Pre-workout Snacks

Happy Sunday! I often get asked by my clients what they should eat before a workout, so I thought I’d write a Sunday post with some pre workout snacks to start your week off right! The key is not to eat something heavy… That fast food meal will make you feel heavy, sluggish and energy deprived, not to mention counteract your healthy lifestyle! You want a light snack with a bit of natural sugar to give you energy, a small amount of protein or fat to keep you satisfied and water to hydrate. Eating an hour to a half hour before your workout should be enough time to get the benefits you want. Here are some suggestions:

-Apple slices with nut butter
– veggies and 2 tbsp hummus
– handful of trail mix
– 2 Wasa crackers with nut butter
-2 Wasa crackers with cottage cheese and salsa
– handful of grapes and a light babybell cheese
-berries and 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
-homemade healthy muffin or granola bar
-Larabar, KINDBar, Simply Bar
-rice cakes with nut butter and banana
-Guacamole and Pita Crisps
Energy Bites click to see recipe

Water should be consumed before, during and after your workout. I wouldn’t bother with sport drinks…the average person doesn’t need the added sugar and can get the electrolytes from healthy food choices. After a good sweat session, get yourself a lean protein meal, still avoiding that takeout! Chicken, fish, lean pork or beef with TONS of veggies are great choices post-workout.

If you find you have some tummy troubles during your workout, this may be caused by too much fibre. Try eating your snack earlier or avoiding high fibre options like the Wasa crackers. You could replace these with rice crackers, banana, or toast.
So add some great pre-workout snacks to your weekly meal plan and you will find you have more energy to lift just a bit heavier, or run just a bit further! The only person you should be comparing yourself against is who you were yesterday, so always do YOUR best. Have a great week, live well, love always and healthy snacking!

Advertisements

Easy Gluten Free Crackers

After a week with a brutal cold…I was craving a nice creamy bowl of cheddar cauliflower soup mhmhhh. I wanted to make something to go with the soup instead of a bun or store bought cracker. I came across this recipe for crackers made of almond flour! They are healthy, gluten free and were sooooooo easy! What a great way to end a Sunday afternoon of ice fishing with some warm soup and delicious crackers! I used dried Rosemary and added thyme and garlic salt to mine, you could really add whatever you like. Here is the link to the recipe: Rosemary Almond Flour Crackers

Enjoy! Live well and love always, have a great week!

20140330-194020.jpg

Thinking of Trying a Juice Cleanse? Think again…

I am constantly hearing about fitness fads and am asked by clients what’s good or bad. Well, a juice only cleanse is one of the bad ones, as most weight loss health fads tend to be. A recent article I read in States News Service, 2013 interviewed 2 dietetic interns from Vanderbilt University. The article outlined that because of the extreme calorie deficit, people on juice cleanses feel extremely fatigued, they are missing key nutrients as well as calcium and protein. A juicier will remove all the fibre rich skins from the fruit and vegetables, which keeps you fuller longer and supports a healthy digestive system. An article in the New York Times by Judith Newman, 2010, gives a detailed report on her experience trying a juice cleanse as well as some facts from Dr. David Colbert, the New York internist, dermatologist and author of ”The High School Reunion Diet”. Apparently, a juice only cleanse will spike your blood sugar, but shortly after it will drop substantially. This can create diabetic like symptoms and mess with your metabolism, making your body believe it’s starving and slow down your system.

My personal opinion is that starving your body is never a good idea. We need a lot of components in out diet to function effectively and remain healthy. We need protein for muscle and tissue growth, calcium for healthy bones and optimal functioning and lots of fibre to not only keep us full, but keep our intestinal systems running well! Starving the body from regular food could lead to binge eating, weight gain as well as a miserable mood… and who wants that!?

Here’s my recommendation: try a clean eating cleanse, sugar free week or no alcohol weekend….maybe all of the above, depending on your willpower!? This means cutting out all processed, unhealthy foods and consuming only fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, unsweetened dairy and lean meats and (unsalted) nuts! There’s no need for something as extreme as a juice only cleanse to replace food, but if you do enjoy a nice fresh beet root, carrot or spinach juice drink, there’s nothing wrong with adding one every so often! Check out this article in Women’s Health that describes your body on a juice cleanse:
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/detox-diet-side-effects

Be sure to always check with your doctor before starting any new diet program!

References:
Newman, Judith. “A strange, green journey.” New York Times 28 Oct. 2010: E1(L). Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA240669351&v=2.1&u=guel77241&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=ea3fc5fb84e62ba1b9e3389249eb391f
“THINKING OF TRYING A JUICE CLEANSE?” States News Service 23 Aug. 2013. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA341973675&v=2.1&u=guel77241&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=7d5cd5d62aa47ad920a107b4f6e96221

Muffins that fooled everyone! Double Fudge, need I say more?

Let’s face it- life without chocolate seems impossible! Instead of wasting calories on sugar-laden, artery clogging store bought muffins, try these healthy double chocolate muffins! They are gluten free, use bananas to replace some of the sugar and applesauce instead of oils! My picky, junk food eating boyfriend scarfed one up and said it was great!

Double Fudge Banana Muffin Recipe

I did use the brown sugar, although next time I will try replacing it with honey, sucanat or even try no sweetener! I made myself a batch of these on a Sunday and had an afternoon sweet treat to get me through the week. So get out the muffins tins and live well, and love (chocolate) always!

20140225-215126.jpg

Healthy and Easy No Bake Granola Bars

I must apologize for my lack of posts lately, I have a new job and have really had to adjust to my lack of free time ( ahhhh adult life…)! Something that is always a great idea when you are super busy during the week is to prepare your food ahead of time. I take a few hours on the weekend to wash, cut and prepare fruit and veggies, make lunches and homemade muffins or granola bars. This way I am less likely to go towards store bought junk and other treats when I have an arsenal of healthy food on hand! Here is a easy, no bake granola bar recipe that is gluten free, soy and dairy free, vegan and free from added sugar.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of large flake oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 roughly chopped almonds
1/2 cup roughly chopped cashews
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup chia seeds (or add more flax)
Dash of salt
1tsp of vanilla
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil + 1 tbsp
1/2 cup warm honey

1) mix all ingredients together
2) pour into an 8″x8″ dish and pack down with hands
3) store in the fridge to keep them hard
4) enjoy!

20140211-213208.jpg

New Years Resolutions- Be SMART this year!

Happy New Year to all! I personally had an amazing 2013 and am looking forward to 2014. Working in the health and fitness industry, I see many people hit January running full force with their resolution and then often fade out by March. This does not have to be the case! Choosing a resolution that follows the SMART guide has a much better chance of lasting throughout the year and maybe even an entire lifetime! Here is how to plan your goals the “SMART” way!

Specific: instead of saying “losing weight”, use “losing 2lbs per week until …” Or instead of “eat healthier”, try “eat the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables every day”. This takes your resolution from a vague idea to a concrete plan.

Measurable: Having a measurable goal gives you something to work for! For example: attending the gym at least 4 times per week, lifting 2lbs heavier weights each workout or losing 2lbs per week. Seeing the achievement of your goal through numbers gives you positive feedback.

Attainable: Be reasonable with yourself- if you really don’t think you can attend the gym EVERY single day or lose 30lbs in a month then you are setting yourself up for failure. Give yourself small goals that you KNOW you can do!

Realistic: This falls in line with the “Attainable” section. You need to look at your lifestyle and plan accordingly. This does not mean you shouldn’t challenge yourself- reaching goals is not often easy, but you need to find something that is within your reach!

Timely: Give yourself a time line so that you have something to work towards. For example, losing 2lbs per week for 12 weeks. Or not drinking alcohol for 1 month. When you reach this date you will have something to feel proud of! You can then extend your goals to a further date or challenge yourself with an additional goal.

Good luck with your resolutions, I wish all of you the best for 2014! Whatever happens, live well love always!

Muffins Muffins Muffins! Healthy and delicious recipies

Muffins are a great breakfast, quick snack or replacement for dessert…however store bought muffins are full of fat, sugar and other nasty chemicals that I can’t even pronounce! I have heard rumors (although I haven’t investigated myself) that TIm Hortons muffins are just as bad, if not worse, than their donuts!! AHHHH!! Try these easy healthy recipes for pumpkin and banana muffins. All are gluten free, have no added junk, refined sugar or unhealthy oils. I made the pumpkin muffins yesterday and  can’t keep my hands off them! I forgot to add the pecan pieces on top but they still turned out great.

http://greenlitebites.com/2009/03/07/banana-oatmeal-cups-with-chocolate-chips/

http://fitandhealthywithdebbie.blogspot.ca/2012/10/banana-oatmeal-breakfast-muffins.html#.UpdyXdJqCm4

http://blog.jchongstudio.com/2013/10/pumpkin-muffins-with-chocolate-chips.html?crlt.pid=camp.81jZou0noji5

P.S. I use silicone baking Imagemuffin cups. They are AMAZING. No greasing (and adding calories) and no fighting with paper ones getting stuck to your muffin.

Homemade Hot Cocoa, perfect winter treat!

As the weather gets colder out, and the Christmas season is on its way a warm hot cocoa is just what you need! Most drinks from your local coffee shop can be full of calories and refined sugars which can do damage to any healthy diet plan. This is a recipe from my friend and roommate from university!

Ingredients:
-1 1/2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 1/2 tbsp of your favourite sweetener (I use honey, sucanat, stevia or cocoanut sugar)
-dash of vanilla
-dash of cinnamon
-1cup of milk (you could use almond or coconut milk if desired)

Simple put all of this is a pot and whisk continuously until starting to simmer!

20131120-114040.jpg

Health Check Controversy

Image

It has come to my attention that “healthier” options in processed foods are popping up everywhere. It seems most companies are coming out with an updated healthy version of a product they sell, on some of which you will find the Heart and Stroke’s Health Check symbol. I am a big advocate of heart and stroke research; however this health check program can be misleading. The Health Check program was put into place to try and help Canadians make healthier choices in grocery stores and restaurants. Each product was to be evaluated and if the product met certain criteria it was given the iconic healthy check symbol. Although, after some research, I found a blog written by a Canadian doctor points out many products that have the health check that are just not healthy. Often products are still full of sugar, sodium and strange chemicals we can’t even pronounce! Here is the link to his blog if you are interested:

http://www.weightymatters.ca/2013/02/the-heart-and-stroke-foundations-once.html

Now I am sure some of you are thinking “Well now what do we do? How do we know what to buy?”. The answer is simple.

1)Buy fresh. Fresh veggies, fruit, meat, etc. and use these ingredients to make your own snacks and meals. Something as simple as a banana/apple with 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter will give you way more nutrients than a store bought granola bar.

2)Read the ingredients and health information. Anything with sugar,glucose-fructose, palm oil, and any ingredients you can’t pronounce…put it down!! Here are a couple tips when reading labels:

  • The less ingredients the better- 5 or less is ideal!
  • Limit the amounts of bad fats. Trans fats should be ZERO.
  • Sodium should be less than 5% of the DV.
  • Watch the serving size…the nutrition information may only be for a portion of the package.
  • The more vitamins and minerals the better…but doesn’t necessarily mean the food is healthy.
  • Some labels will say “high fibre” when in reality the food only contains 2g. Aim for 4g or higher.

Here is a link to some very delicious muffins, granola bars and other snacks! These don’t take much time and are much healthier than anything store bought, lets not forget they are very delicious!

http://www.cookincanuck.com/2012/01/low-fat-granola-bars-with-bananas-cranberries-pecans-recipe/

http://fitandhealthywithdebbie.blogspot.ca/2012/10/banana-oatmeal-breakfast-muffins.html#.UnKqiXBqCm4

http://blog.jchongstudio.com/2013/10/pumpkin-muffins-with-chocolate-chips.html?crlt.pid=camp.81jZou0noji5

http://www.dailybitesblog.com/2012/10/04/almond-chai-breakfast-clusters/

http://onceamonthmeals.com/skinny-monkey-cookies/

Enjoy and love always 🙂

Craving something sweet? Try these healthy cookies!

Image

Gooey, chocolaty peanut butter goodness. On a rainy, dreary Sunday afternoon this was exactly what I was craving!! These cookies have no flour, no white or brown sugar, no added oils and they are AMAZING. How is it possible you ask? CHICKPEAS!! Now I know you are probably already scrunching up your nose BUT…my boyfriend, who repeatedly made his disgust known for what I was making, was later found sneaking not 1 but 3 of these cookies! Click the link below to give this recipe a try! IT is worth it 🙂

http://www.texanerin.com/2012/04/grain-free-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-bites.html