The Grocery List Makeover

groceryRoutine can be a hit or miss when it comes to someone’s diet. It might be the one factor that keeps your diet in check to stick to what you know, but sticking to the same old same old might be take a huge toll on your health. One thing that I’ve noticed in my personal diet is that I constantly end up eating the same foods. This hasn’t been brought up to my attention as a fault in my eating until my nutrition professor talked about how lack of variety is depletion of nutrients. Although it seems like a simple concept, it really clicked that our bodies need so much nutrients from a wide range of foods and we can only consume so much variety in one day, that’s why it is so important to switch up what we eat on a day to day basis. You may be sticking to health foods and that’s not the problem, the problem is sticking to the same healthy foods.

 

How to give your grocery list a makeover:

  • Ask yourself: are your “staple” items really staples?:
  • We deem certain food items as “staples” and it makes sense to have some basic food items that you feel are crucial for different recipes. It took me a while to admit that my weekly tub of hummus is not necessarily a staple item.
  • Shop according to a new recipe:
  • Look up a recipe that you have never tried before and enter the store with that recipe in mind. Often I find myself gravitating to the same foods simply because I don’t know what I would do with other food items, but if you come with a plan of attack you can quickly learn how to cook and use new foods.
  • Go through the motions and then don’t do them:
  • Observe yourself go through the grocery store just as you normally would. For me this means I would walk into the produce section, grab a tub of spinach, avocados and some sweet potatoes. But since I want to switch it up I would stop before actually putting this items in my cart and decide how I want to change it up, so instead this may mean asparagus, tomatoes, and spaghetti squash.
  • Aim for at least ⅓ of your list to routine items: Similar to number one, addressing staple items, check the ration of items you recognize and ones you don’t. Make sure that while you might have some routine items, the majority of your cart is brand new.
  • Shop according to My Plate: Sometimes we get so used to the foods we like that we don’t even prioritize balance the food groups. Make your list into sections of food groups and list the items that go under that food group. For instance: Carbohydrates: Brown rice, Sweet Potatoes, Whole wheat bread etc.

You might be a healthy eater, but being the same healthy eater might not be healthy at all. So switch it up, try something new and expand your grocery list horizon.

 

It’s a good day to have a good one.

-Alena Purpero

From Jessica to Daisy (Dukes of Hazzard Workout)

Pic for Blog- Dukes of Hazzard

The phrase ‘hard work pays off’ has to be one of the most spot on phrases when it comes to the fitness world. Working hard, eating right and getting enough sleep every day does the body wonders. Go ahead and listen to all of the success stories around the world, but the one that can truly put the phrase into perspective is Jessica Simpson in The Dukes of Hazzard. Now we may not all have the motivation of your body being shown on 50-ft Cinema movie screens around the world, but it is a prime example of how with the correct mindset, anything is possible.

Jessica Simpson spent weeks and weeks in the gym working hard and eating right for the role. “When I found out I got the role, I went straight to the gym,” says Jessica. Jessica also had the luxury of a personal trainer working with her every single day. She went on a workout regimen from her trainer, Mike Alexander, which consisted of squats, running, and other weight-resistance exercises to overall lean Jessica out and tone her up. She worked out for nearly two hours every single day to get in the best shape of her adult life.

She strayed away from carb-loaded foods like bread and her favorite sweet, banana pudding. Her trainer called the diet she went on a ‘don’t eat crap diet’ which pretty much was a lower carb, higher protein diet consisting of a lot of grilled chicken, fish and fresh, green vegetables. When Jessica cheated in her diet she found herself immediately resenting that she did and made herself work twice as hard the next day in the gym and added new exercises, extra sets, or extra running. “I watched my diet and was in the gym to walk proud,” she says. “My body is definitely an accomplishment.”

The trainer she had practically lived with her during the close to three months she trained for her part in the movie. He ate with her during ever meal she ate, told her what was okay to order, and told her what to stay away from. He also released the exercises on a website I found, including why he had her do each exercise.

Getting Simpson into Daisy Duke shape “was never about fat loss,” says her trainer Michael Alexander. “She never once stepped on a scale. It was about taking on a different shape.” Simpson would start her 2-hour sessions with a 5-minute jogging warm-up, then weight-resistance exercises and 30 minutes “booking it” on the treadmill, says Alexander. He describes key moves for her legs, rear and upper body:

• BODY-WEIGHT SQUATS: Stand with hands clasped in front of you. Do 25 reps for 2 or 3 sets. These will firm your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

• FORWARD LUNGES: Step forward and back, alternating feet, to tone your quads and glutes. Do 8 to 10 reps for 2 to 3 sets.

• REVERSE LUNGES: For a glutes and hamstrings workout, step back off a short box or step 14 times on each leg. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

• TRAVELING LUNGES: Walk across a room doing lunges with a straight back leg. (You should be leaning forward slightly so your head is in line with your back leg.) This works out every muscle from your waist down.

• PRONE-KNEELING LEG EXTENSION: Get on your hands and knees and have your spine straight, hands below the shoulders and knees below the hips. Bring one leg up, creating a straight line from head to toe (do not point toe). Alternate legs for 10 reps for 3 sets for a firm behind.

• BICEP CURLS FROM A LUNGE POSITION: Stand in a lunge position so that your back leg is on the ball of your foot. Holding dumbbells in each hand, do 18 bicep curls for 3 sets. This position also works out your abs.

• LATERAL RAISE FROM A LUNGE POSITION: Immediately after the bicep curls, switch legs in the lunge position and raise your arms straight out to either side while holding dumbbells. Do 18 reps for 3 sets. This tones your deltoids.

When people see movies like The Dukes of Hazzard, they see movie stars like Jessica Simpson and see how perfect she looks on and off screen during this time. It was literally her job to look as good as she possibly could for the time that she was recorded. She put in hours on top of hours with a personal trainer/nutritionist following her every move to make sure she was going to be able to look the way she wanted, and would punish herself for ever mistake she would make with eating or drinking. Once the movie was over, she took a break from working out too because of how hard she worked herself! Remember this when you try and compare yourself to someone like her or any movie star you see. You can always put in the work, but you just have to remember what they went through as well. Let them be your motivation and remember…

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess

Have Your Ice Cream, and Your Diet Too

Pic for Blog- Have Your Ice Cream, and Your Diet TooDo you love ice cream? Do you spend your time daydreaming about its creamy texture and rich flavor? Is your mouth currently watering thinking about that very first bite of deliciousness? Even in the coldest of winter months will you drive to the store to buy some ice cream, because you just can’t resist? If this sounds like you, listen up; there may just be hope for us ice cream lovers to have our ice cream…and our diet too.

The number one down fall to loving ice cream, besides being potentially dairy sensitive, is that it may seem hard to eat it without ruining your diet. Well if you simply can’t go on without ice cream in your life (me), you may find these tips helpful for at least managing your love.

First, lets start off with the obvious, portion control. Going to the grocery store and buying a gallon of ice cream may seem like a fantastic idea, but it’s a diet killer. Ideally you’d bring that bad boy home and eat a small bowl then put it in the freezer, but we all know seconds are only a spoonful away. Save yourself from the temptation and pass on the large buckets. Buying a pint size of ice cream isn’t a whole lot better. Although it may seem tiny, it can actually pack 4 servings of ice cream into that container. Eating a pint of ice cream in one sitting isn’t that hard to do either, so your best option is going to an ice cream place or restaurant and buying a single scoop. Not only will this allow you to have a proper portion of ice cream, but also once you leave the store half the temptation leaves with you. Out of site, out of mind.

My next tip is being wise about your toppings. If you find yourself in a situation where a bowl of ice cream is the only option, try adding some fruit to that bowl and give your body some vitamins! Blueberries are a super fruit and can offer tons of health benefits. For more info on that check out this article. If you’re not into eating fruit with your ice cream, sprinkle some dark chocolate shavings for a sweet taste and extra boost of antioxidants.

Next up, be aware of what you are putting into your body. Some store bought ice creams are loaded with tons of ingredients that you may not even be able to pronounce. Try sticking with the ice creams that have simple ingredients like milk, eggs, and sugar. Hagen Das 5 would be a great example of this, they offer ice creams made up of five ingredients found in the typical fridge. The more aware you are with what you are putting in your body, the better.

My last tip is to try an alternative. I know this kind of defeats the purpose of eating real ice cream but hear me out! Last year I bought a Yonana maker, and absolutely love it! It makes ice cream out of frozen bananas. You can add other ingredients such as chocolate or frozen fruits, but all you truly need are frozen bananas. It tastes slightly different than real ice cream, but if you’re serious about sticking to your diet, this option will trick that sweet craving into thinking you’re eating sweets! For more info on where to purchase a Yonana maker click here!

I hope this helped you realize there may be hope for us ice cream lovers after all!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Mary Marren

A Vegetarian’s Guide to Protein

Pic for Blog- Protein for VegetariansAs a vegetarian for only a year now you’d think that being asked about my diet choice has yet to get repetitive. However, I am now used to being asked about why and how I’m a vegetarian, (sometimes more than once by the same people). When I’m asked why I’m a vegetarian I simply explain how it’s a step in the right direction to make my diet full of natural, plant-based food from the earth (and perhaps avoiding meat hanging at market stands while on a trip to Cambodia was a contributing factor as well). Whatever your reason is for being a vegetarian, you’ve probably been pitched the question, that is: “but…how do you get protein?” I’ve gotten this numerous times (even got put on the spot by my biology professor during a lecture…not an ideal situation). So if you are a vegetarian, thinking about being a vegetarian, or simply want to understand the diet of a vegetarian, here is how we do it:

Quinoa: This is the first answer I spit out when given the ol’ protein question, (except of course when I was called on in the middle of lecture and was too put on the spot to give an sufficient answer.) For those of you who do not know, quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is a pseudo grain. The title “pseudo grain” is pretty misleading because technically it is a seed, so it’s also gluten free! This is an important staple to my diet because it’s one of the few plant proteins that have the 9 essential amino acids all by itself, without combining with complementary proteins. One cup of quinoa has 24 grams of protein!

  • Cook yourself a big batch in the beginning of the week and store the rest in a container to reheat throughout the week! Eat it with either veggies stirred in, avocado, eggs, or chick peas! You can also eat it like you would oatmeal, drizzle some honey on top, throw banana slices on top and sprinkle on some cinnamon!

Nuts and seeds: Almonds in particular offer the most protein compared to other tree nuts. As far as seeds go, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds offer a lot of protein as well! You can eat them alone as a snack or add them to your food! Aside from the fact that they are an easy source of protein, they are also good for our heart, support cognitive function and keeps our blood sugar in check.

Eggs: Eggs are still a part of most vegetarians’ diet. The exclusion of eggs falls under the category of Vegan rather than vegetarian. One egg has 6 grams of protein, so if you make yourself a 2 egg omelet with perhaps a side of veggies and quinoa, you’re off to a protein packed start of your day!

Soy beans: Another huge source of protein! One cup of soy beans contains 68 grams of protein, which is over the average person’s daily intake of protein. Soy beans also contain the 9 essential amino acids, so they are sufficient substitute to meat, which is why tofu is used instead of meat!

If you are a vegetarian yourself, I hope you learned something new about plant protein! If you are just curious about how vegetarians get by, I hope you learned that we don’t just live off of grilled cheese sandwiches. Even If you are a carnivore, add some of these proteins to your diet!  They are healthy and accessible!

“It’s a good day to have a good one!”

-Alena Purpero