Is it okay to hate Quinoa….and chia??

Is quinoa better than brown rice?
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Is quinoa better than brown rice?

Is quinoa better than brown rice?

Is it me or is every other popular blog post recipe about something made out of chia or quinoa? Luckily, I like both… well, quinoa more than chia since I’m allergic to the latter. Still, what if you have never tried either OR if you have and don’t like them? is it even necessary to force yourself to try these so-called super foods? Well, let’s figure out why they’re super, shall we? Foods with that label typically have a higher concentration of antioxidants than on other foods in their category (fruit, vegetable, grain).

Take quinoa for example; can’t you just stick to brown rice and get the same benefits? Well, first: congrats on making the switch from useless, diabetes instigating white rice to it’s browner sister.  Off the top of my head I know that brown rice is high in fiber but this handy infographic from the Prevention.com blog spells out why quinoa wins the competition.  Hint: quinoa has more protein , fiber, and folate per cup than the same amount of brown rice.

Verdict: give quinoa a try. You might not like its nutty flavor as a newbie but you can start by mixing it with your brown rice or buying it that way. You can also cook it in low sodium chicken stock to add more flavor if you like.

The chia seed is not only high in antioxidants but this little Mayan powerhouse is also high in protein, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Wait, didn’t we JUST fall in love with flax seeds for the same reasons? well, chia has higher amounts of the aforementioned nutrients than flax does AND you can eat the seeds whole ( flaxseeds need to be ground up in order to be absorbed). People that like chia usually sprinkle it on other healthy foods or mix it into liquids to make chia pudding as the seeds turn gelatinous when wet.

Basically, the ideas is that chia seeds can make a healthy meal even healthier by boosting its nutrient content but here is the catch I  found: There IS so much as too much of a good thing when it comes to the fat soluble vitamins  (chia has 15 IUs of Vitamin A), allergy potential ( I got a bad rash) and tummy troubles ( chia with a side of bloating, anyone?).  In short, try it sparingly first before throwing yourself wholeheartedly into it. Actually, this is a good rule of thumb for most “fad” foods!

Final Verdict: as our world gets smaller (AND bigger) new foods that make eating more interesting and beneficial will come and go. Your goal is to enjoy your meals while getting the most out of them nutritionally. Foods like quinoa and chia can boost your nutrient level quicker than their more traditional counterparts so explore your options.

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How to make badass gluten free biscuits

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A  favorite part of the  NYU Nutrition program was the time I spent in the kitchen. It was there that it really hit home that cooking and baking especially were scientific reactions. One just had to think about the end goal for taste and texture and combine ingredients to achieve them. Was I always perfect? hardly. Did I often end up with flour in my hair? always. Still, I too kmuch away from that course and whatever my addled brain couldn’t remember I knew  was written in this $3000 collection of textbooks I amassed over the years. Like how to make biscuits: this is really about how to combine your ingredients. Once you get that, it dawns on you that it applies to everything i.e types of cookies etc. 

Biscuits (or scones) are rustic lumps of deliciousness in my house. I do like the flaky, buttery versions too but I’m still perfecting those so stay tuned. These savory ones were born of my love for  the taste of cheddar biscuits and my need to only use gluten-free flour. *P.S. I’m not celiac but I know I don’t respond well to regular flour (extreme fatigue, bloat, churlishness). Judge me freely. Here is how I did it:

1/2 cup GF muffin mix from Red Mill

3-4 tbsp unsalted butter (regular or coconut)

6 oz low fat yogurt ( I needed the probiotics but you can use tsp of vinegar mixed with 1/4 -1/2 cup almond milk; the acid is the key)

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of Rosemary

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and oil your muffin pan for 4 biscuits ( you can just use wax paper too).

Mix flour and butter thoroughly in a high speed mixer or blender ( my Ninja might be the best thing I’ve ever bought). 

Add pinch of salt and rosemary to mixture and mix again. Taste to see if you like it.

Now add wet ingredients of yogurt or almond-vinegar mixture and blend all throughly. 

Scoop lumps into your tin and bake for 18-20 mins until golden brown and knife comes out dry when you test.

Let cool for at least 5 minutes and then enjoy!

Did you try them? Please let me know what you thought!

 

How does Yolanda Sangweni stay healthy? (Interview)

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ImageLast week’s launch of New York African Restaurant Week yielded more than great food, sounds and smiles. It also allowed me to sit down and chat with Yolanda Sangweni, Senior Entertainment Editor for the Essence Magazine and Owner/Editor in Chief of  the online magazine AfriPOP!. Yolanda is every bit of fiercely fabulous in person as she is in the photo but one of the first things I noticed was how kindly calm she was while being patient with her time. After all, she was MCing the launch of  NYARW  and was  undoubtedly being pulled in many directions. When she mentioned being on day 2 of a 3 day juice cleanse I was even more impressed by her serenity as I’m not one to do well with food deprivation. Since we were surrounded by deliciously savory African food, I wondered how she was faring with so much temptation around her. Her cheerful  answer of “fine” led me to investigate further (clearly she was as super as her outfit suggested!)

SG:  So how long have you been a fan of juicing?

YS: The last 2 years, I started with a 3 day cleanse and have been doing them since then.

SG: I have tried juice cleanses but can only last 2-3 days?

YS: Yah, 3 days is my ideal too.

SG: So what do you do to stay healthy?

YS: I walk a LOT with the MapMyWalk app but want be more active.  As far as diet goes, I try to stick to a mostly raw diet, about 70% raw along with occasional juicing &  I make a drink made of ginger beer with anise and boiled lemon.

SG: Just make sure you drink a lot of water with all that raw food to prevent stomach upset! Have you had any struggle with nutrition?

YS: Well, I am just so busy that I find that the busier I get the worse I eat and I will just eat whatever is available!

SG: You’re not alone! Thats one of the number one complaint I hear from busy working women!

So there  you have it: Yolanda is just like all of us which clearly makes her even cooler, no?

The apple cider vinegar craze: is it for you?

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An apple a day keeps the Dr. away!

An apple a day keeps the Dr. away!

Let’s just admit it: we are a nation of wellness gluttons who will binge on any new trend that we think will make us “perfect” in a jiffy. Knowing thyself is important so let’s just get that out of the way, shall we? Take Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV to those in the know), for example: it has been touted as the holy nectar of all things healthy for a hot minute now: wash your floors, wash your face, wash your HAIR with it!  DRINK IT! It solves world peace!! (okay, I added that last one). Is this is all meaningless blog content, marketing ploy or does the stuff work? Personally, I like to know the why’s before I jump on bandwagons so let’s break  it down.

First things first: as with most natural remedies, the claims made about what ACV abilities don’t match the amount of viable research  available. In short, a lot of these health claims don’t have the support of science BUT our grandparents and their parents can’t all be wrong and science sometimes has to catch up; After all, research IS expensive.

Acetic Acid: the magical ingredient

All vinegars contain acetic acid (when ethanol is fermented by acetic acid baceria, acetic acid is born; Wikipedia it!) . You will hear the term “Mother of Vinegar” used and that just refers to the bacterial culture used to spawn the vinegar.   ACV has a high amount of acetic acid (usually 5%) which makes it too strong to use on your skin or to ingest if undiluted. However, the theory is that adding diluted acetic acid to your gut will lower blood pressure and improve the absorption of certain minerals while slowing the digestion of carbohydrates and thus preventing spikes in blood sugar. There is also the premise  that adding an acid that is weaker than gut acid to your system increases the alkalinity of your blood.  Three things are important to note here:

  1. The blood pressure lowering effects was found to be true in rats but hasn’t been tried in humans yet.
  2. The hydrochloric acid (HCL) you already have in your gut is powerful and usually does a fine job of helping you absorb the minerals from your food by breaking down the proteins they are attached to. Does ACV overpower the enzymes that cause you to quickly break down carbs in the gut? the jury is still out. BUT:  you DO start to make less HCL with age (and with stress);  people with chronic or stress related digestive issues might have impaired gut function overall. Some alternative practitioners contend that low HCL can lead to  anemia and an overgrowth of yeast in the gut which can then lead to skin and dental issues (eczema, dermatitis, gum disease, thrush etc) 
  3. A balanced, healthy diet low in simple carbohydrates won’t cause spikes in blood sugar OR lower blood pH like a junk food diet that relies on refined carbs (think white flour, quick oats, white rice) will; common sense says to NOT eat a meal that will spike your blood sugar rapidly. BUT: people with prediabetes (insulin resistance), diabetes or a family history of diabetes have abnormal insulin levels so their blood sugar levels need additional help. A diet high in simple carbohydrates can ALSO lead to candida aka. yeast overgrowth. WARNINGBe careful with ALL natural remedies if you’re already taking medications since there might be interactions. Chat with your Dr. about what you intend to do and the meds you’re on.

Apples, Apples a wonderful fruit

As the name implies,  ACV is made from fresh apple juice that includes all parts of the apple i.e the seeds, stems etc; this concoction is called the apple must. Why should you know this? well, since conventionally grown apples  have high pesticide levels, it’s worth it to buy organic, unfiltered (the cloudy kind) ACV since all parts of the apple are used to make it. So guess what’s in apples and vegetation that grows from the earth? phyto-chemicals, that’s what! Your body loves phyto-chemicals because they act as natural antioxidants that protect your cells from rapid deterioration.

So there you have it! Sure, apple cider vinegar as a nontoxic house cleaner is a no brainer because of its acidic action and minimal ingredients. Heck, it’s even been shown to serve as an excellent pet friendly pest repellent ( spray it on your pesky neighbor to make sure). Should you ingest it daily some have suggested? maybe if you fall into any of the categories mentioned that have trouble with low HCL, insulin and/or skin issues. The good news is: ACV IS nontoxic so if you want to try it and see what happens then it likely won’t harm you (again, be careful if you’re on meds). Just don’t rely on it indefinitely (take breaks here and there if you decide to pursue it as a remedy). Balance in life is key!

 

 

References

  1.  ” Antihypertensive Effects of Acetic Acid and Vinegar…”, Kondo et al (Pubmed.gov); 2001
  2. “What the Research Really Says about Apple Cider Vinegar” Dr. Mercola (Mercola.com); 2009
  3. “Apple Cider Vinegar”, Cathy Wong ND (About.com/Altmedicine)
  4. “Phytochemicals”, American Cancer Society (cancer.org);
  5. A Review of Mineral Absorption…”, Dr. James Gerber MD (IntegrativePractitioner.com)

14 Ideas for your #Change1Thing Checklist

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Sometimes the smallest tweaks yield the biggest results which is what the Change1Thing Campaign is all about. Instead of doing  major overhaul on your body and life, it is probably more manageable to take small steps towards your goal. As innocent as that sounds, it can be overwhelming so enter moi with this handy list for you to try out.

  1. Add sprints to your running routine
  2. Take your run outside
  3. Change the weights in your lifting routine
  4. Try a new class
  5. Try a sport you’ve never tried before
  6. Walk more than you drive & take the stairs more than the elevator.
  7. Train for a race (5K run/walk or obstacle race, anyone?)
  8. Eat one salad per day for either lunch or dinner
  9. Drink at least 24 oz of water each day
  10. Have a bigger breakfast and a smaller dinner
  11. Bring your own lunch
  12. Cook most meals yourself
  13. Quit your soda and chips habit!
  14. Get more sleep during the week

Un-Pasta Bolognese

Low Crab option to your favorite pasta!
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Image Did you know that substituting grated/shredded carrots for bread crumbs and adding tomato paste in meat makes it perfect for a meatballs AND Bolognese? Yeah, me either until now! This recipe was born because my local market sells these awesome giant meatballs that I enjoyed until I found out they had rice and breadcrumbs in them. That and each if them costs about $2 a piece and who needs that when I can make them?? So I roasted some spaghetti squash and cooked this up fully intending to make my own Giant Bawls. Sheer laziness turned this into the Un-Pasta Bolognese you see here. Hey, at least I’m honest!

*Heat oven to 400 degrees, cut spaghetti squash in halves or quarter and sprinkle with salt, olive oil and maybe a tsp of vinegar (optional); roast in ben for up to 25 mins.

1Tbsp oil ( I used Olive)

1 Tbsp onion, chopped

1 lb lean ground turkey

1 4-6 p can of tomato paste

1 tsp garlic, minced or grated

1/2 grated carrot

sea salt & cayenne pepper to taste.

Heat oil in heavy skillet then add onion and sauté until onion is translucent. Season meat  and cook on medium to high heat until brown. Add the garlic and cook for another 3-5 mins, add carrots then cook another 3-5 minutes. Make sure meat is fully cooked and then add tomato paste and mix thoroughly. The paste will soak up all the liquid from the skillet so turn down heat to low so it doesn’t  burn.

* To make meat balls, add all ingredients together while meat is uncooked and cook from there.  When squash is finished roasting, scoop flesh out into a bowl and top with a hearty scoop of the meat mixture. Enjoy!

High protein muffin: version 3.0 (has dairy)

The latest FabU high protein, low carb muffin.
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The latest FabU high protein, low carb  muffin.

The latest FabU high protein, low carb muffin.

Eureka! This is one version of my muffin adventures that turned out moist and yummy. The catch? This one is NOT dairy free BUT the batter has 30 grams of protein and 20g of carbs. It serves 4 so each has 7.5 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbohydrates.

FIRST:

*Grease muffin cups with non stick spray & heat oven to 375-400

1/4 cup almond meal
2/3 cup coconut flour
2 whole eggs
2/3 cup cottage cheese (I used full fat)
1 tsp ghee (coconut oil/butter works too)
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt and either 1.5 tbsp of coconut sugar for sweet version OR herbs for savory.
Mix together in blender and pour mixture into 4 cups and bake for 20-25 mins.

Bikini Ready Tips from 7 of NY’s hottest female FitPros

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Jen Romanelli, Delida Torres, Lindsay Centonze, Amber Hirsch, Dorian Cervantes, Amira Lamb, Mary Onyango

Jen Romanelli, Delida Torres, Lindsay Centonze, Amber Hirsch, Dorian Cervantes, Amira Lamb, Mary Onyango

What time is it? Spring time! That time when in between being addled with  allergies and taking Spring Break with the kids, you’re either (a) panicking because you fell of the resolution wagon (b) frustrated because you’ve plateaued or (c) have been consistent and happy withy your results but know you can do better.

Stacey Grant, MS Certified PT

It’s Me!

Just for you, I turned to Gotham City Elites  to find some of the NY area’s (Jersey’s repped too!) most dedicated & experienced female FitPros to learn their top Bikini Body secrets. As with most subjects, I have plenty to say &  I recently posted my own 3 tips in this post .  Check out what my fellow FitPros are saying about getting Bikini Ready in a jiffy.

Lindsay  Farrington Centoze,  Maddogg Certified Cycle Instructor & NPC Competitor and Cross Country Coach.

I met Lindsay Farrington-Centonze n Fall of 2013 when we both worked with another company.  Not only is she gorgeous but she’s a sweetheart, smart ( she went to NYU too!)  and pretty well accomplished in fitness at her young age. Lindsay has competed in and won 3 National Physique Committee (NPC)  bikini competitions already! Not only that, she is a beloved cycling and group fitness instructor in upstate NY too. In short, she rocks! Listen when she says:

  1. Try switching up your cardio to more high intense intervals. I typically do little to no cardio or some steady-state at the least (long runs, etc). If I’m getting bikini ready I’ll add 1-2 extra cardio sessions to my fitness routine.
  2. Start to focus on quality over quantity when lifting. When getting bikini ready I increase my weight and make a point to focus on form. While my weight increases I do less repetitions but make sure each one has perfect form. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Unsure of proper form? Ask someone!  A good place to start is t figure out which muscle group you should be focusing on and recruiting those muscles to do the job. As always, be careful with your lower back, knees and shoulders.
  3. Simply spend MORE time being active!!! Make a point to park your car in a further spot than usual, take stairs when you can, walk to the gym/grocery store/etc (basically anywhere within walking distance that you typically drive to). Walk more, drive less.

Mayy Onyango,  Certified  Zumba Instructor,  AFAA & Schwinn Certified Group Fitness Instructor

Mary Onyango and I go way back and I admire her deeply. If you know or work with her then you will know what I am talking about. She is thoughtful, compassionate and that physique speaks for itself! Here is what it is saying :

  1. A better bikini body starts with a good diet. If you can eat well at least 70% of the time i.e; lots of water, vegetables, lean meats, protein and healthy carbs (sorry guys this means limit the alcohol too), then you will be halfway to a flatter midsection (what everyone sees FIRST when you’re in a bikini!!)
  2. Incorporate different variations of planks into every routine. Some include modified (on the knees), single leg and single arm, pulses and even push ups. Push ups, my second favorite exercise, really target the triceps/biceps, chest, back (upper/lower), and surprise! even your thighs. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Watch that your lower body doesn’t sag and stays parallel  to the floor even if you’re on your knees.
  3. I love lunges. Try Around the World lunges, an exercise that combines front lunges, side lunges, and reverse lunges one after another for a set of 10-20 reps all done on the right leg and then repeat on the other. Lunges are great because they build the muscles without building size. They also lift and tighten the derriere for lasting results. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Watch that your knee doesn’t go past your toes when you lunge and that you keep your heels on the ground.

Jennifer Romanelli, RN NASM Certified PT & AFAA Certified Group Ex Instructr

I finally met Jen Romanelli, a.k.a. Trooper JRo at a Trooper boot camp where she showed us her high intensity  prowess. Until then, I had only heard about her through her colleagues, students and partner in crime but let me tell you that it was all true: Registered Nurse+ badass boot camp instructor = yowza, my musclllleeeees!! ( at least she’s qualified to revive you after making your body cry uncle). With those qualifications and a body like THAT, listen when she says:

  1. Pull-ups: single most effective body weight exercise. Great for upper body and strong core! Practice with bands. Stacey’s Training tip: Use the assisted machine or ask someone to help you if you’re inexperienced.  “Diversity: we all hear about the dreaded plateau but make an effort to switch things up. Your body is a powerful machine and adjusts to whatever challenges you bring it so keep your body guessing”
  2. Squats with the bar bell: gets those legs firing from top to bottom with bar bell squats. This move helps to build a lean physique by engaging almost every muscle in the body.  “Do more squats! Drop it like its hot to drop those lbs;  practice with body weight or using the barbell for back/front squats.” Stacey’s Safety Tip: Perfect the squat with your bodyweight before adding external weight and then upgrade to a body bar, then bar bell. 
  3. Kettlebell swings are one of my favorite exercise to do with clients as they are the greatest total body killer. With proper technique you burn out your core, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, glutes and back! That’s a lot of bang for your buck! Pick things up and put things down. “Tip: Ramp up your lifting game. Why aren’t women seeing the results they want? They are missing the key component in every athlete’s training program and that is strength conditioning and power”. Stacey’s Training Tip: AGREED. Lift heavier, FabFans!”

Amira Lamb, IFBB Bikini Pro Athlete NASM CPT & Certified Nutrition & Holistic Lifestyle Coach (CHEK Institute) AFAA Certified Group Exercise

Amira Lamb aka the Holistic Hottie is an impressive human being and professional. I like to call her the Tiny Dynamo because she is who helped me mold my body for my first (and only) bikini body building competition in April 2013. She has so many bikini body strategies in her arsenal that we should call her Michelangela. Along with every woman on this list, I trust her implicitly when she says:

  1.  Single Leg Dead Lifts combined with a bicep curl after returning to standing position. – You have to keep the core pulled in and up while working the entire backside of the body. Adding the bicep curls at the end will help to increase muscle mass in the arms which will help them seem more “toned” in appearance.
  2. Plyometrics are fantastic for burning a high amount of calories within a short time. Star Jumps can ramp up your metabolism while working every muscle in the lower body. This is a great exercise to mix into a series of lower impact exercises to maintain an elevated heart rate throughout a workout without doing traditional cardio on a machine.
  3. A basic push up is great. It works the entire body – primarily upper and including the abdominals when you exhale forcefully. As a variation try a Star Jack Push Ups –begin with your feet wide then jump the feet together and then apart. Next, bend only the elbows and then press away from the floor. Continue the Jack to Push Up sequence for as many reps as you can do flawlessly

Amber Hirsch, Barre Certified Group Ex Instructor, Maddog Cycle Instructor

Amber Hirsch is also petite in stature but big in energy and presence. Like with Mary, I cannot believe a child came out of her flat belly but after taking her Barre class at LocalBarre in Hoboken, NJ ( & seeing those quads in action), I will listen when she says,

  1. Don’t Wait Until the last minute! We always have some warning when the summer is coming or when we are planning a vacation. If you have a specific goal, make plans to make sure that you will achieve it! Give yourself time to build a consistent routine which will ideally keep you fit and lean all year.
  2. But if you don’t have a lot of time, hit the barre not the bar! Barre classes are a great way to lengthen and define your muscles and will most importantly target the core. You will walk out of just one class feeling stronger, longer, with improved posture and ready to rock that bikini!
  3. Push it baby! Push Ups are really a woman’s secret weapon to killer arms, tight abs and generally staying lean. You need to recruit almost all the muscles of you body to do them and they get you results. Start where you are comfortable but challenge yourself and upgrade to harder versions as you progress.

Dorian Cervantes,  Dancer & ACE Certified Group Ex Instructor, CPT

Dorian Cervantes is first a dancer…can’t you tell? As with Jen, I knew OF her via the people in her life but the more I explored, the more I realized that she certainly knows what she’s doing in fitness.

  1. Plank with gliders- I am all about the plank all day everyday. You can do it anywhere and it requires no equipment. I love to add the use of Gliders on my feet to get an intense ab workout. I begin in plank position on my elbows and slide my foot in a half circle up towards my shoulder.
  2. One legged dead-lift is another great exercise that doesn’t need equipment but adding weight can really take this exercise to the next level. I usually use a 10lb kettlebell or dumbell.
  3. Push-ups-love to alternate between a wide push press and a narrow. I do 20 push ups. The first position is wide, arms placed on the outside of shoulders and legs on the outside of hips I do 2 push ups chest all the way to the ground and back up to high plank position.
Master trainer for Jumpsport, certified group x and personal trainer.NYSC only

Master trainer for Jumpsport, certified group x and personal trainer.NYSC only

Delida Torres has been in the Rebounding game for  some time now. She recently completed her first bikini fitness competition and had this advice to share.

  1. Planks any kind with rotation especially side planks keeps the abs nice and tight.
  2. Torso Hyper-extension with weights to create the curve in lower back and eliminate love handles & muffin top. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Do these carefully without weights as this is an advanced move.
  3. Booty hip extension + leg abduction combo gives you a nice round high butt. Stacey’s Training tip: you can do these with bands, cables or ankle weights!
Mika Oakes, Licensed Vinyasa Yoga Teacher & LMT

Mika Oakes, Licensed Vinyasa Yoga Teacher & LMT

Mika Oakes  is a beloved yoga instructor with what is by far the sparsest list with just these 3 Yogic points: ( So, so ZEN!)

  1. Listen to your body.
  2. Push yourself to the edge, not beyond.
  3. Slow and steady wins the race

 

Low starch, veggie “rice” & “noodles” (Sugar & Gluten Free!)

Low starch, low carb blanched broccoli "rice"
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Blanched broccoli riceYou don’t have  to  subscribe to any particular diet to see the connection between too much starch and weight gain. When eating the preferred wholesome, real food diet you’d get your starches from tubers like potatoes and some vegetables and grains; a less wholesome diet might include baked goods made from starchy, refined flours. Between you and I, quinoa, popcorn, brown rice and rolled oats are favorites on days when I really need the energy. The problem (at least for me) with these starches is in part control, especially when  bored and/or overly tired. Well, if it’s food volume you’re after, there ARE ways to prep non-starchy veggies to suit your needs. With my solution and unlike with grains, you can have more than 4 oz (half a cup) per serving of these veggies so you will feel fuller longer; I doubt you will need much more, though, since they are all high in fiber.  Not only that, but these veggies come with a higher nutrient content so you’re getting more nutrition bang for your buck! How do I do it? I make noodles and rice out of vegetables, that’s how! (see below) ** These are useful option for the diabetic and gluten-free diets**

*You will need a food processor or blender to make the vegetable “rice” and a mandolin slicer or vegetable peeler  for the noodles.

For rice,  fill a saucepan with about an inch of water and bring to a boil so that you can blanch the vegetables after you process into a rice like texture; use the rubberized blade on your food processor) and have a sieve ready to remove excess water.  *You can opt to blanche the vegetables BEFORE processing, up to you and your preference.

For noodles, I prefer the raw version. You can opt to steam or blanch if you prefer yours less al dente. 

Lastly, you can opt to season your rice and noodles with whatever herbs and spices you like! Personally, I like simple food but I am working on adding more flavor variety. Below is a list of vegetables in my low starch, grain free arsenal:

 

Broccoli “rice”

Brussel sprouts “rice”

Cauliflower “rice” or mash

Carrot noodles

Chopped cabbage

Green bean mash

Zucchini “noodles”

Spaghetti squash “pasta”

Cucumber “noodles”

Do these 3 things to look tighter by May

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Stay lean with StaceytheFabulous

Stay lean with StaceytheFabulous

They say Winter is ending. Not sure if I believe ’em but for positivity’s sake  let’s just say it is. That means your extremities will be making their big reveal in the next few weeks (yes, warm states, we know you’ve been sunbathing for ages)! For many of us,  Winter means heavier, more satisfying foods and hiding out at home more. In short, Winter can mean bigger backsides from less physical activity unless you take up Winter sports and train for something. Yada, yada, yada: what do we do about it and quickly? First, stop whining, we got ourselves here and 2nd:

Reduce/limit starchy foods. The grainy goodness that you pile your comfort foods on be they whole or refined (refined =  mass processed goods. No bueno) are giving you a belly. I know, I know, whole grains and beans ARE good for you but that big pot/or many sandwiches you feed on all day likely means you’re getting more than your share of starches. Replace some daily starchy meals with non-starchy vegetables and lean protein. You will not only look leaner but feel healthier with a balanced blood sugar level too. The American Diabetes Association has a handy list which I have excerpted at the end of this post.

Lift (heavier) weights.  Ladies, just how long do you intend to use those 5 lb dumb-bells?? Hello, your body has already adapted and is bored (also see below). Bored = no changes. As you age, lean muscle becomes your goldmine for looking fit and sleek. Build yours by adding 1-2 (then eventually 2-3)days of lifting moderately heavy weights ( moderately heavy means the 2nd of 3 sets of exercises is a challenge). Been using 5s? try 7s and 8s? been using 7s and 8s? try 10s and 12s and so on. The compliments you get will tell you how much your metabolism appreciates the boost.

Change up your routine. Kudos for exercising in the first place, by the way, it’s not easy for everyone. Still, your tried and true routine probably needs some tweaking if you have been doing it for awhile. First, change up your workout schedule then add more and less intense workouts throughout. If you’re over 30, you might have realized 2 days per week doesn’t really do as much as it used to and I’ve long since realized that this body needs a minimum of 4 to make and maintain changes. Personally, I find that a good barre class in between all the cycling and lifting I do really helps to lean me out AND as mentioned above, playing with my weight and intensity load does the trick. Find what you like it: forms of dance, zumba, swimming etc and add it to your regular routine.

Combine all 3 of these elements together now and you have a winning formula for looking Fabulously Healthy by Memorial Day, if not earlier. Get cracking and see you at the beach 🙂 

The following is a list of common non-starchy vegetables (ref. http://www.diabetes.org)

Amaranth or Chinese spinach

Artichoke

Artichoke hearts

Asparagus

Baby corn

Bamboo shoots

Beans (green, wax, Italian)

Bean sprouts

Beets

Brussels sprouts

Broccoli

Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)

Carrots

Cauliflower

Celery

Chayote

Coleslaw (packaged, no dressing)

Cucumber

Daikon

Eggplant

Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)

Hearts of palm

Jicama

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Mushrooms

Okra

Onions

Pea pods

Peppers

Radishes

Rutabaga

Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)

Sprouts

Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)

Sugar snap peas

Swiss chard

Tomato

Turnips

Water chestnuts

Yard-long beans –