Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spinach Whole Wheat Lasgna

One of America’s favorite comfort foods is lasagna. However, the standard lasagna being composed primarily of carbs and fatty cheese makes it a waistline nightmare. Try this new twist, not only is it healthier, but also tastier!

Serves: 10-12

  • 1 box whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa pasta noodles (no need to cook)
  • 3 jars of sauce (Newman’s Own, Trader Joes, Classico…look for low sugar and no preservatives)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c parmasean
  • 3 c shredded low fat mozzarella
  • 1 c reduced fat ricotta
  • 1 c chopped spinach
  • 2 c spinach leaves
  • 4 chicken sausages (look for low fat, low sodium verisions)
  • 1 box sliced mushrooms
  • 1 sliced yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 3 large sliced tomatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat a large fry pan on medium high. Cook sausage thoroughly. Slice when cooked fully.
  3. In a food processor or blender create filling, mix ricotta, chopped spinach, crushed garlic, egg and parmesan.
  4. In a large lasagna dish (I prefer the large foil dishes), layer sauce, noodles, layer of veggies (sliced onion, tomatoes, spinach leaves, mushrooms), mozzarella, sauce, noodles, filling mix, sliced chicken sausage, noodles, layer of veggies (sliced onion, tomatoes, spinach leaves, mushrooms), mozzarella, sauce, noodles, reminder of mozzarella and veggies, and sauce.
  5. Cover with foil.
  6. Cook for 1 hour- 1 ½ hours until noodles completely cooked.
  7. Remove from oven. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Cut and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cleanse. Detox. Reset.

Most of us have done or have heard about these master cleanses; diets that claim to drop weight in just a few days!  Diets such as the Hollywood Master Cleanse, Lemonade Diet, Juice Cleanse, Cabbage Soup Diet, and Tea Diet are quick fixes to many people.  These diet promise to increase energy, drop weight, and rid the body of toxins and chemicals. 

These diets can also result in headaches, irritability, dizziness, fatigue, colon damage, diarrhea, dehydration, and join and muscle pain.  Yes these diets do cleanse the body of toxins and chemicals but also cleanse the body of valuable vitamins and minerals, leaving the immune system weak and you often sick. 

Prolonged use or frequent dependency on these diets can lead to calcium loss and a sharp decrease in metabolism (starvation mode). 

Yes these do result in weight loss.  But that weight is actually your lean muscle breaking down; your body now uses that for fuel!  So all that hard work you have put in at the gym was basically a waste!  Plus many individuals binge eat after the completion of these crazy crash diets; leaving you weighing more than you did before the diet.

Additionally, many of these crazy cleanses require you to purchase special vitamins, juices, or packages of the actual detox; a money maker for them and a waste for you.

So basically detox diets are a waste....well not quite.  Fasting has been apart of human history for centuries and actually does have "cleansing benefits".  But they must be done the correct way and for the correct length of time.  Dr. Oz released his 48 Hour Weekend Cleanse a few weeks ago.  This cleanse focuses not on losing weight but on detoxing the liver, colon, and kidneys.  These organs are vital to our survival and to having an efficient digestive system.  His 48 hour cleanse consists of foods that are primarily detoxifying for those specific organs.  This cleanse also eliminates caffeine, preservatives and sugar; all of which are hard your digestive system.

I completed the Dr. Oz cleanse this week and faced a few headaches from the caffeine elimination but overall I slept amazing, my skin look incredible, and my stomach aches vanished.  Moreover, this cleanse has helped me to eliminate late night snacking, sugary cravings, and excessive caffeine.  Basically putting me back on track!  Perfect for after the holidays!  I do recommend you do this on a weekend.  It's fairly a lot of stuff to prepare the first time around and you are tired (lack of caffeine and in the cleansing process your body is finally able to take time to work internally rather than working so hard externally).  So stock up on moves, books, Epsom salts for a warm bath; stay away from Facebook, and minimize the cell phone use.  Make this detox work for not only your body but your mind!

You can find the complete Dr. Oz Cleanse here: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/48-hour-weekend-cleanse

Good luck!  Take care of that body!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Looking for a sweeter breakfast?

This Greek yogurt parfait is the perfect sweet breakfast, dessert, or mid-day snack!  Give it a try and your taste buds will thank you.  This is also a great substitute for that sugar fro yo splurge.

Serves: 1

  • ½ c non-fat plain Greek yogurt (one serving)
  • ¼ c blueberries
  • ¼ c sliced strawberries
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds; shelled
  1. In a bowl layer ¼ c Greek yogurt, blueberries, flax seeds, ginger, remainder Greek yogurt, strawberries, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon.
  2. Enjoy! Simple as that!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Food Journaling

Summer is at an end and the clouds are here but that doesn't mean you don't want to keep that summer body.  Fall and winter bring parties and holidays as well as heavy and sweet foods.  What to do??

Take up food journaling!  Eating is a habit and for some individuals a good habit (with good food choices) and others a bad habit (with bad food choices).

Journal contents:
  1. Time of meal/snack/drink
  2. What you are eating and how much (think portion control with nutritionally dense food rather than calories or points)
  3. What you are drinking and how much (this includes water, sweet drinks, caffeine, alcohol and soda)
  4. Amount of exercise
  5. How you feel at the end of the day emotionally and physically
  6. How you would like to improve tomorrow
  7. Amount of restful sleep (continuous sleep; record if you are tossing and turning)
Is food journaling worth the time?:
  • Accountability- this helps you put that extra cookie down; forcing you to really decide if you need it.
  • Unhealthy patterns and habits- many of us eat in front of the TV, force food down while working on the computer, scarf those tortilla chips and salsa over a table with friends without paying attention to what we are doing, EATING.
  • Lack of fluids- sometimes we feel hungry when we truly are dehydrated.  Pay attention to the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume; each one of those removes that much water from your body.
  • Feelings- this part is so important because so many of us are emotional eaters and don't want to admit it.  Journaling will help you see that.  Once you do, start creating a "safety net"- things to do (other than reaching for the chocolate bar or burger) when you feel stressed, upset, sad, alone, or even happy!
  • Sleep- not getting adequate sleep causes most of us to ingest more sugary carbs or caffeine just to keep those eyes open, make the time (no more- I will sleep when I die).  Some of us struggle with sleep because of what we eat before bed- eating too late, too heavy, too many carbohydrates, too much sugar,  too much caffeine?
  • Nutrition that fits for you- journaling will help you find the eating patterns and habits that work best for your body.  Every individual is different externally and internally; some people operate best on a higher complex carbohydrate diet, others higher protein diet.  Weigh yourself once week; same time, same scale, same clothing. 
After a month go through the journal and find the patterns of eating that work best for you; the days you feel best emotionally and physically.  Think of your diet journal as a means of experimentation with recorded results...obviously searching for the strongest results!  Once you find those results you can let go of the journal; but don't be afraid to begin again if you begin to feel of track....remember life happens and sometimes we need those guidelines to keep us on track.