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Black Bean Protein Brownies

This is a John-Approved desert that you can feel good about as you get 8g of protein per serving and far less sugar than any other brownie with only 8g. And these aren’t tiny servings; I calculated nutrition based on 9 brownies per 8×8 pan.

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I used a single serving packet of Jay Robb)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder for baking
  • 1/4 cup Truvia baking blend
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • optional cacao nibs and cinnamon to sprinkle on top

In a food processor or blender, mix all ingredients until smooth. Pour into a greased 8×8 pan and bake 18-20 minutes at 350.

I โค that the recipe uses stevia in combination with 2 natural sweeteners that actually have some nutritional value. These brownies are of the cakey variety and super delicious.

You are welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Nutrition calculated with My Fitness Pal.

Healthy Chicken Curry Masala

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  • Organic, air chilled, chicken with noses
  • Garlic clove, minced
  • Shallot, minced
  • 1-2 spoons of whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp corn starch
  • Chicken curry masala seasoning
  • Light beer
  • Olive oil
  • 1 packet stevia

In salted and masala seasoned water, boil one chicken breast. Cube for quicker cooking. Shred and set aside.

In a skillet, saute garlic and shallot in olive oil until golden. Add 1/2 bottle of light beer (Shiner Light Blonde) to deglaze. Add flour, corn starch, salt, pepper, and masala sauce to taste. Stir. Mix in shredded chicken and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened. Add 1/2 packet of stevia at the end. (Stevia gives it the hint of sweetness found in many curries without the coconut milk.)

Serve over quinoa.

Clean Eating Challenge

Well, this might suck.

I haven’t posted a whole lot this summer as my schedule has been nothing short of irregular. I don’t mind that. During the school year, everything is pretty set in stone day after day. The randomness of summer is welcome. For the most part I’ve done a good job of keeping the ball rolling. I’ve worked out most days, though not following any sort of program, and I haven’t eaten TERRIBLY… I haven’t eaten amazingly either, but honestly I need some cheat time here and there keep me willing to eat exceptionally healthy the rest of the time. Ice cream and nachos are necessary from time to time. ๐Ÿ™‚

On Thursday I came home to find a package on my doorstep: PiYo!!! Last week I ordered PiYo, a new Beachbody program that is a mix of pilates and yoga. This program might as well have been made specifically for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am doing a few of the workouts this weekend just as a sampling, but I start the program for real on Monday. I anticipate a new blog series coming on…

PiYo comes with a basic nutrition guide much like P90X3, but as I’m about to jump back into the school routine, I figure now might be a good time to start something new.

THE CHALLENGE: food prep for the upcoming week eating (as) clean (as possible), mostly whole, doing my best to remove processed, prepackaged food

Now, I do a lot of this anyhow, but I’m also a convenience and stress/boredom eater. My goal is to keep the right stuff available in the right servings so as to end the habit of grabbing the wrong thing.

Enter today’s HEB trip:

heb receipt

First of all, let’s look at the bottom line. $81.65. That might sound like a lot for one person. $36.99 + $2.49 of that is Jay Robb Protein Powder. This will last meย quite a while and is vital for someone who doesn’t eat meat regularly. I opted for whey protein this time because I’m a cheapskate and it $2 cheaper, but more frequently I buy the egg white protein. So let’s subtract that leaving the total at $42.17. That’s better.

Then let’s look a little closer…$4.85 for bulk chestnuts????? Let me call bullshit on that! The woman at HEB scanned my kale tag that I printed (98ยข for a bunch), but the barcode tag wouldn’t read it so she punched it in manually… $4.85 for bulk chestnuts??? Gosh darn it! That is the last time I ever assume anyone knows how to do their job. She managed to catch that she had charged me double for garlic and corrected that, but she didn’t notice that the enormous, overflowing bag of kale didn’t feel like chestnuts nor should it ring up for almost $5!!! Whatever. I’m a wildly rich teacher.

Subtract theย chestnut…. *sigh*…. and we come to $37.32 a TON of food. Some of it is organic, some of it is not. All of it is ridiculously nutrient rich and low calorie. There’s enough fiber in there to keep me polyp free and in the bathroom plenty. ๐Ÿ™‚ But more importantly, all of that is about to go into tiny tupperware containers that can measure appropriate portions and grabbed with no effort or mixed with another container more a recipe.

We’ll start seeing on Monday how the PiYo goes, and my intestines will let me know about the new food challenge very soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I EAT

To all the critics out there:

I EAT.

Not only do I eat, but I eat extremely healthy 95% of the time. The interesting thing about eating healthy is that it doesn’t generally add to your food stores AKA fat.

About 2 years ago, I started eating mostly vegetarian after watching a string of horrific food documentaries. Yes, Shanna (my semantic-crazed sister),ย mostly vegetarian. I eat fish regularly, and very occasionally I eat other meats. My diet is primarily vegetarian. And while I’ve cut out milk, I still do eat cheese and yogurt.

A lot of calorie excess goes away when you cut out meats. Some of that comes from the type of preparation and the sauces; some of that comes from the kinds of food you are cutting out. Despite that, I keep track of what I’m eating throughout the day. In the past I’ve used Lose It!, but I recently switched to MyFitnessPal as it has a better database for restaurant and supermarket foods. I don’t use these apps necessarily for the calorie counting but more for the accountability that comes from having to log a candy bar.

Along with the workout program, the P90X line of products comes with a nutrition guide that helps you know what to eat and how much. You answer a series of questions about your size, your daily lifestyle/energy expenditure, etc, and then it gives you a calorie level to aim for. As a woman of 130lbs or less, with a moderate activity level outside of working out, and wanting to maintain my current weight, I am allotted 1800 calories a day. Knowing that the average daily calorie consumption is estimated at 2000 calories/day and knowing that I am a fairly small girl with a slight frame to begin with, 1800 calories/day is a fair frame within to work.

The nutrition guide further tells you how many servings of protein, carbs, and fats you should have per meal or per snack.ย Throughout the course of the day, 50% of my calories should be healthy carbs (veggies, fruits, healthy grains), 25% proteins (for me through eggs, egg-white based protein powder, nuts, yogurt, etc), and 25% healthy fats (nuts, avocados, coconut and olive oils). Although I don’t follow the exact spreading out of each of theses servings like the guide suggests, my daily intake hits this almost exactly based on the diet analysis of MyFitnessPal… another reason I log everything I’m eating.

Here’s an example of my daily log:

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This is from today. I haven’t logged dinner yet as John is making fish tacos right now, but this gives you an idea. Based on the percentages from above, each day I am aiming for 225g of healthy carbs, 40g healthy fats, and 135g of protein. I probably won’t make it to my protein goal today, though I’m usually pretty good about meeting that on a normal school day. I’m already 3g of fat over, and my sugar intake was crazy high because of the maple syrup from breakfast. Plus, there was that bloody mary… ๐Ÿ™‚

A normal day looks more like this:

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The numbers at the bottom are off as I had accidentally given MyFitnessPal the ability to determine my numbers, and it changed all my settings. This was pre-sushi dinner with John, so my protein numbers would have gone up dramatically, as would the calorie count. ๐Ÿ™‚ My vegetable intake wasn’t as high as it usually is due to sushi time.

I’m not a numbers nazi, but I also think there is nothing wrong with knowing exactly what is going in. I definitely haven’t always held myself accountable to what I choose to eat, and there are still moments when we, say, visit In and Out Burger at 11:30pm. I have eaten an entire bag of cheese puffs in one sitting by myself. I can for certain do the same thing with a huge bag of Funions, and in a moment of extreme stress eating, I have allowed myself to consume a case of Butterfingers over the course of about a month… yes, a case… but we were getting ready to take the band to Seattle, and Jenna was pregnant… Let’s call it sympathy eating. ๐Ÿ™‚ But now that I know what it feels like to eat healthy and in the right configurations, I feel gross and sluggish when I eat poorly.

When I graduated college I was 20lbs heavier.ย I lost a lot of that when I started cooking at home. My current weight has remained steady for about a year and a half which,ย yes Mom, is heavier than I was in high school. Interestingly, in the last year, my weight has remained the same yet I have gotten smaller and dropped a pant size… Science and nutrition tells us that I have converted fat to muscle. ๐Ÿ™‚ Woohoo!

So, yes Mom, I eat. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can cross that particular item off your list and worry about me for so many other reasons. ๐Ÿ™‚

Week 3: X3 Yoga (+ some ashtanga thrown in there… and 3 chin ups)

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Wow! Today wore me out!

I had the lovely surprise of my dude coming over this afternoon unexpectedly and doing some yoga with me! He’s pretty sore/broken from his own incredibly intense workouts, so while he used the foam roller, I started the evening’s workout with some Sun Salutations and then flowed into a few of my favorite Ashtanga poses not included in X3 Yoga. ย By the time I was sufficiently warm and stretched, we were both ready to “bring it” yogi style. ๐Ÿ™‚

X3 YOGA

Probably because I had already done some of my own work prior, just holding airplane and then the bent over opening sequence was tiring… Lame-o… I was particularly proud of my left leg standing split as it’s my tight side. I had some success with the left leg today, and that means progress! ๐Ÿ™‚

And then we got to arm balances. It was bad. I tried to show John how I’ve learned how to do Ted’s chair, and before I even had half my weight on my arms I knew to stop. That didn’t prevent me from doing crane in which I literally fell on my face… My actual thought process as my face hit the ground was, “Oh good! He’s doing crane too! Maybe he didn’t see that…”

Camel went very well today. I’ve decided that regardless the P90X3 workout of the day, I will do a couple different headstand variations, a forearm stand, and a backbend everyday. I want to keep the muscles and balance those moves take active even through this cross training period. My headstands were stellar. ๐Ÿ™‚

After yoga, we ate some taco stew, and my dude had his first taste of my zucchizza. He seems to have found it delicious. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s funny… Here Iย literally fell on my face today, and yet I know with every fiber of my being that I am stronger, more flexible, and just healthier in general on this very day than I have been at any point in my life.

Neat.

Stay healthy!

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I’ll Go Agave…

I rarely use sugar. Unless it is one of the random occasions that I am baking a pie or cookies, sugar rarely has a presence in my cooking or daily consumption. I use local honey in my teas, and I switched to stevia in my coffee several years ago.ย 

I recently stumbled up on a wonderful stew recipe that called for agave syrup, and so for the first time it entered my house. This stuff is great! Low glycemic index sweetener, definitely more natural tasting when compared to other sugar substitutes, and it tastes exceptionally good on my unsweetened Earnest Oats oatmeal in the morning! It’s even good in coffee if you aren’t into the interesting twang that comes from stevia, Splenda, or the pink stuff. I’ve started using it in place of sugar because of it’s low G.I. properties, but want another reason to rethink sugar?

Did you know that sugar derived from sugar cane is processed using bone char to remove its natural color? SUPER GROSS! Ground cattle bone is used in the “bleaching” process of most cane sugar, including brown sugar which is just white sugar + molasses. Think sugar derived from sugar beets is better? Sugar beets are a product of good ole Monsanto.ย 

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I’ll go Agave…

Stay healthy!

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