Plan to have at least one serving of vegetables each morning. Throw spinach, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, onions or tomatoes (or all of the above) into your omelets. It's delicious! Well, except those mushroom things, blech! ;) Try sneaking kale, spinach, carrots, fennel or cucumber into your smoothie for a quick veg option. Fruits are super easy to add to oatmeal, yogurt, whole-grain cereal, Cream of Wheat or my favorite pre-workout breakfast, wheat toast with natural peanut butter and banana slices on top. mmm.... Just be careful to avoid the canned varieties of fruit. They are often packed in heavy syrups and the calories/sugars add up fast. Whole fruit is the ideal, but frozen is a good option, too.
I have grown to really love oatmeal over the past few years. I didn't always. As a kid, it always seemed ultra sticky and I would tend to grumble and complain whenever my mom made it for breakfast, begging for Cap'n Crunch instead. My poor mom. As I've grown, I've discovered the health benefits of this breakfast food and also some tips that improves my overall oatmeal experience without having to add all the preservatives, chemicals, SUGARS, etc found in the prepackaged varieties.
One half cup of old-fashioned oats has 5g protein.1 Protein is important to every single cell in the body, and is the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. These proteins are also fundamental to enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. 2
A few challenges ago, I believe it was last summer, we had a Question & Answer weekly bonus. Each team member had to ask the team one health question and then their teammates had to answer that question, either with their own experiences or by researching. I was reading through some of these question/answers the other day and I found some gems that I think are worth sharing.
If you're participating in the current March 2014 Challenge then you're already aware that we've switched up Week 2 by doing a bit of a mashup with menu planning and food journaling. As I went through the week I found myself seeing some pros and cons from the switch. I've decided to take today and do a bit of a review of my experience with our Week 2 Bonus this round.
When I first decided to start exercising, one of the reasons I wanted to get fit was…I wanted to be able to eat anything (and everything) I wanted. Sounds like a really effective weight loss plan doesn't it? I mean, once you are exercising regularly, you can eat cake every day, right? (And monster cookies...and LemonHeads...and Raspberry Fritters and...well, you see where I'm headed here). Needless to say, that has not worked out so well for me. Apparently, that's not really how this whole "get fit" thing works. Sadly, it has become quite clear to me that the saying..."YOU CAN'T OUT EXERCISE A BAD DIET" really is a true statement. This is disheartening to me because it is easier to find the determination to make myself exercise 45 minutes a day than to force myself to eat well 24 hours a day (okay, more like 16-17 hours if I'm getting a decent amount of sleep).
So, let's think about this logically...I could easily figure out how to consume 800-1500 calories in 15 minutes or less by getting a large popcorn with butter and a gigantic Coke at the movies...or by picking up fast food at Wendy's at the end of a long and frustrating day instead of taking the time to prepare a home-cooked meal...or by relaxing with a good book and a couple of KitKat's, Butterfingers and the above mentioned (and all-time favorite of mine) LemonHeads!! There is, however, NO WAY I could burn the same amount of calories in 15 minutes or less. That would take me 1 or 2 hours.
Back in 2008 I was diagnosed with insulin resistance. My physician gave me the book, The Insulin-Resistance Diet, by Cheryle R. Hart, M.D. and Mary Kay Grossman, R.D. and suggested that I use it to learn more about insulin resistance and how my body responds to glucose. I have to say that at first I was skeptical because I really hate the word "diet". I always imagine a LOT of restriction with short-term gains, I'm just not into that. I prefer slow progress that is actually sustatinable for a lifetime! That said, I learned a lot from the book and though it says "diet" in the title, I think it was more of a "selling" point than a reflection of my idea of what the word "diet" means. I'd like to share what I hope will be helpful to those who may be fighting insulin resistance.
I love fresh fruit. I truly believe that most days, it can stand all on it's own to satisfy my sweet cravings, but there are those other days when I just want a little extra flavor to go along with my apple or banana. As much as I would love to allow myself to gorge on a vat of caramel dip....deep down I just know it won't end well if I do. Oh,I can just hear Valerie now..."DON'T DO IT!". So began my quest to find a flavorful addition to satiate my current snack attacks. I had 3 personal requirements for such a find. It had to be:
Be sure to read tomorrow's post about the benefits of linking foods.
I want a recipe that can be changed according to my mood...add a dash of this...a pinch of that...