Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Simple, On-the-Go Protein-Packed Snacks + Giveaway

Once again, I’ve partnered with Wonderful Halos to bring you this blog post. Right now, the brand is hosting a “Good Choice Challenge” to encourage consumers to make good snacking choices by choosing Wonderful Halos over other traditional unhealthy snacks in order to lead a healthier lifestyle. Now that it’s the New Year and cleaning up our diets is on all of our minds, here are a bunch of snacks that you can quite literally take on-the-go. With a little bit of prep, healthy snacking doesn’t get easier than this! As always, thank you for your support!

One of the most common requests that I receive from both blog readers and nutrition clients is ideas for simple, on-the-go snacks. A lot of us (myself included) are often rushing from one activity to another – shuttling kids to school, commuting to work, or cruising around town running errands – so it’s not always easy to eat well, but if there’s a will, there’s a way! And now that the New Year is here and healthy eating is on our minds, I wanted to share some of my favorite quick and easy, totally on-the-go snacks that I count on again and again. Some of them I prepare at the beginning of the week, so they’re ready to go when I am, but the other ideas are truly grab-and-go options that don’t require any planning. The majority are high in protein, so they keep me satisfied for the long haul. I hope you guys try some of these suggestions and enjoy them as much as I do!

PROTEIN SHAKE + WONDERFUL HALOS MANDARINS 

Filling a shaker with protein powder and then tossing a couple of Wonderful Halos in my gym bag is the easiest snack ever. It’s also a great combination of protein + carbs to refuel after a workout.

At just 50 calories each, Wonderful Halos mandarins are a great post-workout snack and an excellent source of vitamin C. Halos are travel-friendly, sweet, seedless, and easy to peel and eat, which makes post-workout snacking super convenient!

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SNACK BOXES

I love a good snack box because they make healthy eating SO EASY, especially when it comes to quick, convenient, and portion-controlled snacking. Obviously, I love snacks, but I often find myself mindlessly reaching for whatever I’m craving at the moment, especially if I’m out and about. In the past, I’ve found myself buying whatever not-so-healthy snack strikes my fancy when I’m at that point of desperation (aka “hangry”).

If I pack a few snack boxes at the beginning of the week, my eating habits are much more on point because I have nutritious and well-balanced option already made up and ready to go. No excuses! Plus, making my snacks count was one of my goals this year! I mix and match all sorts of favorite foods and try to hit all of the different macronutrients to keep my hunger at bay. Some favorites: Grilled or shredded chicken breast, cheese, raw veggies, packets of nut butter, fresh fruit (like Halos mandarins), nuts, hummus, guacamole, and rice crackers.

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED HALOS

Guy, prosciutto-wrapped Halos are so good!

The flavor combination of sweet and savory is so incredibly delicious. (This snack also works with deli turkey or ham.)

I also love that it’s a satisfying snack with a little extra protein and fat to fill me up!

FRUIT + NUT MIX

At the beginning of the week, I’ll portion out (using my food scale) a few servings of nuts (I’m loving pistachios mixed with almonds right now) and pack them away in small plastic containers. (This would also work with plastic baggies.) I also leave some fresh fruit – Halos included – in our fruit bowl on the kitchen counter, so I always have a portable and filling snack pairing ready to take with me.

PROTEIN BALLS + HALO MANDARINS

I love this recipe for Peanut Butter Protein Balls and they pair so well with Halos mandarins as a well-rounded and nutritious snack. I often make a batch of protein balls at the beginning of the week and then just grab a couple along with some Halos, and I’m snack-ready seconds later!

Giveaway time!

Here’s your chance to win an awesome prize pack from Wonderful Halos. We received the same one at the start of this campaign, and Quinn loved everything inside! It’s definitely a kid-friendly prize!

  • Wonderful Halos coupons
  • Stress ball
  • Bowl
  • Water bottle with an infuser
  • Fidget spinner
  • Lunch pale
  • Sunglasses

To enter: Just leave a comment on this blog post about one of your favorite quick and simple on-the-go snacks. I’ll randomly pick a winner next week!

 

 

 



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You Don’t Need to Quit Sugar Cold Turkey

Oooh, sugar… everyone’s favorite topic this time of year.

I know a lot of us are trying to clean up our diets right now, especially on the sugar front, so I wanted to share how I managed to get control of my “addiction” without going cold turkey and making myself crazy. Also below is an awesome blog post from Nicole Holovach, RD of Whole Health RD (you might remember her from past blog posts) about how to talk rationally about sugar. Basically, it’s not all bad and you don’t need to give it up all together!

How I Beat My Sugar Addiction 

Revisiting My Sugar Addiction 

How to Talk Rationally about Sugar

And one more things to add to the discussion: I recently started to eat more savory breakfasts, which include a decent about of protein and fat to start my day. It has definitely helped with mid-morning snacking and cravings!

Question of the Day

Your turn! What’s your relationship with sugar? Anything to add to the topic? 

 

 

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How to Do Keto As a Vegetarian—And a Giveaway

Inline_VegetarianThis is one of the most common queries I receive: How do I go keto as a vegetarian?

One way to go keto as a vegetarian is to stop being vegetarian. You begin as a vegetarian, make the conscious decision to go keto, and then cease vegetarianism. Seriously, just try it out. A little animal won’t hurt you. Promise.

Okay, jokes aside: How do you go keto while remaining vegetarian?

Once you let the dust settle and consider the proposition with a calm, clear mind, going keto as a vegetarian isn’t all that outlandish.

Most low-carb diets are hard to do as a vegetarian because protein is a big component, and quality protein is harder to obtain without meat in your diet. The focus of keto is carbs and fat—less of the former, more of the latter—and not so much the protein. There are plenty of ways to reduce carbs and increase fat while remaining vegetarian, and if you keep a few things in mind, you actually have a lot of freedom. More than you’d think.

Here’s what you should keep in mind when constructing your diet. After this, everything else is gravy.

Eat Eggs

This is pretty non-negotiable, at least if you’re trying to optimize your keto vegetarian diet.

Eggs provide long chain omega-3 fatty acids. You have to choose the right eggs, of course. Your average battery-farmed corn-and-soy-fed chickens won’t produce omega-3-rich eggs. If you’re lucky, they’ll have some ALA. But for the animal-based omega-3s that we truly need, you must eat pastured eggs or eggs from chickens on a special diet designed to boost levels of long chain omega-3s.

Eggs provide potent animal protein. I know I just said that protein isn’t a big concern on keto. But you still need a solid source of animal protein, and egg protein is one of the most bioavailable ones in existence.

Eggs provide choline. Our livers go through a lot of choline when they metabolize fats, and you’re going to be metabolizing a lot of fat. Without enough choline, we run the risk of developing fatty liver disease and compromising overall liver function.

Eggs provide vitamin B12. Five average grocery store eggs net you over 100% of the RDA.

Eggs provide retinol. Retinol is the animal-based type of vitamin A that our bodies use far more readily than plant-based vitamin A.

Look for “Super Eggs.” Sometimes Whole Foods carries a brand of egg called the Super Egg. Laid by chickens fed a special diet that includes algae, fish, and specific minerals, each egg has 125 mg of DHA (4.3x a normal egg), 250 IU of vitamin D (6x), 4.7 IU of vitamin E (6x), 378 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin (1.5x), 1.2 mcg of B12 (2.5x), 185 mg of choline, 20 mcg of selenium (1.25x), 0.8 mg of zinc, and 35 mcg of folate. They taste great and make staying nourished on a vegetarian keto diet much easier.

Find the Dairy That Works For You

Some folks simply can’t eat any type of dairy. Okay. But make sure that’s the case and you’re not just exercising a preference. In populations without traditional access to dairy in whom adult genetic tolerance of dairy never developed, vegetarianism was absent. East Asians, Southeast Asians, most of Africa and the Americas—they were not vegetarians. Then, consider the most successful vegetarian cultures, like in India. Dairy plays a major and constant role in their diet. From yogurts to cheeses to milk to cream, they probably wouldn’t have been successful vegetarians without it.

It’s easy to understand why. Dairy is a reliable, delicious source of healthy fatty acids like conjugated linoleic acid, important minerals like calcium, and bioavailable protein like whey. Ferment your dairy and you introduce probiotics, lower the lactose, and create novel nutrients like vitamin K2. Dairy is the perfect accompaniment to a keto diet.

If you have no issue with dairy, great. Go wild. Make it a significant part of your diet. If you do have legitimate issues with dairy, figure out what kind of dairy you can consume. Most people can get away with fermented dairy, like yogurt and kefir, and hard, aged cheeses, like pecorino romano, aged gouda, and parmigiano reggiano.

Take creatine, carnosine, and taurine. These are micronutrients found only in meat.

Take niacin and thiamine. These are really hard to obtain without eating starches or animals or a ton of seeds. The top sources of thiamine are trout, pork, sunflower seeds (huge omega-6 hit to get the required amount), and beans. Top niacin sources are pork, poultry, fish, liver, peanuts (but you’d need to eat about a cup), sunflower seeds, and beef. Not exactly vegetarian keto friendly unless you love omega-6.

Eat mushrooms. Everyone should be eating mushrooms, perhaps even patients with depression. But they become crucial for keto vegetarians because they’re the best non-animal, non-starch, non-omega-6-rich seed/nut source of niacin. A couple cups of grilled portobello mushrooms gets you 76% of your daily requirement of the vitamin. Other mushrooms aren’t far behind.

Take algal oil if you’re not getting good eggs high in omega-3s. Good eggs will provide long chain omega 3 fatty acids. So will algal oil, which offers both EPA and DHA.

Consider eating oysters and other shellfish. This is a big stretch for most ethical vegetarians, but I don’t think it has to be. First, oysters aren’t motile, meaning they don’t move to escape danger. This indicates that they probably don’t feel pain, since pain is a costly physiological mechanism that only arises or is preserved in organisms who can respond to it by leaving the scene. Second, oyster farming is ethical and has very little impact on the environment. An oyster farm is pretty much identical to an oyster’s natural environment. If you can stomach a few oysters, you’ll get a fantastic source of vitamin B12 and other B vitamins, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, and even omega-3s.

What Might This Look Like?

Here’s a sample day of keto vegetarian food. This is just one example.

  • 9 eggs
  • Cup of full-fat Greek Yogurt
  • 2 ounces Pecorino romano cheese
  • Ounce of almonds
  • Ounce of mac nuts
  • 2 Brazil nuts
  • 4 cups of raw spinach
  • 2 TB avocado oil
  • 1 TB butter
  • 5 green olives

That gets you 1981 calories, 109 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate (10 g fiber), 158 g fat with most of your micronutrients, except for the ones mentioned above (thiamine/B1, niacin/B3). You could easily add in a couple TBs of raw potato starch or a fully green (unripe) banana for some more fermentable substrate for your gut bugs. If you’re willing to give it a shot, you could throw in a few small oysters and take care of all your zinc, selenium, copper, and most of your iron requirements. I think you get the idea, though.

Eat enough eggs to give you adequate protein and micronutrients. Choose the best eggs you can find, as they’re the backbone.

Eat some dairy that you can tolerate, focusing on fermented stuff (which digests the lactose and provides additional benefits) like yogurt, kefir, and hard cheeses.

Eat non-starchy veggies with plenty of healthy fat in the form of dressings, mayoavocado/olive oil, nuts/seeds, cheese, avocados.

Have a Big Ass Salad every day, which makes getting all your nutrients really easy. This is my latest favorite.

Going keto as a vegetarian isn’t that hard. And if you take my advice to heart, you won’t even miss out on any major nutrients.

Now For the Giveaway…

Keto_Advanced_1_600xToday I’m choosing one random commenter to win a Primal Kitchen® Advanced Keto Kit. It’s the perfect compliment to anyone’s keto plan—vegetarian or not.

With five delicious dressings, you’ll have all the tasty variety and healthy fat you’ll need for your daily Big-Ass Salads as well as inspiration for marinades of all kinds. Both Primal Kitchen mayos are outstanding dips for veggies and can help you whip up some comfort food favorites. Finally, Extra Virgin Avocado Oil lets you create your own sauce and dressing accompaniments to both cooked and fresh Primal meals.

Today I’d like to hear your questions on anything kitchen related. Are there kitchen tips you’d like? Suggestions for kitchen gadgetry? Other Primal cooking or shopping inquiries? Product questions?

Be sure to post your comment here before midnight tonight (1/10/18 PST) to be eligible.

Good luck, everyone!

Now let’s hear from you. If you have any other comments or questions about going keto as a vegetarian, let me know down below.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.

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Primal Cooking Point: 5 Soups and Stews to Warm Up Your Week

Inline_Food_Nutrition_Live-Awesome-645x445-01With much of the country feeling like an icebox the last two weeks, I figured it’s a good time for some more rich, hearty meals. There’s something here for everyone—different meats, textures, and preparations, but they’re all Primal. A couple can easily be considered kid-friendly, and a couple could conveniently be adapted to fit a vegetarian diet. (I’ve got more for our vegetarian readers coming up this morning, so stay tuned.)

While none are “quick” dishes (I’ll have more on that theme though), all these recipes lend themselves to batch cooking, which means your prep time will be well spent.

Dig in, everyone….

Polish Hunter’s Stew

Primal

Garlic Soup

GarlicSoup

Rogan Josh Lamb Stew

rogan-josh-lamb-stew-MDA-Recipe-Card

Rich and Hearty Hungarian Goulash

goulash2

Tomato Soup With Spicy Mini-Meatballs

TomatoSoup1

dcab_640x80

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Overboard

Nothing like a green smoothie to start off the day! Mazen LOVES smoothies, and while this time of year they aren’t my first choice of breakfast due to their temperature, I do appreciate how quick, easy, and healthy they are. I always add some milk, some frozen fruit (a berry mix, tropical mix or a banana), a banana (either fresh or frozen), oats (for that great texture) and some Vega powder. I prefer the Coconut Almond or Vanilla flavor, but the boys both love the Chocolate!

Do you love my new photo backdrop?! I bought this board over the holidays to use for posts. It’s reversible and so pretty! (You can look forward to it appearing in a lot of posts this year.)

Lunch by the fire was greens, leftover black beans, leftover chicken, cheese, a little rice, yogurt, and hot sauce. SO GOOD for lunch! (Why does my thumb look so weird?!)

Did you know my mom has taken up painting? She takes after my grandmother, who was a fabulous painter, and they have similar styles of using bright colors and funky animals and people. She has been painting animals around her town that have been popular, and also paints children’s toys! Here is a painting of two of Mazen’s toys, Turk and Spikey, that she gave him for Christmas. Check out her website if you’d like to have something of your child’s painted!

BLECH. Seriously, would any of you eat these?!!?

Winter soccer has started! I love the fast pace and higher goal count. I scored the first one for our co-ed team – got us off on the right foot – bwahahaha! But, then we lost like 20-4 – ack! I’m playing indoor women’s league too, which I like even more. We have a great group this semester! My workouts these days are a mix of the sauna (because that totally counts, right?), hot yoga, soccer, and a few strength classes or Stairmasters thrown in there. I wish I could run outside, but I just can’t when it’s below 40 degrees or so.

And finally, we had this orange chicken two nights in a row. It wasn’t as good as the author’s version, but it was pretty good!

Hope you’re having a good week so far!

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