Hey, readers! I'm adding a new series on the blog! As you may know, I LOVE food and dining out and think that sometimes I train hard just so I can devour delicious food everywhere I go. I would rarely suggest a client completely stay away from dining out because that would be super hypocritical. That said, I also make sure clients understand that when they make the choice to dine out, they need to ask themselves if the food they order lines up with the goal they're trying to achieve. I KNOW it is possible to watch your weight AND have a social life and I want to prove it! So starting today, I will be highlighting an Evanston restaurant every month where locals can dine on food that not only tastes fantastic but also won't completely derail all of the work they've put into eating healthy at home and training at the gym!
To kick this new project off, I chose an Evanston business that brings restaurant-quality meals right to your door. Obviously, a meal-delivery business is not a restaurant but since ordering delivery is SO easy to do - and is where a ton of people fall off their nutrition plan - I thought it worthwhile to demonstrate that there is a nutritious way to do take-out!
Cooked, owned and operated by Chef Jona Silva and his wife Erin, was founded in 2014. The company's purpose, as you'll read below, is to help its "members" live their most full lives. I was introduced to the company by my client Ruth and since then have gotten a lot of other clients - and myself - hooked on the incredibly yummy meals (seriously: absolutely delicious). Now, I love to cook and pride myself in making nutrient-dense meals but I'm not afraid to admit that sometimes I'd rather spent my time with friends than meal prepping for the week.
So without further ado, read all about Cooked below!
Can you explain what your purpose is and how that translates into the way you put meals together?
My purpose is to empower people to be present in their everyday life. We live in times when there exist many things that demand our attention. By providing tasty and nutritionally balanced meals, I hope to help people have more time to spend in some of their other priorities, either spending time with their family, having time to get a workout during the day, focus in their business etc. My meals are in a way like an insurance policy, something to fall back on the weeks that you do not have time to cook for yourself, but also do not want to sacrifice your health and the impact in the environment.
How do you or your family meal prep for the week?
During the day while I am at work my wife prepares lunch for the kids, sometimes they come visit at the kitchen and have lunch with me. Dinner time however it is a nice ritual, either my wife or I prepares the dinner, we lite candles etc, and as a family we sit down and enjoy that time together.
Do you ever hit “writer’s block” with cooking or just get bored with food? If so, how do you get out of that rut?
My problem with cooking is the opposite, I want to continue creating new dishes every week! This is only a problem because of the time and resources you have to dedicate to that, and also our "members" like to revisit dishes that they like. They often ask for a dish to be repeated.
What is your favorite treat?
I don't really have a favorite treat in particular. Because of my upbringing I sometimes crave some authentic cuisines: Either Mexican, French, Spanish, Moroccan. When that happens I either hit a taco spot in Rogers Park, a Bistro downtown or make it myself.
What do you think the most versatile vegetable is?
One of the most versatile vegetables, and also one of the most underutilized, is cauliflower. You can make a salad by just grating it and adding herbs, lemon and salt. You can steam and blend it with cashew to create a silky and reach cream. You can grilled and use it as a steak that you can serve with a chimichurry sauce. There are several uses for this humble vegetable.
What are the top 3 reasons you hear people don’t cook for themselves?
#1: Lack of time
#2: They don't know how
#3: They live alone and they don't like cooking for themselves
What is your most popular dish?
The dishes that are more popular are the dishes which fit the weather the best. For example on a snow day a braised chicken dish would sell tons while ass soon as we have a couple of nice days, salads start going out the door.
What are the top three things everyone should have in their kitchen?
A heavy saute pan with a lid, a French skillet and a blender. You can make almost anything with those three.
There is still time to sign up for CleanSlate28 before the April 25 start date! If you want to get a handle on your exercise and nutrition before the summer starts, please check out this 28-day program by clicking on the picture below!
If you know me, you know that my life prior to personal trainer-hood wasn’t the picture of squeaky-clean healthy living. Throughout high school, college and into my 20s, my days were spent primarily in acting classes, hanging out at bars with friends, drinking a lot of coffee and eating a lot of Pop Tarts (cinnamon and brown sugar if you’re wondering).Thanks to youth, genetics and youth (did I say that already?), I was able to maintain my weight pretty steadily within 5 lbs.
But there I was this past weekend, nibbling on a piece of buttered bread at Easter dinner, trying to quiet the voices in my head saying, “I thought you wanted your wrists to feel better and for your skin to clear up and you’re still 3 pounds away from your goal weight, I can’t believe you’re eating this right now, you dummy!”
IzzyFit’s Top 5 Nutrition Rules For Everyday Life
While food rules are usually more in the vein of “Eat this, not that”, as a nutrition coach, I am more interested in helping my clients develop a better relationship with food that allows them to have a healthy body and happy mind JUST as my ultimate goal as a personal trainer is help my clients develop a better relationship with their body so they can live a happier life. I hope these rules have helped and if you need one-on-one guidance, please reach out to me by phone (312-497-8999), email me or join CleanSlate28: Holiday Survival Edition starting October 3 (you must register by September 19, 2015!)
There is still time to sign up for CleanSlate28: Holiday Survival Edition! If you want to reclaim ownership of your body before the holidays start, please check out this 28-day program by clicking the picture below!
Mollie is a mother to twins (who are a year and a half old), a wife, a teacher and, to me, is Superwoman. Life before babies was one thing but now life means more stress and less sleep and the thing I hear from all of my moms: How the hell do I manage those two things while I still have fitness goals I want to achieve?! Mollie is also a perfectionist (as she'll tell you below) so a lot of the focus during our training sessions has really revolved around figuring out how her body and mind feel when she comes in and then modifying the intensity of the workout from there.
Then there was CleanSlate28. One of Mollie's goals was to lose the last of the baby weight so I thought this program would be a great way to give her some structure along with the support of a big group of people with their own challenges and goals. I expressed that the point of the program was NOT to be perfect. I was just hoping this would allow her and her family to explore new ways to clean up food choices and maybe give her new tools to manage the everyday stress. Well, Mollie kicked the program's butt. Weight started coming off, she was able to swap out the convenient-yet-less-optimal foods for nutrient-dense options, and best of all, she's been able to more or less keep this up way past the end of the program!
She's amazing so, without further ado, meet Mollie!
What were your initial goals when you started training?
I had twins last August and was on bedrest for ten weeks so I wanted to get my strength and conditioning back. Pre-babies I was a pretty hardcore swimmer/triathlete and I want to keep fitness a scheduled part of my life.
How do you think your sessions have helped you out?
They have helped me make sure I have at least an hour of Izzy training a week to myself. I can fit in cardio at different times but I have a harder time doing weight training by myself.
What do you enjoy most about training?
That it's positive. Some days are harder than others especially depending on how much sleep I have had!
Is there anything surprising that you've discovered with strength training?
It's so nice to make progress. As adults we don't get stickers for our accomplishments anymore or much in terms of positive feedback. It's nice to see things improve and give ourself stickers.
Do you have any fitness goals for this year?
I am always looking to get stronger and to lose the last of the baby weight. CleanSlate was a great jump start on the last few pounds and really demonstrated to me the power of group support. I never thought I would be able to cut out all of those things for 28 days and the exercise thing comes pretty naturally to me but no gluten, dairy, or added sugar and working and taking care of two babies really freaked me out. As a perfectionist I didn't want to do it halfway and of course didn't want to fail. I found it to be awesome and it really helped me structure life and change some habits. We cook extra food on the weekends now to have during the week and I have cut out dairy except for weekend "misbehavior". I eat a lot of lettuce wraps instead of sandwiches and have reduced my chocolate habit :)
How would you describe your philosophy on working out and nutrition?
I am good 80% of the time in terms of what I eat and CleanSlate certainly made me more aware of the choices I am making. Exercise is huge for my mental stability and health :)
What advice would you have for anyone just starting out?
Talk about it, get support from your friends and family, make exercise dates with friends, and let people know you need support and encouragement as opposed to them saying, "Don't run, eat ice cream with me!"
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CLEANSLATE28 AND SEE HOW IT CAN HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS GOALS, CLICK HERE!
THE NEW ROUND STARTS ON APRIL 25!