Christmas is a busy time of year. Don’t let it be an excuse to not eat healthy meals prepared at home. My favorite kitchen aid is my crock pot. It serves up delicious meals without a lot of fuss. Plus it makes the house smell good all day while it cooks. Here are three meals when served with a salad will keep you on track nutritionally.
Salsa Style Pork
Combine pork loin, salsa, chilies, and black beans in crock pot and mix well. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low. Sprinkle cheese and cilantro over top and serve.
Herbed Turkey Breast
Place vegetables in the bottom of the crock pot. Top with turkey breast. Combine seasonings and chicken broth. Pour over the top. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-7 hours.
Sirloin Tip Roast with Horseradish
Combine seasonings. Spread over roast halves. Place in slow cooker. Add broth. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove from cooker. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing diagonally across the grain. Scoop juices from crock pot into gravy dish. Serve with horseradish if desired.
Good idea? Bad idea? Can exercise actually help boost our immune system, even when we are sick?
by Dean Carlson, Pn2
It's not an uncommon question:
"Should I exercise when I am sick?"
Well, as with many things, it depends.
If you are laid out in bed with the flu, the answer is obvious. But what about certain stages of a cold? While we don't want to share that joy with others, can getting some movement in be helpful?
Our friend at Precision Nutrition produced this excellent guide for sorting it all out.
Print out this infographic for some very specific guidelines on exercise, and how it affects your immune system before, during, and after an illness.
Reading that infographic makes me feel better already!
Want to share these tips with your friends, family and co-workers (especially the washing your hands part)? Click here for a fully printable version of this infographic.
Here's to staying healthy!
If I were an elf, I’d make a machine,
the kind that would make you fit, trim and lean.
It would make you have legs – strong, steady and stable,
Is such a machine just a fairy tale fable?
Your arms would be strong, no flab to be found.
Able to carry two zillion thousands of pounds.
You’d run, jump and leap – like when you were a child.
Wouldn’t such a machine be pretty darn wild?
It wouldn’t have gears, motors, whistles, or rings
Cause’ the machine I would build needs none of those things.
The machine I’d create would be made up of levers
That lift HEAVY things – wouldn’t that be real clever?
That awesome machine would twist, bend and reach
And hundreds of skills this machine you could teach
And where might you ask can such a contraption be found?
Well open your eyes and look all around!
The machine which I’d build is already done
And possessed by you all – yes each – every one!
Though different in shape, there’s none designed shoddy
The machine I would build is your very own body!
A Christmas Original by Coach Dean
My Father in Law has a slick sense of humor. It's like he waits for the perfect opportunity and then ZING lets you have it. When he told me he had some tips to help him eat better at Christmas I knew I was in for a treat.
So From our house to yours, Enjoy:
One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.
Thank you again Dad.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
by Dean Carlson, Pn2
It's true. What you eat can have a direct impact on how quickly you recover from a cold, flu or other yucky thing that can bring us down and make us feel like doing, well, nothing!
It all has to do with your gut health. What happens in your digestive tract plays a huge role in how well you can fight off germs, or whether you come down with something at all.
This infographic has some great tips for boosting your immune system, as well as helping you feel better faster.
The take home? Take care of your gut, and it will take care of you! 🙂
You wouldn't want to keep this great info to yourself, especially when the men you know get sick (yes, we are babies). Download a printable copy of this infographic to share, it's the nice thing to do!
Compiled by Dean Carlson, Pn2. Infographic created by John Berardi Ph.D. and Helen Kollias Ph.D.
In Part 1, we talked about how "calorie math" doesn't always add up. This article looks at why accurate counting can be so complicated, and gives 4 reasons why daily activity tracking and trying to count the calories we burn on a daily basis isn't as straightforward as it seems.
It's a question I get asked a lot by clients in our gyms. "How many calories does an average workout burn?"
The reason for the query is they want to plug my answer into fitness tracker software, in order to calculate how many calories they are burning daily, and thus how many calories they should be eating.
If it were only that easy. There are SO many factors that go into determining energy expenditure accurately, and unless you are measuring factors such as carbon dioxide output for the duration of training, you just aren't going to get a reliable number.
In my experience, most of the clients that try to track calories eventually get tired of doing so, or frustrated because it's not "working".
Fortunately you don't HAVE to measure calories in and out all the time, if at all. The infographic below tells you some of the challenges with counting calories, as well as an alternative method to energy balance that you carry with you all the time. Simple!
Download your own printer and tablet version friendly copy of the infographic to pass around or keep for reference.
Ever wonder why you track so carefully but you STILL can't lose weight? No matter how good fitness trackers are, they can't compete with reality. The most important measurement is the outcome you are getting from your current plan. If the results you are getting are moving you in the direction of your goals, stick with it. If not, it's time to do something different.
Want more nutrition know-how?
As I am sure I don't have to remind you, nailing our nutrition down is not as easy as "experts on the interweb" want you to think.
At The Grateful Plate, we work closely with our coaching clients to help them understand what is holding them back, and guiding them to building great eating skills and the habits to get lean, once and for all. When you are ready to take the next step, please reach out and let's talk.
It's not the food that makes the holidays, it's the memories you make.
And those calories are coming from everywhere! But no where seems worse than the place we spend the majority of our day. The office.
There's clients, reps, patients, and business associates who send or bring in all sorts of goodies.
There's the staff office parties which typically means a catered lunch or... ten, depending on where you work.
And then there's your co-workers. The overachievers who want to show off all of their superb culinary skills by bringing everyone in the office high-calorie, delicious homemade goodness. And insist on watching you try "just one."
Add to all of that, the end of year work related stress that leaves you short-fused, and sleep deprived and you are primed for a sugar-laden calorie bomb before noon! Here's my top tips for handling this:
Do you need a make over to a Thanksgiving Favorite?
Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple, don’t drained
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square broiler-safe baking dish with coconut oil. Whisk whole eggs, cinnamon, oil, coconut milk, vanilla and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sweet potato; whisk until smooth. Stir in pineapple and its juice. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake the casserole until heated through and the edges are bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Set aside while you make the topping.
As the “biggest eating holiday” in the US, it’s an important time to maybe pull the reins back a bit.
Now, I’m not here to say live off celery and tofu for Thanksgiving.
But what about setting up a little challenge with yourself.
Most importantly, have a Happy Thanksgiving!
To Your Best Health,
If you still need some help to Handle the Holidays at Home check this out.
Sticking with our Handling the Holidays theme... I’m back at it with today’s topic: Too many calories.
I’ve heard more than one person complain of all the sweets and baked goods that are around this time of year.
And unless you plan on checking yourself into a spa for the next two weeks, it's hard to avoid. There's the food YOU make at home (for your family or other people), the food that people give TO YOU, and the food that's brought into the office.
And that's not counting office parties and holiday parties that take place in the last 2 weeks of the year, either.
What's a goal-oriented clean eater to do?
Since there's so much to discuss on this one, I'm breaking it down into separate newsletters.
Today we tackle the home environment.
The easiest place to control excess calories this holiday season is your own home. Watch what food you bring in, encourage company to take leftovers and goodies with them or give away what you can.
Remember it's not the food that makes the holidays, it's the memories you make.
To Your Best Health,
P. S. Need Help Handling the Holidays with some great appetizers? Click here
We're kicking off our Thanksgiving suggestions very fittingly -- with the dish people think of first, appetizers.
As if Thanksgiving doesn't have enough calories associated with the dinner alone, we always start it off with hors d'oeuvres or what my friend’s toddler calls, HAPPYtizers.
Now these can play a critical role, especially if there are hours between when your guests first arrive and when the REAL meal is served. But the calories can also quickly add up, particularly if you are snacking mindlessly.
So here are my strategies for handling appetizers, food and drink that is tempting, and that will be around for a good bit pre-meal. Note: these strategies are good for later that evening with dinner and dessert as well.
1 small white onion
4 portabella mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, fine diced
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch black pepper
1/2 cup sherry
¼ cup Vegetable stock
1 cup feta cheese
Chop onion with 1/8 dice, remove ribbing in mushrooms, cut ribbing and stems of mushrooms. Add oil to a sauté pan. Sauté onions, diced mushrooms and nutmeg through veggie stock, then add garlic until aromatic. Add the feta cheese and stir to combine. Stuff mushrooms with mixture, sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cut each portabella mushroom into quarters to serve.
Antipasto Sausage Skewers
12 ounces fully cooked Italian-style poultry sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces if large
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage; cook, turning 2 or 3 times, until warmed through and browned, about 8 minutes. Thread 1 small or 1/2 large basil leaf onto a small wooden skewer. Add a piece of roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, artichoke and sausage, arranging them on the skewer so that it can stand up on the sausage end. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make about two-dozen skewers.
Green Goddess Dip (great with veggies)
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
2 scallions, green and white parts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh tarragon
1/4 cup fresh parsley
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
3/4 cup buttermilk
Vegetable sticks, for dipping
Place the avocado, scallions, tarragon, parsley, vinegar, buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender; puree until smooth.
Enjoy your Holidays.
To your Best Health,
P.S. If you need some help handling the holiday stress click here!
On Thanksgiving, do you eat and eat and eat and eat, because it is there? Do you leave the meal feeling stuffed and guilty for overindulging again?
On Thanksgiving, do you feel deprived, hungry, pick at only a few food items, watch as everyone else gets to eat what they want? Are these your only options?
This Thanksgiving, put a plan in place. Enjoy the special meal, choose small portions of those food items that aren’t typically on your menu plan. Don’t go at it with a buffet line mentality, but as someone with a treasured meal mentality that allows you to look forward to a meal that has finally arrived.
With the holidays here in full effect, I thought I’d cover some common struggles over the next few weeks we all face during this time of year.
And that leads me to our first one. LACK OF SLEEP.
It's true when we're rushing to fit it all in, sleep is the very first to go. We stay up later than we should knowing that we "just need to get through the next couple of days...week or month." And yet, even though we may finish a project or task by staying up later, that sleep decrement bleeds into the next day. Lack of sleep is more than just self-imposed 'punishment' for not being able to get everything done.
It can lead to weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and can flat out ruin your holidays.
So if you're already putting sleep on the back burner to start crossing things off your holiday to-do list, take a moment and consider what really needs to get done.
Ask yourself, what do you want to create the most this holiday season? Instead of telling yourself you need to have a perfectly decorated house, home made goodies for every acquaintance you can possibly think of, the ideal Christmas present for everyone on your list, in addition to being perfectly dressed, coiffed and manicured, maybe you pick a 'theme' for the season.
Focus on ONE thing and let go or delegate the rest. I know it sounds easier said than done...but how many years have you tried to pack everything in and watched the month vanish at a blink of an eye....with no real meaningful memories in it's place?
Here are just a few trade-offs to consider so that you may go to bed earlier each night.
And yes, I know, sometimes you DO NEED to stay up later than you'd like. Here's your recipe for the next day.
Take a nap if you can. 15-20 minutes. No more or else you'll end up creating a cycle that could make falling to sleep at night harder.
Lay off the caffeine. I know, sounds like it's impossible...but it's not. Suffer through the sleep deprivation for the day, and sleep more soundly the next night.
Don't skip your workouts. The exercise will help to make you feel energized. At the least, get outside for a quick 15-20 minute walk in the brisk air. Invigorating.
Bottom line, ask yourself is staying up late to do whatever you need to do, really worth it? Are these expectations you have of yourself necessary or even important to you? If not, it's time to let go.
To your Best Health (and next time),