/> Clean Convenient Cuisine: July 2010

Clean Convenient Cuisine

Reset your tastebuds!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Fin Factor

According to research in Real Age, those who eat fish 3 times per week versus other meats decrease their risks of dementia by 20% and extended their life span by as much as 3 years. The inflammation fighting omega-3 fatty acids can be thanked for these healthful benefits. So, before you dive headfirst into sushi or eating fish every single day, it's important to know which fish are the best and have the least amount of mercury and which ones you should avoid.


1. Salmon (wild)
2. Herring
3. Sardines
4. Trout (freshwater)
5. Pollock


1. King mackerel
2. Shark
3. Swordfish
4. Tilefish

And what about tuna? It falls somewhere in the middle. It does not have a lot of omegas, and chunk light tuna has the least amount of mercury, but it's still safe to limit consumption to about 3 times per week for most tuna.

An easy, quick recipe full of lots of fresh veggies and a good portion of fish? See below:

2 6-oz. salmon fillets
2 fresh ears of corn
1 bunch asparagus
1 roma tomato
10 brussel sprouts
1 bunch broccoli
1/4 red onion
2 cloves fresh garlic

Pour 1 tbs. olive oil into a another pan and place the salmon (after you have seasoned it), skin side down. Cook for 6-7 minutes on each side on medium heat with a lid.

Wash and clean veggies. Pour 1 tbs. oil and 1/3 c. water in a large pan. Let heat and then add halved brussel sprouts. Place a lid on top and let cook for 1 minute. Throw in the asparagus and corn, and season accordingly. We use curry, paprika, and cayenne. Add broccoli, onion, garlic, tomato and cilantro, cooking for about 5-6 minutes, until veggies are nice and crisp.

Portion up the veggies on a plate and add salmon on top. You can make an optional "sauce" for the salmon by combining 1/2 c. fat-free sour cream, curry and a little cilantro.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Redesigning An American Classic!

American restaurants usually have a staple people love: burger and fries. Sometimes, even if you're a healthy eater, you crave a burger, fries and a milkshake. Almost every fast food chain is based on the assumption that people like burgers and fries. McDonald's has made billions on it.

So, what if you like this type of food but want to "clean" it up a bit? Try turkey burgers, sweet potato fries and a healthy strawberry milkshake. There are numerous restaurants who offer this now (Feast in Chicago being one of my favorites), but you can make this quick and easy meal at home.

First, look for ground turkey that is at least 93% lean and isn't pre-salted. Buy 4 medium size sweet potatoes, or Whole Foods sells sweet potato fries in the freezer section (and many other grocery stores do as well). Decide what toppings you want for your burger (and forgo the bun if you can, as the healthy carbs from the sweet potato fries are enough).


1 package ground turkey
4 medium sweet potatoes
olive oil
ketchup made with AlsoSalt (no sodium and it tastes the same!)
1 package strawberries
greek yogurt

1. If you are going to make the sweet potatoes, get those going first. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel your sweet potatoes and then cut them in half and then into fat wedges to form steak fries. Put them in a large plastic tupperware dish and sprinkle them with spices, such as paprika, cumin, cayenne, etc. Pour 2 tbs. of olive oil on top of them, put on the lid and shake them until they are spiced evenly. Pour the mixture onto a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes until they are nice and crispy.

2. Prepare the lettuce, tomato and onions for your burger.

3. When the potatoes have about 10-15 minutes to go, form the ground turkey into patties and add spices of your choice (paprika, cayenne, a little chili powder, garlic, etc). You can cook the burgers in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil, on the grill or on a George Foreman. You want to cook the burgers on medium to medium high for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until done through the middle.

4. Pile your burger with healthy toppings, scoop a serving of sweet potato fries onto the plate and enjoy!

Want something sweet after? Here's a healthy take on the strawberry milkshake:

1. In a blender, combine 5 ice cubes, 1/3 c. water, 1 cup greek yogurt, 1 scoop vanilla or strawberry protein powder, 1/2 cup fresh cut strawberries and 1 banana (optional). Blend together, adding a dash of cinnamon. Pop in the freezer for about 5 minutes and have a sweet, healthy treat at the end of your American meal!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"I Don't Like Healthy Food!"

I hear this complaint all the time. I will give clients a list of the tried and true healthy foods that breed success, and I get the same complaint: "I don't like those foods." So, what happens if you truly don't like something healthy and you aren't willing to compromise?

There are always substitutes. Below are some of the most common complaints, and the next best food in line to keep you on the road to success. Don't be afraid to try something new, or return to something old and just revisit it in a new way (if you stir-fry veggies, try steaming them or even eating them raw for that extra crunch). Just like anyone who likes wine or coffee, I guarantee you that on their very first sip, they weren't instantly in love. It takes an acquired taste - just like it takes acquired habits - to like specific foods and achieve health. Take it a single step at a time, one day at a time, and you will get there!


If you really don't like oatmeal (even slightly dressed up with nuts, berries, and a bit of agave nectar or greek yogurt), there are other options. Though cereal gets a bad rap, there are healthier brands than others. Look for a cereal low in sugar (no more than 6 grams per serving) and top it with fresh berries, nuts and skim or soy milk. WHOLE WHEAT ENGLISH MUFFINS, topped with natural peanut butter and a sliced banana are another option.


Eggs are one of the most perfect foods around. However, the yolks carry too much fat to eat every single day in larger quantities, which is why egg whites are so healthy. So, how can you get 6 grams of fiber, no fat and no carbs in the morning? Though coconut water probably won't fill you up the way eggs do, it's a quick, easy way to get some protein and minerals, and it's considered a "natural" energy drink. Low in carbs, fat and in naturally occurring sugars, coconut water maintains the body's natural fluid levels while helping promote elimination and regulate the body.


Unless you have an allergy to fish, it really would be worth the effort to try tuna or salmon for the numerous health benefits. Still a no go? Bison, or buffalo, is a healthier alternative to beef. Make sure and look for grass-fed bison, which is exceptionally low in fat, calories and cholesterol. For just over 3 oz. of bison, you are looking at a mere 143 calories and 2.4 fat grams. In addition, bison is high in B vitamins, potassium, iron, selenium, and low in sodium. Try making burgers or bison steaks.


Quite simply, LEARN TO LIKE THEM. Vegetables are super foods. While fruit is great, vegetables are better. They are low in sugar, carbs and calories and pack a vitamin punch in every bite. One of the easiest ways to get them if you absolutely hate them is to JUICE them or find PURE VEGETABLE JUICES. Also, purchase soups full of veggies but low in sodium. Sneak them in salads or  throw tomatoes and spinach into a morning omelet for an A.M. boost.

Still refusing to go for the green? While beans cannot replace veggies in any way, they are packed with protein, fiber and iron, and are a great source for vegetarians or people who lack fiber in their diet. The best bet is to buy them dry. Don't have time to cook dry beans? Buy the canned variety, but pour them in a strainer and rinse them with cold water until they are not full of bubbles (as all canned varieties are packed in a salty mixture). Heat them up or add them cold to salads, soups, stirfries, burritos, etc.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How To Beat ANY Craving!

I get cravings - we all do. As a matter of fact, I just wanted a piece of cake, so I ate a piece of vegan tofu chocolate chip cheesecake instead. It's not a great choice, because it's still made with sugar, but there's no cholesterol, no animal products, and the slight sweetness and creamy texture totally hit the spot for a dessert craving. Plus, at $5 per slice, it makes you think twice about indulging.

Here's a rule of thumb for cravings: if you're going to indulge, indulge in something you really want and not something that won't satisfy the craving. It's better to have 1/2 cup of real ice cream than an entire carton of fat-free, sugar-free ice cream. Why? Because you're eating more when you allow yourself the modified version, and to make anything "fat-free" or "sugar-free" there's a whole lot of chemicals and processes involved. You're better off with the real thing.

Once you get a handle on WHAT you crave, WHEN you crave it and HOW MUCH it takes to satisfy the craving, you can actually get your food desires under control. Sometimes, people think they are hungry when they are really just thirsty. So, down a full glass of water, and try and distract yourself. Craving something in the afternoon? Perhaps you did not get enough protein at lunch. Have an oral fixation? Chew a piece of gum. Bored? Go for a quick walk. Craving still there? Here are some rules:

1. Only give in to cravings once or twice per week. I find having a cheat meal on Wednesdays and Saturdays works well. If I know I get a dessert on Wednesday, it's much easier to eat "clean" Sunday-Tuesday.

2. Try and indulge during the middle of the day versus at night when you are most sedentary. If you are the type of person who feels guilty AFTER the fact, then go for a walk or engage in some sort of exercise. My friend, Jenny, and I used to be as crazy as to walk 4 miles up to The Chicago Diner to eat dinner and have a piece of cake and then walk the 4 miles back. We are also exercise fiends, but it felt good to move our bodies directly after eating and to know that while we indulged, we were still burning calories.

3. Try and satisfy your craving with the smallest amount. Craving something sweet? Try just 1 square of dark chocolate and then make yourself a cup of decaffeinated hot tea. Sipping on something warm can sometimes do the trick.

Here are some other ideas for those sweet cravings:

1. Frozen grapes
2. Greek yogurt pudding
3. Hot cocoa
4. 1 square dark chocolate
5. Vegan desserts (seriously, try them!)

Craving salty or crunchy?

1. 1 cup healthy cereal topped with unsalted almonds and berries and skim or soy milk
2. Healthy trail mix with whole wheat pretzels, nuts and chocolate
3. Stacy's pita chips (1 serving) with hummus
4. Organic popcorn

Everyone should indulge now and then, but still be smart about your choices and try and limit them to once or twice per week. And most important? Pay attention to portions and the quality of what you're eating. I simply make candy bars and things I find in gas stations off limits. Higher quality products always taste better and usually satisfy your cravings much quicker than the cheap, processed stuff. Happy snacking!

Road Trip Food

Who doesn't love taking a road trip from time to time? As Alex and I just drove 14 hours (to and from our destination), we made sure we were armed with snacks. Even so, there's something about being in a car that "snacks" just won't satisfy. We wanted something substantial to eat, but didn't want to stop for a full meal.

It seems like the minute you embark on the road, with your music and sunglasses and good conversation, all healthy food options fall to the wayside. As we headed further south, all the KFCs, McDonald's and Wendy's added up, leaving us hungry and refusing to stop at a fast food chain. Our healthiest option? Subway. However, if America's idea of "healthy" is 6 to 12 inches of bread, salty deli meat and some wilty veggies, then we still have a long way to go. I began to have daydreams of little salad huts, where they have fresh veggies, good, lean proteins and tons of steamed veggies. Why don't these places exist??

So, if you're trying to watch what you eat, what are you supposed to do on a road trip? Pack food!! All it takes is a little prep time, and you're good to go. You want to try and eat normally (every 3 hours), so if you're in the car for 7 or 8 hours, you only really have to eat twice. Here are some ideas to pack:

Dried apricots
Unsalted nuts or a healthy trail mix
Chicken or tuna salad
Stacy's pita chips (or maybe not, as these are incredibly addictive and when you have a bag of something, it's easy to devour the whole thing)
Protein powder in a shaker bottle

These foods are easy to pack and easy to eat in the car. If you do stop to eat, try and make healthier choices. As some fast food restaurants are now serving salads, make sure you order the salad without bacon or cheese and get the dressing on the side.

Safe travels!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mood Food

Do you ever wonder why sometimes you are in a great mood and other times you could punch someone? If it's not sleep related or stress related, your mood can often be linked to food: sugar, in particular. I was discussing sugar with a client the other day and she told me about a study in Madagascar. There, the children are very well-behaved; they hardly, if ever, burst out into public tantrums. They aren't screaming one minute and crying the next, and the parents don't look at you, weary-eyed and say (in lieu of an explanation), "He's three."

There, the behavior is linked to diet - more specifically, what they don't eat - sugar, being the number one culprit. When you feed a child (and an adult) natural, whole foods, the body can process these foods as it was designed to. It utilizes the food as brain fuel and body fuel, supplying important nutrients to muscles and the heart. But, when you stuff your body full of fats and sugar, you are messing with insulin levels and literally wreaking havoc on your organs. Ever wonder why your joints hurt sometimes? Sugar. Notice how some people have worse hangovers than others? Most likely, if you are indulging in sugary beverages, you are going to feel it the next day.

This morning, over coffee and breakfast, Alex and I flipped it on the Food Network to see "Alex's Day Off," a show we watch from time to time. The host was making breakfast for her husband and daughter, which consisted of potatoes doused in oil, a ton of salt and a block of cheese on top, donuts, thick pieces of bacon, eggs fried up in the leftover fat... while it looks delectable, you have to wonder: why? We don't live in a society that can indulge in these foods on a daily basis. Meals like this, or on Thanksgiving, often leave us in food comas. It's because we have stuffed our systems full of items it doesn't want. In a sense, we can poison ourselves with food, and when we become obese (or continuously eat bad foods), that's exactly what we are doing to our bodies.

By now, you know what to stay away from on a daily basis (and of course, it's fine to indulge once in a while). But, what about the good mood foods? To help aide your mood, you want foods naturally high in vitamins and minerals: B vitamins for energy, as well as iron, folate, potassium and magnesium. Here's some of our favorites:

Dark chocolate
Pumpkin seeds

There are countless good mood foods - most of which come from the ground or aren't packaged in a box. Start to pay attention to the connection between how you feel and what you eat. It's one of the easiest fixes: change your diet, change your mood!

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's For Lunch: Healthy Chicken Salad

A salad topped with chicken is often a great, easy staple for lunch. However, one can only take so much of a baked or grilled chicken breast before you never want to look at chicken again. Chicken salad often sounds appetizing, but can be laden with hidden fat culprits.

When shopping at Whole Foods today, I decided to make a salad. Rather than get tuna, I spotted chicken salad. But, as I read the ingredients, I began to cringe. The list was at least 20 ingredients long, full of mayo and salt. This is often why I stay away from tuna salad or chicken salad, but there's a great, easy healthy way to make chicken salad (or tuna) at home and bring it with you to work. Here's a recipe we love:

Healthy Chicken Salad

Take 2 grilled chicken breasts or 1/2 of a rotisserie chicken. Shred or dice the chicken, and mix with the following ingredients:

Chopped pecans
Red onion
Nayonaise, vegenaise or greek yogurt (all mayo substitutes - experiment to see which you like best)
Curry powder (optional)

Mix all ingredients until smooth and serve over a bed of lettuce, or eat alone as a mid-afternoon snack.

Good Fats Versus Bad Fats

There's always a discrepancy between what constitutes a "good" fat versus a bad fat. Aren't all fats bad? No. Your body actually needs fat to burn fat, but there are definitely better fats than others. One gram of fat has 9 calories, compared to 4 calories for one carb and 4 calories for one gram of protein, making it the most calorie dense of the three.

Saturated fats are lipids you want to avoid at all costs. These fats raise bad cholesterol levels and show up in red meat, dairy, eggs and many oils, such as palm and palm kernel oil. These fats go directly to your fat cells and are the last thing you burn when exercising.

Trans fats are those fats that are found in many processed foods, so they can have a longer shelf life (always read the label and look for words like "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated"). You'll notice many products now say "trans fat" free. French fries are a prime example of trans fats.

Monounstaturated and polyunsaturated fats lower bad cholesterol, help skin and hair, and are the fats you want. They show up in naturally occurring foods like avocado, walnuts, olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon, and all omega 3 fatty acids. These types of fats actually promote weight loss, but the trick is to eat these foods in moderation.

For instance, you don't want to eat avocado, olive oil, peanut butter and salmon all in one day. Fat is still fat - get too much of it, even the bad fats - and you will store it.

Every individual is different, so pay attention to how much you get per meal. If you are trying to lose weight, you still need to get these healthy fats, but focus on nixing the processed fats, heavy foods, such as cream and butter and many foods made with excess oils. If you work out, try and skimp on the fat pre-workout (again, as it is the last thing you burn when exercising), instead focusing more on complex carbs and simple sugars, which will be the first thing you burn off. A banana is a perfect example.

Got questions? Send them our way!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What I'm Craving: Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Who doesn't love chocolate and peanut butter? I am so crazy about peanut butter, I don't even allow it in the house. Seriously. I love it that much. However, when it does happen to appear in a cupboard, Alex is likely to find me on the couch, eating it by the spoonful until the jar is empty. I make him hide it from me, or insist he eat it all in a single day, so I am not tempted to devour it.

However, as I have had it in my house less and less, my cravings have decreased dramatically. (A good tip: if you know you can't resist a certain type of food, don't buy it. It works.) If you are going to eat peanut butter (or chocolate), there are definitely better choices than others.

Always purchase natural peanut butter. A good peanut butter should just be comprised of peanuts, oil and a little salt. Have you ever looked at the ingredients of a normal jar? The list is not pretty. Though natural tastes different, popular brands such as Smucker's, Peter Pan and Jif are now making natural brands, and once you get used to the less artificial taste, you will find it much better in taste and texture. The biggest complaint? You have to stir in the oil, which can be messy, and by the time you reach the bottom of the jar, it's like a rock (because you can't possibly stir the oil all the way to the bottom).

A simple solution to this? As soon as you get the jar, store it upside down in your cabinet or fridge. Problem solved. It mixes automatically, making for a smooth, consistently creamy texture.

What about chocolate? While there are a million types of chocolate, always go for dark chocolate. It's full of antioxidants and can give you a mental boost as well. The higher the percentage, the better (I like as dark as 85%, which really takes the edge off of a sweet craving).

So, one night, when Alex was craving something sweet, I rummaged our cabinets and came up with the following treat, which he swore was the best thing he ever ate.

Get one freshly made tortilla (Whole Foods bakes their tortillas daily - they are phenomenal. I buy a giant batch of them and just store them in the freezer), and if you have a gas stove, turn on the burner and lay the tortilla directly on the burner for a few seconds, flipping often. Take it off once it is slightly crisped (or you can just warm it up in the oven).

Take 2 tbs. of natural peanut butter and place it on a dish. Take half of a banana and mash it up with a fork on top of the peanut butter. Add a square of dark chocolate to this mixture and pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, or until the chocolate begins to melt. Spread the mixture on the tortilla, drizzle a little agave nectar (or honey) on it and roll it up. Voila! A perfect treat that won't break the calorie bank and will satisfy your sweet and savory cravings.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Clean Eating Challenge: Eat Like THIS Day By Day

What does it mean to eat clean? You hear this term in magazines, on television, with athletes, but everyone has a different version of what "clean" means to them. However, there are tried and true foods that get results, no matter if you want to bulk up, slim down, add lean muscle, or lose a substantial amount of weight. It's how you USE the food that matters. Trying to lose weight? Pay attention to portion sizes. Eat 5 times per day, every 3 hours, limiting calories to 300-400 per meal. Cut back on carbs at night, for one of the easiest fixes. Trying to bulk up? Increase your complex carbs, protein and good fats (such as nuts, avocado and olive oil). Don't laden your body with fatty foods, which are unhealthy. You want to add lean mass, not bulk.

Here's a list of our top ten cleanest foods. Try to incorporate them into your diet every single day in some capacity.

1. Egg whites - fat-free, full of protein
2. Oatmeal - a complex carb, naturally sugar free, lowers cholesterol
3. Greek yogurt - a good dairy source, chock full of protein and lower in sugar than most yogurts
4. Raw, unsalted almonds - a good source of fat and protein, to help keep you full
5. Chicken - a great source of protein that can be used in a variety of ways
6. Salmon - perfect source of good fats; one of the healthiest fish around
7. Asparagus - a natural diuretic, this green is hard to beat
8. Blueberries - a great source of antioxidants, add this powerhouse to oatmeal, yogurts or salads
9. Brown rice - a great source of complex carbs, this grain provides energy and is a better choice over white rice
10. Whey protein  - easily absorbed into the body, high in protein and low in calories, whey is the perfect recovery food after a workout

And of course, WATER is one of the most important components of any diet. Without water, your body cannot flush the toxins from its system - so drink up. Aim for at least 3 liters of water every single day. It makes a huge difference in health, mental clarity and energy level. One of the first signs of a headache is dehydration - so make sure to keep a bottle on hand!

Obviously, there are an abundance of clean foods that aren't on this list: virtually every vegetable and most fruits provide an array of health benefits. Rotating your fruits and veggies is a great way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. Experiment with different grains, such as barley and quinoa (which packs more protein than brown rice) and proteins. Tired of beef? Try bison, which is much lower in fat, but still makes for a great burger.

A "great" day in our world looks like the following:

Meal One
3-4 egg whites
1/2 cup steel cut oats with blueberries and walnuts

Meal Two (post-workout)
1 protein shake made with 6 ice cubes, 1/2 cup water
1 banana
1/2 c. greek yogurt
1/3 c. oatmeal
1 scoop strawberry hydrowhey

Meal Three
tuna/chicken/turkey  (3oz.)
1/2 c. brown rice
1/2 c. organic black beans
2 cups leafy greens or steamed veggies

Meal Four
1 handful almonds

Meal Five
salmon or chicken
2 cups veggies

Meal Six (optional)
Greek yogurt pudding made with 1 c. greek yogurt and 1 scoop whey protein powder

I cannot express enough how important having a menu is for the week. If you are prepared, you are more apt to stick to clean eating. If you are going to eat out or you are craving something sweet, try and eat those foods earlier in the day versus at night, when people are the most sedentary. People often fail at night when they have no idea what to eat and they don't feel like cooking, so they order out or eat something quick.

Got questions? Send them our way!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Egg Pucks: The Healthy Snack

So many times I need a healthy, protein rich snack that is portable, can be eaten hot or cold and will actually fill me up. Introduce what we like to call EGG PUCKS, which are nothing more than little egg white muffins. The beauty of these treats is that they are super easy to make, can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or even dinner and paired with virtually any food for a balanced snack.

Simply take a dozen egg whites (with a few yolks) and pour into a blender. Add spinach, tomatoes or any other veggie of your choice and blend. Pour the mixture evenly into a muffin tray and bake for 30 minutes on 300 degrees. Experiment with ingredients and how you whip them to make a fluffy, healthy treat.

Egg whites pack 6 grams of protein per egg and are incredibly low in calories and naturally fat free. They are a good choice for those who are watching calories but still need a good amount of protein.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

To Salt or Not To Salt? That is NOT The Question!!

Order anything at a restaurant, and no matter what your cuisine, there will be one commonality amongst the steaming plates and endless delectable options: salt. This seemingly innocent four letter word has led to numerous health problems amongst Americans: bloating, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a general consensus that to be seasoned properly, your food has to have salt. I watch an abundance of cooking shows, snickering at the judges who insist certain dishes aren’t seasoned “properly.” What does that word even mean? Who says to be seasoned properly it has to be salty? And, besides that, even the healthy cooking shows add salt to absolutely everything. 

Newsflash: just one tablespoon of salt is more than your daily allowance, which has been reduced from 2400mg to 1500mg. And did you ever notice that salt simply makes your food taste like… salt? So, what is the answer? First, stop using the saltshaker at restaurants. This is step one. Begin to enjoy the taste of your food. Ask for no salt on the food you order, and then witness the perplexed looks on the faces of your servers as they adhere to your odd request.

Case in point: yesterday, in the hot sun, I passed an obese little boy, clutching a salty, soft pretzel in one hand and a giant Mountain Dew in the other. His parents, also heavy, were several steps ahead of him. He was breathing heavily, his bulbous thighs rubbing together, a thin stream of sweat soaking his shirt and shorts. Suddenly, I ached for him, for all the fresh foods he will never eat, and how his body will never move as it ought to. He will never have the option to taste good food, to know what it feels like to be a healthy kid, and subsequently, a fit adult.

To cook well doesn’t mean you have to be a chef. You can cook plenty of healthy dishes with no salt and fresh ingredients that actually taste great. After all, a vegetable is supposed to taste like a vegetable, not an oily, buttery mess (don’t get me started on ruining vegetables with butter and too much oil). We have to reawaken our senses and make smarter choices, since our population is headed to an obesity epidemic. We have to start doing something different – immediately, if not sooner. And this is one of the easiest tricks: stop using salt. If you are addicted to salt and actually love the taste, there is something new in town: AlsoSalt www.alsosalt.com. It’s healthier, it tastes like salt, but without the negative health benefits. It's main two inredients are potassium and lysine, which are great nutrients for your health. 

So, challenge yourself and start tasting your food. You will feel less sluggish, less bloated and begin to taste the natural flavors of fresh cuisine. Your kidneys and your health will thank you! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Whey Your Options

Whey protein powder is a high quality powder made from cow's milk. It is one of the most nutritious proteins available. The great thing about whey is that you can mix it with virtually any food for a great dose of extra protein.

Alex and I have tried our fair share of proteins. Some are definitely better than others. When purchasing whey, look for the fewest ingredients possible, no artificial sweeteners and no more than 30 grams of protein at a time, as your body can only absorb 30 grams - anymore and it will be stored as fat.

After much research and years of trying different types, we found that OPTIMUM NUTRITION PLATINUM HYDROWHEY is the absolute best on the market: www.optimumnutrtion.com. With 140 calories per rounded scoop and only 1 gram of fat, no cholesterol, no sugar, 2 carbs and 30 g of protein, this powder also includes 8.8 g of your BCAAs and no lactose. It also contains digestive enzymes for enhanced utilization.

Some great options for whey are as follows:

1. Mix a half scoop in with your oatmeal or oatmeal pancakes in the morning.
2. Protein peanut butter shake. If you have vanilla or chocolate whey, mix one scoop whey, 1 banana, 1 cup soy or nonfat milk, and 2 tbs. natural peanut butter for a delicious treat.
3. Protein pudding made with 1 scoop whey protein powder and 1 cup greek yogurt. Stir until smooth, add a dash of cinnamon and put in the freezer for five minutes (trust me, it's delicious and is a great fix for a sweet tooth after dinner).
4. If you are making desserts (pies or brownies, specifically), you can add a scoop in for an extra dose of protein.

Whey is great in that it mixes well with most foods. While you don't want to go overboard on protein, it's a great way for vegetarians to get some extra protein (you can also use soy, though it does not replenish the muscles as quickly as whey). The best time for whey, of course, is post workout. It immediately starts repairing damaged muscle tissue, supplying your body with all the nutrients it needs.

Got ideas or questions? Please send them our way!

Oatmeal: Not Just For Breakfast!!

Everyone knows that oatmeal is the breakfast of champions (and if you don't, you should). This amazing grain contains fiber, is naturally sugar-free, has omega-3s, iron and is reported to boost immunity while lowering cholesterol. It is best in steel-cut form, but also comes in rolled form (which has been processed and takes less time to cook), and then there is instant, which is usually sweetened and the least nutritious of the bunch. If you don't have time to make steel-cut, (a 30 minute commitment), shoot for old-fashioned (which takes 5 minutes). Really don't have time? Find the instant that has no sugar or flavoring added. So, what else can you do with this super food?

First, don't kick it until you've tried it for breakfast. Cook according to the directions and then add a slew of fresh berries, a dollop of greek yogurt and some walnuts for a power-packed breakfast. The great think about steel-cut is that you can make it the night before, and it reheats well in the morning. 

Tired of normal oatmeal? Try OATMEAL PANCAKES. 

Here's one heart healthy recipe: 
1 cup fat free milk (or water)
3/4 cup oatmeal (uncooked, quick or regular oats)
3/4 cup oatmeal flour 
1 tsp baking powder (optional)
4 large egg whites 
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
Heat milk (or water) until hot, stir in oats and set aside. Beat egg whites into a stiff foam with hand mixer or blender and reserve. Mix remaining dry ingredients together and stir in oatmeal/milk mixture. Fold in egg whites until mixture is well blended. Spray pan with nonstick spray and cook pancakes until browned on both sides.  

*Depending on how long you've let the oats sit, you may need to add a little extra water to the batter to thin it out.  It will still be thicker than regular pancake batter

Nutritional Information for 5 Pancakes:
Per Serving: Calories- 313 Carbs- 48.8g Protein- 19.5g Fat- 4.5g Fiber- 6.3g

Another way to make these is simply to combine egg whites and oatmeal and saute with cooking spray. A little boring, but a different spin on the popular egg white and oatmeal breakfast. Top with fresh berries and agave nectar for a truly guilt-free treat. 

Adding oatmeal straight from the canister is a great post-workout way to give your muscles the proper recovery fuel. I use HYDROWHEY and combine one scoop with 6 ice cubes, 1/2 cup of water, 1/3 c. greek yogurt, 1 banana and then sprinkle in some oatmeal and a dash of cinnamon for a perfect recovery drink. It also makes a great snack.

Oatmeal is a perfect binding agent for meats when grilling. Simply add it to the marinade and roll it in with the meat. It keeps the burgers together and absorbs grease. 

The next time you want to crust your meat, try oatmeal. It's a healthier way to add a little texture to your chicken, pork or beef.

The next time you try to make pancakes or bread, put oatmeal in a food processor to make OAT FLOUR and use this instead of regular flour for a healthier approach to pancakes or breads.

If you cook oatmeal and let it cool, you can apply it directly to skin to treat acne. You can also pour some in the bath to help open pours and sooth dry, irritate skin. 

Oatmeal can be combined with flour and water for a healthy and inexpensive spin on craft time with the kids. Let them mold their creation and it will harden overnight.

The next time you go to throw away the canister, don't. You can decorate it with paper and store craft items, kitchen items, whatever you deem fit.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's For Lunch?

After a good workout of shoulders, hamstrings and core, I could feel my mid-morning protein shake wearing off. While I would normally reserve my shakes for post-workout, our lunch today was the next best thing: tuna packed in water with the following mixed in: 

Red onion (red onions are sweeter and are great to add to salads or tuna for a little bite)
Red bell pepper (all bells are great, though yellow leads the pack)
Cilantro (add cilantro to everything and get a ton of flavor with no calories)
Avocado (a dose of healthy fats, just a quarter is all you need)
Roma tomato (my personal favorite, make sure you never store tomatoes in the refrigerator as it ruins texture and flavor)
Paprika (great spice that can be added to everything)
Nayonaise (a vegan version of mayo, use a dollop instead of the fatty stuff to get that creamy texture in tuna)
Dried minced garlic (garlic, a super food, can be used fresh or dried in almost any dish)

With the tuna, I ate some of the best cottage cheese I've ever found by a brand called FRIENDSHIP. No salt added and only 1% fat make for a smooth texture and a great dose of protein, with a whopping 16g in half a cup. As I am trying to cut back on carbs today, I just had this protein packed meal, but you can always add a piece of Ezekial toast or 1/2 c. cooked brown rice. Enjoy!

Grocery Shopping 101

We all dread that moment when you open the fridge and see just a few straggly items remaining. You sigh and realize it's that time again: a grocery store run. 

This seemingly unending chore comes ever week, or perhaps even every few days, or if you eat out all the time, maybe never. But, it can be an easy, dare I even say enjoyable, experience if you know how to shop, when to shop and what to look for. Perhaps I am one of the few who enjoys gathering my bags and empty water bottles to head to Whole Foods on a Sunday morning, way before the city has yet stirred. I have my routine and can get a week's worth of shopping done in 15 minutes, and that's while drinking coffee. And of course, strolling through the aisles with my wonderful man. 

Here are some helpful tips:

1. Shop at off times. According to research, Wednesday morning is the best time to shop. However, peruse your market and find out when they get their shipments of produce in and when the crowds are the least annoying. For instance, Saturday at lunchtime is probably not a great idea. 

2. Always have a list. Better yet, make a weekly menu. Figure out your dinners, at least, so you know what staples to buy. It doesn't have to be a complicated meal to be good. The fewer the ingredients, the better. For example, if you decide on chicken and veggies for dinner, purchase a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and steam some veggies. Use the chicken the next day for lunch to throw on a salad.

3. Stick to the perimeter of the store. You've heard it before, but everything good for you is usually on the outer edges of the store. Stock up on produce, veggies, meats and dairy and then dip into the aisles for other staples, such as oatmeal and brown rice.

4. Make shopping enjoyable. Grab a coffee and stroll through the aisles. Bring a shopping partner. Make it a weekly lunch date, where you eat and then shop (another helpful tip: Never go to the store hungry!!). I go to Whole Foods because yes, it's better quality, but I find it clean and exquisite. I actually enjoy perusing the store, looking at the mounds of fresh produce. I also find the staff knowledgeable and helpful if I ever have a question.

5. Know when to spend and when to save. I've done a lot of comparative shopping, and I actually do the best at Whole Foods. I will spend the extra cash on organic meats and produce and then save on other items, such as brown rice, oats and eggs. Make a budget and try and stick to it. Remember, you are spending for your health. While it's unfortunate that "healthy" food costs more, that's just the backwards world we live in. 

Got questions?? Send them our way!! 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Myths About Vegan Food

One of the biggest myths is that food has to be laden with fat, sugar, butter or salt to be GOOD. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Take these delectable looking cupcakes, for example. They are vegan. That’s right, I said vegan… that dreaded word that seems to conjure hippies lounging on grass eating rabbit food. Vegan simply means there is a lack of animal products in the ingredients. Vegan foods are definitely a healthier option, and trust me, some of the best cakes, cookies, muffins or cupcakes I’ve ever had come from  The Chicago Diner, which is a vegetarian restaurant.

Just because it’s vegan or vegetarian doesn’t mean it will taste bad. A lot of times, fresher ingredients are chosen, and there are less trans fats and cholesterol. And since over half of our population is obese, it might not be a bad idea to look into healthier options. So, the next time you are out, be adventurous and look a little harder at the vegetarian options on the menu. You might surprise yourself.

Clean Convenient Cuisine

Food: a necessity, a pleasure, a pain, a joy. We’ve all been to a restaurant and had our eyes roll to the back of our head as we bite into something delectable, knowing that as we are eating it, our thighs are storing fat. We’ve also all come home, stared into the vast emptiness that is our refrigerator and asked that interminable question, “What’s for dinner?”

Eating “healthy” has never been of more importance than it is today. With over half of the American population obese, it is imperative that we learn to make smarter choices and stop eating out of convenience. Just say NO to fast food. There are other options besides tofu and vegetables.
The most common excuses for not eating healthy? “I hate the way it tastes. I don’t have time. I don’t know how to cook.” Guess what? Good food can taste good. You do have time. And you don’t have to be a chef.

We are going to take some of the world’s most popular dishes and teach you how to make them in 20 minutes or less, using no salt or butter. Only fresh ingredients, limited time and limited skills. We will bust common food myths, give you options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and give you healthy snacks along the way.

Welcome to Clean Convenient Eating, where eating healthy never tasted so good.