WIAW #1

Hello!!

So sorry for the long hiatus; the end of the quarter always kicks my butt. I have been a stressed out, cranky mess for a few weeks, and it’s not pretty. Nor is it fun to be around. So I gave the blog a little break until I got things back under control – fortunately, the summer quarter is now over and I have a break from class! More time to focus on blogging.

I’m going to jump on the What I Ate Wednesday Bandwagon, because I love reading many other blogger’s posts about what they had to eat! It’s always a great motivational tool, and helps me to brainstorm some new recipe ideas. Thanks to Jenn for hosting this wonderful event.

Breakfast: 9 times out of 10, my breakfast involves eggs. I just can’t get enough. Cereal does not make me feel full, and oatmeal is great but not during the hot Chicago summer months! This morning’s creation was two eggs, scrambled with hot banana peppers (a farmer’s market score!), with a little pepperjack cheese and a lot of salad greens on a whole wheat wrap. Topped with my addiction and favorite condiment: Tapatio! Yummm. Alongside was an iced coffee with skim milk and 1/2 grapefruit. The perfect mix of carbs, protein, and fat to keep me full for 5-6 hours.

Lunch: I like to eat a much bigger breakfast than lunch. I think it helps me to keep my calorie intake even throughout the day, and helps me stay energized during the morning when I am likely to be super tired. This lunch was on the go, as I was consulting some outpatients today at a community clinic! A greek (0% Fage Plain) yogurt parfait, with 1 cup slice strawberries hidden under the very end of the bag of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest. Have you tried Cinnamon Harvest? It’s like shredded wheat with delicious cinnamon flavor, and it has less sugar than Go Lean Crunch! I’m a little obsessed. A small pink lady apple rounded out the meal.

Dinner: Oh this meal was just amazing – delicious and SO good for you! My roomie and I made a salad, with red onions, romaine, hot banana peppers (we have a surplus), and grapefruit to go along with our salmon filets and quinoa! I also sauteed some patty pan squash with leeks and more hot peppers. Needless to say we like it hot around our apartment. This was so delicious and satisfying! Patty pan squash are my favorite farmer’s market find so far – they are just adorable.

Not pictured: 1 zucchini chocolate muffin, with whole wheat flour (adapted from Angela’s recipe)

Workout: 30 minute ab circuit. I’m trying to take it easy on the running lately, as I had been experiencing pretty intense hip pains a few weeks ago. Needless to say, I’m getting a little bored and itching to go for a run. But I’m also itching to stay healthy, so I’m waiting to give running another shot until I feel better.

What did you eat today?

Did you work out today? What did you do?

Any suggestions for my hip pain?

What is most important?

How do you decide what is more important in your life? When you are busy, tired, stressed out, and cranky, how do you prioritize your day? Do you let workouts slip and nutrition fall to the side, telling yourself that it’s ok since you have way too much to do to even think about working out and making a healthy meal? Do you tell yourself that you will feel better in the long run if you continue to pursue health even when it gets challenging? Or is working out and eating healthfully something that is integral to your life, and you don’t ask your self any questions about priorities. You just find a way to fit it in, even if it means getting up earlier, checking out of facebook to get more homework done so you have time to cook dinner, or giving your body that much needed break?

While there are some times when we all need a break, both physically and mentally, many times people dig themselves into an inactive unhealthy whole by adopting the “I’m too busy” attitude. When you think about it, you are working to preserve your body and your spirit for the long haul. How can you be too busy for that?

 

How do you stay motivated to maintain a health lifestyle when life gets hectic? What are your best tips to someone just beginning a healthy change?

Get Sweaty!

sweat

workouts to make you sweat through an entire baseball cap

As a full time intern working 40 hours a week in rotations, with 12 additional credit hours and a job personal training, it’s hard for me to find time to be physically active some weeks. These two workouts I have for you today are great for the time-pressed like me. The first workout is an ultra fast gym workout I sometimes use when I have a 30-60 minute break between clients. This might make me pretty nasty but I just throw a hat on and hope nobody notices how sweaty I am. The second workout is totally equipment free and can be done at home no matter where you live. I do this one when I have so much work to do that the 10 minute drive to a gym & back is wasting too much time, but I still want to get a good sweaty workout in. Extra sweaty points are earned if you do this on a HOT day before you turn the AC on (aka: all abnormally hot Chicago spring long). Enjoy!

Reverse-Tabata Gym Workout:

This workout style can be applied to any at-home workout as well. Just replace exercises you need equipment for with those that are equipment-less, and use heavy objects at home for weights. When I do at home workouts I fill a duffel bag with towels and textbooks, and use washclothes as gliders for ab work. The only thing you need is a stopwatch.

In intervals of 20 seconds work, 40 seconds rest, complete the following exercises 2-3 times total. Rest 1 minute between sets.

1. Forward-Backwards lunges (Step forward and lunge, then step backwards with the same leg and lunge. Alternate sides)

2. Plate swings (Perform a kettlebell swing with a barbell plate or kettlebell if your gym has them, or dumbbell)

3. Air squats (Squat without holding weights)

4. Pushups

5. Sumo Squats (with feet at 45 degree angle and wide stance, squat holding a weight down between your legs. Keep the weight back in your heels and pretend like you are sitting in a chair 2-3 feet behind you for proper form!)

6. Diamond Pushups (Place your hands with index fingers and thumbs touching on floor in front of you, making a diamond shape. Separate hands by 2-4 inches and perform pushups! Works triceps better than regular pushups)

7. Tricep dips (on a bench or other flat sturdy surface)

8. Plank pushups (begin in an elbow plank. Lift up your right arm and place your hand where your elbow was. Repeat on left side until you are in a plank on your hands. Then repeat opposite motion until you are back in an elbow plank)

9. Box Jumps (flat, sturdy surface)

10. Step-up and kicks (Step up on a higher surface with your left foot, and kick your right foot through! These are especially hard when done on an unsteady surface)

At-home Plank & Pushups Workout

This workout is killer for your core and upper body. If you perform moves with no rest between them, you will also get a great cardio workout. Do ten reps of each move and repeat 2-3 times.

1. Spider man pushups (Do a regular pushup, then bring your left knee to your left shoulder alongside your body while holding the lower pushup position. Push back up to the top! These are killer, 5 on each side is 10 reps)

2. Bicycle v-ups (Like a regular v-up but with a twist. Lay flat on your back with hands behind your head, legs at a 45 degree angle off the ground. Roll your upper body up, and twist right elbow to outside the left knee. Slowly lower back down keeping abs tucked in to protect your lower back. 10 on each side!)

3. Inchworm pushups (From standing up, walk your hands down the front of your body, legs, down to outside of your feet. Keep walking your hands out until you are in a high pushup position. Do a pushup! Now walk hands back to the top and return all the way to standing.)

4. Plank jumping jacks (Start in a palm plank with feet touching. Keeping upper body as still as possible, jump feet wide, then back together. Out-in is one rep.)

5. Plank pushups (see above description. Not to repeat but these are great for shoulders and core!)

6. Plank hand taps (With feet wider than hip width apart, start in a palm plank. Lift your right hand without shifting your hips and tap out to the side. Repeat on the left. Much harder than it sounds; be sure your hips are not moving at all.)

7. Military pushups (Instead of normal pushup position with hands slightly wider than shoulder width, place your hands right at shoulder width on the floor. Lower yourself down and keep your elbows tucked in tight to your sides. This will really work the triceps!)

8. Army Crawlers (in an elbow plank, bring your right knee up along your body towards your right shoulder, crunching your oblique. Repeat on left side; alternate)

9. Regular push-ups

10. Opposite Mountain Climbers (In a palm plank, drive your right knee towards your left elbow with your abs. Alternate sides)

I hope you enjoy these sweaty workouts! Let me know in the comments or on twitter what kinds of workouts you’d be interested in seeing on A Dietitian Cooks – I would love your feedback!

Recovery Meals (of all kinds!)

Ever wondered what you should eat after a hot sweaty run? What about before? How about after a iron pumping session? Or what about after you’ve been on vacation all week & feel a little bloated/tired/off-key? We have all been in one of these situations at least once, and it’s amazing that the way you fuel your body can help it bounce back from anything you throw at it. Let me break it down for you:

Pre-workout:

This depend what you are trying to accomplish. If your workout for the day is a long run (somethin’ greater than 6 miles usually), eat simple carbs so your body can easily digest them and get energy! Good ideas for this include bagels, anything with jam or jelly, or fruit. Bad ideas? Dairy products, anything with fiber, and anything that may bother your stomach. If you have a muscle blasting workout planned, eat lean protein & complex carbohydrates at least an hour before the meal. Any sooner & you may have some stomach problems.

Post-workout:

After a difficult workout, your body needs carbohydrates to replace energy lost and protein to help rebuild muscle. Some tasty ideas include chocolate milk (perfect carb to protein ratio, and better than any protein shake!), string cheese & an apple, or a whole grain english muffin with laughing cow cheese on top. Make sure to drink plenty of water. If you have been working out in very high temperatures for over an hour, refuel with an electrolyte drink (such as coconut water, sport’s drinks, or nuun). Anything less than an hour and the sports drinks’ are unnecessary.

Post-vacation:

I spent a few days at my cabin this past week, and my body needed a reset button afterwards. My philosophy is that vacation is not the time to diet or deprive yourself, so I try to get in exercise (because I enjoy it) and eat what I want. This includes burgers, chicken sausages, pasta salad…you get the picture. It’s all great during the vacation but afterwards I always crave fresh fruits and vegetables. The best thing you can do for yourself after splurging for a few days is to fill up on fresh produce – the water & fiber make you feel full, while the fresh foods provide phytonutrients and vitamins you may have missed. Try to avoid processed foods, added sugar, and added salt for the day after you get back to get back to feeling great. After a day of clean eating, I feel a million times better.

Check out this bounty I picked up at the local farmer’s market with my mom and sister – can you tell we love fresh produce?

I’ll be back tomorrow with some detoxifying workout ideas – workouts to make you sweat hard!

Top 3 Make-Ahead Healthy Meals for Busy folks

Hey everyone! (if anyone is out there)

One of the biggest things I hear from patients and clients is a lack of time to prepare healthy food. There is a conception out there that healthy foods require for.ev.er to cook and are out of control expensive, not something that can easily fit into your lifestyle. Friends, this is just plain wrong. With a little education and ad-browsing, you can make some quick budget- and waist-friendly meals. Oh, and did I mention they are delicious? Read on for my 3 favorites when I’m pressed for time. These are things I will make when I get home at 9pm after a 10 hour day starving, and then save in the fridge for lunch the next two days. Delicious, nutritious, and fast!

3) Mediterranean Whole Grain Salad

You can choose any whole grain you’d like here. My grain of choice is usually quinoa, but sometimes I mix it up with wheat berries or barley (these take more time). A fresh delicious salad incorporating the best flavors of the Mediterranean. Tastes delicious on a bed of fresh spinach or arugula.

1 c dry whole grain, cooked (your choice!)

1/2 c feta, Parmesan, or mozzarella cheese (again you can choose which you prefer)

1 cucumber, diced small

1 c cherry tomatoes, whole

1/4 c olive oil

2 T balsamic vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & pepper, to taste

Whisk balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil together. Pour over cooked grains in mixing bowl or tupperware container. Add in cucumbers and tomatoes; stir until combined. Serve over fresh greens of choice!

2) Couscous Tabbouleh Salad

This recipe comes from the lovely Jenna at http://www.eatliverun.com, and it is truly a time saver. Couscous takes 5-10 minutes to cook, basically about the same amount of time it takes you to bring the water to a boil. And the fresh, delicious salad flavors blend perfectly to create a truly mouthwatering salad topping or wrap stuffing.

1 C uncooked couscous

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/2 c feta cheese

Juice of 1 lemon

2 T olive oil

Sea salt, to taste

Cook couscous according to package directions (mine said: bring 1 cup water to boil on stove. Add 1 cup couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes; fluff with fork). Combine parsley, feta, and cucumber in a bowl. Add cooked couscous, lemon juice, and olive oil. Let stand for 2 hours until flavors intensify.

1) Southwest Quinoa Salad

This is my absolute FAVORITE recipe to make when I’m pressed for time. It is so simple, and you can eat it in limitless ways. Stuff it in a wrap, cook an egg and mix, or just top a salad with the delicious quinoa mixture. You will not be disappointed.

1 C quinoa

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can chopped tomatoes (preferably no salt added)

1 can fire roasted corn

1 can chiles

1 C cilantro

1/2 C cheese of choice (I like feta or monterrey jack!)

1/2 avocado, chopped

Optional: chopped jalapenos, hot sauce, greek yogurt or sour cream

Bring 2 cups water to boil on stove. Add 1 cup quinoa. Lower heat and cover; cook for 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. While quinoa is cooking, toss beans, tomatoes, corn, and chiles into a large mixing bowl. Add in cooked quinoa. Mix in cheese. Serve with avocado and cilantro on top, along with additional optional toppings.

hello! and a delicious chopped salad

This is my very first foray into the blogging world – please excuse me as I figure out word press. In the mean time, here is a delicious summer salad recipe that will be great for the hot weather coming up! It’s full of delicious flavor, healthy fats, and bright pops of color from the peppers – the perfect summer salad. Take it to your next barbeque!

Chopped Summer Salad:

1 head romaine or green lettuce
1 ripe avocado
1/2 c queso fresco fresh crumbling cheese
3 green onions
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
1/4-1/2 c bacon, optional

Chop lettuce finely into small pieces. De-pit avocado, and chop. Slice and chop queso fresco. Thinly slice green onions. Chop bell pepper. Mix all in a medium-large mixing bowl. Add bacon if desired, and serve immediately.

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