04.29.12

Paleo Dinners!

Eating Paleo for dinner is probably the easiest meal to adjust to when “going Paleo.” Although many of us are accustomed to having rice, pasta, potatoes, or bread with our dinners, I assure you that you will not finish a Paleo dinner and still be starving. Include a protein source, some fat, lots of veggies, maybe a little fruit, and you’re good to go! This may sound boring (it’s not), but get creative! Just because you’re cutting out the bread, doesn’t mean your whole meal should be tasteless. Don’t be afraid of fat, either, as this will keep you full the longest. Here are some awesome ideas for dinner:

  • Ok, first of all just look at this website: http://tiny.cc/b27jdw. The pictures alone will erase any doubt that Paleo is boring.
  • Second, nom nom Paleo is an amazing resource for recipes. Also check out Health-Bent, FastPaleo, and The Clothes Make the Girl.
  • If you want a steak, look for grass-fed beef. It does have a different flavor, but it’s still delicious! Plus it is lower in calories, has more omega-3 fatty acids (the good kind of fat!), more vitamins, and more antioxidants. However, since grass-fed beef does have less fat, you can’t cook it like a “normal” steak or it will get really tough. DO NOT overcook grass (which can be easy to do!); make sure the internal temperature of the beef is between 145°F and 155°F for the best moisture and tenderness. Click here for a more detailed article on how to cook grass-fed beef, and here for information on where to buy grass-fed meat.
  • Don’t feel as though you have to throw every recipe you know out the window. Many recipes are already Paleo, or can easily be adapted.
  • Need something sweet? High quality dark chocolate is your best bet (or fruit of course!).

 

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Category: General, Paleo |
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04.17.12

Paleo Lunches

The Paleo lunch can be a difficult thing to adjust to if you’re used to throwing chips, cookings, a PB&J, and an apple into a bag before work. This meal may take a little more planning ahead, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

  • As with breakfast, lunch can be any food that is Paleo! Left-overs, hard-boiled eggs, and the egg muffins I described in the breakfast post are always easy and delicious! Get rid of the idea that lunch (or any meal) has to be a certain kind of food.
  • If you don’t have time to pack a lunch, always have jerky, trail mix, and fruit on hand. Buy good quality jerky that doesn’t have a bunch of added ingredients that will derail you (sugar, soy, MSG, corn syrup, etc). Check out www.paleokits.org for really yummy Paleo jerky and trail mix! For trail mix, I like to go to Whole Foods or Sprouts and pick out the ingredients in the bulk area that I like the most, then mix it all together when I get home. This is also an easy way to avoid trail mix that is filled with sugar and other tempting non-Paleo ingredients.
  • Salad: throw together a delicious salad with different kinds of lettuce, lots of veggies, maybe some bacon, chicken, fish, and olive oil and vinegar or lemon for dressing.
  • Nitrate-free lunchmeat
  • Homemade Paleo chicken (pictured) or tuna salad
  • Everyday Paleo has great ideas that kids can take to school too!
  • If you don’t feel like being creative every day or constantly googling new recipes, check out the Paleo Plan. This is an awesome website that gives you a month’s worth of recipes for every meal of the day (they even give you a grocery list!), and the whole family can enjoy it.

Category: Paleo, Weight Management |
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04.08.12

Paleo breakfast ideas

 Breakfast seems to be the most difficult meal to adjust to when starting the Paleo Diet. Many people are used to eating sweeter, carb heavy breakfasts such as cereal, toast with jam/peanut butter, granola, waffles, etc. It will take some time to get used to Paleo breakfasts, but they will keep you full, satisfied, and feeling good! The most important thing is to remember that breakfast is just another meal. Dinner leftovers can actually make great breakfasts! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Eggs—scrambled, poached, hardboiled, over easy… whatever your heart desires! Feel free to branch out and try eggs other than chicken eggs. I love my eggs cooked in coconut oil! Nitrate and sugar free bacon is ok on occasion too 🙂

Paleo pancakes—You can find a ton of different recipes for Paleo pancakes on the Internet, but don’t have these every day. Use them as a treat, just as you would with “normal” pancakes! Here’s a quick and easy recipe: http://tiny.cc/vsw0aw

Smoked salmon—just make sure it is wild and not farm raised (Trader Joe’s has a good one!)

Frittata—Frittatas are a great way to get your veggies in at breakfast, and they can easily feed the whole fam! Try this one:http://tiny.cc/9cx0aw

Leftovers—chicken, fish, veggies, grassfed beef, etc—any Paleo meal can be eaten for breakfast, not just the traditional “breakfast foods.”

Egg muffins—Egg muffins are awesome because you can make enough for a few days and then just microwave to take with you on your way to work in the morning. Try the recipe pictured above: http://tiny.cc/3tx0aw

Smoothies—Get creative! Use fruit, coconut or almond milk, nut butter (but not peanut butter), spinach, avocado, cacao powder, coconut oil, etc. Play around with ingredients and you won’t ever get bored. Check out this Chocolate Raspberry smoothie recipe:http://tiny.cc/oox0aw. Smoothies are awesome for kids, too, since you can sneak in veggies and other foods they may not want to eat normally.

If you want something sweet, add some fresh berries, grapefruit, figs or other fruit to your breakfast!

Also, if you’re a coffee lover like me, don’t worry—you do NOT have to give up coffee! Instead of cream and sugar, get coconut creamer from Sprouts or Whole foods!

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03.11.12

Paleo “Diet” Overview

This month I will be going over the Paleo Diet in detail. To start with, I thought I should give a general overview and explain why anyone would want to give their eating habits a makeover. To start with, the Paleo Diet isn’t really a “diet”—you don’t have to weigh, measure, or count anything–all you have to do is choose the right kinds of foods. Even without doing the typical things you have to do for a diet, you should still experience fat loss and feel great! The goal is to live a lifestyle similar to that of our Paleolithic ancestors, including lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. We want to move away from grains, legumes, sugar, and dairy, which cause can inflammation and disease (and contrary to what you may have heard, you do NOT need to eat these foods to get the nutrients you need).

The first thing you should do is get rid of all of the rice, bread, pasta, oats, crackers, beans, lentils, yogurt, milk, sugar, artificial sugars, etc and fill your refrigerator with:

-Protein: grass fed meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, and wild caught fish

-Vegetables: lots of them! Have as many non-starchy vegetables as you would like with every meal. No potatoes of any kind.

-Fruit: berries are the best, apples, pears, citrus, etc

-Healthy fats: nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil

It may sound like an impossible feat to eliminate grains from your diet, but I promise once you get used to it, the cravings go away and you really won’t have the desire to eat these foods. Also, if possible, organic produce that is in season and grass fed, free range proteins are best. Look for packages that have no hormones, antibiotics, etc. Many people on the Paleo Diet see huge improvement in autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes (not to mention healthy weight loss without obsessing about food intake!).

Since this can be quite an adjustment, start slow! Pick a few days out of the week that you are going to eat Paleo (ex: Monday through Thursday) and keep your normal diet on the weekends, with the goal of eventually eating Paleo all week long. If you drink alcohol, wine is the best but spirits mixed with water and a squeeze of lime is ok too. Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are satisfied. Here is a list of a few awesome websites that go into more detail, and look out for the next few blog posts where I will also go into more specific tips.

www.robbwolf.com

www.thepaleodiet.com

www.marksdailyapple.com

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02.23.12

Stick with your New Year’s Resolutions

 Many of us vowed to hit the gym more often in 2012. Now that the excitement of New Year’s resolutions has died down and reality is setting in that going to the gym can be a little bit of work, I thought I’d offer some tips to keep you motivated!

  • Buy health/fitness magazines and find body types that you admire—this can help give you a more concrete goal to work for! Follow the people you admire on Facebook for extra tips and motivation
  • Get new workout clothes/shoes/accessories… this is one of my favorite ways to motivate myself! I use this as a reward instead of food, too. I’ll set a goal (ex: “For the next two weeks I will work out 5 mornings a week for 1 hour.” When I reach my goal, I’ll get a new top to wear for my next workouts!
  • Find a new Pandora station that gets you pumped up while you’re working out. One of my favorites is the Afrojack station.
  • If possible, go to the gym first thing in the morning. This will keep you energized the rest of the day and that way nothing will magically pop up that you have to do instead of going to the gym after work. By the end of the day I usually just want to go home, so it’s great knowing my workout was done first thing!
  • If you can’t work out in the morning, take everything you need for the gym with you to work (here’s an excuse for a cute new gym bag!). Go to the gym straight from work so you don’t have time to get comfy on the couch until you are done!
  • Get a gym buddy!!! Even if you don’t do the same workout, not only is it great to meet up with a friend, but also makes it a lot easier to get to the gym.
  • Think about how good you look and feel after you’ve worked out!
  • Set reasonable, attainable goals for yourself. It feels great to reach a goal, and then you can reward yourself with a massage, workout gear, etc.

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02.21.12

When fast food is the only option…

 Ideally, we would all have fresh, healthy, homemade meals all of the time. Unfortunately, unless you have a chef living in your kitchen, this doesn’t always happen. While fast food certainly isn’t the best option, every once in a while it’s the only thing available. Here are some of the better fast food choices:

  • Burger King
    • Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich (no mayo, throw away half of the bun) with a side garden salad and light Italian dressing
    • Veggie Burger without the bun and a side garden salad and light Italian dressing
    • Tendergrill Garden Salad
  • McDonalds
    • Premium Grilled Chicken Club (no mayo, no bacon, no cheese, throw away half the bun) with a side of apple slices or side salad with low fat balsamic vinaigrette or low fat Italian
    • Premium Caesar Salad with grilled chicken, Premium Bacon Ranch salad with grilled chicken, or Premium Southwest Salad with grilled chicken
      • Use either of the low fat dressings for these as well!
  • Boston Market
    • Chicken or Turkey breast with Mediterranean Green Beans, Fresh Steamed Vegetables, or Green Beans
    • Half size of the Mediterranean Salad or Southwest Santa Fe Salad
  • Subway (or other sandwich restaurant)
    • Order a 6 inch sub with wheat bread, choose a lean meat (like turkey, chicken, or tuna), fill with veggies, skip the cheese, and only ask for yellow or Dijon mustard, oil, and/or vinegar (the rest of the sauces are high in calories, sugar, and other things you really don’t want)
    • If you want to take it a step further, order this as a salad with oil and vinegar dressing!

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Category: Weight Management |

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01.18.12

Irisin… the “fat-burning” hormone

 You may have seen recent news about a new “fat-burning” hormone called irisin. Exercise seems to stimulate production of the hormone from proteins that regulate metabolism. Once irisin is released, it is thought to help convert white fat into brown fat, which is healthier and burns more calories. Not only this, but it increases glucose sensitivity, which means it can be metabolized more efficiently and possibly help with diabetes. Scientists are now wanting to find out if irisin can be injected into the individual and still produce the same benefits as exercise-induced irisin. In an initial study, mice did seem to reap the benefits of irisin injections without any exercise at all. Although irisin won’t replace exercise completely (it doesn’t have any affect on muscle growth), it may be beneficial for treatment of obesity and diabetes in the future. Check out these two articles for more info: Brown Fat and Irisin.More on fat…

I already mentioned there are two types of fat (brown and white). White fat mainly just stores calories (energy) and sits around, while brown fat actually helps burn calories in the body like other tissues do. It is actually more closely related to muscle cells than the “white” adipose tissue we think of when we think of “fat.” Humans are born with brown fat as a kind of internal thermostat, but this disappears quickly after birth (unfortunately!).

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12.18.11

What are your holidays really about?

After talking about holiday stress, I thought about why we stress at this time of year when we should be happy to spend time with our family and friends. This article from Psychology Today talks about with how many holidays there are, between Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Muharran, etc it is so easy to get caught up in the gifts and parties and pressures that we forget what these are really about. It is so easy to say, “Just don’t stress this year,” and to forget all of the hype, but it’s impossible to just forget about it. You can go to the parties and buy gifts and do all of the things you normally do, but make a special effort this year to be more mindful. These holidays “refer to light in the darkness.” When you are running through the mall frantic to find that last gift, be thinking about how lucky you are to have that friend you are buying the gift for. Don’t groan that you have to go to that boring office party, be thankful you have a job when so many people don’t. Think of little things to do with your family every day to keep you grounded. Every morning my roommate and I play “Feliz Navidad” while we eat the little chocolate from our Advent calendars; it’s so silly but we start our day with a smile. Enjoy the little and big things that make this time of year (and life in general) special!

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12.04.11

Sleep better this holiday season!

As much fun as the holidays are, for many of us our quality of sleep starts to suffer. Between travel, changes in eating and drinking habits, and higher stress levels, it’s no wonder we end up tired!

Chances are you are going to bed and waking up at different times than you are used to. Try going to bed close to the same time every day. If you can’t fall asleep at your normal time, don’t stay in bed! Get up and read or do another relaxing activity and try again when you are tired.

Eating and drinking too much can also affect sleep. Although alcohol can make you sleepy, more than 1 or 2 glasses will adversely affect sleep quality later in the night. Big changes in blood sugar are not good either, so skip dessert or just have a few bites.

When traveling to different time zones, try going to bed a little early or later several days before flying, so that when you get there your body is closer to being on the right time. Stay well hydrated, reset your watch to the new time zone, and sleep in a room that is between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just because the holidays are here, it doesn’t mean you can skip out on physical activity. Exercise helps sleep quality, digestion, and stress, so try to at least take a 30-minute walk several times a week. Just make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime, since this can also keep you awake.

Unfortunately, stress is also a major contributor to seep problems. There is a lot going on during this time of year, but remember to take breaks! It’s ok to relax and do things you enjoy—no one expects you to be going nonstop for months straight. Workout, get outside, read, do yoga, walk the dog, laugh, play with your kids; whatever gets your mind off of your worries is fine as long as you make time for yourself!

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11.23.11

Avoid a food coma this Thanksgiving!

It happens every year… Thanksgiving comes, there is more food than you know what to do with, and the next thing you know everyone is asleep on the couch. A “food coma” is never fun, even though all of that food tastes so amazing 😉 A food coma is actually a real thing, also know as “post-prandial somnolence.” What this means is that your blood sugar is elevated (much, much higher than normal) from a large, carbohydrate-rich meal. You begin to feel sleepy because your body is using blood and energy to aid in digestion, rather than normal functions. Here are some tips to avoid the dreaded food coma this year and keep your waistline where you want it:

  • Go for a walk after eating to help you digest and keep blood sugar levels in check.
  • Have a game to play after dinner, preferably one that does not require sitting for long periods of time.
  • Eat earlier, so you aren’t also tired because it is late at night.
  • Alcohol adds a lot of calories, makes you tired, and can lead to overeating. Just drinking a little less can make a world of difference!
  • Eat fewer carbs. Stick to the turkey, salad, veggies, fruit, and other dishes that are not overly starchy or sugary (which make you feel sluggish!).
  • Don’t overeat. Just because it is Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you need to stuff yourself. Take small portions of the dishes you really love, then wait about 15 minutes before going back for seconds. It takes a while for your brain to recognize that you are full, so if you slow down and wait, chances are you will rethink the second helpings.

Use these tips and enjoy Thanksgiving—remember that it’s not just about the food, but the people you are with and the time you spend with them!

Category: Weight Management |

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