snack and fish and veggies for dinner and I am NEVER hungry and I still lose and maintain weight loss.  How AWESOME is that?! 

You can do it too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Snack Time!

Ice cream....nope - doesn't temp me.  Candy?  Definitely not.  Popcorn - eh...not so much.  But you put chips and salsa in front of me and look out!

So in an effort re-create my favorite snack so that it could be incorporated into my diet, I discovered the best healthy alternative out there...and I don't even miss the full fat version!

Mission tortillas makes these amazing new corn tortillas (yay for corn all you fellow gluten free'ers!) called 'Extra Thin Corn Tortillas'.  Find them in the tortilla section of any grocery store.  For TWO tortillas you are only consuming 80 calories and 1 gram of fat!  Wow!  I love it!

Chips and Salsa:
  • Take two corn tortillas (extra thin) and place on a cutting board.  Using a pizza cutter, slice them into triangles. 
  • Place on a sprayed cookie sheet and broil on high 3 minutes on each side (you have to really watch these guys...they burn easily!)
  • Remove from oven and place on a plate - sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt
  • Serve with 1/4 cup of your favorite salsa - mmmmmm!!!


How about some nachos!  Wait....you can eat nachos on a good nutrition plan?  YUP!

Healthy Chicken Nachos

2 oz all white meat rotisserie chicken
3 Mission Extra Thin Corn Tortillas cut and broiled
1 TBS Kraft 2% milk fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 TBS Black Bean and Corn Mixture (From frozen food isle in any grocery store - look for Southwest Blend)
2 TBS Salsa
  • After chips are broiled, place on plate and top with chicken, black bean and corn mixture and cheese.
  • Microwave 1 minute or until cheese is melted
  • Top with Salsa
VIOLA!  Healthy Nachos!!


The nachos are great as a meal - add some veggies on the side like Kroger's 'Fiesta Blend' frozen vegetables.  Just heat in a microwave safe container for 2 minutes and serve with some salsa on top - perfect!

Friday, November 5, 2010

'Can't' Means Won't Try

I hate ....I repeat....I HATE the word 'can't'.

I hear the word can't everyday from people...but not about the workouts - about nutrition. 

'I can't eat right, I can't stop eating bad things, I can't eat healthy because it doesn't taste the same, I can't make time to plan my meals, I can't eat healthy when my friends and family are eating poorly, I can't eat whole wheat pasta and veggies when chicken alfredo sounds so much better'..........

3 words - YES YOU CAN!

No, healthy food does not taste the same as unhealthy food.  Butter, oil, cream, sugar....sure they make foods taste good - but they wreak havoc on your digestive system, your heart, your liver, your weight...I could go on forever.  And if you have a goal....is all that really worth it for the sake of flavor? 

It takes 14 days to create a habit - I tell everyone this in working out.  Do it for 14 days and it becomes a daily routine.  The SAME is true with nutrition.  It takes 14 days to make a habit out of eating healthy.  Get used to foods tasting different.  They may not taste the same, but they don't taste bad.  You will get used to the natural flavors foods bring out - vegetables. proteins, fruits, grains.  You won't need the added crap to your foods anymore.

Some good 'food for thought':

Food in your pantry that you just can't resist indulging on?  THROW IT OUT!  Get rid of it and don't buy it again!  How will you cheat when you don't have it in the house?

Peer pressure....this is another one that really hits home for me.  When you surround yourself with people who take you away from your goals or encourage an un-healthy lifestyle...its time to take a step back.  Ask yourself what your goal is, how important is it to you, how far are you willing  to go to get there.  Ask the people in your life to support you and maybe even do it with you.  If they will not - take a step back focus on you and your goal.

Make sure to treat yourself!  Eat clean all week, wake up feeling great everyday for what you are putting in your body, for the butt-kicking workouts you are doing!  And plan and allow a 'treat meal' every week....make it something to look forward to!  Meet your friends out for Mexican, have people over for pasta night!  But only one meal ...not a whole treat 'day'.  This can negate all your hard work for the week.  Treat meals help keep us on track and actually help fuel the metabolism. 

Make yourself and your goal your number on priority and always ask yourself 'is eating this really worth it?'.....probably not.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Healthy Brunch for Two

This is one of my faves!  In fact....I made it for lunch today and kept the 'two' part for tomorrow's lunch - yummm!

My version is gluten free but you can substitue whole wheat flour (you are only using a tablespoon) instead of my corn meal suggestion.  The corn meal adds to the Southwest flavor!

6 egg whites
1 cup Skim Milk
1 TBS yellow corn meal
1/4 cup of Kroger Frozen Southwest Blend Vegetables
5 slices smoked turkey (deli style)
5 Mission brand 'Extra Thin Corn Tortillas' (less calories than regular)
1 ounce shredded 2% milk fat mild cheddar cheese

-  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
-  Spray an 8x8 glass baking dish with cooking spray
-  Heat 1/4 cup of the Southwest Blend veggies in a microwave safe bowl with a lid for 5 minutes. 
-  Heat tortillas in microwave for 20 seconds to make soft.
-  Add a slice of turkey and small spoonfull of Southwest veggies to each tortilla.  Roll up and place seam side down in baking dish
-  Mix milk, egg whites and corn meal with wire whisk until well combined (I add a dash of sea salt for flavor)
-  Pour egg mixture over tortillas in dish.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes
-  Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes.
-  Sprinkile with cheese and bake remaining 5 minutes (or until cheese is melted...I also like to turn on the broiler to make the top crispy)
Nutrition Facts (for half the dish - 2.5 enchiladas):


I like to serve mine with a side of my favorite veggies with some salsa on top!  Today it was broccoli, sugar snap peas and carrots - yummm!!