Change in Temp, Change in Diet

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Summer is coming to close and it’s starting to feel that way. Now, I know this saddens many of you to no end. You feel a little chill in the air and maybe you should feel delightfully cool and grateful that your thighs won’t stick to the subway seats and dark, sweat spots will no longer magically find their way onto your shirts that you didn’t realize were folded into your belly because you were too busy exerting all of your effort into not fainting and becoming that sick passenger that will destroy the mornings of all of the commuters beginning their journey after yours- but instead you feel sad that this means that winter is coming (cue Game of Thrones music).

And I get it, I truly do. If you know me at all, you know that tops on my “Things I Hate More Than Anything” list is being cold. And this past winter was brutal, man. Really brutal. But I don’t think that you can go on hating whole seasons because the one directly after it is terrible. Fall is full of amazing things!

Overpriced apple picking that is only fun for the first 5 minutes? Absolutely! Shoes that I have to lie to my husband about how much they cost because it would cause him actual and brutal pain? Yes, in black AND brown, please! Coffee drinks that have more sugar than you should have in an entire day? Make mine a venti!

My favorite part, though, is that the cool air refreshes and re-energizes me. In honor of that refresh button, I’ve decided to treat myself to a Fall cleanse. While summer encourages more outdoor activity, I certainly never skimp on the cheeseburgers during the summer. While I may be putting the bikinis away in favor of figure hiding cable knit sweaters, I still want to feel my best (and losing those pesky post-wedding love pounds wouldn’t be the worst thing ever). Time to put some of these toxic habits behind me and start fresh!

Enter: Sakara Life.

Photo from Sakara Life

Photo from Sakara Life

This is THE cleanse to do if you are feeling the need for a cleanse that won’t leave you feeling deprived and low on energy. While juice cleanses still seem to be super popular, I find that they leave me feeling lethargic and unsatisfied. I like to CHEW my food and if I am super restrictive with my diet, I will inevitably end up emptying peanut butter jars straight into my gullet and washing them down with every carbohydrate that crosses my path.

NOT pretty. And really bad for the body.

Sakara Life is a bit pricey but if you are able to treat yourself, I highly recommend it. Delicious, balanced meals gets delivered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (supah fresh). The food comes in this cute bag that you are allowed to keep to wear around town (and pretend that you are off to meet up with Lily Aldridge or Erin Heatherton- both avid Sakaralites).

Time to put on the (so tight I have to do lunges to stretch them out before leaving the house) healthy pants…

Chocolate Cherry Green Smoothie

Here is a shake that tastes truly decadent. My monster sweet tooth is satisfied and I’ve gotten in some greens before 10am.

Chocolate Cherry Green Smoothie:

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond/coconut milk (or any liquid you prefer)

As much spinach as you want! (I used about 3oz)

1 TBS chia seeds

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 cup frozen cherries

1 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Rapunzel)

Optional: if you need a sweeter smoothie, add more banana or a date or a little pineapple

Put your liquid in the blender first, then add your spinach. Blend until smooth. Add the rest of your ingredients and blend until smooth. I topped mine with pomegranate seeds for an antioxidant boost. Breakfast is served!

Kale, Sausage and White Bean Stew

After a long hiatus, I have decide to revisit this blog. Life kind of got in the way a year ago and I need something right now to keep me going. Lately, I have felt completely sapped of energy. Of course, my first thought is what’s wrong with my diet? I’ve been caught up in a few unhealthy habits recently (hello bachelorette party wine tasting…washed down with a liter of Fireball Whiskey) and with this awful fatigue dragging me down, I feel as though it’s time for a major diet overhaul. First things first, I have got to get pounds of kale into my body, since it is apparently the healthiest food ever in the history of healthy food. This is quite a challenge because my dirty little unhealthy secret is that….I don’t love kale….I feel like I’m going to get in trouble for saying that but there it is. I made kale chips once and enjoyed them but it was kind of time consuming and I haven’t made them again in 3 years. My mom told me I have to hide it in my food- like Jessica Seinfeld does for Jerry and the kids? Kind of…think thicker sauces.

I stumbled upon a yummy looking kale recipe on Pinterest and decided to add some tomatoes to it and replace the bulk turkey sausage with chicken sausage that was already cooked by Al Fresco (I’m no stranger to a short cut). I whipped this up quickly after a lovely, calming yoga class and it was just what I needed. I think I can get on board with all this kale hoopla now…

Kale, White Bean & Sausage Stew

1 bunch of kale, torn to pieces, center stem removed

1 can of white beans (I used Eden Organic Navy Beans)

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 small onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp of olive oil

½ cup of chicken broth

4 cooked chicken sausage links cut into slices

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (optional, I had every intention of stirring this in just before serving but completely forgot. Could be tasty though!)

In a large pot or your biggest sauté pan, add olive oil and sauté onions and garlic. Once the onions are translucent, add the sausage and heat through. Add beans and tomatoes. Bring pot to a simmer and cover for a few minutes. I had a ton of kale and had to add a few handfuls at a time, stir into the mixture, cover to allow the kale to cook down a bit and then add some more.

I served this with a roasted sweet potato but a little bit of brown rice or even just some crusty bread would be delish.

The Muffin (Wo)man

Here is my latest and greatest muffin recipe. Boyfriend approved.

Berry Muffins

1 cup Oat Bran Cereal

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 cup of applesauce

1/2 cup of almond milk

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup of raspberries (or berry of your choice)

1 small mashed banana

Dash of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Once combined, add wet ingredients and mashed banana. Fold in berries.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

You may be sick of me and my grab and go breakfast obsessions BUT I really struggle with this. I’m not hungry before I leave the house and I’m limited at work. Also, muffins are divine and make delicious snacks (as long as they’re not the planet sized muffins that are sold at most eateries). Pair this with a yogurt or some other type of protein to keep yourself full well until lunch time.

Speaking of lunch, I will invariably be eating a Summer Crunchy Wrap from Pret A Manger. I stumbeled upon this one day when I forgot my lunch and I’ve become OBSESSED….to the point where my coworkers are beginning to comment. Oh yeah, it’s getting bad.

Quiche…hold the Lorraine

I have a big problem. I am totally addicted to healthy living magazines. I mean, you may find an US weekly or 2 in my magazine pile as well…and I must say Glamour is one the my faves… OK so really I guess I’m just a magazine junky. I use this to motivate myself to get to the gym however, by only allowing myself to read magazines while working out. It’s a great little trick. SO really it isn’t a problem, until I tell you my dark secret- I don’t subscribe to magazines. I buy them. On the stand. Like a big money wasting idiot.

It’s not an unforgivable thing to do, but when I’m struggling to get my butt to the gym and buying Self, Women’s Health, Shape AND Fitness in one month- there is a big problem. But I can’t help myself. I can’t commit to one and I won’t let myself subscribe to all of them.

What I love about these magazines is that they always contain motivating stories of people who have struggled with weight but overcame obstacles to get healthier. That keeps me on the treadmill for another mile or 2. Plus, they contain great fitness tips. Sometimes even if I wasn’t planning on doing any strength training, I’ll give an interesting move a try. Before you know it, I’m throwing  some lunges and squats in there since I’m in the weight training section anyway.

But really, my favorite part of these magazines is the meal plans and the RECIPES. I like to find inspiration in sample diet plans and see how I can pick and choose the things that might work for me. In this month’s Shape, there was a delicious recipe for Quiche Lorraine. It looked simple enough so I decided to give it a whirl. The only problem is I forgot the bacon. I think that means you drop the Lorraine. So it’s just quiche. But it’s my first quiche. And I love it dearly. I had a slice for dinner and plan to pack it for breakfast for work this week. I love multi tasking meals (not that I wouldn’t have Pumpkin Pie for breakfast AND dinner. I would probably do that with all pies).

Quiche with Feta and Spinach

(roughly adapted from Shape’s Quiche Lorraine)

Ingredients:

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

3 Large Eggs

2 Large Egg Whites

12 oz Fat Free Evaporated Milk

1 cup of Spinach

½ Diced Onion

3 oz Feta

Dash of Salt (to taste)

Add any other spices you like!

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together eggs and egg whites. Add milk, cheese, salt, onions. Tear spinach leaves and add to mixture. Pour egg mixture into frozen pie shell.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes until the pie is puffy. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 8 and comes out to about 172 calories per slice.

Bon Appetit!

B.L.A.T’s!

I have to say, I LOVE Thursdays. Ever since Thirsty Thursdays in college, Fridays’ eve has held a soft spot in my heart. You’re over the hard part of the week and the weekend is so close you can smell it (it smells like brunch). Even though my Thursdays are no longer thirsty, they are very much enjoyable, sans half price margaritas.

These days, me and the boy don’t really get a night together until Thursday (after dinners with friends/family, basketball for him, gym for me, working late, etc.), so we try to make it special. We’ll make a point to sit down to a nice dinner. Usually, I’ll try out a healthy meal. This Thursday however, Michael has decided he would like to make our meal. After I excitedly accepted his offer for a kitchen free evening for yours truly, I panicked over what he would make. Michael, bless his carb loving can-eat-anything-and-not-gain-weight soul, specializes in Rice-a-Roni and tortellini. Luckily, my panic was simultaneous with Michael’s realization that I’m not the San Francisco treat’s biggest fan. He said he wanted to make something healthy enough for me (yeah, he can be pretty cute).

Upon thinking about what we have in our fridge and something that we would both enjoy, I remembered we had bacon in our freezer- something we never have. We also happen to have an avocado, tomato and baby spinach. My brilliant idea? B.L.A.T’s!! Some veggies, healthy fats, and sprouted grain bread for me and bacon for Mr. Not Quite As Healthy Pants. Everybody wins!

 

It’s bit more of assembling than cooking BUT it was delicious. I used to dislike avocados, which I think was my mind playing diet tricks with me. They are high in calories and fat but it’s the good fat that you need and will help satiate you as well as help you absorb nutrients better (and avocado is packed with ’em). They’re great to keep on hand- you never know when a BLAT night could be your future, and you do NOT want to miss out on that.

I forgot to mention that a very important part of our Thursday evenings (and basically our relationship in general) is sitting down to enjoy some shamelessly terrible reality TV. Tonight’s DVR line up? Real World and Khloe Lamar!! Happy Thursday 🙂

But you love breakfast for supper!

I never grew up saying ‘supper’ but after seeing Juno, whenever I have a typical breakfast meal at the end of the day, I will always think of Pauly Bleeker’s mom.

I love having breakfast for dinner. When I was young, there was nothing better than when my dad would randomly whip up a batch of blueberry pancakes and call it dinner. They always tasted amazing and I think it was partly due to the fact that they didn’t belong there- it was the wrong meal!  I mean my dad is no joke in the kitchen, but still, we were breaking the food rules and it tasted gooood.

These days, I love nothing more than having eggs for dinner. It’s a great way to get in a high protein meal at the end of the day and eggs are incredibly versatile. I should also mention that I have the cutest egg pan in all of the land, compliments of mama Clemenza.

 

The egg actually is pretty incredible. It has to be since a baby chick needs all of those important nutrients- kind of weird to think about but it’s true! Eggs contains things like choline which promotes brain function. While that is not only great for those of us living outside of a uterus, pregnant women should especially focus on getting this nutrient if they want to make smart little babies (you can start forcing your offspring to be geniuses even before the Baby Einstein program!). Then there’s the folate and riboflavins which are B vitamins that help the body convert food into energy. There are also vitamins A and C which help promote healthy skin and prevent damage to the body by those pesky free radicals.

Heavy on the vitamins and light on the calories. Plus, eggs are CHEAP and that makes me smile. It can be confusing, however, to know which egg carton is the best. They are all boasting free range, chemical free, omega 3’s, etc. etc. A lot of times, manufacturers will stamp these buzz words all over cartons in order to trick consumers. Well, I will not stand for such trickery.

Which Eggs Should I Buy?

The best places to buy eggs are from local farmers who raise chickens on wide open pastures with plenty of space. You wouldn’t think NYC would be an ideal place to find such magically delicious eggs, but you would be wrong. Check out LocalHarvest.org, enter your zip, and track down some natural eggs. Chickens kept in battery cages produce a lower quality egg, which is not surprising. If you were sad and concealed in a small box while being fed crap, not allowed to run around and play, you would not produce your best work either. When hens are kept on pastures where they can exhibit natural behaviors, they lay eggs with higher vitamin and omega-3 fatty acid levels compared to commercially fed, caged hens.

Cage-Free:

Now this might bring to mind chickens pecking away on a sprawling green on a sunny day, free to run around and lay eggs as they please. Often times, cage-free is not as ideal as that lovely country scene I just painted for you. It’s still much better than battery cages but often times the hens are kept in enclosed buildings. This at least means that the chickens can spread their wings and nest in boxes, although it does not necessarily mean that antibiotics have not been used.

Free-Range:

Chickens are allowed outside of barns or warehouses but farmers aren’t required to provide any specific amount of time outside and there are no third party restrictions.

Organic:

Hens are fed organic feed (no pesticides, antibiotics or animal products) and are offered access to the outdoors. Although not guaranteeing that the animals ever go outside, they are not enclosed in cages and annual inspections are required.

Natural:

Really doesn’t mean all that much, which is pretty standard these days. This basically means that nothing was done to the finished product (the egg) but it doesn’t tell us anything about the life and treatment of the chicky.

Pastured:

These chickens are housed in portable shelters that are frequently moved to give chickens fresh pastures. Again, no inspection is required but your best bet is to buy eggs from hens at a local farm that raises hens organically.

Certified Humane:

Chickens are not kep in cages but can be kept indoors. The Human Farm Animal Care program sets limits on the number of hens allowed in a certain space but there are no regulations on whether the hen must be fed organically.

You should also know that there is no difference between white eggs and brown eggs. White eggs come from chickens with white feathers and brown eggs come from chickens with brown feathers.

Woo so that’s A LOT of info. But go out and get your hands on some yummy, nutritious eggs. And maybe have ’em for supper if you’re feeling really crazy.