Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

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IMG_20141121_083252_991                                    I wanted to start my day off with a flavorful  and nutritious breakfast, as we all should. I had made my wife a bowl of Coco Wheats, with an addition of coconut flakes and a small amount of coconut oil. It was a very well rounded blend of macro nutrients. Oh yeah, and it tastes just like a Mounds bar. (She loves this and requested it!)

For my pineapple coconut smoothie I used a farm fresh, raw egg. Disclaimer: I am aware of the dangers and risks of salmonella and am not advising that anyone takes my choice to do so, as a prescription to do the same.  That being said, I also added;                              

     8 oz plain Greek yogurt                                                                  1 c fresh pineapple                                                                          2 Tbsp coconut flakes                                                                    1 Tbsp honey

All ingredients were put into the blender and swam together happily for about 30 seconds. This made approximately 20 oz of deliciousness.

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According to MyFitnessPal, which is an app that I use to monitor my calorie intake, this smoothie came out to be 394 calories; with 54 g carbs, 32 g protein, and 10 g fat. This is a good blend! I typically stay on the high side of the recommended protein intake, due to my exercise and martial arts routine. You could easily add 1/4 of a banana to this and increase the carbohydrate ratio. A sprinkling of cinnamon in your smoothie wouldn’t hurt to keep insulin spikes down as well.

In fitness, Bob

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

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IMG_20141030_084415_447  Happy Halloween to all! This season is full of the smell of leaves, candy apples, goblin cookies, popcorn balls and yes pumpkin.

We went to the farmer’s market last weekend to brouse through the squash, end of season tomatoes, apples and of course pumpkin. As is tradition, my stepson is allowed to pick the largest pumpkin he can carry, to be carved. This years choice was beautiful.

After the carving was finished, a fine job by the way, I was given the task of preparing the seeds for roasting. After separating the seeds from the pulp, I rinsed and drained them, and then soaked them overnight in salt water.

IMG_20141030_085336_208  This morning I drained them, spread them out on a cookie sheet, sprinkled them with ginger, wasabi powder and a little sugar and gave them a stir to coat evenly. Then into the oven at `200 for at least 2 hours.

IMG_20141030_083914_718  I have got to tell you that the smell of the ginger wafting through the house is fabulous! My father always preferred using Lowery’s Season Salt. Most people prefer just salt, and you can choose what you like. Maybe pumpkin pie spice would be appropriate? Some cinnamon and brown sugar perhaps?

Pumpkin seeds are a source of phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, and copper. There are also small amounts of zinc and iron as well as Vitamin E. Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are also a good source of protein. Nutritionally, seeds are a great addition to the diet.

However you choose to enjoy them, they are a part of the fall season, with a healthy benefit.

In fitness, Bob

Chocolate please!

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IMG_20141021_164239_405                                                                                                             The health benefits of chocolate are an excellent reason to indulge daily, not to mention the numerous ways that you can use it while cooking. In it’s purest form, it is bitter. It is only after a fermenting, roasting and mild sweetening, that the raw form of cacao becomes cocoa and then the luscious chocolate that we know and love.

Cacao is a bean the comes from the cacao tree. The beans are found inside football shaped pods that grow on the limbs and trunk of the tree.

Cocoa has been used medicinally for it’s health benefits throughout history. Even more recently it has been shown to decrease blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of stroke, and improve blood vessel health. Decreasing your LDL (bad),  and increasing your HDL (good) cholesterol level, helps improve your cardiovascular health. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids (antioxidants), which has also been found to lower the risk of diabetes.

Mood is elevated by the anti-depressant properties when an increase of dopamine and seratonin are released. No wonder marketing professionals make chocolate seem so seductive, It is!

Chocolate in it’s healthiest form has little to no sugar or added ingredients. When you buy chocolate for your health, try to stick to 70% dark or above.

IMG_20141021_164304_912                                                                                                            One of my favorite ways to indulge in 100% pure cocoa, is to mix 1/2 Tbsp into 8oz plain Greek yogurt, sprinkle in some cinnamon powder and sweeten lightly with honey or agave and serve. Sprinkle pure cocoa on top of banana slices, coated with  peanut butter for a snack. If you are looking for a way to change up a pot of red chili, try adding a couple tablespoons of cocoa in for some extreme depth. This goes well with a touch more heat from your choice of spicy seasoning as well.                                                                                   In fitness, Bob

Oven Roasted Spicy Chickpeas

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This recipe is a great, healthy snack. Chickpeas, or Garbanzo beans, are a fantastic source of protein. Those of you with dairy (whey), or soy allergies, or anyone wanting an alternative to animal based protein may want to consider pea protein. It contains a well balanced profile of all the essential amino acids, particularly; arginine, lysine, and phenylalanine.

Chickpeas can be made into hummus, added to salads, mixed with vegetables or purchased as a protein powder and mixed into smoothies. The two brands I use for shakes are Now Sports or Truenutrition. These mix well and are less gritty than most. Pea protein digests well and leaves you without the ‘bloated‘ feeling that some lactose or gluten based proteins may cause. If you are looking for a fat free, cholesterol free, gluten free or vegan freindly substitute, this may be for you. IMG_20141014_102719_309

For this recipe I used (1) 29 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and gently patted dry                                                                         2Tbs olive oil                                                                                      1tsp ground cumin                                                                             1tsp chili powder                                                                                  1/2tsp ancho powder (or substitute cayenne)                             1/2tsp sea salt

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Heat oven to 400F and place rack in the middle. put chickpeas in mixing bowl and gently toss with all remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Spread the chickpeas in an even layer on a cookie sheet and bake until crisp, about 40 minutes, depending on desired crispness. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Experiment with different variations. My next batch will be Ginger/Wasabi. From there I think I’ll try brown sugar and mustard, smoked paprika and chipotle….ah the joys of a large spice variety.

In fitness, Bob