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I gave up on the Paleo Diet before starting it. It's viewed as "closed minded" by some of my coworkers and clients, but there are aspects of the diet I don't see beneficial to me. I try to eat whole foods, but the cost and restrictive nature of the diet is a turn off.
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I posted this photo on Twitter yesterday, and had several inquiries. What is it, and what's the recipe? It's taco meat over black rice with fresh pico de gallo. It is so easy to make, and very tasty.
How to cook black rice
Measure your rice, add water, swish it around the pot, and roll the grains between your fingers. Rinse. Do this several times. The water will be dark purple.
If you've never made rice (not instant) on the stove top before, once it's rinsed, put fresh water in the pot; covering the rice. Stick your finger in the water. The distance from the rice to the top of the water should be at least up to the first knuckle. Cook the black rice on the stove top on low to low-medium heat.
Cooking time varies so keep an eye on your rice. On the stove top it takes 25 to 30 minutes. My rice pot, a Zojirushi, cooks rice in 40 minutes.
Use quinoa, brown, red or yellow rice if you'd prefer. I love white rice, but not for this dish.
Pico de gallo recipe
1 Bunch celantro
1 Large onion
8 plum tomatoes
Garlic fresh or powder to taste
Black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
2 or 3 limes to taste
As you see, I make pico de gallo on a large scale. My kids and I absolutely love it, so I make enough to get us through any leftover tacos. Even with this amount it is eaten by night's end. Nonetheless, reduce the amounts if you don't need as much.
Begin the pico de gallo as soon as you start the rice. Stripping the cilantro leaves takes time, and you don't want a bowl full of stems. Coarsely chop the cilantro once the leaves are stripped. Chop the onions and tomatoes.
Press the limes against the counter and roll them. This helps release the juice from the membranes. Cut the lime in half and use a lime press for the juice. Toss tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Add juice, garlic, black pepper, and salt to taste.
Ground beef, ground turkey or shredded pork
2 lb. ground beef
One pack taco seasoning
1 cup of water
Once again, cut the beef in half if you don't need as much. Brown your beef. Add water and seasoning. Use the shredded pork or ground turkey if you'd rather.
Make your plate
Once everything is cooked add it to the plate. Start with the rice and beef. Add shredded cheese to taste. I used cheddar cheese, but use what you like or what's on hand. Top with pico de gallo.
Let me begin: I did not weigh the portions of the baked spaghetti squash bowl recipe. The link for the spaghetti squash nutritional data is below. Read your pasta sauce labels if you're use jarred or canned sauce.
Several years ago, I reduced the amount of pasta I eat because of gluten, and because I can't eat a single serving. Although tons of products are gluten free I still prefer to minimize certain grains.
Anyhow, I tried spaghetti squash a few years ago, but I didn't care for it. It had a much better consistency, and texture than I imagined, but I found it very boring.
However, things change, and I decided to give spaghetti squash another shot with some left over meat sauce. I purchased a small to medium spaghetti squash from my local H-Mart. It was just under $7, and made a nice meal out of it.
Spaghetti squash nutritional data
Make and bake your spaghetti squash bowl instructions
I probably should have wiped off the outside of the squash, but now that I think of it, I know I didn't. However, it didn't kill me so I'll just go with the flow.
Hot! Caliente! Chaud!
I can not express this enough, but this bad boy is HOT! when it comes out of the oven. Remove the baking pan carefully, and place the squash bowl on a plate.
Use a fork to separate the "spaghetti" from the rind. It should be tender, but still hold together well. Be careful not to splash yourself with the sauce when pulling it apart.
If you don't eat pasta sauce try topping your spaghetti squash bowl with roasted tomatoes.
The hours we keep can be a downfall to staying nutritionally on track. One of the fastest ways to get derailed is skipping meals and getting overly hungry from the long hours we spend at work.
We've all been there. Too much time passed and now you're ready to eat anything that comes your way. However, missing meals during the day can lead to destructive eating behaviors in the evening.
Fast food restaurants may become a regularity after work because you're too hungry to cook a meal. Even if you make it home you find yourself eating poor food choices, and possibly more than you would usually eat.
However, minimize this eating habit by keeping a cooler in your car. This is not the same lunch bag you use during the day. It's a separate, smaller cooler specifically for your car, to be refilled frequently with non-perishable foods.
Why non-perishable? Although fruits, veggies, yogurts and meats are convenient and healthy snacks, if you leave your cooler in the car on a hot day these foods will rot. You certainly won't be able to eat it, and it will make your car smell horrible--written from experience. Instead, opt for foods to satisfy your hunger long enough to get a healthy meal option.
Water, an essential nutrient, and can stave off hunger for a short period of time if needed. Carry several bottles of water in your car cooler for hunger, or dehydration.
You'll also use it to mix protein powder; which is in your car cooler also.
Carry a snack bag, or two, with protein powder in it. Each bag should contain one serving size of protein. This is anywhere between one scoop and three depending on the type of powder you use.
Then, stuff the baggies into the shaker bottle. There are many types of shaker bottles to buy, but you can also use coffee mugs with a snap lid. 7-Eleven carries them for $1.99 and they make great shaker cups.
There are also shaker cups with separations so that you can carry an extra serving of protein. Many of these shaker bottles are longer, and may take up too much space in your car cooler.
Protein bars and snack bars
Although you don't want bars to replace all your meals; some food is better than no food. Keep several protein, or snack bars in your car cooler for moments when stuck in traffic, or when you need a quick pick-me-up driving through town.
Remember, I'm not talking bout a Snickers bar. Though I love them; it's not what I mean.
Dried fruit has high sugar content, but a single serving won't kill you. It's a good replacement to nip your sweet tooth.
Place single servings into snack bags, or purchase single serving pre-packaged bags to keep in your car cooler.
Seeds and nuts
Big benefits come from seeds and nuts. Seeds and nuts contain healthy fats, and a substantial amount of protein as well as make you feel full. A serving of these with water will get you to your next meal.
I have a bag of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, as well as roasted soy nuts in my cooler. Peanuts and almonds do not sit well with my stomach, but if nuts don't bother you, keep a nut butter in your cooler, too.
Take along nut butters, but don't forget a utensil
Nut butters travel well, and make a healthy snack. It is high in fat and protein, but offers a different consistency to the "whole" nut. It can be eaten alone or paired with a serving of pretzels, or with a protein drink.
Don't forget the utensils though, or you'll look like a Neanderthal eating with your fingers.
Pretzels are easy to carry, and offer few calories when eating in single serving sizes. For example, Classic Pretzel Crisps are baked, and extremely crunchy for a real "snacky" feel. The serving size is 11 crackers with 110 calories. Combine these with one tablespoon of peanut butter (1/2 the serving size) and you have a 210 calorie snack.
What's your favorite hold you over snack?
Everyone has their own ideas on healthy snack foods. If you have one that will last a few days or even a week in your car; throw it in. However, if you're allergic to it; don't eat it. Also, this is to help you get from point A-to-B without stalling out, and not meant to replace your regular meals.
I eat a lot of eggs. A lot. And, I mean the entire egg. I usually eat six a day, but if I eat more I cut back on some of the yolks.
However, I bake my eggs. It's simple, and tasty when right of the stove. They're okay cold, too. However, even if they are just "okay" cold, they pack easily and I can take them to work. They also do well when traveling for bodybuilding shows.
I started doing this because I don't have time in the morning to cook fresh eggs before work. Instead, I cook a dozen at a time in a medium muffin sized pan, and place them in the refrigerator after they've cooled for storing.
How to make baked eggs
Preheat the oven on 375*. Preheat a medium muffin size tin in the oven, also. When hot, remove the muffin tin and spray it with a non-stick spray.
Crack open an egg, and drop into a compartment. Fill all the compartments. Pop the yolks. If you don't pop the yolks they'll cook just the same as a hard boiled egg.
Bake the eggs for 15 to 20 minutes until the eggs are baked to your taste. I like my eggs cooked all the way through so mine cook for nearly 20 minutes.
Make your own egg muffins
These eggs are perfect to make your own "Egg McMuffins." Granted, McDonalds is making a healthier version of the Egg McMuffin, but for anyone who has an aversion to McDonalds this is the easiest way to make your own.
Just add a 1/4 slice of cheese to each egg, as well as one serving of Canadian bacon. Add cheese to the eggs while they're still in the muffin tin so they melt. If you don't like Canadian bacon, use steak, bacon or a sausage patty. *** Choose wisely.
Place your eggs, meat and cheese onto a toasted English muffin for an awesome breakfast sandwich.
Macronutrients based on www.myfitnesspal.com
Although I don't eat many grains due to food allergies I love roasted tomatoes over quinoa. The sweet, tangy flavor of the tomatoes are brought out from roasting, and works great as a side dish even without quinoa.
Normally I make this dish with grape tomatoes, but these are beefsteak tomatoes from Costco. The measurements are not exact since I go by taste. Please remember, these measurements are enough for a family, or for someone who doesn't mind eating left overs.
Ingredients for Roasted Tomatoes
Roasted Tomato Instructions
MacroNutrients from Fitday.com
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Cereal is the tasty food found in almost any household, and every major grocery chain. It lines the shelves from top to bottom, and in some stores, it covers shelving for an entire side of an aisle.
It's main selling point is that it's quick, easy and healthy- or so the box and manufacturers say. Yes, it's true that cereal is quick and easy, but is it really healthy? Particularly when eaten in large quantities?
If you look at cereal for health benefits such getting your daily dose of healthy grains, you may be getting what you want; however, when it comes to portion size; cereal can sabotage any nutrition plan.
How is that?
There are tons of easy no-bake chocolate protein cookies, but they all add extras that I don't want to add to my cookies. Instead I do a super easy chocolate that is great for days when I need extra carbohydrates.
There is no cooking involved what-so-ever. There are only five ingredients, and a very tasty treat to add to a bland diet. Several other no-bake chocolate protein cookie recipes call for coconut chips or vanilla extract, but I want an easy, fast recipe.
Ingredients for no-bake chocolate Protein cookies: 6 to 8 cookies
Instructions: prep time five minutes
Pour oats into a mixing bowl. Mix until semi-moist. Crumble banana into mixture then mash/mix with fork. The oats will begin to stick. Add honey, and protein powder. Pour hot water in a little at a time until reaching your preferred consistency.
Depending on water, the cookies will be moist, or nearly gooey.
Spoon one cookie into Saran wrap, and form the cookie. Tie off Saran wrap and refrigerate. When it's time for a snack; take it along or eat it then.
Baked Alternative and Ingredient additions
After to speaking to a member at my gym about no-bake chocolate protein cookies he wanted to see what they would be like baked; so I did it.
***Baking instructions: Bake on 375* for eight to 10 minutes depending on size.
I like them both ways, and baking them is good if the consistency is too moist. Almond butter, peanut butter or crushed nuts are also a great addition if you don't have a nut allergy.
Please remember the macros listed are for the entire batch of cookies, and not for a single cookie. These numbers were found on www.myfitnesspal.com
Soda has a bad reputation for its sugar content and sabotaging your diet, but there are other drinks that contain nearly as much sugar in each serving as an 8 oz. glass of soda. Commonly, these are drunk with disregard to sugar content. However, sodas are not the only drinks that deserve the reputation for being a diet saboteur. Some of your favorite drinks from smoothies to cocktails are sabotaging your diet one drink at a time.
Grapefruit has been a weight loss aid for decades. It is a popular fruit, but grew more popular when its weight loss properties were exemplified. Grapefruit's fresh, citrus flavor grew to new heights with the Grapefruit Diet, also known as the Hollywood diet, created by Kelly D. Brownell, PhD., in the 1930's.
The premise of the diet is to eat half a grapefruit before every meal to help burn more fat. It combines a low-calorie diet, between 800 to 1000 calories a day, with higher protein and low carbohydrates.