Blog Archives

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.

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

Salmon Frittata

When I cook salmon, I always make sure that I make an extra portion just so I can make this recipe for breakfast (or brunch). It is so easy and delicious and makes such a huge portion that there are time when I feel bad for eating the whole thing! This protein packed recipe comes together with minimal effort and in no time at all. Serve this frittata with an arugula salad, a side of fresh veggies, salsa, or all of the above for an extra punch of flavor.

Salmon FrittataSalmon_Frittata

Ingredients:

200 g of Cooked Salmon (shredded)
3 Large Eggs
2 tbsp. 2% milk
½ Tomato (diced)
¼ cup Parsley (chopped)
1 tsp. Olive Oil

Directions:

Preheat the broiler. Shred the salmon, chop the parsley, and dice the tomato. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk, combine with salmon, parsley, and tomato. Whisk all of the ingredients together until incorporated.  Pour out the mixture into a nonstick, oven safe pan. Cook on the stove top until the eggs are set on the bottom. Transfer the pan into the broiler until the eggs are set on the top as well.  Serve with an arugula salad, salsa, or fresh veggies.

Vegetable of the Month: Arugula

IMG_4506_edited-2Origins:

Arugula or Eruca sativa is an annual, leafy green that belongs to the Brassicaceae family of plants. Despite its lettuce like appearance, Arugula is a close relative of cabbage, kale, mustard greens and cauliflower. This Mediterranean native has a sharp, spicy flavor profile and is a commonly found in Italian, Slovenian, Egyptian, and West Asian, Northern Indian, and Brazilian cuisines.

Medicinal Uses through History:

Arugula appears in Greek and Roman medical lore as an aphrodisiac, diuretic, and a way to restore sight. There have been some records found that indicate arugula was used to treat survey in sailors and administered to those with stomach pains and heartburn in the form of brewed tea. In ancient China arugula and dandelion were considered an effective way of detox and were said to contribute to healthy liver function.

Health Benefits:

Much like the rest of the cruciferous family, arugula is high in vitamin C, A, K, folate and potassium, fiber, phytonutrients, and other antioxidants. Some research suggests that many of the phytonutrients (indoles, thiocyanates, and iso­thiocyanates, sulforaphane) found in arugula have been linked to cancer prevention.

di-indolyl-methane (DIM) a compound derived from digestion of  indole-3- carbinol found in arugula and other cruciferous vegetables has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Some research suggests that DIM may have beneficial effects against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) of the cervix. However, the study is inconclusive at this time.

Foods rich in Vitamin C help boost immune function, lower cancer risk, improve iron absorption, and help protect cells from free radical damage. Vitamin A found in arugula functions as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent and promotes retinal, skin, mucous membrane, teeth, and skeletal health. Arugula contains a significant amount of B-complex vitamins (thiamine, niacin, B-6, riboflavin) which are crucial to cell health and proper metabolic function.  Another key nutrient found in this leafy green is Vitamin K. 100 g of arugula contains nearly 90% of daily value of Vitamin K which is important for bone health.

Choose Your Arugula:

  • Look for crispy bright green leaves
  • When picking arugula, avoid collecting from flowered plants as the leaves become bitter
  • Store in the refrigerator at relatively high levels of humidity.

Cooking With Arugula:

Arugula is best consumed raw or lightly wilted. Try arugula in a salad, on your turkey burger, or as an addition to your smoothies or juices. In some parts of Italy arugula is used as a pizza topping. It is added right after the pizza is out of the oven to prevent significant wilting.

 

Sources:

Wood R (1999). The new whole foods encyclopedia: a comprehensive resource for healthy eating. New York: Penguin/Arkana. ISBN 0-14-025032-8.
http://www.fullcircle.com/goodfoodlife/2012/05/21/why-you-should-be-eating-more-arugula/
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/3025/2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassicaceae
http://www.diindolylmethane-dim.com/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507101824.htm
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=112

 

Cabbage Salad

I am a big fan of cabbage which is why I am constantly looking for new, easy, runner diet friendly ways to make my favorite dishes. Blow is my take on a coleslaw salad. For this recipe you can use any cabbage you like. My preference is savoy or white, but red cabbage works well too and adds a nice touch of color.  This salad is a perfect side dish for a nice, juicy turkey burger or veggie burger.

Ingredients:

4 cups Shredded Cabbage Slaw
1 cup Sliced Cucumber
1 Cup Sliced Radish

Dressing:
2 tbsp Fresh Dill (optional)
2 tbsp Light Mayo
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt

Directions:

Combine cabbage, cucumbers, and radishes in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine mayo, buttermilk, black pepper, salt, and chopped dill. Mix well and pour over the veggie mixture. Give it a good  toss and enjoy!

Vegetable of the Month: Cabbage

cabbageOrigins:

Cabbage is a leafy green, annual vegetable that is closely related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. There are a number of cabbage plant varieties, the most popular of which is the smooth-leafed, firm, green cabbage. There are two other common varieties of cabbage: red and savoy. Red cabbage is a smooth-leafed, firm, deep purple in color with a strong flavor profile. Savoy cabbage on the other hand has a “ruffled” leaf, yellow-green in color, and has a mild flavor profile and softer texture.

Throughout the centuries, cabbage has been used as food and as medicine. Cabbage plants were introduced into European cuisine around 600 B.C. by migratory Celtic tribes and became a dietary staple shortly thereafter. Currently, Russia is leading the charts with the highest consumption of cabbage per capita with Belgium, Netherlands, and Spain coming in as close seconds.

Cabbage as Medicinal Herb:

Because of its high antioxidant and fiber count, cabbage has been used as medicine by many cultures. The Ancient Greeks recommended the use of cabbage leaves as a laxative, cabbage juice to treat poisonings, and help heal bruising. The Romans and Egyptians used cabbage as an anti-hangover cure and a method to prevent drunkenness.

In the early 20th century, cabbage leaves were used to treat ulcers and abscess. Some scientific evidence suggests that certain properties found in cabbage leaves can reduce the pain of engorged breasts (during lactation), and extend the duration of breast feeding by increasing milk production. Other scientifically unsupported uses of cabbage in medicine include the treatment of rheumatism, sore throat, hoarseness, appendicitis, pneumonia, removal of warts and boils, and treatment of mild depression.

Health Benefits:

Cabbage, much like most of cruciferous vegetables, is a great source of beta-carotene (Vitamin A), vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. However, unlike most cruciferous vegetables, cabbage boasts impressive levels of polyphenols, an antioxidant in the phytonutrient category.

Phytonutrients are organic components of plants. The term itself derives from the word phyto meaning plant. Although these organic components are not necessary for a person to survive, scientists believe that consumption of phytonutrients can prevent certain cancers and help with minimizing the effects of our toxic environment.  Phytonutrients serve as very powerful antioxidants and help enhance immune response, regulate estrogen metabolism, aid in DNA repair caused by exposure to carcinogens, as well as effectively activate a detoxification enzyme (cytochrome P450 and Phase II enzyme system) to remove carcinogenic byproducts of the metabolic process.

Polyphenols are one of the major groups of phytonutrients and are found in a variety of plants such as onion, cranberries, tea, red grapes, grape juice, strawberries, apple, raspberries, blueberries, red wine, cabbage, and nuts. Polyphenols can be divided into two categories: flavonoids and non-flavonoids. Flavonoids are the most extensively studied polyphenols in conjunction with metabolism and cancer prevention.

With that being said, even white cabbage has incredible high amounts of polyphenols (50 milligrams per ½ cup). Red cabbage can arguably be even more effective in terms of delivering a higher concentration of antioxidant and detoxifying nutrients per ½ cup. Red cabbage contains high concentration of flavonoids known as anthocyanins (a very powerful antioxidant that is found in blueberries, Okinawan sweet potatoes, cherries, and other purple colored fruits and vegetables). In addition to having antioxidant qualities, anthocyanins are also an extremely effective anti-inflammatory.

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cabbage juice has been used for centuries to treat stomach ulcers. Recent evidence suggests that cabbage can contribute to overall health of intestinal lining and stomach by regulating bacterial population, reducing inflammation, and regulating bowl movement.

Cancer Prevention:

In addition to antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, cabbage also contains an impressive concentration of glucosinolates.

Glucosinolates are organic compounds that contain sulfur and nitrogen. Yes, glucosinolates are the reason why your house starts smelling “sulfurey” when you cook your favorite cabbage dishes. Glucosinolates are converted to isothiocyanate compounds which in turn can be very effective in prevention of a number of colorectal cancers.

Different varieties of cabbage contain different amounts of glucosinolates. Savoy cabbage, for instance, contains high concentrations of sinigrin, a glucosinolates that has received a lot of attention in recent years as a cancer prevention chemical.

Although the research on cancer prevention is still on going, adding at least one serving of cabbage to your daily consumption of vegetables can prove to be beneficial for your weight loss and overall health.

Choosing the Perfect Head:

When choosing your cabbage, make sure that the head is firm, bruise free, and has bright, crispy, colorful leaves.

Avoid buying precut cabbage. Once the cabbage is cut it begins to lose some of the essential vitamins and minerals. If you have to store some of the cabbage (that you precut) you should try to use it within a couple of days.

Keep your cabbage cold by placing it in the refrigerator or in a cellar. This will help keep your cabbage fresher longer as well as slow down the breakdown of vitamin C.

Green, Red, and White cabbage will usually keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, while Savoy cabbage should be consumed within a week, and Bok Choy within a few days.

Cooking Cabbage:

According to some scientists, steaming the cabbage promotes better release of nutrient. Although that might be true, we find that steaming cabbage turns it into an awful mess and produces less than appetizing aromas. We recommend that you sauté, pickle, of consume your cabbage raw. Additionally, you can add your cabbage to soups and stir fries.

 

Sources:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/aboutus/docs.htm?docid=4142
http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/57/14/3026.short
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814697001003
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10075763
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=19
Kushad MM, Brown AF, Kurilich AC, et al. Variation of glucosinolates in vegetable crops of Brassica oleracea. J Agric Food Chem 1999 Apr;47(4):1541-8. 1999. PMID:13320.

 

 

Beet Root Salad

Beets may not be your first choice when it comes to getting the most vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but they might just be what you need to ward off that evil flu.  Some studies show that consuming raw or lightly cooked beet root may increase your immunity, decrease muscular inflammation, promote digestive tract detox, as well as significantly decrease risk of certain cancers.  But even after all of that, most people would never choose to eat a beet willingly. Well, below is a new take on an old Russian recipe that is guaranteed to change your mind about beet root.

There are a few additions, substitutions, as well as modifications that you can do to this beet root salad to meet your nutrient needs. For example, you may want to substitute a green onion, or a Texas onion for a red onion. You can also substitute Edamame instead of peas and toss in some herbs like parsley or basil to brighten up the flavor and take you into a whole new direction.

beet_saladIngredients:

3 cups of lightly cooked beets
1 cup Red Onion
2 cups Sauerkraut
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Agave Syrup
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 cup Peas (fresh or canned)
2 medium Pickles

 

Directions:

Cut the green and the root of off your raw beets, wash and peel the outer skin. In a medium size pot bring the beets to a boil. The water should cover the beets by about ½ an inch. Cook the beets until they are tender but not mushy. You want the beets to have a little bit of crunch. About 15-20 minutes.

While your beets are cooking dice the onion and combine it with sauerkraut, olive oil, agave syrup, and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside. Let the flavors combine while you finish cooking your beets and dicing them.

Wash, clean, and steam your peas (if you are using fresh peas) or drain a can of your favorite pea variety, dice two medium sized pickles and set them aside.

When the beets have finished cooking, dice them into bite sized pieces and combine them with the rest of the ingredients. Toss, salt to taste and serve.

Makes about 7 cups.

Nutrition:  Serving Size: 1 cup, Cal. 128.9 Fat 4.2g Carb. 12.7g Protein 4.2g

 

Vegetable of the Month: Sweet Potatoes

Photo Credit NCSU

Photo Credit NCSU

 

Whether you are a fit for life kind of person or are just starting out on your journey, you have probably heard about sweet potatoes. But what makes the sweet potato so popular among the fit community? Why should we introduce it into our diet?

Origins:

Sweet potato is indigenous to Central America and made it into European diet after Christopher Columbus came back from his journey to the New World. There are over 400 hundred different varieties of Sweet Potatoes grown all over the world and the variety are largely dependent on the climate. Climate, soil composition, and genetic makeup will influence the nutrient composition and color of the sweet potato variety.

Sweet potatoes of all varieties are rich in Vitamin C, B6, and A, manganese, potassium, iron and fiber content.  Apart from rich nutritional value, sweet potatoes can also help regulate blood sugar, decrease soft tissue inflammation, and according to some studies, contain significant antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Antioxidants

Different varieties of sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidant nutrients like beta-carotene and anthocyanin (cyanidins and peonidins).

Orange colored sweet potatoes are full of carotenoid pigments which is what gives the sweet potato its distinctive orange color and sweetness. Some studies show that sweet potatoes are a better source of bioavailable beta-carotene than some green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, and spinach.

Beta- carotene is an antioxidant and a precursor to Vitamin A, also known as retinol. Retinol is a substance that is essential for maintaining retinal, skin, mucous membrane, teeth, and skeletal health.

Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes are high in an antioxidant known as anthocyanin. This is also the compound that gives blueberries, grapes, purple cabbage and the Okinawan Sweet Potato its purple color. However, the concentration of anthocyanin is nearly 150% greater in the Okinawan Sweet Potato than it is in blueberries, the antioxidant powerhouse.

Some studies show that a diet rich in cyanidins and peonidins can potentially lower the risk or mitigate the damage done by heavy metals and other oxidants in the digestive tract.

Select and Store

When choosing sweet potatoes, make sure that they are firm and free of damage. Avoid those that are stored in the refrigerator section of the grocery store as lower temperatures negatively affect the taste.

Keep your sweet potatoes out of the fridge and in a cool dark place. Usually, sweet potatoes can be stored for up to 10 days or longer.

Cooking Ideas

  • Boil, mash, and combine with walnuts, raisins, and a touch of agave syrup or honey.
  • Shave thin using a mandolin, spray with olive oil, and season with salt or Cajun seasoning. Broil for -5-10 minutes to make Sweet Potato Chips.
  • Boil, mash, season with herbs of your choice.
  • Cut into fires, coat in coconut oil and bake at 350 F for 10 minutes.
  • Sweet potatoes can be added to baked goods, desserts, and other dishes where a little bit of sweetness can go a long way.

Sources

http://www.cuesa.org/food/sweet-potatoes
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64#healthbenefits
http://www.downtoearth.org/health/nutrition/okinawan-sweet-potato-purple-powerhouse-nutrition
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthocyanin#In_food