Monthly Archives: March 2014

Eating Clean: Avocado, Apple & Salmon Salad

Eating Clean: Avocado, Apple & Salmon Spinach Salad

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going nuts over the fresh salmon my dad recently caught. I had some leftover fillets and decided to make myself a clean fruit & salmon salad. You’re getting plenty of healthy fats from the avocado and salmon, and the chopped apple really adds a nice sweet flavor when positioned against the spicy salsa. I put tons of spinach and kale in there, so it ends up being a large salad- big enough for dinner. This is also a great lunch salad; sometimes I’ll make and pack it at night and take it to work with me the next day.

Estimated Time (15 minutes):

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Spinach & Baby Kale Mix: 2-3 handfuls
  • Fuji Apple (chopped): 1/2 small
  • Avocado: 1/4 medium
  • Roma Tomato (chopped): 1 small
  • Carrot (chopped): 1 medium
  • Lemon: 1 slice
  • Pico De Gallo Salsa: 2 tbsp
  • Grilled Salmon: 4 oz

Place all ingredients in a bowl and squeeze all the juice out of the lemon.  Toss lightly. The pico de gallo salsa and lemon juice are used as dressing which helps keep the fat content down. It’s light, fresh and super good for you.

Weight Watchers Points: 7 points plus

 

 

Skinny Baked Chips & Salsa

Skinny Chips & Salsa

I get chips and salsa cravings all the time, and it’s easy to go overboard real fast at the Mexican restaurant. So, here is my healthier version of chips and salsa that’s sure to fill you up with ingredients that are actually really good for you. The chips are high fiber wheat tortillas baked with sea salt in a small conventional oven. And, I’ve added fat-free cottage cheese to the mix so that I feel like I’m actually eating a snack with significant substance. Packed with protein and fiber, this snack will leave you feeling fuller longer.

Estimated Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

Cut up the tortilla into bite-size pieces and place on a piece of tinfoil. Spray the tortilla pieces with a dash of cooking spray and sprinkle sea salt on top. Pop in the conventional oven and set to “Toast” for about 10 minutes or until the chips are crispy (time may vary based on oven). In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese and salsa. Use the oven-baked tortilla strips as chips and enjoy the dip!

Though, if you don’t have time to make your own chips, no worries! Opt for some low-fat tortilla chips from the store. And to be frank, I eat the cheese and salsa alone all the time as well 🙂

Weight Watchers Points: 4 points plus

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The Infamous Juice Cleanse Detox

detox juice cleansebex-juice-cleanse

Yep, I did it. I tried it. I gave it my all. I was committed. I didn’t cave to solid food. I wasn’t even “starving.” Yet, I both succeeded and failed at the infamous juice cleanse detox.

Why’d I do it? Well, despite my very healthy weekday meals and activities, I had spent the last few weekends with a lot of alcohol and I just felt like I needed to cleanse my body from all the toxins. I had heard about juice cleanses in the past, and had read that they often make you more productive, energetic and happy. This sounded like fun! After all, a new cold pressed juice shop just opened up down the street from my house. Why not give it a go? I signed up for a 3-day cleanse.

Here’s the truth about these juice cleanses: they’re different with each person. For me, it was a fucking disaster. Pardon my language, but this one merits some serious passion. Let me recap how it all went down with the JC:

  • Day 1: “This is fun! Sip on a juice every two hours…easy!” I was feeling confident and excited by this new project. I even went to the gym and did some cardio and weight resistance training. The juices tasted pretty sweet to me, but I wasn’t hungry or starving at all. I went to bed feeling excited to start Day 2.
  • Day 2 Morning: “Alright, let’s get to that first juice. Looking forward to a productive day of working out and running errands.” Got through juices 1-3 and completed a pretty good cardio spin class workout. Was running on endorphins around noon and felt great. Still no cravings for solid food. Go ahead and be fooled by the smile in the photo above, that’s when I thought all was bright and chipper!
  • Day 2 Afternoon/Evening: “Oh wait, I have a headache. Actually, I have like a REALLY bad headache.” I don’t know what happened here but this is where things started to spiral downhill. I completed the rest of my juices for the day, confused by what had happened to me. Honestly, it felt like I was REALLY hungover (and I didn’t even get a single glass of wine out of it! psst). Still no food in my body, but I figured it would go away with sleep.
  • Day 3: “Okay, now my head and my joints hurt. Maybe this isn’t for me.” By day 3, I decided to opt out of the juice cleanse. From here, I eased back into raw fruits and vegetables. And I was tired. Really tired.
  • Day 4: I’ve never been more excited for a kale and eggwhite scramble in my life. I made a delicious zucchini noodle and bay shrimp marina dish for dinner (stay tuned for the recipe!), and the headache was finally starting to go away. THANK G.

What happened to me? Not quite sure. But, my body was definitely communicating with me and I’m glad I listened to it. I had read that headaches are a common side effect, but these side effects were so severe that this juice cleanse only made me feel more lethargic, unproductive and sleepy. Not to mention, I don’t think my body was used to all the sugar from the fruit juices. However, this is how my body reacted to the cleanse; my sister-in-law did the cleanse with me, and she felt great the entire time. Different for everyone.

Hey man, at least I tried it: I both succeeded and failed at the infamous juice cleanse detox.

Soulcycle Spin Class – San Francisco

soulcycle-san-francisco-window

souldcycle-find-your-soul

Everyone’s ranting and raving about SOULCYCLE these days, so I figured I’d see what all this hype is about. It was really fun! I went with my sister-in-law and a friend and all three of us enjoyed the 45 minute, music-blasting cardio spin class.

You basically spend the first 30 minutes spinning with cardio music, alternating between sprints, climbs and push-ups in various saddle positions. Then you spend about 10 minutes using 2-3 lb weights on arms (while still slowly spinning simultaneously). And then the class ends with a cool-down stretch sequence. I didn’t really “find my soul” but I definitely got a good sweat going.

My review: It was fun, I liked the overall energy and music. But it was PACKED to the brim. One class is $30 which is kind of crazy considering the overall format wasn’t that much different than other spin classes. Truthfully, my highlight of the class was getting to spend time and exercise next to my bestie!

If you’re new to spin: I would definitely recommend SOULCYCLE just because they’ve created a fantastic culture of enthusiasm and positive energy. Plus, they make you wear clip-ins!

The Halibut Protein “Everything” Salad

hearty-halibut-protein-detox-salad

Hands down: one of my very favorite salads of all time because it’s packed with protein and colorful nutrients.  Adopted from my sister’s recipe book, this salad combines all sorts of delicious fruits and vegetables. I call it the “everything” salad because it’s got everything from brussel sprouts to avocado to orange slices to apples to mozzarella. It’s super moist and delicious, and the best part: it requires no dressing, at all! This salad is delicious and filling on its own, but if you’re looking for some extra filling, try it with the halibut fillet.

Estimated Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients: add as much much/little of each ingredient as you like!

  • Kale/Spinach/Romaine Lettuce: 1 large handful
  • *Halibut Fillet: 4 oz, seasoned and baked
  • **Brussel Sprouts: 7 pieces, halved and boiled
  • Apple: 1/2 small, chopped
  • Cucumber: 1 small, chopped
  • Red Onion: 1/8 cup, chopped
  • Avocado: 1/2 medium, chopped
  • Orange: 1/2 small, chopped
  • Baby Carrots: 4 small, chopped
  • Light String Cheese: 1 stick, chopped
  • Fat Free Cottage Cheese: 1/2 cup
  • Parmesan Cheese: 1 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice: 1/2 lemon
  • Salt: 2 shakes
  • Pepper: 3 cranks

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly season the halibut fillet with your favorite seasonings (I personally love Santa Maria seasoning). Once the oven is ready, pop the fillet into the oven and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the fish easily flakes apart.

**Brussel Sprouts: I like to boil the brussel sprout halves for about 10 minutes before throwing them into the salad.

While the halibut and brussel sprouts are cooking, chop all the other fruits and vegetables up. Once all the items are prepared, combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well. Enjoy!

Why Cherries Are Awesome

Cherry
Aside from the fact that Chinatown is currently selling cherries for $0.69 a pound (compared to Safeway at $4.99 a pound (just saying’…))- cherries are an obsession of mine. These cute little nuggets of joy are not only tasty, but they also have so many health benefits as well. Cherries contain high levels of vitamins A, C and E, as well as elements of iron, magnesium and potassium.

Here’s Why Cherries Are Freaking Awesome:

  • Good For Digestion: When we eat cherries, there is more production and secretion of digestive juices, which subsequently improves our digestive system.
  • Cancer Protection: Researchers have found sweet cherries to be cancer fighters thanks to their high level of an antioxidant called cyanidin.
  • Blood Pressure Reducer: Sweet cherries are loaded with potassium, a natural blood-pressure reducer.
  • Ease Sore Muscles: Cherries can help reduce post-exercise muscle and joint pains. They help in speedy muscle recovery.
  • Anti-Aging Melatonin found in cherries also slows down the aging process.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: Scientists have proven relationship between arthritis, gout and cherries. It has been observed that patients, who consumed large quantities of cherries regularly, reported reduction in pain of arthritis and gout.
  • Memory Booster: Anthocyanin is also good for the brain and has been shown to improve memory.
  • Healthy Heart Promoter: A study at the University of Michigan found that a diet that includes a lot of cherries lowers all the overall risk factors for heart disease, including inflammation, body fat, and cholesterol.
  • Natural Sleep Aid: Tart cherries are one of nature’s few sources of melatonin, a hormone that lowers body temperature, making us sleepy.

References:
Healthdiaries.com
BeWellBuzz.com

Multitasking: Simple Kitchen Workout

kitchen-workout-drills

This is real life: working out in the kitchen while you wait for your food to cook in the oven! This here is a collection of easy exercise activities just about anyone can do in the kitchen.  These super fancy moves were done at my friend, Jake’s, house and he had a great countertop and kitchen island for me to play on.

Do 3 sets of each, starting from the top left (working clockwise):

  • Pike Hold: Just as you see it, try holding this position for at least 30 seconds. My arms were a shakin’!
  • Tricep Dips: Easy, right? 30 at a time!
  • Countertop Ab Crunches: Extend legs down and up, alternating between right and left sides. Try 15 on each side.
  • Have fun: I did these with friends around, and I couldn’t stop laughing the entire time. The last picture is my friend, Pat, with a giant piece of bacon photobombing my routine. At least giggles engage the core 🙂