Plant Based Protein Sources

You don’t have to be a Vegetarian to appreciate that reduced meat consumption can have a positive impact on your health. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to reduce your intake, or if you just want more protein options overall, refer to my handy, printable chart below. Feel free to share the chart with your friends and family on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Plant Based Protein Sources from www. YellowTurtleFitness.com

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A Simple Tool to Help with Your New Year’s Goals

A Simple Tool to Help with Your GoalsThe New Year is upon us, and one of my favourite Christmas gifts this year inspired me to make a post about it. I thought many of you could use this item to help with your New Year’s goals. You may have even heard of it before: The Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer.

The Spiralizer I received was a basic 3 blade model – which is probably all you really need. However, they also have a 4 blade, if you are interested.

It comes with 3 blades, which make noodles, ribbons, and quick work of shredding. It can be used on any fruit or vegetable – including cabbage, carrots, zucchini, apples, potatoes, and more. I made Zucchini Noodles my very first time using it, and in LESS THAN A MINUTE, I had an enormous bowl full of noodles that I topped with marinara. I didn’t even bother to cook or heat it – but those noodles were textured like, and tasted like, real spaghetti. It was amazing. All for less than 150 calories(with the marinara!).

Simple switches for New Year's Goals

Use the ribbon blade to make roll-ups with your zucchini – fill them with sliced meats, pesto, herbed goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, or anything else you like. It would make for a healthy and reasonably low calorie snack.

It shreds heads of cabbage quickly, and you can make healthy baked apple chips/rings, or your own sweet potato curly fries, plus much more.

This is an easy, quick, and relatively low-cost tool that you can use to make healthy and low-calorie dinners, lunches, and snacks that taste great, but don’t make you feel as if you’re suffering. I hope you all give it a try.

I’ve found a few cookbooks dedicated to recipes for the Spiralizer, as well. You can finds links to a few of them below:

– The Spiralizer Cookbook: 70+ Quick and Easy Recipes for Delicious, Satisfying Main Dishes, Soups, Salads, Side Dishes and More…

– Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals

– The Skinny Spiralizer Recipe Book: Delicious Spiralizer Inspired Low Calorie Recipes For One. All Under 200, 300, 400 & 500 Calories

– The Spiralizer Recipe Cookbook: Over 30 Recipes for your Spiralizer Spiral Slicer – Zucchini Noodles, Paleo and Wheat Free Recipes and much more (Spiralizer Series) (Volume 1)

If you have a Paderno Spiralizer, let me know in the comments what kind of healthy recipes you’ve been making with it. I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year!

Fat Loss Truths for 2015

Fat Loss Truths for 2015 from YellowTurtleFitness.com

A few months back, I was out around town, and met up with someone who knew me(and what I do for a living) from some of the local commerce websites.

She took the opportunity to ask a question that I hear all the time:

“Which exercises can I do so that I can eat whatever I want, but still lose weight?”

I responded with my usual – along the lines of, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet”.
She seemed taken aback by this, and exclaimed, “I thought you were supposed to be encouraging!”. I then went on to explain that I’m all for encouragement and motivation, but will never lie, or make false promises, to someone who asks my advice.
We laughed about it, but this conversation really stuck with me since.

At the start of every new year, everyone is on their best behaviour… only to quickly be discouraged when they don’t get the results they think they will receive.

It’s not difficult to see why they would be so crestfallen; we are inundated daily with false promises, quick gimmicks, and headlines about weight loss miracles. It’s in our Facebook feeds, on the covers of magazines, in articles or telecasts written by supposedly legitimate news organizations, and on TV – often touted by celebrity doctors who are supposed to have our best interests at heart.

Many times, these falsehoods are even proclaimed by those in the fitness and nutrition industry, either out of a lack of legitimate education, poor research methods, or greed for your money.

Here, I want to simplify things for you – to lay out some facts to keep in mind as you navigate 2015 in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, or the body of your dreams.

“I want to lose weight”

This is the most common reason that someone comes to me for help. Many of those whom I connect with are very overweight, to the point where it affects their health. I also have worked with those who only want to lose a little weight(usually post-baby), or to become metabolically healthier.

There are many different factors that can affect weight loss, and results can be highly individual(a good reason to consult with a doctor, professional trainer, and/or nutrition coach), but these basic guidelines can be key to your success.

Your strategy:

Build lean muscle with resistance exercise, add moderate amounts of cardiovascular exercise, and most importantly, watch what you eat.

The less you weigh, the more your food intake will make a difference in weight loss.
You don’t want to eat too little(which may permanently alter your metabolism for the worse), but eating too much will drastically slow or stop progress. A certified Nutritionist or Dietitian can help you figure out what, and how much, you should be eating to attain your goals.

Quality of calories does matter – and no, it is not as simple as the number of calories in v/s out.
When trying to reduce fat, aim for 90%(or better) of healthy, whole foods that are low in added sodium or added sugars.

That last sentence can help many people with that “last 10 lbs”. The average person tends to carry around 5-7 lbs of water bloat due to the quality of the food they’re eating.
This is why so many tend to be duped into thinking that detox diets and juice detoxes are causing them to lose fat quickly. It’s not fat they’re losing, and they could easily lose those same pounds by eating healthier on the whole.

This is why weight loss tends to slow down drastically after that first 5-7 lbs is gone.

It is also not unusual for someone who is severely obese to carry 15-20 lbs of that same water weight. If you’ve ever seen the first few episodes of any season of The Biggest Loser, you’ve seen that water weight loss in action. Ever seen someone on a low-carb diet get really excited on their first two weeks? It’s because they had a rush of water weight loss, due to eating fewer carbs(which hold on to some water). However, most of what they lost was probably not fat.
Water weight loss is nice, but it’s also the type of weight that will come right back, the second you eat a normal meal. If you want to lose fat, you need to eat balanced long-term.

If you are maintaining a loss, or are okay with fat loss being slower, aiming for healthy/whole foods 80% of the time is perfectly acceptable. You’ll lose weight, but it will be slow going. If you add in the aforementioned exercise, it will go faster.

“If Nutrition is most important, why should I bother exercising?”

There are many reasons I could give here, but this is paramount:
Exercising will make you healthier, no matter your size.

A morbidly obese person who exercises will be healthier than a morbidly obese person who never exercises. Ever hear of “skinny fat”? This is the term often used when someone is technically not overweight, but is still flabby, and/or metabolically unhealthy due to lack of exercise.
That resistance exercise I mentioned? You need it because body composition matters. There is a myriad of benefits to adding extra muscle, most notably that it helps you burn extra calories, makes your body look more toned when you DO lose weight, provides stability in old age, and goes a long way towards making you metabolically healthier. You don’t have to be Ahh-nold to get those benefits. Every bit of muscle that you add counts towards a healthier you.

(I have mentioned many of these things before, most notably here and here.)

Even if you don’t need to lose weight, exercise should be part of your life. You don’t need to be over the top – you can start with something as simple as the act of walking your dog daily, and build from there. When you’re ready for the next step, consult with a professional trainer.

Make 2015 the year that you take control of your health using facts – not lies, half-truths, gimmicks, and pseudoscience. Things really are a lot simpler when you keep in mind these basic tenets.

I wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season, and the best of luck in the coming year.

Quick & Easy Recipe: Homemade Hummus

Quick and Easy Creamy Homemade Hummus Recipe from www.YellowTurtleFitness.com I have very specific preferences when it comes to Hummus, and often times, the store-bought stuff just doesn’t cut it. I like my Hummus to be mild, creamy, with lots of garlic, plenty of tahini, and a generous touch of cumin, paprika, and parsley. I also like it to be light and fluffy, as opposed to the pasty, glue-y stuff you find in stores.

Lucky for me, not only is it easy to make Hummus at home, but it’s also cheaper and (usually) healthier.
I like to make a batch whenever my tahini canisters(which I go through fairly quickly) get down to about 1/3 of a cup left. Then, I can refill the can with the Hummus I just made.

You can see exactly what’s going in there, and spice it exactly the way you enjoy it. If you prefer spicy hummus, just add the spices you like. Don’t like Cumin? Don’t use it. Want a black bean hummus? Switch them out with the chickpeas.
Want it to look extra fancy for a party? Throw some extra olive oil drizzle, a dash of paprika, and some extra sesame seeds on top when serving.

Serve it alongside fresh cut vegetables, cut pita bread pieces, etc – One of the easiest party appetizers ever.

Best of all, you can make a big batch of Hummus in less than 10 minutes. What are you waiting for?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 – 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup tahini (doesn’t have to be exact – eyeball it)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp water (approx)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • OPTIONAL: extra sesame seeds for garnish/crunch, other spices, hot sauce, black pepper, etc

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse until creamy, fluffy, and the texture you prefer. Add more water to thin it, use less water for a thicker hummus.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container if not using right away. Will keep approximately 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

 

 

Easy, Healthy Dessert: Walnut Stuffed Figs w/ Spiced Honey Creme

Healthy & Easy Dessert: Walnut Stuffed Figs with Spiced Honey CremeThis time of year, the biggest fig crops are bursting forth – bringing with it one of nature’s healthiest and most luxurious desserts.

Figs are nutritionally dense with B-vitamins, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, and lots of Fiber.

This makes them a smart snack or dessert, as well as an amazing addition to salads and entrees.

This is probably one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever posted, but I’m a huge fan of simple healthy dishes. Eating healthy never has to be difficult or especially time consuming.

Each extra large fig half with honey and walnuts is approximately 70 calories. 2 halves would probably be the ideal portion size, bringing your dessert to a very reasonable 140 calories.

Less than 150 calories for a dessert this delicious, healthy, and elegant? Amazing(not to mention impressive looking to guests, with not much work on your part)!

On with the recipe.
INGREDIENTS:
serves 4

  • 4 extra large, fresh figs
  • 3 tbsp slightly warmed Spiced Honey Creme (my favourite brand here)
  • Fresh unsalted shelled walnuts (chopped or whole. your choice) 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice each fig in half, and line up neatly on your serving plate.
  2. If using chopped walnuts, press a generous amount into the middle of each fig half. If using whole walnuts, press a walnut half into the belly of each fig.
  3. Lightly drizzle the warmed Spiced Honey Creme over the figs, concentrating most of the honey over the areas with walnuts.
  4. It’s that easy! Serve and Enjoy.

When to Spend the Money for Organic?

Yes, buying Organic can be expensive, but the trick is knowing when it’s actually necessary to spend the extra money. 

Those listed under the “Always Buy Organic” heading tend to be heavily laden with pesticides, while those on the “Non-Organic is Okay” list are not.
Those that are okay to buy conventionally tend to not need pesticides, due to the natural protective properties of the plants that ward off insects(such as in onions and cabbage) and/or have a thick protective layer that the consumer peels away before eating.
If buying a leaved vegetable, always peel away the outer layer of leaves to ensure removal of the bulk of pesticides and debris.

This doesn’t, by the way, mean that it’s okay to skip washing your fruits or vegetables(even when you buy organic!).

Keep a spray bottle of full strength vinegar next to your kitchen sink. Spray each vegetable or fruit(even those that you peel – remember that bacteria can be transferred to the fruit during the peeling process) and wash before eating.
This helps remove surface debris and safely kills germs.

Print and keep this list in your wallet when shopping, so you can refer to it regularly, and save money.

When should you buy Organic? + tips for safer produce, from YellowTurtleFitness.com