Healthy Snacking

Quite often people ask me what I snack on, especially when I’m on a Whole 30.  In fact, when I tell people about the Whole 30 I am usually met with “what do you eat?”.  I’m finding that people don’t realize how much nasty crap they’re eating until I really spell it out for them by explaining what I eliminate and why.

Because I’m on the go so much and, it seems, pretty much living at the gym, I’m always hungry and need to be prepared for when hunger strikes and for pre-workout fuel.

So, for those of you who are interested, here’s the short-list for my snacking staples:

  1. Dates – You can almost always find a bag of dates in my desk drawer at work, and somewhere in my house.  I love dates.  Dates are a great pre-workout fuel, since they’re rich in glucose (a simple carb).  Glucose travels directly to the liver for immediate energy transport – meaning the body doesn’t have to convert it to a different form of energy in order to utilize it.  Sometimes, if I’m feeling a little draggy during the day, I’ll pop a few dates for quick (and sweet) energy.

Dates

2. Larabars

Larabars

I LOVE me a good Larabar.  There are so many different flavors to choose from and they are made (mostly – some of them have chocolate or peanut butter) from 100% natural, clean ingredients.  And since the primary ingredient in a Larabar is dates, they’re an excellent source of energy.  You can be certain there are always a few Larabars stuffed in my gym bag.

I often make my own Larabars…especially when I’m rockin’ a Whole 30.  It’s inexpensive and I can ensure they’re compliant.

Homemade Larabars

3. Fruit – Fruit is usually my number one go-to for snacks.  I usually have apples and bananas in my fridge at home and at work.  If I have a big workout coming up, I will usually have one of the two a bit in advance.  I often will throw an apple in my gym bag as well.

Fruit

You really can’t go wrong with fruit

I also like to have tropical fruit – mango, papaya, pineapple, dragon fruit – for occasional snacking sweetness.

4. Plantain Chips – I am addicted to plantain chips.

Plantain

I get these dudes at Walmart for $2

Okay, I may not be addicted, but I do enjoy plantains – home-cooked or store bought.  They’re low in calories and fat, and are sugar-free.  I sometimes keep these in my desk drawer (where my coworkers steal indulge in them) and in my cupboard at home.  They are so good and since they are Whole 30 compliant, I usually have them on hand for “emergency” snacking.

As you can see, my snacks are all Whole 30 compliant.  But there are also options available for people who are looking for snacks that are organic, or gluten-free, or vegan.  The company GoMacro offers products that meet all of the above.

GoMacro

GoMacro is a family-owned company that “put their heart and soul into a natural, whole-food based lifestyle”.  Their pursuit of health thus became a path of living in balance with themselves and nature.  (Seriously, do yourself a favor and go read their story – it’s truly inspiring!!  <3)

Their products are, as I mentioned, gluten-free, organic, and vegan (they’re also kosher). They are cold-pressed and nut-butter based and made from simple, clean ingredients.  These little bars are perfect for throwing in your gym bag or your back pack or your purse.

MacroBite

I can almost taste the nom nom nom

Unfortunately, GoMacro Bars are not yet available in Canada (they’re working on it), but if you’re living in or visiting the US, you can order them here or pick them up in select stores.  (GoMacro peeps – feel free to send me a sampler. 🙂 ).

Well there you have it.  What I eat.  What I want to eat.  A few healthy snack ideas that you can consider keeping on hand and getting you through your workout, especially if you’re struggling to maintain compliance in a Whole or clean or vegan diet.

Cheers, ~FB

 

 

Online Boot Camp Registration

Registration for my first online boot camp will be open for one more week – closing, Thursday, September 1.  The session will begin on Monday, September 5.

BOOT CAMP

Here are the details:

I will send the week’s worth of workouts in advance. You’ll have 3 minimum per week with the option of doing a 4th workout. I will provide demos for the exercises, and modifications – whether I do them myself or not is yet to be seen. You will have to submit your workouts at the end of each week – with any additional notes, questions, comments, etc. so that I can review them. Again, the entire session will be designed so that you can do it right in the privacy of your living room. You will not require a lot of space – and likely just a yoga mat or a blanket with some padding so that you don’t have sore knees or elbows or back or bum. 😀 The cost for the online session is $50.  I will also provide nutritional tips/guidance, etc.

This session is open to everyone – no exercise experience required.

Registration is nearly full so if you are interested email me @ nsfitnessqueen@yahoo.ca or leave a comment below with your contact info.

~Fit Bitch

Healthy Eats

Happy Sunday!  Actually, it’s mid-Sunday evening and back to the grind tomorrow, so some of you might not be so happy.  But, you know what?  It was a beautiful day, I had a great workout this morning, I visited a friend at her new digs, had a date with my nephews, completed two articles, got a bunch clothing donations ready for the Red Cross (#fortmcmurray) and I made a delicious, healthy dinner, and just threw a pan of healthy brownies in the oven!  The day has been great.

Seriously, whoever said that healthy eating is gross or boring obviously was just looking for excuses.

First up I made this gorgeous summer vegetable dish:

Veggies

I found this dish on Pinterest a long time ago and have been wanting to try it.  I finally got around to it today.  It was so good.  And cheap.  And easy.  And other than a little added cheese, it’s completely healthy.

I got the recipe here: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/08/summer-vegetable-tian/.  The only change I made was I swapped out white potato for sweet potato – simply because I could only find bags of white potatoes and I only wanted one.  I was able to buy a single sweet potato so that’s what I went with.

I added some spices too.  The next time I make it I’ll likely avoid the cheese.  I don’t normally have cheese in the house and I wanted to use up what I have because I’m starting another Whole 30 again soon and wanted to use some of it – the less I have to waste.

The reason I’m heading back to a Whole 30 again, aside from I love how I feel when I’m on it, is  that my sugar cravings have been outrageous lately.  And that’s the thing with sugar.  The more you have, the more you crave.  The purpose of the Whole 30 program is to eliminate those cravings (and rid your body of systemic inflammation).  I look forward to my 30 and I don’t miss the sugar when I’m on.  AND, I love eating whole foods: fruits and vegetables and lean meats.  My body really does thank me when I’m on the program.

But, because I’m not ready for my 30 yet (you really have to be ready) and I’m craving chocolate like it’s going out of style, I decided to make a pan of healthy black bean brownies.  Yep, you heard me, black.bean.brownies.

peanut-butter-chocolate-protein-bars_3

via Chocolate Covered Katie

I have made these brownies several times in the past and they are soooo good.

I get the recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie (http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2016/01/06/homemade-protein-bars-chocolate-peanut-butter-vegan/).  Katie is a healthy food blogger I’ve been following for years.  She makes incredibly delicious and drool-worthy healthy recipes.  I’ve tried a ton of them (including her crispy avocado fries…you.must.try!).

I don’t follow Katie’s recipe 100%.  I omit the sugar.  I amped up the vanilla. And I added more coconut milk (unsweetened) to make them extra moist and gooey.  And I use dark chocolate bits and organic hazelnut almond butter.

OMG YUM!!

The brownies are currently still in the oven but I’m bunkering down to watch The Walking Dead so I’m sure I’ll have one (or two!) later.  The rest of them are going to be individually wrapped as pre-workout snacks.

Now….doesn’t all that make you want to go out and try a new recipe – something with fresh produce or a healthy alternative to your favorite treat?

~Fit Bitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Takes Time

Progress

So often I hear of people who’ve quit fitness because the results weren’t instantaneous.

But you know what?  Results likely won’t be instantaneous.

I’ve said this many times in the past and I stick by it – (think about it) – the weight didn’t come on overnight, so it shouldn’t come off overnight.  This is why I’m wary and against those “diets” and programs that offer nearly instant success, yet, encourage you to not exercise (I’m looking at you, Ideal Protein!*).  I mean, you’ve got to work for it, people!

(*You can read more about the dangers of high protein, low carb diets from my post here: https://nsfitbitch.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-dangers-of-high-protein-low-carb-diets/)

We all want to see our hard work pay off, and it will.  But you have to actually put in the work.  And you have to give it time.

Don’t be discouraged because three weeks have gone by and you haven’t lost the ten pounds you were hoping to.  Our bodies don’t work that way.  You might not lose those ten pounds for a few months.  But I guarantee that if you’re eating healthier and fitting in time to exercise regularly that the wonderful changes you’re making in your life are affecting your health in a positive way a lot more than losing those ten pounds are.

Remember:  Progress is progress!

Hang in there.  Stick with it.  Don’t give up.

~Fit Bitch

 

Work the Hardest (Day 30)

Fitness-Motivation-Trying-the-HardestToday is Day 30 of my 30 days of motivation.  I hope these posts have given you some encouragement this last month.

The truth is, you’ve got it in you. Stick with it.  Whatever your reasons were for starating,  they were important enough for you to start.   Don’t give up.

~Fit Bitch💕

 

Happy Friday (Day 28)

Monday

Live, love, and laugh……and do squats.

~Fit Bitch

Today = Tomorrow (Day 23)

Today is Tomorrow

Exercise, healthy food choices, enough sleep, kicking the negativity in your life to the curb, supportive friends, loving family:  everything in our today is our tomorrow.

~Fit Bitch

Healthy NOT Skinny (Day 14)

Healthy not Skinny

Scroll to the top of this page….see my tag line??

“Because Being Healthy Doesn’t Mean Being Thin.”

That is true.  There are plenty of thin people who aren’t healthy and plenty of healthy people who aren’t thin.

What’s more true is that if you make your choices bases upon the idea goal that you want to be healthier, happier, and more productive, then I believe you will surpass that goal  easily.

Getting “skinny” is, often, a result of your healthy living but it shouldn’t be your main goal.  There are so many other wonderful, beautiful outcomes of making healthy choices – better health (obviously), stronger muscles, more endurance, better heart health, increased circulation, lower cholesterol, etc. etc. etc.  The list goes on.

Don’t let the idea of thinness be your main priority – it’s a perfect way to set yourself up for failure.  Love yourself.  Embracing the body you have does not mean you have to stop continuing to better it – but be proud of who you are.  Loving yourself will give you the confidence to keep going (or get started!).

Love YOUR Body - not someone else's

I would love this caption more if we could get rid of “leaner” – so let’s just scratch that out, k?

~Fit Bitch

The Dangers of High Protein, Low Carb Diets

High Protein

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the high protein diets that are “on the market” and I seem to be having discussions about them almost regularly so I thought I’d take the time to let you know my thoughts on, what seems to me, a dangerous fad.

Now, I’m jumping into this topic after having done tons of research and consulting several medical professionals – including my own family doctor and a doctor specializing in internal medicine.  I’d also like to make it abundantly clear that I have also had in-depth conversations with three Ideal Protein representatives (totaling several hours of conversation, questions and research).

So, there are several of these diets in question – Ideal Protein, the Dukan Diet, Atkins (to name a few) and they all basically follow the same protocol: restrict your carb intake and live almost solely on protein-rich foods.  The diets claim “to switch the body’s metabolism from metabolizing glucose as energy over to converting stored body fat to energy”.  Ideal Protein also claims the diet will “reset” your pancreas.

These high protein, low (non) carb plans claim that you’ll lose a ton of weight, fast.  And for the most part they hold up.  But at what risks to your health?  We’ll get to that soon enough.

First, let’s set some things straight.

#1 Carbohydrate is an important energy source for working muscles and for the brain and nervous tissue. It also assists digestion by providing dietary fibre.  Carbohydrate provides the body with its most efficient and accessible source of energy.  In FACT, all exercise – even low-intensity – is reliant on carbohydrate.  In 2002 the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends 45%-65% of total caloric intake come from carbohydrate.

#2 The major role of protein is to build and repair body tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  Protein is NOT a primary source of energy.

#3 Obviously, I have issues with any diet that promotes not exercising.  I think it is irresponsible for a diet to suggest one not exercise.  I know that these diets promote walking (for up to 30 minutes a day), but guess what?  We walk. We’re human and we have two legs and in order to get from Point A to Point B we must walk.  (I’ve also been told by Ideal Protein and Dukan Diet reps that the walking must not be high-impact because it is “dangerous”.)  <<— Clearly I’ll come back to this point soon.

#4 Exercise and physical activity is an important part of a balanced lifestyle.  Exercise promotes healthy weight, builds muscle and increases strength, helps fight and prevent diseases, improves heart efficiency, reduces depression, anxiety, and stress, strengthens bones, reduces body fat – to name but a few benefits.  (Of course, a balanced lifestyle includes eating a balanced diet!)

#5 ANYTIME you eliminate a food group from your regular diet you’re almost guaranteed to lose weight.  This I can speak to from experience.  About 7 years ago I was very ill and, for a year, spent more than my fair share of time at medical and specialist appointments, having tests, tests, and more tests done, and going through my very own elimination diet per one of the specialists I was seeing.  I had to cut out nearly everything from my diet and it sucked.  Sure, I lost tons of weight (and I loved it!) but I was also depressed, lethargic, moody.  I had no energy, I was fatigued all the time; in fact I was so miserable all the time that I started going to bed at 8:00pm – partly because I didn’t want to deal with the world and my sad little life, and partly because I was so tired from my limited diet that I just couldn’t bear to stay awake any longer.  Eventually, my family doctor got me back on a regular eating plan and we worked on alternate ways to diagnose my illness.

Okay, so now that that’s out of the way let’s get back to the dangers/risks/problems of these high protein diets.

– Many of the high-protein foods are also high in cholesterol and fat
– Lack of nutrients and vitamins
– High cholesterol
– Liver problems/damage
– Kidney problems/damage (exerts too much pressure on the kidneys because they are unable to process the high amounts of protein)
– Dehydration
– Headaches and naseau
– Bad breath
– Fatigue
– Depression
– Constipation
– Bone loss
– Ketosis (Unhealthy metabolic state. During ketosis, the body forms substances known as ketones, which can dull appetite and cause nausea and bad breath. Ketosis can be prevented by eating at least 100 grams of carbohydrates a day.)
– Abnormal heartbeat and arythmia
– Deprivation
– Hair loss
– Fainting
– More saturated fat ingested
– PH levels in body change causing digestive issues and skin problems
– Harmful to diabetics because the diet makes it harder to produce insulin and digest sugars)
– No exercise

– Ideal Protein provides “packaged food” – possibly loaded with chemicals or some other mysterious matter – and the plan and food are expensive.

These are just some of the issues these diets can cause.  There are tons more.  And let me just state that on the multi-page health history questionnaire you are required to fill out for Ideal Protein (it seems I’m picking on this one) you are asked about diabetes, hypoglycemia, cardiovascular functions (blood clots, congestive heart failure, etc.), kidney and liver functions, colon and digestive functions, inflammatory conditions, cancer, allergies, medications, ovarian/breast function, endocrine function, neurological/emotional function (including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Schizophrenia, depression, Epilepsy, etc.) and other health problems.  HELLO RED FLAGS!!

And as for the dangers of working out while on these diets, as I stated in #s 1, 2, and 3 – you NEED carbohydrate for physical activity. If you deprive yourself of carbs for any amount of time and try to exercise, believe me, you’re not going to do too well.  Your body doesn’t have the fuel required to perform and you become exhausted.  Imagine depriving yourself of carbohydrate for weeks or months at a time; the end result can’t/won’t be good.  In fact, an Ideal Protein rep told me she had one client who was bringing a few logs of wood from her porch to her fireplace and fainted because it was too much exertion. She also told me that one of her clients was so desperate to go to a Zumba class but had heart palpitations within the first few minutes of dancing that she ended up in the hospital.  If you eliminate a source of energy  that is absolute fuel for your mind and body you are doing a disservice to your mind, body and spirit.

I’m not going to lie to you, when I first heard about these “miraculous” diets I was, of course, intrigued.  But I wanted to to educate myself in all areas first.  And I’m glad I did.  There are too many potential dangers (and I would have answered “yes” to several of the questions on health history – which would have put my body and my life in potential jeopardy had I followed one of these crazy diets.  (And I also have to question anything that comes in a silver foil package.)

These diets are quick fix diets.  That’s the truth!  They claim to (guarantee) you lose tons of weight almost immediately (and I’m sure you do – but not in a beneficial-to-your-life kind of way) and if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: If you’re not ready to do the work, you’re not ready to lose the weight!!  There!  I said it again and I stand by it.

Actually, last week I had a friend email me about joining my boot camp and I gave her all the information.  The next day she told me she decided to go on the Ideal Protein diet because she needed fast and “amazing” results.  To me, working for my results and feeling a sense of pride in my commitments and accomplishments is “amazing”.

I may get a little flack from some people, and that’s fine.  Again, these are my thoughts based on the research I’ve done, including speaking with doctors and representatives of some of these diets.  As a health and fitness professional I think it’s important for everyone to be informed on the cons of these diets (and, of course the pros of carbohydrates, a balanced diet, and exercise).  If you are looking for a quick fix and you feel a high protein, low-carb diet is right for you, then by all means, consult your physician and do what’s best for you. But at least go into your consultation(s) informed and educated.

~Fit Bitch