Mediterranean Diet

chicken and dill

Easy to prepare Chicken and Dill recipe is sure to be a hit with the family.

Everything I’ve read over the years about a healthy diet always leads back to one place, the Mediterranean style of eating. And, quite frankly, it’s not that hard to take part in this healthy way of life. Basically it includes everything I preach about eating on a regular basis to slim down and stay healthy and fit.

“Mediterranean-type diets highlight whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from fish, nuts, and healthy oils.” – Harvard Medical School

Another fun fact I learned from HealthBeat, Harvard’s on-line medical journal, is that it has been proven to decrease risk of heart disease as well as dementia and Alzheimer’sdisease.

Here’s a recipe I served up tonight from EatingWell.com. Quick, easy, low cal and perfect if you’re trying to follow a Mediterranean style of eating. Chicken breast is a great form of lean protein and lemon is chock full of anti-oxidants. I served this with broccoli but any side of greens is a great addition to round out your meal with nutrient dense foods that will make you stay fuller longer.

Lemon and Dill Chicken

  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil, divided
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1½ teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until well browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1½ teaspoons oil to the pan. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth, flour, 1 tablespoon dill and lemon juice in a measuring cup and add to pan. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan; reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over the chicken. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill.

Best sources of protein.

egg-white

With a protein to fat ratio of 60:1, egg whites are unquestionably one of the purest forms of protein in the world. –Bodybuilding.com

I’m really amping up my workouts lately. My goal is to not only tone but build muscle. In order to build muscle it’s crucial to consume the right amount of protein and the right kind. Protein is known as the building blocks for bodily function and maintainance. It is necessary for the development and repair of hair, skin, eyes, muscles and organs.

Protein as Energy

Protein is used as energy when your body has used all of the carbohydrates and fats that you’ve consumed. I’ve read that using protein in this way is actually not good because your body needs protein for more important purposes, like rebuilding muscle tissue. However if you consume protein in excess your body will store it as fat and too much of it is harmful to your organs. So a healthy balance is vital.

3 Great Sources of Protein

  1. Egg whites. Everywhere I go I read that eggs are the perfect protein for a fit physique. They contain all of the essential amino acids needed to rebuild muscle and are one of the most efficient proteins in that they are readily used by your body for protein synthesis. Egg yolks have great nutritional value as well, but are high in cholesterol so keep the use of them down as much as possible.
  2. Chicken and Turkey breast. These low fat options are packed with protein. I suggest cooking enough at the beggening of the week to easily use on salads, in brown rice or for a healthy sandwich made with whole wheat bread. They are a great, easy way to add protein to so many dishes.
  3. Beans and Legumes. These are high in protein AND fiber. Fiber is a wonderful source of carbohydrates that helps keep you fuller longer and assists in regulating blood sugar. Kidney beans are a popular options for fitness enthusiasts as they contain 14 g or protein and fiber per serving.

What’s your favorite protein source?

Thanks for reading!

xo,

Hilary

Quick tips for weight loss.

weight-loss-tip

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is most important to people about getting in shape. What I mean by this is, what areas do you find hardest about getting in shape and therefore need the most support?

Motivation to workout is always tough for everyone no matter what your fitness level. But I’m pretty sure the hardest part for most people, myself included, is the dietary portion of getting, and staying, in good shape. Diet is a very complex subject and to get the best results dietary recommendations will vary from person to person. What works for me may not for you. That being said, here are a few simple tips on how to curb your appetite and lose  some L-Bs:

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of water. Drinking water before meals helps your stomach feel a little more full before you start to eat so you won’t eat as much.
  2. Stock up on snacks that not only help you feel fuller longer but provide much needed nutrients that make you feel good. Here are my recommendations:  -Nuts high in “healthy fat” like almonds and walnuts.  -Baby carrots, broccoli, bananas and apples provide filling fiber and other important vitamins. Bananas and apples are my favorite on the go snack. – Yogurt, I’ve been eating almond yogurt lately as it is lower in calories and unhealthy fats that are found in regular yogurt however regular yogurt can also be a healthy choice. Always look at the labels to be sure you aren’t buying yogurt full of sugar, unnatural flavors and saturated fats. I like Silk almond yogurt and Fage Greek yogurt. With Fage you can spoon in as much or as little of the sugary fruit they provide, so it’s easier to cut out some of the calories.
  3. Recognize your weaknesses and make a strategy for how to cope with them. For example: If you’re a late night eater try to find healthy, low-calorie options to help you cope with those cravings. If, like me, sugar is your vice, again find healthy substitutions to appease that sweet tooth. Another simple but helpful tip is to  try and find something else to do other than eat. When you start to have those unhealthy cravings occupy your mind with a book, a phone call to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while or best possible scenario, workout!

I hope this helps you in some way. Do you have any simple weight loss tips you can share with us?

xo,

Hilary

Wild caught vs. farm raised

Fish is great source of lean protein, it can also contain a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids which is helpful in preventing heart disease and stroke. But not all fish are created equal. There are lots of variables that can make buying healthy fish a bit complex.

First, you want to avoid “tile fish”, such as sword fish, mackerel and shark. These contain more mercury than other seafood. Another consideration is whether to buy wild caught or farm raised fish. This is a bit more complicated. In the past wild caught was thought to be better because it is a natural product of our eco-system. However, in recent years with all of the contaminants found in the ocean and over fishing causing less availability of certain types of fish,  it’s sometimes a better idea to buy farm raised. Although this has it’s drawbacks as well, including that they can escape into open waters and breed in eco-systems that are not their own, among other concerns… Basically there is no easy answer to this quetion.

Here are a few tips on how to buy healthy fresh fish at your local  market:

  1. Ask if it’s from a sustainable environment. If the grocer doesn’t know ask him/ her if they can look into it for next time. This is both good to know and is a way to advocate for stronger demand of sustainable fish supply.
  2. Buy fish from the USA. The US has strict environment and food safety laws which help ensure you are buying healthy, sustainable seafood.
  3. Find out what seafood is overfished and avoid them giving them a chance to repopulate.

Here is one of my favorite recipes for one of the most healthy fish you can consume, Salmon.

Ingredient list:

1 1/2 lb. Salmon Filet with skin

1 tbsp. ponzu sauce

1/2 lemon

Scallions

1 tbsp. minced ginger

Directions: Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Marinate salmon in ponzu sauce and lemon. Top with minced ginger and chopped scallions.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until fish is opaque in the middle.

So easy! I like to serve this with brown rice or quinoa and veggie of your choice. My family loves baked asparagus or broccoli.

Do you have any good seafood recipes you can share with us? Do you have any rules you follow when buysing seafood?

Thanks for reading!

xo,

Hilary

 

Top 5 healthy food options at the convenient store.

krave

We’ve all been there, you rush out of the house and forget to pack a healthy snack. You end up out longer then expected and in dire need of some nutrients to recharge your battery. You wander into the 7 Eleven, or whatever other convenient store you happen to stumble upon and are confronted with more unhealthy food options then you knew existed! Believe it or not there are some options at these stores that will keep you on a healthy track. Here are my top 5 suggestions:

  1. Nuts. If they have unsalted walnuts or almonds these are great option. Make sure to look at the ingredients that they aren’t cooked in oil and have any sugar added to make this healthy snack into an oily sugar bomb.
  2. Yogurt. Preferably a greek yogurt like Chobani or Fage, which have less sugar then other brands.
  3. Granola. Always a good on the go option packed with all sorts of filling ingredients. Note: Do not purchase the any trail mix that contains candy! For example a number of brands contain M & Ms which provide great taste but empty calories.
  4. Sandwich. Look for one of the pre-made sandwiches on whole wheat bread (no high fructose corn syrup!) with Turkey or Chicken (these are less processed than other deli meats), topped with veggies and little added other than that.
  5. Beef jerky. Surprisingly this can be a healthy snack option. It’s got protein to give you energy and is surprisingly lean.

Benefits of Anti-Inflammatories

super-foods-list-e1414255217133

I’ve been talking quite a bit about foods that cause inflammation, today I want to talk about ones that help relieve it. Inflammation is caused when our bodies recognize something in our bodies as foreign and try to attack is. This is a good thing but not if it persists for days on end creates unnecessary chronic pain. It has also been linked to diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even depression.

inflammation

The #1 food that causes inflammation is sugar. Other foods to avoid include red meat, fried foods, vegetable oil, refined flour, artificial sweeteners and the list goes on…

Here are a list of some of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods and how to eat them.

  1. Green leafy vegetables such as Kale, Spinach and Collard Greens. I love  these types of veggies sautéed with olive oil (another ) lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Salmon. I generally like to bake my salmon, you can throw in a lot of vegetables to amp up the nutrients levels and help making dinner a lot easier by cooking your protein and veggies all at once. easier clean up as well.
  3. Spice it up. There are a LOTS of spices that you can add to many dishes to add flavor and give you the anti-inflammatory benefits. Here are a few: Turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, and black pepper.

What’s your favorite?

XO,

Hil

Tom Brady’s Diet, Nightshades and Inflammation.

tomandgiseleworkingout

If you read my post on Wednesday I spoke about Tom and Gisele’s diet and how one of the exclusions from this diet is nightshades. These include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers. This is a sort of peculiar exclusion and I was asked if I thought that the good outweigh the bad in terms of eating them. So I did a little more research on the subject and I’ll break down what I found and what my thoughts are on the subject. And please feel free to share yours in the comments below.

Brady doesn’t eat nightshades because they cause inflammation. It is true that these foods can cause inflammation but, from what I’ve read, this side effect varies from person to person. Generally they are not bad enough to keep you from eating these nutrient rich foods.

Inflammation is most commonly associated with arthritus. A subject close to my heart as I have suffered from this for most of my life. It is actually the most common cause of discomfort, pain and injury. If you are unfamiliar with what arthritus is, it is simply painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. Many people don’t realize they have it or perhaps don’t want to admit to having it, as it is commonly associated with being elderly. Although it is true that it gets worse with age, symptoms commonly occur in people of any age, especially in those that are very physically active like athletes.

If you’re curious, the number one food that causes inflammation is sugar. This is another exemption from Brady’s diet for good reason.

red-peppers

Nightshades include Red Bell Peppers which are rich in healthy nutrients.

As far as consuming nightshades, I believe the good outweighs the bad. Tomatoes and peppers are high in vitamins A, C and K. They are also a great source of anti-oxidants like lycopene.

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that may help protect cells from damage. – WebMD

It is commonly associated with lowering your risk of heart disease and cancer. Although too much of it is not good either, so eating foods rich in this antioxidant in moderation is suggested. But isn’t that true of all things?

As far as nightshades causing inflammation goes, the jury is still out. They have been proven to cause some inflammation but, according to the Arthritis Foundation, not enough to abstain from these foods all together. It is worth noting that they have also been shown to improve symptoms of arthritis in some people.

My recommendation, do what works for you. If you notice more pain from inflammation when you eat nightshades, don’t eat them. GEnius!

Thanks for reading and please share any questions comments you have on the subject below.

XO,

Hilary