Protein packed banana strawberry smoothie

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I created this smoothie 100% on accident. I’m going to quote my friend, Hattie, here: “I get really creative when I have limited groceries left”. Sometimes great things can happen when you have to get a little creative. I made this smoothie to help me last through my lunch time classes all the way to dinner. It did the trick! It’s loaded with protein from the chia, hemp and flax seeds. Plus, there’s tons of fiber from all the seeds, banana and strawberries to keep you full for hours. It’s got the great flavor of a strawberry banana smoothie that you’re used to with the extra benefits of keeping you full longer.

Bottom line: Make it. Your taste buds will be happy and your belly will be pleasantly full.

Protein packed banana strawberry smoothie

serves 1

Ingredients:

10 oz coconut water

1 banana

4 strawberries (can be frozen or fresh)

2 dates, pitted

1 teaspoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon cacao nibs

1 tablespoon flax seeds

1 1/2 tablespoons hemp seeds

2 teaspoons coconut butter

1. Add 2 teaspoons hot water to a small container holding the chia seeds. Allow this to gelatinize while you put together the rest of the smoothie.

2. In a coffee grinder, combine the cacao nibs and flax seeds. Blend until it forms a fine powder.

3. Combine all of the ingredients (including the powder created in step 2 and the gelatinized chia seeds) and blend for 2 minutes or until there are no more chunks.

Enjoy!

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Coffee: evil devil worshiper or angel of all that is wonderful?

We’ve been hearing some mixed messages lately on whether or not coffee is good for you. Plenty of people are praying to all that is holy that their addiction will some how prove beneficial to their health. But then there are also those that swear off coffee and blame it to cause a variety of diseases ranging from insomnia to stroke.

So what’s the deal? Is coffee good or is it bad?

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Unfortunately, there’s not really a straight forward answer. But let me give you some facts and you can decide for yourself…

Things that make coffee a pretty healthy drink…

1. Coffee can boost your metabolic rate by 3-11%, helping you lose weight.

-However, this diminishes the more often you drink coffee. Like anything, you can build up a tolerance and I          have yet to find a study regarding whether or not your metabolism slows down to even lower than you were before drinking coffee once you’ve stopped drinking coffee altogether.

2. Coffee contains a decent amount of vitamins B2, B3, B5 and Magnesium, Manganese and Potassium.

-And that’s just in one cup of coffee (8 oz). If you were to have about 16 oz, which is what most Americans have, you can get up to 1/4 of your daily RDAs for those vitamins and minerals.

3. Coffee may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s.

-Observational studies have found that coffee drinkers have up to 65% lower risk of developing the disease.

4. A cup or two may help increase endurance during your workout making it feel easier.

– There may be up to a 5% increase in endurance during your workout following a cup of Joe.

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Why coffee should be avoided like the Plague…

1. Coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops.

-Lots of pesticides is not good. Its a bunch of chemicals that kills bugs. Some even cause the buggies to explode after ingesting the pesticide and those pesticides have been found to have similar effects on stomach and intestinal cells. So… you might want to avoid that.

2. Coffee is a diuretic.

-This means you pee a lot and lose water. Most people don’t even get enough water to start with so dehydrating yourself further is never a good idea.

3. Coffee depletes your body of Potassium,

-This causes muscle cramps (which hurt like a mother, especially if you’ve ever gotten a leg cramp that wakes you up in the middle of the night.. not fun), digestive upset, irregular heart beat and lack of energy.

4. Surprise, surprise… it can also cause insomnia and anxiety.

-I don’t think this one is much of a shocker, considering most of us drink it to wake ourselves up anyway. But it can also cause anxiety or increase anxiety in those who already experience it.

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My opinion

If you’re going to drink coffee, try to limit it to only a couple of times a week and drink it without any sugar. If you can get your hands on it, buy some organic coffee beans and freshly grind them yourself each morning. It tastes more fresh and it causes the beans to not go rancid. Just don’t go making a habit of getting the sugary dessert lattes from Starbucks, Coffee Bean or where ever else you go. Just read my girls article about the Pumpkin Spice Latte and maybe that will help you get over your addiction.

When I have coffee (and it’s a very rare occurrence), I get organic beans, freshly grind them in the morning, make it in a french press and I only add a little bit of organic almond milk and maybe some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices. It’s an acquired taste but once you’re used to it, it’s actually pretty tasty! Trust me, it’s worth getting used to instead of risking your health drinking sugary 300 calorie drinks everyday.

A quick side story…

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**The picture above was of a coffee I was drinking in Florence, Italy while writing in my travel journal. Those were most of the places that I visited and wrote on the back of my journal. Everyone should travel!!! But I digress..

When I was in Italy this summer studying abroad, I drank a LOT of coffee. However, I was drinking straight espresso without anything added to it so I tried to tell myself it wasn’t that bad. Through my 5 weeks of traveling and drinking espresso, I experienced 6 excruciating muscle cramps that woke me up in the middle of the night and caused me to lose a lot of sleep… which ended up with me drinking even more coffee the next day. I attributed my muscle cramps to the excessive amounts of coffee that I was drinking and the potassium that I was losing. So, If you choose to drink coffee, try to limit it to just a few cups a week of sugarless coffee.

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(Above) Me drinking my 1,115th coffee (roughly give or take) while in Nice, France.

References:

1. http://authoritynutrition.com/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee/

2. http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2014/07/11/6-coffee-pre-workout-benefits.aspx

3. http://www.livestrong.com/article/519356-coffee-potassium/

Workout Wednesday: ladies, stop fearing the weight room!!

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I know that really big buff guys with their equally enormous weights can be really intimidating. So intimidating, in fact, that it causes you to avoid the weight room all together and modify your workout to use lesser amounts of weights that can be found in the “stretching” area. But it’s time to overcome this fear. In order to get an awesome and diverse workout, you’ve got to start hitting up that heavy weight area.

NOTE: lifting weights or doing exercises with weights will NOT make you big and bulky. That seems to be every woman’s number 1 fear but it will just make you more defined. Women don’t have the testosterone to build up muscle the way men do. Also, you would have to be lifting REALLY heavy weight to see results even close to that. So don’t be afraid of the bulk. It won’t happen.

Anyway, yes I realize the weight room is intimidating. I go to University of Arizona and we were just rated the number 1 campus recreation in the nation. Aaaaand cue all the really large meat heads and weight lifters… So trust me, I know it’s intimidating. But once you get over that fear, it’s a piece of cake and you see that most of those “meat heads” are large freshmen who don’t really even know what they’re doing anyway.

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I recommend starting off with the smith machine. It’s a guided bar that allows you to do squats with the extra weight and form but without the instability of a free bar. It’s a good first step. It looks like the picture above (with me performing a squat on it). I would recommend adding ten pounds to each side first and then do one set of ten reps of squats. If you feel like you can, add five more to each side and do two more sets.

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The benefits of the extra weight of the squat rack are immense. It’s a totally different workout and you’ll start feeling yourself getting more toned, faster!

Don’t be afraid. If you need support, take a guy friend and have him show you how it works. Go during a time when it isn’t busy and that’ll help your nerves also. Maybe go when your school has chapter for the Greek life because that seems to eliminate a lot of the surrounding gym go-ers.

Good luck and have a happy workout Wednesday!

Trying something new: Celery Root Fries

Every seen Harry Potter? Do you remember the Mandrake Root? The little plant that when you pulled out of the ground it would scream its head off? Well, celery root almost looks like that. Just in the fact that they both look so gnarly and inedible. It doesn’t scream when pulled out of the ground though, so no need to worry.
Celery root is actually very edible and rather tasty. Plus, with fall approaching, it’ll be in season so you’ll be seeing a lot of it at your grocery store. The first time I cooked with celery root was three years ago when I lived in Santa Barbara with a house full of five other girls. I don’t remember how I came across it or even how I knew what to do with it, but I do remember my roommates acting very intrigued.

“You’re going to EAT that thing?!”

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They all sat around and watched while I removed the outer layer and started slicing the root into fry sizes. Once I had finished cooking them, the little fries were unrecognizable from the original form it took. I offered my roommates to try some. Needless to say, they were a little wary to try it after seeing the original gnarly, root-y shape, but once they got up the courage to try it, they ended up taking seconds, thirds, and fourths!

Try something new this fall and buy a celery root! I swear, it’s waaaay tastier than it looks!

Celery Root Fries

serves 1

Ingredients:

1 celery root (you lose a lot while trimming off the outer edges, so try and get a larger one)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional–for those who like a little spice in their life)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut the top of the celery root off. This will be used as your starting point for cutting off the outer edges.

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3. Using a sharp knife, slice off the fibrous-y outer layer until it resembles a peeled potato.

4. Cut the root into thin, french fry shaped strips and put onto a cookie sheet. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until each fry is coated.

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5. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes or until its reached your desired crispiness. Serve with a chicken burger or maybe even a steak! I paired mine with a nice big steak and some green beans 🙂

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Some days, you just need a little bit of pasta… garlic veggie pasta over whole wheat spaghetti

Does anyone else have the extreme issue of attempting to make pasta for just yourself and ending up with enough pasta to feed a family of five? It happens. Thank god for tupperware. Or hungry roommates.

I’m not a big pasta eater, mostly because when I eat a lot of it, I start to feel bloat-y and overly full. But every now and then, a nice big plate of pasta is the only thing I can imagine eating. An occasional carbo-load never hurt anyone.

I especially like this pasta dish because there’s no cheese and it mostly just consists of vegetables. I like to imagine the pasta as a grain replacement (like quinoa or rice) and it makes me feel better about it. That, and when it’s whole wheat, organic, nongmo, etc….

For those days when you just need to fill your belly with some comfort food… try this out!

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Garlic Veggie Pasta over Whole Wheat

serves 1

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked whole wheat spaghetti

1/2 cup chopped cauliflower

1/2 cup chopped zucchini

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1/8 teaspoon dried chili flakes

3 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

OPTIONAL: a tablespoon of parmesan (for a little extra flavor)

**Note: for this recipe, it’s easiest if you have the pasta already cooked and all the vegetables chopped before you start.

1. Put a pan over medium heat and add 1/2 teaspoon. add in the cauliflower and saute for about 5 minutes. After five minutes, add in the zucchini and tomatoes. Sprinkle the salt on top of all of the veggies and saute for 5 minutes.

2. Remove the veggies and add in the garlic and the rest of the olive oil. Saute until you can start to smell the garlic or until it starts to turn slightly golden. Sprinkle in the chili flakes and add the cooked pasta. Turn off the heat and toss the pasta until it is fully coated in olive oil. Add the vegetables back in as well as the thinly sliced basil. Toss to combine everything. Add parmesan on top at the end if you like!

Enjoy!

Fall time treats: cinnamon apple crisps

Apple pie and fall go hand in hand. Unfortunately, apple pie also goes hand in hand with love handles. Just the thought of the cinnamon-y, apple-y, crispy flavor of apple pie just makes you want to cuddle into a warm blanket by the fire with you’re very own slice while you watch the red and brown leaves fall from the trees outside. As romantic as that sounds, it’s also how you start to gain that winter weight. Now, I’m not trying to take away that sweet, delicious pleasure, but I am going to make it a little more friendly to your figure!

I bring to you, chewy crunchy cinnamon apple crisps! It only has 4 ingredients and it completely satisfies that apple dessert craving. Plus, it only has 78 calories per serving!!! So crunch away and enjoy your sweater wearing, leave changing, and apple picking season that is fall!

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Chewy crunchy cinnamon apple crisps
serves 4

ingredients
2 apples
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Cut the top part off of the apple and carefully cut thin slices of the apple. When you’re done slicing, cut out the middle core of each apple.
3. Combine the remaining three ingredients by stirring together until it is all combined into a semi liquid form.
4. Put the apple slices on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Gently rub the cinnamon mixture onto each slice using either a knife or a cooking brush.
5. Put into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let the apples sit for 5-10 minutes before eating. The longer they sit after cooking, the crispier they’ll get.

Enjoy your fall treats!!

Sassy, Slimming Zucchini Avocado Tacos

There are only two weeks or so left of summer (even though it doesn’t feel like it because I’m back in school for my last semester), so it’s time to take advantage of green vegetables and taco season.

These tacos are under 200 calories each but they still satisfy your taco craving. People always ask me if I’m a vegan/vegetarian because the recipes that I post mostly contain veggies. To answer those people’s question: no, I’m not a vegan/vegetarian. I just like to eat a lot of food. I LOVE vegetables because you can flavor them any way you like but they are so low in calories that you’re forced to eat more! I like to eat. I also don’t want to be enormous. Eating flavorful vegetables is my solution! And trust me, you won’t miss meat in this recipe. You won’t feel icky and full after this. You’ll feel so refreshed and happy that you could stuff your face without feeling guilty! 

So eat up! Only a few more weeks of green veggie and taco season!

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Sassy, slimming avocado and zucchini tacos

makes about 6 tacos, serves 2

Ingredients:

6 corn tortillas

1/4 cup fresh or frozen corn

1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas

1/2 cup sliced red onions

1/2 avocado, sliced into 6 pieces

1 handful of cilantro

1 tablespoon and 1 tsp olive oil, separated

1/2 tsp salt

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

 

1. In a skillet, pour 1 tsp olive oil and heat to medium. Add the onion and saute for 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and salt and saute for another 5 minutes. Lastly, add the peas and corn and saute for another minute. Turn the heat off.

2. Combine the tablespoon of olive oil, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and garlic clove in a food processor until smooth.

3. Warm the tortillas on a dry skillet by quickly moving the tortillas around while the pan is on medium heat. Do this for 10-15 seconds or until the tortillas are warm.

4. Put about two tablespoons of veggie mixture on each tortilla. Drizzle with the dijon sauce and top with a sprinkle of cilantro. Lastly, add an avocado to each. Do this for all of the tortillas. Enjoy!