4 quick and easy and energizing snacks

 

Mid-afternoon munchies? Yup, me too, on most days.

But hold on there before you reach for that big bag of M&M’s. I know it’s calling your name but before you dip in, take a moment to ask yourself if you really are hungry or are you just looking to fill your appetite? Needing to eat (hunger) and wanting to eat (appetite) are definitely not the same thing. And not paying attention to which is which can most definitely lead to less than ideal food choices.

If you really listen to your body’s signals and what they’re trying to tell you, the signs of hunger are unmistakable. Emptiness in your stomach, sometimes a little grumble. You might feel a little light-headed or shaky, somewhat lethargic or you may have a little headache. These tell-tale signs of low blood sugar can even result in those short-tempered or snarky comments we surprise even ourselves with. That’s hunger.

On the other hand, appetite is controlled by emotions more than by a physiological need. Are you bored? Stressed? If the aroma or even just the thought of your co-worker’s fries leaves you salivating, you are more likely suffering from an appetite on high alert. And that’s when you can get into trouble. Before you know it, that bag of M&M’s has disappeared.

With a little planning ahead and by keeping a few handy and healthy snacks nearby, you can avoid falling into those sugar traps that you think are satisfying at the moment. But really they’re not leaving you energized and you’re probably still hungry afterwards anyways.

 

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Posted in athletes fuel, energy, fibre, gluten-free, Healthy snack, weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blueberry Maple Breakfast Quinoa

 

I am one lucky girl. Two weeks ago I started training for my next marathon. This will be my first marathon since Chicago in October 2009. I am pumped! But how does that make me so lucky? Because when I start upping my mileage my appetite goes right along with it. It seems like I am always hungry. And for a girl who loves to eat, that means I just get to keep eating :)

Despite the big green smoothie, 2 eggs, sprouted grain toast and fruit that I ate this morning, I still found myself hungry with hours to go before lunch. I found some quinoa leftover in my fridge. I just reheated it,  added a few ingredients and ooooohhhh, this was one yummy breakfast #2!

 

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When I get that gnawing constant type of hunger, I know that what I need is whole-grain carbs to keep my glycogen stores topped up plus fibre, healthy fats and protein to keep me full. White carbs will never do that. Just think about how many crackers you can keep snacking on and you’re still hungry, right?

Not only is this Blueberry-Maple Breakfast Quinoa super yummy, it’s a snap to make, especially if you do what I did and have some leftover quinoa kicking around.

Before I share my recipe, here are a few reasons why I love this breakfast and why it keeps me going until I can get to lunch:

 

  • Quinoa – Because it’s a complete vegetarian protein (meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids) it helps fill you up and keeps your blood sugar balanced. That means lasting energy with no crash. Plenty of low-glycemic carbs plus a great source of magnesium, manganese, folate and fibre. A fantastic alternative to oatmeal before a long run or any workout.
  • Cinnamon – Really, I just add cinnamon because I love the taste of it. It can make food taste sweeter without any added sugar. Plus, it has the added bonuses of antioxidant and  cholesterol-lowering effects. What’s not to love? Sprinkle as much as you like!
  • Walnuts – I consider these a superfood! They are rich in monounsaturated fats (which makes them heart healthy) and omega-3 essential fatty acids (which makes them anti-inflammatory). I recommend you eat them raw as roasting can diminish their antioxidant capacity.  I eat a handful at least 4 or 5 times a week.
  • Blueberries - Truly, another superfood!  We athletes tend to generate a lot of free radicals during our training. Blueberries are highly touted for their ability to quell those free radicals and restore our bodies’ pH. That translates to faster recovery times and our training is really all about how quickly can we recover and get on to the next workout.

Hope you enjoy this cereal much as I do.

Blueberry Maple Breakfast Quinoa

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained (or 1 cup cooked)
  • 1 cup water (or 1/2 cup each of water and almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup raw walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup organic blueberries
  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
  • drizzle or two of maple syrup

Bring water to boil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa, give it a stir and then simmer covered over low heat for 10-12 minutes or until the liquid is all absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Toss as much quinoa as you’d like to eat in a bowl; add walnuts, blueberries, lots of cinnamon and a splash of maple syrup.

Couldn’t be easier. Breakfast of champions indeed!

 

 

Posted in anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, athletes fuel, breakfast, carbs, energy, Fruit, gluten-free, healthy fats, recipe, recovery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Easy Tips to Boost Your Energy

 

Does this pretty much sum up how you feel by the end of the day?

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Uh oh.

Well, if that looks a little too familiar, this blog post may be just what you need to kickstart your energy back to where you want it to be.

First, please let me apologize for having disappeared over the past couple of months! I’ve been elbow deep developing and delivering my new FitBody Spring Detox. It’s been such a rewarding experience working closely with groups and individuals who decided it was time to clean things up a bit. The results have been incredible! Here are just a couple of comments I received:

“My headaches have finally lifted…..I feel clearer and more energized”

“I love the fact that after every meal I feel light, satisfied and not sluggish”

Even if we eat mostly organic and avoid processed foods, many of us still accumulate toxins over time. It’s simply a reality of the world we live in. From the air we breathe to the water we drink and the cosmetics we slather on our skin, we are surrounded by chemicals, pesticides and toxins. Headaches, low energy, problem skin and an inability to lose weight…..all of these symptoms can indicate a liver that has simply been overburdened.

Because we all want to feel like this

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……. here 4 simple daily detox tips you can easily incorporate into your routine. Ease the burden on your digestive tract and liver and you can enjoy an extra bounce in your step too.

1. Drink a nice big glass of room temperature lemon water every morning.

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Taken on an empty stomach, lemon juice will stimulate digestive juices and bile flow. Why is that important?  Because bile binds with toxins in your intestinal tract and helps eliminate them from your body. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon into your water each morning and voila, you naturally help rid your body of unwanted pesticides and chemical residues.  Added bonus: lemon water can have a mild laxative effect. What a great way to start your day! :)

2. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds into your morning smoothie, oatmeal or yogurt.

If you’ve ever suffered from constipation, even for just a day, you know how sluggish you feel when you haven’t gone in a day or two. With 4 grams of fibre per tablespoon, not only will flaxseeds promote healthy digestion and promote bowel movements, they will also help balance your blood sugar and kill the cravings. Result —–> lasting energy that means no mid-afternoon frappuccino required.

3. Enjoy a big salad with wild salmon for lunch.

This is my very very most favourite meal! Packed with protein for muscle and tissue repair plus omega-3′s for an anti-inflammatory punch, this is real food that leaves me feeling energized, both physically and mentally. Wild salmon contains significantly lower levels of cancer-causing PCB’s and toxic dioxins than farmed so it’s worth spending the few extra dollars. While fresh salmon is definitely my preference, in a pinch I can recommend Wild Planet canned wild salmon – sustainably caught and sold in BPA-free tins.

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Lunch can be ready in a snap! Eating healthy CAN be delicious and easy.

 

 

 

4. Get outside!

Run, bike, hike, yoga in the park – there’s nothing like a good workout to leave you feeling like you’re on top of the world. Exercise enhances your immune system, eases tension and releases those “feel-good” hormones (serotonin and dopamine) that boost your mood and alertness. Excess circulating cortisol caused by chronic stress can disrupt digestion, sleep patterns and, of course, energy. Exercise helps calm the nervous system and helps reduce that stress.

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Whether you grab a partner or enjoy some solitude in nature, fresh air and exercise can have you sleeping like a baby before you know it.

There you have it……4 simple tips to keep you bright and full of energy all day long!

Posted in detox, digestion, energy, Happiness, healthy fats, immune system, sleep, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Getting Green in 2013 – Super Detox Smoothie!

It’s virtually impossible not to feel amazing when you start off your day with a good habit. Maybe it was the early morning run or the boot camp or the half hour of yoga you squeezed in before you hit the shower. Or just maybe it was the energy-boosting breakfast you’re about to read about.

My personal mission has been to do whatever I have to do to keep feeling vibrant and energetic every single day, and hopefully to learn something and have fun along the way. That was a big motivation behind me going back to school in my forties to study a topic I’ve always been passionate about. As I continue on my journey I keep re-discovering the power of green. In fact, I think I’ve recently realized that there really is a “magic pill” to wellness and it’s simply anything that comes in the colour green.

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Posted in anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, athletes fuel, breakfast, cholesterol, detox, energy, kale, recipe, sleep, weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gluten-free soup to fuel up your workouts


For all of us who consider ourselves long distance runners, one of the staples of pretty much every weekend is the quintessential long run. As the spring racing season edges nearer and the long runs get longer, nutrition increasingly plays a bigger and bigger role for both fuelling and recovering from these endurance workouts. Especially carb intake.

I’m finding more and more people are getting interested in gluten-free options. But every once in a while I still hear someone say “I can’t stop eating bread, I need my carbs.” Why does this misconception persist, that gluten-free means no carbs? Somehow we’ve been (incorrectly) convinced that the best and only carb choices consist of pasta, bagels and pizza.

Looking for a gluten-free option? Well, this past weekend was pretty darn chilly here in Toronto and in these temps I’m looking for warm foods. On Saturday afternoon I decided to whip up a delicious and hearty soup for lunch, the emphasis on yummy and warm. As I began chopping a few veggies, it struck me that this Lentil Vegetable Soup would also be the perfect day-before-long-run meal – all those veggies and lentils add up to a heck of a lot of carbs.

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Posted in anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, athletes fuel, carbs, energy, gluten-free, lentils, recipe, recovery, soup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment