Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Better Late-Night Munchie Solution

I love sweets and I usually get the munchies late at night. Since using the free MyFitnessPal iPhone app, I realized that these munchies (brownies, cookies, ice cream, chocolate) are the single worst thing for pushing me over my weight-losing daily caloric intake. It's time to find a substitution.

My solution:  Cuties (clementine mandarins from November through January and W. Murcott mandarins from February through April). Small, seedless, sweet, easy to peel, and healthy. Cuties taste great, and surprisingly, they thoroughly satisfy my sweets cravings. I also found that eating a Cutie after my daily noon-ish workout helps to curb my afternoon appetite until dinner time.

And unlike juice with its empty calories and no real nutritional benefit, Cuties contain fiber and flavonoids (found in the white pulpy part). Flavonoids work together with the juicy orange-colored sections (containing vitamin C) to support your body's health. Synergy! When the pulpy white part of the orange is removed in the process of juicing, the flavonoids are lost in the process.

Below is the partial nutritional content of one (1) Cutie, according to the company website:

Calories:  40
Total fat:  0.25g
Potassium:  200mg
Total Carbohydrate:  8.5g
Daily Fiber:  2g
Sugars:  6.5g
Protein:  0.5g
Vitamin A:  1%
Vitamin C:  145%
Calcium:  2%
Iron:  1%

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

BEST Grilled Cheese Chicken Sandwich

We all know grilled cheese sandwiches aren't the best for our waistlines, but they taste so good! Here's a quick and easy way to make a satisfying 505 calorie grilled cheese chicken sandwich using some better-for-you ingredients. This is by far my favorite grilled cheese!
  • 2 slices Natural Health Nut bread (sold under the brand name Arnold's or Brownberry)
  • 3 slices Velveta queso blanco cheese
  • 6 extra-thin slices Boars Head buffalo chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp Land O Lakes all natural spread with canola oil

Preheat your skillet to about 225 degrees. Lightly butter one side of the bread slices and put them in the skillet, butter side down. Add one and a half slices of Velveta to each slice of bread, then top each with 3 slices of loosely-piled chicken. Cover the skillet and allow the bread to cook to a golden brown. When golden and crusty, gently put the sandwich halves together, chicken side in. Slice your sandwich in half and enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Water, Water Everywhere

Since January 1st, I've lost 5 pounds! I have to attribute some of that weight loss to drinking more water.

I love 100% fruit juice (which I assumed was a healthy option when compared to soda and sweet iced tea) and really have no taste for plain old water. The only time I would drink water was after I brushed my teeth for the night, or when I'd wake up in the middle of the night with stiffened tight calf muscles (After years of randomly dealing with this problem, I found that water helped relieve the pain immediately).

It wasn't until recently that I was made aware of the high caloric content of 100% fruit juice. This choice in beverage was adding hundreds of calories to my daily diet, and providing nearly no nutritional benefits. Yummy, but not good for you. Drink more water!

Water facts:
  • The human body is made up of 57%-75% water
  • The earth holds 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons (i.e. 326 million trillion gallons) of all forms of water
  • 70% of the earth is covered by salt water (that's 98% percent of ALL water on the planet!)
  • 2% of the earth's water is fresh water
    • Of that 2%, 1.6% of the fresh water is frozen in polar ice caps and glaciers
    • 0.36% is hidden underground in aquifers and wells
    • About 0.036% of earth's total water supply is found in lakes and rivers

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Training for an Imaginary (or Real) 5k

On January 13, utilizing my RunKeeper iPhone app (which I discussed a few days ago), I enrolled in an eight-week 5k training plan. I haven't decided if I'm actually going to run a 5k yet, but the thought intrigues me. I want to bring running into my daily life, not to just lose this extra weight, but to also keep my body healthy.

The training plan was developed by Mike Deibler M.S., C.S.C.S, and his website can be found at http://www.sandiegopremiertraining.com.

Disclaimer:  Now I'm no physician, and I don't take any responsibility for your health and well-being, so please check with your doctor before starting any major exercise routine.

If you want to start your own training, below is a daily breakdown of the 5k training plan. On the days I'm not running, I usually do a 30-minute balance ball workout (I purchased "The Firm 65cm Stability Ball" from Amazon.com, which comes with a pretty great DVD workout) to build strength and muscle tone.

Every day should start with an important 5 minute warm-up.

Day 1:  1.5 mile slow run/walk
Day 3:  1:00 steady run, 1:30 walk, repeat for 20 minutes (8x)
Day 5:  1.5 mile moderate run/walk
Day 7:  45 min brisk walk/jog
Day 9:  1.5 mile moderate run/walk
Day 11:  1:00 hard run, 1:30 walk/jog, repeat for 20 minutes (8x)
Day 13:  1.5 mile moderate run/walk
Day 15:  45 min brisk walk/jog
Day 17:  2 mile moderate run
Day 19:  1:00 hard run, 1:30 walk/jog, repeat for 25 minutes (10x)
Day 21:  2 mile moderate run
Day 23:  45 min brisk walk/jog
Day 25:  2 mile moderate run
Day 27:  1:00 hard run, 1:30 walk/jog, repeat for 25 minutes (10x)
Day 29:  2.5 mile moderate to hard run
Day 31:  1:00 hard run, 1:00 walk, repeat for 26 minutes (13x)
Day 33:  2.5 mile moderate to hard run
Day 35:  50 minute brisk walk/jog
Day 37:  2.5 mile moderate to hard run
Day 39:  1:00 hard run, 1:00 walk, repeat for 26 minutes (13x)
Day 41:  2.5 mile moderate to hard run
Day 43:  50 minute brisk walk/jog
Day 45:  3 mile moderate to hard run
Day 47:  1:30 hard run, 1:00 walk, repeat for 30 minutes (12x)
Day 49:  3 mile moderate to hard run
Day 51:  50 minute brisk walk/jog
Day 53:  20 minute easy run
Day 55:  5k race!

I also downloaded a free app called Interval Timer (from Deltaworks) to do my interval run/walks. I'm on day 17 of this training plan and already feeling much stronger. My legs and butt are firmer and my stomach is flattening. I still have a ways to go, but I can now run an entire mile without stopping!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Landman Recipe: Beef, Corn, and Black Bean Chili

Although I'm not a trained chef, I've long-term dated a chef and had my share of Italian boyfriends. So food is NO stranger to me. I found that I'm much happier, healthier, and more energetic when cooking my own dinners, even when on the road.

Monday is "cheap beef day" at my local good-for-you grocery store. That means, every Monday I make something with ground chuck. Last night was crew-of-men-approved chili night.

My recipe makes six servings, each containing about 396 calories, with 36g carbs, 18g fat, and 19g protein. I've included the name brands of the ingredients I use, but you may substitute.

Beef, Corn, and Black Bean Chili

1 lb 80/20 ground chuck
1 packet Simply Organic spicy chili seasoning mix
1 can Progresso black beans
1 can Contadina tomato paste with roasted garlic
1 can (125 g) Rotel original diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 can (94 g) Green Giant mexicorn
1 can (7.8 oz) El Pato mexican hot style tomato sauce
1/3 medium Vidalia onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
2 tsp Florida Crystals organic cane sugar
1 tbsp Filipo Berio olive oil
3 oz (just over 1/4 bottle) Chimay Blue beer
1 tsp Mc Ilhenny Co. Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce
1/2 tsp Morton's natural sea salt
1/2 tsp McCormick fresh ground black pepper

Pre-heat the olive oil your electric skillet (or pot on the stove) to about 275 degrees, or medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, then add your ground chuck. Chop up the ground chuck as much as possible using a spatula or cooking spoon so it cooks evenly. Don't forget to stir often so your chili doesn't stick to the pot.

Once the ground chuck is browned throughout, add the jalapeno, tabasco sauce, tomato paste, and hot style tomato sauce. When the pot begins to simmer, add the black beans and corn. Cook for two minutes, then add the Chimay, chili seasoning mix, sugar, sea salt, and black pepper. Allow the pot to simmer for fifteen minutes, continuing to stir as needed.

Serve with your choice of cheese, sour cream, raw diced onion, tortilla chips, Fritos, and the other 3/4 of that bottle of Chimay!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Apps to Help Lose Weight and Get Fit

Landman = eating out = getting F-A-T!

I came to the realization that it's not just WHAT I'm eating that's making me fat, but it's HOW MUCH I'm eating. I really had no idea how many calories were in the large portions I was putting on my plate, and I had no concept of how quickly they were finding a new home within my waistline.

I found two apps, one for counting calories and one for monitoring exercise, to help me SEE how my food and activities were affecting my body. I've been using these apps (available via iPhone, Android, and the Internet) for months now, and have confidence that they work and help me achieve my goals.

My Fitness Palhttp://www.myfitnesspal.com/
This app keeps track of what you eat, allowing you to reach your desired weight by monitoring caloric intake. Simply input the names of your foods (you can even scan the bar codes on the boxes), and the nutritional values (calories, fats, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, carbs, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron) are added to your daily diary. You can even add your own recipes for repeat use. Most fast food choices are included as well.

Knowing what's in what you eat really helps you to limit your portions of those high-calorie/fat foods. The app also has an exercise monitoring section, but I prefer to track exercise using RunKeeper (see below).

This app allows you to keep track of your fitness programs. It also incorporates GPS, so if you run with your phone, it will automatically track your speed, route, and mileage. And it's not just for running. RunKeeper also tracks biking, skiing, swimming, elliptical, and more. You can start a training plan for running a 5k (my current training plan) through full marathon in a good-for-you way. Other local users can be sought out if you like to work out with a friend. Daily reminders, set to pop up at whatever time you desire, help to keep you on track.

With these two apps, and the tips I'll be sharing throughout this blog, I guarantee you will lose weight and get healthy. I've already lost three pounds since Christmas, and I'm by no means starving myself. I even still enjoy an occasional pizza or Taco Bell volcano burrito. But now, I can see clearly what I need to eat for the rest of my 1200 calorie day in order to achieve my goals.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Getting Started - "Kitchen" Basics for the Hotel

You're ready to start eating healthier in your hotel room (or even your own kitchen at home). But what can you do in such a tiny space with limited resources? Almost anything you want!

Here's a beginner's list of items you need to prepare healthy meals in your room:
  • Electric skillet with lid
  • Hot Pot and/or single burner and sauce pot
  • Microwave
  • Mini-fridge (or the ability to buy fresh food daily)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Fork/Knife/Spoon
  • Big non-scratch cooking spoon with no holes (so you can scoop sauces)
  • Can opener
  • Measuring cup
  • Chef's knife
  • Cutting board
  • Plate or bowl (or even Tupperware)
  • Large water/beer glass
  • Wine glass (stemless is easiest to wash in a small hotel sink)
  • Corkscrew of your choice
I recommend you invest in a Rubbermaid bin large enough to keep all your kitchen items. It makes moving to new hotels easier, and keeps all your similar items together.

Some totally optional items I like to keep with me:
That's it! Now all you need is some healthy food prepared in a great-tasing way. Recipes to come...