Monday, January 14, 2019

Gym, Swim, Library

Gym, tan, laundry anyone? 🙂

Quinn and I were all business with our gym, swim, library morning. I was up and at ’em that morning at 4:01 AM to get a jumpstart on work. Thankfully, Quinn slept until almost 6:30 AM, so I got a solid 2.5 hours of work. I sort of feel like a crazy person getting up at that hour, but I know our “Quinn and Mumma” days are limited. Of course, I know that I’m super lucky to even have the option to spend the day with my kid, so waking up insanely early isn’t all that bad. Plus, I often go to bed at 8:00/8:30 PM, so it works out, and I know it’s only temporary.

After my celery juice, I whipped up a batch of microwave steel cut oats, which are a favorite new breakfast because they’re SO EASY to make, take less than 5 minutes, and include super satisfying protein (5g), carbs (27g), fiber (4g), and so much deliciousness! And, of course, I added a scoop of Teddie to the mix. I mean, do people even eat oatmeal without nut butter? 😉

Quinn ate an “Elmo bar,” banana, and drank some milk for breakfast. Once we were both ready to go to the gym, he grabbed some silver slime for the ride! 🙂

He also grabbed “Tiny Eagle” and put him in his coat to keep him warm! Aww, so cute! 🙂

Packed up and ready to go!

The first stop of the morning was the gym. Quinn played in the playroom while I took a Body Pump class. Ever since working with Zen Den, I’ve reduced the loads that I put on my back – just because it compresses my spine so much. We’ve worked really hard on decompressing and untwisting my spine, so it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to do the opposite in workouts. Plus, my back has never felt great doing back squats, etc. Although, all of my practitioners at Zen Den have encouraged me to continue to exercise and attribute my overall back health to my activity level!

After the gym, we went right to Goldfish for their open swim hour. Quinn TOTALLY impressed me with his new swim skills. I taught him how to do a Pencil Dive, which parlayed into him learning how to “push off” the floor of the pool and THEN him swimming under the platforms that they use for lessons. I almost had a heart attack the first time Quinn did it. The platforms are only 5 feet across or so, but, still, my baby was swimming under water, under a platform, and I couldn’t see him. Quinn also learned how to dive for a plastic ring that was at the bottom of the pool (in 4 feet of water). I’m still so impressed and proud of him. He’s come such a long way in a short amount of time!

After swimming, we swung by the library to return some books and pick out new ones. While at the library, Quinn found a plastic dog that got him a coupon for a free (donated) book. He was pumped!

He picked out a LEGO Ninjago book and couldn’t have been happier with his selection! 🙂

Back at home, we ate lunch together.

On the menu for me: Leftover ground chicken mixed with peppers and onions, cauliflower stir fry from Trader Joe’s, roasted sweet potatoes and onions (made in my air fryer), and peanut sauce drizzled on top. It was seriously delicious and quite macro balanced! 🙂

Speaking of which, I recently updated my 8-Week Macro Diary with some recent meals and MyFitnessPal tracking. Check it out if you’re curious about “real life” tracking!

P.S. If you’re interested in the next Master Your Macros Challenge, a second group is starting on February 4th. If you’re potentially interested, just enter your email address here!



from Carrots 'N' Cake http://bit.ly/2QPBL5Z

What Are The Healthiest Non-Dairy Milks To Drink?

The other day I was ordering an organic smoothie at a local shop and as I watched her put the kale into the blender and grab a carton of almond milk, I stopped her just in time…

Right before she poured the milk into the blender I asked, “Would you mind if I read the ingredients on that?”

She handed me the carton, and, wouldn’t ya know it… The almond milk was filled all kinds of crazy ingredients that I’d never use in my smoothies at home…

So I simply asked, “Can you use water instead?”

I personally eat very little dairy and usually opt for nut milks to make smoothies and recipes. Almond, coconut, and cashew milks are great alternatives to dairy – but I don’t buy the majority of popular brands at the store, like Silk, So Delicious, or Almond Breeze. Here’s why…

Common ingredients to avoid in dairy-free milk:

Added sugars: Eating too much sugar (which is easy to do, because it’s in almost every processed food) leads to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer (1) – but its detrimental effects can take years to surface. There is no reason to add sugar to milk and we all could use a little less sugar in our life! Some brands have sweetened and unsweetened versions – so always choose the latter. Guilty brands: Silk Original, Almond Breeze, Califia Farms (non-organic), Ripple Original, Milkadamia Original, Pearl Organic Soymilk.

Natural flavors: Natural Flavor is practically the exact same thing as Artificial Flavor, but it’s derived from substances found in nature (plants, animals, etc). Chemists create these complex formulations in a lab, isolating and blending specific flavors extracted from upwards of hundreds of compounds, some of which may be GMOs. These compounds can come from substances that are nowhere close to the actual thing. For example, they might take some castoreum from a beaver (2) to make a flavoring that resembles vanilla – without ever using any vanilla beans. But, hey, it’s “natural” because it’s from a beaver! Common additives in flavors include: sodium benzoate, glycerin, potassium sorbate, and propylene glycol (none are required to be labeled by the FDA). Natural flavors are a complete mystery ingredient and completely unnecessary (3). Guilty brands: Silk, Almond Breeze Vanilla, Califia Farms (non-organic), Ripple, So Delicious, Milkadamia, Pacific Foods Almond, Simple Truth Coconut Milk, Westsoy Vanilla Soymilk, Pearl Organic Soymilk. 

Carrageenan & Gums: Carrageenan is linked to intestinal inflammation and cancer (4). Since so much awareness has been raised about the risks of consuming carrageenan, a lot of brands have removed it (yay!) but – they often end up replacing it with gums to thicken the milk, like gellan gum and guar gum. In my opinion, these are safer than carrageenan, but not really something I want to consume often – as they’re linked to bloating and gas (and again, simply unnecessary) (5). Guilty brands: Pacific Rice Milk Original, Simple Truth Coconut Milk, Pearl Organic Soymilk. 

Soy milk… rice milk… almond milk… coconut milk… which one is healthiest?

I get this question a lot. I personally don’t drink soy and rice milks. Here’s why –

Soy can cause hormonal disruptions because it has estrogen-mimicking properties. Soy also has an abundance of phytic acid that leaches calcium and other vital minerals from your body (6). And, if soy milk is not organic it is almost surely made from GMO soybeans. GMO soybeans have been shown to be contaminated with Roundup herbicide, which might end up in your glass of soy milk (7). 

As for rice, it is notoriously contaminated with arsenic (a carcinogen) – even organic rice – (8) and tests by Consumer Reports have found arsenic residues in rice milk (9). Unless a brand says that they test their rice milks for arsenic, I don’t feel confident that it is safe. Rice milk is also higher in sugar than most non-dairy milks.

I typically stick with organic coconut and almond milks. Organic store-bought hemp milk or oat milk is hard to find, but is a good choice too. 

Oat milk and weedkiller contamination – What you need to know… 

Oat milk is gaining in popularity right now and you’ll probably start seeing a lot more of it popping up in coffee shops and stores. Recently the Environmental Working Group (EWG) did some testing (10) and found many popular oat-based cereals, oatmeals, granolas and snack bars contaminated with glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup weedkiller). Oat milk wasn’t specifically included in their testing, but it’s good to be aware that conventional oats (non-organic) oats are commonly sprayed with Roundup as a drying agent before harvest, which makes them more likely to be contaminated. Organic oats are not sprayed directly, but are sometimes cross-contaminated. Thankfully, what the EWG found was that organic products were less likely to be contaminated and had far fewer residues than conventional products. The cancer arm of the World Health Organization considers glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer) – so you don’t want that in your food! That’s why it is safest to look for oat products that are certified organic, and ideally, that have been certified by a third-party to be free of glyphosate. 

Oatly is one brand that isn’t organic, but carries the Glyphosate Residue Free certification by The Detox Project. If you buy the Oatly brand, just make sure to pick up what they call the “low fat” version, because Oatly’s regular oat milk contains added rapeseed (canola) oil and other unnecessary additives. I normally wouldn’t recommend a product labeled as “low fat”, but in this case it simply means they didn’t add unhealthy oil to it. And, check out my recipe for homemade organic oat milk below – it’s soooo simple to make.

What about pea protein milks, like Ripple Milk?

Ripple Milk and some other brands like Silk’s Protein Nut Milk and Milkadamia are made with pea protein. I’m now very cautious about consuming pea protein as I learned something very shocking about this ingredient while developing protein powder for my company Truvani...

Our protein powder is made primarily with organic pea protein. We have strict ingredient standards that not all brands have – all ingredients need to be organic, non-GMO, and pass heavy metal testing. We reached out to dozens of ingredient suppliers and every single sample of pea protein failed the heavy metals test and was coming back contaminated with LEAD. I couldn’t believe it. We had such a hard time finding a clean source of pea protein that I thought we would need to scratch the recipe altogether and completely reformulate it without pea protein. We eventually found a pea protein source that passed testing, but it was an exhaustive process that I know most food brands don’t bother doing. 

I’m not saying Ripple Milk, Milkadamia, or Silk’s Protein Nut Milk is contaminated with lead. I can’t say that because I haven’t tested them for lead – and I don’t know anyone who has. That being said, given how common lead is in our pea protein supplies, it is a risk and it’s not one that I’m personally willing to take – especially after my personal experience with pea protein! My team has reached out to these companies and we haven’t heard back yet – but we’ll update this blog post when we do. 

Ripple Milk is not certified organic, contains added flavors, and contains added refined (white) sugar (unless you buy their unsweetened version). Especially watch out for Vanilla Ripple Milk with 15 grams of sugar per serving. I try to avoid added sugar in foods that I’m eating regularly (that are supposed to be healthy!) Think about it: We get bombarded with added sugar all over the place… do we really want it in our daily drinks? I sure don’t.

How to find the healthiest dairy-free milk brands…

Of course, making homemade dairy-free milk is the best option… but I realize we all don’t have time to soak, blend, strain, and bottle it up every few days! When shopping for almond, coconut, oat and other dairy-free milks follow these two tips: 

  1. Look for a certified organic version to avoid crops treated with synthetic pesticides.
  2. Don’t assume that all organic milks are healthy. Many dairy-free milks and nut milks are filled with the unnecessary ingredients discussed in this post. So make sure you still check the ingredient list! Choose brands without added sugar, natural flavors, or carrageenan. Also try to find brands that don’t include thickeners like gellan gum, if possible. 

Some better brands are MALK Organic Almond and Cashew Milks, Oatly (low fat version), Three Trees Organic Almondmilk, New Barn Organic Almondmilk, Whole Foods 365 Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk, Thrive Market Organic Almond Milk and Organic Oat Milk, Simple Truth Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk, Califia Organic Almond Homestyle Nutmilk, and Native Forest or Natural Value Coconut Milk (canned). Be careful, because these brands may have some other versions with added sugar and flavors.

 

If you’ve got a few minutes… here are the quickest dairy-free milks you can make at home:

 

Food Babe's Homemade Organic Cashew Milk (no straining necessary!)

 

Author:

Serves: 6-10

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw organic cashews
  • 6 cups water
  • Optional: 2 dates, pitted (for added sweetness)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or seeds of one vanilla bean

Instructions

  1. Soak the cashews overnight (at least 6 hours) in 2 cups of water.
  2. Rinse and drain the soaked cashews.
  3. Place the cashews, 4 cups of water, and optional ingredients, if using, in a blender and blend on high for about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the milk into an airtight container and store refrigerated for up to 4 days.

3.4.3177

 

Food Babe's Homemade Organic Oat Milk

 

Author:

Serves: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic rolled oats
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • Optional: 1 date, pitted (for added sweetness)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or seeds of one vanilla bean

Instructions

  1. Soak rolled oats in a bowl of filtered water for about one hour.
  2. Drain the water from the oats and discard this water. Rinse the oats well.
  3. Place soaked oats in a blender along with 4 cups filtered water. You can use only 3 cups of water if you'd like a thicker milk. Add the vanilla and date, if using. Blend for one minute.
  4. Using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer, strain the blended milk into a glass bowl or container.
  5. Store in an airtight glass container refrigerated for up to 4 days.

3.4.3177

 

This is how I make homemade coconut milk from a can in less than 5 minutes. And if you’ve got a little bit more time…here is a recipe for fresh pistachio milk that is out of this world.

If you know anyone who likes to use dairy-free milk, but might be buying the wrong brands, please share this post with them!

Xo,

Vani

P.S. Are you confused about what to eat? Are you tired of getting conflicting information from health experts? In my new book, Feeding You LiesI expose the shameless lies we are being fed about our food by the very people we should be able to trust for health information… lies about its nutrient value, effects on our health, label information, and even the very science on which we make our food choices. It’s investigative, hard-hitting, and scandalous. Order a copy today here!

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from Food Babe http://bit.ly/2TP0d9o

Nine Doctors Couldn’t Help Me

Clean Sweat

I think I have mentioned this before, but pregnancy is sort of like one long vacation. Not that it’s all fun and games, but that a lot of the normal routine things get paused for 3/4 of a year. Mostly in the fitness department – no contact sports, no pushing it with weights or cardio or heart rate. There’s a general slowing down and being gentle with the body. While I stayed active during my pregnancy, I also relaxed into “easier” workouts. After all, growing a human and carrying around all that extra weight in the front is a workout in itself! It all kind of comes to a grand finale when the baby arrives and your only exercise of the day is walking from the couch to the fridge and back.

Just like when I come home from a vacation craving sweaty workouts and salads, I ended those first six weeks after B was born, coupled with nine months of a changing body, with the biggest craving for workouts. I had a cycle teacher back in 2006 who used to yell out in her classes: “Increase that resistance because you CAN. There are people who wish they could be cycling right now but can’t.” This was a year after I had had foot surgery and my activity was very limited, so I was extra appreciative to be working out again.

I have that same gratitude mentality about workouts these days – I am so thankful to be able to run, jump, and play again that it makes me crave the activity even more. Getting out of breath feels so good. I am already addicted to the endorphins!

VIDEOS

I’ve been running inside on the treadmill on cold days and outside on warm days with Aaptiv. I went to ACAC Afterburn athletic conditioning on Saturday and strength class on Monday. And indoor soccer started this week! Also because I can’t just escape to a class whenever I want, I appreciate each time I do get to one so much.

A few weeks ago, I had thrown on sweatpants and a hoodie when I got up and entertained both boys all morning. By 2 pm, I was feeling so gross and grumpy and in desperate need of a shower. It made me realize how much feeling clean with a little make-up on contributes to my mood. And so I started embracing the first-thing-in-the-morning-shower every day, even if I have a morning workout planned.

Before having Birch, I could workout out whenever I wanted. But since babies are so unpredictable, sometimes my plans for a workout and shower while he’s napping change 10 minutes into the nap. I HAVE to shower every day. So I have been showering first thing upon getting up even if I have plans to get a morning workout in during nap time. This results in what I have been calling “Clean Sweat.” The sweat that one produces 20 minutes into a workout after a shower is often scented with soap, deodorant, and sometimes perfume. The sweat without a shower first? Not so nice. So if B wakes up 15 minutes into my workout and I don’t get a chance to shower after, at least my sweat is somewhat clean. (If this happens I take a rinse-off one-minute shower later in the day.)

Showering first but dressing in workout clothes allows me to be spontaneous and roll with the punches of our unpredictable days.

Embrace the clean sweat!



from Kath Eats Real Food http://bit.ly/2ssxqw2

Weekend Superlatives

Hi, guys! Happy Monday to you! 🙂

I hope you had a lovely weekend. Ours was really nice with a mix of friend and family time. Here’s a recap via superlatives!

PROUDEST MAMA MOMENT: Quinn learning how to float on his back “like a sea otter.” It’s a skill that he’s been SO AFRAID to try, but he finally made it happen (with the help of his swim instructor at Goldfish). He was so excited and proud of himself! 🙂 (His instructor awarded him a ribbon, which is stuck to his chest.)

THE BEST THING I ATE: Football Chex Cereal Treat Bars! The nice people at Chex sent us the ingredients to make these fun football cereal bars, so Quinn and I whipped up a batch. They turned out so well and tasted delicious! We brought them to my niece’s birthday party, and they were a big hit!

THE BEST THING I DRANK: Kombucha Spritzer! I’m kind of doing “Dry January.” I’m actually seeing Theodora on Wednesday, so it obviously ends then, but I’ve been drinking Kombucha mixed with seltzer, and I’m really loving it. I actually think it’ll end up replacing my wine habit during the week!

Latest Videos

BIGGEST PARENT WIN: Quinn asking for a hot dog for lunch at Rivershed. We went out to lunch with friends, and we were surprised that Quinn wanted something other than white pasta with butter. His meal came with applesauce, and, my gosh, he was pumped for his meal! Ha! Mal and I just love seeing Quinn excited about food because it’s usually such an ordeal to get him to eat anything at all!

BIGGEST BUMMER: Quinn’s soccer practice. After Quinn’s first experience with soccer (Cliffs Notes: it didn’t go well), we were a bit hesitant to sign him up again, but he was persistent and really wanted to try it again. We signed him up for another season, but when we got to practice on Saturday morning, he really wasn’t into it. In fact, after like 10 minutes on the field, he asked us if he could play video games. Whomp whomp. Of course, we stuck it out for the rest of the practice, and we plan to stick it out for the next 6 weeks, soooo, hopefully, Quinn changes his tune. I actually think his reaction was related to his overall confidence. Swimming started the same way, but once he felt confident in his skills, he’s enjoyed it so much more. Quinn assures us that he wants to play soccer, so, hopefully, in the coming weeks, he’ll become more comfortable and start to have fun!

BEST NEW EXPERIENCE: Ion Foot Bath at the Zen Den! I know… it’s totally crazy and a bunch of people messaged me after I shared my experience on Instagram Stories and said it’s a total hoax, but there’s definitely some truth to it. Check out this blog post that explains the science behind it. It’s really cool! (I tried to find pH strips to do the urine test before and after, but no luck. Next time!) And if you’re local and want to try a foot bath for yourself (or any of the other services at Zen Den), you can save 10% with code CNC10 (or just tell them that I sent ya)!

Question of the Day

What’s the coolest (craziest?) health treatment you’ve ever tried?

P.S. If you’d like to receive weekly (high-protein) macro-friendly recipes and monthly meal plans, be sure to sign up for my nutrition email list!



from Carrots 'N' Cake http://bit.ly/2QJzglD