Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Paleo-like Spiced Pancakes

I do not follow a Paleo diet.  Instead, I use it as a guide since it helps me eat whole foods.  The Paleo diet is a way of eating that is supposed to resemble what humans ate during the Paleolithic Era.  There were no processed foods and really there wasn't agriculture so the foods available to eat were hunted and gathered.  I like that it goes back to the basics.  For many people with autoimmune disease, Paleo diets seems to help with symptoms.  I don't have an autoimmune disease so I continue to eat legumes and wheat but I do limit the amount.  

I call my pancakes Paleo like because I added chia seeds and I used a dollop of plain yogurt.  Why add chia seeds? They are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acid (ALA).  They have protein, fiber B vitamins, calcium and iron so they are a perfect nutrition boost to many meals. 

Ingredients: ( serves 2)
2 eggs
2 small bananas
1 Tbs chia seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

Heat pan with 1 tsp coconut oil.  Blend egg and banana and spices until smooth.  Add chia seeds.  Add the batter to the hot pan just as you would making regular pancakes.  Heat for a few minutes ...they don't bubble the way regular pancakes do.  Flip and heat until golden.  

I think they are more crepe like than pancake like but either way they were good.  I had to share them with my boys!  I also served it with an egg so that I had a total of 2 eggs -- a complete protein for the 21 Day Fix.  The pancakes would be 1/2 red, 1 purple and 1/2 orange container. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Someone posted a recipe for Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken Breast.  It looked delicious.  But it also looked calorie laden.  I am always making healthier versions of recipes I see.  So this is my version of Jalapeño Popper Chicken. 

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup quick oats

2 oz of cheddar (I use full fat, to reduce the fat feel free to use reduced fat if that is your thing)

2 oz of goat cheese (you can use Neufchatel cheese (like a low fat cream cheese).  I used it for my boy's chicken but I opted for goat cheese for mine and hubby's since it was the same calories/fat but it has more protein and I like the tang)

2 Tbs jalapeños, diced. I use fresh roasted but you can use pickled or fresh

1/3 tsp coconut oil or olive oil

The original version used bread crumbs, eggs, way more cheese.  Yes, I am sure it was delicious but really, all of that was unnecessary.  My chicken has less fat, calories and still tastes delicious!  

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. First split your chicken breasts in half and pound them thin.  But not too thin that they tear.    I like to use a piece of saran wrap when I pound the chicken to prevent splatter. 

In a small dish spread the mustard and in another dish add the oats. Oil your baking dish.  A little goes a long way so I only use about 1/3 Tbs and spread with a pastry brush. 

Take your first piece of chicken and add about 1/5th of the cheddar and 1/4th of the goat/Neufchatel cheese and 1/2 Tbs of the jalapeños.  Use more if you like.  You do not want to over stuff your chicken since it will leak out when cooking.  Carefully roll up the chicken and dip all sides into the mustard.  You do not taste the mustard after cooking but it helps the oats stick without added fat.  Then press oats onto all sides of the rolled chicken and place in baking dish.  It won't be all covered.  But you don't need it to be all covered.  Just a little bit of oats add flavor and texture. You can add toothpicks to keep it closed if your chicken does not overlap.  I was able to place the chicken with the overlapping side face down.  They were fine. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.  I place the remaining cheddar on top of each of the rolled chicken breasts about 10 minutes before its done.  Cook for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees.  Cook it unit it reaches the appropriate internal temperature. If you want it to brown more, you could even broil it for a bit.

This has 217 calories, 10 grams of fat (only half saturated), 8.5 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein. 

I usually don't count calories or fat.  I follow the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan or the P90X3 nutrition plan as a guid and I know I don't have to count calories, points or weigh anything and it keeps me with appropriate ratio of nutrients. This recipe works with the 21 Day Fix too.  It works out to be 1 Red, 1 Blue, then roughly 1/2 Yellow and I don't count the teaspoon because it is split over 4 servings but you could say about 1/2 teaspoon if you are being very careful.  I do not use cooking spray but if that is your thing, you can spray the pan instead. 

I served this with roasted veggies: sweet potatoes and beets and some broccoli (frozen, not fresh).  So I had 1 Yellow (I filled just under since I used oats) and 1 Green. I know the beets didn't really go with this meal...but I have a lot of them from my CSA and needed to use them up....and I love beets!

I will admit, mine does not look at beautiful as the one in the original post but my family loved it.  Well, my 9 year old didn't love it but he ate it. You could skip the goat cheese/Neufchatel and just use cheddar for kids and even leave out the peppers if they don't like them!  Feel free to add a teaspoon of salsa inside instead! He just wasn't into dinner since he was waiting to watch the last Harry Potter movie.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Project Six Pack 2015

I am a somewhat competitive person but I don't compete with other people.  Instead, I compete with myself.  I'm always looking at ways to improve.  It might be trying to do an additional pull up or beating my time in a race.  Last summer/fall I worked really hard to sub-2 a Half Marathon and I did it! I came close in my Half in the Maple Leaf in September 2:03 but that was an exceptionally hilly course.  I rocked my Half in October with 1:54:32.

I have a few goals for 2015 that will push me beyond my comfort zone.  I will run in an Ultra Relay Race in May-- 200 miles split between 6 people instead of 12 people and a Full Marathon in October. One more goal that I am working on this year is to get better definition in my abs. I won't call it a 6 pack but maybe a 3 pack.  My abs are strong but not really defined.  I recruited my husband for this challenge as well because who doesn't want strong cut abs?  I am calling this challenge #projectsixpack2015 !

Let me be honest.  This is not going to be an easy challenge. I have been called a machine many times and I can push through many workouts.  But abs are made in the kitchen not the gym.  To be successful I will really have to be honest about what I am eating. I'll also be honest, I am not sure I have what it takes.  It takes sacrifice that I may not be willing to give.  I love wine and won't give it up entirely.  This is going to be a problem for me.  I'll be able to limit what I drink even more than what I do now, but will it be enough? I don't know.  Red wine might be heart healthy but it is not six pack friendly!

I've already cut out a lot of processed foods but on occasion I am tempted. But I know I can't have any sweets and junk food and I think I can do it.  It will be hard since running fuels my cravings for chocolate.  I'll have to work through that and find alternatives.  What has me concerned are other foods like grains, pasta, fruit. I've read that a lot of people need to eliminate them in order cut the fat from their abs.  I don't eat a lot of pasta but I don't want to eliminate it either. Same thing for grains and fruit.  As a runner, these foods have been helpful in refueling.  

In the next weeks and months I'll report on my progress and what has been working and what hasn't been working.  I will also report on hubby's progress.  That might be a bigger challenge....we'll see.  

Here are photos taken on day 1: January 1, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

Carrot Cake Bites

Someone I know posted a link to this recipe from Joy McCarthy.  I didn't have all of the ingredients so I modified, as usual.  I never follow a recipe exactly.  You can check out the link to the original recipe to see how I modified it.  These came out great.  A sweet but healthy treat to give you a little energy boost either midmorning or mid afternoon! 

3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut, divided 1/2 C and 1/4 C
6 dates (Medjool preferred but I used Deglet)
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C pecans
1 large carrot grated
1/4 C chia seeds
1/4 C honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 heaping teaspoon apple pie spice (or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves)

Place all ingredients except 1/4 C of coconut into a food processor.  Process until combine and almost  like a grainy paste.  Form into balls and rolled into coconut and cinnamon.  Place on a baking sheet and chill in refrigerator over night or for at least a few hours. I like to pop them in the freezer for about an hour and then transfer to a pyrex container.  These lasted a few days in my fridge...I took 1-2 for a snack to work and sent 2 with my 9 year old son a few times for his snack at school.  They were also perfect burst of energy about 20 minutes before a workout!  They might have lasted longer in the fridge but we ate them before we could find out.  If you think you'll have them longer, pop them in the freezer to store instead.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Winter Running with P90X3 Month 2

I really dislike when blogger loses my work.  For some reason when I saved as draft and closed out of my post, it really didn't save.  So I have to rewrite what I've written over the past 3 weeks.  Ugh!

Anyway, this month was the second month of P90X3 and it is also a challenge month for me.  My Beachbody team is participating in a challenge the month of December.  Workout every day and drink our Shakeology and get great results. I've been doing great following the program and I've been pretty good following the meal plan.  Christmas cookies make it more challenging. :-)

One of the workouts in month two is Upper Eccentric.  In this workout we pretty much work the entire upper body including chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps.  The key to this workout is the eccentric motion, or working the negative.  So for example, if you do a bicep curl you would go slow when you uncurl your arm -- that is the negative.   This gets tough when you are doing all sorts of push-ups and pull ups as well as rows, flys, presses and kickbacks.

Triometrics is another new workout this month.  And let me tell you, it is one of my favorites!!  You do each move with three different intensities.  It isn't so much that the move is repeated, but morphed making it harder each time.  It isn't a cardio workout but my heart rate was up there and I worked up a sweat.  I feel this workout the next day! Here are the moves.

Here are the moves you'll see in the Triometrics workout:
Calf raise squats, the duper skater, frog jumps, warrior 3 squat, speed skater, superman lunge, sumo kick, run stance squats, iso squats, slater squat, duper 2, jack squats, hell's chair and kablam!

Month 2
Week 1

Monday: Upper Eccentric
Tuesday: 3 miles on the treadmill and Triometrics.  My friends bailed on me so I couldn't run outside.
Wednesday: Yoga X3
Thursday: Rest day. I was so sick. A nasty cold was going around.
Friday: Decided to take one more rest day to kick the cold.
Saturday: Incinerator and Eccentric Lower
Sunday: 8 mile run outside and MMX

Week 2
Monday: Upper Eccentric
Tuesday: 5 miles outside
Wednesday: 2 miles on the treadmill and Triometrics
Thursday: 1 mile on the treadmill and Yoga
Friday: 1 mile on the treadmill and Incinerator
Saturday: 10 mile run outside and Eccentric Lower -- keep your hard days hard
Sunday: MMX

Week 3
Monday: 1 mile on the treadmill Upper Eccentric
Tuesday: 6 miles outside
Wednesday: 1 mile on the treadmill and Triometrics
Thursday: 5.15 mile run outside in the morning and Yoga in the evening
Friday: Lower Eccentric
Saturday: 12 mile run outside
Sunday: Incinerator and MMX

Week 4 means Transition week in Block 2.  Transition week is not a rest week.  It is not as intense as the past 3 weeks and includes more stretching but it is not a rest.  Isometrix is similar to yoga.  In this workout you hold poses, many from yoga, for 45 seconds.  Some poses include variations of plank, and chair.  These require you to concentrate and engage your core in order to hold the pose.

Week 4
Monday: 5.06 mile run outside and Isometrics
Tuesday: Dynamix
Wednesday: 4.08 mile run outside
Thursday: 6 mile run outside
Friday: 4.52 mile run outside, Accelerator and Pilates
Saturday: 10 miles
Sunday: CVX and Yoga X

It was a good month and I made some good gains.  I can do more non-modfied push ups then ever before and I can do 4 unassisted pull-ups.  They may not be pretty but I can do them.

Stay tuned for my last month.  I will be running less in January since I am taking a little break before my Ultra Relay training starts in February.  I am Captain of the Ultra Crazy Castletonians Ultra Ragnar Relay Team for Cape Code Ragnar in May.  I plan on finishing up with P90X3 and run a few low mile runs a week and then start increasing my mileage in February and cross train with Les Mills Pump.

If you are interested in purchasing P90X3 or any of the Beachbody programs or Shakeology, check out my site,  I provide free coaching when you order through my site.  You also get bonus DVDs when you order through my site rather than directly through Beachbody or Amazon.

I'd love to hear how you are incorporating P90X3 into your running routine.  Share your experiences!!