Diet & exercise.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Let me start by saying that I am not a trainer or nutritionist, but I am a pretty healthy person. Some may call me extreme. In fact, most people would call me extreme. I do splurge on occasion and had a bad habit of not eating frequently enough, but I have been doing really well with this new diet. Now I just need to get back to the gym!

I want to share what I have been doing, and will keep you posted on how this is working for me. For the most part, I always ate the same foods, but did not eat enough. My breakfasts were not large enough, and my dinners were not small enough.

Right now, I am in my "I need to tone up and until I do I am going pretty hard core" stage. Once I am where I want to be, I will let myself splurge on occasion. I tend to be a lot more laid back on the weekends. I like to go to lunch and dinner at least once each weekend, and love making a nice meal that I wouldn't normally eat at least once a week. That does not mean that I will eat an entire pie or a plate of french fries every weekend. It means I will have a meal or treat that I would not usually have, and that I'll go out to eat on the weekends. I will still be careful.

Since I have a pretty healthy diet and hope that I can give some of you some great ideas for healthy meals and snacks. Again -- I am not a nutritionist. This is just what I do. And please remember that I am from LA, and we are a little crazy with the health food here. I do want to tell you that I was not raised in a healthy house. My mom still bakes all the time and buys tons of unhealthy and processed foods. So no matter how you were raised, you can be healthy.

Here it goes...


BREAKFAST

I am not usually very hungry in the morning, so making breakfast my most substantial meal of the day started as a challenge for me. I could easily not eat until 1:00 and be just fine, but actually found that when I have a larger breakfast and start my day off right, I am less hungry throughout the day and have more energy.

I have an egg white omelet or scramble with broccoli {fiber!!} almost every morning, usually with Kashi's vanilla oatmeal. I will also have my fiber mix with breakfast {or with my morning snack}. I do not use any butter or oil, ever. Butter is so bad for you. I use Pam or a natural cooking spray.

Kashi's vanilla oatmeal is 100% natural, low in sugar, and has a great amount of fiber and protein. This is much better than Quak*er oatmeal because it is natural. You will see me mention this a lot. Just remember, you want to eat clean and natural food. No preservatives. No chemicals.

A whole grain english muffin or Milton's bread {the one in red packaging} are also great with your egg whites instead of oatmeal. It's nice to mix it up a little bit to keep things from getting boring. I love to put organic almond butter on my toast. Do not buy regular peanut butter! It is full of sugar. Organic peanut butter or almond butter is so so much better for you!


MORNING SNACK

Snack info below


LUNCH

I have been trying to integrate chicken into my diet again, but I honestly cannot stand it. I really prefer veggie burgers and can tolerate turkey. I am not much of a meat eater at all. One of the healthier lunches or dinners you can have is a chicken breast {no skin!!} or fish and steamed veggies. Chicken salads are also great because you get lots of veggies and protein {chicken}. I also love having vegetable soup on hand. I will share my recipe with you soon. I will make a big pot of soup and have it throughout the week. This is the perfect lunch, dinner, or snack! I love it.

I really like Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers, because they are natural. I buy these at Trader Joe's and will have these for lunch or dinner.

I also love salad, so I will sometimes make or pick up a salad with a vinaigrette dressing. I avoid ranch and other creamy dressings because they are bad for you, and fat free dressing is full of chemicals. Watch the sugars, fat, and chemicals in dressing! Most food that advertises being fat free or 97% fat free are full of toxic chemicals. Our bodies do not know what to do with these things, so we think we are having a fat free food, but we are replacing fat with crazy things that our body cannot digest.

A tip I do have is to always order your dressing on the side and dip your fork in the dressing. That way you get a little flavor in each bite. You save tons of calories that way.


AFTERNOON SNACK

Snack info below


DINNER

I will usually make a salad, veggie burger, my vegetable soup, or something light. Since I often work out at night, I will usually have a protein shake and some veggies or a little something else. I also love having veggie rolls or cucumber rolls {with brown rice}. I do not eat fish, but if you do, it is so good for you. Rotisserie chicken is always great, too. Just remember not to eat the skin because it is full of fat. Veggie burgers are always perfect for me. Trader Joe's has some great turkey sausage, but you want to watch for fat and sugar. Taco salads are also great. You can do some lean ground turkey, salsa, and lettuce. Simple and good.

I will post more dinner recipes as I start experimenting with new, healthy meals.


DESSERT

My dessert policy is going to seem extreme, but I promise you that I am not depriving myself. If I really want something, I will let myself have it, but I only have a few bites. I tend to not want dessert, because I know that it isn't good for you.

Eating fruit is great because it has natural sugars, so when you crave sweets, your body will register the sugar and it should satisfy your craving. I love having my protein shake at night because it feels like dessert to me. I share the recipe below.

If you need dessert, Whole Foods and Bristol Farms have mini pastries. I am sure you can find these at bakeries and other grocery stores as well. If you're living on your own, taking a big dessert home can be especially dangerous. I bought a mini key lime pie one night in Chicago. These are really tiny, and are perfect when you want just a little taste of dessert. Much better than eating a slice of pie {or worse -- the whole thing!}. Just take a few bites, eat slowly, savor the taste, and walk away. You will feel better the next day. Trust me.


SNACKS
I love Kashi TLC chewy granola bars, and usually have one with a piece of fruit for my morning snack. These are so good!! The peanut butter bars are my favorite. If you have a really busy morning, grab a bar and some fruit. It's better than not eating anything at all. They come in lots of great flavors, are 100% natural, are low in sugar, and are a great source of fiber and protein. These are perfect because you can keep one in your purse, so when you're out and hungry, you can have this instead of having to pick something up. It is so important to eat every few hours, because this keeps you from getting really hungry and eating too much. It also keeps your body fueled, and your metabolism working faster!

I also love Carman's muesli bars. They are also 100% natural, and are a great source of protein and fiber. They do have 50 more calories per bar than Kashi bars, but if you only have a bar once per day, these are great. I purchase these at Whole Foods. I like the original and apricot. The fruit ones have too much sugar.

Eating processed bars is not good for you. Many of these are high in calories and high in sugar! If they aren't natural, our bodies do not know how to digest them.

Another great snack is an organic apple or another piece of fruit and 10 almonds. I only have almonds once each day. When I saw a nutritionist almost 10 years ago, she told me to do this, and I have been doing it ever since. You just have to be careful and stop at 10! Eating 25+ almonds is not good for you. Grab 10 almonds and put the bag away. Do not snack out of a big bag.

Milton's bread makes for a great snack, too. I will sometimes have a piece of toast with almond butter for a snack with a piece of fruit. If I have almond butter, I skip having almonds that day.

Veggies are also a great snack. I will cut up cucumber sticks, which makes eating them a bit more enjoyable for some reason. Veggies are so good for you!! Learn to love them.

100 calorie popcorn bags are great. I do not have these all the time, but when you need a snack, these are a good alternative. You can also fit this in your purse and take it to the movies with you for a healthy movie snack. I do not think that any other 100 calorie packs are good for you since they are so processed. People think they are healthy, but they are full of chemicals.

If you love chips, go for Popchips. I love these. They are air popped and are {surprise, surprise} 100% natural! And they're GOOD. Everyone I have given popchips to has loved them. When I want chips, I pick up a back of BBQ Popchips and my craving is satisfied. I do not get these all the time, but they are nice to have on hand when you need them.

Another great snack is edamame. I will steam this and have some low sodium soy sauce. It is very high in protein and is also a good source of fiber.

If I go to the gym mid day, one of my snacks will be a protein shake. I sometimes have this for dinner with a little something. I will write about my protein shake below.

Another tip. Do not snack while you are at the computer, and if you can avoid it, do not watch TV while eating, either. Sit down and be aware of the fact that you are eating. You will likely eat less, and will feel full faster.


EATING OUT
When I go out with friends, I try to make healthy choices. I usually avoid cocktails because they are full of sugar. I will often end up not ordering a drink, because I do not want to consume tons and tons of sugar. I realize this isn't an option for most of you, but in the end, those drinks are not going to help.

I will usually order a salad or a turkey or veggie burger, and will substitute fruit or a salad for fries. But when I really want or need fries, I'll get them. When I order a salad, I always get dressing on the side. If I order a veggie or turkey burger, I will eat 1/2 the bun, or no bun at all. I never eat the entire bun. Saying "I will never ever eat out, or never ever bread" will only set you up to fail. Living healthy and avoiding certain food most of the time but having what you want on occasion is the way to go. You stay healthy and satisfy cravings.

A lot of restaurants will also tell you the calorie content of food they serve, so you can look that up online prior to going out to eat. For example, you can build a Chip*otle burrito or bowl. Chipo*tle is {in my opinion} is not a healthy option at all. I will not eat there.

And remember that ordering a salad does not mean that you are making a healthy choice. For example, the BBQ ranch chicken salad at Cheesec*ake Fact*ory has over 600 calories and almost 1000 mg of sodium. That is horribe. If I were to order this salad {I used to order it a long time ago} I would order it with no chicken, no avocado, no crispy fried onion strings, and dressing on the side. I end up having maybe half the dressing, and probably cut the calories quite a bit. Removing unnecessary toppings (fried onions, crispy tortilla strips, etc... can really make a difference}.


DRINKSI drink water, and am working on drinking more water because I do not drink nearly enough of it. I do not drink soda, and am giving up my lattes, although I only had them maybe 1-2x per week. Since I really love them, I may get one every week or two. In the end, having it once every week or every other week will satisfy the craving, save money, and will keep me from feeling deprived. My policy is to not drink my calories, and since I also avoid dairy, lattes should really be out, too. Americans drink their calories. It is just crazy. Drink water! I will occasionally have a diet coke {because I do like it} but that is very, very rare. Soda is toxic. I have seen 2 nutritionists and a few trainers. They have all said not to drink soda.

If you need a boost, have some tea. It is natural and has caffeine. It will also help flush fat and other toxins out of your system.


I recently discovered GT's Kombucha. You can learn about Kombucha here. I have picked up Kombucha at both Whole Foods and Bristol Farms. If you do not have either of those stores near you, visit GT's website to find out where you can find this nearby.

These are definitely an acquired taste. I like them, but my family does not. I recommend that you try it. This stuff isn't cheap. 1 bottle is $3.60 and has 2 servings. I am trying to find a better price somewhere, but it seems that it is actually more expensive online. Having 1 bottle a day could really add up, but you could have 1 bottle every two days. Each serving has only 2 grams of {natural} sugar. While it is on the more expensive side, it is really good for you, and it is much cheaper than eating out or drinking coffee each day. The citrus and strawberry flavors are the only two I have had so far, and I do like both, although I prefer the strawberry. I have a few bottles of other flavors in the fridge, so I will be sure to let you know what I think of those.

Kombucha has probiotics, live active enzymes, antioxidants, organic acids, and polyphenols. It supports digestion, metabolism, immune system, appetite control, weight control, liver function, & healthy skin and hair. In my opinion, that extensive list makes it so, so worth it. I had half a bottle the past two days, and felt like I had more energy and was not nearly as hungry as I usually am. I will let you know how I feel over the next week.

I really want to get a juicer and start juicing. I would love to start making fruit and veggie concoctions. Do you juice?

One of the most important things I learned is to drink a lot of water. It will flush out your system, and is so, so good for you. This is {for whatever reason} a challenge for me. When I first saw a nutritionist {I do not see one now. This was a long time ago} my first assignment was not to change a diet but to drink 3 big bottles of water a day. I lost 3 lbs my first week. So I have been working on my water intake.


FIBER
Fiber is so important for your daily health. It is recommended that we get at least 25 grams per day, yet the average American does not come close to that. I have a home made fiber mix each day. I cannot share the recipe since it is not mine to share, but there are some great mixes out there! Here is a great list of foods that are rich in fiber.


PROTEIN SHAKE

I take 1 scoop of Designer Whey protein in vanilla, and mix that in the blender with a banana, ice, and a little water. I recently started adding a spoon of almond butter. This {to me} tastes like a blended banana smoothie. I love it. I will have this after a workout or with a very small meal when I need protein. This is great to have as a snack, with a smaller lunch or dinner, or as a dessert.


DESSERTIf you have to have dessert, have dessert. As I mentioned above, mini desserts are ideal because you get the taste of what you want without having too much. Taking a bite or two is also a great solution. If you must have ice cream, have ice cream. If I do want a dessert, I will have a few bites, or will pick up a mini dessert. I rarely do this, though. If you absolutely have to have a snack after dinner, check out my snack list. I do recommend drinking some tea or munching on veggies if you need something.


THINGS I AVOID

I use butter when I bake {which is pretty rare} and never use it otherwise. I cannot recall ever spreading butter on bread, and I avoid recipes that call for butter, unless I am baking. When you spread butter on your food, you are spreading lard on something that you are about to put in your body. So gross and so bad for you. If you want to lose weight, lose the butter.

I do not cook with oil. I will use Pam or a natural cooking spray.

I also try to avoid splenda and other artifical sweeteners. I used to order those no sugar added drinks. They have aspartame {like Diet C*oke}. Well guess what? That stuff is really, really bad for you. Stevia is a natural alternative. I do not use it, but know people who do, and I have read some pretty good things about it.

Dairy. This is a controversial one. Remember that I am not a nutritionist, so I am not telling anyone what to do. My theory on diary is as follows. Cow's milk was not designed for the human body. Our bodies were designed to consume breast milk, and lose all the enzymes that digest milk by age 3. So, I tend to avoid dairy because eating it does not make sense, and our bodies do not digest it. This does not mean that I never have it. I just tend to avoid it day to day.

If you look at ingredients and see the names of all kinds of crazy chemicals or high fructose corn syrup, throw things things away now! They are so bad for you!! I also recommend avoiding sugar as much as possible.

When a product is low fat or 90something% fat free, you should expect to see tons of chemicals in there. So all those low cal ice cream treats, frozen yogurt, etc... I'm sure you have heard of Ski*nny Cow ice cream. It seems healthy, but is actually terrible for you. If you really, really want ice cream, you are better off just having the real thing. Just have 1 scoop and not 3.

Enriched flour. Take white bread, for example. Our bodies do not digest this. If you have to have bread, go for Milton's {I linked it under breakfast}.


EXERCISEThis is always a tough one for me. In a perfect world, I would go to the gym at least 5 days a week. I was doing so, so well and got in a car accident last November. That killed my workouts. Then I did quite a bit of traveling, which made working out even more difficult. The accident wasn't that bad, but my neck was so sore, and still is pretty sore. Physical therapy is helping, and my doctor said to just start working out again to strengthen my neck. I need to get to the point where I go at least 5 days a week on a regular basis. I feel better when I work out, and want it to be a part of my regular routine.

I will do the elliptical or bike when I need to get in some cardio. We have bad knees in my family, and I have already torn cartilage, so running is out for me. I like to mix it up by doing one machine for 30 min and then another for the remaining 30 min. I also do intervals when doing cardio. This means you bump up the resistance for a minute, then lower it for a minute and so on. That keeps your body guessing. Doing the same thing for an hour won't shock your body, but changing the pace will! I also love classes! Yoga, spinning, rowing, etc...

I recently purchased Jillian Michael's 30 day shred, so I want to start doing that, too. I tried it once in Chicago and really liked it. My neck just wasn't ready at the time. I love that there are different levels, so you start at level 1 and work your way up.


THAT'S ALL FOR NOW!

I will be sure to add and update as new things come up and as I find more recipes and ideas. I would also love to hear your diet & workout tips {and recipes} if you would like to share them. I am always looking up new and healthy snacks & recipes, so I will be on the lookout and will share anything great that I find.

I do expect that following a more scheduled diet will change my body, and I will keep you posted on that. I want to reiterate one last time that I am not a nutritionist, and that actually following this plan is new to me. I always ate pretty healthy but have been horrible about eating enough, so I am not in amazing shape. I would also have bread and pasta, which I am drastically cutting back on. I need to tone up!

If you have any questions about anything I posted, please feel free to ask.

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12 comments

  1. Love all of your tips and ideas. Thanks for sharing! I have the Shred and it was hard on my knees...and I don't have bad knees, so be careful. My friend said the same thing about her knees...

    I am in the process of trying to lose 30 pounds. I have lost 7 ... 23 to go. So, thanks- every little bit helps.

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  2. Great post Danielle....I have been working out consistently since Sept at least 5 days a week...I can tell I am stronger and have more endurance, but the big thing for me is watching what I eat too. I dont have weight to lose, but I do need to lose a layer of "fat" so my weight training will be more visible. I LOVE Oxygen magazine if you haven't read that...it is so great! Tosca Reno from Clean Eating Magazine also does great articles in Oxygen. For the past 3 months I have followed a series of weight training that they featured...if you haven't looked at it, pick it up I think you will love it!

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  3. I've tried raw Kombucha and couldn't get past the smell of vinegar. BTW, I've awarded you a Beautiful Blog Award!

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  4. Sounds like you do take care of yourself.. I would be afraid to write down what I wrote in a day :)

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  5. Loved reading about your diet/exercise tips & plans...sounds like you know your stuff! ;)

    I love Kombucha! I just tried it for the first time a few weeks ago, and I'm hooked! I had read about it in a fellow blogger's posts and picked it up at Whole Foods. I think it's great!

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  6. OMG! I loved this post Danielle and I'm so pleased to see that you found Kombucha!! I loveeee that stuff. I'm so happy to see someone else as obsessed with natural food as I am:) Sometimes I feel so alone because I'm really picky about chemicals and additives in food and I think people think I'm snobby because I care SO much about what goes into my body. But I seriously have to start working out LOL

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  7. You are so disciplined--this is a very impressive list! I like your breakfast suggestion...I should consider trying it. ALWAYS hungry constantly in the afternoon and I'm sure more protein would help.

    Hope you had a great weekend, and let's pick a day to visit!

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  8. thanks for sharing. I am always interested in healty eating tips!

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  9. You sound just like I did two years ago, however, it sounds like you've got your head in the right place but just be sure to confuse your distaste and avoidance of foods with a fear of foods because it can quickly tumble down into an eating disorder.

    Trust me. You're so gaunt people don't recognize you, your hair falls out, it's not pretty.

    Also, dairy is a go. FAGE Greek yogurt, the 0% has 20 grams of protein per serving and only 7 grams of naturally occurring sugars in the unsweetened kind. Calcium also contributes to weight loss, look into "How The Rich Get Thin." All About calcium.

    And you should somehow incorporate iron into your diet. I know you said you don't eat red meat but try iron pills.

    I was a hardcore vegan for awhile and lost so much weight I was b6, b12 and iron deficient so much, it was beyond concerning.


    My new motto is everything in moderation because we're all dying anyways, so I enjoy what I like but not to the point where I hurt myself or my body. I'm a work in progress, I guess.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

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  10. you inspire me to want to be more healthy again! I miss it! I'm going to save this and forward to hubs...maybe we can work on a plan for post pregnancy..and post hospital...I don't look forward to weeks/months of that food!

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  11. I really enjoyed this post and linked it on my blog. Great info!

    http://www.skinnybitchlife.blogspot.com

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  12. Great post! I drink a GT Kombucha every day! My husband calls it my crack. I love it and swear by it!

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