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Monthly Archives: October 2012

As a health conscious (and calorically aware) human, I attempt to watch what I eat and mostly when I eat. I am aware that I should not be eating late at night (never later than 9 pm, some nights I am just so busy that I unfortunately find myself strapped for time to eat before then). I know that I should eat every 3-4 hours – even though that is partially done to be kind to those around me so that they do not have to experience my “hanger”. The question has always been for me, how soon should I eat after working out. I have heard an amalgam of thoughts on this subject. Most importantly, what types of food should I be eating post workout.

My mom is a bit of a nosy parker (sorry Mom, I know that you’re reading this…) and she told me that she wanted to look in to the reasoning behind eating immediately after a workout so that she could fully understand why she should be doing it. That got me thinking that I should look in to it as well. I ran my first 10k race this past weekend (I finished in 1:04:29, which isn’t bad considering that I didn’t really train) and as I partook in the post run bagels and bananas I wondered why there is such an emphasis on eating right after a run. Other than the usual grumblings that you should replenish an empty stomach and that your body simply needs energy. I am more interested in the mechanics/scientific notions behind this widely accepted suggestion. 

When your muscles are worked out, they become torn down and fatigued in order to build new muscle. The glycogen in your body becomes depleted and as a result, your insulin sensitivity is at its very highest. It is important to ingest foods with high amounts of glucose to replenish the supply. This will actually help your recover your muscles and will expedite the process of repairing them (which means that your chances of being sore the next day lessen). Eating protein post workout responds to the breakdown of protein in your muscles and will help protein synthesis to occur faster. 

There is a 30 minute to 1 hour window in which you should eat after a workout. A mixture of protein and carbohydrates have proven to reduce soreness the next day. This combination also helps muscle to build while being negligent of replenishing nutrient sources can actually lead to muscle atrophy. It also improves the storage of glycogen in the liver and muscles. 

If you are worried about carbs, you should know that your metabolism is still going after you have been working out and they are not evil and turned in to fat when they are consumed after a workout. It is also needed to keep your central nervous system functioning.

So let’s put it simply then, you should try to eat a banana, a protein bar, milk, a peanut butter sandwich are all easy and viable options to eat after a workout. Refined sugars should be avoided, as should all the evil sugars like corn syrup!

So that is my wisdom for the day. Check out this action shot of me during my run this past weekend, my face is tomato red and it was raining so I had to wear a rain jacket that was too big for me but it was fun!

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Let me know what you think about my wisdom and be healthy and smart my friends.

Peace. xx.

-H.

I love me some black beans and I adore salsa. I have never tried making salsa before and so I thought that I would go with something relatively quick and simple for my first attempt. There is no cooking involved with this salsa, only chopping and mixing – you don’t even need the food processor! And it is completely vegan!

Recipe Adapted From VeganSheKnows

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked, drained and rinsed black beans
  • 1 cup of cooked frozen corn
  • 2 cloves of pressed garlic
  • Half of a freshly squeezed lime
  • 2 tbsps of dill
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (totally optional)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (I used the Unico can of diced tomatoes but you can use fresh ones)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • Pinch of black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of chilli powder

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sized skillet, cook black beans with 1 tbsp of chilli powder on Medium heat for 5 minutes or until desired texture. Don’t overcook them or else your salsa will be crunchy! (gnarly!)Image
  2. Heat corn in a small saucepan with boiling water for roughly 5-7 minutes until cooked.
  3. Let corn and black beans cool down.
  4. Add all ingredients in a tupperware container. This will make it easy to toss and organically mix all of the ingredients together.Image
  5. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  6. Serve with gluten-free or whole wheat nacho chips.
  7. Enjoy!Image

This salsa was a huge hit with my friends. Plus you get some added protein from the black beans which is more than I can say from regular store bought salsa. I’m trying my best to be more organic and natural in my food decisions and making things from scratch as opposed to the store bought junk just makes me feel so much better. You’ll also get lots of fibre from the corn and black beans, talk about being kind to your digestive system!

Of course you have the option to omit the chilli powder and jalapeno peppers if you’re palette is not ready for too much spice. This was such an easy recipe to make and I sung along to the Jungle Book soundtrack while making it. In honour of that, I will leave you with Baloo:

Let me know how your versions of this salsa turn out!

Peace. xx.

-H.

Let’s be real. We all have cravings. Or at least, I do and usually what I want to eat is bad for me. I think it necessary to indulge every once in a while. You can be disciplined but give yourself the treat that you deserve. It is not a crime to have a cookie if you worked out 5 times during the week. It is not going to sabotage you. There is a fine line between being obsessively regimented and being smart about your healthy eating habits. If you have a healthy lifestyle, then you can probably afford a little treat as long as it is not full of completely unnatural ingredients like corn syrup.

I read this great quote from Laird Hamilton that really resonated with me: “It’s been so long since I have eaten a pancake, I don’t even think about it anymore.”

That really got to me. This week someone brought some donuts in to work and I found myself not even being tempted to eat one. Then I read this quote and it hit me – I haven’t eaten one in so long that I don’t even think about it, or even twice about eating one. If you can cut out those junk foods that are truly awful for you, it is easy to live without them. If I’m going to indulge in junk food, I try to eat the most natural ones that I can. Maybe some frozen yogurt, veggie chips, a grilled cheese sandwich, completely unsalted and unbuttered popcorn or some gluten free nacho chips. If chocolate gives you your fix, here are some guilt-free ways to enjoy it: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4439/4-GuiltFree-Ways-to-Eat-Chocolate.html.

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I try my very best to smart about my indulgences. I definitely like to have a glass of wine and I know that is one thing that I could be better about. But we all have to take baby steps. I am not preaching by any means, preaching is criticism’s best friend. I know that if you take care of your car, you fuel it with premium gas, so why then would you fuel your body with junk?

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On a side note for all of you vegans and vegetarians out there, check out Barnivoreit lists all spirits, wines and beers that are vegan and vegetarian friendly. You would be surprised to know how many aren’t out there.

I will leave you all on this wonderful Friday with a gorgeous quote from John Lennon about fear and love:

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

Peace and have a great weekend. xx.

-H.

As far as lean vegetarian protein is concerned, I love me some beans. I made a delicious (and easy!) white bean dip the other evening. I used gluten-free nacho chips to dip in it and also some of those Mary’s crackers that I previously raved about.

Beans are high in antioxidants, fibre, vitamin B, magnesium and zinc. Other than being good for your digestive system (Bart Simpson did call them the musical fruit after all), the soluble fibre in white beans is a blood sugar stabilizer. Not to mention that they can be pretty delicious and are a great source of protein that both vegans and vegetarians alike can enjoy. Now without further ado, here is the recipe adapted from the Vegan Project:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of white beans (I used the Unico brand)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsps dried rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • lemon juice from 1/2 of a freshly squeezed lemon

Instructions:

  1. Blend everything in a food processor. Or a blender if you are like me and sans a food processor

2. Blend until it is a smooth texture. I would liken it to a hummus consistency.

3. Scoop in to a bowl and enjoy with nacho chips or crackers!

 

Happy eating!

Peace. xx.

-H.

 

 

 

I’ve been searching for new snacks lately, ones that aren’t laden with carbs but will also satisfy my hunger. I’ve been trying raisins, almonds and grapes lately. I am also one of those people who gets hangry (hungry/angry) so it is imperative that I snack so I don’t go postal. I love nuts and trail mix but unfortunately they are quite expensive and I’m not rolling in the dough, if you catch my drift. So I’m strolling through the grocery store the other day and it hits me: Sunflower seeds! First of all, sunflowers are beautiful (just like me, haha…) PLUS Spitz is an official sponsor of the MLB. Baseball is a sport that stars my sports crush, Angels’ pitcher C.J. Wilson

Sunflower seeds were first used by First Nations people 5,000 years ago as a food and oil source but also used the flowers and roots as a dye. Sunflower seeds (in addition to giving me a 4th degree of separation from Mr. Wilson) have some amazing health benefits:

  • They have a high source of folate, which helps your body produce an anti-stress chemical.
  • They contain significant amounts of Vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.
  • 90 % of the recommended intake of Vitamin E is contained in a quarter cup of sunflower seeds. Vitamin E helps improve your cardiovascular health.
  • One ounce will provide 12 grams of protein – giving you healthy hair and skin
  • Folate also helps boost your fertility (if you are so inclined to improve upon that)

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Sunflower seeds are high in fat, though it is mostly the food fat that is found in all good superfoods. They are prone to rancidity so it is best to store them in the refrigerator.

Of course, one pitfall of sunflower seeds is breaking the shell when you purchase the unshelled variety. Now don’t go spitting them all over your workplace (though that would make for a hilarious story). I just break them myself. You could always put them in a ziploc bag, grab a rolling pin and roll over them to break the hulls.

And with that, CJ and I will leave you contemplating the health benefits of sunflower seeds.

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Peace. xx.

-H.

My apologies for not blogging as of late – I was suffering from writer’s block. That has been cured by my weekend cooking ventures as I had some girlfriends over last Saturday night for some wine and appetizers. One of my good friends is a vegan and another is allergic to gluten. This can make for some risky recipe undertakings but this time, I came out on top. I will share the other two recipes I made with you this coming week.

I made a vegan spinach and artichoke dip with the help of my lovely sister and it turned out fantastic. It was a great alternative to the heavy/cheesy traditional one that I am used to eating. It was really light and we ate it with Mary’s crackers (seriously, so delicious even though they smell a little peculiar) and gluten free/vegan nacho chips (and regular whole wheat crackers for those of us without special dietary needs).

I adapted my recipe from two different ones from Gluten-Free Goddess and She Knows Miso Vegan respective sites.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 5 oz spinach chopped
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of pressed garlic
  • 1 cup of artichoke hearts drained and finely chopped (you could use the frozen kind too)
  • 3/4 cup of vegan sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of vegannaise
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance vegan butter
  • Pinch of black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet pan on medium heat. Add in onions and cook until they are translucent. Stir in garlic for 1 minute.
  3. Add artichokes and half of the spinach, let it sit.
  4. Using an electric hand mixer, combine the sour cream and vegannaise until it is smooth.
  5. Add the sour cream and vegannaise with the remainder of the spinach to the pan. Keep stirring until the spinach wilts.
  6. Pour into a pyrex dish (or whatever dish you have handy).

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For topping:

  1. In a small frying pan, heat the butter substitute and almonds until the vegan butter is melted.
  2. Pour on top of dip that is already in the dish.

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Put in the oven!

  1. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until it is bubbly around the edges.Image

And here’s the girls enjoying the dip!

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Happy cooking! You can find the ingredients at your local health food pantry store. Let me know how your dips turn out!

Peace. xx.

-H.

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