Berry, Protein Smoothie

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IMG_20150506_080525_869       This breakfast smoothie is a good mix of carbohydrate, protein and fat. I also added instant oatmeal to keep me feeling full, (satiety). The healthy fats in this are from the farm fresh eggs that I get. You could easily substitute avocado, nuts, or coconut oil.

My main protein source in this, is natural Banana flavored, grass fed,  whey protein from True Nutrition. I am not sponsored by them, nor do I get any kick back, but I like their prices, I can add flavors, they are sweetened or unsweetened, and I can get about any kind of protein source that I want. They have a Java Mocha that I add to my coffee and it is amazing!

IMG_20150506_075646_305      Into the Ninja went 1 fresh egg, 12 ounces Almond milk, 1/2 c rolled oats, 1 scoop protein powder, 1/2 c black berries, 1/4 c blue berries and 2 ice cubes. I did not add any sweetener due to the fact that the protein powder has Stevia in it and the berries added their own sweetness.

This came out to be 434 calories, with 13 g fat, 37g carbs, and 37g protein. For those of you interested; 245mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium, 113mg potassium, 10g fiber, 10g sugars, 21% Vit A, 25% VitC, 83% Calcium, and 19% Iron.

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

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

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

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

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

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