Whoa baby!

Its official, we are expecting!!!! Very excited to announce and share my journey with all  of you.  Its been a crazy journey so far and we have so far to go!  I’m currently 17 weeks pregnant and found out this news at about 5 1/2 weeks.  The pic below is shortly after finding out to start tracking my bump journey and I’ll backup through my 1st trimester and also take you up to date on my progress as well as provide tips on what I’m eating and how I’m staying active given the ups and downs day in and day out of pregnancy.

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Finding out I was pregnant was crazy because I wasn’t expecting this to happen so soon and yet just weeks prior I found myself in a playing a head game with myself fearing the unknown whether I could or could not become pregnant at my ripe age of 36!  Now by all means this is not a ripe age but in maternal age, some parts of the country – or the world for that matter – consider this a “geriatric or high risk” age.  Those of you that follow me or know me are well aware I do not consider myself old and I live my life more active than most 20 year olds.  However, for women the state and age of our eggs is well, diminishing as we approach our late 30’s into our 40’s.  We are born with x eggs and they are eliminated month by month until we progress into menopause.

When I was living in the Midwest, I was told from my early 30’s that I needed to freeze my eggs because my eggs were becoming old or aging.  I found myself so emotional after every annual appointment I would call my mom and cry every single time.   When I moved to New York, my primary doctor gave me a speech about how things are different and we have so many options available and I didn’t have to be concerned at this point about being high risk.  My OB laughed at me when I asked him if I was high risk.  So now I was starting to see a variance of medical and personal onions ranging by region of this country so you can imagine my mind had slowly started to ease.  The thing is we are living longer, have more information at our fingertips about how to stay healthier and things have changed, people!

At 5 1/2 weeks I was still feeling good.  It felt like I was just ovulating and going through normal monthly hormonal changes except my boobs were out of control and beyond sensitive!  That weekend hubby and I had planned a little getaway to DC rather than doing a traditional Thanksgiving and it was a perfect way to spend some time together and see the sights in DC.  Thankfully at that point, I was still feeling like myself with tons of energy and a regular appetite.  However, this was the point where I realized being in social settings and going to dinner was going to be a bit frustrating as I couldn’t not retrieve to my standard glass of bold red wine.  Instead, I found myself being as creative as possible in the mocktail arena.  And needless to day, mocktails can be fun and make you feel like a functioning part of society!  This is also one of the first dead giveaways that a woman may be pregnant around friends or family.  We found it easier to steer clear of that issue as much as possible until we were officially in the clear and into the second trimester.  However, there were occasions where we had dinner with friends and while trying to be discrete, it was not so discrete with the clueless waiter what was happening and became a very suspicious giveaway on a couple occasions.

The other frustrating part was ordering.  I love food and the thought of eliminating some of my favorites and having to dance around every dish with questions of every last ingredient was quite daunting.  However, as time progresses, it does get easier.  In the first trimester carbs became my primary friend and heavily weighted macro so that made things a bit easier!

prego-gym-5-weeksI was still working out as usual and was still able to maintain cardio at a higher level with ease and was lifting as usual but I made sure to take it down a notch just to be careful.  I started re-thinking the way I worked out and thought more about what was safe for me and baby and what my body actually needed as opposed to what I thought it needed.  I’ll talk more about this later on as it does get more difficult but at this early stage it was still early and new.

This is a journey and all so new to me so I hope you all enjoy me sharing.  Would love to hear feedback and welcome any questions on anything you would like to hear about my pregnancy or anything else!

 

 

 

Best Ever Veggie Burgers with Flare!

When I decided to make these veggie burgers I got my inspiration from Pinterest and honestly there are a LOT of great recipes out there.  Because I had so many veggies in the fridge I wanted to use I created my own based on what I know I do and do not like about traditional veggie burgers.  First, I like mine to be so fresh the almost fall apart when they are heated up.  To me, that is the epitome of freshness.  I don’t like dry or bland veggie burgers so I made sure to add a lot of spice.  WARNING: the recipe while making it DOES NOT look inciting but if its made with real veggies and beans, it shouldn’t be.  So don’t freak out.

When making veggie burgers its essential to make sure you include all of your macros in the burger since this will be your primary meal with possibly additional sides.  Because I made a larger batch and wasn’t sure how I would use them I did just that.  Pack them with beans & legumes for protein, oats for whole grains, and of course loaded them with veggies.

First you will want to start with your mixture of vegetables.  I took what veggies I had in the fridge and chopped them up and put them in the food processor.  I like when the veggies are ground up with the beans, oats and flour so I prefer to use in a food processor, however, its perfectly fine to mix in a bowl.  Just make sure you get your veggies chopped nice and small.

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The veggies that I used include the following:

  • Carrots
  • Red Onion
  • Purple radish (however this is not necessary and you can use another crunchy veggie of your preference.)
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Spinach
  • Red & yellow peppers
  • Green Onion

 

 

 

 

 

Once your veggies are chopped/diced/sliced every which way then place them in a bowl and put them to the side.  Rinse your beans if you are using canned, and rinse them well.  I use a strainer and let them set over the sink until all the water is drained.  This will helping the burger forming process later on.  Once they are drained, pat them with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture and add them to your veggie mixture.

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Next, you want to prep all of your remaining ingredients and have them accessible – or at least that is how I like to have them.  That way you can mix and add as you go to ensure the consistency is on par.

Now because this mixture was a double recipe it was too large for my food processor so I took about half and mixed it then took the other half and did the same.  WARNING: if you are using a food processor just make sure not to over process your mixture.  It can become watery and just end up looking like mush.  You want it properly mixed but not over mixed, make sense?  I know, its a fine line with veggie burgers!

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Once you have mixed the beans and veggies combine into one large bowl.  Here is where you will add your flour, oats, spices and oils.  Below is what it looked like when I combined everything together.  Again, NOT PRETTY but trust me, delicious in the end!!!!

Step 1:

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Step 2:

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Step 3: Let cool.

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Final Step: Add toppings!!!

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Now its time for the fun to begin!

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 5-8 minutes

Total Time :30-33 minutes

  • 1/2 large red onion finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1/4 large purple radish, chopped
  • 3-5 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6-8 mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 mini peppers (red, yellow, orange) or 1 large, chopped
  • 2-3 handfulls of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 – 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 – 15 oz can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten free whole grain oats
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour (chickpea flour)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp of SPICEOLOGIST Greek Freak

In a large bowl, combine veggies and beans that have been rinsed and drained.

If you are using a food processor, this makes a double batch so make sure to split the mixture in two, process and transfer into a new large bowl.  Take the second half of mixture, process and add to larger bowl with newly processed mixture.  Otherwise, you can process the veggies separate then the beans and transfer to the same bowl once both are processed.   If you are mixing by hand, make sure to mix well!

Once you have the mixture into one large bowl, add the oats, spices,and chickpea flour, egg and mix well.

Get your stove top ready on medium-high heat with about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan.  Don’t worry you will be adding more as you cook more patties!  This makes about 16 patties, depending on the size of the patty you want.  make them as large or small as you like, just remember they are quite soft so the larger they are the less you can fit in your skillet.

Form into ball-like patties and drop them into your heated skillet.  The oil will help with sticking and forming the patties as they cook.  Don’t worry about making perfect patties before they start cooking, they will form as you cook.  Leave cooking for about 3 minutes then try to flip them.  Cook on the opposite side for about 3-5 minutes or until they are well-browned at the top.  I flipped mine a couple times as it became easier to flip as they hardened.

Set the patties aside on foil or parchment paper and let cool for about 5-10 minutes.

Continue with the remaining mixture and keep adding oil as you go as the pan will start to dry out.  You want to make sure you have enough oil so they cook and so you are able to flip them.

Finishing touches:

In this particular photo I cooked two fried egg whites and topped my burger with whole fat organic Monterrey jack cheese, the fried egg white, smashed avocado, chopped olives and sriracha sauce.  It was absolutely scrumptious!!!!

I posted this photo along with several other food photos on my instagram if you want to follow along @AngieRHart1.

 

 

 

 

Healthy is a state of mind

I don’t know about you guys but don’t like to start the new year with all of these resolutions on how I’m going to be a better me, be more fit, take more vacation, excel in my career and etc.  Now don’t get me wrong, its great to have a plan and a goal, however I feel like when I continuously press the reset button it sets me up for failure as I resort to that excuse time and time again knowing I can just “start over”.

That use to be me pretty much my entire 20’s and possibly even into my early 30’s.  However, I’ve come to this discovery through my own personal journey that being healthy and fit is a mindset.  I know that sounds cliche but let me explain.  For example, if you look at the week ahead and say, “ok, on Monday I’m going to eat healthy all week and on Saturday I’ll have a cheat day and do whatever I want”.  That mindset, will set you up for failure – at least it did for me.  I would over indulge on the weekends and it would start to roll over into the next week.  Why, because I looked at my life as a payment/reward system.  Like if you do this, then you get to have this.  With dieting I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t have to be so hard.  Now my mindset is simply, I’m going to be as active and eat as healthy as possible everyday.  Does that mean I don’t splurge on some meals?  Absolutely not, but the splurging becomes less and less and the desire to be healthy and eat healthy food becomes greater and greater.

Now I will say, there is a way of getting healthier gradually, like I did overtime or there is a reboot that works for some people.  I’m not one of those people, however it does work for some.  By a reboot I mean juicing or detoxing of some sort to rid your body of sugar and processed foods.  Honestly, once that step happens you path becomes that much clearer.  It takes approx. 10-21 days to rid your body of sugar and the addiction to sugar.  Once you’ve won that battle, the rest is just up to you to stay motivated to be healthy.  Anyone can do it.  Many people of all shapes and sizes have done it and continue to do it, you have to want to change and then you have to make gradual steps towards your goal.

Being active is a huge part of this equation as it helps to stay motivated and it helps to keep your focus.  When you are active you are also more likely to grab for the apple rather than the candy bar because you just ran 3 miles.  Starting out is the hardest part but establishing a routine and making a date for yourself to do something active.  For example, I will start each week and plug in classes I want to take or pre-plan my workouts with a time.  If I miss a morning workout, I vow to make myself do something in the evening and visa versa.  It’s balance and its dedication to yourself to improve your well-being.

 

 

Back from a virtual detox!

I realized blogging is a huge passion of mine.   I want to share my thoughts, ideas and tips to the world.  I want to be able to say things and do things that can not only help me – because it does help me to write – but maybe, just maybe someone will get inspired by something that I have shared and decide to change something for the better in their own life.  If not, I’ll keep the dream and alive and keep writing for my own personal enjoyment:).

The reason I stopped for a bit was I’ve had a bit of a busy life since my last post this spring!  I’ve gotten married, attended a lot of other summer weddings out of state, started a healthy snack ball business with my husband, moved to Brooklyn and all the while been working a full time job in New York City.  Life is good but very busy!  Because I had a lot going on in my personal and professional life, I decided to let my little creative outlet go the wayside for a while until I realized it was a huge part of me that was missing!  Since then, I’ve come up with a lot of new ideas for blog posts.  Hopefully they will inspire you to be more creative with your food or workout programs or just give you something to read if you want to know about me!

You can now start to look for regular posts so get ready!  I’ve got some great posts lined up including some new health food products I’ve recently discovered, some great new classes I’ve discovered for tightening the tush, tips on getting into wedding shape, 2017 NYC Marathon qualification, quiet life in Brooklyn, my new found love of acupuncture and REAL life examples of how it has helped me and of course, new recipes!

Excited to be back and hope you all enjoy the upcoming posts!  Happy Friday!!!

 

Quick & Healthy Breakfast Ideas

There are so many types of breakfast eaters.  Those that can’t stand the thought of breakfast and therefore opt for their morning cup of joe, those that grab and go for the most convenient option (healthy or not), those that plan ahead and sit down to eat breakfast or pack something for on the go.  I’m definitely the latter.  I love when things are quick, easy, and healthy that power me through my morning.  It’s also very important that it keeps me satisfied until lunch.  Because I have morning workouts I don’t want to succumb to my ravenous hangry monster that may unleash if I don’t fuel my body properly. Therefore, I have my go-to breakfast options that are easy, healthy and delicious.

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Chocolate Protein Oats. This is pretty hearty so I mainly use this for post workout.  This is guaranteed to keep you full for hours.  I keep my ingredients at work and mix it together as soon as I get into the office.

  1. Ingredients include: 1 pkt plain whole grain oats, 1 scoop plant warrior chocolate protein powder, ½ cup water, ½ cup unsweetened or plain almond milk or coconut milk. Top with a drizzle of almond butter, bananas, or berries of your choice.  I mix up the toppings to keep it interesting:)

 

 

  1. Avocado Toast.
    1. Ingredients include: 1 slice whole grain bread, ¼ avocado smashed on top, sprinkle with hemp seeds.  Add some scrambled egg whites if you are at home and need more protein or hard boiled eggs for on the go.

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  • Smoothie parfait. This is a spin on a smoothie because I enjoy eating my food rather than drinking.  Some mornings I will drink a protein shake but there are days when I just need to eat food.
    1. Ingredients: ½ frozen banana, ½ frozen blueberries, 1 cup almond milk, ½ scoop plant protein powder, 1 tbsp almond butter, 2 tbsp granola

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  • Yogurt Parfait: plain 0% greek yogurt topped with fruit of your choice. Sometimes I’ll go berries and sometimes I’ll just throw whatever fruit I see on top.  Sprinkle a little granola and you are set.

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  • Overnight Coconut Oats: Prepare 1/3 cup plain whole grain oats, 2/3 cup milk, 2 tsp chia, 1 tbsp agave or honey, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp hemp seeds, 1 tsp maca powder. Mix together and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.  Throw it in your bag in the morning and you are set!  *I’ll also add vanilla protein powder instead of the hemp seeds to substitute flavor and add more protein.
  • Nut Butter Toast
    1. 1 slice whole grain bread topped with 1 tbsp almond/cashew or peanut butter, ½ sliced banana, pinch of cinnamon and drizzle of honey. You can also substitute the banana for some toasted coconut and its delicious!

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  • Crispy Apple Slice (also a great snack midday!)
    1. 2-3 apple slices cut horizontally, 1-2 tbsp nut butter, ¼ cup granola to sprinkle on top

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Balanced Bowls

Spicy Tempeh Macro Bowl

If there’s one thing that I love to create the most, it’s BOWLS!  I love creating them because you can throw in a hodgepodge of ingredients and they always turn out great.  Some require more effort than others but overall the concept is the same.  Anything from smoothie bowls, salad bowls, macro bowls to just a bowl of freaking food, I love making bowls.

Since my recent trip to LA I’ve noticed the trend is really focused on Macro bowls.  I visited some of the hottest vegan joints from the Butcher’s Daughter, Café Gratitude, Gracias Madre & more.  I made it my mission to find as many possible raw, vegan, farm to plate restaurants as possible during my week long stay.  While the food was more incredible from one place to the next,  I noticed a common theme with a variety of bowls on the menu.  The spectrum is quite broad when it comes to the bowl themes.  If you are looking for a comfort bowl you can go for the southern food sampler with red beans and dirty rice, blackened jerk tempeh, barbecue sauce and some jalapeno gluten free biscuits, or you can go for the Mexican inspired bowl made with pinto beans, pico de gallo, salsa Verde, avocado, Portobello mushrooms and pickled veggies.  Whatever your taste buds desire, the bowl is got it made and you are sure to leave not feeling hungry!

The word macrobiotic is a diet in which an attempt is made to balance the yin and yang elements of food; this means that grains are a staple, supplemented with other foods such as vegetables, seeds, sauces & good fats.  When making a bowl you should start with these basic steps:

  • Grains – base of your bowl. These should make up about 40-50% of your meal.  You can use anything from brown rice, barley, millet, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, buckwheat & etc. are recommended sources.
  • Vegetables – Veggies are the most important part of your macro meal. Cooked and raw veggies should make up 30-40% of your bowl.  Leafy greens are key and using local and in season veggies are always preferred.
  • Protein – Anything from fish, tempeh, tofu, chickpeas, lentils & etc. should make up about 20% of your bowl. *If you eat meat you can certainly substitute here as well to make a bowl it just isn’t part of the macrobiotic diet.
  • Condiments/Oils – Oils like coconut oil, sesame oil, and olive oil are great. Miso paste, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, tamari, tahini, brown rice syrup, veggie broth, avocado & etc. are great options.
  • Fermented foods – Tempeh is ideal but pickled veggies are a great option to bring lots of probiotics into your diet.
  • Sea Vegetables – Sea veggies like seaweed, kelp and etc. are rich in vitamins and minerals and great additions to your health and can be added as extra toppings.

Now that you know the basics, you are ready to start making your bowl!  I also love spices and have a variety on hand.

First I started with the rice, since that takes some time to sauté over the stove it’s nice to start it early so it’s simmering when you are preparing the rest of your ingredients.  Bowl making requires some juggling in the kitchen and I had 4 projects going on at one time so make sure you are equipped with space and you can set aside the ingredients to prepare a beautiful bowl at the end.

Second, I started the kale salad since I wanted to massage the kale to ensure it was nice and lathered making it more desirable when eating.  First I removed the steps from the kale then chopped it into smaller pieces and set aside into a colander.  Once I had filled the colander I rinsed the leaves and patted dry with a paper towel and set aside.  Meanwhile, it was time to prepare the dressing.  I made a vegan avocado “Caesar” dressing because it really does taste like Caesar dress, however it doesn’t look like it!

Third, start sautéing the onions & mushrooms with the tempeh.  You will want to put a small amount of olive oil in the pan and add in the chopped onion and mushrooms.  Let the veggies sauté and lightly brown and remove from heat.  Immediately following the removal of the veggies, I used the same pan and threw in the tempeh.  After slicing into 1”x 3” slices you can place them into the pan and lightly season.  Depending on your spice tolerance you can go plain or throw in more spice.  My recipe consists of a spicy tempeh.

Avocado Caesar Dressing

  • ½ avocado
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water

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  • Chop garlic cloves and add to blender with avocado, vinegar, tahini, lemon juice and water. Blend until smooth and is liquid enough to pour.  It should be the consistency of a creamy dressing like ranch or Caesar dressing.
  • Pour over kale leaves and toss until fully massaged though the leaves.

Spicy Chickpea Croutons

  • 1 can organic garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp curry
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Rinse beans and place into colander to ensure they are fully rinsed. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Spread evenly on baking sheet and top with oil. Mix the beans to ensure they are coated with oil to better absorb the spices.
  • Evenly distribute the paprika, curry, sea salt and cayenne pepper over the beans and shake the pan to evenly coat the beans.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chickpeas are a bit crispy
  • Remove and set aside to let cool then top on kale salad when you have the bowl prepared.

Spicy Tempeh & Sautéed veggies

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup shitake mushrooms
  • ½ onion

Sauté in pan for about 5-8 min on high.  Remove from pan and set aside.

  • 1 pkg light life 3 grain tempeh
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika

 

  1. While pan is still hot, add in the sliced tempeh so they are flat in the pan so one side starts to sear and brown.
  2. While those are sautéing, add all of the spices (pepper, salt, cayenne & paprika) into a bowl and mix.
  3. Sprinkle on the spice mix so you use about ½ of the mix.
  4. Turn the tempeh to sear the other side and use the remaining spice mix. Both sides should be lightly browned and crispy.

Now that you have prepared all of your ingredients you can remove the rice from the stove, drain and set aside.  The last piece here is to take your seaweed paper and cut into 1×1” chunks.  I used about ¼ cup per bowl.

Now that you have all of the ingredients, you are ready to create your bowl!

  • Start with you base and add approx. ½ cup – ¾ cup of rice
  • Section out the bowl into quarters.
    1. Add your tempeh to cover ¼ of the section of rice. It will be approx. 4-6 piece.
    2. Add the sautéed veggies to cover approx. ¼ section of the rice
    3. Add kale salad to cover approx. ¼ of the bowl (depending on what veggie you want more of you can cover more or less of the bowl with the topping). Top with approx. 2 tbsp crispy chickpeas
    4. Add seaweed chucks to ¼ section of the bowl
  • If you want to add a topping, you can drizzle the avocado Caesar dressing or a dressing of your choice.

Now you are ready to enjoy your balanced Macro bowl! IMG_0829

Week 2 – Healthy eating on a budget

So last week I started a challenge for myself to really budget and see how far I could extend my groceries for the week and I did pretty good managing to use all of my groceries for lunch and dinner for a total of $141.05($78.47 for fresh direct + $62.08 for Whole Foods) I managed to make 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners averaging $10.85/meal.  Not bad for week 1!  Because I had a vacation planned for the weekend I started out with groceries delivered on day 2 and the total was $64.54 (which included a $5.99 delivery fee).

Groceries purchased on day 1 from Whole Foods for breakfast and lunches through the week.  The total spend at whole foods for the week for groceries to be kept at work was $35.16.  I also had leftover groceries and some dry goods such as PB2, oats, protein powder in the cabinets to start.  See below my week of eating, which also includes some meals out.

Grocery Items for Work purchased on day 2/week 2

  • Prepared food bar for (spaghetti squash and lentils
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • 2 – Kiwi
  • 2 – 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 – Kombucha
  • Granola
  • Almond Butter
  • Raspberries
  • BluePrint cold pressed red juice (beets, carrots, ginger)

*I also had leftover groceries from the week before so I made sure to use what I had for lunches as well.

Monday (Rest Day)

 

Breakfast: Coffee + banana (early flight and not feeling breakfast)

Lunch: Spaghetti squash with tahini and brown rice & lentils from whole foods

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GT’s Kombucha

Snack: 1/2 sliced apple topped with 1/2 tbsp almond butter and sprinkled with ancient grains granola.

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Dinner: Yellow Tofu Vegetable Curry from M Thai delivered:)

Tuesday (AM Spin class + ab workout)

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Breakfast :Green spinach plant protein bowl made with Sunwarrior vanilla plant protein topped with granola and kiwi.

 

Lunch: Sprouted grain bread(week prior) topped with smashed avocado and tuscan white bean veggie burger (also from the week prior)

 

 

 

Snack: Greek yogurt mixed with PB2 topped with raspberries, granola & almond butter.

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Dinner: I was too focused on making my energy balls for the week and tailoring the recipe I ate too many to be hungry for dinner.  So, sadly I’m already off track and it’s day 2!  Sorry to disappoint!  But when you fall off track you just get back on the next meal, brush it off and move on!  It happens, life happens and its ok.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.

Wednesday (AM Leg workout + 30 min cardio)

Breakfast: Post workout with a coffee and one of my energy & protein balls.  These things are miracle workers and they keep me satisfied until lunch – and that’s after a workout!  This one is a peanut butter plant protein ball with chocolate chips!  Delish!

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Lunch: Hu Kitchen salmon cake and curried sweet potatoes.  Repeat but my favorite food ever!  This was close to a $15 meal, once again becuase I live in NYC, but either way it was a splurge becuase I was eating on the go in between appointments.

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Snack: Green smoothie topped with raspberries, granola and almond butter!  Quick, nutritious and delicious!

 

 

Dinner: quick ate 2 hard boiled eggs and sweet potato before I took off for a fundraiser.

Again busy life, this is what happens.  Plans change, we have to eat on the run and things don’t always go as planned.  It’s ok!  Some days are better than other and some weeks are better than other.  It’s about consistency and staying to course for the long haul.

Thursday (AM Arm workout with weights and PM spin class)

Breakfast: Red juice, sprouted grain toast with smashed avocado topped with hemp seeds.

Lunch: Tuscan white bean veggie burger (left over from week 1) topped with avocado + sprouted grain toast topped with avocado and 2 hard boiled egg whites(brought these from home).

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Snack: Greek yogurt topped with raspberries, kiwi, almond butter

 

 

 

 

Dinner: I prepared a very simple dish with groceries I had gotten for the week at home.  Thursday night was chickpea and avocado lettuce wraps.  It took about 15 minutes to prep and it was delicious!

 

 

IMG_0441Ingredients:

 

1 can smashed chickpeas (rinsed)

1 avocado

½ lime for lime juice

1 chopped garlic clove

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 pinch sea salt

1 pinch of black pepper

*If you want added topping you can choose cherry tomatoes, tahini or I chose to sauté Brussel sprouts(from week 1) in coconut oil

  • Start with ½ cup quinoa with 1 cup water. I like to prepare with ½ cub of organic no salt broth so you have a bit of flavor.  Bring to a boil and sauté for about 15 minutes.  While you are waiting for your quinoa, smash chickpeas and add avocado.
  • Add the chickpeas and avocado into a large bowl. Mash with a fork until chickpeas are broken or avocado is creamy.  If you want the texture a bit smoother than I put in the food processor to mix well for about 10-15 seconds.  Once it’s chopped you mix in the lime juice, salt & pepper.
  • Add in the cooked quinoa and mix well.
  • Spoon into individual lettuce cups
  • Top with your favorite veggies or sauce and serve.

Friday (Rest Day)

Breakfast:Chocolate Protein Oats

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole grain oats

1/2 cup water

1/2 scoop Sunwarrior blend chocolate protein powder

1/2 tsp maca powder

1/2 tbsp almond butter

1/2 banana

1/4 cup almond milk or water to mix in after the oats are heated.  Either is fine, the almond milk just gives a creamier consistency.

1.) Mix oats, water, protein powder and maca together.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Add almond milk or water, stir and heat for another 30 seconds.  Top with sliced banana and drizzle with almond butter.

Lunch: 2 – chickpea and avocado wraps (leftover from dinner) + 1 hard boiled egg

Snack: Vega One Chai Vanilla protein shake mixed with 1 cup almond milk

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Dinner: Wild swordfish with a side of baked broccoli florets

Bake swordfish for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.  Top with lemon juice and black pepper.  with about 5 minutes remaining top with parmesan cheese.

Chop broccoli into florets and place on baking sheet.  drizzle with lemon juice and 1 tbsp coconut oil.  sprinkle with black pepper.  Bake on 400 for 8-10 minutes.

Serve with a glass of wine and enjoy:)  Cheers!

 

 

Saturday (AM 5 mile run + 2 hour biking through the city)

Breakfast: Post workout – 1 slice toasted sprouted grain bread topped with 1/4 smashed avocado and spinach egg white omelette(made with two egg whites).

Lunch: Brunch with friends mid-biking.  Smoked trout with potato cakes with creme fraiche.  Also had a glass of prosecco and a bloody mary!  It’s all in moderation!

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Dinner: Vegan Kale Salad with spicy curried chickpeas with some wine of course:)

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cashew butter

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tsp dijon

freshly ground sea salt & pepper

2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (vegan) or parmesan cheese

Grilled chickpeas Croutons

1 can chickpeas rinsed thoroughly

1/2 tsp olive oil

pinch of garlic powder, paprika, oregano, thyme and cayenne.

Preheat oven to 400 .  Combine chickpeas, olive oil, and spices in a baking tray and shake evenly to coat.  Roast chickpeas for 30-35 minutes, or until chickpeas become lightly browned and crisped.

While the chickpeas are roasting, make the caesar dressing.  In the base of a blender or food processor, add in cashew butter, lemon juic, hemp seeds, garlic, olive oil, dijon mustard, and sea salt and pepper to taste.  Add in the water to achieve desired consistency.  Spoon dressing into a jar and set aside while you prep the kale.

Wash and chop the kale, removing thick stems pieces.  Place kale in a bowl and drizzle with caesar dressing.  Using your hands massage dressing into kale until thoroughly coated and leaves begin to feel smooth and silky.  Toss in roasted chickpeas and top with nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese.  Serve & Enjoy!

 

 

 

Week 1 – Healthy Eating on a Budget

The great thing about being prepared is you don’t stress out about lunch and you know you are eating healthy.  I’m also saving a lot of money this week and it’s only day 2!  Beyond the groceries I have I would typically get a regular coffee for close to $3.  I generally would spend between $12-15 for lunch, at least 2, sometimes 3 days during the week.  For dinner, we always have a bottle of wine (averaging about $15-18) and for the past two nights we’ve been going wine-less.  In one day, I’ve saved over $30 which is pretty exciting!

Going back to my previous post on my groceries bought for lunch in my week 1 post, I had the following meals on Tuesday.

DAY 2 – Week 1

9:30 AM – Breakfast (at work post spin class)

1 pkt 365 Instant Original Oatmeal (150 cal/2.5g fat/27g carbs/4g dietary fiber/1g soluble fiber/<1g sugar/6g protein)

½ scoop Sun Warrior Blend Chocolate Protein Powder (which I keep stock in vanilla and chocolate at all times)

1 Tsp maca (I use as a supplement because it is rich in vitamin B, C, and E. It also contains calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids)

1 tsp PB2 ( I typically have in the house and this is just for flavor if I want to keep my fat content lower at a specific meal otherwise I would use the nut butter itself)

Mix in all the above ingredients.  Add approx. ¾ cup water (hot or heat in microwave for 1 min).  Stir & add in ¼ cup of almond milk until consistency is creamy.  Add more milk if needed.  Heat another 20-30 seconds, stir and enjoy!

12:30 PM  – Lunch

½ cup leftover homemade daal & ¼ cup brown rice (From Sunday’s dinner)

1 slice Ezekiel bread

¼ sliced/mashed avocado

1 bottle Kombucha – post meal.  During lunch I drink water

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3:30 PM – SNACK

Wallaby 0% Greek Plain Yogurt

1 Tbsp Almond butter

1 medium mango sliced

8:00 PM – DINNER

2 – Homemade Black Bean Sweet Potato Burger topped with ¼ sliced avocado & salsa (recipe to come tomorrow and will be linked)

*Made baked lemon pepper chicken for my fiancé so I’m including that recipe here since I don’t eat meat)

  1. Cut 2 large organic chicken breasts and divide into 2  (makes 4 pieces)
  2. heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in microwave for 20 sec or until melted.  Pour mixture over chicken breasts
  3. squeeze 1/2 lemon over chicken breasts and top with black pepper
  4. Bake at 425 for 35-40 minutes or until cooked all the way through

1 Liter of water

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SNACK – post dinner

½ cup wasabi peas (not recommended for a clean diet by craving them!)

 

DAY 3 – Week 1

10AM – Green Juice

12PM – HU Kitchen

This was a last minute lunch with an out of town friend who was in the city for 1 day. I went outside of my grocery list to meet her because sometimes there are things that just come up and you have to make exceptionsJ

  • 1 paleo wild salmon cake
  • 1 paleo curried sweet potatoes
  • Cranberry Kombucha

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3:30PM – Vega One Spiced Chai protein shake with almond milk

7:00PM – Dinner

  • Homemade sweet potato burgers from the previous night topped with sliced avocado, sliced tomato and a side of salsa

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DAY 4 – WEEK 1

8:30AM Breakfast (post workout lifting)

2 hard-boiled egg whites

1 slice whole grain bread

¼ avocado smashed on toast

1 tsp hemp seeds sprinkled on top

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LUNCH 12:00PM

2 slices of whole grain toast

¼ avocado smashed on top of one piece and lemon dill tuna on the other

1 hard-boiled egg white

 

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SNACK 3:30PM (need extra carbs for spin class at 6:30)

Bowl of fruit drizzled in raw almond butter.  (1 small mango, 3 strawberries & ½ banana sliced)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we are leaving for Miami tomorrow morning the goal was to clean out the fridge and that meant getting creative and mixing a lot of sides to equal a main.  It ended up delicious and very filling!  Best part is we cleaned out the fridge before we left for the weekend to start week 2!

Dinner 7:30PM (empty out the fridge night)

Sauteed brussel sprouts & tempeh  + leftover homemade sweet potato & black bean burger topped with a slice of avocado

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Breakfast on Friday pre our 8am flight was 2 hard boiled egg whites, leftover avocado and a slice of sprouted grain bread.

The weekend consisted of eating and drinking whatever we wanted.  We enjoyed wine, mojitos, gelato, chocolate desert, sushi, chips & guacamole, tacos and whatever we wanted.  We also were very active walking, running, biking and dancing the night away in little Havana.  We enjoyed the food, drink, culture and spent time with friends.  Life is about balance and its not worth it if you can’t enjoy yourself once in a while.  Next week goes back to eating clean.

 

 

 

 

Health Food on a budget challenge Week 1

I decided to challenge myself to actually track how much I spend on groceries.  I love seeing how creative I can get with the groceries I just purchased for the week combined with what I already have in my cabinets.  Now I have pretty basic ingredients to start but if you don’t know what I mean by basics you will start to learn if you follow along throughout this challenge.

I always like to purchase groceries for my fiancé and I and plan meals for the week.  We give ourselves a weekly budget but let’s be serious, we never stick to that budget.  Of all places we live in New York City with the best of the best restaurants, happy hours and a very packed social and work calendars.  Some weeks eating at home can be challenging but to hold ourselves to this challenge we removed our wine budget, yes we have a wine budget, and challenged ourselves to really stick to what we purchased this week.  Here’s a log of what was purchased to be prepared at work for lunch, including total cost, and a breakdown of what I ate today.

Lunches

Every Monday I walk to Whole Foods at lunch and get a few groceries for the week.  I’m usually pretty good about sticking to what I purchase but usually 1 or two days I’ll opt to go get sushi, a bowl or something else that sounds more appealing that day.  Here’s an image and long of what I purchased for $62.58.

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Here’s the full list of food purchased:

Ezekiel Bread

Unsweetened Almond Milk

2 mangos

2 avocados

3 small bananas

2 pink grapefruit

.84lb lemon dill tuna salad (no dairy)

1 jar organic almond butter (no sweetener, just almonds)

12 oz raw organic pressed beet juice

2 wallaby 0% plain Greek yogurt

12 oz vegan carrot ginger soup

Engine 2 Tuscan White Bean Burger

Monday, April 4th Log

Wake up 6:15 – Hot water with 1/2 sliced lemon to start every day

Breakfast 10AM (not standard. Case of the Mondays = no workout and late arrival to work) – Juicy Cube fresh juice 12 oz Detox Expert (carrots, spinach, cucumber, ginger, apple, parsley)

Lunch 12:30pm – 1/3 cup lemon dill tuna salad + vegan carrot ginger soup 12oz + small homemade falafel brought in by colleague at work topped with tsp tahini.  I drink water with lunch but have my kombucha after to serve as my probiotic which is key in my diet.

snack 3:30 – 1/2 grapefruit + 1 tbsp almond butter drizzled on 1 sliced banana

*dinner 7:30 – baked sole & zucchini noodles

Tonight my fiancé and I were craving sweets so I had a ton of frozen bananas and made nice cream with what I had in the cabinets(cashew butter, cinnamon, coconut milk, coconut flakes & cacao nibs) Now these kitchen ingredients are not standard but I’m not normal so they are for me and I typically have a variety of foods like this hanging around:)

I also drink a ton of water all throughout the day.  Key to keep hunger at bay and maintaining or losing weight.

That’s about all I can write this evening because I’m just exhausted and need to get up early.   However, tomorrow I’ll share my dinner pics and groceries purchased from Fresh Direct and log my daily meals from that order.

 

 

It’s all part of the journey

This week I was reminded to take a step back and stop being so hard on myself.  Sometimes I get into this routine of thinking I’m not doing enough, I should be eating healthier, I should be working out more and it starts to stress me out.  I get into this downward spiral of negative self talk, which then projects outwardly into my relationships, my work and my overall daily outlook on life.  It’s not exactly pretty.  What I have found over the years is that negative self talk contributes to my stress and emotional instability causing me to dig myself into this hole, starting to eat more, not becuase I’m hungry but becuase that’s all I can focus on  In turn, I start becoming more depressed because I don’t have the energy to workout which then contributes to my stress of eating more and not working out.  Do you see what I mean?  It’s a downward spinning cycle and once you get sucked into the vortex it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel and regain the positivity you once had.

My point to all of this is to help people though my experience and what I have learned through trial and error, what I have learned from teaching others so therefore they are real life examples of things that people struggle with on a daily basis when trying to be healthy.   You have to go into a healthy lifestyle with positive thoughts and a focus on an end goal.  Is your goal focused on physical attributes or emotional?  It should be a combination of both.  Most people go into most things with an idea of goal and it ends up spitting out byproducts of so many more benefits than you originally intended.  Take losing weight for example.  If you decide you want to start eating healthy to lose weight you immediately start thinking about the physical attributes.  Maybe you will think about the emotional stuff like “I want to feel better” or “I want to have more energy” but generally speaking there is an end physical goal.

Let’s go with that.  Let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months.  A completely realistic and safe goal that is attainable at about 1-2lbs/week.  You immediately imagine yourself at that weight to give you inspiration.  We are visual people so it’s easier if we can see ourselves at that goal so we can give ourselves the inspiration we need to succeed.  Now we start to think about all of the things we need to change.  For instance, “I need to go to the gym 3-4 days a week and do X”, or “I need to start eating X calories a day”, or ” I need to remove all processed foods from my diet”…..the list goes on.  Rather than thinking about all of things we need to change, why not embrace where we are today? By taking into account your current fitness regimen, which may be non existent, why not focus on a first step rather than taking a giant leap and committing yourself to 3-4 days a week when maybe you don’t remember the last time you were in a gym ?  Why not commit to a daily, attainable goal?  For example, committing to take the stairs everyday at work, or walking during lunch or just being more active?  If you start out with too big of a commitment and tend to lack the motivation, this can be the ultimate reason you give up because the task at hand seems too large.  For this very reason you see gym hikes by 60-80% in January and within 8-10 weeks the drop off is virtually the same as the spike.  It’s astounding to see and it all comes down to setting goals based on the individual.  These are small, attainable goals that eventually get you to reach your larger goal.

97103594-1089-4334-8375-D24900EDE417When people ask me what to do to lose weight, how to eat healthier, what to do at the gym I always ask the same question.  Tell me where you are currently?  What do you currently eat?  What do you do now to stay active?  What is feasible within your work/home life schedule?  All of these things NEED to be taken into consideration or you are setting yourself up for failure.  There is not a quick fix.  It takes time, dedication, preparation and a positive attitude.  Sure there will be days when we have one of but not all of these things but the important thing is to stay focused on your goal, have a plan, stick to the plan and stay positive.  The rest will fall into place.