Friday, August 24, 2012

Whole30 & Red Swiss Chard

I am back from my New York trip! It was a very fun trip; I was able to do almost everything in a tour guide book plus go to some local restaurants! One of my favorite activities I was able to do was spend 2 hours in the Metropolitan Museum of Art; it has art from the 1st and 2nd centuries all the way to the 1960s. It was a great last vacation before I start back up in school.

Before my New York trip, I went back to school shopping and picked up some new workout clothes!

Now that I am back, I want to get back onto the paleo lifestyle; I realized after following the paleo lifestyle for almost 2 months, I have felt better all over (both physically & emotionally) and have had a significant decrease in my stomach problems. For me, this lifestyle is not only for weight management, but is for the increase in energy, improvements in the way I feel, and the knowledge that I am benefiting my health with what I am putting in my body. I have noticed a lot of commercials on TV about medications and medication problems relating to diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc., and the best way to prevent any of these is to begin a healthy, whole foods lifestyle NOW. 

I have been researching the Whole30 Program. Whole30 concentrates on eating food with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, and real, whole food like meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. The most important is what not to eat during the Whole30 Program: no added sugar (real or artifical), no alcohol, no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no carrageenan, msg or sulfites, and no white potatoes. Also something whole 30 urges is to not make junk food with "paleo approved" ingredients, like pizza, muffins, brownies, ice cream, etc.

Some exceptions to the Whole30 Program are: clarified butter or ghee, fruit juice as a sweetener (apple or orange juice), green beans, snap peas, vinegar (like balsamic, apple cider, and red wine; vinegar with no added sugars), and minimally processed foods like canned coconut milk, applesauce, tomato sauce, canned olives and chicken broth (as long as you avoid carageenan, msg, or sulfites).

This is not suppose to be an easy program, and will take a lot of meal prepping, but on their website it plans out what you should expect while going through the program.
For more information:

The whole30 website provides a detailed grocery list with the best choices for the program. This is a great resource if you are ever unsure of what to buy at the grocery store.

I am currently trying to like red swiss chard in my smoothies because red swiss chard is EXTREMELY good for you; it is high in antioxidants, phytonutrients, anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin K, vitamin A, and is beneficial for blood sugar regulation & bone health (for more information: I find the flavor very strong, so I am experimenting on different fruit and vegetables to add with it. For my Red Smoothie, I added fresh grapefruit juice to help cut the flavor and I feel it worked well. Any ideas for other ways to cook with red swiss chard? Let me know!

Red Smoothie:
1 cup frozen raspberries
2 leaves red swiss chard
1/2 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/4-1/2 cup water

Blend and serve!

Some other clean eats...

For the airplane trip to New York, I packed some paleo approved snacks! Bell pepper slices, green grapes, raw almonds + raw pumpkin seeds, cherry tomatoes and an Apple Pie Lara Bar.

3 egg white omelet filled with zucchini, tomato and onion, cooked in coconut oil and topped with avocado slices, and red pepper flakes, a side of steamed broccoli (with a little lemond juice and garlic) and fresh tomatoes

3 egg white scramble with zucchini and tomatoes topped with avocado chunks! With Vita Coco Coconut Water. Coconut water is a great way to hydrate your body naturally! 

Zucchini egg white frittata cooked in coconut oil, topped with raw almonds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, tomato slices, bell pepper slices and some spinach-pepper chicken sausage!

Pre-Workout Fruit Salad:
½ cup green grapes, washed & halved
½ cup blueberries, washed
½ banana, sliced
½ tbsp whole flaxseeds
½ tbsp raw cacao nibs
1 tbsp raw Coconut Nectar
Mix above ingredients and top with unsweetened coconut shreds 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First Week in Idaho!

Hey Everyone! Sorry it has been so long since my last blog post. I have been busy packing, moving and unpacking! I am finally all settled in, in Boise, ID. This is going to take a little time to get use to, but for the most part I am excited to see old friends and I can't wait for school to start up at the end of August.

Before I left, I made a new recipe for a BANANA CHIA OMELET with chocolate protein frosting! It was delicious and I have made many since. I highly recommend trying it for a post workout meal or any breakfast!

Banana Chia Omelet
1 serving

3 egg whites
1 small ripe banana
1 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chia seeds

1/4 cup chopped strawberries
1 tsp cacao nibs
chocolate protein frosting*
Raw coconut threads

1. Mix/mash egg whites, banana & coconut milk with fork completely until smooth then add cinnamon & chia seeds to combine.
2. Heat 1 TBSP coconut oil in pan
3. Add egg mixture, put lid on, cook on medium-low heat until bottom is lightly brown ~ 3-4 minutes, then flip, using a plate to assist if needed, add more coconut oil, and cook on other side for about 2 minutes.
4. Add strawberries on inside of omelet, fold over omelet, and top with more strawberries, chocolate protein frosting, raw cacao nibs, & unsweetened coconut threads (or any other desired toppings!)

*Chocolate Protein Frosting
 1 scoop chocolate
About 1 tbsp coconut milk
1 teaspoon raw cacao nibs (optional)

1. Add coconut milk slowly, continuously mixing with a fork until smooth. Don't add too much liquid or it will be watery.

One last recipe I made at home was a sweet potato hash. This recipe can be served with breakfast, lunch or dinner! It can be made a main dish by adding a green vegetable and a protein source like ground turkey or chicken.

Sweet Potato Hash
Serves 3

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into ½ inch squares
½ white or yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. coconut oil
Fresh ground pepper, optional, to taste

1. In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp. of coconut oil over medium to medium-high heat.
2. Once oil is hot, add sweet potatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally for approximately 7 minutes. If the sweet potatoes do not get lightly browned and start creating a nice crust, turn up heat slightly.
3. After the sweet potatoes are lightly browned, add remaining 1 tbsp. of coconut oil, onions and garlic to pan. Making sure heat is at medium, let potato-onion mixture cook for approximately another 5-7 minutes.
4. When potatoes are browned and fork tender and onions are cooked/translucent, then you know the hash is done!

On my drive up to Boise, I stopped in Davis to pick up my friend and have a rest day. I ended up going to a friends house and got a half dozen FRESH chicken eggs! It was awesome! 

While in Davis, I made a stop at a local fresh fruit and vegetable stand and made a rustic salad! Here is the recipe:

Raw Farm Stand Salad
Makes about 3-4 side salad servings

1 yellow bell pepper
1 large tomato
1 large cucumber
1 large carrot
2-3 Tbsp. hemp hearts
2-3 Tbsp. shaved almonds
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1. Roughly chop all vegetables, so the salad has a “rustic” feel to it.
2. Combine all ingredients and serve!

My dad's house has a large backyard, pool, and garden so my dog is happy and has a lot of space to run around and play.

I have taken 3 Zumba classes and I have got to say, I am HOOKED! It is a great way to get in good cardio and the time goes by fast. I also like it because when I lift weights sometimes I get very tight and lose some flexibility, I have a feeling Zumba will help me with this. Tomorrow night I am trying a strength yoga class; I have never taken a group yoga class before so this will be a great experience! I am still lifting hard and doing cardio, whether it be running, walking, biking or hiking. I got a new watch that is a heart rate monitor and timer that I can't wait to use to track my workouts.

As far as eating goes, I had a few ups and downs over the past week due to moving and not having access to a kitchen. Not that I am all settled, I am getting back into cooking clean, paleo dishes.

Something that  has been very beneficial is my step mom has fresh tomatoes, thyme and rosemary in our backyard and my close friend has zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, artichokes and cabbage in her garden! So I am definitely going to have access to fresh vegetables which I am excited about. I am hoping to plant some of my own like strawberries, lemon basil, oregano, peppers, stevia and hopefully more! It is just so dry here in Idaho so I will have to make sure to keep up on watering so they do not dry out.

One of my first breakfasts I ate, after I was all settled in, was 2 egg omelet, with zucchini, tomatoes and thyme all from my friends gardens! Plus I made a refreshing drink of 100% coconut water + 1 peeled and chopped kiwi.

Today I started my day right with a cup of coffee, my powdered greens + Nature's Fuel multi vitamin + 1 cup OJ and a fresh fruit bowl (blueberries, grapes, and banana)! Waking up early and eating breakfast in the back yard is very relaxing and a great way to wake up.

I made it to the gym near my house and signed up for a 12 day pass, until the school gym opens up! It was great to feel the burn after a great legs day. My Post AM leg workout meal consisted of a 2 egg white omelet, with chopped zucchini, white onion and kale; cooked in coconut oil and topped with red pepper flakes! 

At Costco yesterday I picked up these great chicken sausages; they are a red pepper-spinach flavor and are pork free, gluten free, no msg and no added nitrates, also no artificial ingredients and minimally processed.I really enjoyed them and will definitely be having these for breakfast more often! Since it was from Costco I got 3lbs worth! I put 1 lb in the fridge and froze the rest for later use.

After a 30 minute arm circuit plus 1 hour of Zumba, I made a post workout late lunch! Baked Tilapia seasoned with red pepper flakes, garlic, onion powder, and fresh ground black pepper; cucumber slices, garden cherry tomatoes and grapes! The Tilapia I baked in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.