Motivational Monday- Reality Check

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“About eighty percent of the food on shelves of supermarkets today didn’t exist 100 years ago.” 
― Larry McClearyFeed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly: Experience Dynamic Weight Loss with the Brain-Belly Connection

 

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Functional Foods

Functional foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition. Of course, all foods are functional because they provide varying amounts of nutrients and energy to sustain growth or support vital processes. However, functional foods are generally considered to offer additional benefits that may reduce the risk of disease or promote optimal health.–  Jennifer R Nelson, R.D., L.D.Diabetes Superfoods

It seems like every week a new “super food” is being promoted. These “super foods” are also referred to as functional foods. They have been around for years and you probably have been eating them for years. So what do they actually do for you? I put together a small list to help. For the complete list, please visit my website! You can download a copy and share it with your friends and family.

Antioxidants: Carrots, Flaxseed, Honey

Gastrointestinal: Bananas, Honey, Yogurt

Improves Heart Health: Garlic, Berries, Oat Products

Bone Health: Cheese, Milk, Soy nuts

Can Reduce Cancer Risk: Apples, Citrus Fruit, Corn products

Get active with your nutrition! You can start by incorporating some of these foods into your diet on a daily basis!

Motivational Monday (on Wednesday)

I was travelling all day Monday so I did not get an opportunity to post! I am one of the few people out there who does not own a laptop. We took a trip to Louisiana for my aunt and uncle’s 25th wedding anniversary. Most of our family was there with the exception of some of the cousins. It was a terrific weekend filled with laughs, tears and FOOD! I have not eaten that much in almost a year (at least not consecutively for 4 days). One thing I can say about Cajun country is that they can cook! My uncle boiled 50 (yes 5-0) pounds of shrimp and smoked five eye of the rounds. This is a picture of us peeling the shrimp.

Shimp

On top of that they had turkey, ham, cakes and pies. I should mention that we hosted a party of about 70 people after the ceremony. However, it was more food than I have seen in one place in a long time. On Sunday, we went to Poupart’s bakery. We make a trip every time we visit! They have several cases of some of the best desserts this side of the Mississippi! This box was for all 8 of us, not just me 😉

Poupart's

You may be asking what this has to do with motivation. I am sad to report that I gained 3 pound this weekend. Between the food and no exercise, it was inevitable. So the motivation part is that I will survive! We all fall off the wagon at some point; it is how quickly you get back up and move on that counts! I will be back at the gym tonight and my normal eating began when I got home. I imagine those pesky pounds won’t be around for long. If you get in a situation where your self-control is nowhere to be found, don’t beat yourself up!

You can always start back where you left off!

Motivational Monday – Investing in Yourself

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Don’t use cost as an excuse to eat poorly. We spend money on clothes, make-up and personal hygiene products for the outsides of our bodies, but complain when we have to pay a little more for organic produce or grass-fed beef. Why not splurge on the things that are going inside your body? After all, it is the only body you have.

Most long-term health issues can be prevented by making healthier choices at the grocery store and when dining out.  Start today by investing in your long-term health! You are worth it!

Here are some startling statistics provided by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) regarding the cost  of obesity in America.

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FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Vegan (Tofu shhh…) Spinach Lasagna

Before you completely ignore this post because you saw the scary “t” word, hear me out! The vegan cooking experience is new to me. As I have mentioned in previous posts my husband and I are participating in the Engine 2 Diet – 28 Day Challenge. During this challenge we have had to try new ingredients so we do not end up eating salad, rice and beans for 28 days. These new ingredients include tofu. I am not a huge fan of tofu, but it doesn’t scare me like some people who shall remain nameless. My mother-in-law was coming over for dinner and I wanted to make a meal that would provide leftovers for my husband’s lunch. This recipe made enough for dinner for four plus a couple of lunches!

The flavor and texture of the “ricotta” mixture could fool anyone and we did not even miss the cheese!

To all the meat and cheese lovers: If you are brave enough to try this recipe, you will not be disappointed!

Vegan Tofu Spinach Lasagna

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Photo: The Vegan Table

SERVINGS

8 to 10

INGREDIENTS
1/2 to 1 pound (225 to 455 g) lasagna noodles
2 packages (10 ounces, or 280 g, each) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 package (16 ounces, or 455 g) firm tofu (not silken)
1 tablespoon (13 g) granulated sugar (optional)
1/4 cup (60 ml) nondairy milk (such as rice, oat, soy, almond, or hazelnut), or as needed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 peeled garlic cloves
Juice from 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons [30 ml])
2 tablespoons (5 g) minced fresh basil (about 20 leaves)
1 teaspoon (6 g) salt (or to taste)
4 to 6 cups (980 to 1470 g) tomato or pasta sauce of your choice

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; (180 degrees C, or gas mark 4).

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions or use “no-boil” lasagna noodles. Drain and set aside.

Squeeze as much water from spinach as possible and set aside. (If using fresh spinach, blanch first.)

Place tofu, sugar (if using), milk, garlic powder, lemon juice, basil and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. The tofu “ricotta” should be creamy but still have body.

Transfer to large-size bowl, and stir in spinach. Continue tasting until you get amount of salt just right.

Cover bottom of 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of noodles (use about one-third of noodles). Follow with half the tofu filling. Continue in the same order, using half the remaining tomato sauce and noodles, and all remaining tofu filling. End with remaining noodles, covered by remaining tomato sauce. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until hot and bubbling.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS AND VARIATIONS
Add meatless meat crumbles to your tomato sauce for more texture and body. For more cheesiness, add shredded nondairy mozzarella cheese to each layer.

This recipe is also great for making stuffed shells. To do so, stuff pasta shells with the tofu ricotta from this recipe, place them in a baking dish, pour on tomato sauce and bake in a 350 degrees F (180 degrees C, or gas mark 4) oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

Excerpted from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. © Fair Winds Press 2009

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Plant-Strong Pizza

My husband and I are on Day 5 of the Engine 2 Diet – 28 Day Challenge. Eating healthy is not a chore but doing it without any animal products has been a bit more challenging. We did not realize how much cheese is in the foods we eat! Sometimes, it is not even visible in the main ingredients. Overall, we have enjoyed this challenge and hope to maintain this lifestyle after the challenge is complete.

Pizza is a staple in our house. We almost always make it at home unless we make a special visit to a local pizzeria, Marchello’s. After eating their pizza we could not even consider pizza from a chain restaurant. If you had told me I would eat pizza without cheese at any point in my life, I would have laughed at you. Yet pizza without cheese is our only option on the Engine 2 Diet. We decided to get creative the other day and make a plant-strong pizza; here is what we came up with!

Side note: We were in a hurry when we purchased our pre-made crust and just grabbed Boboli Whole Wheat. This crust is not Engine 2 approved as it contains cheese and milk. We have since purchased an approved crust at Whole Foods. For a list of approved foods go here.

Cafe’ Ivey Plant-Strong Pizza

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Serves 8
Nutrition info may vary depending on your product choices and toppings
Calories 141/Fat 4 g/Sugar 3 g/Protein 6 g/Sodium 217 mg/ Cholesterol 0 mg

Ingredients

1 Boboli Whole Wheat Pizza Crust or Engine 2 approved crust of your choice
1 cup Whole Foods 365 Marinara Sauce or Engine 2 approved sauce of your choice
1 large portobello mushroom cap diced
1 cup zucchini or yellow squash diced
1 oz sliced jarred banana pepper rings
1/2 red pepper diced
1/2 cup onion diced (we used a mix of red and sweet yellow)
1 cup fresh spinach
1 oz raw cashews finely grated (I used a coffee grinder but a food processor would also work)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 or temperature on pizza crust directions
Spread the sauce evenly over the entire crust
Layer the spinach over the sauce
Spread the rest of the vegetables evenly over the entire pizza
Sprinkle the grated cashews evenly over the entire pizza
Bake for 8-10 minutes or follow direction on pizza crust package
Once finished baking, remove from oven and let pizza sit for about 5 minutes
Slice and serve!

You can use any vegetable combination for this pizza to make it your own! Get creative!

For more Engine 2 Diet Recipes, check out their website. If you would like to join in on our challenge, check out my page on Facebook!

 

 

The Health Food Store Blur

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I love grocery shopping! I would rather stroll up and down every isle of a grocery store than shop for clothes. The first time I visited Whole Foods I was engulfed in an array of products I had never heard of in my many years of shopping and cooking. Over the years I have grown familiar with the selection and have tried many of the healthier alternatives available. For someone who does not like grocery shopping or who is on a time crunch, getting in and out can be daunting. The same can be said for someone who is new to the world of health foods!

Typically, my clients have never set foot in a Whole Foods, Earth Fare or Nutrition S’mart (Florida only). Part of my program as a nutrition consultant is to take my clients shopping and introduce them to some of the products. I try to show them, it is not any scarier than their conventional grocery store. In fact, it is much more exciting!

Most health food stores have employees who are available to answer questions about their products.
I have found that every employee at our local Whole Foods store is vastly knowledgeable about the products in their department and they are more than willing to share their knowledge. They also have a calendar of activities to introduce you to the store from tours to how to shop on a budget.

Another great way to get to know new products is to replace your routine grocery items with items from the health food store a little at a time. This allows you a chance to try new items and decide if you like them. Start with staples such as pasta sauce, canned veggies or cereals. The larger chain stores have their own store brands that are significantly less expensive than some of their competitors. We have switched to the 365 brand at Whole Foods for many of our staples and have been very happy with the results.

Many people are concerned about the cost of shopping at organic or health food stores. If you are like me, you are familiar with the products your family eats and you tend to purchase the same things over and over. Like traditional grocery stores, the health food stores also have sales and specials. You can follow the sales on the company website as well as print coupons. The flyer in the store has coupons as well! Once you find brands you enjoy, you can check their websites for printable coupons. It is important to factor in the difference in cost to the long-term health of your family. I do not mind spending a little more on a product we use all the time if I know there are no added chemicals or preservatives.

Upgrading to a healthier, more organic lifestyle does not have to be overwhelming! Take your time getting to know the products and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of resources in the stores and online!

Happy Shopping  🙂