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

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

Ginger Spiced Tilapia

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IMG_20150328_205913_831     And a meal is born! My wife informed me the other evening that I was preparing fish and asked how I was serving it. I hadn’t a clue other than ‘to cook it’.

Usually it involves lime juice, cilantro, garlic, some oil, my go to stuff. I wanted something different and remembered the fresh ginger. That’s when it hit me.

I sliced off three thin slices of ginger root, trimmed and minced them, grabbed the sesame seeds, some cayenne pepper flake, coconut oil and the pound of tilapia.

I put about a tablespoon of the coconut oil in a skillet and let that heat up. I then added a Tbsp sesame seed, the minced ginger and a couple shakes of the red pepper. This cooked for a couple of minutes, just long enough to make a beautiful aroma, and the ginger and sesame started to darken a little.

IMG_20150328_204741_484      The tilapia fillets were laid gently over the bed of seasoned goodness and cooked for about three minutes per side.

This was served with mixed vegetables that were rather boring next to the fish.  Last minute thought, remember?

So there you have it, a quick, simple, healthy and nutritious meal that was thrown together in under twenty minutes. Now what am I going to make tonight…?

In fitness, Bob

Black Bean and Corn Salsa with Tilapia

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IMG_20150304_212057_118     This amazingly simple, healthy and nutritious dish was originally put together as a dipping salsa. However, when it came time for dinner, it was warmed and served as a bed for grilled tilapia.

The ingredients were 1 can black beans (rinsed), 1 can corn (drained), 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 small can diced green chilies, 1/4 Lg onion diced, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder, and a dash or two of lime juice.

I threw all of this together and let it chill in the fridge. It definitely was not one of my most thought inspired dishes but it turned out very nice.

In fitness, Bob

Banana Peanut Butter Snack

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IMG_20150219_121116_012   I was chatting with fellow blogger Tony, (One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Longer), about the uses of peanut butter and coconut oil this morning and I came up with this.

IMG_20150219_114114_055    I sliced one banana into 1/2 ” rounds, mixed 1 Tablespoon coconut oil with 2 Tablespoons PB2 and spread it onto the banana rounds. I then dipped them into cacao powder.

IMG_20150219_115831_542    These make for a quick, healthy, and nutritious energy snack. You could easily substitute a cacao nib for the powder. This was not as quick as slathering peanut butter on a banana but it kept my portions in check.

In fitness, Bob

Stuffed Kabocha squash

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I threw together a meal yesterday that I was sure my wife and I would enjoy. Filling, healthy, nutritious and well balanced, all in one dish.
The Kabocha squash, has a sweet, nutty flavor, much like a chestnut. It is rich in beta carotene, with iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin c, folic acid and B vitamins.

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I began by precooking some rice. I prefer Thai Red Cargo rice for the nutty flavor and texture. Next I made my stuffing mixture. One small apple, finely diced, 1 cup cooked rice, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and lightly seasoned it with allspice, ground ginger and cinnamon. I halved the squash, scooped out the seeds, and filled it with my stuffing mixture.

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I placed the stuffed squash halves on a foil lined sheet, gave them a comfy foil tent to keep them moist, and put them in the preheated oven for 45 minutes at 400°.
I sprinkled a little, (1/2t), brown sugar over each half and served them. These turned out wonderful! The skin of the Kabocha is edible as well. Next time I will add some chopped dates to the mixture.

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In fitness, Bob

Be a Star, or, you are what you eat

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IMG_20150120_103442_794  The Starfruit, or carambola, is an interesting looking fruit, that when sliced, reveals a star shaped cross section. This is a fruit that I had never tried for whatever reason. My wife picked up a couple the other day, so I did what came natural, I googled it.

Starfruit grows on the Averrhoa carambola tree and is native to Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Philippines, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. It is also cultivated in Latin America, Carribean and parts of the United States.

The fruit is usually 2-6 inches long, yellow when ripe, and the entire fruit is edible. The seeds can be discarded, however I found them to have quite a nutty flavor. When serving, the brown ridges may be trimmed, but it is more for presentation. The top, or end that grew from the tree, is also trimmed off.

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It is at this point that you can slice the starfruit into either thin or thick slices for serving. The entire fruit can be used for juice as well. Children will love the shape of this snack as a finger food, or you can serve it atop a salad, suspended in jello, pudding, relishes or jellies.

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Apple, pear, grape and citrus would be the best description of flavor for the starfruit. There are sour varieties that are generally the smaller fruit, but typically the sweeter variety are found at the grocers. These will ripen after picked, but the sugar content will not increase.

Starfruit are rich in potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. Antimicrobial and antioxidant properties exist as well. Like the grapefruit, check with your doctor or druggist, to see if there are any contraindications with prescription medicines. If you have kidney problems, the oxalic acid content may be an issue as well.

IMG_20150120_105111_366 No matter how you choose to use it, this is a must try. Be a star!

In fitness, Bob

Finger Food

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My wife and I don’t do the mini tacos, stuffed mushrooms, breaded zucchini or other mini finger food treats that some people enjoy. We also chose not to go out.
So anyhow, we stayed in after picking up clam, octopus, salmon, tuna, scallops and a spicy tuna roll.
I sliced those babies up and we devoured them. Sushi, home style for 2015.
Happy New Year, be safe and healthy.

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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