Friday, March 25, 2011

The concept of 'Periodization'

This excerpt is from a forum I belong to that is everything to do with Clean Eating - Tosca Reno's Kitchen Table ( )

It was posted by a member named Carolyn1213 who has lost 107 lbs, gained muscle and went from a size 22 to a size 8, all by eating clean and exercising! She wrote about a concept called "Periodization" used by athletes. It was the first I had heard of it and thought it would be worth passing it along.

"I want to spend just a moment talking about a concept known as periodization. This is something I have used for myself and for my clients and I find it to be very effective. Athletes use periodization. It is the idea of eating and training for the 'season' you are in. Professional athletes have on off season, pre-season, in season and post season. During these times, their focus and training are different for each phase to meet the goal of that phase. Runners, who strictly run and run year round tend to stay injured and have more difficulty with recovery and progress.

Likewise, those who are trying to lose weight, drop body fat and increase muscle, need to look at the year in quarters. Think of a large slab of marble. The tools that you would use to chunk off the larger outward sections is totally different than the tools you would need to use to chisel out the finer details. So, in weight loss, you have the beginning phase that is focused more on cardio and larger muscle groups and making the dietary changes along the way. Your plan has to ebb and flow. There has to be times that your purposely cause yourself to relax, pause, reassess your goals and the road ahead of you. This may shock you, but I have purposely put myself on maintenance to give my body (my skin and musculature) time to catch up with the changed that were taking place. Maintenance phase for me usually lasts 3 mths. then I start working on the next goal. During weight maintenance I focus on muscle gain, not fat burning. I want muscle to fill out the space that fat has left so that my skin has minimal sag."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Grilled Salmon with Pineapple Salsa over Whole Wheat Cous Cous and Garlicy Spinach

Source: Emma Duran

This is the kind of meal you could get in a fancy restaurant, but you know exactly what has gone into it and you get to control the amount of fat, salt, etc. Every single one of these things is super-easy to make, each has 4 steps or less.

1 large Salmon filet, cut into serving-sizes

Place the Salmon directly onto a hot barbeque grill and cook until opaque throughout, flipping once.

Pineapple Salsa
1/4 pineapple, 1/4" dice
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 red onion, fine dice
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Whole Wheat CousCous
3/4 c. whole wheat cous cous
3/4 c. chicken stock

1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.
2. Add the couscous and remove from heat. Stir, cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
3. Fluff with a fork.

Garlicy Spinach
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 c. baby spinach
1/4 c. chicken stock
splash of hot pepper vinegar (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan.
2. Add garlic, sautee 1 min.
3. Add spinach and chicken stock. Cook, stirring for 4-5 min. until spinach is wilted.
4. Add vinegar at the end, if using.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Protein-packed Shamrock Salad

Source: Emma Duran
2 c. baby spinach
1/2 c. boston lettuce
1/2 c. sprouts
chopped cucumber and peppers
3 oz. sliced chicken breast
1/4 c. chick peas
1 oz. low-fat feta cheese
1 serving of My Go-To Salad Dressing (* available on this blog)

1. Combine all ingredients and enjoy!

Use every excuse available!

With tomorrow being St. Patrick's Day use this excuse to get your kids to eat everything Green!!

Green Veggies - celery, green peppers, cucumber, sprouts
Fat-free sour cream dip

1. Cut them up and place them on the table exclaiming "Happy St. Patrick's Day!"

My daughter loved this, she grabbed the plate and wanted nothing else for lunch.

Monday, March 14, 2011

4 Ways to do Oatmeal

Oatmeal is the go-to Clean Eating breakfast, it is low in fat, stabilizes insulin levels and it has loads of fiber which means it keeps you full all morning long. It's also fast and easy to make, just as easy as pouring a bowl of cereal.
But who can eat plain old oatmeal day after day? Here are my own personal recipes for oatmeal that I like to rotate between.

Regular Old-fashioned Oatmeal
1/3 c. large-flake oats
2/3 c. water

1. Place oats and water in a microwaveable bowl.
2. Microwave on high for 1 mintue. Stir. Microwave one more minute.
3. Let stand 1 minute before eating.

Raisin Cinnamon Oatmeal
1/3 c. large-flake oats
2/3 c. water
2 Tbsp. raisins
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. skim milk
1. Place oats, water, raisins and cinnamon in a microwaveable bowl.
2. Microwave on high for 1 mintue. Stir. Microwave one more minute.
3. Stir in milk.
4. Let stand 1 minute before eating.

Apple Cran Walnut Oatmeal

1/3 c. large-flake oats
2/3 c. water
1/2 apple, grated
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1 Tbsp. walnut pieces
2 Tbsp. skim milk

1. Combine oats, water and grated apple in a microwaveable bowl.
2. Microwave on high for 1 mintue. Stir. Microwave one more minute.
3. Stir in dried cranberries, walnut pieces and skim milk.
4. Let stand 1 minute before eating.

Banana Bread Oatmeal

1/3 c. large-flake oatmeal
2/3 c. water
1/2 banana
1 Tbsp. flax seed
2 Tbsp. skim milk

1. Combine oats and water in a microwaveable bowl.
2. Slice the banana on top VERY thinly.
3. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave one more minute.
4. Stir in flax seed and skim milk.
5. Let stand 1 minute before eating.

Sweet & Spicy Tofu with Vegetables

Source: Oxygen Magazine

ANTONIO RATING: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS (before I told him it has tofu in it!)

I know I got this recipe a long time ago from Oxygen magazine, long before MomChef. Unfortunately I didn't note the Issue #. But it is one of the first recipes I have found for tofu that I really enjoy. And, it's Super-Quick to make! Red bell peppers are better but you can use green if you have a situation like me where your kids ate all the red peppers for lunch (in which case I count my blessings and throw in green).

This is a quintessential Clean Eating recipe - mushrooms, cabbage and peppers are all high-water vegetables which means they deliver a lot fiber and nutrients without a lot of calories.

2 tsp. olive oil
12 oz. firm tofu, cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped bell peppers (red or green)
2 c. chopped nappa cabbage
1 c. sliced shitake mushrooms
1/4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 c. cooked brown rice

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add the tofu and cook 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, onion, peppers, cabbage and mushrooms. Cook 7 minutes.
3. Combine stock, vinegar, soy sauce, honey and cornstarch in a small bowl.
4. Add the sauce to the vegetables. Simmer 3-4 minutes.

To Serve
Place 1/2 c. cooked rice on a plate, top with 1/4 of the recipe.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Emma's Top 5 Tips for Losing Weight

After the birth of my second I found myself quite overweight and unhappy. I decided to make a change. I used Clean Eating techniques (the ‘What’) and Weight Watchers (the ‘How’) to lose 35 lbs. and I learned a lot along the way. At first I was angry; the weight wasn’t coming off like I wanted it to. I realized I was being very lackadaisical in my approach. I had to have a very firm talk with myself. I was no longer in my 20’s. I had had two kids. My body was not the same anymore and I had to take this seriously if I wanted to change.

I wish to humbly offer up my top 5 tips that I really took to heart and incorporated into my life, my body and my brain to help me.

1 - Focus on eating right and let the weight-loss be a happy side-effect. For the longest time I didn’t get this, I made weight-loss my primary focus that eating right was a necessity for. When I switched my thinking around everything fell into place. Every time you think about doing something crazy, like cutting out all carbs except lettuce and tomatoes, ask yourself one question “Is this something I can do for the rest of my life?” If the answer is No, then FIND ANOTHER WAY. IF YOUR EFFORTS ARE TEMPORARY YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS WILL BE TEMPORARY TOO!

2 - Do away with any goal with a number in it. Get it in your head – This Is For Life. Not just until you lose 20 lbs, or until the next Big Event. Release yourself from dates and deadlines. If you have a time-based goal and you only make it part-way there you are more likely to throw in the towel. But it’s a life-long journey so if you lose your way temporarily, just steer yourself back onto the right path; you have your whole life to get it right! Try this – instead of weighing yourself once a week, try on a goal outfit once a week. Be happy as you slowly find it easier and easier to do up the buttons. Once you can fit in it and feel awesome who cares what the scale says?

3 - Strive to eat 5-7 servings of vegetables a day. I have little boxes on my journal that I ticked off with every serving – when I reach that 5 mark everything gets better – My meals double in size, I become more regular ;), and I can feel all the vitamins and minerals coursing through my body.

4 - Eat something you love every day – that way you always have something to look forward to and never have to feel like you’re just holding out to your next ‘treat day’. It also prevents “deprivation over-compensation” caused by not eating cookies, not eating cookies, not eating cookies … then, I HAVE TO EAT THE WHOLE BAG! If you love something, eat a little bit of it everyday, or find an equally-satisfying alternative. Ice cream is a nice treat – when I found Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches I could eat one and not do the damage a full-fat version would do, but it was just as good.

5 - Take pictures the whole way along. Even though it was really hard in the beginning, I tell you, I stare at those pictures for hours! I flip back and forth between Before, After, Before, After!