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

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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International Waffle Day = More Protein

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Why would a personal fitness trainer talk about waffles? Let’s start with some background.

Today is celebrated as Waffle Day. This is also celebrated on August 24th in honor of the first waffle iron by Cornelius Swarthout in 1869. Waffles originated in Greece around the 13th century. Waffle celebrations coincide as a welcoming of Spring.

Waffle calorie counts can range from 82 per ounce to over 400 per waffle. The majority of the macro-nutrients in a waffle are carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are a beneficial fuel source, but for some they are restricted in their diet. If not monitored, carbs quickly become sugar and an ensuing ‘crash’ occurs.

This is where more protein can come into play. Pairing protein with carbohydrates, helps to slow the absorption of sugar from the stomach into the bloodstream. This will help keep blood sugar from spiking, which can lead to future cravings.

Adding more protein to your diet will help you burn more calories due to the thermic effect of food. That is the energy required to digest it.

In short, enjoy that waffle today, be modest with the toppings, add some protein to the meal, then do some exercise.

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

Eat more to lose weight?

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 No I’m not crazy or selling some scientific designer drug, or even jumping on a band wagon for the latest herb fad. When most people hear the word diet, they usually think it means to eat less. This is why so many people are turned off when the word diet comes up. They instantly think starvation

Diet actually means the sum, (amount), of food consumed by a person or organism. When I say that you need to eat more, I am referring to eating more nutritiously. This would be a healthy diet. Incorporating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your consumption of your daily intake. Doesn’t that sound better without the word diet

Too many people actually throw their body into a starvation mode and begin to store fat. You may think that makes no sense since starving would mean no food. Let me explain. Without the proper ratio of macro nutrients, (carbohydrate, protein, fat), and a consistent eating schedule, your brain will send a signal to turn your food into fat, so that it can use it as a fuel source later. If you don’t burn that fat reserve, it stays as a fatty deposit. 

Starting your day with a good breakfast, within an hour of rising, will provide you with fuel to burn and give you more energy. Eating a healthy midday snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner will keep your body fueled. White breads and sugars are usually the culprit for the crashes we feel. Then the brain craves more to bring back the feeling of satisfaction. This becomes a vicious circle and before you know it you’ve had too many sodas, sweets, processed meals, potato chips or whatever else your go to food is. 

Sometimes we get caught up in what others may think about us because we pack our lunch or eat healthy snacks. Well I don’t know about you, but I’m not doing it for what they think. This is about me. This is an investment in my life. I want to spend time enjoying life, family and whatever else comes at me. I enjoy having the energy to carry out my day, play with grand kids and yes, zip lining.

Isn’t it time you did this for you? Have an extra serving of vegetables and fruit throughout the day. Start using whole grain breads, and be mindful of what a portion is. Find some cargo rice or six grain rice for a change. Incorporate more lean protein into your diet and slowly increase your fiber and water consumption. The changes will occur. Getting fat or out of shape is a process and so is reversing it. March in place while reading your email or the paper or whatever you choose. Consult your doctor and begin an exercise program. Take your first step to changing your life for the better.  .                                              In fitness, Bob