Thursday, June 4, 2015

To-Go Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

Credit goes to 
Ok, so I have the first recipe for you guys and it's perfect. Delicious, easy, filling and best of all, very portable. And they're good hot or cold, plus they freeze well (to thaw, just leave in the fridge overnight).

I adapted the original recipe from HERE: 
But I've written with the adaption below for your conveinance. Note: you can mix everything up the night before making these and leave 'em in the fridge- just make sure you use baking cups for this one.

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1½ cups skim milk (or whatever milk you like)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • fruit
    nuts (crushed or minced)
  • 2-3 scoops protein powder
  • 1 scoop chia seeds

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 16 count muffin tin. 2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients (except fruit and nuts) until well combined. Spoon into baking cups. Push aprox. 1 tablespoon each of nuts and fruit into each muffin. (see link above) 3. Bake for 30 min, then let stand for 5 min. Store in an air tight container or if freezing, in a ziploc bag.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Step one: How to shop for food

Ok, so, finally went grocery shopping and I want to share my list with everyone, by food group and talk a little about why I chose the foods I did, and some tips. First, do NOT do what I did and go to the grocery store, and carry back $122 dollars worth of groceries back (that's about 112 euros or 7 bags worth, plus one reusable) with a baby strapped on. No fun at all, and now I have a bruise on one shoulder.

When changing your diet, go slow, and that goes for buying food too. Your body needs time to adjust, and you need to train your mind to think differently about eating.

1. I don't know about those of you in Europe, but here in the states, portion control is a big issue. So start by using smaller, salad plates instead of the dinner plate. Dinner plate is for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other time where there's a lot of different food being served. Not daily use. Our minds are trained to fill in the blanks, and that includes those 'blank' spots on a plate too.

2. Like I said go slow; maybe start with just healthy breakfasts for a week. Then breakfast and lunch the next, and all three meals the week after that with snacks converted at the fourth week. Otherwise you'll be like me and stuck in the bathroom all day. Again, not fun.

3. Be prepared for some steep prices. Don't get me wrong, you don't have to pay top dollar or go top-shelf to get good, healthy food. But sometimes you won't be offered many options. For example, the wild rice I got? It was the only kind in the entire store, and it was a whopping $8. Ouch. On the other hand, my protein powder was on clearance and I snagged it for half-price. Keep an eye out for deals and allow your meals to be flexible enough to adjust to weekly or manager's specials. And allows look around; if you see a store brand of what you need, like rolled oats, pay the $3 to get the big container instead of the $4 to get one a third that size.

4. Ingredients. Cannot stress this enough. If you see the words 'high fructose corn syrup', put it back, and don't give it a second glance. Not sure? Check. The whole point of trying to lose weight, is to make yourself healthier and you're not going to do that by putting toxins in your system. It just doesn't work that way.

5. Grow what you can. If you have the space for a veggie garden, I envy you and encourage you to start planting today. Fresh fruits and vegetables pack a heck of a lot more nutrients than those in the store- plus by growing them yourself, you know that nothings been added that shouldn't have been (i.e. GMO's). If you don't have the room for that, try smaller pots for some of your favorite herbs.

6. And go in with a plan. Shopping blind leads to impulse purchases. Sometimes, I get back home and realize that I have almost nothing but snack stuff and sugar. Lists are your friend.

And with the basics out of the way, I can finally show off what I got for the next 2 weeks, by food group.

Grains group: Wild rice, brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, seeded rye bread and whole wheat elbows.

When shopping for grains, look for the USDA Whole Grain stamp. That stamp means that a serving actually counts as a grain- not a fat. Also, choose items that say 'whole grain' or 'seeded' vs. 'whole wheat'. Wheat is only 1 grain; you should have a variety of them in your diet.

Protein group: Almonds, chia seeds, Vanilla soy protein powder, black beans, Greek yogurt, soy milk (not pictured, canned tuna, canned chicken, ground beef, eggs, peanut butter)

Proteins are key to building strong muscles, making them perfect for a post-workout meal or snack. However, we tend to think of those un-pictured items as protein, neglecting other, sometimes less fatty, sources. Cut down on the amount of red meat, chicken, and fish and eat more soy, nuts, Greek yogurt, and beans.

Veggies group: Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, celery, spinach, carrot sticks.

Go crazy here. You can NEVER have enough veggies. Start thinking outside the box when it comes to these guys; they're very under appreciated. Breadsticks? Try garlic parmesean baked zucchini slices. Craving something crunchy? How about celery with peanut butter and craberries (Fire Ants on a Log)? And they pack a punch when it comes to nutrients. Don't skimp on this group.

Dairy group: Paremesean cheese, monteray Jack cheese, soy milk, Greek yogurt.

The key here is making everything but the cheese do double duty, otherwise you're eating more fat than the needed calcium and protein. On the cheese, get different kinds; they all have different benefits and flavors. Experimenting encouraged!!

Fruit group: Frozen raspberries, dried cranberries, fresh apples

Ok, I loooove fruit, so this is my weak spot. My trick? Getting things that won't be easy to munch on (except the apples). Get fruits that are in season fresh, and others either frozen or dried.

Fats and other: Extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, dijon mustard, stick butter.

The butter is strictly for cooking purposes only, same with the olive oil. That being said, olive oil is a much better (but more expensive) option than canola oil. Be ready to bite the bullet. As for the others, variety is the spice of life!!! Mild garlic and lemon juice are great for fish and pastas, while the spicier red pepper flakes kick start your metabolism. Not pictured: drink mix packets because I have a problem with not drinking enough water; the packets help alot. Just be sure to get sugar-free ones.

Friday, May 29, 2015

My Non-Traditional Weight Loss plan

Ok, so my roomate has decided, out of the blue, to go total vegetarian at the advice of his girlfriend. Sounds completely crazy to me, especially when he expected to start dropping weight immediately. If you've read any dieting books or blogs, you know that weight loss takes time, proper diet, AND exercise.

Unfortunately, not all of us have the leisure of dieting like health books. Kids, work, and otherwise filled schedules leave little energy for even a partner, let alone hitting the gym! What's a girl (or guy) to do??

Me with my mom prior to
I've decided to give it a shot; gods only know how much I'd love to lose that belly flab I've been carrying around since having my little daughter. But with trying to go back to school for phsycology in the fall, and next to no funds, I'm not going to go about it the traditional way. You won't see a single gym membership recommendation or high-priced, unfilling recipe here. Just simple foods made with few specialty ingrediants, and on a budget (gotta feed the baby too!)

Before I go any further, I want to remind everyone to talk to your doctor before beginning a dieting regime (because how could you possibly know what your body needs better than your doc, right?). Got it? Good. Now that that's out of the way, I'm not going to a doctor. Or counting calories. Or even counting pounds.

And after pregnancy. A good 15 lbs left to go
My goal is to become as healthy as I can comfortably be. For example, my ideal weight before pregnancy was around 145-150 pounds, and 5'4" and a U.S. size 7 in jeans. I felt confidant, but I definately skipped a few too many meals to get there.

This time, I'm going to be using lots of easy to make quick meals. You know, the kind where you spend an hour in the kitchen once a week and you have breakfast for the next week. Muffin tin and hand pies are going to be heavy here, with protein substitutes like quinoa, beans, and nuts.

As for exercise, a half-hour of stretching/yoga or other simple routine everyday with an hour walk once a week. Easy enough to fit into a schedule.

I'll follow up with reviews and tweaks on those recipes and the exercise. Wish me luck on this journey!!