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What I Ate Wednesday #2

Wake up: Room temp lemon water to wake up the digestive system and rehydrate after 8 hours of sleep

I took Brandy for a walk (in the rain) and found a 20 bucks on our way home!

I contained my excitement as we finished our walk, but inside…

#Feels

Breakfast: After our walk I was hungrier than usual so I made myself a V(Egg)ie Bowl. You can check out the exact recipe here, or just sauté whatever vegetables are sitting in your fridge! For someone who does not workout I recommend adding complex carbs (potatoes, beets, pumpkin, oats, quinoa, rice) at breakfast. I save these types of carbs for my post workout meal.

Post Workout: Since I was pressed for time today and had to get to my internship I did a Peripheral Heart Action workout (PHA). I plan on writing a separate blog post regarding PHA, but in short PHA is a type of training that alternates from upper body to lower body exercises causing the body to shunt blood back and forth from upper to lower. In a time crunch this is the most effective way in getting in a high intensity workout in a short period of time.

I drove to my internship, lugged my Isobag inside and ate lunch which consisted of baked chicken breast, peas and broccolini.

A few hours after post workout meal I had homemade chicken jerky, sunbutter and lots of water

Dinner: I’m terrible but by the time I got home from my internship the last thing on my mind was taking a pic of my food. I had a small piece of skirt steak and chicken with steamed broccoli, cauliflower and sautéed garlic.

Post Dinner Walk: I felt like I didn’t move enough today so I got some steps in on the treadmill.

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!

Healthy lunch Ideas

Healthy Habits Pt 2: Cleaning Up Lunch

Last week in THIS post we discussed how to tweak your breakfast in order to instill long lasting energy, satiate hunger and trim your waistline. Hopefully you were able to implement some of these ideas and are ready to hear all about healthifying lunch!

During the day you should be tapering your meals down.

Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dinner like a Pauper. We ate a larger amount of the days calories at breakfast so now it is time to lunch like a Prince…

Lunch is not necessarily going to be smaller, but should be lighter than breakfast in terms of calories and carbs. It is important to carryover the same breakfast principals such as incorporating quality protein, healthy fats, non-starchy veggies and good natural complex carbs. In order to decrease the amount of calories consumed at lunch while still staying full it is important to include lots of non-starchy vegetables.

I personally experience a energy slump between 11:00 and 2:00PM which is reversed with a nutrient dense midday meal.

Lets think about how to put together a healthy lunch…

Start with a protein:

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • ground beef
  • ground turkey
  • salmon
  • cod
  • shrimp
  • organic deli meats (like Applegate)
  • etc.

Add in fat(s):

  • grassfed butter
  • olives, olive oil
  • full fat cheese (if able to tolerate)
  • avocado, avocado oil
  • coconut oil
  • almonds, brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, etc.
  • pesto sauce
  • etc.

Go crazy with non starchy veggies:

  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • cucumber
  • eggplant
  • garlic
  • green beans
  • jicama
  • kale
  • mushrooms
  • onion
  • peppers
  • spinach, romaine, arugula and any other leafy green
  • etc.

Incorporate a small portion of complex carbs like good whole grains and starchy vegetables (sorry! no refined breads and pastas) :

  • beets
  • green peas
  • pumpkin
  • rice
  • squash
  • sweet potato
  • sprouted whole grain bread (Ezekial bread!)

Add a little dairy

  • If you are able to tolerate dairy I recommend opting for grassfed choices

Now that you’ve chosen from the list, just put it all together…

Sample lunch ideas:

  1. Spinach salad topped with nitrate-free organic deli turkey, chopped beets, jicama, cucumber, olive oil and a sprinkle of walnuts
  2. Romaine Lettuce Wraps filled with flank steak, peppers, onion, rice and salsa
  3. Sandwich using Ezekial bread, grilled chicken, a slice of organic nitrate-free bacon, a slice of grassfed cheese
  4. Spaghetti Squash with pesto, ground chicken meatballs and sautéed veggies

Bottom Line:

  • eat lunch like a Prince making it lighter than breakfast. The meals listed above may seem like a lot, but loading up on non-starchy veggies increases the volume of your meal while still remaining low in calories and carbs
  • incorporate protein, healthy fats, lots of non starchy veggies, and a bit of complex carbs
  • feel free to add in a little grassfed dairy if you can tolerate it

Stay tuned for my take on Dinner this time next week*

Back Workout Trisets 1

Tri-Set Back Workout

I try to incorporate tri-sets into my weekly routine. Not only are tri-sets super effective, but they shave time off your workout and keep gym boredom at bay.

During this form of training you will perform 3 consecutive exercises with little to no rest in between. Once you complete the first tri-set rest for 60 seconds and repeat it 3-4 more times.

You can incorporate more than one muscle group into tri-sets. For example, if you did an upper body splits a sample tri-set could be…

  • Chest press
  • Bicep curl
  • Lat pulldown

I tend to do more isolated workouts therefore my tri-sets focus on one muscle group at a time. Since these workouts can be very taxing on your muscles I recommend doing no more than 3 tri-sets per workout. However, you know your body best, so go based on how you feel!

Here is a back workout to get you started:

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!

elf nooo gif

My December Recap and What’s to Come in January

I cant believe the most wonderful time of the yearrrr is over!

The past few years I’ve been away at school for majority of the holiday season, but this December I was finally home and able to immerse myself in the Christmas season.

Here’s a recap of my December:

I’m currently doing my dietetic internship along with grad school to become a Registered Dietitian. My clinical rotations at the hospital ended just in time for Santa Con!!!

I crashed at my friend Gabbie’s apartment in the east side the night before Santa Con to get a head start on the festivities. We started out with a group of 8 girls at a bar called the Headless Horseman. You would think the name of this bar would kill the Christmas spirit but there were Santa’s everywhere and it was lit like my Christmas tree.

About a week later my boyfriend and I ventured into the city (again) to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. The tree came from Oneonta, NY! Which is where we went to school (and met) so obviously this was the Oney reason we went! Just kidding, I’ve been harassing my boyfriend to see the tree since October. Post tree we made our way to 212 Steakhouse in Midtown to chow down on some red meat and red wine.

212 Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I highly recommend this restaurant! From the skirt steak to the truffle-mashed potatoes, everything was divine. The cozy size and quaint atmosphere coupled with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and other classics playing softly in the background give this restaurant the perfect ambiance for a date night. The menu is quite pricey but we had a Groupon, which cut the bill down a bit.

As for the rest of my December it was spent relaxing with family, shopping for gifts, binge watching ABC Family’s (not Freeform! Never Freeform!) 25 days of Christmas, and snacking on some sweet treats! This brings me to my closing statement…

December is a time to enjoy oneself, gather with friends and family and indulge once in a while in some peppermint bark, chai tea lattes and reindeer sugar cookies.

With that being said, while my diet has been pretty decent this month I have still treated myself to more goodies than usual.

How do I know this? Well sugar causes inflammation. About a year ago I had removed the sweet stuff from my diet and my body was freed from its chronic pains. The recent increase in sugar has caused my joints to get stiff, chronic headaches to ensue and threw my TMJ right out of remission.

On January 2nd (because it’s a Monday hehe) I am taking on the 21-Day Sugar Detox challenge created by Diane Sanfilippo. I plan on checking in and giving recaps of my experience while on this challenge. If you are interested in joining me check out THIS link for more information.

 

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

 

healthy-almond-pesto

Almond Pesto

My entire website and content was deleted so I’m currently in the process of recovering any saved posts from my laptop. I created this pesto recipe during my pre-almond allergy days (good times, good times). It was always a favorite and goes great on salad, sandwiches, veggies, etc. Using almonds also means less calories and fat than the traditional pesto made from pine nuts.

 

healthy-almond-pesto

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup whole almonds
  • 12 basil leaves
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. Romano cheese (I use Locatelli)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

 

Directions:

  1. Add all of your ingredients (EXCEPT the olive oil) into a food processor
  2. Pulse and scrape the sides of the food processor until the ingredients transform into a paste
  3. With the food processor on, add in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Turn it off and scrape the sides. Continue this process for the remaining two Tablespoons.
  4. Enjoy your healthy pesto over chicken, spaghetti squash, pasta, or zoodles (zucchini noodles) !

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 11

Serving Size: 1 Tbsp.

Fat: 8g

Sodium: 144mg

Carbohydrates: 2.3g

Protein: 2g