My Skinny Jeans and The Holidays

white-sparkler-fire-holiday-festive-background-62500607On average, can you guess how much we tend to gain this time of year? MedPage Today has the details, and while I can layout all the calculated percentages, the gist is, people gain. Above all, the time it takes to put weight on, is nothing compared to the time it takes to shake it off.

So this season, aim to maintain. Yes, don’t try to lose weight, just maintain your weight. By New Years, you will be 1-5 pounds ahead of the average. A few tips on how to maintain:

  • Solidify your ongoing good habits. While eating predominately healthy, real food, we need to have a casual plan for meals throughout the week. Don’t skip meals, and stick to a meal routine. Meals should include fat (yes, we need more fat than most people think), protein and moderate carbohydrates. The golden rule I provide to clients is start the day off with protein (20-30 grams) to prevent cravings and snacking later in the day and then follow-up lunch and dinner with a palm-sized portion of protein, 1/4 of the plate coming from fruit or ancient grains, and the other half of the plate being vegetables, starchy (potatoes, parsnips, plantains) and non-starchy kinds. Have more of the starchy vegetables if you are active.
  • Eat breakfast. Even if you wake-up some mornings and decide you are not hungry, go about eating around the brunch hour and assess how much more you eat in the evening. I am not saying everyone carries their highest calorie intake into the few hours before bed, but more often my non-breakfast eaters do, and this time of day is the hardest to make the cleanest and healthiest choices.
  • Cap your time on Snapchat and Instagram and start organizing your kitchen, recipes and grocery list. The more organized and prepared we are with easy to grab snacks and batch-cooked meals, healthy eating is the obvious choice. Don’t overhaul your diet, just take one step closer to the farm. Instead of chips and granola bars, have nutsand fruit or vegetable. Instead of a protein bars, have hard boiled eggs or grassfed jerky.
  • Grocery shop every week. Even if there are more social gatherings this month, still purchase plenty of produce. When I am busy I am the queen of buying frozen items like berries, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, mango, etc. This season is a great time to enjoy warm food, and warm berries in the evening is a great treat, and roasted vegetables (from frozen) can go a long way for a healthy dinner and leftovers.
  • If you are not getting 60 ounces of water a day by the afternoon, up your game. Being hydrated is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And it’s cheap!
  • Buddy up. Find a partner who has a similar health goal, and communicate daily with food ideas and challenges, using each other for support.

If you are the host, or attending parties:

  • If you are overseeing most of the food, make all you can ahead of time and freeze Approaching the event with fewer to-do’s will make the experience more fun and manageable.
  • When reaching for a treat at a party, opt for something you are honestly and truly going to enjoy and have time to chew and taste. Additionally, contribute to the party and bring a healthy app and dessert.
  • Indulge in the memories at holiday parties verse food. Not often do we think back on a memory and say, “I was so glad I ate all that food.” Keep portions in check, but also see how much you can laugh.
  • If you have a day of baking on the calendar, be sure to taste only what you need to. A teaspoon should be more than enough. If you need a distraction for your mouth while the house begins to smell like chocolate, write down your goal, pour yourself some tea, and pop in a piece of gum.

Secondly, the holidays are so much fun. Keep your perspective positive during this busy time of year and take care of yourself inside and out. Above we touched on food, yet, prioritize mental health too.

  • Pencil in a few extra sessions of yoga, briefly write up a gratitude list each morning, download a meditation app (Calm, HeadSpace, 10% Happier, etc) and or enjoy a good book.
  • Be sure to clock in enough sleep. Strive for at least 8 hours. When we are sleep deprived we tend to eat more food, make poorer food choices and move less overall.

Happy holidays, and cheers to the New Year in good health!

Kelly

Recipe/Meal Idea: Christmas Brunch

I love cooking and my family loves it too. This year, I am in charge on brunch Christmas morning. What do I have up my sleeve? A meal that is savory, protein and nutrient-rich and satisfying. Happy Holidays!

Sun Dried Tomato, Mushroom, Spinach Basil Crustless Quiche 

Ingredients

  • 12 organic eggs (pasture-raised preferred)
  • 2 small cartons of cage free egg whites (I do this to optimize the macro-nutrient ratio of the meal)
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced mushroom
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (gluten free)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 bushel of fresh basil
  • 1 package of sundried tomatoes
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • coconut oil

Method

Grease a Pyrex 9×13 (size of cake pan) with coconut oil. I do this by using a sandwich bag as a “glove” and scooping the oil out of the jar.

Preheat oven at 375F.

Layer the sliced mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and basil in the pan.

In a bowl whisk the eggs, egg whites, baking soda, salt and pepper and vegetable stock.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until there is no liquid in the center. I usually test the “doneness” by poking a toothpick in the middle.

*If you want the quiche to be more moist, I recommend adding 1/4-1/2 cup of organic heavy cream and/or some shredded cheese.

BaconUS Wellness Meats has awesome sugar free bacon. If you can’t get their bacon in time, I recommend pasture-raised pork bacon and/or bacon that is sulfite free and organic.

Gluten free Oatmeal – A side of oatmeal helps round out this meal, especially to those who are not used to eating a more strict paleo diet. Gluten free oats are less inflammatory than those cross-contaminated with wheat, and I prefer to boil the oats for a creamier texture. Mix in warm spices and a little sea salt.

Drinks

  • Coffee with cinnamon (my blood sugar loves this; I add about 1/2-1 tsp of cinnamon to each cup)
  • Moscato
  • Tea

My South Africa Travels: Part 1

I have the fortunate opportunity to travel to South Africa closing out 2012 and am truly amazed by the beauty of this country and the pureness of the food.  Thus far, I have tried a variety of new things including capaccio springbok, which is basically raw, thinly sliced game meat and while on our safari tour in Kruger National Park, we snacked on some droewors (dried sausage) or what we (Americans) would call beef jerky and drank some Pinotage (similar to Pinot Noir) at sunset.

So how can I describe the interesting observations I have collected in South Africa? Perhaps I will start with how everyone walks EVERYWHERE here. There are certainly plenty of cars and taxis, but when we drove the 5 hour route to Kruger National Park, there were people, rain or shine, walking along the highway and the streets throughout our travel. Many of those had their thumb out too, hoping to bum a ride.

While I prefer to branch out, trying meats and protein sources that are not regularly seen in the grocery at home, I soon realize that chicken forms an integral part of the South African diet. In the 1960s it was standard practice to grow and butcher free range chicken to meet the demand, but with a growing population the chickens were quickly processed differently by being genetically modified and grown a third quicker and heavier. Go back to old standards, trust me, it’s better and worth the time investment in the long-run!!

Carrying on, some more observations and facts I have learned thus far (and I want to note, these are observations and facts that I have researched. In no way do I intend my comments to be prejudiced or to categorize):

  • The total production of raw milk in South Africa increased from just more than 2,200 million litres in 2004, to just more than 2,600 million litres in 2011.
  • Only 3% of egg laying hens are free range. The remaining lay eggs in small battery cages.
  • Identifying authentic free-range and organic produce in South Africa can be tricky for consumers, as there is no official legislation in place for free-range or organic farming in South Africa.
  • At present the South African law governing organic farming is still in draft form.
  • The first free-range eggs were introduced onto the shelves of Pick ‘n Pay andWoolworths in 1991, and in 2004 Woolworths banned all battery eggs from its shelves. Eggs that are not labelled “free-range” or “barn” are from caged hens. Free-range eggs from pastured chickens are quite different in terms of their egg yolk color and egg shell strength.
  • Contrary to what I thought before coming to SA, I have been drinking the tap water. South African water institutions are considered to provide some of the highest quality of drinking or potable water in the world.
  • Gluten free requests are hard to understand and not successful when I ask. When eating out, and after asking the waiter/waitress about the need to avoid gluten, they don’t understand what gluten is. I have been fine working around this by opting for seafood and vegetables but failed miserably after eating a salad with a mustard vinaigrette  Most mustard jars I have read, have wheat in them.
  • Malls are pretty popular here in SA, and they are straight up BIG. Huge. We have spent some time in the Mandela Square mall and it’s chalk full of shops, fancy steak houses, seafood restaurants, cafes,  a food court and 2 grocery stores.
  • The lunch hour in the malls are always swarming with people. Goodness, I think regardless of the hour, there are people everywhere. I found it really neat to see large lines at the grocery store where business men and women await to order their lunch from the deli. Bravo! An excellent healthy choice when eating out on the lunch hour.
  • Many menus have meals made with cous cous. As well, I have seen menus with interesting Low GI labels and “Healthy Options.” Specifically on a breakfast menu the “Healthy” meal choice was 2 eggs, pork sausage and grilled tomato. Do you think you could find this on a USA menu? Maybe a paleo one, but for the most part a “Healthy” meal choice I’d see in the States would likely be an egg-white omelette with lots of whole grain bread. South Africa, one point.
  • If you are walking about be careful of traffic (and safety overall). Thus far, the walkways and signals don’t empower the pedestrian to cross a street. This is a bit different than the Green walking man in Australia that I experienced; which also ticked at a pace of how fast we should be moving across the street. I have confidently crossed a walkway with the right signal to do so, and then cars feel at ease to power towards me. This has added a skip in my step! And not in the right way.
  • I did a little bit of grocery shopping to have some snacks on hand and I am grateful for the amazing selection of macadamia nuts and “trail mix.” However, trail mix is marketed as Safari mix. Don’t you love it? I do, and the dried fruit in the Safari mix is pure, and delicious. As for the nuts, they are dirt cheap. I got a snack bag for R33 which equates close to $4USD.

As I am part-way through our amazing trip in South Africa, I will collaborate more things I find interesting and follow-up in a Part 2. Until then, cheers to you and good health, Kel

References:

Compassion in World Farming, SA

A Few Gifts For Christmas

I adore gifts that involve health and this December I have come up with the following ideas to assist with your seasonal shopping.

SERVICES

Nutrition Counseling – It would be (silly) hard not to list the idea of buying a voucher for a loved one to visit with a dietitian, such as myself. Depending on their current health status, anyone can benefit from conversing with an RD about getting the most out of their nutrition and understand what diet is best for their health goals. In the least, treat yourself. Your health should be a priority and no one is a better advocate than yourself in taking charge of your quality of life. Along with one-on-one counseling, I host a 4 week Pledge (via a private Facebook forum) and coach you along the 28 days to reach a set health goal and learn clean eating techniques, as well as, work with a local personal trainer conducting a Clean Eating Bootcamp, which will launch the second Monday in January!

Spa – give the gift of relaxation with a spa package. This is a perfect service around the holidays when everything is hustle-bustle.

Fitness Programs – give the gift of fitness. If in Chicago, I recommend Fit Girl Studio‘s monthly package of unlimited classes. They have everything from Barre to spinning. Throughout the month you can mix up the routine and stay inspired to keep on coming back for more. If you do the Paleo Infused Pledge, you get a massive discount. As well, I am affiliated with a great personal trainer in Chicago, who I can connect you with at a discounted price. Email me with interest. Other options include packages for yoga, pilates, Crossfit or barre classes. I am huge fan of barre. You work muscles you didn’t know you had and leave the classes feeling accomplished.

FOOD ITEMS

I love gourmet food, especially those hard to find gems that are clean of unneeded preservatives and flavor enhancers. Below are some of my top picks.

Hemp Seed – looking to increase your protein and fiber intake? This may be your go-to ingredient. It’s nutty delicious flavor marries well with salads, soups, smoothies and more. I often eat 3-4 T of Hemp Seed Hearts with some almond milk or coconut milk in the morning.

Organic Coconut Oil – use in place of butter and olive oil, adding an extra dose of nutrition to your meals. Learn more about the benefits of coconut oil here.

Dark Chocolate – Lindt dark chocolate 85% and above is one of few commercially found chocolates that does NOT contain soy lecithin (which is a huge plus!). Buy one for mom and one for yourself!

Bars – I do not want to categorize this gift as “granola bars” because my recommended bars lack grains and are gluten free. So therefore, we will stick with bars. However, with many of my clients who need something on the go, or have in the gym bag for a time of need, I recommend a few bars including Lara BarsKind bars, and Zing bars. As a health professional I am able to sell Zing bars at a discounted rate, compared to retail. If interested, feel free to email me ([email protected]).

Grassfed Meat/Cheese – high quality protein sourced from grassfed animals is one of the best fuel sources we have. I love US Wellness Meats and their broad offerings including sugar free, nitrate free bacon.

Looking for more food ideas? Feel free to review my collected list on Amazon by clicking here.

BOOKS 

There are a number of great books out there right now and a few of my favorite include: Wheat BellyPrimal Body, Primal MindEat Fat, Lose Fat, Practical PaleoGood Calories, Bad Calories and a few more.

A few fellow dietitian friends have also recently published some interesting eBooks including:

GADGETS

I am afraid this list could go on forever, but beyond the iPhone and accessories, these items are appealing:

FitBit Aria Scale – Aria is a high performance scale, tracking weight, body mass index (BMI) and % body fat over time. After easy, wireless set-up, your Fitbit aria scale taps into your home wireless network and uploads your information automatically to fitbit.com each time you step on the scale. Automatically recognizes up to 8 different people in your home, sending their info to separate accounts at fitbit.com.

FitBit One & Zip trackers – track your movement with this little device.

Nike + Sports Watch and GPS – Tap the screen to mark laps and activate the backlight during your run, and personalize the data that you want to see during your run. For direct connect, USB contacts are built into the watch strapjust plug the watch directly into a USB port on your computer to upload run data and recharge the battery.

Camelbak Water Bottle – I love my camelbak water bottle, and the lid/straw helps me stay hydrated. When you see me, I am sure you will see me with my Camelbak.

There are numerous fun gadgets on the market right now. Everything from sound-proofed headphones to high-tech shoes. If I come across anything that I think is a must-have for the holidays, I will update this post. Until then, please let me know what you are eyeing for the holidays.

Enjoy the season, and try to stop and smell the pine once in awhile.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Give the Gift of Health this Holiday

What could be better than getting a gift of health this holiday? Email Kelly for a voucher for a one-time coaching session for $99 valued at $129.

Give the gift of feeling better and letting a loved one know you care about their well-being.

All coaching sessions can be held in person or telecommunication. Kelly can be reached at [email protected] Cheers to you and good health.

 

Tying in Health When Traveling

This month was uber fun, yet, I have sat on an airplane more than I have laid in my own bed. With late dinners and early mornings I bank on my diet to pull me through these busy events.

I take my hat off to anyone who is a consultant and is always on the road. It is tough – routines are forgotten, meals are unplanned, and sleep…good luck. Yet, I have some go-to habits that help keep me sane including clean eating.

1. Food

You don’t always know what you are going to eat or when. If I didn’t pack my go-to travel foods, I would go on famished or even drowning myself in whatever I could get my hands on.

I always carry food on my trips, well at least all the types of food I can travel with from state to state in Australia (here you are not allowed to take fruits, vegs, meats and many other quarantined items from one state to another). While traveling I am constantly bouncing from one meeting to the next. What could be a fast food drive through, I turn into a quick stop at a park (if I am lucky) and eat something I have on hand. My travel foods include: hard boiled eggs, canned tuna in olive oil (100% olive oil), macadamia nuts, and dark chocolate. All these foods are good, nutrient-dense and satisfying. Since I can’t take vegetables from one state to another, I may pick up a salad and dress it with my tuna and hard boiled egg. If my flight is bright an early, I will again often source a hard boiled egg or two.

2. Fitness

Regardless of where I am traveling and for how long, I have a workout outfit, comfy shoes to swap out my heels for to get in a quick walk, goggles and a swimsuit. The best way to get to know a city is on foot. When a day of meetings wrap-up, I will throw on some joggers and get in some fitness before the sun goes down.

3. Fasting

If there are no good food options and my blood sugars are pleasing, I will partake in an intermittent fast. I may also do a fast when my meals are too plentiful, for example last week I was at a conference and there was a buffet breakfast, morning and arvo tea (which means coffee, tea and food), lunch and then a dinner. Grains avoided or not, I still overate and an intermittent fast gets me back on track. I usually only fast for about 14-16 hours, eating dinner then again the following day around 11am.

4. Water bottle

Staying hydrated is key. I take an empty water bottle through the security at the airport and top it off right away and continue to do so throughout the trip.

5. Sleep

It is not always a good nights sleep in a new place and new bed, but I take some decaf tea with me, along with some magnesium supplements to help wind down. I also make the bedroom as dark as I can (block the clock) and turn the thermostat on the cold side.

6. Me time

Travel can be lonely but also an awesome opportunity for some personal time. When on the road set aside time to just relax and digest any stress going on in your life. Depending on where I am, I like popping downstairs to the hotel bar and getting a nice glass of red  and get comfortable in my room by reading or catching some cable (we don’t have cable; crazy? Yes).

These are just a few things I have adapted in the last year and will continue to strive for optimal health, diet and fitness when wining and dining.

Cheers to you and good health!

My 2009

I can easily say this past year has been the most growing year for me and the best classroom is one that involves traveling. I feel like I’ve come a long way in 26 years at this point in time and it’s been an adventerous road. From a career change, to my highest volume in traveling in a year, here is a look of what my last year looked like:

January – Madison, WI
Devils Head Ski Resort
I think I nearly broke my tailbone on this snowboarding trip! As I slipped into my snowboarding boots, I was breaking into a complete comfort zone with my boyfriend. I had not snowboarded in nearly 6 years but I thought my slick skills would come back as quickly as riding a bike. Hah! I was wrong and my butt felt it. I couldn’t sit normal for a month after this trip but it was all worth it. I plan to go back this coming February to prove myself.

February – Columbus, OH
Watched my high school friend, Andi, get married! It was gorgeous winter wedding and a quick reminder of how quickly we are all growing up.

February – Portage, WI
Cascade Ski Resort
I think I observed more of the resort than the slopes on this trip. Lots of ice and some “ice cold ones” to make up for it. Ironically, I ran into an old friend at the resort and had a blast with Schmidtty (the bf).

February – Scottsdale, AZ

My first big girl trip with Schmidtty. I flew to AZ after work on a Thursday evening and landed at 1AM Chicago time. I was dead tired from the work week, yet, managed to mingle with new friends and (funny story) found myself driving the “drunk bus” home after the others finished the bachelor party. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, except the fact I had not drove a car in over 2 years. No lie. An officer pulled Schmidtty over for not having his car lights on. Schmidtty blamed late travels and not knowing the functions of a rental car for not having on the lights. The officer suggested the sober passenger girl drive the car; me. I just met these new friends and was putting their life at risk with my pathetic driving ability and confidence. To say the least, I screamed like a girl once I turned onto the highway but we made it in one piece. The wedding was a blast. It was small, yet, perfect. We hiked while in AZ and made the most of this great trip.

April – Louisville, KY
Ran a half marathon with my sister, her husband and Schmidtty! It was so cool and we ran on the actual Derby course. We also visited my sister’s new and first owned home. The best part of the house was the awesome wedding gift on the walls. Two paintings from Paris. Did I mention I got them the paintings?! Drove to Evansville, IN and met the boyfriend’s family and learned his roots.

May – Put-N-Bay, OH
Hosted my best friend Jamie’s Bach party. No more details needed.

June – Columbus, OH
I was the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding; Jamie. An awesome time and pictures to prove it!

July – Viva Las Vegas!
My second “big girl” trip with the boyfriend. I lost about a hundo; not bad.

August – Columbus, OH
Went to see the new family members on the O’Connell side (babies). I saw my cousin’s, Sarah, house and enjoyed the weekend with relatives.

September – San Franscisco, CA
Went on a weekend trip with the boyfiend and we explored the farmer’s markets (amazing is an understatement), the city, Napa, the bridges, Alcatrez, amazing food, wine and motorcycle tour and more. It was one of the most fun weekends we have had together.

September – FL for family vacay
This was a hoot. All 3 of my siblings and their significant others and my parents. My dad had one rule, “Don’t embarrass me.” I am pretty sure we broke that rule once or twice.

September – Sky Diving in IL!!!!!!!!
This didn’t make my mom too happy…

November and December – OH – Home for the holidays

Dear Food Diary – 3/12/11 – Christmas BBQ Party…

Today, Saturday, I am prepping for a gathering of friends to celebrate Christmas. Let’s see how I behaved at the BBQ, keeping in mind these few goals:

1. Avoid all dairy and grains
2. Drink plenty of water and do not over eat on anything
3. Avoid all dairy

Breakfast: 9AM
Long black
I was not hungry when I first woke up so I waited an hour or so. I also had rubbish sleep last night, so I will be interested in how my cravings run today.
Protein, Coconut oil smoothie
Fish Oil
Probiotics
CoQ10
Allergy meds

Exercise: I have graduated from my walks and am back in the gym! Do not get me wrong, I love walking the parks but I am beyond ready to get my heart rate up and to life some weights.
11AM: Kettlebell workout – wow, I am out of shape.

12noon: met Schmidtty at the market and picked up some wild barramundi for tonight’s barbie! Enjoyed some preservative free sausage samples.

Lunch: 1:35PM
1/2 banana and nutbutter
Ham, deli

Exercise: 4 mile walk with friend

Snack: 4PM
Blueberries and Glutamine fortified jelly (Jell-O)

Party begins 6PM
Grazed in sweet potato chips, sliced pears and apples, hard boiled egg, wine and some tuna-like dip (gfree no doubt)

Dinner: 8PM
Wild barramundi
Prawns
Salad, Greek-like

10PM
Bites of my husband flourless chocolate cake (to.die.for.)

Cinco de Mayo: Tacos, Tamales and More

Many restaurants feature foods with Latin American flavor. Keep in mind that favorites like crispy taco shells, taco salads, nachos, guacamole and chips and salsa are tasty but can be high in fat.

The staples — tortillas, beans and rice — are great sources of carbohydrates, while pinto and black beans supply fiber. Latin American cuisine also offers you a chance to include different types of vegetables and grain foods, and to explore new flavors.

This Cinco de Mayo and all year round, try Latin American creations that are full of flavor without all the calories:

– Fajitas, enchiladas, burritos or tamales
– Soft tacos with chicken, beef or beans
– Tortilla soup
– Chile verde
– Red or black beans and rice Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice)
– Veracruz-style seafood dishes Flan or fruit for dessert.

Produced by ADA’s Public Relations Team

Have a healthy and fit day!