Breakfast and Bicycles

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IMG_20150710_105559_936      Today should be a rest day for me, since tomorrow I have my 95 mile ride for MS. However, being slightly hard headed, thanks Dad, I just had to get in a quick ride today.

It is overcast in Columbus, Ohio with storms moving through, hopefully tomorrow brings sunshine and, ahem, humidity. This morning I rode across the local reservoir, Hoover. From this lower level there are steps leading up to the top of the dam, so I ran up them with my bike in hand.

Now for the breakfast part of this post. Tomorrow’s breakfast has been pre-made, due to the fact that I will be getting up at 5 am to warm up, stretch, shower, dress, eat and head out to pick up my packet and be on the course between 7:00 & 8:00.

IMG_20150710_081213_984      My breakfast will be mostly carbohydrate to fuel for the ride. I prefer steel cut oats since you use only 1/4 cup for a serving and they are a long burning, low glycemic food. I pre-make this in a pint jar and can grab it whenever I’m ready.

IMG_20150710_080612_600      The first thing I did was to mix the dry ingredients together. They are; 1/4 c steel cut oats, 2 Tbsp Pb2 (powdered pnut butter), 2 Tbsp chia seeds, and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.

Next I added 3/4 c Almond Milk and stirred well. Then I added 1/2 a banana and mixed it in. Then I put the lid on and put it in the refrigerator until morning.

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I have posted on refrigerator oats before, and the variations are limited only to your taste preferences. I did happen to find a package of fudge Pop Tarts in the pantry that I will devour for the pure delight of entitlement.

In fitness, Bob

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Choosing Sides in War on Sugar

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This article raises some very valid thoughts and questions toward the new labeling for ‘Added sugars”.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Justin Fox wrote

The people at candy-maker Mars Inc. have something to tell you: Stop eating so much sugar! According to the Wall Street Journal, the manufacturer of M&Ms, Snickers and Twix has thrown its weight behind a U.S. Food and Drug Administration push to include measures of added sugar on food labels. Non-candy food manufacturers such as Campbell Soup Co. are opposed to the change, but Mars figures that people already know their candy bars are full of sugar. From the WSJ story:

“It might appear to be counterintuitive, but if you dig down a bit more, we know candy itself is not a diet,” said Dave Crean, global head of research and development at Mars. “It shouldn’t be consumed too often, and having transparency of how much it should be consumed is actually quite helpful to consumers.”

In a comment letter submitted to the government Thursday, Mars also…

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Basil Smoothie

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When I saw this smoothie recipe from Kelly Toups, RD, LDN, I new I had to try it. The refreshing flavor of fresh basil stands on it’s own. Everyone uses mint, and I suppose you could add some to this recipe, but why? Three simple ingredients that are healthy and natural. Give this a try for a refreshing twist.
In fitness, Bob

Kelly Toups, MLA, RD, LDN

Basil Smoothie

My basil smoothie post on Instagram last week prompted several inquiries, so today I’m sharing a full recipe post. Since I’m now the proud owner of an organic basil plant (thanks, Ashley!), this smoothie has been on heavy rotation during the beautiful, 80 degree days we’ve been blessed with in Boston lately. The Sweet Basil Smoothie recipe from my Giada at Home cookbook inspired this recipe, but to add creaminess (and cut the added sugars), I omitted the sugary simple syrup in favor of a frozen banana. Sophisticated, yet unfussy, this 3-ingredient masterpiece is the ultimate warm weather refresher!

Basil Smoothie

Basil Smoothie (inspired by Giada de Laurentiis)

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen in chunks
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil

Method: Add all ingredients to blender and blend until combined.

Nutrition per serving: 180 calories, 1g fat (0g saturated fat), 32g carbohydrates (3g fiber…

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Blueberry, Chia Oatmeal

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IMG_20150505_073411_492      Blueberries were on sale yesterday when I picked up a few things, so I happily grabbed some. My wife wanted oatmeal for breakfast, so instead of her usual brown sugar and sunflower seed that she likes, I asked if she would like blueberry. She of course opted for the switch.

You will need; 3/4 c water, 1/4 c instant steel cut oats, 1/4 c blueberries, and 1 Tbsp chia seed.

I used steel cut oats, since she prefers the texture, and made them per the instructions. 1/4 cup oats and 3/4 cup water. I placed half the berries in the water and gently mashed them with a fork when the water began to boil. I then added the oats and chia seeds, stirred, and reduced to a simmer stirring occasionally until done, about 10 minutes.

When the oats are at your desired consistency, add the remaining blueberries and serve.  You could sweeten this with your choice of sweeteners.

This balanced out at 228 calories, 7g fat, 36g carb, 7g of protein. The use of chia also brings the fiber count to 11g.

In fitness, Bob

Breakfast Shake and Calorie Count

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IMG_20150413_073148_949       I didn’t feel like cooking breakfast this morning and thought I would throw together a shake. A good mix of carbohydrate, fat and protein to get me through till lunch or mid-morning snack.

This past weekend, I hit a high speed of 31 MPH on my bike, twice, on flat ground and was rather proud of myself. Shakes are a good fuel before and after riding or exercise, since they rehydrate and refuel the body.

I made my shake in the Ninja blender since I use oatmeal, to break it down a little.

Into the blender; 2 Cups unsweetened almond milk, 1 medium banana, 1/2 Cup instant oats, 1 scoop protein powder, (Now Sports Pea Protein), 2 Tbsp. PB2, (powdered peanut butter).

IMG_20150413_071958_828      This was not overly sweet, and you could add a sweetener of your choice. I would have chosen Stevia to keep from adding to the carbs.

This came out to be a ratio of 50% carb, 30% protein, and 20% fat. A total of 495 calories, with 11g fat, 64g carb, and 37g of protein. The other vitals were 785mg sodium, 802mg potassium, 11g fiber, 17g sugar, 22% RDA Vit A, 17% Vit C, 93% Calcium, and 54% Iron.

Meal replacement shakes can be a great addition to your diet, provided they give you a healthy mix of macro-nutrients and you still have a sensible meal.

If you have a favorite flavor or mix that you use for a breakfast shake, please feel free to share it with me. Have fantastic week!

In fitness, Bob

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

Breakfast Matters

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IMG_20140710_083331_603 (1)                                    Do you ever skip breakfast or grab something from a fast food place, only to be left unsatisfied or feeling ready for a nap within a few hours? You have heard it before and probably more than you wanted to. Breakfast matters! The fact is that your body needs fuel to recover from the nights rest you had and to prepare you to start your day. A good plan is to have some form of breakfast within a minimum of two hours after waking and preferably within the first thirty minutes.

You don’t want your body to start going into a starvation mode and eating muscle. When you start skipping meals, your brain tells your body to store food as fat as part of a self preservation strategy. Breakfast need not be elaborate, a certain percentage of your daily intake, (depending on your activity level or timing for a workout), or standard breakfast menu fare. Leftovers are fine as long as you have a healthy blend of macro nutrients. Just a hard boiled egg, banana or handful of trail mix first thing will give you an edge before you finish your breakfast.

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I recently discovered refrigerator oatmeal, or summer porridge as it is called. I stumbled upon it through theyummylife.com and am glad I did. The fact that oatmeal helps keep cholesterol levels in check and keeps you feeling fuller longer due to a high satiety level are bonuses.

Using a one pint canning jar with a plastic screw on lid or similar container makes this portable as well. These can be packed to work for breakfast, midday snack or a lunch alternative. The variations are limited only to your taste.

The use of steel cut oatmeal instead of rolled oats is a texture preference for me.  I add chia seed to these recipes since discovering that they are an excellent source of fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seed. Another healthy addition is PB2. This is powdered peanut butter without all the extra fats and sugar. I also sprinkle in ground cinnamon to help regulate blood sugar. (Grapefruit and sweet potato are good breakfast choices for low sugar spikes as well)

The first recipe I tried uses 3/4 c almond milk, 1/4 c steel cut oats (quick cook), 2 Tbs chia seed, 2 Tbs PB2, 1/2 banana (quartered), 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1 Tbs agave (or sweetener of your choice). Simply pour the milk into your jar, add the banana, oats, seeds, sweetener and shake. Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight. You can stir the fruit in after refrigeration if you prefer or even add more.

The other variation I have tried uses Qi’a seed, (chia, buckwheat, hemp), oatmeal, walnuts, pure maple syrup, almond milk and cinnamon. This one came out moister than I liked, but I think it was due to the lesser amount of chia seed. Chia expands to 16x it’s size. Next time I will cut the almond milk back 1/4 c.

For this recipe I mixed 3/4 c almond milk, 1/4 c steel cut oats, 2 Tbs chopped walnuts, 2 Tbs Qi’a seed mix, 2 Tbs pure maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon in the pint jar, shook and set in the fridge overnight. The flavor of this one was outstanding as a cold cereal. I like banana, however this one edged it out.

Try adding in some yogurt, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, sunflower seeds or a couple tablespoons of your favorite protein powder to switch it up. The key point is to start your day off fueled up. Pair this up with just five minutes of exercise and see what a difference it makes in your day. You will think clearer and feel less stressed.

In fitness, Bob