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

Unpack the mental baggage.

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One of the most important things we can do to take care of ourselves, and in turn others, is to mentally “unpack”. Humans get jammed up with the everyday tasks, to do lists, problems and whatever else is taking up space in our heads. In order to function with clarity and walk with more confidence and grace we need to unwind and clear our heads.

Meditation is a wonderful way of doing this. I heard someone recently compare it to when you delete items from your phone or computer and it starts running a lot faster. A brilliant analogy. But, there are many other ways to accomplish this that you may find more effective. I am not that good at mediation. I try to do it for a 10 minutes (even 2 minutes makes a difference) each night but sometimes that doesn’t happen or I just can’t seem to relax enough to get into the zone.

Here are some other ways you can “mentally unpack” that might be helpful:

  1. Yoga. Focusing on different poses and breath work help to get your mind focused.
  2. Read a good novel. This is fairly simple, but getting your mind hooked on an intriguing story can make you forget about life’s problems.
  3. Acupuncture. Many people I’ve spoken to who have trouble with meditation find acupuncture to be a great alternative.
  4. Cooking. Find a recipe that you’ve never tried before and throw yourself into the process of making it.
  5. Exercise. My tried and true method, when all else fails getting in a good workout always makes me feel better about the world.

3 tips for a fit Holiday Weekend

Holidays are always a tough time to try to stay on track with your diet. Add a “bunny” bringing massive amounts of delicious chocolate and candy to your house and it’s a whole new ball game. I don’t know about you but my sweet tooth is pretty massive.  I already ate a couple Peeps today.

peeps

So here we go…

  1. Don’t get your kids too much candy! I’m guilty of this and have also been guilty of eating about half of the candy I buy them. So do yourself a favor and buy the requisite candy, just not too much of it. Perhaps add a non traditional gift in the basket like a book or last year I put seeds and some garden equipment in there. I know it sounds lame but it provides them a fun learning experience and God willing, they get the joy out of growing their own plants.
  2. Plan to be active as much as possible this weekend. This is always a good idea but especially when you have a party coming where you are likely to indulge. Getting active and therefore feeling healthy will help to curb bad craving and it will encourage you to stay on track. If it’s nice enough, get out and hike or go to the playground and do some HIIT while your kids are on the jungle gym. If not get to the museum, that always provides some good walking and education for you and the kids. Our favorite is the Museum of Science in Boston. If we have time and it’s nice out we walk along the Charles River. What’s your favorite museum?
  3. Saturate yourself with nutrient rich foods. I’m not going to deliver the classic advice that you should make nutritious choices in a party environment. First off, that would make me a hypocrite. I follow a pretty “when in Rome” philosophy when it comes to going to celebrations and eating out. However, I do recommend planning ahead of time by eating healthy, nutrient rich foods the rest of the weekend so you’re  less likely not to over do it when you’re around the delicious appetizers, entrees and deserts that are sure to be served up on Easter.

Have a lovely and safe holiday everyone!

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

 

3 Tips for staying fit this weekend

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Think of the weekend as an opportunity to amp up your fitness game.

People often use the weekend as an excuse to cheat on their diet and not exercise. That’s fine as long as you are not trying to bring your physical, mental and emotional state to a higher level. However, if you are (and if you’re reading this you probably are) I have some suggestions for you.

  1. Change your mind about the weekend. What do I mean by this? Think of the weekend as an opportunity to practice health and wellness instead of a chance to binge, sleep and watch Netflix. It’s ok to indulge a little, but if you change your general mindset and get in the habit of thinking of the weekend as having more time to focus on participating in healthy activities like hikes, running, getting to a yoga class or spending a little time making a shopping list for the week containing more whole foods and less processed ones; it will help you stay on track and not gain or regain those unwanted pounds.
  2. Do something good for someone else. This is a great way to show gratitude and to get your mind off of those unhealthy foods you may be craving. Make a plan to volunteer a little of your time or give back in some other way; this will fill your soul with love and gratefulness rather than filling your belly with fried food and sugar.
  3. Plan ahead. You know weekends are hard so make a plan to keep on track. Schedule a workout class and make sure you have healthy food options in your house to curb cravings.

What healthy activity are you doing this weekend?

Xo,

Hilary

FAQs about Full Body vs. Split Workouts

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I posted this weeks leg and arm workout late last night and you can view it here. It’s school vacation week so it’s been an especially busy week. I apologize for getting it up later than usual. In this video I work the legs and arms at the same time. All you’ll need is a set of 3-10 lb dumbbells.

There are lots of benefits to this type of workout, first of all it’s a time saver which is huge for a mother on the go! Second, you really amp up the cardio and muscle toning exercise you get by simply adding weight. When you add weight and get those arms and legs moving at the same time the results are exponential!

FAQs:

Is it advisable to work 2 muscles groups on the same day?

Many of you may have heard that working one muscle group at a time is best (a.k.a. split workouts). Well, this is true and not true. Full body workouts are fine for what most of us do, using lighter weights and less intensity. If you’re a body builder and lifting as much weight as possible each time you workout, than you need to focus on one group at a time and take more time to rest between muscle groups.

As far as full body workouts go and compound movements (working more than one muscle group during exercise) this is what Vitals has to say about it: Compound movements demand a lot of energy and burn more calories.

Do you recommend full body workouts or those that target individual muscle group?

I recommend whatever works for you and gets you motivated. Having said that, it depends on your goals. For weight loss, general toning and if you’re just starting out, I recommend compound movements and / or full body routines with a 24 to 28 hour rest in between. This maximizes weight loss and will help get you on the road to being stronger, having more energy and in better heath. Once you’re at a point that you are happy with physically you can move on to targeting muscle groups to really create big muscle mass (if that’s what you’re into). If you have to lose a lot of weight, lifting isn’t going to help you that much. You will be building muscle under fat, you need to get that cardio in and lose those pounds first.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know what your workout goals are in the comments below so I can tailor my posts to your needs.

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