Let me be honest: Every time Anthony Bourdain would make fun of vegetarians, I would chuckle a little. When you study exercise and nutrition, it’s sort of branded into your brain that if you want to lean out and build muscle, you want to eat .8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Of course these numbers vary depending on how much you want to weight and your body type and blah blah blah. So I’d think, “Ok, vegetarians. Good luck building muscle without eating MEAT.”
Archaic and wrong. I know. And trust me when I say that I no longer think this but I DO want to recognize that it can take a little bit more planning to get adequate protein if you’re eating a mostly plant-based diet.
Now, since one of my really active clients does eat a plant-based diet*, I thought it would be fun to gather up info about non-meat sources of food that are high in protein!
Here's a list of non-meat foods I find yummy and versatile that are also high in protein**:
Hemp seeds: 6g/oz
Greek yogurt: 24g/cup
Green peas: 8g/cup
Quinoa: 8g/cooked cup
Artichoke hearts: 4g/cup
Spinach: 5g/cooked cup
Kamut: 11g/cooked cup
Mushrooms: 3g/cup white and shiitakes, 4g/cup portabella
Tempeh: 16g/3 oz
Black beans: 8g/.5 cup
Chia seeds: 6g/2 tbsp
Steel cut oats: 5g/.5 cup cooked
Brussels sprouts: 4g/cup
Broccoli: 4g/cup steamed
Sweet potato: 4g/cup
Asparagus: 4g/cup cooked
Tofu (extra firm): 9g/3oz
Plant-based protein powder like Vega Sport: 30g/scoop
Here are a few things to consider if you are consuming a plant-based diet and are focusing on protein:
So now let’s pretend you are a woman looking to lose fat and build muscle and are trying to eat roughly 1500 calories per day. I would want this client’s food be comprised of 30% protein. In this case it turns out to be roughly 120 grams of protein per day.
Here’s how we’d make that work:
NOTE: As a nutrition coach in Illinois I CANNOT prescribe a meal plan. I can simply help you put something together WITH you or make suggestions. I just thought it would be helpful to see what one day might look like. So here it is!
1 cup Greek yogurt (with the lowest sugar content you can find!) with 1 Tbsp chia seeds and a 1/2 cup of blackberries mixed in. One of my favorite former clients Kelly loved putting in frozen berries for texture so that’s what I’ve plugged in.
Salade Composée (that’s French for a salad that is hearty enough for a full meal): A fine mix of greens, roasted and steamed veggies with a Green Goddess dressing, topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds. I don't write restaurant menus so use your imagination for more flavor-packed adjectives ;)
The yummiest recipe I’ve made in a long time, pictured above: Curried Lentils with Kale and Coconut Milk. Check out the recipe here. The serving size I used is 1/4 of the recipe plus 3 oz cubed tofu mixed in. You could ALSO cut a 3-oz portion of extra firm tofu, season it with spices, lightly brush with oil and grill it, eat it on the side.
If you know me, you know I do not usually like to plug in my food into a calorie calculator. But, for the purposes of this post, I thought I would to use as an illustration. Here is the outcome:
As you can see, this day turned out to be just over 1500 calories, 124 grams of protein (remember our goal was 120) AND a whopping 42 grams of fiber to boot! That's a lot of fiber, guys. I'd make sure to drink plenty of water if I were you.
Whether you're a vegetarian or like to only eat meat occasionally, know that getting adequate protein from mostly plant form is absolutely doable! It just takes some planning (and possibly a B12 supplement; check with your doctor).
If you're someone who feels like they could use some help with some of their habits and skills surrounding their own diet, give me a shout! You can reach me via email, sign up for CleanSlate28 or call 312-497-8999. If you need a little extra help requiring a registered dietician, I can also help connect you!
If you are a vegetarian (or even a flexetarian or pescatarian or vegan) and have your own tactics for how to get protein in, share them in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you!
*By “plant-based” here I am also including dairy and eggs in this list.
**Grams are estimates; I've seen slightly differing numbers here and there so I picked what I saw the most frequently
[*I say rosé because it was SUCH a theme this summer, rosé was seemingly everywhere. But drinking might not be your thing. So treat “rosé” as a metaphor for whatever summer treat you may have chosen to thoroughly enjoy that you may, for whatever reason, want to step away from… Hope this helps!]
I am writing this ON Labor Day, at the Soho House rooftop, sipping on my almond milk late and water while 80% of the other people up here are drinking rosé like it’s going out of style (at 11:30AM). And I mean, good grief, rosé was all the rage this summer, it was everywhere! And now, everyone’s saying goodbye in ritualistic ways as the fall settles in.
So of course I’m using rosé as my one example but I could just as easily use ice cream or hot dogs or whatever other summer goodies we embrace when the warm weather finally comes. But as the leaves change color, in come the Pinot Noir and Pumpkin Spice Everything and Halloween candy. And when the trees go bare we get excited for Cabernet and potatoes and bread and pasta. We replace one thing with another.
If you follow or have worked with me before, you know I’m not an elimination girl. Total elimination of a food or drink usually completely backfires (obviously we’re not talking about addiction here)! That being said, though, we do need to be honest with ourselves: We often might *think* we’re only enjoying seasonal goodies here and there because they’re “special” and “unavailable” the rest of the year. But we completely lose sight that the “here-ing and there-ing” of treats year-round can actually add to the waistline over time.
If you’re ready to move forward with fall with a bit less of the “rosé”, here are 5 ways to start easing out the habit you’ve created:
The above tips are just a handful to get you started. There are so many other ways to start cutting back on those beverages and foods that are getting you further away from your health and fitness goals. Hopefully these 5 tips above help spark some ideas of your own! If you've successfully cut back/quit some bad habits, how did YOU do it? Feel free to share in the comments!
It's CleanSlate28 time again! If you've been feeling the need for some support with your nutrition habits, check out how CleanSlate28 can help you.
Please feel free to call or email me with any questions. Signups are happening now. The Fall edition kicks off September 25 and ends October 22. Sign up here!
I think tacos are awesome. Nutrition coaching rockstar Josh Hillis even let me write all about my love of tacos for meal planning here. And while Winnie the Pooh may be eating all sorts of the wrong tacos, I personally think they can be a brilliant way to set yourself up for a tasty and healthy weight loss/weight management plan.
The Taco Breakdown: What gives tacos the healthy meal potential
1. Pick a lean protein (shrimp, tilapia, ground turkey, even tofu!)
2. Pick your protein seasoning (like spice blends you can find at Penzey's, sauces you fan find at the grocery store by the one and only Rick Bayless, or make your own! Regardless of what you choose, it's the seasoning that turns the boring into the exciting).
3. Pick the veggies that will compliment your taco (pico de gallo/salsa, diced avocado, jicama or cabbage slaw, sliced or diced peppers... there are lots of options!)
4. Choose a small amount of a complex carb (like beans)
5. Choose your taco's container: Typically a corn or flour tortilla but you can also do a lettuce cup (which I'm seeing more and more out in restaurants!). OR you can get even more veggies into your meal and make your taco a SALAD! Which is what I'm showing off today.
(The cool thing about the Taco Breakdown is that, even if you don't like Mexican food, you can use these exact same steps to create a great plate of any cuisine you like!)
I've been playing around with different taco bowls that don't need to be reheated that I can take to TruFit with me for lunch. I finally found one that fits a few criteria that I need if I'm going to eat in a public place (like my Evanston gym!):
1. Easy to eat/isnt' messy
2. Isn't stinky
3. Is really easy to make ahead
4. Is really easy to put together
HERE IS THE MEGA YUMMY OUTCOME!:
And here's how to make this specific taco salad for the week!
1 tsp coconut oil or light tasting olive oil
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1.5 lbs ground turkey (figure about 3-5oz protein per meal, depending on how active you are; can be a mix of dark and light meat, your choice. I'm eating this fabulous taco salad M-F this week to make life easier)
1 packet of Frontera Chicken Taco Seasoning Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2 heads of Romain lettuce, washed and chopped
1/4 cup pinto or black beans (or, if you were like me this week, refried beans)
A few Tbsp of salsa
1-2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
1/8-1/4 of an avocado
= Heat your oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
= Once hot, add your chopped onions. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
= Turn heat up to high and add the turkey and brown, breaking the ground turkey into small pieces.
= Add in the seasoning sauce and cook on medium heat until the turkey is cooked through.
= Let it cool.
= Place a good 1-2 handfuls of Romain in a large Tupperware container.
= Top it with your portion of protein.
= Garnish with your beans, salsa, Greek yogurt and avocado.
= Keep the salad fresh by either placing it in the fridge or in a handy-dandy lunch bag cooler.
Now, if you're going to do this every day and want the salad to stay fresh, here's what I would do:
= Separate the protein into individual containers like these. Then, when you place the lettuce into your salad container you can just plop the protein on top.
= Place the washed and chopped lettuce in a Ziplock bag with 1-2 paper towels to absorb the moisture (keep some air in the bag when you close it)
= Keep the condiments separate in the fridge and scoop in whenever you assemble.
= You can either put your lunch together the night before or morning of.
And then all you have to do is thoroughly enjoy this salad, like I have every day this week! BON APPETIT! (Have a question/comment/idea? Leave it in the comments section!)
Last week I posted recipes for Chilled Carrot Soup Shooters and Roasted Cauliflower Hummus (yum!). This week, I'm bringing you another kind of hummus AND something to satisfy your party guests' sweet teeth without slapping them in the face with a sugar bomb.
Now, I personally never read the whole story behind other bloggers' recipes. I just scroll straight down to the recipes SO: I'm just going to get down to business !!
Let's make some food!
Makes about 4 cups
4 medium beets (the reason I'm not telling you how many pounds here is because sometimes when you buy beets, the greens are heavier than the beets themselves)
3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 roasted garlic cloves (since I'd already roasted one head of garlic for the cauliflower hummus, I used cloves from that head instead of raw; read about how to roast garlic here)
1 tbsp cumin
Zest from 2 lemons
Good pinch of kosher salt
NOTE: This recipe is adapted from one I found at SimplyRecipes.com; I thought the original was a little too runny so I added tahini. I also found that it tasted better 24 hours after making it so don't be afraid to make ahead!
Green Smoothie Dessert Shooter
Makes about 6 cups (so, about 16 3-oz shot pours)
3 big handfuls of baby spinach
4 sprigs of cilantro
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 of an avocado
2 cups of whatever kind of milk you want (I prefer cashew or flax seed milk)
Some kind of berry for garnish
My good friend and health industry colleague Dr. Meggie Smith of Chiropractic First in Evanston invited me to join her during the Downtown Evanston Wine Walk last week to do "something fun" in her office since she was one of the wine walk stops. I racked my brain, trying to figure out what to do and then I figured, Hey! Why don't I provide the food?
I assumed other stops might serve cheese, charcuterie or chocolate to go with their wine so I thought, "Why not serve some more non-traditional, veggie-centric appetizers?" It's so easy to fill a table of apps with the things I listed above (I do when I have people over, cheese is awesome!) but sometimes veggies get left out or treated like second-rate citizens of Appetizerlandia.
Thanks to everyone who asked for the recipes, I am posting two here! (Two more will come next week!) Enjoy!
CHILLED CARROT SOUP SHOOTER
Serves: Many, many, people if you serve this in small cups as a 3oz "shot" of soup (perfect if you're not doing a sit-down app course). You can freeze this soup if you have too much (or cut the quantities in half). NOTE: I got this recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen. I've made it many times with slightly different variations but the below is the best combo in my humble opinion.
2 tbsp unfiltered coconut oil
4 spring onions, white and light green parts, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger (more if you LOVE ginger)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
4 lbs carrots, sliced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp fresh grated turmeric root
Enough water to just cover the ingredients in the pot (about 6-8 cups)
Cilantro to garnish
The most awesome thing about this soup is that it's amazing as a warm soup in the fall/winter and as a chilled soup in the summer! Don't be afraid to make "too much". It will be eaten :)
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER HUMMUS
Makes: About 4 cups
1 head cauliflower
1 head of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil to coat cauliflower for roasting, 2 tbsp for hummus-making
1/2 tsp coconut oil to roast garlic
1/3 cup tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
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!
I was at a networking lunch (shout-out to the Evanston Chamber's Women in Business!) a few weeks ago, chatting with someone about winter weight gain and how easily it can creep up on you.
As spring approaches (it's coming soon, right?), I thought I'd share a few more tips for how to prepare NOW for lighter clothes that don't consist of moo moos and shirts that are two sizes too big. So let's get started:
1. Eat your veggies before your starchy carbs. I'm NOT vilifying starchy carbs, they have a place in our lives. But have you noticed that currently restaurant menus are loaded with duck confit mac and cheese, big burgers in bigger buns, bread puddings as entrees AND desserts? Now, I'm not ordering you to take the carbs out. I am strongly encouraging you to eat your non-starchy veggies first (like broccoli, kale, chard, carrots, beets, spaghetti squash, etc). I bet you won't have as much room for those starchy carbs.
2. Watch your alcohol intake. I was talking to a client last week who said she noticed that her pants were fitting a little tighter. She was part of the Clean Slate group in January and had given up alcohol for the whole month. "What changed?" I asked. "I started drinking a glass or two of wine every night." "Or two?" I challenged. "Well, sometimes the neighbor comes over and we finish the bottle." If you don't actively set a limit for how much you're going to drink, "or two" can easily become more. If you're doing that a few times per week, it WILL make your pants tighter. Take how much you're drinking now and try to cut it by at least half.
3. Drink. Your. Water. I don't know about you but the days I don't drink enough water, I eat more crap. I feel restless and hungry and cranky so I grab a snack. Half an hour later I grab another snack. And I never feel better. That doesn't happen on days I drink half of my weight in ounces of water.
4. Eat on smaller plates. There was a great post by Snack Girl about changing plates to 1" less in diameter. It's quick. Watch it here.
5. Wear tighter-fitting clothes. I know, it's scary. But you know what: Stop hiding! I am a STRONG believer in practicing self love and compassion where you are RIGHT NOW. Don't wait until you are your smaller self to love your body. If you don't love yourself now, you won't believe you're ever enough, no matter what size. Now, I'm not telling you to wear a skin-tight mini skirt and tube top. I'm just suggesting that it might be time to reclaim ownership of your body again.
Got all that? Great. Now, eat your veggies.
I promise I am not vilifying carbs or gluten or pasta. But lately I've been watching how many starchy carbs I eat because of my current fitness goals and I'm deciding to eat foods like pasta and breads sparingly. So while I'm craving a comforting pasta dish for dinner tonight since it's cold outside, I decided it would be wiser for me to make the alternative: Zucchini noodles!
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you've been witness to my love affair with zucchini noodles (and if you're an Evanston personal training client, you even got your own spiralizer for the holidays!).
Why do I love them so much? Let me count the ways:
So how do you make these noodles? you ask. This way:
AND THAT IS IT! Just add whatever you'd like on the side (or on top!). And you've got your serving of veggies for your meal!
So, go ahead and make some noodles and let me know what you paired them with in the comments (and share your pics on Facebook)!
Let's face it: We live in a culture of "I'm too busy". Too busy to cook, to clean, to exercise, to have fun. I'm just going to tackle the "too busy to cook" part today by sharing a CrockPot recipe that I have fallen in love with. It tastes amazing and only took me 10 MINUTES TO PREPARE!!! This is altered from Good Housekeeping. Here's what you need:
1 onion, sliced.
3 peppers (the choice of color is yours), sliced
1/2 cup picked jalapeños (or more or less depending on your taste)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 lbs flank steak (grass fed if you can find it; otherwise make sure it's as lean as possible)
1 14-oz can whole tomatoes, roughly cut up
Load up and mix the onion, peppers, jalapeños, jalapeño, bay leaf, spices and salt. Then, add the beef. Finally, add the tomatoes on top. Cover and cook on low for 9 hours. When it's done, take the beef out to shred with forks. Get rid of the bay leaf. Skim off any excess fat from the pepper mix. And then... EAT! Serves 4-6. Serve with sautéed spinach and a black beans (if they're your thing).
Winter is almost over which makes me wish I'd thought of this earlier in the season. But, hey, as long as it's still cold, I will continue to make this awesome, super tasty, satisfying, comforting dish. Best of all, especially for my fellow food-sensitive friends, this dish is free from most allergens like eggs, nuts, etc and is gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free and paleo-friendly.
Here are your ingredients:
1 Spaghetti squash
1 lb Organic grass-fed beef (or whatever meat you prefer)
1 Large carrot, chopped
1-2 Shallots, chopped
1 Jar marinara sauce (I'm super lucky to have some of my parents' homemade sauce but you can use an 18-oz store-bought sauce. Make sure to look at the ingredients to verify there's no dumb stuff in there like sugar... Trader Joe's Traditional Marinara Sauce does the trick.)
Parsley or cilantro to garnish
Red pepper flakes to garnish
Pre-heat the oven at 400F. Slice the spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scrape out the seeds. Brush some olive oil on the flesh and salt and pepper to taste. Line a roasting pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the squash flesh side down. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Time will depend on how big your squash is.
In the meantime, heat a heavy fry pan over medium heat. Trader Joe's has 85% lean organic grass-fed ground beef so I find that I definitely do not need to oil the pan ahead of time even if the pan is not non-stick. Brown the meat in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. Before it's all cooked through, stir in the chopped carrots and shallots. Cook until softened. Then, pour in the marinara sauce. Turn heat to low and let the sauce simmer very softly for 10-20 minutes to let the sauce cook down a little bit.
When the squash is done, let it cool down. Once the temperature is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the flesh out.
Then, simply scoop out some spaghetti squash onto a plate and top with meat sauce. I like to sprinkle some red pepper flakes and chop up a little bit of cilantro to give the dish a little extra punch.
And that's it! Super easy and mega nourishing! If you're up for it, put some greens on the side!
Enjoy! And remember, if you make this and post a picture online, use the hashtag #IzzyFitFood!