Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Muscle Milk?

It is very important to recover your body after any sort of work out, and while protein shakes are great because they are fast absorbing and convenient after a late night exercise; they are not enough to fully sustain your body or your hunger....

My workout was so vigorous tonight that by the time I got home, I didn't feel like turning on the stove to cook. So, I am going to write about what I did make for dinner and what you can soon make for dinner that is quick and easy but also packed with plenty of muscle friendly protein and other healthy nutrients :-) YUM! One of my favorite dishes to make is something that I put together one day due to lack of planning and time....which I am sure everyone is guilty of at some point, haha! And now it's one of my favorites. It is quick and easy and these ingredients are a staple in my pantry.

Garbanzo Bean and Tuna salad

Ingredients: I use organic ingredients when possible

1 can of tuna 
1 can of garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1/3 cup of chopped green olives
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
1/2 cup of chopped celery 
1 diced tomato or 5 chopped cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp or less of Himalayan salt - I call it the "good for you salt"
2 teaspoons of coconut vinegar (does NOT taste like coconut)

Very simple...drain the tuna and put in a bowl. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans and mix in with the tuna. Add the rest of the ingredients in the same bowl. It's that easy! You can get the celery already pre-chopped to save time, and you can also buy shredded carrots.

Using the entire can of tuna and garbanzo beans will yield 3 serving or meals if it's just you. Each serving contains 20 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber,  253 calories and 3.9g of fat 0.2g of which is saturated. The nutritional profile can vary depending on the type of ingredients you buy and how much you add or subtract to this recipe. You can modify the amount of ingredients to your liking. (1 serving of garbanzo beans is typically 1/2 cup; an entire can contains 1.5 cups - so 3 servings. And 1 can of tuna contains 2 servings).

It is important to recognize the food combination put together here and why it is especially good for after you work out. Protein is a vital nutrient your body can't store, so you need to get it from your diet each day.   Protein is necessary for the growth and repair of all the cells, tissues and organs in your body. Both the tuna and garbanzo beans provide a substantial amount of protein that will feed your muscles and help repair them quicker to aid in muscle growth. While garbanzo beans are considered an incomplete protein due to the amino acid profile, the combo provides you with the essential amino acids that are required for muscle recovery. On top of it all, tuna is also very high in B Vitamins, Iron and Omega-3 fatty acids! The "dressing" I use is coconut vinegar. It is vinegar that is made from the sap of the coconut and is packed with amazing nutrients. It contains zero calories and is gluten free. I added the olives for taste. I would put green olives on ice cream; if I could eat ice cream. You can substitute anything your heart desires - like pickles or black olives - You can use any type of legume you want, just remember that altering the recipe will change the nutrition content. :)

Again, this is just a quick and easy recipe that tastes great! It is naturally very low in fat, calories, and high in protein and fiber. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe as much as I do! 

Remember that muscle recovery is just as important as the work you are putting in to shape those muscles...

Twinspiration -

Wellness to all!

-Patti xox

Monday, January 30, 2012

When you're craving junk.....

Today I decided to post a recipe. When you're eating healthy and being sooo good on your diet, sometimes you may feel the need to cheat. Here is a very simple recipe that is low in fat, high in protein and will satisfy that junk food craving! I get bored eating the same thing all the time, so when I shop, of course I will stick to most of my usuals, but I will always look for something different to break up the monotony. One of my favorite recipes that I have come up with is called General Tsao's Chicken - WAIT?!?! WHAT?!?! That's what I said, people! Amazing, right?! Without further adieu - I present to you, your next dinner ;o)

Nikkie's General Tsao's Chicken and Quinoa

  • one large boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup General Tsao stir fry sauce (Trader  Joe's)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 bag of tri-color peppers (Trader Joe's)
Start by boiling the water for the quinoa (one part quinoa - one part water.) This will take longer and you want all of your food to finish at the same time :)  Once the water is boiling, add your quinoa. Reduce heat and let simmer - it will take about 30-35 minutes until it's done. I use pre-rinsed quinoa so you don't have to rinse it before hand. While the quinoa is simmering, filet your chicken breast... then cut each filet into cubes. If you feel like you need more chicken, you can use two pieces. Add chicken and peppers to frying pan. Then add your garlic. (don't forget to keep stirring the quinoa so it doesn't stick.) Cook chicken and peppers until the chicken is fully cooked. After it's cooked, add the General Tsao's sauce. Let simmer until heated. If this finishes before your quinoa, remove from heat and cover. Once the quinoa is done, add desired amount to a bowl and top with your General Tsao's chicken stir-fry.

The recipe makes about 2 1/2 - 3 servings and will be about 243 - 338 calories per serving depending on how many pieces of chicken you use. Each serving will also have less than 5 grams of fat! Amazing... I know! 

You can use rice instead of quinoa, but quinoa is healthier, and like rice - it will take on the flavor of most food. And for all of my vegan and vegetarian friends, you can also use Tofu, or a soy protein instead of chicken.

Please remember to read all the ingredients on any food that we post to make sure that you aren't allergic!

So if you can't think of anything to make for dinner, try this! If you do, don't forget to let me know what you think!

So stay focused, eat healthy, exercise and don't sweat the small stuff.

Twinspiration - 

Love and Health to all!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Always a guaran"tea"

"Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it still sings!"

While a majority of the blogging done here will most likely consist of yum-to-the-EEE healthy recipes (HAHA - I'm a poet); tonight I am writing about tea. Some who know me think I have a slight obsession with the leafy goodness, but I don't think so. I simply like to indulge in the sweet aroma and taste of the exotic unknown.....okay, okay I am a tad bit obsessed. Let me tell you why. Tea is one of those guiltless pleasures for me. Not only is it delicious, but it's also nutritious. Eeeek! I am on a roll! <-- gluten free roll of course :-D Alright, I'll stop with the corny jokes...and show you my tea cabinet:

This is the cabinet above my stove which requires a step stool because I am too short to reach them all. This is only half of the tea I have; it doesn't include the ones I keep at work; Trader Joe's cranberry green tea, Yogi Calming tea, Cinnamon Orange Blossom (AH-MAY-ZING)! Blueberry tea, Black Ginger Peach tea, and a few more :) Some think it's excessive, and maybe it is, but given the health benefits and the deliciousness of it, I'd say it's okay.

While there isn't any "nutritional" content to tea, there are many other health benefits to it. Here are a few based on the types of tea you drink:

It can boost mental alertness
It can increase your metabolic rate
It has anti-cancer properties - especially those high in an antioxidant called catechins
It can lower stress hormone levels (YES PLEASE)!
It can improve cardiovascular health

These are only naming a few. Here is how it all works:

Tea contains catechins, a type of antioxidant. Catechins are highest in concentration in white and green teas. Also red tea - usually a hibiscus tea (the Orange Blossom Tea I drink), has been shown to contain similar amounts of catechins as green tea. White tea has been shown to have the most antioxidants of all the teas. An article in New Scientist magazine that I read mentions that numerous studies suggest that green tea protects against a range of cancers, including lung, prostate and breast cancer. The reason cited is the antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG as everyone knows it). While black tea has substantially fewer due to its oxidative preparation, scientists suggest that drinking just one cup of regular, black tea per day may help to protect against cardiovascular disease. The research showed that black tea consumption does, depending on dose, improve blood vessel reactivity, reduce both blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Cool beans!

Let's talk Weight loss:

While there have been numerous claims that Green tea and its extract have been shown to fight obesity, this isn't entirely true. And I say not entirely true because if you take the right amount; it can aid in your weight loss journey, but drinking one cup of green tea is not a realistic expectation in thinking that it will make you lose weight. It takes much hard work and dedication; unless you have some miracle gene, and in that case, please send me a vile :) The award should really go to the caffeine in the green tea. Caffeine is a natural thermogenic; which raises your body temperature and the basal metabolic rate. What this does is increase the energy expenditure and fat loss through mechanisms not only related to thermogenic effect, but also enhanced utilization of triglycerides for fuel and suppression of appetite. Now, please understand that I am not telling you to go out and drink 2 gallons of tea or coffee a day - unless you have a cast-iron stomach, in which case, please be my guest! All I am saying is put down the sugary drink and pick up a warm or cold delicious cup of tea!

Another great tea to drink to drink that can aid in weight loss is cinnamon tea. Cinnamon tea has been shown to lower your blood sugar levels. How does this help you lose weight? Here is how; cinnamon helps lower blood sugar, because it contains a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP (methalhydroxy chalcone polymer)that helps improve the way the body uses insulin. It has been shown that cinnamon made fat cells much more responsive to insulin, the hormone that regulates sugar metabolism and thus controls the level of glucose in the blood. Interesting, right?! Here is one of those yum-to-the-EEE recipes for you try it at home peeps:

You can make cinnamon tea by breaking a cinnamon stick into several pieces and allowing them to steep in a cup with boiling water for 10 minutes. Cinnamon can be bitter to you, so you can add raw organic honey or agave nectar as they both have a low impact on your glycemic index. You can also combine 1 to 1.5 tsp. of cinnamon powder with hot water and stir.

There are so many reasons to give for drinking tea, and I hope the few that I have listed are reason enough to try it ;) If my words aren't enough, just look at the picture! It looks enticing, don't you think?

When you drink the leaf, it's always a guaran"tea"!
Twinspiration -

Wellness to all!!

Patti xox

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Grocery Shopping

Soooo, it's inevitable. Every one has to grocery shop. Whether you shop at Stop and Shop or Whole Foods or Shaws or whatever your local grocery store may be, it's important to know what's good to shop for. I thought I would share with you how I shop, where I shop and what I buy. My stores of choice are Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. They have the organic and natural food that I prefer to eat. (Have you ever seen Food Inc?... seriously, if you like what you eat now... DO NOT WATCH. it's a definite reality check.) I know, a lot of people think that if you eat organic it costs so much more, and depending on what you buy, it may. I do not notice a change in my grocery bill, but I also changed what I put into my body, so I think it goes hand in hand. When it comes down to it, I eat mostly clean, organic foods. I feel more energized, I don't feel bloated, I sleep more at night when I can - It was a fantastic change for me. OKAY, now that I just rambled on........... I will take you on my recent trip to Trader Joe's.

First thing I do... I get in my car, turn it on (for those who know my sweet little sedan, I may have to start it up two or three times. HAHA) Okay, we all know how to get to the store... Enough of me trying to be a comedian. When I shop, I shop the perimeter of the store first. I buy my fruits and veggies, then I shop for poultry and tofu and my "ficken" (fake Chicken) products. After I have those essentials, I head to the frozen foods. I like to buy frozen fish. Trader Joe's has an amazing selection of frozen swordfish, salmon, mahi mahi, tuna and other good for you fish. After that I buy my "pasta." I use a lot of quinoa... it's a wheat germ that is a fantastic alternative to rice and cous cous. And it's great for you too. I then will buy some healthy snacks like protein bars or dried fruits and veggies. Here is a grocery list of just some of the items that I purchase.

This is a picture of my cart from Trader Joe's. (No, the dog treats are not for me.)

  • broccoli 
  • asparagus
  • shredded carrot sticks (amazing on salads and awesome for snacking)
  • celery
  • cherry tomatoes
  • bananas
  • strawberries ( i buy organic so there are no GMO's or pesticides)
  • blueberries
  • raspberries 
  • clementines or cuties (let's face it... they are the SAME thing. just saying)
  • brussel sprouts
  • eggplant
  • boneless  skinless chicken breast
  • extra firm tofu
  • snap pea crisps
  • Luna bars
  • oh yeah! protein bars
  • pita chips
  • San Pelligrino sparkling water (fantabulous alternative for soda)
  • Limes (to go with your sparkling water)
  • Oatmeal
  • Skim Milk (Nature's Promise)
These are just a few of the items that I shop for. 

Stay tuned for the recipes that I create when I buy these amazing items. I hope you found this helpful and maybe you will keep my list in mind the next time you go shopping. Just shop the perimeter first and I guarantee you will find almost all of the healthy items you need. 

Don't forget to comment and let me know what you think! Share with us what you shop for and how you shop!

So stay focused, shop healthy, exercise and don't sweat the small stuff.

Twinspiration - 

Love and Health to all!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sick and Tired? NO EXCUSE!

I too, have been pondering about what to post as my first blog - and then it hit me, like lightening.... *POOWWW* sorry, no sound effects or big show :) I am going to talk a minute about exercising and doing what you need to do to get "it" done while you are sick and tired. I have had bronchitis and some type head cold for a little over a week now, but this isn't any excuse for me to not exercise or eat right. Let's talk about exercising: While with bronchitis, it's not entirely logical to drag yourself through the frigid weather to the gym and exert yourself on the treadmill for an hour infecting everyone within a 5 foot radius; you can stay home and still get in a decent workout that is not too exhausting. The work out that I have been doing? Yoga. Light and modified until my lung capacity is back in full working order, but nonetheless, yoga. It is not just used for meditation - as people may believe :) It is a full body workout and very effective when it comes to weight loss.

Staying on track with eating right when you are sick can be tough - as I am sure most either do not have an appetite or have an appetite for destruction! It is very important to make sure that your body is nutritionally satisfied; so what have I been doing you ask?! Oh, you know...eating Chinese food and ice cream every day. NOT. For breakfast I have been drinking a protein shake; one of the ready-to-drink protein shakes that you can get almost anywhere. I know my sister will agree when I say that Orgain sells the most amazing tasting protein that is highly nutritious - read the ingredients for yourself and taste it; I am sure you'll agree :) Lunch I have been eating soup. You have to be careful if you are buying pre-made soup as it can be extremely high in sodium. Trader Joe's or most health food stores will carry low sodium soups and broths. For dinner again, the soups or mashed sweet potatoes with a little drizzle of extra virgin Olive Oil, Himalayan salt (not iodized or kosher), and some type of protein. And of course a ton of fruits to boost my immunity.

This has been my routine for the past week and a half...it goes to show that with a little effort and thought, being sick and tired will come to mean being healthy and invigorated.

Twinspiration -

Wellness to all!

- Patti xox

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Here Goes Nothing...

Okay, so this is my first blog post. It took me a few days to figure out what i wanted to make this first blog about, so i thought really hard and decided that i want to blog about food. I am constantly looking for ways to improve my diet and make sure that i am getting the most out of my meals... i want them to be satisfying and healthy too. Here is a simple recipe for all of you pizza lovers out there. It is tasty and healthy Who knew that those two could go hand in hand. Here it is.... I call it Turkey pepperoni pita pizza.

Turkey Pepperoni Pita Pizza

  • 16 slices of Turkey pepperoni
  • kraft fat-free mozzarella cheese
  • 5 tbsp newman's own garlic sauce
  • 1 whole wheat pita
Split the pita in half and you will cut the calories in half (wink wink) or you can use the entire pita if you're super hungry. Place the pita on a pizza stone, or cookie sheet. Spread the sauce over the pita, then add the turkey pepperoni and mozzarella evenly.

Pre-heat oven to 350 - bake in the oven for 20 min or until cheese is melted and pita is crispy*

*Pita may not crisp all the way if you only use half (but it still tastes amazing)

Welp, there is it. my first blog. I hope you all enjoy the recipe and please feel free to comment and let me know what you think!

Twinspiration - 

Love to all!