Start your week off right!

I was looking at articles on this subject to get inspired and came across one that was intended to be amusing but is actually quite sad. It made me realize how far I’ve come since my drinking days. On PuckerMob.com, a site I had never heard of, the article “Case of the Mondays, 8 Ways to Kick Start Your Week“, the author simply discusses immature and disgusting ways to nurse your hangover from a weekend long binge.

This used to be me. Rolling into the office trying to just get through the day, hating my job, myself and everyone around me. That’s no way to live. I live without a drink now and am so much happier. I know to some it seems like a fate worse than death to give up drinking, but really it could not only save your life but help you create the best life you’ve ever had.

As a sober, responsible and inspired human, Monday is a great day for me to reboot. It’s a new week which gives me the feeling that I have a clean slate. Here are a few things that help me start my week off right…

  1. Wake up with time to spare. I used to be a consummate late sleeper, snoozing until the last possible moment, then rushing around to get myself ready in the morning and rushing out the door. I still have a tough time waking up, it’s a little easier now that I have natural alarm clocks, my 3 sons, waking me up every morning before 7. I try to get up a little before they do to have sometime for myself in the morning whether to workout, have a cup of coffee or stretch and meditate, it really helps to have that time to myself before the kids wake up and it’s all about them.
  2. A healthy breakfast. I used to never eat breakfast. Now I can’t go without it. I’m not that hungry in the mornings but if I skip it I’m become ravenous later in the day and eat things I shouldn’t. Also, eating a healthy breakfast is so important to kick-start your metabolism for the day.
  3. Think about what I want to accomplish for the day / week and make a list. Once I’ve cleared my head a bit and my older 2 get off to school I like to think about the week ahead and what I would like to accomplish. What appointments do I have, when am I going to squeeze in working out and updating my blog, what fun activities am I going to do with Tommy, dinners for the week, who do I need to call or message etc… having this list in front of me is a good way to organize.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What suggestions do you have for starting your week off strong?

xo, Hil

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

 

The diet of the ultimate couple.

tomandgisele

The Super Bowl is this weekend. “Thanks captain obvious!”, you’re saying to yourself. I bring it up, just like everyone else in America, because today I’m talking about the man of the hour, Tom Brady. Love um or hate um, he’s in amazing physical condition, especially for a 39 year old athlete who’s been going hard on the football field for over half his life. So how does he do it? His diet has been subject to both awe and criticism. But whatever he’s eating, it’s working for both him and his beautiful wife, Gisele. So let’s take a closer look at their healthy habits.

This was taken from an interview with his personal Chef, Allen Campbell, on Boston.com:

What Brady does eat:

80 percent of what they eat is vegetables. [I buy] the freshest vegetables. If it’s not organic, I don’t use it. And whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, beans. The other 20 percent is lean meats: grass-fed organic steak, duck every now and then, and chicken. As for fish, I mostly cook wild salmon.

What Brady doesn’t eat:

No white sugar. No white flour. No MSG. I’ll use raw olive oil, but I never cook with olive oil. I only cook with coconut oil. Fats like canola oil turn into trans fats. … I use Himalayan pink salt as the sodium. I never use iodized salt.
[Tom] doesn’t eat nightshades, because they’re not anti-inflammatory. So no tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or eggplants. Tomatoes trickle in every now and then, but just maybe once a month. I’m very cautious about tomatoes. They cause inflammation.

A lot of people like to hate on Tom’s diet. Obviously they’re just jealous because the guy is definitely doing something right. He’s up for his fifth Super Bowl ring after all!

My take on it is that it is very strict, and there’s no way I could abide by this diet. But, when people ask me what to eat I always tell them vegetables,  lean protein (like chicken and fish) and whole grains (like brown rice), which pretty much sums up Tom and Gisele’s nutrition plan. I do think cutting out “nightshades” like tomatoes, is going too far. Tomatoes, for example, are very good for you. Think about adding anti-inflammatory spices to your meal to reduce those affects.

What’s your take on it? Would you give this diet a try?

xo,

Hil

Weight Loss tip: Change your attitude.

weight-loss-tip

I used to get sick of hearing about fitness professionals and fit celebrities thinking of food as fuel. Even though I knew it was the right attitude to have, I thought it was silly and improbable that I could actually make choices based on the idea that I was fueling my body. I love the taste of food and that’s what I based my decisions on most of the time.

Nowadays I’ve completely adopted the attitude that food is meant for nourishing the body, not just for taste. A lot of it has to do with getting older. The effects of what I eat on my mind, body and emotional state are much more obvious than when I was in my twenties.

Mindfulness is another big component of adopting this attitude. I wake up in the morning and instead of not eating (do NOT skip meals!!) or eating an unhealthy breakfast, I realize the importance of starting my day off right. I make conscious decisions like eating whole wheat toast instead of white, or having egg whites instead of the whole egg and including calcium to balance out the meal like a glass of milk or yogurt. And of course adding some sort of fruits and vegetables to all your meals is key. I love avocado for any meal. It’s one of the most nutritious and filling foods you can eat.

Weight loss is not something you can focus on for a few months and then forget about. You need to make eating healthy your lifestyle. This is my mantra that I repeat over and over again to people who ask me how to get fit, stay fit and be healthy. If you struggle with weight loss and keeping it off you probably need to change your attitude about the whole process. Here are a few tips:

  1. Be patient. Whenever I hear someone talking about going on a crash diet it makes me cringe. Crash diets do not work in the long-term! Make a point of eating healthier and making better choices all day everyday and you will see the weight come off. Maybe not as quickly as you would like, but it will result in a lasting change that you can maintain.
  2. Take every opportunity you have to get some exercise. Every little bit counts! So walk to work, take the stairs and park a little further from the entrance than usual. You’ll be amazed at how much these little changes make a big difference. I used to walk to work everyday when I lived in the city, it was the main form of cardio I got and it worked for me.
  3. Get to know your body and what works for you. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. What works for one person may not work for another. Everyone is different so rely on how you feel personally to make healthy decisions regarding diet and weight loss.
  4. Love your body throughout the process. This is most important. Love your body for all it does and has done for you. DO NOT beat up on yourself. You are beautiful just the way you are and need to appreciate your beauty and use that confidence to motivate yourself to be better and take better care of yourself.

xo,

Hil