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.

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

 

Importance of Weight Training

woman_doing_bicep_curls_lifting_weights__small_4x3

Yesterday I posted a short video of some moves that my bootcamp instructor was so kind to share with me. It contains some exercises that are boxing and barre method inspired. You can view it here.

In the video you see she is holding weights. I wanted to talk a little about how weights can really amp up your workout and some of the many benefits of weight training in general.

First, When you add weight to your workout your body has to work harder and it creates the following response:

The natural result is an increased oxygen intake through your lungs, a faster metabolism and increased blood circulation which allows the muscles to work under the new, increased load. The fat cells will respond accordingly by accelerating the energy conversion processes, which include depleting fat accumulations to fuel the working muscles. – ShapeFit.com

Second, muscle burns fat all day long, even when you are resting. Creating more muscle by weight training, either by using your body as resistance or using weights, is   amp up your metabolism throughout the day even when you are sleeping.

Third, women who weight train two to three times a week have been shown to lose weight faster and keep it off. Even just short 10 minute workouts involving resistance can have this benefit, you don’t need to go crazy! Start by walking with small weights and once you get comfortable work up to a more intense routine with bigger weights.

Forth, it has been shown that women and men who weight train are less likely to get heart disease.

Fifth, weight training for women is particularly important because it increases bone density and is a great defense against osteoporosis.

Finally, it helps fight depression. A Harvard study shows that women who weight train gain confidence and feel more capable; which is a big factor in preventing and fighting off depression.

There are many other benefits but I will stop there for today. Can you tell us what you like about weight training (outside of toning)?

Thanks for reading!

XO,

Hil