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

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Seaweeds and Eggs

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IMG_20150210_093412_110   Seaweed is actually a sea vegetable. It has been used for thousands of years for it’s ability to prevent disease, prolong life, and for overall health and beauty. In biology and myth, it is the sea that all things begin and return to. We begin life in the womb in a saline solution.

Seaweeds are classed by color. Their particular color depends on the depth at which they grow, the tide, temperature, light exposure and region. They contain up to twenty times more mineral content than land plants, and are a source of vitamins and fiber. Each seaweed has it’s own nutrient profile as well.

Seaweeds are used for lowering cholesterol, reducing fat in the blood, and in weight-loss programs. Other uses include the reduction of inflammation, as a diuretic, and the treatment of cancer and fibroid tumors.

I received Paul Pitchford’s book; Healing with Whole Foods, as a gift from my wife this past Christmas. It is a vast resource of information such as presented here, along with uses and recipes as an addition to whole body health.

Due to the high salt content of seaweed, you may need to rinse or soak, before using it. I have been using the roasted, shredded Nori as an addition to soups and eggs, and enjoy the flavor as a hot tea. Mixed with a little garlic, ginger and cayenne, it is helpful in treating congestion, (Head cold). Nori has the highest protein content and is the most easily digested of the seaweeds.

IMG_20150210_074319_434  I am not sure how the thought popped into my ever wandering mind, but I added some Nori and garlic to scrambled eggs. The flavor was what I would describe as a seafood omelette. Not that it tasted fishy, but the sea salt, roasted flavor was good. An exotic twist to a spinach omelette if you will. Additions to this could easily be any variety of mushroom, chilies, onion, whatever you choose.

IMG_20150210_075230   For one serving, I used 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, 1/4 t minced garlic, and whisked it together along with approximately 1 1/2 Tablespoon crushed, shredded Nori. The Nori is easily crushed in the palm of your hand, as it is already dried. I only did this step so I did not have longer strands.

I poured the mixture into a skillet with olive oil, and cooked as I normally do my eggs.

IMG_20150209_073234    This was served with fresh tomato and was very good! As I mentioned, you could add many different ingredients and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Try adding some seaweed to an Asian style salad, stir-fry, soup, casserole or recipe of your choice.

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