Category Archives: healthy treat
I 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.
If 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:
Let’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.
We 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.
A 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.
I 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.
Recently, we had a few unusually cold evenings and I began craving comfort food like I do at the end of every warm season. Call it what you will, but I’d like to think that this is more of a cultural thing. I come from a cold country where you have to stock up on fat for the winter or you’ll freeze. Well, not really anymore, but you get the point. So, every year around the end of summer I struggle with my nutritional compliance because the only thing that I want to do is eat pork roast, mac and cheese, meatballs, and bread. Yes, my inner Russian is screaming for potatoes and other carb and fat heavy foods. Do I give in? No! Why? Because a bowl of mac and cheese is not worse throwing out a day at the gym. Not to mention after eating clean for a while, my system goes into shock and has no idea what to do with all the delicious, heavy, goodness I just gave it. So, naturally I stop feeling well and start feeling just slightly heavy, wobbly, and blah. Honestly, it is not a comfortable feeling and I’d rather stick to clean and amazingly delicious food.
One of my favorite winter comfort foods are meatballs. I love a good meatball and I love the versatility of it. You can putt a meatball over almost anything and make it taste amazing! Which is why I developed this wonderful green meatball recipe. It goes well on salads, in wraps, on sandwiches, as a soup garnish, and in the morning eggs… Short of dessert, I put these meatballs in almost every meal in my day and it works well! Well, I am not going to continue telling you how incredible they are and just let you make them for yourself. Here’s the recipe.
1lb Ground chicken
3 cups Fresh spinach
1 cup Reduced fat Feta Cheese
1/2 tsp Paprika
1tsp Yellow curry
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Chicken Broth
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Combine spinach, feta cheese, paprika, curry, garlic, and black pepper in a kitchen processor. Pulse until the mixture is incorporated but not liquid. In a large bowl combine the spinach mixture with the ground chicken and mix until well incorporated.
Preheat a non stick pan, add olive oil. Using a tea spoon, scoop the meatball mix into the pan and brown on a couple of sides to lock in the moisture. This is a quick process and shouldn’t take more than a 1/2 a minutes on either side depending on the temperature of your pan and the size of your meatball.
Once the meatballs are browned, add the chicken broth, lower the heat, and cover with a lid. Allow to steam for 7-10 minutes depending on the size of your meatball. Remember, larger meatballs will cook slower. If you are not sure if your meatballs are done, pick the largest one and cut into it. If the center looks wet, you probably have a few more minutes to go.
After your meatballs are done, serve them with quinoa, veggies, beans, or atop of a refreshing Spring and Feta Salad (pictured).
I have already had a somewhat stressful week, and I am a little anxious before the cleanse that I am starting on Monday (more on that later). I was going to save this post for later in the week and kick off my new weekly post tradition (I will call it NOMturday) in which I will weekly post a healthy recipe for you guys to enjoy, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. I had to have a treat this morning for a little “pick me up”. So, here is a super delicious treat that is good for you, not to mention my go to comfort food: Pancakes. Now, I do have to caution you, just because this recipe doesn’t have the sugar, the flour, and all the crazy fat that comes with regular pancakes, you can’t overindulge. This is a treat, not food to be eaten every morning. Now go make some eggs and spinach, people!
OVEN BAKED CHERRY PANCAKE
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 Splenda or stevia packet (or your favorite sweetener)
1/3 cup almond milk
1 whole egg
1/4 cup egg whites
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut oil
10 cherries, sliced in half and pitted
Mix protein powder, flour, baking powder and sweetener in a bowl until evenly mixed.