Monday, March 28, 2011

Salmon Stir Fry

Mmmmmm this is another new favorite (aren't they all?) :-)

This was a meal that was sort of thrown together tonight.  I had just finished baking up a tray of lemon pepper salmon fillets for my dinners the next few nights and opened the fridge to see what kind of veggies I had to throw a quick dinner together: fresh red bell pepper, fresh sugar snap peas and frozen edamame....that sounds perfect!

1 salmon fillet (baked in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes with fresh lemon juice and lemon pepper seasoning)
1 whole red bell pepper chopped
1 cup fresh Sugar Snap Peas
1/2 cup frozen edamame beans, steamed in the micro
1 TBS low sodium soy sauce (I use Gluten free, low sodium)

Spray large pan with olive oil cooking spray.  Add chopped red bell pepper and whole sugar snap peas and saute until the peppers start to become softer and both vegetables start to brown.  Toss in steamed edamame beans and saute another 2 minutes.  Cut salmon into small cubes and add into mix - cooking about 2 minutes longer.  Pour soy sauce over mixture and stir fry for about a minute.  Pour everything together on plate or bowl - YUM!

I have an affinity for any dish with a crunch and this one packs quite the crunch ...not to mention the flavor mingling of all the fresh veggies and salmon is out of this world!  This will become a regular dinner around here :-)


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Deprived? No

I get a lot of questions from new people I meet as well as my fitness and nutrition clients about feeling deprived in my nutrition plan:

'Don't you just want to go tear up some Mexican food?'  'How do you handle the Holidays?' 'Doesn't it take away from your quality of life packing and prepping all the time?'

Absolutely not.

My health is my greatest wealth.  My body is my own and it's my responsibility to keep it healthy.  To me, life is better when I feel my best.  And I feel my best when I am eating wholesome, clean, healthy foods and exercising everyday.  It's a way of life - not a diet.

I preach day in and day out to my clients to ALWAYS allow a cheat meal once a week.  But just one meal - not an entire day.  This gives you something to look forward to and helps keep you on track with your nutrition plan.  I have a hard time even eating a cheat meal anymore because my digestive system is so used to eating clean that when I fill it with saturated fats, sodium and sugar - I get physically ill.  Your body should be fed clean most of the time - it is designed that way.  Who wants to fill themselves all the time with chemicals, bad fats and sugars that turn to fat stores and sodium that makes your body retain water?  Not me - I opt for feeling good inside and out. 

So what about the prepping and packing?  Doesn't that take too much time?  Nope.  Does showering or brushing your teeth take too much time to do so you just skip it?  Didn't think so.  Same thing with prepping and packing your food - it is a daily routine and habit that becomes part of your life just like brushing your teeth.  I cook on Sundays for the week while doing other house chores and store my cooked food in the fridge in ready to go containers.  Each night I make whatever I need fresh for the next day and it's done.  10 minutes out of my day.  10 minutes is a pretty small sacrifice for a fitness goal or a lifestyle change - wouldn't you agree? 

Someone said to me last week 'life is about enjoying and living freely and not worrying about all of those things like calories and fats and weight loss or muscle gain' - Sure.  It is about enjoying.  But how long can you enjoy your life if you don't feed your body with good things?  Not too long - heart conditions, diabetes and many other diseases can rear their ugly heads simply from the foods and beverages we consume.  Life is about living - and running outside with a mountain view on a clear sunny day, and being able to play with your kids for hours on end in the park, and being able to climb a 14er, dance with your wife on a night out, play sand volleyball at wash park - it's all about living...but you have to fuel your body with the right things in order to enjoy it. 

'Eat to Live, Not Live to Eat'

As Always - Happy and Healthy Eating!

Friday, March 11, 2011

In the Raw

I just finished a 5-day Raw Foods cleanse that I created…nothing crazy or super stringent – just clean, organic, raw foods 5x a day and lots of water, making sure to get proteins and healthy fats from nuts and all natural nut butters.
Why did I decide to cleanse?   I eat a LOT of protein….about 30-35% of my daily calories come from protein.  A diet in which protein makes up more than 30% of your caloric intake can cause buildup in your intestines as well as affect your kidneys if not carefully monitored.  So, in order to flush toxins from my body, buildup in my intestines and give my body an overall ‘diet shock’ so to speak, I decided to cleanse the natural way.  No cleanings pills, no cayenne pepper and water – just wholesome raw foods.
Why raw foods?  Raw foods are full of living enzymes that help your body in digestion, elimination and absorption, ensuring a thorough cleansing of your entire body as well as a supply of many vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Another advantage of being on a raw cleanse is that done properly, it tends to be an alkaline diet. If you remember from high school chemistry, you measure the pH of substances by comparing it to water. Some substances are acidic, like vinegar, and some are alkaline, like soap. The pH of your blood is slightly alkaline. When you eat a diet high in acid, you body must work to keep your blood pH constant or else you can get sick. It is just as important as your body temperature. The good news is that vegetables, sprouts and some low sugar fruits all add to the alkalinity of your blood. When you eat an uncooked diet, your body can naturally detoxify itself and keep you healthy.
After 5 days on my own version of the raw foods cleanse, I am 5lbs less on the scale (some is water, some is pounds lost), I am more lean, my digestive system is working full speed and I feel  overall healthy, clean and energetic.  I am sleeping better, my skin is phenomenal and I feel re-charged. 
Many have asked me if I felt at all deprived on my cleanse – NO!  That was very surprising for me.  But I found ways to keep some of my favorite and typical foods in the cleanse and made sure to eat every 3 hours as per usual to keep the metabolism moving.  I will keep lots of raw foods as part of my daily nutrition moving forwards as I truly believe in the benefits!  This won’t be my last 5 days on the cleanse….I will most likely revisit in a few months.
So what did I eat? (Please note this is not a specific diet to be followed- just something I experimented with)

Breakfast was a delicious bowl or raw oats with apple puree, cinnamon, sliced almonds, almond milk (I purchased a raw all natural, unsweetened brand for 35 calories a cup) and a banana.  YUMMMM!  How did I do it?  I took a cup of all natural whole grain oats, sprinkled them with cinnamon and sliced almonds then pureed an apple (leave the skin on for the best nutritional value) and poured the puree (juice pulp and all) over the oats.  I put the container in the fridge overnight and let it soak in.  In the morning the oats were an amazingly soft and flavorful breakfast!  I sliced banana overtop and topped with almond milk.
My AM snack was a pear with 1 ounce (20 almonds) of raw almonds.  Lunch time was my favorite – a big salad with loads of mixed greens, fresh clementine’s, broccoli, chopped cabbage, fresh beets, ¼ of an avocado for some good fats and topped with raw apple cider vinegar.  I made a big fruit salad at the beginning of the week with melon and berries that I had a small side of as well.
PM snack was another favorite – pureed greens!  I know it sounds odd but it actually was really good.  I used spinach, kale, bell peppers, cucumber and green onion for a yummy drink (water for the mixing and I also added ice and a little almond milk for some creamy texture). 

Dinner was either a large veggie salad or another shake but this time the shake was ¼ cup of oats, 1 TBS almond butter, almond milk, berries that I had frozen to make the shake creamy and cold, and cinnamon and was DELICIOUS!

I kept chopped peppers, broccoli and cucumber with me throughout the day whenever I needed a bite of something .
There are TONS of recipes online for raw foods – even raw pastas and pizzas made from veggies and sprouted beans and wheat.  I chose to keep mine fairly simple and quick for my on the go lifestyle and definitely enjoyed the cleanse and the results.  Keep in mind a cleanse shouldn’t last more than 5-7 days.  There are some people out there who choose to live the ‘raw lifestyle’ but tend to be highly deficient in a lot of nutrients…particularly proteins.  So while I highly recommend this is a cleanse, I would not chose it as a lifestyle given my goals in fitness and strength.
Overall…a worthwhile experience – happy eating!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Enchilada Meatballs - Oh this one's GOOOOOD!

From my kitchen to yours - this is one of my all time fave creations that I made tonight that did NOT last because they are soooooo good!  Just ask Justin!

Most meatballs are made with breadcrumbs.  Being that I have celiac disease, I mostly make meatballs with eggwhites and that's it.  Healthy, high in protein and delicious but they lack that moistness that traditional meatballs with bread crumbs have.  SO  - I improvised using cornbread.

My cornbread is gluten free, simple and super low cal/low fat. 

1 lb ground chicken (or lean ground turkey or extra lean ground beef)
Mrs. Dash Chipotle Spice Seasoning (sodium free)
Low Sodium Enchilada Sauce (1 can) ...I like organic brands
1 jar organic salsa
2% milk shredded cheddar (will not use much)
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 egg whites
1/4 cup silk unsweetened almond milk (or skim milk)
1 teaspoon stevia
1 tsp baking soda

Prep cornbread first:
Mix cornmeal, milk, stevia, egg whites abnd baking soda in bowl (if too runny, add more corn meal.) Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Combine ground chicken, 1/2 can enchilada sauce, Chipotle spice seasoning in bowl.  Crumble cornbread into bowl and mix with hands.  Form golf ball size meatballs and place on sprayed baking sheet.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

While meatballs are cooking, heat the other 1/2 of enchilada sauce over stove with 1 cup salsa.

Serve meatballs topped with sauce and sprinkle a little cheese on top - YUMMMMMM!!!

As a side dish, I like to chop red bell pepper and yellow squash and place on sprayed cookie sheet topped with Mrs. Dash Chipotle spice - throw in oven with meatballs and let roast.  Delicious and spicy!

Nutritional Info:
Per Serving (5 Meatballs topped with 1/2 cup sauce and sprinkled with 1 TBS cheese):