Category Archives: Food

Night Shift Nutrition Tips

Hi all!

I recently got back from a business trip to India. It was my first travel for business purposes, and it was such a positive experience. I felt like I got to know the Indian people and culture better through business travel and the daily interaction than I may have if I had just gone for pleasure. Plus I got to explore on the weekends and get to know people that way too. Win win win.

While I was over there, I heard a lot of people talk about their struggles with night shift work, particularly gaining weight. I whipped up a nutrition guide for people working the night shift, but a lot of it is generally applicable. As I always say, we are all unique snow flakes, so when it comes to grams/calories/etc, take it with a grain of salt and meet with dietician to get exact estimates for your needs.

10168091_877142378996761_582513573218095107_n

Night Shift Nutrition

Working the night shift may seem like a challenge for eating and maintaining a healthy body, but with by keeping a few basic principles in mind, you can overcome the unique challenges that the shift poses.

  1. Calories are complicated. While simply “calories in, calories out” is not fully accurate, weight gain and loss is largely a matter of excess calories.
    1. Carbohydrates are the easiest substance to digest and convert into fat. The more cooked, refined, or ‘white’ a carb is, the more effect is has on elevating blood sugar and weight gain. Refined carbs are responsible for elevating LDL cholesterol.
    2. The more fiber something has (such as vegetables and whole grains) the slower the carbohydrates are absorbed into blood and the more filling it is. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and burns some calories being digested.
    3. Protein is the most difficult substance to digest, so it burns some calories when eaten. It is important to eat protein with meals for slowing absorption of carbohydrates, increasing satiety, and building/maintaining lean muscle.
    4. Fat is not evil and is great for satiety and also slows absorption of carbohydrates. However, because it is the most calorie dense, portions need to be monitored. (Especially heavy Indian sauces/gravies/curries!)  Avoid vegetable oils. Coconut oil, ghee and olive oil are the healthiest oils.
  2. Hunger depends on many factors, including how long since the last meal, foods chosen, amount of sleep, other substances ingested, environment, and social cues.
    1. Try not to go more than 5-6 hours between meals to avoid overeating. Carry high protein/fiber snacks around with you (dried chickpeas, jerky, carrots, apple)
    2. Choose high protein foods, LOTS of vegetables, and high fiber carbohydrates for longer satiety.
    3. Blended or liquid foods pass through the stomach quickly and are less satiating.
    4. Drinking alcohol, social cues, being dehydrated, and lack of sleep increase hunger. Women need at least 2 liters water daily, men 3 liters.

 

Sleep:

  • Sleep is crucial for optimal energy, weight, happiness, and health.
  • Aim for 8 hours per night, allowing 20 minutes to fall asleep.
  • It is important to sleep in pitch black, so use an eye mask and ear plugs if necessary.
  • Avoid getting less than 7 hours of sleep, and if you accumulate sleep debt (which is stored up to two weeks) try to catch up over the weekend.
  • No bright lights or screens for at least an hour before bed.

Sample schedule:

Mon-Fri: 8pm, go to work. Work 9pm to 5am. Get home at 5:30am and get in bed. Sleep 6am-2pm. Between 2pm and 8pm, enjoy being with family and squeeze in a workout for 15-60 minutes. With this schedule, meals could be breakfast around 3pm, lunch around 8pm, dinner at 1am.

On the weekends, try not to stray too far from the work schedule.

You can discuss with your doctor a natural supplement or melatonin to help with sleep cycle regulation or changes.

  • Sat: Wake at 2pm as usual, go to bed around 2am, using melatonin or sleepy tea if needed.
  • Sunday: Wake at 10am, 11, or noon. Bed at 2 or 3am.
  • Monday: repeat work schedule.

If you are very tired from the work week, go to bed as early as you want on Saturday. On Sunday, try to go to bed between 2 and 5am so that you are closer to work schedule.

Exercise:

  • Go to http://www.bodbot.com/ . It was created by one of my friends and is an AWESOME resource for working out and nutrition!
  • My blog is theInformedHealthnut.com which has lots of health articles, exercises, and recipes :)
  • During work, try to get up and walk or group work out at least every couple hours.
  • Can see if getting a few standing desks is an option for the office
  • Stretch and meditate daily, even briefly
  • Exercise is essentially the only way to elevate HDL cholesterol

Different types of exercise have different health benefits and otherwise.

  • Longer, less intense cardio: Good for the heart, endurance, and calorie expenditure. Ex: going for a walk, elliptical, dance, difficult yoga classes
  • Short, intense cardio: Great for the heart, burns lots of fat, increases metabolism. Ex: sprints by running, some sports, swimming, biking, intervals of any type, body weight exercises,  HIIT, crossfit
  • Weight lifting: Increases metabolism by building muscle, burns fat, stronger body for longevity
  • Yoga/stretching/core: Decreases stress, improves mobility, balance, core supports spine and posture

AHA Recommendation – For Overall Cardiovascular Health:

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes

OR

  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

EITHER PLUS

  • Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.

For Lowering Blood Pressure and Cholesterol:

  • An average 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week

Sample weekly goals:

2-3 long slow cardio sessions ( 30-60 minute walks or challenging yoga)

1-2 intense cardio session (15-30 minute sprint intervals or other intense interval workout)

Note: These are better to do on the weekend as they can be tiring, and you dont want to fall asleep at work! They are great for helping you fall asleep earlier on the weekend.

1-2 weight lifting sessions

Note: If lifting heavy, these can also be tiring, so may be better to do during the weekend.

Endurance cardio: Walking, cycling, swimming, pilates, brisk yoga class, dance class. Should be at an easy enough pace that can be maintained without needing to stop and rest.

Intense cardio: High Intensity Interval Training via cycling, rowing, swimming, running, jump rope, running stairs, or other cardio form. The goal is to get your heart rate near your max (around 220 – your age), then recover, repeat. Another option is to use the bodyweight exercises. You can also utilize exercise videos on YouTube that are bodyweight interval training.

Examples:

  • 20 seconds hard, 10 seconds easy (“Tabata”)
  • 30 seconds hard, 60 seconds easy
  • 30 seconds sprint, 90 seconds easy
  • 45 seconds hard, 60 seconds easy
  • 60 seconds hard, 60 seconds easy, etc

Body weight exercises: Can be done at home, in a park, at a gym, etc.

  • Box jumps, jumping of any sort
  • Squats
  • Jump lunges
  • Pushups
  • Pull ups
  • Chin ups
  • V-ups
  • Tricep dips
  • Back Extensions
  • Sit ups
  • Leg Raises
  • Plank Holds
  • Bridges
  • Burpees

Weight training: Strength in a gym setting, focusing on sheer strength gains within functional movements. All movements with additional weight to bodyweight.

If you do not have access to a gym, you can purchase weights or use heavy objects around the house (with good form and safety!) for exercises. Tons of strength workouts can be found online, on Bodbot.com, on my blog, and on youtube. Youtube videos can show proper form, but if your budget, allows, it is best to have a personal trainer show you how to do the moves.

Examples: Deadlifts*, squats*, overhead press, bench press, lunges

Yoga/Stretching/Core: If you can spend a few minutes stretching and meditating daily, that is ideal. Doing yoga, longer stretching, and core workouts 1-2 times per week is great for reducing stress and maintaining flexibility. These can be done at a gym or at home. There are many free videos online for yoga, stretching, and abdominals.

Nutrition

There are some basics you must know and understand in order to make educated food decisions for life. I recommend memorizing the foods listed as examples of each macronutrient. I have placed each food into which macronutrient it is predominately.

Carbohydrates:

These are used for energy and are all broken down into sugar in the stomach and intestines. While all carbohydrates are technically composed of sugar, they have very different effects on our blood sugar due to their fiber content and processing/cooking method.

Carbohydrates elevate our blood sugar, which releases insulin, which tells our body to store fat. Too many carbohydrates are the most direct cause of weight gain. Refined carbohydrates and sugars are the worst, because they elevate blood sugar the fastest and usually have a higher total carbohydrate load.

Sources of carbohydrates: Rice, bread, naan/roti/chapati, noodles, all sweets, all fruits and juices, starchy vegetables like potatoes and winter squash

Unexpected sources of carbohydrates: milk and yogurt (does have some protein, but has natural sugars), all beans/chickpeas/lentils (have some protein, but more carbs)

Vegetables: are technically a carbohydrate, but they are rich in fiber, which slows absorption and increases satiety. Vegetables can be eaten in unlimited quantities, as they are not calorie dense (except starchy veg like potatoes and winter squash, corn)

Tips for carbs: Eat a lot of vegetables. Choose whole grain and brown carbs over white carbs. Avoid sugar (try adding no more than 3 tsp TOTAL to tea, coffee, etc per day. Avoid dried fruit and fruit juice, and just eat whole fruits.

Weight loss portions: [These are highly variable but a generalized recommendation.] No more than ~100-150 calories/25-40g for women and 150-200 calories/40-50g for men worth of carbohydrates per meal.

  • 120 calories is a half cup of cooked rice, half cup daal, half a naan, half cup pasta, a medium 7’ roti or chapati, or 2 idlis.
  • 1 cup low fat yogurt/raita has 120 calories, 10 g protein, 15 g carbs as sugar
  • Everyone, especially if vegetarian, must factor in that beans and lentils contribute to your total carbohydrate content, and reduce “pure carbohydrates” accordingly.

Maintenance portions:  No more than ~150-300 calories/40-60g for women and no more than ~200-400 calories/50-1000g for men of carbohydrates per meal.

  • 240 calories is 1 cup rice or daal, 1 naan, 1 cup pasta, or two small chapatis or rotis.
  • A tablespoon of sugar is 45 calories, all carbs. (Note: people who are super active may require more carbohydrates than this, this is just an estimate.)

Cooking tips & info for breads/rice/idli: http://www.indiacurry.com/nutrition/rotidosaidli.htm

Fat:

Used for absorption of fat soluble vitamins, energy, hormone production, fat storage. Great for increasing satiety and slowing carbohydrate absorption.

Fat is commonly attributed to weight gain and high cholesterol, but excessive and refined carbohydrates are actually more responsible for these issues. Fat content should be monitored due to avoid excess calories, but it is not bad! However, higher fat foods have a lot of calories, so you must eat smaller portions of them.

Sources of fats: all oils, ghee, coconut milk, coconut, heavy cream, avocado, egg yolk, fatty cuts of meat such as lamb, pork, beef

Unexpected sources of fat: tofu/paneer (has some protein, but majority fat), nuts, peanut butter, cheese (all have some protein, but mostly fat), deep fried foods such as samosas and papad)

Weight loss portions: No more than ~100-250 calories/10-25g for women and 150-300 calories/15-30g for men worth of fat per meal.

  • 120 calories is 1 tbsp oil or butter or 2 tbsp cream. Half an avocado is 150 calories. 1 cup full cat coconut milk is 550 calories. ¼ cup of nuts is 200 calories.
  • Everyone, especially if vegetarian, must factor in that tofu, paneer, nuts, seeds, and cheese contribute to your total fat intake, and reduce “pure fats” accordingly.

Weight loss calories: I am hesitant to be too specific about this, as everyone is HIGHLY different. I encourage you to meet with a dietician about your exact calories needs. There are also calculators online to input your weight, height, and activity level to get an estimate – but they are highly variable. Women might aim for 1300-1600 calories per day for weight loss. Men might aim for 1500-2400 calories for weight loss. This depends on your startign weight and ending goal weight and activity level.

Maintenance portions:  Around ~200 calories/50g for women and ~200-400 calories/50-80g for men of fat per meal.  (Note: people who are very active may require more calories than this, this is just an estimate.)

Protein:

Used for muscle maintenance and building, repairing all cells, immunity cell production, hair/skin/nails, necessary for life and cell reactions. Great for satiety and slowing carbohydrate absorption.

Sources of protein: All fish, seafood, poultry, lamb, beef, chicken, pork, protein powders, cottage cheese, hemp/soy protein powder, egg white

Protein goals: .6 – .8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. People who lift weights often and heavy may go over this recommendation, up to .9 or 1g per pound. Those with kidney issues should consult an MD.

During weight loss, high protein intake helps preserve muscle mass and increase satiety. For example, a 70kg woman might aim for 90-140 grams of protein per day.

Portions:

  • A palm size of chicken/fish/beef/pork has about 25 grams of protein. ¼ pound of lean protein has around 25 grams of protein. One egg has 7 grams of protein.
  • 1 cup low fat yogurt/raita has 120 calories, 10 g protein, 15 g carbs as sugar
  • 1 cup Indian curd has 160 cals, 13 grams of protein and 1 cup cottage cheese has ~15 g.
  • 1 cup cooked lentils has 220 calories and 18 g protein, 40g carbs.
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas has 270 calories and 15 g protein, 45 g carbs.
  • ½ cup tofu has 10 g protein and 100 calories.

Veg tips: It is easier to divide protein intake into three meals. It is difficult for vegetarians to meet the protein requirements sometimes, especially if they don’t eat dairy. Vegetarians might consider a protein shake with hemp, whey, or soy protein powder to help meet protein needs. Note that for vegetarians trying to lose weight,  in order to meet protein needs with lentils or chickpeas, less rice or whole grain bread (such as ¼ -½ cup) should be eaten at meals.

Sample non-veg and veg meal:

  • ½ cup rice with 1-2 palms of chicken with ¼ cup masala sauce and as much vegetables or salad as desired.
  • 1 idlis with ⅔ cup lentils and 8oz yogurt with small handful almonds
  • 1 roti wrap with 1 palm chicken (or ⅔ cup chickpeas) and 2 tbsp masala sauce + 2 tbsp raita and unlimited vegetables in the wrap/on the side
  • A huge mixed vegetable salad with 1-2 palms chicken or (1 cup chickpeas), dressed with ¼ cup raita and 1tbsp olive oil
  • ⅓  cup rice with ¾  cup lentils in ¼ cup masala sauce with unlimited vegetables or salad.

The origins of action, and an exercise in self awareness

When I sit down to write a post nowadays (yes, meaning 3-4x per year), I first think about what it is I am trying to accomplish. The original intent of my blog was to empower people through nutrition education. While that is still my intent, the way in which I do so has changed. Before, I tried to create simple, delicious recipes to “prove” that healthy food could taste great, and does not have to be laborious. Now, I feel a transition to more informational and contemplative posts. I will always believe that knowledge is power, and education is necessary and empowering. But my professional experience over the last two years has demonstrated that information is not enough. People must both have the motivation to do something as well as the information and tools to follow through for meaningful change to occur.

Motivation is tricky. We are all motivated to do certain things in order to achieve desires, and we usually are cognizant of that connection. What we seem to be blind to is not what we need to do to achieve our objective, or even what are our roadblocks are, but why those roadblocks exist. I get annoyed while reading when an author writes purely in theory and doesn’t clarify with an example, so here is a simple one:

Darla is a bit overweight but eats fairly well most of the time, albeit a sweet tooth. She knows how to reduce carbohydrates and calories to lose weight and wants to lose weight, and realizes that her main barrier is when she that she continues to eat sweets.

WHY she has a sweet tooth may not be clear to Darla. Even if Darla has an idea about what drives her to eat sweets, my experience leads me to presume that it is an incomplete awareness, or a sugar-coated one. And this is a perfectly understandable defense mechanism! When something in our life does not match up to our ideals, it is far less painful to place the blame elsewhere, ignore it, or deny it. The problem with these tactics is that the root problem remains, and breeds increasingly more compensations (problems).

My goal for this post is to challenge you to discover your barrier and at least attempt to identify why it exists. Identifying the barrier is not very hard, but in order to even come close to identifying the root cause of your barrier, you must be incredibly self compassionate. Whatever it is, it is okay, and there is a 100% chance you are not the only one with that challenge/thought/history/desire.

While I am biased in the direction of attacking health issues, you could apply this exercise to any issue in your life or goal you want to meet but are struggling to. I did this for myself and identified a couple deep deep rooted issues that have led to my barriers. I don’t expect to fix these over night, and I realize that one or two may be life long practices, and one or two may fade in and out of my life. And that is okay. The point is awareness, without which we are all relegated to the inertia of now.

Use a real PEN AND PAPER to do this exercise.

  1. Identify the goal you are struggling to reach.
  2. List the steps or parts required to achieve the goal.
  3. Circle the steps or parts that you are not able to complete, or struggle to complete consistently.
  4. For each circled step, draw an arrow outward and write why you are not able to do so. If there is more than one reason, draw multiple arrows.
  5. For each arrow, ask why and draw another arrow leading to the answer.
  6. Ask why 1-3 more times, until you cannot dig any deeper or the reasoning becomes circular.

Below is a fake, common example.IMG_4533

In the sample above, this woman may have identified that her job is no longer fulfilling and her marriage is unhealthy, both exacerbating her emotional eating tendencies. Are these easy admittances? Hell no! Realistically, these things do not usually come out in one, simple exercise, but it is good to get the wheels turning.

I can one hundred and fifty percent guarantee you that you will answer why without any issue and then feel like you are done. You are not be done with this exercise until you feel uncomfortable.

Once you feel slightly sweaty and panicked, you know you have hit the nail on the head.

It doesn’t mean you have to do anything about it today, tomorrow, or ever.

It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, your past, or your future.

All it means is that you have learned something about yourself, and you will forever be empowered by this information. You can throw away the paper and never think about it again. If you decide to do something proactive, that is fantastic, and I encourage you to seek external help in doing so.

Because if it was easy enough to do on your own, you would have done it already.

Aside

I read the awesome article Bariatric Medicine: Seven Exciting Developments” by Sean Bourke MD on a flight from NYC to San Francisco last weekend. I identified with it enough feel compelled to summarize my favorite points for you all. Dr. … Continue reading

‘duck liver mousse?’ ‘omg so much vitamin A!’

It is almost Wednesday and that means I get to go home to Texas for a week! I’ve been looking forward to seeing family, high school friends, and eating Tex-Mex and BBQ for months now.

Today, though, was wonderful as well. I started the day off with the usual coffee and greek yogurt bowl and then headed to Crunch to workout.

This workout killed my glutes. If you want to build a booty, do this workout 2x a week and get at least a gram of protein per pound of goal weight per day.

  • Barbell squats, 5 sets 0f 15, 95#
  • Barbell lunges, 5 sets of 15 per leg, 65#
  • 100 incline situps
  • Barbell thrusts (where you do a bridge with a barbell laying over your hips), 4 sets of 15, 115#

For lunch, I made a quick, easy and paleo…

bacon butternut squash soup

IMG_1731

Recipe: serves 1

  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash
  • 1/2 tbsp grass fed butter
  • 1 slice bacon, crispy
  • 1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth (or more if desired)
  • 1 tbsp yellow onion
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • shake of salt
  • shake of freshly ground pepper
  • optional: for protein, once the soup is prepared, feel free to throw in grass fed beef, chicken, turkey, or even eggs!
  • optional: 1-2 tbsp almond or peanut butter to top (I loved the soup with almond butter)

Directions – Combine the squash, butter, bacon, broth, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Heat and add your protein and/or nut butter topping and enjoy!

After lunch, two my my closest friends from UC Davis came to visit and we went for a walk along the coast.

IMG_1736

nutrition biochemistry nerdz 4 lyfe.

IMG_1739

golden gate bridge

Afterwards, we went to State Bird Provisions for dinner. It is New American fusion served dim sum style, so you order lots of smaller plates. Very cool! I didn’t take any photos of dinner, but it was insanely delicious. We got

  • almond biscuits with duck liver mousse
  • hamachi spring rolls with persimmon
  • garlic bread with burrata
  • seafood salsa with avocado cream
  • glazed pork ribs with chard and togarashi (my fave!)
  • red trout with hazel and mandarin brown butter

Gah, I am salivating just rehashing the details. I should go pack. Have a wonderful  Wednesday!

peanut butter banana bacon bars

Good morning everyone.  I hope your weekend was relaxing and rejuvenating. To everyone, but particularly those most closely effected, I wish you the strength to recover from the recent tragedy and to not let it forever color your vision of this earth. I don’t want to say much more, but it would have felt wrong to not acknowledge the loss.

This past week, I got some much needed girl time and nature. Some women from work and I had a wonderful ladies night mid-week that included Mexican food, a bit of red wine, chocolate, and good conversation. Slumber party style. Even though we are all very different and our ages range from 22-32, we get along really well. I have been missing my friends so much since moving to the city. It can be hard to make new friends when you work a lot and don’t know anyone! Friendships are kind of like spiderwebs, you connect with one, and they connect you to so many more – but you have to start somewhere! You can’ t just pop one out of your rump like a spider, as it turns out.

A99utBKCIAIJoGr.jpg-large

Friday evening was the annual Crunch holiday party. Apparently, personal trainers know how to get down…especially when it is open bar. I didn’t take advantage though, I wanted to get home by midnight, so I could rise with the sun for a special trip to Berkeley to CROSSFIT!

215019_3995537897343_617260032_n

My friend Jameson and I drove to Berkeley on Saturday morning and did a WOD at his friend’s new business: GrassRoots CrossFit. The box was brand spankin’ new and really sleek. The workout was:

  • 12 deadlifts (225# men/155# women)
  • 9 toes through rings
  • 6 wall climbers (I am wretched at these)

We stayed after to work on some Olympic lifting and then went to eat at an awesome Peruvian place called Brasa.

68689_3989929517137_1784297475_n

 

I ate  a full half of a chicken after that… But it was free range, so it’s okay. ;) I was spent for the rest of Saturday, but today my friend Zoe and I drove down to Santa Cruz to meet up with some friends for mountain biking and hiking to a gorgeous waterfall. I don’t have group photos yet but here is the waterfall:

securedownload-1

I brought one of my zillions of homemade bars with me to most of these gatherings. My current obsession are these

peanut butter bacon banana bars

P1030992

They aren’t technically paleo because peanuts are a bean and not a nut. (And stevia baking blend isn’t “real food,” but you know what I mean when I refer to baked goods as paleo: no grains, beans, or dairy.) However, they are delicious and high in protein and fiber and low in carbs. You could use any nut, and if you aren’t a fan of bananas, you can easily leave it out.

Recipe: Makes 8 bars – grain free, dairy free, high fiber, high protein, low carb

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup NuNautrals stevia baking blend
  • 1/2 cup peanut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash cinnamon
  • 3/4-1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • maple extract
  • 2 strips bacon, extra fat trimmed
  • peanuts, to garnish

Directions – Preheat the oven to 375. In a bowl, combine the coconut flour, stevia baking blend, peanut flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add the egg, egg white, and mashed banana, and mix well. Add the almond milk until the dough is sticky, but not pourable. If using, stir in the maple extract. Grease a pan with bacon grease or grass fed butter. Press the dough into the pan until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Trim the extra fat off the bacon and pan fry or microwave until crispy. (I place the strips on a plate with a paper towel over them and microwave for ~3 minutes.) Crumble the bacon into bits and stick into the dough. Press the peanuts into the dough. Bake for 14 minutes, or until cooked through.

P1030990

 

alway hits the spot!

Don’t forget to treat yourself right this week. You deserve to…

Breathe deeply.

Eat your veggies and proteins.

Get enough sleep.

Workout the way you most enjoy.

Do something frivolous – just for you.

Show love and be loved.

Inside-Out Paleo PopTarts

Ta-daaa!

P1030984

To be real, calling these bars ‘PopTarts’ is kind of a stretch visually, but the taste brings me back to my PopTart eating childhood each and every time I have one. Which is every morning.

The base is lightly sweet and very high in fiber because it is made primarily of coconut flour and NuNaturals stevia baking blend. The topping is sweet n’ cinnamony, just like the inside of a Brown Sugar Cinnamon PopTart. You can change up the flavor of the topping by using sweet potato, canned pumpkin, or butternut squash. I have tried them all and prefer butternut squash.

Inside Out Paleo PopTarts

P1030988

Recipe: Makes 6 PopTarts – high fiber, low carb, grain free

The base 

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup NuNaturals stevia baking blend
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • ~1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or just enough to keep the dough together, so it is very sticky)

The filling

  • 1 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash, canned pumpkin, or roasted sweet potato (skins removed)
  • 1/3 cup NuNaturals stevia baking blend
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • a few drops maple extract or 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • optional: pumpkin pie spice, a few drops caramel extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine all the dry dough ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Grease a small baking pan (8×12, but it doesnt really matter because if you don’t fill the pan the dough will stick to itself anyway) with butter. Press the dough into the pan until it is ~1/4 inch thick. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just cooked through. In the mean time, combine all of the wet ingredients in a bowl and mix with a stand mixer, hand blender, or conventional blender. Once the crust is done, let cool for a few minutes. Spread the topping over the crust and bake again for 10-15 minutes, or until the top is firmed up.

P1030985

I seriously love these bars. They are perfect as a high fiber snack or for breakfast.

My daily breakfast lately has been:

  • 1 cup Straus greek yogurt
  • 1/2-1 tbsp ground Chia (Mila brand) + a splash of almond milk to make a gel
  • 1 paleo poptart or 1 peanutty bacon paleo bar (recipe to come!)
  • 1-2 tbsp of nut butter
  • dash salt
  • optional: some toasted coconut shreds, chopped roasted almonds, drizzle of suga free maple syrup

P1030981

This breakfast is so addictive. I guess its pretty girly since men don’t seem to enjoy sweet things for breakfast. Or ever?….

It packs around 500-600 calories, 40 grams of protein, and plenty of fiber with minimal carbs. You will stay full for at least 4 hours guaranteed :). I promise my other meals aren’t sweet-centric!

And that is what I eat Wednesday, and every day :)

mini butternut squash pies + life…

I think about blogging every day and, finally, here I am.

My schedule has been stretched to its limits these last couple months. I work from 10am to 3:30pm for the doctor (still waiting on writing about the details) and then head on over to Crunch, a gym that is also downtown San Francisco.

IMG_1703

I work myself out from 4 to 5pm and then personal train people until 8pm, usually. The days are long, but when you like what you do, the energy to do it all comes from the inner joy! However, I definitely am learning the value of a typical 9-5 job. It would be great to be able to make dinner plans, go to meet ups, etc during the week. We’ll see! The feedback I get from my clients is what really keeps me going. Every time they tell me they lost another pound, feel stronger, sexier, more empowered, whatever my <3 swells.

As far as exercise, I have been doing 4 heavy lifting work outs per week; 2 lower body, 2 upper body. I was stuck in a long plateau, so I enlisted Jay Ashman’s help with programming. With the changes, I have finally busted through and hit some PRs! Bench press is up to 95# and deadlift is up to 200#!!! So excited! On Fridays, I usually do a CrossFit style workout and on the weekends I just want to be outside. I try to pick a new running spot every weekend and have been enjoying getting intimate with San Francisco and seeing some incredible views.

IMG_1671

Baker Beach above, Lyon Street steps below (super close to my house!)

IMG_1644

I started getting some foot pain again a few weeks ago and had a massive freak out that I was re-fracturing my feet. I saw an orthopedic surgeon, got X-rays, the whole shabang, and found out that the pain was simply because I didn’t have enough arch support in my shoes! I slipped in some Spenco insoles and have been pain free again ever since! :) :)

As far as food, I am a Tupperware f r e a k. I have breakfast at home, which is currently a bowl of greek yogurt with a homemade paleo fiber bar crumbled in and nut butter. I pack lunch and dinner to take with me to job #1 and #2. They are always some combo of meat/protein, veg, and fat.

IMG_1588

Proteins: grass-fed beef, eggs or egg whites, salmon, chicken, canned tuna. I aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight since I am trying to gain muscle. For those who are maintaining or losing weight, .8 grams per lb of desired bodyweight may be suitable as well.

Veggies: kale, chard, sauteed onions, steamed broccoli carrot slaw, salad greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts

Carby veggies: Sweet potato, taro, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, delicata squash, roasted beets,

Fats: avocado, olive oil, any and all cheese, nut butters, coconut, homemade salad dressings, ghee, sometimes mayo…

Fun stuff:  Salt (always), sriracha (at least once daily), curry powder, crumbled crispy bacon, smoked African pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, marinara sauce, spices etc.

When you are truly hungry, food tastes good. My meals are pretty ugly (see examples below…) and definitely not food blog material, but they are always delicious & nutritious.

IMG_1624  IMG_1605

If people only ate when they were really hungry, they may not feel the need to constantly eat fried, synthetically flavored, and carbolicious foods.

I promise I will start posting real recipes again this week!

I have been hoarding Bacon  & Peanut Bars and inside-out Paleo PopTarts!

For now, you get…

mini butternut squash pies  (GF)

P1030974

Recipe: Makes 5-6 mini pies – sugar free, high fiber, gluten free

For the crust –

  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1/3 cup NuNaturals stevia baking blend
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp grass fed butter
  • dash of cinnamon + salt

For the filling –

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp grass fed butter
  • 1/3 cup NuNaturals baking blend
  • 1 cup baked butternut squash
  • 1 scoop of vanilla or dessert flavored protein powder (if and only if you LOVE your powder and know it goes well in baked goods)
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • a few drops of maple and/or caramel extract
  • optional: roasted pecans, to top

Directions –  Preheat the oven to 375. Mix together the dry ingredients for the crust. Add the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. It will fairly dry. Grease a muffin tin with butter. Press the dough into 5 or 6 of the muffin spots. Bake for 12 minutes.

Combine all of the filling ingredients in a blender or standing mixer. Blend just long enough for everything to be combined. Pour the filling on top of the crusts and smooth out the tops. Top with crumbled, toasted pecans, if desired. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pies pass the toothpick test. Enjoy!

P1030974

nom nom!

P1030977