Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"


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Too Much Of A Good Thing…Fitness Friday 41

Greetings my fitness friends, so I am just finished my exams this week and officially I can say that I have graduated with my second Bachelor of Science. Yay for being 25 with 2 degrees eh?

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As I head into my Masters/Internship this fall…very expensive Masters/Internship… -_- … My parents my be thinking this instead…

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Not art school but you get the idea

So now as I have this week and next to do a bit of relaxing and moving (gross) I want to get into a few topics with you including today’s topic…

When Something Good Becomes Something Bad

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We all know why the idea of ‘moderation’ is out there. Everything has it’s limits. Even the healthiest of things are bad when taken in excess. I wanted to re-iterate this for a few things that the bodybuilding/fitness community tends to go overboard with .

Lets do a quick short list of a bodybuilder staples that maybe they should reconsider their portion sizes in.

Cinnamon.

You a bit shocked? I have mentioned the benefits of cinnamon before, but it was pointed out to me more recently that my mindless pouring sprinkling, which was probably upwards of a tablespoon (ooppps), in my cream of rice every morning is something I need to stop doing.

We health freaks, bodybuilders and just oatmeal lovers adore us some cinnamon and while it is great for you, it actually contains a compound in it that has blood thinning property (anticoagulant). Specifically, coumarin. This pesky lil guy also can damage your liver when eaten in large quantities as well…

Unfortunately for us all, the ‘cinnamon’ that you buy in the store is not really true cinnamon. I wrote this in another blog, but the actual cinnamon, ceylon, which is found mostly in health food stores, is what you actually want to go for and provides you with those amazing benefits the most and less of this nasty compound. What most of us eat is cassia, which contains high amounts of coumarin and can then put you at risk if you’re like me and use half a bottle at a time.

So for all you cinnamon lovers out there, find you’re the real good stuff and watch how heavy-handed you are on the cinnamon shaker as a sprinkle here and another 4 sprinkles there can really add up.

Spinach

So low in calories. So great for volume. Eat all the spinach all the time!

But spinach has calcium they say. It has fiber. It has vitamin K. It has glorious vitamins!

So put it in everything right? Especially when those calories are getting a bit low for your liking and the hanger is too high for others to handle…

Check yourself.

Spinach along with other dark green vegetables have oxalic acid in them, which is a strong inhibitor of calcium. So while you think you’re getting a great dose of plant based calcium, you’re actually not really absorbing all of it. In fact, a study by Weaver and colleagues (1993) found that the foods that contains the most oxalic acid (including spinach and rhubarb) in them had a the lowest absorption of calcium. These plant chemicals can also cause kidney stones which also ain’t something you want to deal with (Durham, 2017).

Tuna

Canned tuna is easy and on-the-go friendly. Not to mention it is a great source of protein with virtually no fat (skipjack, not albacore) and no carbs. Perfect food for prep and many fitness lovers.

How do you all feel about mercury?

Well tuna (among other big fish) are notorious for becoming overly contaminated with this metal due to being one of the bigger predators, especially albacore. Mercury is often found in many species small and large, but as the larger ones eat more of the smaller ones, the overall levels in the bigger fish accumulate and therefore when you eat them, you’re getting a much larger dose.

Switch up your protein sources and the recommendation is have no more than 3 servings of those larger fish like tuna per week of this meaty fish. Also, try to stick to the white tuna varieties, as they are smaller which means they have less bioaccumulation.

For those on prep, try shellfish or, if those are too pricey for your liking, go for other white fish like haddock and hake (if you can get your hands on it) as I find them more tasty than things like cod. Also, don’t be afraid to get your fats from your proteins venture out to the other fishes too.

See Burger and Gochfeld (2004) for more information about canned tuna and their mercury content

Caffeine

Yell at me all you want about how much you need your Starbucks to survive, but there is a limit of caffeine that the body can actually handle. Apparently there is a fairly high level that is actually toxic, but when in prep you got the coffees going plus the pre-workouts and perhaps even a fat burner (ps those don’t work…) and well you have accumulated quite a bit of caffeine there…

Although mortality is rarely seen with caffeine intake, and toxicity generally only arises from doses in the gram amounts, a study by Musgrave et al (2016) pointed out the fact that some people may be at greater risk even with small doses. Those with liver (this metabolizes drugs) and cardiac issues should be especially mindful of their intake, as symptoms of excess may present themselves at lower doses than your average person.

Unpleasant symptoms that have been cited include:

~Tachycardia (super fast heart rate)

~Nausea

~Vomiting

~Shaking and agitation

Can’t say those sound too fun to me and obviously are a sign that you need to cool your jets on the ol’ coffee maker. The other issue is that research no this topic is still quite inconsistent and some people have seen these negative symptoms at a few hundred milligrams too.

So, although considered and widely accepted as safe in most regards, keep an eye on all your sources of caffeine, including potential hidden sources in all those random herbal supplements out there.

Fiber

Now this isn’t about to kill you but the digestive distress that you could be forced to endure may make you want to go into hiding. For a lot of people, when their macros get low start they tend to go really high with the vegetables to feel more satisfied. The problem with that is that too much fiber really is not a nice thing. Bloating, gas, flatulence (I’m being professional here..) and just general discomfort and, well, not feeling lean, all can result from excessive amounts of fiber.

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Did you know that too much fiber can also lead to mineral losses too?

So, yes you’re hungry, but do yourself a favour and don’t ring in more fiber than your body can handle.

Please keep in mind that this was geared towards people in competition prep who will undoubtably feel hunger at some point. The average person should not have this feeling as they shouldn’t have their calories lowered to the same degree even in a weight loss phase. 

This can also be targeted at vegetarians and vegans as they increase their vegetable and plant based protein consumption. Be mindful of how you feel and adjust as you need to. Try to get some of your vegetarian protein sources from things other than beans and legumes 24/7.

Artificial Sweeteners

I know I know this one also comes with a stamp of uncertainty, but from experience alone, I know that these can cause real digestive upsets. Different types lead to varying degrees of gastrointestinal upset (lets not get started on the lack of sound research for LT brain effects..) but in most cases taking in way too many of these things to lower your fat or carbohydrate intake can also lead to you looking like you’re 4 months pregnant OR will force you to live on the toilet for a bit.

It appears that some are better tolerated in adults than others (erythritol may show less adverse digestive affects)(Source) but from a subjective perspective, I know a lot of people (including myself who’s IBS HATES them) who feel bloated ingesting them and feel much better keeping them to a minimum.

So, although I focused on foods that are commonly overeaten by those in prep for bodybuilding competition or heavily into fitness, some of these are eaten quite often in the general public due to being regarded as healthy staples. These foods do provide many benefits to you, however, like almost everything, things have their limits, so I wanted to make you aware of some of the ones you may not think about.

Are you a cinnamon inhaler like me?

-Chelsea


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Banana Oatmeal Pancakes With Chocolate Chips

Pancakes can make every day a lil better no?

Well, my housemate wasn’t feeling the greatest a few mornings ago so I decided to do what I do best and get my tushie in the kitchen to whip up something to lift her spirits.

The result?

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A plate full of fluffy, tender patty-cakes full of caramelized banana and some slighty-naughty chocolate chips.

They did their job well as she was full of smiles as she slathered some natural honey on top and ate it with her finger’s.

#ThatsLoveAtFirstBite

Incredibly simple to make and for not that much batter, you get a four cake tower! Now thats what I call happiness.

Gluten free (if you use certified GF oats) and made without a drop or sprinkle of sugar because that spotty death looking banana truly is a sweetheart despite it’s dark demeanour  😉

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Serves 1 

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

~1/4 cup oat flour + 2 Tbsp rolled oats
~1 egg (or an do an egg white)
~1 medium RIPE banana
~1/2-1 Tbsp natural almond butter
~1/4 cup almond/cashew/milk of choice
~1 tsp Vanilla extract
~1tsp baking powder
~Cinnamon
~1-2 Tbsp chocolate chips (optional but for chocoholics its kinda mandatory..)

Directions:

1. Mash 3/4 of the banana in a bowl.

2. Whip in the egg, almond butter, vanilla extract and milk of choice.

3. Add your dry ingredients minus the banana and chocolate chips. If the batter is way too thick, you may need a tbsp or 2 more of liquid but that depends on the size of the banana. Batter should be not runny, rather, pourable-but-spreadable

4. Heat a large non stick pan in medium. Add a bit of coconut oil.

5. Take 1/4 of the batter and plop into the pan forming a thick pancake. You can make two or more per pan depending on your flipping skills.

6. Slice you banana and place some slices and some chocolate chips on each cake.

7. Pop on a lid and let it cook low and slow until the bottom is golden and firm. NOTE These won’t bubble.

8. Flip and let cook for about a minute more without the lid. Remove from the pan.

9. Re-spray your pan and make pancakes out of the remaining batter using the same method.

10. Voila all done!

Top with whatever you would like. Honey, maple syrup, more fruit, etc, etc.

I hope you enjoy! 

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I missed fat Tuesday by a long shot, but hey, I play by my own rules. 

-Chelsea


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All Hail The Skinny Teas…Fitness Friday 39

Do we all know by now that those people on IG who sell Skinny Teas are sell outs?

I really hope that most people don’t still believe that these teas actually cause real weight loss all on their own because..

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..They don’t. #SorryNotSorry

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Apparently everyone loves them. They are super easy to do and voila great results.

~Midsections were made smaller

~Pants sizes were shrunken

~Overall well being was greatly enhanced

~Weight loss goals were met

So what is it?

Basically, many of these teas (some may differ, but I went OG with the Skinny Mint) provide you with a tea or more to drink during the day at specific times. They are said to have these weight loss benefits and you will start to shed the weight and ultimately feel great.

Kylie

For example, in this particular TeaTox starter kit (shown above) you get an AM tea that contains:

Green Tea

Nettle Leaves

Yerba Mate

Dandelion

Guarana Fruit

Apparently all of these together are supposed to give you a great boost in the morning.

Then there is a night time tea that contains:

Ginger Root

Lemon Grass

Peppermint

Hawthorn Berries

Orange Leaves

Senna Leaves

Licorice Root

Psyllium Husk

These are supposed to come together to have you feeling restored, less bloated and cleansed.

I will say that the ingredients themselves do have some research to back up their benefits that may include what was mentioned. I will list some below. Overall, these are great natural ingredients but their effects are way blown out of proportion if you ask me. See here for more information on the rest of ingredients.

Nettle Leaves –> Apparently some diuretic properties (mostly animals), antioxidant

Dandelion –> diuretic properties, potential laxative effects, limited research on it’s benefit as a bile stimulant (ie. liver tonic)

Hawthorn –> much of the research done supports benefits for heart disease. Other things include antioxidant properties, diuretic properties, anti-inflammatory.

Ginger–> some support for it as increasing gastric motility, having antioxidant properties and reduction of bloating

Licorice –> anti-inflammatory, protects the cells of the liver (in vivo/animal studies), adrenal support, antioxidant

Realistically, none of these ingredients on their own or used in combination have a strong scientific backing on inducing weight loss on their own. Seems like its a lot of peeing if you ask me…Perhaps if you drink these along with following a fitness and dietary lifestyle that is appropriate for weight loss than you would see those results. At that point though, did the tea really do anything for you?

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Sure, if the above properties are actually valid, perhaps it gave you some natural forms of energy. Perhaps it helped keep things moving so that you felt ‘purified’ or perhaps it helped you feel less bloated due to the diuretic properties in some of the herbs BUT that doesn’t = real weight loss.

I’m emphasizing this because all of the celebrities and ads suggesting that this is some magic gem that will cause weight loss are really being misleading. Oh just drink the tea and you will be skinny they say..

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There is no proof of this and even their products say this!

*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary from person to person and are not guaranteed.

…Benefits of reading the fine print…

You know what they also say…

This tea should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Seek professional advice before using if you are under medical supervision. Do not consume this tea if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or prolonged diarrhea occur desist use and consult your doctor.<- thanks senna leaf…

So, the hopes of many is that they can continue to eat whatever the hell they want and loose weight, but that simply isn’t the case and these products should not be marketed as weight loss tools. Really, even if any weight loss was seen, it would be so minimal or hard to pick out of other lifestyle efforts that they wouldn’t really be able to be acknowledged.

So do yourself a favour and simply watch Kylie Jenner love her some tea and waist trainers and save yourself the $40.

And I’m out.

Happy Friday Friends! 

-Chelsea


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Happy Gut, Happy Training

Happy Fitness Friday Friends!

I thought I would keep trekkin along on the gut topic as more recently gut health has really been getting some hot attention. It would have been nice if the importance of gut health and taking proper care of your flora and and such was noticed earlier but that’s science and they are only really starting to crack the surface on this whole intricate system (which did you know actually has something very similar to an entire CNS for itself??!).

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So why am I talking about this for Fitness Friday you ask?

Well, as you’re probably aware, your gut is important for a number of things. Some of those things are extremely vital to your training…

~Digestion and absorption of the nutrients you get from your food

~Making short chain fatty acids that can also be used as a form of fuel

In taking a deeper look at the first one, obviously an efficient and EFFECTIVE digestion system not only helps you get the nutrients you need but that ultimately affects your mood to train and how intense you think you can go, your energy levels, your strength levels, recovery ability and overall just makes you feel good enough to have a beneficial and enjoyable lift. After all, who enjoys anything when their stomach is is just not right?

So with keeping this post low key and not too wordy, I thought I would share some tips for optimizing your digestive health and also some things that can help when your stomach decides to attack you.

These are going to be coming from my experiences and my coaches suggestions mostly. Some other things I may include are those that I have heard about but may not have much experience with SO they may or may not be effective. I still want to share them, however, because gut health and what makes people feel their best is so variable that some random things may work for some readers.  

So lets start with somethings that help optimize gut health and prevent issues.

Probiotics

Adding healthy, live cultures to your gut is a good thing. Many things inner environment today kill our flora. With less bacteria, you have less lil guys to break down your food and can cause poor digestion. Invite some new people into your lil biome to help yourself out. Ensure they are refrigerated! Ones on the shelf are no good. 

Glutamine.

I talked about this one in a previous post, so check it out here. I also talked about making your own gelatin gummies there too which are loads with glutamine naturally and are very cheap to make.

Bone Broth.

Going along with glutamine and probiotics, making your own broth is great for your gut and very satisfying during the winter months here in the great white north. Ensure to use free range and organic chicken or beef with the bones to get the live bacteria and the most omegas and glutamine.

Apple Cider Vinegar.

Another thing I already talked about here, but I will say that this is helpful for adding more acid to the gut to help with breakdown. It is especially helpful for those who have low stomach acid and often complain of indigestion. Lemon juice also has similar effects.

Fermented Food.

Kombucha, Sauerkraut, raw yogurts with the active cultures, etc are all great sources of probiotics and thus have the same benefits as taking a supplement, just in a much smaller amount. Take caution though, these may be a problem for some. For example, I love love love kombucha, but the carbonation that naturally occurs with the fermentation doesn’t go over well with my tummy unfortunately. Trial and error with these guys friends.

Watch your water consumption with meals.

Sounds weird, but makes sense when you put it all together. If you drink water during a meal, the liquid will dilute you enzymes and simply slow digestion. Consider holding off on the drinks until a lil bit after you have digested a bit. Some say 30 minutes, but I always say to go with your gut…I’m so punny…

Avoid gum or things that add excess gas in the stomach.

Gum. Beer. Carbonated drinks. Straws. ETC. All of these are going to put lots of gas and excess air into the gut and if you’re very sensitive, well you’re gunna get an upset tummy plus bloating. Also, chew slowly and don’t gulp in tons of air.

Say no to artificial sweeteners.

These tend to be HUGE gut irritants. Whether they give you diarrhea if consumed in large amounts or just straight up gas and distention, they do not make for a happy gut.

Sleep!

Sleep is super important for many things, but one clear cut trigger for my stomach is go hay-wire is if I don’t sleep enough. Poor sleeping, whether it’s chronic or even just a couple days, can really cause your digestion to slow right down and cause you discomfort so make sure you are getting your beauty rest.

…and a last and seemingly obvious one…

Avoid things that your tummy doesn’t agree with.

As mentioned, this seems obvious. If you get an upset stomach after eating something, don’t eat it. Surprisingly, I have heard of so many cases where people say they choose to suffer the consequences and just eat it. To each their own I guess but if you have a serious sensitivity like celiac, where further consumption continues to damage your intestinal track, you need to give you head a smack and just quit cold turkey.

What about when your tummy gets mad…

Low FODMAPs.

I would have said BRAT diet foods BUT I’m much more confident in this approach for a few reasons. One, apple sauce is out for me because I have experienced issues with apples, which are high FODMAP. Also, the bread is another issue. What if your issue is wheat? Overall, yes the FODMAP diet is more restricted but most often chronic digestive issues are from sensitivities that you are going to have to figure out and those often require elimination and then trial and error. By going full low FODMAP you are giving your system a break from all inflammatory and problematic foods and then can re-try them when it’s a bit happier.

Slippery Elm.

I personally have taken this, but not sure whether it made a difference at the time because I was trying so many things at that point, but I have heard good things from others about this one. You can get it in a supplement form, but they also have it as a tea.

Digestive Enzymes.

If you know you have issues with digestion OR for those who are thinking about starting a bulk, digestive enzymes can help support the breakdown of your food simply by adding more enzymes to the playing field. You can chose ones that contain one or more types of enzymes depending on your needs. Have an issue with dairy? Try lactase. Don’t know what your issue is? Try a multi-enzyme.

Pineapple.

Speaking of enzymes, pineapple actually naturally contains an enzyme of it’s own, Bromelain, which can also help digestion. Plus pineapple is awesome. Just be careful not to over do it or you will find yourself peeling the top layer of your mouth off…

Mint Tea.

I always do well with peppermint. Whether you have nausea or you need something warm and comforting when your stomach is being annoying, mint (specifically peppermint…yes there is a difference!) is always my go-to.

Take it easy on harder to digest foods.

Red meats, fats, raw vegetables, high fiber foods, etc are all much more difficult for your system to take care of. When it’s already upset, go for things that are absorbed more quickly and easily. Think low fiber carbohydrates (cream of rice, oats sit well for some, pumpkin, squash, white rice and potatoes), some fruits like bananas, lean meats and fish and easier digesting fats (but still keep these a bit lower) like coconut oil, which bypasses the liver and goes right into use as energy.

And finally be patient. When your stomach is upset, the best you can do is be nice to it and let it settle. Try not to stress about it and let it run its course. Ensure that if it’s a new problem that you take a look at your recent eats and activities and try to figure out the trigger so you can try to avoid it in the future. If it is due to chronic illness, I can relate and I’m sorry you have to put up with that crap but I can only hope that these can serve as a means of coping with it when it looses its mind.

Hope your tummy’s are happy tonight and enjoy the rest of your Friday friends!

-Chelsea


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Clam and Turkey Kielbasa Paella

Friends, a new recipe a new recipe!

Okay so as I typically do when I have downtime and my housemates are busy is I do some meal prepping for them…. You may think that’s lame but I enjoy the creative time spent in the kitchen. This is especially true in situations like now when no one has come back to Guelph yet, it’s freezing outside and I have lil stressed birdies to feed. Rita has been trekkin through the first week of her co-op in TO and unfortunately is stuck commuting for a short while before figuring out better arrangements. That means 5am wake-up calls and 7:30 arrivals at home. So, as you can imagine, if left to her own ways, food would be bought every day…

Of course, Mama can not let that happen, so here we are.

Before you call me out on being judgey, she doesn’t feel good when she eats out too much but she just doesn’t want to cook…

My challenge (yes I even make challenges to myself to make it more exciting…) was to make sure that everything she got was high in iron as she suffers with chronic anemia. I have succeeded thus far with making each of her 3 square meals per day contain at least 15% or more of her daily iron. Also a positive, she loved every meal and because I’m making them, they are not loaded with crap.

Win win if I do say so myself.

So I do have a recipe to show you BUT first I figured I would give a bit of insight into her meals to show you how I got her iron intake up in tasty meals that took no more than 30-40 minutes to make.

Breakfast.

Oats, wheat bran and maybe some cream of rice thrown in too.

Okay, so I did the whole oat’s thing thang because I can stuff them in a glass jar and she can heat them and eat them on the train. I also used oats because 1 serving contains 8% of your daily iron! I also did a blend of oats and wheat bran because the bran contains a wee bit more iron per serving.

Okay so that’s only 8% iron…

Wait a minute, you know my oats ain’t no plain jane oats. Let me continue.

She loves savoury oats, so I threw this lil number together and she adored it. So much so that I had to make it again the next day..

Awful picture I’m sorry. I swear it tastes good. Rita vouches for it!

Sundried Tomato and Mushroom OIAJ

~Serving of sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil (8% iron)

~Cremini mushrooms 

~ about 1-1.5 ounces of a homemade sausage of sorts that she picked up during Xmas when all the farmers came into the mall (iron..I have no idea..)

~1 large egg that was roughly scrambled (6% iron)

~1 green onion

~Pepper to taste 

Directions: Sauté all of the vegetables and sausage (or other meat) together in a saucepan that has a lid. Once they are caramelized, add your oats and recommended water. Top with the lid and bring to a boil. Once most of the water has been absorbed, crack the egg in there and let it cook mostly before breaking it up. Put in a jar and voila, donzo.

Something else to consider when thinking about plant based iron sources is that they have primarily non-heme iron and are therefore the iron is not as well absorbed as animal products that contain heme iron. Never fear, if your food also has a good dose of vitamin C, you are better able to absorb iron. So in the case of oats, the sundried tomatoes help the body absorb more of the iron in the meal.

You know what else is high in vitamin C?

unknown-pineapple

And so I rotated sweet and savoury oats by making her a pineapple and coconut oats in a jar one morning as well. The cooking is the same BUT obviously you’re using fruit and not vegetables (although if you want to grate some zucchini in there I wouldn’t oppose…and you can’t taste it) AND the egg is whipped in there such that it dissolves completely.

So even forgetting the iron amount in the sausage, I racked in about 18% iron to start off her day.

Lunches/Dinners

So here was where I got to be more creative. I’m going to apologize in advance that I have no pictures…

The first dish was an Italian/Mediterranean style penne dish but it has a twist!

It used these noodles..

Do you see that iron friends! Oh and check how short the ingredient list is! Score one for Mama and her foodie finds.

Beans, legumes and lentils are a vegetarian staple for more than just protein needs. Iron is huge in these guys so now the are coming up with interesting ways to incorporate beans/lentils into more dishes.

Sundried Tomato, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pasta with Basil Pesto.

For one serving:

~1 serving bean pasta (15% iron)

~1 serving sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil (8% iron + vitamin C)

~a few cremini mushrooms 

~onion

~2 tbsp goat cheese (2% iron)

~2 tbsp basil pesto

~Black pepper and chili flakes to taste 

***I chose not to add garlic here because her goat cheese was a garlic infused one

Directions: Cook up your pasta to the doneness you prefer, rinse and drain. Salute your vegetables until caramelized. Add your pasta and your pesto and stir around to coat all of the ingredients with the pesto. Let it cool for a few minutes before adding the goat cheese in small chunks.

Iron count: 25% DV

***Vegetarian friendly with tons of good protein. Also gluten free. ***

Finally, I made a Cajun seasoned dish of sorts with a turkey kielbasa I picked up from GoodnessMe!

turkey-kielbasa

Cajun Turkey Kielbasa and Pepper Quinoa

For one serving:

~1 serving Kielbasa (6% iron)

~ serving quinoa (cooked from package directions. I used low sodium beef broth for more flavour) (8% iron) 

~1/4 each green and red pepper (Vitamin C!)

~serving of corn (I used salt free, canned) (little bit of Vitamin C)

~1/8 cup onion, chopped

~1/2 tsp (or more) minced garlic

~1 tsp salt-free Cajun seasoning (or to taste)

Directions: Cook Quinoa, fluff and set aside. Saute vegetables with kielbasa until caramelized. Add your garlic and cook for a minute or two more. Add your quinoa and cajun and combine well. Done.

Total iron: 14%

So her total for those three meals alone (approximately as absorption differs, blah blah blah…) was around 57%!

I say I didn’t do too bad eh?

Oh and all of that (plus the recipe to come) was maybe 40 bucks. Cha-ching! or rather, lack of cha-ching…#StudentBudgetWin.

Okay okay, now that I have sufficiently babbled on and on, here’s the actual recipe for the post.

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Clam and Turkey Kielbasa Paella

Serves 3-4

~2 servings Kielbasa (12% iron)

~2lbs clams in shell or about 6-8 ounces of meat (~130% iron in one serving!!)

~1 cup rice (I used white jasmine) (8% iron)

~1/2 each green and red pepper

~1/2 a small-medium zucchini

~1/2 can of corn (no salt)

~1/2 can tomato paste (no salt) (4% iron)

~1-2 tsp spanish paprika

~1 tsp oregano

~2 bay leaves

~ pinch of saffron threads (I happen to have this on hand, I don’t know an alternative to this for taste, but you can just make it ‘spicy tomato rice’ without it)

~chili flakes or cayenne pepper AND black pepper to taste

Directions: Saute your vegetables with the kielbasa in a large pan with a lid for a few minutes until they are browned. Add your tomato paste, spices, rice and liquid (as required for your rice to cook) and stir. Place the bay leaves in the rice and pop a lid on dish and bring it up to a boil. Once it begins to boil, turn it down to a simmer and allow the rice to cook with the lid on. Once the rice has absorbed most of the water, wash and scrub your clams and add them to the pan and put the lid back on. The dish is done when the shells open up. You can than remove the shells and any clams that didn’t open up. Also make sure to remove the bay leaves. Than enjoy!

Iron Count per serving (4): just under 40% DV iron 🙂

What have we learned?

If you’re iron deficient, eat your mussels, clams and/or oysters friends.

That is all. I hope you enjoy it and perhaps add a lil iron in your diet. Good for them energy gainz ya feel me?

-Chelsea


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Why I Eat What I Eat…WIAW

My friends,

So I haven’t done a WIAW in such a long time. To be honest, I didn’t want to be judged for my food choices. I often felt that people would believe that I was restricting because I tend to eat the same things every day and say that I don’t ever get cravings for ‘bad foods’

The notion of ‘bad’ foods was simply for a lack of a better term. Think of foods as more or less nutrient dense. There are no BAD foods. Well okay maybe some could be argued to fall into that category, but when looking at foods that are not made specifically to give you a heart attack, this is how food should be looked at. 

These are meant to show others what a healthy lifestyle means to a person and to perhaps give some ideas or find a new combo to try. It’s never about judgement.

I like my food, my food makes my body feel the best it can be (well when my stomach is content for the day) and it has been working for me and my current goals.

Disclaimer: Never think you need to eat the same way as anyone other than yourself. You have your own needs. My food is for my training and to help my current GI issues.

So onto the post. I’m going to preface this with an “I’m Sorry” for some failed meal snaps…my bad friends. I hope you enjoy the commentary as a make up.

Thanks to Laura, Arman and Jen for this fun lil linkup. Check out all of the other fun eats at Laura’s today.

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So for today’s commentary I wanted to give an overview as to WHY I eat some of the things that I do. Mostly, its for healing my gut and allowing for the easiest digestion, but I will share with you my reasonings below.

Please note that I’m on a low fiber and easy to digest diet post parasite treatment for a lil but because I have literally no bacteria in my gut following two rounds of antibiotics 

Pre-Breaky Supps

~shot of ACV diluted with water

Benefits: umpteen, but I take it mostly for the digestion aid and prebiotic factors

Breakfast. Loaded cream of rice

Why I eat it? Cuz I love it. Duh

Okay benefits of this for tummy.

~COR less fiber than my beloved oats so it digests nicer. And, carbs. Nuff said.

~Egg whites: need my protein yeah?

~Pineapple: Contains bromelain which is a natural digestive enzyme. Plus I like it.

~Pink Salt: I need added salt in my diet because I don’t get sodium from processed food and athletes need to ensure adequate electrolytes. Plus salt and peanut butter? Nommzzz

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Sorry 6am cream of rice ain’t too aesthetic so heres everything in my breakfast (forgot pink salt+cinnamon). 35g brown COR made with unsweetened cashew milk. 90g egg whites cooked in half way through. Add-ins are 30-35g banana/15-20gpineapple, 16g organic crunchy peanut butter + some peanuts, sprinkle of peanut flour, cinnamon and pink salt

Also with breakfast, I take a digestive enzyme pre-eating and than after is a small amount of spirulina mixed with vitamin C powder in a shot glass with some water. I also take Vitamins E, A, D and a probiotic. It seems like a lot but we are trying to heal right? Lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

Pre-Workout

I used to have sweet potatoes with this meal, but experienced A LOT of bloating and gas (sorry TMI) so despite my resistance (I love sweet taters!), white jasmine rice took it’s place. Quick and fast to digest and gives me the carbs I need without the GI symptoms. Avocado is there for a bit of added fat (I can’t tolerate a huge amount of avocado, that has been discovered…its high FODMAP and rings in a decent amount of fiber) for some staying power through my 2 hour lifting sessions.

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135g white jasmine rice + 3.5 ounces roasted chicken breast + 1 ounce avocado. Seasoned with fresh cilantro and a **it ton of cumin + chili powder and liquid smoke

*Another digestive enzyme…cough these things cost me an arm. 

Intra-Workout

In my bottle for during my lift, I put in a scoop each of my BCAAs and glutamine. The BCAAs I began using to prevent my body from using my protein stores for energy as my workouts are very long and I was underweight. I still use them for this reason + it helps me to take in enough water. The glutamine is for both muscle recovery and also is gut fuel. Glutamine has been found to feed the GI tract and help with it’s recovery.

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Intraworkout BCAAs and Glutamine

Post-Workout

This is honestly something I look forward to every day. I don’t really have a sweet tooth but something about this is just so satisfying to me. All whole foods but makes me feel like I’m getting a treat. Its a ‘great job for killing your workout’ indulgence.

Reasonings:

~Rice again..in rice cake form. These are not your cardboard Quaker rice cakes. NO. These babies have double the carbs and therefore taste so much better. They actually taste like puffed rice. These are a carb staple in my diet.

~Coconut oil: Simply added to the ‘icing’ for added calories that I can’t see as added bulk.

~Whey: I have tried eating whole proteins and they just take too long to digest when my body is literally shaking. Whey is much faster and prevents me from getting sleepy. I only buy New Zealand whey as it’s lactose free, no antibiotics and the cows are grass-fed. The ingredients are just whey, enzymes and natural flavouring. Their flavours are amazing!  

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3.5 organic brown rice cakes (Lundberg–> much better tasting! higher carbs= no styrofoam taste) + Protein ‘icing’ of 1 tsp coconut oil, 25g whey (I used maple), 1 tsp crunchy peanut butter, 15g melted banana and enough water to form a paste. Topped with 35g nanner.

And you guess it…2 more enzymes. I take two because I think the whey makes me a bit bloaty if I don’t have the extra one. Before anyone asks, no I cannot eat vegan protein. I can’t digest quinoa or any sprouted grains other than rice. Plus it tastes like assssss..sorry but it’s true. 

Unpictured ‘bite’

My post workout is around 2-2:30pm, and I take my fish oil in between than and dinner but like to have something in my tummy with it as without anything it can lead to gas (hello fish burps) so I down a bit of chicken in the fridge.

1 tbsp of lemon juice before to help with fat digestion. 

Dinner.

Lobster is a special occasion when my Dad comes down. He so nicely brought some for me and of course I opened that baby the next day..

I have my vegetables for the day here…so sad. I have a small salad (unpictured) to start with all easy to digest/ low FODMAP veggies (cucumber, carrots, iceberg lettuce and some dark greens, not kale or anything). I love veggies but cannot have too much.

I have roasted mini potatoes and kabocha pictured here. To be honest, I hate potatoes, so bland to me compared to sweet taters even with seasoning, but I can’t have my sweets right now and I need carbs. Kabocha is a staple (cuz what person doesn’t adore it?), but should be limited due to being a high FODMAP and to be honest I think I have been over doing it a bit recently (anyone else find it bloats you?) because of aforementioned hatred for potatoes.

And no, I eat rice all damn day so I don’t want rice for my nice sit down meal of the day.. lol. Oh and yes, enzyme number 100000 for the day and a shot of ACV. 

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Lobster (thanks Dad) + roasted kabocha and baby potatoes. Unpictured salad to start with dressing of ACV+ lemon juice+ herbs+ mustard

Night Meal

Unpictured ~5 ounces of haddock attacked with turmeric because no one needs to see that…

Eaten in bed. It may seem weird to you to eat fish before bed and than pair it with rice cakes and nut butter. I like to think of it as the meal and dessert.

The fish is simply more protein (read below before you yell at me for eating too much protein…), the turmeric is for anti-inflammatory properties and the rice cakes are simply for more carbs.

The reason I have mostly peanut butter with a shmear of almond butter is because my coach really wanted me to try to rotate almond butter with peanut butter because peanuts have a risk of moulds and such I believe..

…but I just can’t (TEAM PB!). So there, I have some almond butter.

😀

Also yes there the nut butter is strategically placed. I like a big glob for the last bite okay. Common there has to be another person out there who saves the best for last no?

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2 Organic, unsalted brown rice cakes (Lundberg) + 20g organic crunchy peanut butter and 5g organic crunchy almond butter

Shot of lemon juice (cuz that’s a large amount of fat according to my body) + …enzyme. 

So yeah, can you tell that rice is a staple for an annoying stomach? It’s my major carb source in various forms because it sits well and gives me the carbs I need for my training. We are still being very, VERY modest with fat increases because my system doesn’t handle  those very well. I try to help this by taking a shot of lemon juice before a higher fat meal as acid helps to hydrolyze the fats a bit (i.e. help break them down). Also, yes my protein intake is high. It is what it is (for the moment..). It gives me calories and my system is okay at the amount it has right now. Can’t take any away if it cannot be replaced

Know what I’m saying?

So there is my day of eats. Very typical, as it’s pretty much the same every day with a few switch ups (fish type at dinner, choice of whey, etc) but I do that because 1. I like my food and I’m a creature of habit and 2. because it doesn’t turn my stomach into a raging….umm.monster.

Hope you enjoyed!

Anyone else out there okay with eating the same things every day?

Similar food restrictions?

-Chelsea


2 Comments

No Whey?!? Fitness Friday 21

My lecture yesterday in my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism class really gained my attention because we started talking about one of the things every gymrat loves talking about…

How much protein do I need to get swole…

When do I take my protein to get swole…

What is the best protein to get me swole…

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Being me, I had some interesting challenges to make to the content that was being shared due to coming into the class with some previous knowledge of current research BUT some of the things she shared peaked my interest and I thought I would share these findings about protein as it’s related to muscle synthesis (ie. getting SWOLE).  Perhaps it can help to clear up some misconceptions about the whole controversy around type and timing of protein.

1. You need whey protein/Supplemental protein

No you actually don’t. Whey protein, for example, is simply a choice of protein, it’s not a necessity. Guess what boys, you don’t need to down a plain-ass protein shake every 20 minutes to prevent loosing your gains.

#MindBlown.

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Study showing that eating beef vs. a supplement containing essential amino acids only (EEA). Notice the bars…no significant difference between the protein synthesis response to the whole food (mixed or balanced EAA and non EAA) and the EAA supplement.

Take home: It appears that the EAA have a special role in protein synthesis, so as long as you the minimum amount of those lil guys (it has been shown that all you need is minimum of 6g of pure EAA!) then you are fine.

So if you like to drink your protein or you don’t have the moment to stop and eat, than go for whey because it’s convenient. If you like eating your protein and have the time to cook and eat, a whole food alternative is just as good.

On that topic…

Sorry vegetarians and vegans, you cannot argue that your non-aminal based proteins are just as good or even better than animal proteins.

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….however, that doesn’t mean that vegetarian sources don’t work at all…

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Soy did significantly better than the casein protein for protein turnover BUT whey was even better than soy.

As you can see, soy (which is already controversial for other reasons..) does stimulate protein turnover BUT whey is superior.

…and doesn’t taste like grass…cough. 

2. What about timing?

So you see people shooting back the shakes within that 30 minute window because if they don’t, gains will be lost, no?

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Again, not true. My prof mentioned that it was optimal for protein synthesis if you stick within 30 minutes to an hour..

But I will reference back to the article I mentioned last week (by Eric Helms), as it’s very much a variable thing based on a number of factors.

…Fed vs. unfed state, type of training, length and intensity of training..

Main point: if you don’t get pure protein in your body within 15 seconds of being done your workout your gains will still be there. SO CHILL!

Finally on that note of timing and amount, you also don’t need 2, 3, or more scoops of protein at a time either..

timing.pngIn this study, they were looking at timing an amounts and there effect on protein synthesis over a 12 hour period post training. Whether you ate an overall total of 80g over 2 large meals (bolus condition), 3 meals (intermediate condition) or if you ate that over 8 meals (pulse), protein synthesis was still increased HOWEVER it appeared the intermediate or 4 meals a day was optimal in this study.

Also, just so you know protein utilization has a saturation point, meaning that there is only so much protein that will be used in the immediate muscle protein synthesis response. The rest will be broken down as usual and used for something else. NO that doesn’t mean you pee it out or you will turn it all to fat, it will be sent to where it needs to be. 

One final interesting finding…

Apparently the more trained you are, the less time you have for the intake of your EAAs post training to reach optimal protein synthesis when compared to untrained individuals.

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RE= resistance exercise, so what they are saying is that you may have less of a time to get in the adequate nutrition to fully take advantage of the muscle protein synthesis response (MPS)

I’m not sure what I think of this finding yet, but it’s was something cool I thought I would share.

Final point (I promise!) I will share I will simply leave below. It’s a highly debated set of numbers right here.

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Tell me what your opinion is. For me, I say suck it to the Food Guide’s tiny 15% protein intake and applaud the higher intake for athletes because not only are your trying to build new tissue, but you do use some amino acids for energy if you are training intensely…

But that’s just my thoughts.

And no I don’t mean you need like 2g/lb, but saying 0.8g/kg is ridiculous and I still believe that is too low for most. Say you have someone my size, thats like 1.5 chicken breasts for my whole day. Uh naaahh. 

Hope you enjoyed this meathead favourite topic and wishing all my Canadian readers a happy Thanksgiving weekend

Referenced from my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism course at University of Guelph, taught by Dr. Lindsay Robinson on October 6, 2016.

-Chelsea