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What I Ate Wednesday #4

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! Last week I was indulging on my double chocolate fudge birthday cake and today.. kale water.. LOL it actually wasn’t bad!

I’ve been experimenting with my dehydrator to make homemade green powder. After a few tries I finally made an easy to use kale powder that adds an nutrient boost to any recipe. Today my morning elixir consisted of warm water, 1/2 tsp. kale powder, lemon, ginger powder, tumeric and cinnamon. Before tossing in a packet of stevia to mask the odd combination of ingredients, I decided to take a sip and test it out in its raw form. Wasn’t bad! The stevia went back into the cabinet and I downed my kale water as is.

Today was my rest day so I went for a walk and then had steak, eggs and sauteed spinach for breakfast.

A few hours later I had 2 handful of crushed walnuts and homemade jerky

Lunch consisted of a simple salad of romaine, broccoli, radishes, baby corn, chicken and a sprinkle of kale powder. I dressed my salad with apple cider vinegar and EVOO.

Sunflower seed butter was my snack

By the time I got home from my internship all I wanted was food and sleep. I inhaled one of my chicken thighs and some string beans before realizing I needed to take a pic for my this post. I removed my one eaten chicken bone and quickly took this horrendous pic.

Healthy dinner Ideas

Healthy Habits Part 3: Cleaning Up Dinner

I’m a little late on this post but here goes! The past few weeks we discussed how to change up breakfast and lunch to make them healthier. If you would like to go back and read those posts click on the following links:

Healthy Habits Part 1: Cleaning Up Breakfast

Healthy Habits Part 2: Cleaning Up Lunch

 

A brief overview of the previous posts:

  • Breakfast should be the largest meal of the day in terms of calories and carbohydrates. Since you are literally “breaking-a-fast” this meal should consist of proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

 

  • Lunch should be a bit lighter (again in terms of calories and carbohydrates) but still filling to keep you going through the day. We achieve this by increasing the amount on non-starchy vegetables in the meal (leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, okra, etc.) and decreasing the amount of starchy veggies and complex carbs (rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, beets, peas, etc.). Doing this will increase the volume of food at lunch but not the calories or carbs.

 

Dinner, in my opinion, is the simplest of all meals. If your goals are fat loss I recommend keeping dinner nice and light making it the smallest meal of the day filled with a lean protein like chicken breast and fish and non-starchy vegetables. I do not promote or condone consuming starchy and complex carbohydrates at dinner, it all depends on your needs and goals. If dinner happens to be my post workout meal I do consume complex carbs, and if it is not then I stick to lean meat and non-starchy veggies. This is what works for me and may or may not work for you, so play around with it!

 

However, if you are striving to gain weight and build muscle then load up on the carbs!

21dsd week 1 banner

21 Day Sugar Detox- Week 1 Recap

After a long December of warm chocolate chip cookies, creamy Christmas cocktails and gluten laden meals I needed to get my body and mind back on track! #NewYearNewMe right?!

About a week ago the whole Verna family took on Diane Sanfilippos 21 Day Sugar Detox. I think I speak for most when I say the first week of any diet is the most difficult. It was a hard 7 days, but doing this as a family made it a million times easier.

My brother and I have been making batches of homemade chicken, turkey and beef jerky.

My Mom rid the fridge and pantry of all No-No foods

And my big Italian Dad…

Well, he’s certainly trying his best! I think he’s getting used to cooking healthier, and after a little scolding he stopped rebuying the foods my Mom threw away.

In addition to the strong support system at home I also came up with some tricks curb the inevitable chocolate cravings.

  1. Set an Incentive, Treat Yoself!: At the beginning of each week set a non food related reward for yourself. If you stay on track with your diet enjoy a mani/pedi, massage, day trip, a new outfit, shoes, sneakers, etc. This gives you something to look forward to, which might increase motivation.

Last week my mom and I decided to treat ourselves to a cute outfit from the Gap and after a                  successful week, today we cashed in on our reward!

  1. Chug! Chug! Chug! – On JJ Virgins health podcast she mentions curbing sweet cravings with sour flavors. Next time you have a hankering for a Reeses cup try mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a large glass of water!
  1. Get some Z’s- Stop eating 3 hours before bed (this doesn’t mean you should be going to bed later!). When my cravings spike at night I force myself into bed. Majority of the time I lay there awake reading a book or surfing the web, but my mind is occupied and my body is way too comfy to go all the way to the kitchen.

Progress:

Everyone in the family agrees they feel more energized and have already dropped a few lbs!

As for me, I never focus on what the scale says, instead my progress is based on how I feel and how my clothes fit. Here is a quick summary of my personal experience after one week on the 21 DSD:

  • I feel less bloated!- My cousin bought me adorable workout leggings for Christmas. When I tried them on a week ago they did not fit, but today I slipped them on with ease and they fit PERFECTLY! (wee!)

  • Glowing skin- I don’t normally have skin issues but I can absolutely tell a difference in my face from when I began the detox
  • My energy levels are up

Final Thoughts: With the exception of 2 slices of swiss cheese and one bite of a protein bar, that I have to review as a BodyBuilding.com rep, I have stayed on track with the detox. The progress from week one is amazing and motivates me to crush week 2!

21dsd pic

Starting the 21-Day Sugar Detox

Towards the end of my December recap post I briefly mentioned embarking on the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Here is some information on how I discovered the detox and my experience thus far…

I dipped a toe into the pool of podcasting over the summer at the start of my dietetic internship/grad program. Normally I like to stay up late and research interesting fitness and health related topics to stay current with the literature and become more knowledgeable for my clients and myself. However with my day spent at the hospital and my nights consumed with grad work I began losing out on my research time (and sanity! haha).

 

A friend suggested I start listening to some health podcasts during my long commutes to and from the hospital. This is how I discovered Balanced Bites Podcast and co-host Diane Sanfilippo’s 21-Day Sugar Detox.

I’ll be honest, with my background in nutrition I can be very skeptical while listening to these wellness podcasts, but co-hosts Diane and Liz preach the same nutrition beliefs as myself. These ladies get me through a 2 hour commute each day with discussions ranging from nutrition for thyroid functioning to gut health to skin care. Through my incessant podcast listening Diane mentioned her 21-Day Sugar Detox book and I was immediately hooked.

Again, I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to buying nutrition books but I trusted Diane and went forward with my purchase. The detox wasn’t filled with wacky juice recipes, soup cleanses, etc. but rather whole foods, clean and tasty recipes and insightful information.

Side note: I originally had a colorful picture of fruits, veggies and proteins but found an avocado putting on pants to be more interesting

Anyways! In her book, Dianne goes through a preparation phase, which includes enlisting friends or family to embark on the detox journey. I have successfully recruited my mom (the sweets QUEEN), my dad (the carb loving Italian), and my brother (the “if you don’t put your name on it I’m eating it” offender). The day before the detox we all indulged in some creamy Cold Stone ice cream before saying “sayonara!” to all things sweet.

Today is day 2 and everyone seems to be holding up pretty well! I will fill everyone in on our triumphs, struggles and (hopefully) progress!

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stuffed bell peppers

Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers

As if we haven’t had enough turkey this time of year, here is yet another reason to chow down on the nutrient rich and protein packed poultry.

 

  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • ½ Tbsp. olive oil
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper (use the tops of your bell peppers)
  • 1 cup brown rice (may omit or substitute with another grain)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3lb package of ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup no salt added tomato sauce
  • 4 slices part skim mozzarella (may omit)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut the tops off bell peppers and remove the seeds
  3. Place peppers in a large pot of boiling water and boil until tender (about 3 minutes)
  4. Remove peppers from the water and set aside on a plate
  5. In a separate pot cook rice according to its instructions
  6. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and on medium heat add in olive oil
  7. Sauté diced onions and bell pepper in the same pan cooking until the peppers are tender and the onions are translucent
  8. Add ground turkey, garlic, salt, and pepper to the onion pepper mixture. Cook until the turkey has browned breaking it apart in the pan with a spatula.
  9. Mix in brown rice and tomato sauce
  10. Place bell peppers onto a baking sheet and fill each with ½ cup of the ground turkey rice mixture
  11. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from oven, top each with a slice of cheese and bake again until the cheese has melted.

 

NOTE: After baking them I put the broiler on for a few minutes to crisp up the cheese a bit. If you do this watch your peppers veryyyy closely!

pumpkin protein pancakes final

Pumpkin Pie Protein Pancakes

This is definitely me… but for the 3 months before and after Halloween

I get so excited for fall and Christmas time that I’m always little ahead of everyone else with the seasons. Okay, lets be honest, A LOT ahead. Around the end of July I’m on Pinterest searching unique Halloween costumes, Googling the best fall festivals on Long Island and even checking out local turkey trots to burn off Thanksgiving dinner!

While everyone is holding onto summer sipping their iced coffees and fruit smoothies I’m counting down the days until Starbucks brings back the Pumpkin Spice Latte (AKA: PSL). But eventually the leaves change color and autumn finally comes and goes and as everyone transitions into the Christmas season, I have been there since Halloween while still holding on to all things pumpkin spice.

There are 7 days until Christmas, the trees are bare and there’s snow on the ground but you better believe I made these pumpkin spice pancakes this morning!

 

Ingredients:

 

-1 scoop vanilla chai Fitmiss protein powder

– dash of cinnamon

– 1 tsp. baking powder

– 1 packet stevia

– ½ Tbsp. all purpose flour (I used GF)

– 2 Tbsp. pumpkin spice Chobani (any greek yogurt will do)

– 1 Tbsp. pumpkin puree

– 1 egg (or 3 Tbsp. eggbeaters)

– ½ Tbsp. semi sweet chocolate chips

– cooking spray

 

Directions:

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients
  2. Mix in wet ingredients
  3. Coat skillet with cooking spray and on medium-high heat pour in batter. (I made 3 mini pancakes cooking on one side for 3 minutes, flipping, and cooking the other side for about 1 minute).
  4. Top with Greek yogurt, nuts, more chocolate chips, pumpkin froyo, maple syrup, whipped cream, peanut butter, or whatever else your heart desires.

 

Nutritional Facts made with egg (just pancakes, no toppings):

Serving size: 1

Calories: 243

Fat: 9g

Carbs: 17g

Fiber: 2g

Protein: 25g

Sodium: 767mg

Sugar: 9g

Nutritional Facts made with eggbeaters (just pancakes, no toppings):

Serving size: 1

Calories: 195

Fat: 4g

Carbs: 17g

Fiber: 2g

Protein: 24g

Sodium: 788mg

Sugar: 10g