Archive for April, 2016

SPICY NO-MAYO COLESLAW

no_mayo_slaw_2-scaled1000 2I LOVE coleslaw but I am not a huge fan of mayo. This Mark Bittman recipe is easy and delicious! Adjust the seasoning to make it as spicy  (or not) as you like. It’s a perfect side dish for a BBQ! 

ingredients

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or to taste

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh chile, like jalapeño, Thai, serrano, or habanero, or to taste (optional)

¼ cup peanut oil or extra virgin olive oil

6 cups cored and shredded Napa, Savoy, green, and/or red cabbage

1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced or shredded

1/3 cup chopped scallion, more or less

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

directions

Make the dressing by whisking together the mustard and vinegar in a small bowl, along with the garlic and chile. Add the oil a little at a time, whisking all the while.

Combine the cabbage, bell pepper, and scallion and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve. (It’s best to let the slaw rest for an hour or so to allow the flavors to mellow; the cabbage will also soften a bit and exude some juice. You can let it sit longer, up to 24 hours, if you like. Drain the slaw before continuing.)

Just before serving, toss with the parsley.

(Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe found in his cookbook, “How To Cook Everything”)

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STEP BACK TO SEE THE VIEW

If you’ve ever been to the Empire State Building, The London Eye or The Eiffel Tower, Eye-Pod_HoP_8116you know how spectacular the views are. Once up high, it’s easy to see how things are connected—we get the big picture and great perspective.

We need to apply this concept when looking at our lifestyle choices. Many of us are getting stuck in a too-narrow-approach when it comes to our diet and our weight. We focus way too much on…..

  • the number on the scale
  • eating exclusively low calorie snacks or healthy food that you don’t like
  • counting weight watcher points
  • monitoring calories on apps

Instead, what is often missed is…

  • eating nutritious food
  • paying attention to how food makes you feel
  • thinking about what you’re actually in the mood to eat instead of eating healthy food that leaves you unsatisfied
  • making the connection between food and energy levels

Ideally, eating should be an opportunity to take in nutrition. I would much rather see a snack of a piece of fruit with some nuts  (a good source of carbs, fiber, healthy fats and protein) vs. a lower calorie choice (i.e., 100-calorie pack of Oreos–no nutrition, just chemicals).

You might have to put down the fitbit and the calorie counting apps and start paying attention, instead, to you. YOU are the VIEW. Consider these questions……

  • How does food make you feel?
  • Do you feel bloated and fatigued when you eat certain carbs?
  • What foods energize you?
  • What foods make you feel good after you eat them?
  • What is your ideal eating pattern—small meals often or 3 meals a day?

I am baffled when people tell me that they don’t notice a difference in how they feel no matter what they eat. This means eating 3 slices of pepperoni pizza feels the same as a salad with avocado and shrimp?

So take a moment to stop hyper-focusing on too many small things. Look bigger. Take a grander perspective so you can start looking at yourself holistically. Looking at yourself from a broader perspective will allow you to start making those connections and seeing what truly works for you.

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SPINACH FRITTATA

Eggs are a wonderful source of protein with the highest biological value. This mean it is a complete protein in the most digestible form. This frittata is packed with nutrients with the addition of spinach and tomato. If you’re ever stuck on what to cook for dinner, try this!

ingredients  (serves 2-3)spinach-fritatta-1

6 large eggs

¼ t salt

¼ t black pepper

1 T clarified butter

½ onion, diced

1 cup diced, seeded tomato

4 or 5 tomato slices for topping the frittata

5 cups fresh baby spinach (approximately 9 oz.), roughly chopped

Grated zest and juice of ¼ lemon

directions

Set oven to broil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs with salt and pepper.

Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. When the fat is hot, add onion and diced tomato and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until onion is soft. Add the spinach and let it wilt for 30 seconds.

Add the eggs to the skillet and fold them into the vegetables with a rubber spatula. Cook without stirring for about 3-4 minutes to let the eggs set on the bottom and sides of the pan. When the eggs are firm but still appear wet, lay a few tomato slices on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle the lemon zest over the frittata.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for 3-5 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cut into slices and serve hot.

If you prefer, you can finish your frittata by baking it rather than broiling: Simply preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, then cook it for 3-5 minutes.

(Adapted from a recipe found in Experience Life, April, 2016)

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WANNA LOSE WEIGHT? IT’S NOT JUST DIET AND EXERCISE

When it comes to weight loss, think of this acronym: DESSstatic1.squarespace

  1. DIET
  2. EXERCISE
  3. STRESS CONTROL
  4. SLEEP

You need ALL FOUR of these to lose weight. Most people focus on only the first two. Unfortunately, diet and exercise are simply not enough. If you are overly stressed and/or are not sleeping enough, these last two will sabotage the first two.

Stress is a physiological response to what’s going on around you. Unfortunately, our bodies have not evolved or adapted to our new, sedentary way of living. When we are stressed we still produce those “fight or flight” hormones, just as the cavemen did. The problem is, we are no longer fighting or fleeing. Hormones like adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol and produced. They are part of our sympathetic nervous system and designed to turn on temporarily to get us through an acute situation of stress. When cortisol production is elevated chronically, due to stress, it can wreak havoc on the body causing an increase in blood pressure, blood sugar, and obesity as well as a decrease in immunity. Stress really messes us up hormonally, making weight loss virtually impossible.

Sleep is crucial for our well-being. While everyone needs a different amount of sleep, if your alarm is waking you up from a stupor, you are not getting enough sleep. Often when you feel sleepy, you reach for a “pick-me-up” to feel better– things like coffee drinks, or comfort food, which, of course, contribute to weight gain. Another problem that happens when you’re sleep deprived is that cortisol  increases. We now know how dangerous that can be. (See *Note)

So if you’re one of those people who have a very high tolerance to stress, be careful. You can’t hide from it even though you may try to convince yourself that you can! It might be what’s sabotaging all of your great efforts.

 

*Note:   I’m sure many of you know friends or family members who have had to take a steroid, such as prednisone, to reduce inflammation.  Prednisone is a synthetic drug similar to cortisone. When taken for long periods of time, it will cause weight gain. This is similar to what happens in the body when there is too much cortisol….the side effect is weight gain.

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CAULIFLOWER RICE

“Ricing” cauliflower in a food processor is easy—pulse it until it’s ground to a rice-like consistency that gives it a light, delicate structure. The taste is also milder than cauliflower cooked in a more traditional way. If you’ve been reluctant to try cauliflower, now is your chance! Serve this with your favorite protein.

ingredients 

Cauliflower-Rice1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 T olive oil

½ onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup lower-sodium chicken broth

1 T minced fresh cilantro

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

directions

“Rice” the cauliflower in batches: Place approximately half of the florets into the food processor, being careful not to pack too tightly, and pulse 15 to 20 times until the cauliflower has a rice-like texture. Remove riced cauliflower from the processor and repeat to rice the remaining florets.

In a large skillet, add the olive oil on medium heat and coat the bottom of the pan. When hot, add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet and mix thoroughly with the rest of the vegetables. Add the chicken broth, cover the pan with a lid, and steam until finished, like cooked rice, about 10 to 12 minutes. (The cauliflower should be tender, but not mushy or wet.)

Remove from the heat and mix in the chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

(Adapted from a recipe found in Experience Life, April, 2016)

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YOU MIGHT AS WELL EAT A SNICKERS

imgres.jpgAs a personal trainer and nutritionist, I encourage people to eat healthy food as much they can. Would I recommend a Snickers Bar? No. We can understand why this is not a good choice by looking at the nutritional information:

Calories: 250 (not bad for a snack)

Fat: 12 g (Not ideal. Also, 4.5 grams are saturated)

Fiber: 1 g (Would like the fiber to be higher)

Sugar: 27 g (Holy smokes…..this is 6.75 TEASPOONS of sugar……not good!)

Another issue with Snickers is that it’s processed and has things like corn syrup, palm oil, and partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

I know suggesting a Snickers Bar is ridiculous, but so many of us fall into the trap of thinking that energy or protein bars are something totally different. They’re not. Let’s take a look at the nutritional information in a Chocolate Chip Clif Bar:

Calories: 240 (Just like Snickers)

Fat: 5 g (Better, and it only has 1.5 g of saturated fat)

Fiber: 4 g (Good)

Sugar: 22 g (Holy smokes…..this is 5.5 TEASPOONS of sugar……not good!)

While the Clif bar is a bit better, it’s not TOTALLY  different from a Snickers Bar. And like the Snickers Bar, it is processed and has things like soy protein isolate, soy lecithin, and brown rice and dried cane syrup.

Don’t be fooled by bars! They are mostly glorified candy bars and have unrecognizable ingredients. I think bars work well as a last resort……

  • you’ve gone too long without eating and don’t want to over eat at your next meal
  • you’re at the airport and are contemplating  a protein bar or a bacon-cheeseburger…..pick the bar
  • you’re stuck on a desert island and that’s all you have to eat

If you plan a bit, you will be able to EAT FOOD, when you need a snack. Food comes from the earth. It’s just as easy to throw a bar in your bag as it is to put in an apple and some nuts.

Let’s take a look at the nutritional information if you had an apple with ½ ounce of almonds (about 12 almonds).

Calories: 260 (Just like the Snickers and the Clif Bar)

Fat: 7 g (Mostly healthy fat from the nuts–has only  ½ g of saturated fat)

Fiber: 5.5 g (Great-4 g from the apple and 1.5 g from the almonds)

Sugar: 19.5 (This is all from the apple—fruit sugar, no ADDED sugar.)

Now how’s this for surprising: I’d much rather you eat a Snickers Bar every now and then as a special treat than have protein or energy bars as a part of your daily diet. For the best nutrition, skip the bars and just eat food!

 

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