Category Archives: Intermittent fasting

Are mini salads the start to significant weight loss? 

It’s happened to all of us I think, whether work gets too busy so you decrease your workouts, maybe the birth of his child leads you to sleep less so work out less, or you put on those “I’m in love” pounds. 

However we get there, all of a sudden we realize we’re suddenly five or 10 pounds overweight!

I think the real success is the realization that you did gain five or 10 pounds. Because at that point, it’s doable.  It can be caught and tended to. 

One thing I did was start eating one small salad, extra, a day. And what I did was a few things: regulated my taste buds, made me crave less sugar fat or salt, added fiber to my diet so I felt more full, and reminded me that I needed to watch what I was eating. The salad looked a little something like this:


I think the trick is to make it small, very easy to make, very minimal ingredients, so that you can make it fast and it’s not a huge thing. 

All I did was chop up half a head of romaine and a quarter of a pepper.


And then I made the dressing: Half a teaspoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, dried Greek seasoning, a teaspoon of fresh salsa, and a quarter teaspoon of turmeric/salt.

That’s it! 

I found a little container that keeps the dressing separate from the salad and keeps the salad cool. It’s good I like it for a small salad, but any container will do.


Would you add a small salad to your diet every day for a week? Have you before? Do you think it’s a good idea or not?

xxSerena

How I felt after my morning goji berry tea

I had a great morning, visiting and staying with my brother in Montreal this week.

He’s got loads of healthy food so I tried Goji berry tea for the very first time.

It was so easy to make, just took an ounce or two of goji berries put them in a mug and put some warm to hot water on top.


The tea was good, the goji berries became softer as they sat in the hot water, and I have to say I really do feel different! I feel good, energized! My skin is tingling, and I feel like I got some energy. I drank this in the morning, fasted, and soon we will go out to brunch. 

Here are some benefits:


xxSerena

Turkey muffins

With less than 8% fat, about 22g of protein in a serving of 100g, for my macros, turkey muffins were a perfect lunch idea.

When I made them yesterday I can’t begin to tell you how amazing the aroma was steaming out of the oven. I ate this over spinach and with roasted sweet potato.

Ingredients:

500g (1 package) extra lean ground turkey
1 red bell pepper chopped into tiny squares
1/2 red onion also chopped into tiny squares
1 egg
2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce for chicken
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Maille Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° before preparation
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  3. Drop turkey mixture into silicone molds
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven off and let muffins set for an additional 20 minutes in warm oven.
  5. Serve with steamed vegetables, spinach, sweet potato or rice.


I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed these muffins! Finally, delicious turkey that was moist, flavorful  and a great lean protein that goes with other healthy options.

I will definitely be making these many more times again this year! How do you cook with ground turkey or chicken?

xxserena

Flat abs in 5! 

I like this sequence since it’s short and effective. But remember – consistency is key. So this is not a workout to do one time for five minutes.

Try adding this onto your regular work out every day or do this every day for five minutes and feel yourself get stronger as you move through the week!


Will you be trying this today?

xxSerena 

Marinating organic chicken breasts meal prep

I finally found a pack of organic chicken breasts at Costco. 


I decided to divide the pack into three. Two chicken breasts per freezer ziplock bags. 

I washed them, dried them and marinated the first two in freshly dried basil, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 


Chicken breasts are versatile since you can eat them or cook them so many different ways. I will share with you the other two marinades in future blog posts.

For the basil, extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar marinade I decided to pan fry the breasts after marinating for eight hours.

Then I served over chopped greens and a quinoa kale mixture.


I made an extra serving for lunch at work the next day.


It was good. Next time I will add half an avocado and a extra drizzle of balsamic for more healthy fat and flavour. 

What’s your favourite marinade for chicken breasts? Look for future blogs to see how I marinated the other two servings! 

xxSerena 

Stuffed baked portobello mushrooms recipe

I love stuffed mushrooms. Mushrooms hold stuffing really well and to be honest I love stuffed fish, stuffed cabbage, stuffed pastry, the list goes on and on. I like something delicious inside  something already delicious! Anyways I’ll stop the ramble before this gets off-topic. Back to my stuffed Portobello mushrooms.

Stuffed baked Portobello mushrooms ready to enjoy, hot out of the oven. Photography by Serena Alibhai
This recipe makes two stuffed mushrooms. For a dinner of two you can serve this as the main course along with a side of salad, pasta or potatoes.

Ingredients:

2 portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the stuffing:

2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano
Half teaspoon hemp heart seeds
Half a small red onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon fresh salsa
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Fry onion with salt and oil for five to 8 minutes until lightly browned.
  2. In a bowl combine yogurt, Parmesan, hemp seeds, salsa and cooked onions.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Fill portobello mushroom caps. Place a tiny bit of olive oil under each mushroom cap before placing on cookie sheet or foil.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes.

Portobello mushrooms. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai

Stuffed. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai

Stuffed and baked. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai

Tender, great flavor and delicious. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai
They were delicious. And very filling. Check out this link for some nutritional facts for portobello mushrooms:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/9170/2

Do you like mushrooms? Have you ever made stuffed mushrooms? How do you make them?

xxSerena

A beautiful and nutritious yogurt bowl

Food should look as good as it is nutritious for your body. Choosing the beautiful ripe fruit to add to your yogurt bowl can help make breakfast, snack or any meal more enjoyable.

Yogurt is nutritious on it’s own:

  
Think about eating a rainbow of colors.

 

Eat the rainbow for breakfast. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
Choose fruit instead of simple white sugar.

 

Yogurt bowl with fruit. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
The more colorful the more antioxidants, the more nutritious. And consequently, the more delicious.

 

Kiwi fruit. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
  
Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
How do you make your favorite yogurt bowl?

xxSerena 

Intermittent fasting help: “I’m too hungry to fast at night!”

Just a reminder about what intermittent fasting is: you aren’t cutting calories. You’ve already calculated your BMI and BMI so you know how many calories you need to eat every day to achieve your goal of either losing weight, maintaining it or gaining weight.

You don’t cut calories when you are doing intermittent fasting! You are simply eating your daily calories within an 8-hour window of time.

For example, if you start eating at 12 noon, you stop eating at 7 p.m. You don’t eat after 7 p.m. and when I started this was my personal schedule. I would work out at about 11 a.m., eat at noon or one and stop eating (begin my “fast”) between 7 or 8 p.m.

So for those of you who are used to late night snaking this poses a problem! What if you get WAY too hungry at night to stick to the intermittent fasting eating window and fasting times?

Here are some of my personal tips and hints to curb the appetite late at night:

  1. Drink water.

Now I know some of you will scoff at this. But try this first. Hunger is often disguised as thirst and remember, you are allowed to drink water, in fact encouraged to drink water during intermittent fasting periods.

 

Make sure you drink enough water. It’s a good idea to carry around a handy-dandy water bottle. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto

2.  Eat nutrient dense foods during the day.

These are foods that pack a nutritional punch and fill you up. They are foods like vegetables, oatmeal, whole grains, fruit. Vegetables and fruit have skin which contains vitamins and fibre that keep the body healthy and full. Same with fruit. Whole grains contain the husk, which contains vitamins and also more fibre. This will help curb your appetite at night.

 

Choose nutrient dense foods like fruits and vegetables. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto

 

Fighting directly from the farmer is best. You can also buy organic fruit & vegetables in the store. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto

3.  Don’t forget to eat your calories!

No restrictions! Eat all of the calories you are allotted. If you want to gain an advantage, focus on making those calories good clean food, plant based foods, not processed, try and cook at home. There are so many healthy, inexpensive delicious meals that can be prepared in your own kitchen.

 

Eat enough calories and enjoy your food. photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto 

Remember, giving your digestive system a rest helps the body perform other important functions like muscle repair, immunity and neuron support. Allowing time for your food to digest is healthy.

What do you think? Do you eat a lot of food at night before you go to sleep?

xxSerena

Tomato pimento cheese sandwiches

Post workout can feel that you want to eat big, high protein and high carb. 

Today after my post workout fitness class, I taught a Tred n shred class at the gym, I was craving tomato and cheese sandwiches.

So I bought some bread that was relatively high in protein and fiber:

  
You can use any kind of sliced cheese. I used the pimento cheese that I make. I wrote a blog about it, so check it out. Cheese on both sides of the bread. Tomato in the middle.

   
 The trick to slicing the tomatoes is to do it thinly. And season your tomatoes with salt and pepper:

  
And voilà! A great post workout vegetarian sandwich. Tomato and pimento cheese on whole grain bread.

  
What are some of your favorite vegetarian sandwiches? What is your favorite version of a tomato and cheese sandwich?

xxSerena

Can drinking soup help you lose weight?

Soup and salad seem to be those side foods, don’t they? We don’t take them seriously. They aren’t mains. They’re a ‘by-the-way’ kind of afterthought like that hard roll we may or may not eat. Kind of like previews to the movie. Not totally satiating but more mildly interesting – sometimes good but mostly just watery stuff that needs more salt or pepper.

I’ve been drinking various soups all week and I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying it.

 

Cream of cauliflower soup. Photography by Serena Alibhai

   
Certain soups, however, are high in fat-burning veggies, the broth contains the vitamins and minerals needed to help fight disease and ever notice how much soup can fill you up?

Recent research shows that eating soup can curb appetite, making you feel full faster. It’s also a good way to get in nutrient dense foods, those foods that are high in nutrients per calorie. Much different from simple foods that may be high in sugar, simple carbs like white flour, oil or salt. Those foods are high on immediate flavor but once they satisfy your tongue aren’t doing much for all the complex processes your body needs nutrients to perform.

How can you make a basic delicious vegetable soup?

Start with a base of spices and veggies to set the flavor foundation. So in a large pot cook dry spices or herbs of your choice with diced onion, carrot and celery. The spices I like are dry crushed thyme, black peppercorns, a bay leaf, a small stick of cinnamon, a couple of cloves, a couple of cardamom pods, salt, pepper, celery salt, garlic pepper or herbs de Provence. Then add about two liters of cold filtered water and a vegetable or chicken bullion (stock or flavor) cube.

Then add what veggies you like such as chopped broccoli, diced squash, cauliflower, spinach, etc. Here are some more ideas of what you can add to your nutrient dense healthy vegetable soup:

Powerhouse-Fruits-and-Veggies

The higher the nutrient density score on that list, the higher the nutrients per calorie of food. But everything on that list is super nutrient dense and if you’re eating a grapefruit a day then you’re on your way to increasing nutrient dense healthy foods into your diet! I always remember a conversation I overheard I heard once in a busy ferry station on the way to Staten Island. A very lean and muscular fitness trainer was telling the guys who worked at the snack store about healthy eating habits. I always remember he said “Oh and I do this – Eat a grapefruit every day!” A citrus fruit high in antioxidants and vitamin C, in my opinion, is a great addition to any diet.

I’ve been choosing to add more soup and salad to my diet this week and I notice how much better it makes me feel. It’s less heavy than many of the “main” options, easy to make and I notice how full I get as opposed to when I eat more sugary/doughy foods, which after eating, I feel like still eating!

Do you like soup and salad? What kinds? Would you consider having a soup or salad as a main course at least once a week or do you already eat that way?

xxSerena