Category Archives: clean eating

Grilled Chicken Salad

Spring_Chicken_SaladI love spring. Not just because it is the start of my racing  and gardening season, but because it is the beginning of a long and delicious grilling season. For as long as I can remember I had a love affair with the grill. Many people will tell you that olive oil or butter make everything delicious, but I would like to respectfully disagree. I say there is nothing better than the smokey flavor of freshly grilled… anything. I mean it. Try grilling some vegetables you don’t like to eat normally and prepare to be amazed! Stove top cooked zucchini is good, but thinly sliced, grilled zucchini is divine! Grilling is to food as hair, make, and Photoshop is to supermodels. Food by itself is good, just like a model without the makeup is attractive. You grill the food and it is a knockout, just like the girls you see on magazine covers.

In addition to being one of the most primal and delicious ways to prepare food, grilling is also incredibly convenient. When compared to cooking on a stove top or baking, grilling requires less cleanup. I’ll take that any day of the week! Understandably, when warmer weather hits, I spend a lot of time at the grill.

Below is one of my favorite, quick and easy salads that uses grilled chicken breast. You don’t even need to heat up the chicken if you don’t want to! I prefer cold proteins on my leafy greens, so this is the ultimate “take-me-to-work” salad.

Grilled Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Fresh Champignon or Baby Bella Mushrooms (sliced)
1/4 cup Red Radish (thinly sliced)
1/4 cup English Cucumber (thinly sliced)
2 cups Baby Spring Mix with Herbs
3.5 oz Grilled Chicken (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 tbsp. Dill (optional)

Dressing:

1 tsp. Olive oil
Drizzle  of lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss. If you are not planning on eating this salad right away, keep the dressing separate until ready to eat. This will keep your greens crunch and fresh.

GrilledChickenSalad

 

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Deviled Eggs

Easter just wouldn’t be the same without eggs. Although I absolutely love Cadburys eggs, I am keeping my eye on my goals this Easter and opting out for something less sweet but equally as delicious—Deviled Eggs. Below are few different variations on Deviled Eggs that I absolutely love.

The basics remain the same throughout all of these recipes. What varies are the “flavoring” ingredients that make these Deviled Eggs unlike anything that you have ever tried before.

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Rorschach says: “Eat like a bunny to look like a fox!”

A word about ingredients:

I try to use large or jumbo eggs for these recipes.

Tobiko also known as fish roe and comes in a variety of different colors. You can find tobiko in almost any Asian supermarket or health food store.

Although sardines are not usually considered “healthy” food, using them in moderation can add flavor to sauces and other dishes (deviled eggs). Make sure that you blot the sardines with a paper towel to remove access oil before adding them to the egg mixture.

Porcini mushrooms can be found fresh or dry. If you are using dry mushrooms: rehydrate the mushrooms as per instructions on the package, dry with a paper towel, and mince before adding to the egg mixture. If you are using fresh porcini: sauté the mushrooms before use.

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Sinless Deviled Eggs

The Classic

Recipe Featured in Fierce Gourmet: A Fit Foodie’s Cookbook

Ingredients:

4 Eggs
1 tsp Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Light Mayo
1 tsp Dill
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
¼ tsp Paprika

Directions:

Hard boil the eggs. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks and place them in a small bowl. Set aside the egg whites.

Using a fork, mash the yolks, add the yogurt, mustard, mayo, dill, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Place the mixture in a pastry bag (you can use a plastic bag with one corner cut off) and pipe it into the egg whites. Garnish with paprika and dill (optional).

The Sakura

Ingredients:

4 Eggs
1 tsp Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Light Mayo
1 tsp Dill
¼ tsp Paprika
1 oz. Smoked Salmon (minced)
1 tsp Tobiko

Directions:

Hard boil the eggs. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks and place them in a small bowl. Set aside the egg whites.

Using a fork, mash the yolks, add the yogurt, mustard, mayo, dill, and smoked salmon. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Place the mixture in a pastry bag (you can use a plastic bag with one corner cut off) and pipe it into the egg whites. Garnish with paprika (optional) and tobiko.

Captain’s Treat

Ingredients:

4 Eggs
1 tsp Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Light Mayo
1 tsp Parsley (minced)
¼ tsp Paprika
1-2 small Sardines (minced)
1 tsp Scallions (minced)

Directions:

Hard boil the eggs. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks and place them in a small bowl. Set aside the egg whites.

Using a fork, mash the yolks, add the yogurt, mustard, mayo, parsley, and sardines. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Place the mixture in a pastry bag (you can use a plastic bag with one corner cut off) and pipe it into the egg whites. Garnish with paprika (optional) and scallions.

Taming of the Shroom

Ingredients:

4 Eggs
1 tsp Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Light Mayo
1 1/2 tsp Porcini Mushrooms (minced)
¼ tsp Paprika
1 tsp Chives (minced)

Directions:

Hard boil the eggs. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks and place them in a small bowl. Set aside the egg whites.

Using a fork, mash the yolks, add the yogurt, mustard, mayo. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Place the mixture in a pastry bag (you can use a plastic bag with one corner cut off) and pipe it into the egg whites. Garnish with paprika (optional) and chives.

Bruschetta

After a long and cold winter our homes are not the only the only places where we need to do some spring cleaning. Winter diets tend to concentrate of fattier, heavy food that are designed to inspire feeling of warmth and satiety. And as we shed our layers of clothing, air out the house, and clean out all of the nooks and crannies from built up clutter and dust, we should do the same with our diets.

Spring season is finally in Georgia! It is hard to believe that just four hours north of where I live there is still snow and ice! To celebrate the warmer weather and to help you refresh your menus, I give you this Bruschetta recipe. It is quick and easy, stores well, and can be a great addition to a post workout / run meal.

Bruschetta

Ingredients:bruschetta

2 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup Red onion
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Olive oil
Salt to taste
Whole wheat bagel crisps

Directions:

In a small bowl combine the diced cilantro, red onion, lime juice, and olive oil. Set aside to marinade while you dice your tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to your onion mixture, salt and pepper to taste. Serve atop of whole wheat bagel crisps, whole wheat pita chips, or just eat it like a salad.

 

Easy Calorie Counting & Demystifying Weight Loss

Nutrition and Calories

l_a1d8c110-60e7-11e1-b1da-97b177c00001It is no secret that in order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume. Cutting calories and “dieting” is more of an individual process than generic, preset approach. It is only through trial and error that you will be able to know what truly works for you and how many calories you need to consume in order to lose weight and gain lean muscle.

If you follow Fierce Miles, you have heard me say this time and time again—severe caloric restriction is not sustainable and extremely dangerous. Creating massive deficits will wreak havoc on your hormones and result in slowing down your metabolism even further which will lead to the inevitable weight gain.

Of course, there are general guidelines that can help you figure out your approximate optimal daily caloric intake. However, without good record keeping and a willingness to go through a certain period of trial and error, you will never be able to zero in on what truly works for you.

 

Fat Loss:       

The general formula to calculate daily caloric intake with the emphasis on fat loss is the following:

Focus on getting 11-16 calories per pound of your target body weight.

So, if your goal weight is 140 lbs:

11 cal X 140 lbs = 1540 calories (this is your absolute lowest daily intake)
16 cal X 140 lbs = 2240 calories (this is your highest daily intake)

Muscle Building:

The general formula to calculate daily caloric intake with the emphases on muscle building and weight gain is the following:

Focus on getting 17-25 calories per pound of target body weight.

So, if your goal weight is 200 lbs:

17 cal X 200 lbs = 3400 calories (lowest daily intake)
25 cal X 200 lbs = 5000 calories (highest daily intake)

Weight Maintenance:

It is generally ill-advised to maintain a caloric deficit for prolonged periods of time. Your body will eventually get use to the deficit making fat loss more difficult. In order to maintain a healthy metabolism and a lean, strong, healthy body, periods of maintenance are essential. During maintenance periods your body rests and rebuilds.

There is no set formula to calculate your maintenance calories. I suggest starting slowly increasing your caloric intake by 15-20 % every week until you stop losing weight. A large increase in the daily caloric intake may result in an increase in body fat. If that happens just reduce the weekly caloric increase.

Maintenance periods can be tricky and it usually takes time to find the proper increase percentage. Good record keeping is essential for the maintenance phase.

Counting Calories:

fitness-inspiration-954-eaf80244-sz480x480-animateToday, there are a number of tools that you can use to track your daily caloric intake. However, nothing beats good old math. Many food companies actually underestimate caloric values of their products on their labels due to the way they count calories in fiber. It has been a fitness myth for many years that calories from fiber do not count towards the total caloric value of a carbohydrate because fiber isn’t fully absorbed by the body. The key word here is fully. Some fiber does get absorbed and can’t be counted towards “free nutrients”. So, what does that mean?

That means that some food companies do not include the caloric value of fiber in the calorie total of the product. Although a difference of 10 calories here and there may not sound like much initially, an extra 100 calories a day can add up to 1 pound of body fat gain per month.

Here are the macro nutrient caloric values:

Protein = 4 cal/gram
Carbohydrates = 4 cal/gram
Fat = 9 cal/gram
Fiber = 4 cal/gram (fiber is a carbohydrate and there for is 4 calories per gram. When you take into account that only about ½ of the fiber gets absorbed by the body, it totals to roughly 2 calories per gram. When calculating total caloric value of fiber, divide by two).

Example of calculating calories based on food labels:

Let’s take Healthy Life High Fiber Bread, the label give the following information:

Calories: 70
Total Fat: 0.5 gram
Total Carb: 16 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 5 gram

Look at the total fiber number, divide by two. Subtract the number you are left with from the carbohydrate total and multiply by 4 to get the proper carbohydrate calories in the food you are looking at.

When you calculate it out:

0.5 x 9 = 4.5 (fat)
5 / 2 =2.5
16 – 2.5 = 13.5
13.5 x 4 = 54 (carbs)
5 x 4 = 20 (protein)
4.5+54+20= 78.5 (total calories)

So the total calorie count in the Healthy Life High Fiber Bread is 78.5.

What to do when a food doesn’t have a nutrition facts label:

There are a number of resources that you can turn to if you find yourself in a situation where nutrition facts are not readily available.

  • USDA National Nutrient Database
  • USDA Super Tracker (a more user friendly version of the Database)
  • CRON-O-METER (although this does not come in a convenient app form, it is accurate)

In most cases a simple Internet search will answer all of your macro nutrient questions. However, make sure that you rely on trustworthy sources for your nutrient information. Some of the largest fitness and calorie tracking applications that are available today grossly underestimate calorie information and are laden with human error.

Blueberry Banana Bread

When a sweet craving hits try making this easy and satisfying recipe! You will be surprised how sinfully delicious it is and yet how good it is for you. With loads of protein, complex carbohydrates and antioxidant rich berries this treat will leave you speechless.

Blueberry Banana Bread

 

Ingredients:blueberry_banana_bread
3 ripe Bananas (mashed)
2 Eggs (room temperature)
¼ cup unrefined Coconut Oil
1 ¾ cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 scoops Chocolate Whey Protein
2/3 cup of Splenda ™
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ cup Blueberries

 

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, add mashed bananas and stir until well incorporated. Add coconut oil to the mixture, stir and set aside. In another bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, add blueberries and until well incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a non-stick loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the loaf.

3 Quick and Healthy Valentine’s Day Desserts

One of the most romantic and delicious holidays is upon us, but don’t let it be an excuse to eat junk! There are a few treats and special gifts you can choose that won’t add to your calorie quota. Stop being dirty, I’m talking about strawberries, light cool whip, and semi-sweet chocolate! Well, ok, you might get a little dirty making these treats, but you’ll love every minute of it.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate_strawberryToday I was out at the mall. I was blown away at the prices that the gourmet shops wanted for their chocolate and chocolate covered strawberries. The worst part is there is no way to know whether the fruit is really organic, properly cleaned, what kind of chocolate they used, what is the fat percentage of the chocolate etc. Basically, you might be buying something that you think is a healthier option for your loved one (or for yourself) and end up with low quality junk. I say, don’t fall into the trap of gourmet chocolate industry! Make the treats yourself. You will save a ton of money and the rewards will be so much sweeter. Here’s how:

 

Ingredients:

12 large Strawberries (leaves still attached, cleaned and dried well)
12 oz. Semi- Sweet Chocolate

Directions:

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In order to melt your chocolate you’ll need a heat proof bowl and a pot filled with water. Make sure that the bowl that you chose is just large enough to rest on the sides of the pot with the bottom slightly touching the water in the pot. Bring the water in the pot to a simmer, put the chocolate in the bowl that is resting on top of the pot and stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. This usually takes a few minutes after the water heats up. Once the chocolate is melted, cut the heat and begin dipping your strawberries in the melted chocolate.

Set the strawberries on the parchment lined cookie sheet and set it into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate coating is mat and solid.

Spicy Orange Chocolate Apples

Chocolate_ApplesCraving something spicy, sweet, and unexpected? Do you absolutely love food on a stick? No problem! Here’s what you will need:

Ingredients:

1 Granny Smith Apple (cut into 8 slices, skewered)
1/4 tsp of Cayenne Pepper
1tsp Orange zest
8 oz. Melted Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Directions:

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using the double boiler method described in the recipe above, melt your chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted, add cayenne pepper and orange zest. Mix until well incorporated. Dip your skewered apple slices into the chocolate and set on a parchment lined cookie sheet. At this point you can dip the apple slices into crushed nuts, crushed mint candies, or crushed hard caramels for an extra punch of flavor. Just remember, any sugary additions that you choose will bump up the calorie count.

Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the chocolate coating is mat and solid.

Strawberries and Cream

This has to be on of my favorite recipes of all time! It is so satisfying and in a pinch will take your mind off of ice cream. Here’s what you do:

Ingredients:

4 oz. Lite Cool Whip
4 strawberries (diced)

Directions:

Combine the lite cool whip and the diced strawberries in a small bowl. Freeze. Enjoy!  You can also use this recipe to make ice cream sandwiches. Just take two caramel rice cakes, put the filling in between, make a sandwich and freeze. In no time you will have a delicious, healthier alternative to regular ice cream sandwiches.

Now, I don’t recommend eating these treats all day every day, but when it comes to special occasions, holidays, and post workout treats, why not opt for something delicious, clen and satisfying especially if it is fairly easy to make?

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Happy Valentine’s Day, guys and gals! May your holiday be as sweet as the feeling of accomplishment and achievement you get when you conquer your next set of goals.

Eat Like You Are In Sochi

The Olympics are here! I am sure most of you are glued to your TV every night watching the events or simply setting your DVRs to record. Regardless of your methods of watching the most lavish Olympics in history, you are probably wondering how it would feel if you had an opportunity to be in Sochi for this event. Although I can’t necessarily tell you how it would feel to be in Sochi right now, a lot has changed since I last vacationed there, I can tell you about the food that you would more than likely eat if you were there.

But first, a little bit of background:

DCF 1.0The climate, terrain, and social instability had a tremendous impact on Russian cuisine. Traditionally, Russian food is fairly simple, high in calories and extremely fatty. Russian cuisine is a cuisine of necessity constantly adapting to the newest political regime and the shortages that come with it.

However, if you were in Sochi for the Olympics, you’d never know that you have left the Western world and are deep in the Russian Federation. From what I see and hear, the city has been rebuilt, cleaned up, and dressed up. Although some typical, bone-headed construction mistakes have been made, some locals pissed off, and the city lost some of its “character”, it has been turned into something that the rest of the world will be talking about for decades to come.

If you were in Sochi during these Olympic Games, here is what you would most likely find on every traditional Russian restaurant menu:

Olivier Salad

OliverThis is one of the most popular Russian dishes that makes its appearances at almost every special occasion on every Russian table regardless of which country you are in. If it is a Russian celebration of any kind – expect Olivier.

Olivier is a salad named after its creator– Lucien Olivier, a head chef at the Hermitage restaurant during the early 1860’s. Originally the salad was made with grouse (gamebird), veal tongue, caviar (red), a lettuce variety, crayfish tails, boiled potatoes, cornichon, smoked duck, capers and dressed with an house special dressing that closely resembled modern day Russian mayonnaise (yes, Russians mayo is very different). According to the rumors, the dressing consisted of French wine vinegar, mustard (probably Dijon style), and olive oil from Provencal region of France. Although the exact proportions are unknown, many chefs attempted to recreate it skyrocketing the popularity of this dish.

As the time went by and the political climate of the country changed, so did the salad. Some of the ingredients became hard to find or only accessible to a wealthy few. The salad evolved. The capers were replaced by pickles, veal tongue was replaced by the cow tongue (when available) or bologna, red caviar was replaced by carrots (the only similarity is color), lettuce was replaced by peas, and the duck and grouse were almost entirely avoided or replaced by chicken. Of course the dressing that made this salad famous was lost forever after Chef Olivier passed away and was replaced with Russian mayonnaise.

Even with the inferior ingredients, this salad still remains one of the go-to Russian comfort foods for comrades all over the world. Having grown up in the former Soviet Union, I am a big fan of this delicious dish. However, since I don’t fight bears or live in subzero temperatures, consuming thousands of calories in one sitting isn’t something that I can afford without busting out of my pants.

When I started writing Fierce Gourmet: A Fit Foodie’s Cookbook, this salad received a much needed makeover to satisfy the cravings of every fit Russian food lover without adding thousands of calories to their day.

Golubzi or Cabbage Rolls

golubtsy

Photo Credit: Maggio @ http://www.topricette.com

This dish is common to the entire Eurasian continent. In short a combination of pork, lamb, beef, and starch (usually rice or barley) is rolled inside a lightly steamed cabbage leaf. The rolls are then placed inside a pot, Dutch oven, or a pan and are baked, simmered or steamed. The dish is usually served with some variety of sauce that is largely dependent on the region where the dish is served.

If you are in Russia, one of the most common methods of preparing Golubzi is with a combination of pork, lamb, beef, rice or barley, and white onion which is tightly rolled inside a white cabbage leaf and simmered in tomato sauce for hours. The dish is usually served with a big dollop of rich sour cream, rye bread, and an ice cold shot of vodka. If you have the opportunity to savors this incredible creation, do it. You will not be disappointed.

Of course, if you are watching your calories and would still like to enjoy some traditional Russian food, I recommend substituting the red meat for a combination of ground chicken and turkey spiced with some chili powder, onion, and parsley. Instead of white rice, try brown rice or quinoa and instead of using white cabbage, try Napa cabbage. Napa cabbage leaves are easier to work with, deliver more phytonutrients than white cabbage, and look significantly better after hours of simmering in tomato sauce.

When this dish is cooked Fierce Gourmet style, it offers a wide range of necessary nutrients including vitamin C, D, A, and K, loads of lean protein, lycopene, and complex carbohydrates all wrapped up in a convenient half serving pockets of delicious joy. This is one of my favorite post run meals. In addition to being highly nutritious, this meal freezes well for those days when you just don’t have the time to cook.

So, if you are hungry and in the city of Sochi, try this dish! If you are at home at would like to eat like a Russian Olympian, email me and I’ll send you the clean eating recipe! Otherwise, look for this recipe on this blog in a few weeks.

Vinegret or Russian Beet Salad

beet_saladVinegret (not to be confused with vinaigrette) is a traditional winter salad and one of the few salads in the Russian cuisine that isn’t dressed with mayonnaise. Just like so many other Russian dishes, Venegret is a salad of necessity. It first appeared during the beginning of the communist era when fresh vegetables were hard to come by. Many chefs of that time relied on frozen or canned vegetables to produce many of their creations. The salad features beets, beans, pickles, onion, peas, potatoes, and pickled cabbage (much like sauerkraut but sweeter with a different acidic profile that is more reminiscent of rice wine vinegar). This salad hasn’t changed much over the years and much like Olivier is one of the holiday favorites.

Although not as heavy as Olivier, this is by no means a light meal. Vinegeret is traditionally dressed with unrefined sunflower oil, a highly caloric, fragrant oil. This dish is usually served as an appetizer to chase the first few shots of vodka before the meal begins.

Of course, I have created a fit version of this salad that maintains the traditional Vinegret flavor profile. Give this salad a try whether you are in Sochi or in Dallas!

Depending on who you ask, these dishes will undoubtedly make the top ten favorites on every Russian’s list. You might also hear about such dishes as: Pelmeni (veal dumplings), Piroshki (baked, portable, meat pies), Seledka pod Shyboi or “hearing in fur coat” (an immensely popular holiday fish dish), Holodez (jellied minced meat) and Katleti (“burger patties” that are eaten without buns or garden).

Despite the common misconception, Russian cuisine is incredibly flavorful and features simple but hearty ingredients. Due to the turbulent past, Russians are very good at practicing nose-to-tail eating as well as adapting their cuisine to, often times, volatile political and cultural shifts. Although the country is almost completely westernized at this point, the evolution of Russian cuisine remains to serve as a reminder of the scary past and a beacons to the brighter future.

Fierce Gourmet: A Fit Foodie’s Cookbook

Cover1I discovered my passion for cooking right around the same time as I discovered my love for fitness. Nothing makes you feel more alive and in the moment as a new PR and an amazing meal. Quickly realizing that my love for gourmet food and my love for fitness can’t coexist, I had to do something.

For years I studied, read, and practiced various preparation methods and techniques, took cooking classes, and searched for places to procure clean, organic meat and produce. As a result of my obsession with flavor and the need to maintain a lean and strong physique, I have developed hundreds of recipes that were beneficial for my health and for my abs, not to mention supported a number of local farmers.

Last year, when I started Fierce Miles, I had a bright idea: why not write an actual cookbook? The majority of the work was already done, all I had to do was test, photograph, write, edit, format, market, and sell the book! Not a big deal, right? Right. After a few months of writing, re-writing, editing, and writing some more, I am just a few short months away from the big day. I am excited and yet a bit nervous.

When I first decided to do this, I had no idea how much work I am going to have to put into this project for it to be what I really want it to become — the absolute go to for every fit food lover. So far, we are right on track. Our Kickstarter page goes live next week, our graphic designer is working on a fabulous book cover that’ll be ready around the same time, and I am almost done organizing the content and the recipes into chapters.

I know, this is an unusual Monday post for me, but I’ve had this on my mind for so long, that it was time to share it with you guys. Stay tuned for more information on Fierce Gourmet: A Fit Foodie’s Cookbook.

Spud Muffins

A lot of us made New Year’s resolutions and some of us are determined to keep them come hell or high water. If one of your resolutions was to eat better and make smarter food choices, I’d like to dedicate this post to you.

I know all too well how it feels to wake up before dawn and realize that you barely have enough time to take a shower before you have to be out of the door. Breakfast? What breakfast!  Then I got to thinking, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, it sets the tone for the day. I find that if I had a decent meal in the morning I feel energized, I feel unstoppable, I am on my game. Best of all, having breakfast prevents you from being, what I call, hangry. Hangry is a sad combination of hungry and angry that causes one to make bad decisions and have virtually zero patience.

So, what’s the answer to having a healthy, well balanced breakfast that hits all your macros on the go? Portable food! Below is the recipe for the most awesome muffin that is easy to eat, has a low glycemic index, loads of protein, very little fat, and you can make them in advance! What?! Yes, your week just got that much easier!

I usually make these on Sunday evening at the end of my food prep because they tend to take a bit longer than the usual blend and go variety. Why? Because I make my Spud Muffins with meringue to insure nice and fluffy consistency. I tested other recipes of healthy, protein muffins and I noticed that all of them are dense, chewy, and taste like cardboard. I refused to have this happen to my food, this is fit gourmet, after all!

Let’s dive in! First and foremost, make sure that your eggs are at room temp. Room temperature eggs make better meringue. Also, older eggs are better suited for meringue purposes, but who has old eggs lying around?! I set my eggs out just as I am getting ready to do the rest of my food prep, that way by the time I get around to the muffins, they are nice and ready to go.

Since I pre-make my sweet potatoes for the week, having a cup of mashed sweet potato isn’t a problem. If, however, you don’t pre make yours, here’s the deal:

Peel and cut up your sweet potatoes, put them in a pot of boiling water, boil until tender. Strain the water, mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a fork.

I don’t add seasoning to my sweet potato ahead of time, because I refuse to commit to one single flavor in my mash for the rest of the week. I like a good variety.

Back to the eggs and the trick of the meringue… You will need to separate egg whites from egg yolks. Make sure that you take great care not to get any of the yolk into your egg whites. I recommend breaking the eggs over a separate dish, separating the whites and then adding them to the mixer bowl one at a time. That way, if you do end up with the yolks in your whites, you won’t have to scrap the whole batch and waste eggs. No, I wouldn’t recommend using egg beaters. They do not meringue well.

Please, do not attempt to be a hero and whisk the meringue by hand. It’ll take you forever!

photo(3)

Ok, I think I covered the important basics of the meringue. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through our Facebook Page, Twitter, or just leave me a comment here!

Supd_Muffin
Spud Muffins

Ingredients: 

4 large eggs at room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup Splenda or Stevia
1 cup almond meal flour
2 scoops vanilla whey
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp coco powder
2 ½ cups of mashed sweet potato

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Place the egg whites into a large bowl and mix on medium-high speed until the eggs are frothy. When your eggs are frothy add cream of tartar. Continue mixing on medium-high speed until the eggs are white and nearly doubled in size. At this point add Splenda or Stevia one tablespoon at a time. Continue mixing the meringue until the mixture begins to form stiff peaks in the mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Gradually fold the sweet potatoes into the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Make sure that there are no clumps of flour or protein powder.

Gently fold the sweet potato mixture into the meringue. Fold from the sides towards the center until the mixture is well incorporated. Be careful not to over mix and deflate your meringue.

Divide the batter between muffin cups. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

Nutrition Info (1 muffin): 

Calories 119
Fat 5g
Carbs 8g
Protein 10g

3 Easy Steps to Get Fit in 2014

1381532_648223808555104_266900310_nIf you have been anywhere around a TV set, a radio, or a computer, you have noticed the great abundance of “get fit now”. It is that time of the year again. The time when supplement companies and larger than though trainers are pushing their miracle cure all product on the unsuspecting consumers with low self-esteem. Do these products work? Some of them. Do they work safely and for a prolonged period of time? No.

We live in a society that is largely driven by instant gratification and impulse. No one wants to work to be fit, but everyone wants to have a fit body of a fitness model. After all, it is much easier to pop a pill and eat a pizza while watching football, than working out and eating clean. Does anyone think about the consequences of taking these drugs? Does anyone stop to ask why they work so quickly and so effectively? No. Why? Because blissful ignorance with a skinny fat body is significantly safer than a challenging and at times difficult reality in which one has to find information, process it, and work to get the results that they want. In short, half-baked approaches breed half-baked results and a lot of disappointed, misinformed consumers. So, what can you do to get lasting weight loss results? Read on.

What I have to say right now may not be what you want to hear, but I am not in the business of cuddling and propagating fitness myths. I am here to give you the hard truth and save you the time you’ll spend doing research on your own. Here’s the deal. Most “magic” weight loss pills, shakes, and powders are unsafe. If you have to order your food premade, you’ll gain all of your weight back after you stop eating “out of the box”. There is no such thing as getting “toned and fit” without changing your daily lives.

The only way to get true and lasting results is by keeping a clean and sustainable diet, maintaining a healthy attitude, and exercising daily.

Keeping a Clean and Sustainable Diet:

1238363_644675618909923_1184660794_nLet’s face it, if you drastically cut calories, completely cut out certain food groups or expect perfect rigid compliance to a dietary plan, you will eventually slip. In fact, when you slip you will binge, feel guilty, get down on yourself, and try to maintain the same diet with even more restrictions than before to make up for your pitfall. Does that sound like a healthy relationship with food? No. To me, that sounds more like an eating disorder and we all know that eating disorders are very unhealthy.

A sustainable diet should revolve around a lifestyle. When you decide to get in shape, you have to realize that you are on a journey and just like any journey, this one will have peaks and valleys. The secret to sustainable, healthy weight loss is realizing that a valley isn’t going to undo everything you worked for. So, if you make it a priority to eat healthy 90% of the time, that one piece of cake on your birthday, a plate full of delicious food on Thanksgiving, and a bowl of macaroni and cheese every other month aren’t going to send you on an express train to fat town.

A clean sustainable diet should involve all of the major food groups (unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from eating certain things) in moderation. Eating for weight loss is an art form that will take time to master fully, there is no diet that perfectly fits all, and there are no shortcuts. A clean, healthy diet with proper caloric intake (you can’t starve yourself!!!) takes time to develop and perfect.

I encourage you to do your research, look at various food plans, study strategic eating, and custom design your own eating plan. It will take time, but in the end you will be rewarded with energy, better health, and a lean, strong body.

Healthy Attitude:

quoteWe briefly touched on this subject in the previous section when we discussed a healthy relationship with food. You can’t punish yourself for slip-ups and deviations of off the plan, but you also have to hold yourself accountable for what you do in daily basis. Having a support group helps, but at the end of the day it is between you and your refrigerator, or between you and your bed.

You have to make a plan and stick to it regardless of what the world around you wants. If you know that what you are doing is right for you, then no one else has the right to keep you away from your goals and your dreams. Not even you. You have to push yourself every day. I wish I could tell you that it gets to a point where going to the gym or out on a run is automatic. No. I still have days when I question why I am up at 5 am on a cold winter morning. There are days when the last thing that I want to do is drive to the gym and lift a bunch of weights when the laundry is piled up, dinner needs to be cooked, and I still have a mound of paperwork to get through. However, I don’t make excuses. I put on my big girl pants, lace up my shoes, and I tell myself that it is better that way. I can say with full confidence,  I am yet to regret a workout that I did.

However, healthy attitude goes far beyond building a healthy relationship with food and regular, hard workouts. A healthy attitude also encompasses how you view the world. It is easy to be mad and sad about your circumstances, but when you make a decision to take control and change, you become empowered. Feeling strong and in control is what gets people in the gym initially, but most quickly get discouraged because the results didn’t come fast enough. Here’s the hard part: you have to remain positive and have faith in the fact that the results will come if you actually follow a program that you set for yourself. You have to force yourself to become an optimist on those days when you just want to quit because the pudgy feeling isn’t going away fast enough.

Again, I wish I could tell you that feeling discouraged goes away with time – it doesn’t. But if you keep at it long enough, you will learn that the voice inside your head that tells you “it’s not working”, “you don’t have the body for this”, “you are too old” etc. is a total liar. With time, you learn to ignore your own little critic and you learn that when the voice rears its ugly head, you are closer than you ever were before to achieving that one goal that you set for yourself.

Exercising Daily:

Khloe-Kardashian-Fitness-MotivationA good diet and a great attitude aren’t going to get you far without exercise. Consistent, challenging, daily exercise paired with a great diet is a sure recipe for a fabulous body. Now, let me clarify, I am not telling you to go out and do Zumba (although it is a fun way to initially lose some extra weight). The exercise that I am talking about involves 3-4 heavy weight training sessions and 3 cardio sessions a week. You can’t be a cardio queen and expect a toned body of a fitness model. You have to lift HEAVY weights. Let me say this right now: there is no way that you are going to end up looking like a she Hulk unless you are SPECIFICALLY working to attain that aesthetic. So, no, don’t tell me that lifting heavy turns women into men. It is a total myths that is propagated by men who are scared of strong women, women who are scared of hard work, and skinny fat models who would be out of a job if the rest of us woke up and realized that having the ability to pick up more than 5 lbs at a time makes you more attractive and gives you the lean, toned look you actually want. Yes, I’m talking to you ladies.

Gentlemen, I have to caution you against trying to show off. Heavy training means lifting the weight you can ACTUALLY lift with PROPER form. Allow me to elaborate: that means that you shouldn’t be squirming under a barbell during your bench press like a deranged worm because you loaded the bar too heavy. You are not a hero if you get hurt, so why set yourself up for failure? Take it easy, maintain proper tension throughout your exercises and watch your body bulge with awesome rippliness faster than the guy who has been trying to “out lift” you all alone and has been doing it wrong.

trustI don’t know about you, but for me, a fit strong body is a status symbol. You can’t buy it, you can pay someone to surgically make it. You have to invest the time, the sweat, the tears and the doubts to achieve it. There are challenges to achieving your perfect physique at any age and in any circumstance, so don’t discount the efforts of the younger crowd just because of their age or the older crowd just because of their experience. We all face different struggles, have different body types, and respond to different things better than others. Building a body you want takes time, it takes trial and error and you have to be willing to invest in your journey fully in order to rip the perfect results.