Vitamin E and Your Diet (Guest Post)

The Importance of Vitamin E and how to Incorporate it into Your Diet

Daily vitamins and minerals are one of the most important parts of a healthy diet. We all know how important Vitamin C and B12 are—we hear about them all the time. The market is inundated with B12 vitamins. Vitamin D supplements sell well in the winter because we worry we’re not getting enough sun. What about the other, less popular vitamins? Vitamin E is an equally important part of the diet. Today, we’ll talk about why and how you can work it into your daily meal plan.

Vitamins help the body grow and develop. Each one does this in a unique way. For example, Vitamin E is organically built to protect the body from neurological and mental diseases, diabetes, and ailments of the eyes. There are two main types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which means that it is more resilient and the effects can last longer in the body. Water-soluble vitamins like B12 are flushed out of our system whenever excess water is. Comparatively, a person would need more B12 than Vitamin E since Vitamin E stays reserved in fat tissue. Taking too many fat-soluble vitamins can be dangerous for the body. Toxicity is often times more dangerous than a deficiency.
A deficiency of Vitamin E can lead to the destruction of red blood cells, which, if severe enough, can cause anemia. The symptoms of anemia include malaise, fatigue, and abnormal heart-rate. Not enough Vitamin E can lead to more serious complications like Retinopathy, which can render patients partially or completely blind. Since Vitamin E is responsible for protecting the body from eye disorders like this, it is important to make sure that you get your daily amount each day. Skeletal Myopathy can also result from a deficiency. This condition is categorized by weakness in the muscles and skeleton.
Vitamin E can be found in oils. Krill oil is virtually tasteless and it is a bounty of vitamins and minerals. While it is most known for containing Omega 3, a daily serving of krill oil can also get you a portion of your other essentials including Vitamin E. Vitamin E is vegetarian and vegan friendly. It can also be found in a variety of plant-sources. Since the vitamin is fat-soluble, you can cook any of these ingredients without worrying about losing some of the nutrients to the heat. Avocados, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, and wheat all contain Vitamin E. You can also pick up a supplement at the pharmacy to give you a boost!
The benefits of Vitamin E are absolutely free so make sure you’re taking the most advantage of them each and every day. All vitamins are important to understand and consider. By building a vitamin-rich diet, you can be a healthier and stronger person.
Writer’s Bio
Meet Jane Grates.

jane-grates

Jane:  new best friend material.  🙂

Jane is an award-winning web lover and the co-manager of RunnerclickMonica’s Health Mag, and Janes Kitchen Miracles (<– Go check out that site!  So cool!).
Jane is a travel scholar, writer, health enthusiast, and food and health practitioner.

The Cravings Almost Got Me

I’m now 36 days into my Whole 60 and have been doing so well. But this past weekend was tough: surrounded by delicious foods and decadent drinks. I was pissed off at my food.

So last night, while gearing up for snowmageddon in Nova Scotia, I made these complian nut butter cups.

butter-cup

I made only a few and they have been serving their purpose. Cocoa, coconut oil, sunflower seed butter. That’s it. Easy peasy! Completely satisfied ( except for the weather. #snowpocalypse )

 

Directions:

Measurements can be estimated.  I made a half dozen cups and used 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, a teaspoon of cocoa, and a another half teaspoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of sunflower nut butter for the center.

1. Melt coconut oil or butter over a double broiler (you can use a microwave).  Once thoroughly melted, blend in the cocoa until completely smooth as liquid.  Pour half of this into mini muffin tins or ice cube tray and place in the freezer.

2. Melt coconut oil or butter over a double broiler . Once thoroughly melted, blend in the nut butter of choice and stir until completely smooth.  Pour this mixture over the frozen chocolate bottoms and freeze.

3.Re-warm an pour remaining chocolate mixture onto the nut butter cups to complete the third layer.  Freeze.   ENJOY!

 

 

Why I’m Waiting to do the Whole 30

whole30header

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will note that I love the Whole 30 program.  Seriously, I am absolutely in love with it.   (If you’re not familiar with the program, go check out the website: Whole30.)

I love the food I get to eat and the way I feel when I’m doing it.  And I love how proud I am when I’ve finished it.  In fact, I love it so much that I’ve been super excited to get started on a Whole 30 in early 2017.

I’ve noticed that there are currently tons and tons of challengers out there – all who started their programs on January 1st.  And I applaud them.

Me, however, I have opted to wait a week.  Because I’ve done the program so many times over the last year and a half, I know that if I had started on New Year’s Day I would have been setting myself up for failure.  With so much “junk” in my system throughout the month of December (wine, chocolate, cookies, wine, wine, wine), I knew that I would need to ease my way out of Christmas goodness for a good week before jumping into my 30 days.  Which, by the way, I am hoping to turn into a Whole 60. *fingers crossed*

I didn’t eat terribly the entire month, but I did have way more sugar than I normally would.  I mean, everywhere I looked there was chocolate.  And I had more wine date (with and without others!) then necessary.  In fact, I have had more wine in the last month than I have had in the last 3 months.  (And that’s still not saying a lot.)

This week I have been omitting most of the holiday garbage…limiting the chocolate, omitting the other sweets, cutting out down the wine.  And by the weekend, I will have all of it out of my system.

I am really stoked to get going on this though.  And, to top it off, my boyfriend bought me the Whole 30 Cookbook for Christmas and intends on trying the program with me this time.

Whole30Cookbook.png

Another fitness wish come true.  🙂

I really encourage anyone who is planning to do the Whole 30 to read the book.  Spend the money and read it.  It’s worth it.  It may change your life!  I have truly benefited from this program and I think everyone can go clean for 30 days – even just once.

The basis of the program is to eliminate food cravings, sugar dependency, and systemic inflammation.  “Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”

This is not a cleanse – that’s what you have a liver for.  This is a program to help you rid yourself of all the garbage that is unnecessary in our current diets and destroy the sugar dragon.

If you’re interested in the program, definitely check out the website or the book.  And if you have any questions about my experiences with it, please send me a note.

~FB

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Ecxited! (Day 10)

Excited about Health

I often hear people complain about healthy eating and fitness.

I hear that eating healthy is expensive and exercising is time-consuming – yadda, yadda, yadda.

But I get excited about getting healthy.  For obvious reasons, getting healthy.  But also because it gives me the opportunity to try so many new things – new recipes, new exercises, new fitness classes, etc.

It’s also an opportunity to be social (and be social with people outside of my regular social circle).

Go into your new healthy lifestyle with the outlook that it’s an adventure.  Be positive about it and have fun with it and you’ll love the outcome.

~Fit Bitch

 

 

My Accidental Watermelon Slushy

It’s summer and it’s hot. And when it’s summer and it’s hot I sometimes like to cool off with a big, drippy slice of watermelon. So yesterday morning I picked up some pre-sliced melon from the grocery store and put it in the spare fridge with a few other things that just wouldn’t fit in my regular fridge.

This morning I’ve been sitting outside, reading my book, soaking up the glorious sunlight and watching my cat chase after the wind. And as I felt myself melting into my lawn chair I figured it was a perfect time to grab a slice of that delectable watermelon. Unfortunately, to my surprise, the temperature on the spare fridge had been turned up to ice-age and everything is frozen.

Now, the remaining items in that fridge can be salvaged once they thaw, but have you ever tried watermelon after it’s been frozen and thawed? It’s mushy and gross. So I just chopped it all up and threw it into my Nutribullet and *whoosh* – I have the most delicious watermelon slushy. I literally have to keep stoping typing so I can take sips. It’s so good and refreshing. I dare you to try it.

WATERMELON

🙂

~Fit Bitch

Have You Tried Butter Coffee (aka Bulletproof Coffee)?

butter_coffee_promo
Have you all heard of this Bulletproof Coffee craze? Let me just say that I’m not a big coffee drinker to start (Fact: I worked in a coffee house for SIX YEARS and never had a coffee) and the idea of putting butter – yes, BUTTER – into my cuppa joe really kinda grosses me out.

So what is this all about? Well, this butter coffee, branded as Bulletproof Coffee, has been gaining popularity since people started wielding the benefits of adding a spoonful or two of grass-fed butter such as weight loss* (*people claim to feel full after one full cup of the coffee -at 100-200 calories), higher energy, boosts in brain power.

Watch Jimmy Fallon explain to Maya Rudolph the idea and benefits of Bulletproof Coffee:

Other benefits of Butter Coffee at breakfast:
•It replaces your usual breakfast, which allows for an extended fast period***
•The healthy fat replaces carbs/protein.
•Consuming straight fat also allows you to obtain calories while effectively maintaining the fast through ketosis.
•Intermittent fasting has incredible health benefits.
•It makes fasting much easier and you don’t feel like you are starving.
•Your blood sugar and insulin will remain stable.
•You feel full until lunch and don’t feel compelled to snack.
•It’s also very quick and easy to prepare in the morning.
***Butter Coffee is not magical for weight loss. You shouldn’t substitute this drink for meals just so you can lower your daily caloric intake. While healthy fats do make you more satiated, you need to eat them with other foods, especially those with fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K & K2 so your body can properly absorb them.

There are also variations of Butter Coffee which include adding coconut oil or butter to your morning brew instead of the butter.

You can check out the Bulletproof website for more info and the recipe* here: http://bulletproof-coffee.net/
*There is a specific way of making butter coffee – which includes a blender. So, dumping a glob of butter into your coffee isn’t going to cut it.

So, even though I said it grosses me out a little, the idea of butter coffee, I AM tempted to try it. And the more and more I read about it the more and more tempted I become.

Have any of you tried it? Comment below and let me know what you thought of – the taste, the texture, did you feel any more energetic?

~Fit Bitch

Cauliflower Popcorn

It’s Friday (Thank Goodness!!)! And with Friday comes Friday night (followed by Saturday and Sunday nights) which means, for many, that it might be movie night. I know that sometimes, after a long and exhausting week, I like to curl up on the couch with my guy or my cat and just veg out with a movie. And, like many of you, sometimes I like to snack.

My guy likes popcorn – microwave popcorn. Me, honestly, if I never had microwave popcorn again in my lifetime I would be okay with it. In fact, if I never have popcorn again I’ll be okay with it. (I say that but I know if I hit the movie theater and smell really popped corn I’d be all “YUM!”)

First of all, microwavable popcorn is full of chemicals and additives and can be just plain yuck. Thankfully, I inherited (and when I say “inherited” I actually mean borrowed and never gave back) my mom’s old fresh popper so if I ever get the hankering for real popcorn I can pop the real stuff.

In the meantime, I’ve completely fallen in love with Cauliflower Popcorn. Have you tried it? It is so good. And the best part is that it’s nutritious and low in calories. It’s chalk-full of fibre and vitamins and contains no cholesterol.

First thing once you choose your cauliflower is ensure you wash it well. You can wash it as a full head or after it’s chopped up, then pat it dry.

via Google

via Google

Once you’ve washed and dried the cauliflower chop it up into bite-sized pieces and toss it in a little olive oil. It’s your choice whether you want to add anything else to your ‘popcorn’ – you can add sea salt, fresh herbs, a little parm, or even regular ol’ popcorn seasoning. Then spread it over a baking sheet.

via Yahoo

via Yahoo

Put the pan of cauliflower into a preheated oven at 425. Depending on how soft or crunchy you like your cauliflower popcorn you roast in the oven anywhere from 15-45 minutes (tossing it every 5-8 minutes), and voila: A healthy and delicious (and inexpensive) snack.

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

~Fit Bitch

My Beautiful Beet Shake

I’ve been wanting to add more beets to my diet because of all their wonderful health benefits.* So, last night I sliced and roasted a few beets and then stored them in the fridge overnight. This morning I just threw in a couple of slices into my regular shake (which also includes almond milk and avocado) and the results are fantastic.

Pretty, delicious and healthy

Pretty, delicious and healthy

First of all, let me say that I think beets are the prettiest root vegetable out there.
beets bunch
They are so pretty and their color is so gorgeous – when I was in junior high I read a beauty tip in YM Magazine that said if you slice open a beet and rub it across your lips it will stain them a pretty blush color and there you’d have a natural “lip-stain”- so, I got my grandfather to dig me up a few beets from his garden….thus began my love affair with the beet – and they are chalk-full of goodness:

* 1) Beets have ZERO trans fat and ZERO saturated fat. They are also low calorie!
2) Beets are a great instant energy source, but unlike processed foods which are high in (bad) carbohydrates, beets will energize your body. Beets can be regarded as body fuel.
3) Beets are high in vitamins and minerals. They contain sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and phosphorous! They are also considered a fiber food and contain vitamins A and C as well as niacin.
4) Beets cleanse the body. They are a wonderful tonic for the liver, work as a purifier for the blood, and can prevent various forms of cancer (skin, lung and colon).
5) Beets are nature’s Viagra. One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac. Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones. (Kiley Dumas, Healthy Eating)
6) Reduces Birth Defects: Beets are good for pregnant women since they are a source of B vitamin folate which helps in the development of infant’s spinal column. Deficiency of folate could lead to a variety of conditions called neural tube defects.
7) Beets boost heart health and lower the risk of stroke.

I’ve juiced with beets before so I was ecstatic when I discovered that I could include them in my shakes. I should have realized how easy it would be since I’ve included cauliflower in my shakes before (my Nutir Bullet is my best friend!). (Roasting the beets soften them so that I don’t kill the blades of my blender.) And now I’m sure I can include them in pretty much everything – in baking (yeah, because I do so much baking), shakes, soups and salads. The possibilities can be endless.

Playing with your food is fun!

~Fit Bitch

Healthier Version Fish Burger

This is not my fish burger....my fish burger did not last long enough to be posed for a photo

This is not my fish burger….my fish burger did not last long enough to be posed for a photo

There’s a little restaurant a few towns over that boyfriend and I love and they make the most delicious fish burger.  I know what you may be thinking “Fish burger?  Gross.”  But it’s not gross….it’s soooo good.  *And I live in Nova Scotia where there is an abundance of seafood. Jealous?)

When I was really little I loved McDonalds’s Filet-o-Fish.  Back in the day, eating at McDonald’s was a treat, not the everyday norm that it seems to be now – and again, I’m not that old.  But my parents raised us on pretty healthy home-cooked meals and eating at fast food joints just didn’t happen that often.  But when I got to go, I almost always  got the F-o-F.  I can’t even recall the last time I’ve had one of those…probably high school.

And, as I was saying, this particular restaurant makes a YUM fish burger and it’s not super battered or super greasy – which is perfect.  So, a few days ago I got a craving for a fish burger.  But, because of my evening fitness classes, I have to plan my meals out so that a) I’m not going to the gym and then classes with a heavy stomach  b) I’m not getting home until close to 10pm and chowing down and hitting the sack on a heavy stomach (PLUS – who wants to clean up all those dishes at, like, 11 o’clock at night?).

So, here’s the thing: Tuesday nights are (for now) my no class nights which means I left work, hit the gym and then made myself a great dinner of a healthier version fish burger.  I literally just inhaled it because it was so good.

I baked a lightly seasoned haddock filet – NOT battered and NOT fried – and threw it on a whole grain crustini bun with some spinach and light garlic mayo and had a side of grilled purple cabbage*.

Not quite as good looking as mine

Not quite as good looking as mine

It all was so wonderfully indulgent and delicious and to be perfectly honest, if I had made two fish burgers I probably would have eaten two fish burgers because it was just.that.good.  (Okay, just want to say here that I really wouldn’t have eaten two fish burgers, I’m just trying to emote here how darn good my dinner was.)

*By the way, cabbage is delicious raw or cooked and has an abundance of health benefits including being packed with fiber and vitamins and potassium.  I often chop some up and eat it when I’m craving something sweet or crunchy or snacky.

Let me just say this, my dinner tonight was better and obviously more nutritious than any fish burger and side I could get at a restaurant (especially a fast food restaurant).  So, the next time you’re craving an indulgent, try making your own healthier version of it.

~Fit Fish Bitch 😉