Ah the post Meatless Monday pride. Do you feel it too? Yep, I’m patting myself on the back for making it through; Of course it helps to have really tasty recipes to make sure I don’t fall back into my curry chicken and rice pattern. How did it go for you meat-eaters? I know some people struggle with not eating meat or animal products just out of habit or fear of bland food. Trust me ( and the Health Department), giving your arteries and gut a rest from meat and meat by-products does wonders for health and the earth. It also gives you an opportunity to focus on getting enough fruit and vegetable into your diet. So to keep things interesting, I tried to make coconut rice. My inspiration came from a delicious version sold at Sushi Samba Dromo in Miami. This recipe came from CheekyChicago.com’s recipe department and called for shredded coconut, almond milk, coconut milk, almonds and brown rice. ( Click here for recipe)
3 Spoons up ( out of 5)
First, let me say that my version was nowhere as pretty but that was to be expected. I also used Vanilla Almond Milk instead of unflavored which gave it a sweeter taste which was definitely unexpected but nice. I used light coconut milk and skipped the almonds because I felt it tasted rich enough without the additional calories and I used brown rice instead of white. The result is a creamy, rich tasting carb fest that is sure to make you feel juuuust a wee bit guilty. Could only eat a small portion because it was so deliciously rich which is a good thing. If you want yours to taste more like the decadent restaurant version, don’t make the changes I did….caution!
Okay, I don’t mean to scare you but ( get ready) our metabolisms slow down by 1% every year after the age of 35…that’s 10% every decade…!! If you didn’t have a super fast one to begin with this can be troubling. Still, it gets more difficult to avoid the dreaded “middle age spread” even with the boost of genetics. Add childbirth into the equation and…let me stop there, no need to depress us further. That is the bad news. Wanna know the good news ( is there any, you ask?) There is and it’s that yes, you can tweak your metabolism to work with you and not against you. Here they are:
- Eat more fiber. That should be: eat more in fruit and vegetables since that is where most beneficial fiber is found. Consider your metabolism a furnace that needs wood (plants) to keep it burning bright. Not enough wood causes the fire to burn out leaving barely burning embers. ** Not getting enough calories will slow your metabolism down! Remember your body will always outsmart you.
- Interval Training. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to reap the benefits of interval training. Intervals are usually characterized by short but intense bursts of cardiovascular work during your regular workouts. They could be sprints, jumping jacks, speed rope jumping etc. but the main point is that they are intense enough for you to be unable to maintain that level of work for more than 30 to 120 seconds. Intervals boost your metabolism by increasing a calorie burn which carries over into the less intense part of your workout. Bonus: intervals increase your cardiovascular capacity and can increase your speed in the long run.
- Eat more lean protein. Your body’s preferred form of fuel is carbohydrates which is taken up into the blood quickly for energy. Protein, on the other hand, is taken up more slowly by your muscles, a process which expends more calories.
- Get more rest. Not getting enough rest can cause your metabolism to function improperly and cause you to eat more carbohydrate rich calories to offset your weariness. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and try to keep your wake up times consistent throughout the week. Consider sleep a bank from which you withdraw renewal and rejuvenation. When that bank gets disturbed or depleted it can throw your entire body and metabolism off kilter.
What's holding you back?
Do you ever look in the mirror and wonder why you aren’t making any progress even with all the hard work you do ? As a fitness and nutrition counselor I often hear the complaint of the dreaded plateau from many..If you’ve ever yelled “WHY isn’t this working?!” then there are some habits and misconceptions that might have been stalling your progress.
- Not enough exercise. So here’s the thing: the difference between exercise and physical activity is that the former is planned and usually causes us to generate more effort than the latter. That leisurely stroll around the mall? physical activity. Strap on your exercise shoes, pick up the pace, focus on time with intent to get fitter and voila, you’ve got exercise. As little as 30 minutes per day of physical activity can benefit your health but weight loss requires more vigorous and more frequent workouts.
- Not eating enough. Sounds counter-intuitive right? Yes, expending more calories than you take in is the logical formula for weight-loss. However, your body is a lean- mean- staying- alive machine and when you eat too little, your resting metabolism slows down to preserve muscle and fat. You can balance this metabolic effect by making sure you exercise. *A nutritionist can help you to determine how many calories and ratio of macro-nutrients you need. Once you know your numbers, eating enough of the right foods will stoke the furnace of your metabolism .
- Eating too much. Sounds simple enough, right? Not for everyone. Not knowing how many calories you should be eating can be trouble ESPECIALLY when exercising. Why? because exercise can increase your appetite causing you to over-eat. Trust me, exercising is not an excuse to binge after all the hard work you do.
- Booze. Yep. Those frequent Ladies’ Nights and after work drinks are adding inches to your waist-line in more ways than one. Did you know that at 7 calories per gram alcohol is almost as fattening as pure fat which has 9 kcals per gram? Not to mention the booze fueled little devil on your shoulder telling you it’s ok to have another drink +pizza+ chips+ artichoke dip late at night. Everything in moderation.
Just tried the very simple recipe for banana soft serve and feel the new to shout it from the rooftops: it’s delicious! As a lactose intolerant person who also likes creamy, icy goodness in hot weather, this desert is super satisfying. All it takes are 3 frozen bananas, peeled and a food processor/ blender set on purée. The result is creamy, naturally sweet goodness. Now don’t get crazy: it is 3 bananas per serving. Bananas, as lovely as they are have about 100 calories, 14 grams of sugar and 27 grams of carbohydrates. Although, at less than 1 gram of fat per banana, they are much less fattening than ice cream this dessert will yield 300 calories and a whopping 81 grams of carbohydrates. Enjoy it!
Take a moment to breathe
As a wellness entrepreneur whose business revolves around information sharing and the provision services, I often find myself cringing at the amount of self promotion that goes into the process. Wait, I should say the “perceived self promotion” because what I consider marketing, some mistake for a need for the spotlight. Now don’t get me wrong, my Oprah-Complex is relatively small. Yes, I do crave a platform because I realize that having a large one helps me to help more people. What is this nauseatingly pollyanna need to help people improve their health all about? Well, it is simple really.
I grew up on an island with access to fresh foods and plenty of physical activity. Those first ten years of life instilled in me an appreciation for movement and for relying on the earth to provide food. Fast forward to a few years later spent in the states and suddenly, the elation of an island childhood had faded away in the face of puberty, young adulthood and fibroids. Fibroids aren’t a major issue for some women while it is a true burden for others. I, unfortunately, fell/fall into the latter category. Don’t worry, I will spare you the gory details. Except to say that after 3 major surgeries to remove more than 20 fibroids, clean eating and enough activity to power a town, here I am over-sharing in the name of motivation.
Knowing something is wrong with your body and feeling well are like holding your breath and breathing fresh air. Sometimes you you’re not aware that you are holding your breath until you inhale. I spent many years feeling so exhausted that collapse was always imminent and the constant buzz of pressure and pain the theme song of my day. Treating my propensity to develop fibroids as a lifestyle and medical issue has made that person a ghost of things past. Many of you are battling more serious conditions than benign fibroids. However, please believe me when I say that all is not lost and you CAN feel better through lifestyle changes, I promise.