Healthy Body

Healthy Body

Square Meals + Turmeric Egg Scramble Recipe

September 21, 2015

TurmericScrambledEggs_HealthyStacey

About 14 years ago, I read a book called “The Abs Diet.” As many diet books did for me when I was only 18, I hung on to every word and followed every rule.

One of the biggest rules of the Abs Diet was:

Eat six times a day.

I was to alternate larger meals with small snacks (i.e. a snack two hours before lunch, another one two hours before dinner, and one more two hours after dinner).

Each meal must contain at least two of the 12 Abs Diet Powerfoods, such as almonds, beans, spinach, instant oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter, raspberries, olive oil and whole grains.

Like any diet, my Abs Diet obsession was short-lived. I found another shiny new diet (I believe the next book I read was “Skinny Bitch”) and moved on.

But for whatever reason, one thing I clung on to was that first rule.

Eat six times a day.

But why?

Well, honestly, I loved the idea of anybody giving me permission to snack more, graze more, and never stop eating.

But doing a little research (both self-experimentation and reading) has caused me to really question this conventionalism.

The reason that everybody from Shape Magazine to the school nutritionist are vying for small meals throughout the day is to combat the cranky, hangry blood sugar swings that so many people experience. They want you to consume food regularly to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

However, our blood sugar levels wouldn’t be so volatile if we just ate real, unprocessed foods. When you eat tons of sugar, your blood sugar levels spike. When your body has to exert a lot of energy to keep the blood sugar levels from skyrocketing, the blood sugar plummets.

When you’re eating foods that aren’t high in sugar, you no longer HAVE TO eat every couple of hours.

Brussels_healthystacey

In fact, square meals are much better for you.

Why? Well, every time you eat, your body has to process your food. When you eat continuously throughout the day (nuts, crackers, chips, etc.), your body can’t work fast enough to get through all of it.

When you eat three meals a day, it has plenty of time to process. Waiting till you are hungry before you eat enables your body to metabolize much better.

Also, because of the snackers that we are, many times our body stops understanding what it feels like to be hungry.

It’s 10 am? I’m feeling peck-ish. It’s 1:00? I need something sweet. It’s 3 pm? I need to get me some popcorn to get me through this meeting. It’s 5 pm? I’m FAMISHED. Let me snack on these chips before dinner.

Your body doesn’t know how to be hungry anymore!

We can actually feel moderately hungry and moderately full all at the same time. 

REMINDER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR, A NUTRITIONIST OR A DIETITICIAN. JUST A GIRL WHO LIKES TO USE FOOD TO KEEP HER FEELING GOOD. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING CHANGING YOUR DIET.

All of this brought me to give it a try. For a few weeks – not really a definitive start and finish – I would make a promise to myself to make my breakfast, lunch and dinner a little bigger and fuller; and my snacks non-existent.

Believe me, it pained the snacker in me to do this. I have a whole drawer of nuts, seeds, coconut chips and jerky and an entire pocket in my purse dedicated to Lara Bars and Ginger Candy that will be very unhappy with me if I find this to be true. But I think it’s worth a try….

SteakSalad_HealthyStacey

My Original Eating Schedule

  • Smoothie at 7:30 AM
  • Hard Boiled Eggs at 10:00 AM
  • Desk snacking until lunch time (i.e. nuts, seeds, coconut shreds, jerk)
  • Salad with protein at 12:00 PM
  • Apple or Whole Milk Yogurt at 2:30/3:00 PM
  • More desk snacking
  • Fridge Grazing at 6:00 PM
  • Dinner at 7:30/8:00 PM

My New Eating Schedule – 1 Week Later:

  • Big Ol' Omelet with half an avocado at 7:30 AM
  • Salad with protein at 12:00 PM
  • SOME desk snacking (I'm not going to be a Nazi about it)
  • Dinner at 7:30 PM (with added protein)

How I Feel:

  • I haven't felt that 10:30/11:00 AM grumbly hunger pangs.
  • I am enjoying my meals much more (food tastes so much better when you're hungry for it).
  • And I am recognizing how much my constant snacking at work was much more mental than it ever was a physical hunger. I snack when I'm nervous. I snack when I'm bored. I snack when I'm stressed. Time to dig deeper, Stacey! Figure out the root of the problem rather than eating it.
  • Last but definitely not least, I've felt a marked difference in my digestion.

Okay, now for the fun part. Recipe time!!

I don’t know about you, but the part of the day I find myself snacking the most is mid-morning. Around 10:30 am, my stomach is grumbling so loud, the Account Team on the third floor can hear it (I’m on the second floor).

Which is why I felt it fitting to give you a really good hearty breakfast to start your day with – and keep you going – until it’s time for a hearty hearty lunch.

Turmeric Egg Scramble Recipe

TurmericScramble_HealthyStacey

I know what you’re thinking. Scrambled eggs? Real original Stacey. But I actually believe scrambled eggs can be very difficult and take quite a bit of technique. So I've gone into great detail below to show you how I make MY scrambled eggs. Oh. And I added my favorite anti-inflammatory ingredient, TURMERIC! What a great way to start the day. Hope you like them as much as I do. Eat well my friends.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 -2 tablespoons grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 2 Cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • Pinch of S&P
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Cherry tomatoes (the "cherries" on top, get it?!)

Directions:

  1. Whisk your eggs with the pinch of S&P and turmeric and set bowl aside.
  2. Saute your chopped onions in your fat of choice until they are just a little bit softer (you will be continuing to cook them with the eggs, so don’t overdo it here).
  3. Add in your sliced mushrooms (and more fat if you need it). Let them sauté for another 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms have browned slightly (again, don’t overdo it here, the hot eggs will cook them even more).
  4. Add another knob of butter or ghee to the pan (don’t be scared of the good fats).
  5. Pour the egg mixture in the pan and move it around a bit at first.
  6. Then, let them sit for about 10 seconds, and then move them around again. (It took me years to perfect this very scientific technique).
  7. Repeat until they begin to set. And then stir continuously until they are cooked as you like them. (My opinion: I always underdo it a little because it inevitably will sit on the hot pan and continue to cook while I get myself together before it ever makes it to the cool plate).
  8. Top with sliced avocado and cherry tomatoes and you've got yourself one awesomely delicious SQUARE MEAL 🙂

Like what you read today? Think somebody else would like to know more about eating square meals or slowing their roll with snacking? See those cute little social shapes underneath this post? They're for sharing! Click one to post to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or comment right here on the blog. I would love to hear from you.

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Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

Healthy Body

What is Paleo?

July 13, 2015

9-course-meal-steakOn a recent work trip, I got completely spoiled with a 9 course meal with so much gastronomical fantasticalness, that I’m not even going to attempt to explain what the dishes were made of (see pictures above and below). I do know, however, that there was plenty of beef, duck and chicken liver (I think?). My coworker approached me after we had left the clients, with a very concerned look.

Octopus

"Are you okay? I saw you eat every dish!" she said. I asked her why that was a problem, and she said, "I thought you didn’t eat meat?"

I proceeded to explain to her that I’m not vegan; I’m paleo. When I got blank stares in response, I realized something.

Not everybody knows what paleo means. DUH.

I get so sucked into my own little world that sometimes I forget that paleo is still in many respects under-the-radar. SO, this is my long-overdue post to you on what it means to be Paleo. You ready? Here we go…

WHAT DOES ‘PALEO’ MEAN?

Paleo is an abbreviation for Paleolithic. People who follow this lifestyle eat foods that pass this test: Would our ancient ancestors have eaten this food?

But, for me, Paleo is really about eliminating the foods that cause inflammation (and indigestion, and stress, and feeling like crap), and enjoying the ones that don't.

WHY EAT WHAT OUR ANCESTORS ATE?

People ask me this question all the time. Why would we use the caveman as our model of health? They died at like…30. Welp. Cavemen also didn’t have modern medicine to cure their ailments or heal their bones. What they DID have was real, whole unprocessed foods that served them well: plants, meats, seafood. For about 2.5 million years, humans biologically adapted best with these foods.

Then agriculture came along. And with it, came wheat, sugar, and chemically processed vegetable oils and seed oils. Crazy coincidence – it wasn’t until this time that diseases such as autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and…wait for it…OBESITY came into our lives.

Yes, cavemen died earlier than us. But they were dying because they starved to death or were mauled by animals. NOT because of heart disease and obesity. Although we may be more evolved than our ancestors in a lot of ways, they’ve got us beat in the food department. And since our basic biochemical responses pretty much work the same as theirs – maybe, just maybe, we should follow their lead at the dinner table (not in a eat-with-your-hands-scratch-yourself kind of way, of course). 

WHAT DO YOU EAT?

  • Grass Fed Meat & Poultry
  • Wild Caught Seafood
  • Pasture-Raised Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit – mostly berries
  • Nuts, in moderation
  • Seeds, in moderation

WHAT DON’T YOU EAT?

  • Gluten-containing grains
  • Legumes
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Processed foods (i.e. 80% of the food in the center of the supermarket)

WHY DON’T YOU EAT THOSE THINGS?

As I said before, agriculture didn’t come into our lives until about 10,000 years ago. Foods like grains, beans, dairy and Doritos were new to our bodies. And research shows that humans have not been able to adapt fast enough to properly digest and metabolize these foods. Again, it was only after we started eating these foods did we develop obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

This is where I could get super detailed and research-heavy with you. And I have done that in other posts like my happy stomach series and my processed oil post. But for now, I would just like to say that sometimes, it’s as simple as listening to your body. Think about it. How do you feel after you’ve eaten a cheesy pizza? A bean burrito? A bowl of sugary cereal? A box of cookies?

Okay, I know that some of you with stomachs of steel are going to say you feel fine. But I know that once I eliminated gluten, sugar and processed foods from my diet (I never ate much dairy to begin with), I felt and looked a whole lot better. Not very scientific, I know. But it’s the only evidence I need.

WHY WOULD SOMEBODY GO PALEO?

For a variety of reasons. To lose weight is obviously one of them. But more often than not, people with autoimmune diseases and digestive related problems turn to the paleo diet when they realize that medicine is not making them feel any better.

People with diseases like…

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • IBS
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Are improving, and sometimes eliminating their symptoms with the Paleo diet1.

WHY DID I GO PALEO?

I have always been a health nut. But for me, the definition of “health” has changed a lot over the years. For the better half of my life, my goal has always been to lose weight. That’s all I ever cared about. Being thin. That meant a lot of low-fat, non-fat, fake sugar, diet-packaged crap. As “healthy” as I thought I was, I was never happy with my weight, often unsatisfied with my food, and almost always in uncomfortable digestive pain.

My now-fiancée introduced me to the paleo diet, back when I was closer to vegan than anything else. I was frustrated with my weight, as my initial weight loss from eliminating all meat and dairy from my diet had worn off. My stomach was bigger than I wanted it to be, and often, in pain. But most of all, I always felt like I was restricting myself. I wasn’t really enjoying food.

I slowly started following some of the paleo guidelines. I switched to unprocessed oils in my cooking. I started eating grass-fed meat. I reduced a little, then a lot, of gluten. And most importantly, I threw away anything low-fat, non-fat, and let good fat back into my life. It took no longer than a couple weeks of these small changes to immediately feel and see results. And now, almost two years later, I can’t imagine eating and living any other way.  

Becoming paleo:

  • Allowed me to eat ridiculously delicious and satisfying food
  • Encouraged me to listen to my body rather than a book or a blog (Ha! Ironic)
  • Inspired me to fall in love with cooking and start making more food from scratch – it tastes sooo much better!
  • Got my body looking the best it ever, ever has
  • But most importantly, feeling the best it ever has

Digestive health is so much more connected to our overall health than any of us ever realized. Yes, I think it’s great for people with Celiac Disease or Colitis, but I don’t think you need to “resort” to paleo. I think it can and should be something that we can all learn from. As you may have guessed from my 9-course meal above or some of the dishes I post on my instagram feed, I don’t live and die by the paleo rules. That's why I'm paleo-ish. I listen to my body and eat real food. Whether you accept it 100%, 80% or even 20%,  we can all benefit from eating more real, whole, homemade food. It’s hard to argue with that.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

This is obviously an oversimplification of a very complicated, slightly controversial topic. I don't pretend to be an expert on it, but I do know a few people who are. If you're interested in learning more about the paleo diet, I highly reccommend checking out Sean Croxton's podcast, Underground Wellness, Mark Sisson's blog Mark's Daily Apple, and Chris Kresser's site on functional medicine (i.e. connecting what we put in our body with health and disease). These are people willing to go the extra mile to tell you everyhing you need to know about the paleo diet and how we can use it to improve our health. Plus, they'll give you all the nitty gritty research that I don't have the time, the patience, or the expertise to cover here. But I hope, at the very least, this was a good start.

 

Well, what do you think? Do you get it now? Do you have something to say? Whether lovely and complimentary or mean and embarrassing, I want to hear it! Those cute little gold icons underneath this post are for sharing. You can share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or just comment right here on this blog. So go ahead. Floor's all yours…

1https://s3.amazonaws.com/paleodietevo2/research/The+Nutritional+Characteristics+of+a+Contemporary+Diet+Based+Upon+Paleolithic+Food+Groups+The+Paleo+Diet.pdf

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Healthy Body

Too Many Nuts! Too Many Nuts! + Lemondamia Zest Mahi Mahi Recipe

May 12, 2015
LemonZest_HealthyStacey

I used to have a nasty habit of eating exactly the same thing every single day. At about 9:05 AM, I would bust out my Ziploc bag of dry roasted, unsalted almonds, and happily crunch one by one at my desk. For about 3 years straight, there was very rarely a day that I skipped this ritual. Why should I? I was proud of my healthy, but oh-so-easy snack. 

The only problem is – nuts aren't as good for my body as I'd like them to be. As protein-packed as they are, they are not something I should have been eating every single day. For one, nuts in big handfuls (as some like to eat them) can easily add up in fat and calories if you're somebody who is trying to watch your weight. But more importantly (I think), is the fact that too many nuts can really work a number on your digestion. 

WHY?

Nuts are high in inflammatory Omega-6 and low in anti-inflammatory Omega-3.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Omega-3 and omega-6 are known as “essential” fatty acids because the body can’t produce them itself. You want Omega-6 in your diet. But you want it to be about even with your Omega-3 intake. However, with the standard American diet, Omega-6 is available in spades (they are in our “vegetable” oils like soybean, corn, peanut, sunflower, grain-fed animal fat, and a ton of processed, packaged food); while Omega-3 is a lot harder to come by (wild fish, grassfed meats, flaxseeds, Brussels sprouts). So many of us are extremely unbalanced in this ratio, putting all of our eggs in the pro-inflammatory Omega-6 basket. 

Here is a breakdown of the Omega-6 content in a handful of nuts (see what I did there?):

Walnuts – 9.5 g 

Almonds – 4.36 g

Cashews – 2.6 g

Macadamias – 0.5 g

Brazil nuts – 7.2 g

Hazelnuts – 2.7 g

Pistachio – 4.1 g

Pine nuts – 11.6 g

Pecans – 5.8 g

As you can see, some of our most popular healthy nuts are very high in Omega-6.

On the other hand, the shining star of this list is surprisingly the Macadamia Nut. Funny thing is, the macadamia nut is probably the one nut I avoided the most because I had heard how terribly high it was in fat (Oh! The horror!). But it turns out, that high fat content holds numerous health-benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins.

  • 100 g of macadamia provides 23% of daily-recommended levels of dietary fiber. And BONUS, the nuts carry no cholesterol.
  • They're gluten-free. Whoop. Whoop. 
  • Excellent source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
  • Rich in many important B-complex vitamins that are vital for metabolic functions. 
  • They contain small amounts of vitamin-A, and vitamin E. Both fat-soluble vitamins that serve to protect cell membranes and DNA damage from harmful oxygen-free radicals.*

So you get the picture? Yes, nuts are good. They have a lot of benefits. And they are responsible for heavenly things like Sunflower Butter, Cashew Cream Sauce and Almond Milk Smoothies. But you really don't want to overdo them. If you're going to love on them, err more towards the ones with the lower Omega-6 levels like Macadamia Nuts, Cashews and Pistachios.

I can say from personal experience that as soon as I lowered my nut consumption to a couple times a week – and switched over to macadamias and cashews – I noticed that the scratchy swollen feeling in my throat (inflammation) that I'd always get mid-morning soon after my almond snack had disappeared. Coincidence? I don't think so. But that's just my opinion. 

Enough talk. Let's eat. Here's a beautiful new recipe I like to call Lemondamia Lemondamia Mahi Mahi – so nice, I named it twice! 

Lemondamia Lemondamia Mahi Mahi Recipe

MahiMahi_HealthyStacey

INGREDIENTS:

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of macadamia nuts, chopped up tiny
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 pieces of Mahi Mahi 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. Place your Mahi filets on an oiled-up baking sheet with slots (for the broiler).
  3. Season the filets with S&P.
  4. Chop up macadamia nuts into tiny pieces (or pulse them to a course texture in your food processor). Put them in a small bowl.
  5. Take a grater to your lemon to collect your zest in the same bowl as the macadamia nuts.
  6. Mix together with a small dash of S&P.
  7. Rub your Mahi Mahi with coconut oil.
  8. Sprinkle your Lemondamia Zest on top.
  9. Broil in the oven for 8-10 minutes. 
  10. Voila! You fancy, huh? 

MahiMahi2_HealthyStacey

*Source: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/macadamia-nut.html  

Healthy Body

The Proper Post Workout Meal + Orange Monster Smoothie

January 30, 2015

Working out is hard to do. I’ve been doing it since I was in the 7th grade (6 am volleyball practice!) and I still question my routine.

Is it long enough? Too long? What is the best ratio of cardio to strength? Can I work the same muscle two days in a row? How many crunches DOES IT TAKE to get a six pack?

Good news is I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough this year. I think I’ve finally figured out the answer to what works best for me.

My success story? Weight lifting. Yeah, I said it. Metal-bar-bell-strict-lifting-low-squating weight lifting. I absolutely love it. I've never been so strong in my life. And never been happier with my body. My thighs and butt are toned (without being bulky), my butt actually exists (it used to just be a flattened extension of my upper thigh), my abs are tighter than they ever have been (in all my years of endless crunching), and my energy is as high as a kite (I actually look forward to my morning workout). Insert proud beach picture here –>

But enough about my workout. This is a food blog. Which is why I just had to tell you that one of the best adjustments I have made to my workout has been in my Post Workout Meal. No matter how hard you workout, what you eat matters more than anything. ESPECIALLY AFTER YOUR WORKOUT.

Here are the three things I’ve come to know about post workout meals through lots and lots of research, my personal trainer’s advice, and my own experience and success with it.

  1. Timing Matters.
  2. What you eat (and don’t eat) matters.
  3. Where it came from matters.

Let me explain.

1. TIMING: I eat immediately after my workout (i.e. 30 minutes or less).
I am trying to build muscle. Not lose weight. Because of this, I try to eat immediately after my workout. You want to take advantage of absorbing the nutrients immediately to repair muscle tissue.

2. WHAT I EAT: I eat a combination of high protein and little carb.
You need protein to restore muscle tissue. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash and plantains replenish your glycogen stores for muscle growth and increased energy. Although you need carbs, too many will cause an insulin spike so don't go overboard on the sweet potatoes.

I eat VERY LITTLE fat and sugar.
Fat slows down your digestion and inhibits the absorption of protein. Sugar (even the natural kind in fruit), can only be metabolized by your liver. You didn't workout your liver silly; you worked out your muscles. Muscle tissue eats glycogen (that's where those carbs come in).

3. WHERE IT CAME FROM: I eat a whole protein source (or as close as I can get to one).
Protein powder is convenient. But where the protein in your powder came from matters just as much as where the chicken in your dinner came from. Ideally, you want a whole protein source so that you are absorbing as many nutrients as possible and as little hormones and chemicals as possible. There are a handful of protein powders that have gone out of their way to produce antibiotic-free, grass-fed and low in sugar products that I have tried and loved (Tera’s Whey, Amazing Meal, RAW protein).

But I’ve recently discovered an even better source of whole protein that is just as convenient as protein powder: Gelatin.

But this isn’t Bill Cosby’s gelatin (weird how that reference has a creepy meaning now). This is real, unprocessed gelatin from grass-fed cows. It comes in powder form just like protein powder. But its benefits are much greater. Gelatin helps your body repair quicker, helps repair small tears in cartilage, eases stiff joints and helps build muscle. Because I have so much to say about this stuff, I am already working on a follow up post, starring gelatin. So I'll explain more about this super nutrient later (also great for hair, skin and nails). 

Now, for what you've been waiting for… 

What exactly fits into this perfect formula??

THE ORANGE MONSTER SMOOTHIE. Gelatin to build and repair muscles. Sweet potato or pumpkin to restore glycogen. And cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and TURMERIC are all anti-inflammatory spices that will relieve muscle and joint pain and keep your stomach flat. BOOM. It's all there.

ORANGE MONSTER POST WORKOUT SMOOTHIE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree OR 1 cup of cooked sweet potato
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • ½ cup of ice
  • 2 tablespoons gelatin – I strongly recommend Great Lakes OR serving of your favorite vanilla protein powder (try to stick to hormone-free and grassfed)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Splash of coconut milk (for taste)
  • Drizzle of honey (if you really need a sweetener, but try to refrain from adding sugar)
  • Spices*

    • 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger/pre-chopped ginger/real ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (see this post for why it's awesome)
    • Dash of nutmeg

*Note: Substitute pumpkin pie spice for all of the above spices to save a little time

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Have an awesome workout and imagine the delicious smoothie waiting at the end of the tunnel.
  2. Immediately after, toss all above ingredients in a NutriBullet or your blender of choice and power up until it’s smooth as cream.
  3. Stick a straw in it and drink immediately.
  4. Do a happy dance.

As always, thanks for listening to me rave and rant. Keep in mind, this workout and this Post Workout Meal is what works FOR ME. If you're not doing a lot of strength training, it may not work for you. Either way though, it's all good stuff.

COMMENT BELOW IF YOU'VE GOT MORE SMOOTHIE IDEAS!!