Thursday, May 27, 2010

Living on the road

Hey guys, Happy Thursday! One day closer to the holiday weekend...the beach and the pool!? right?

You may or may not know that I have been living on the road for weeks now [it seems]. I haven't been home for two straight weeks since I finished my internship back in April! Whether it's a vacation, a work site visit or a celebration, I am goin' and goin'!

If your a frequent SS reader you know I am the ultimate gym rat and thrive off my group fitness classes! So, when I am traveling it's hard to keep up with my rigid schedule I am used to (ie. bodypump and rpm in one night...two hours of intense workout). Well, I have found I can't let my traveling get in the way if I want to stay fit and healthy...a couple of things I have vowed to do while vacationing?

-Go on a walk whenever I can; take advantage of the parks nearby. My mom and I like to walk her dog and have planned a ton of walks for this weekend
-Home gym; you can do sit-ups, push-ups and lunges anywhere...start movin'
-Watch my food intake; since I know I am not burning as many calories as I usually would after an intense two hour workout I know I need to cut back so I am simply applying my portion control techniques
-Split a dish; I don't know about you but traveling more often than not, means eating in restaurants. Let's admit, it's a good gathering place so we know it's bound to happen. What am I doing to avoid weight gain? Ordered a small salad or appetizer as my meal, splitting a dish or boxing half and taking it home
-Go to a local gym and scope out a day or weekend pass
-Avoid temptations; just because your traveling doesn't mean the healthy eating gets thrown out the window. Pass of desserts or just share one. Getting ice cream? try a smaller size or a sugar-free snow cone
-Plan ahead; take snacks when you know you can. This weekend, I have already said I will pack some snacks for the house so we don't feel tempted to keep eating out
-Check out different farmer's markets where you may be visiting; this will allow you to have fresh fruits and veggies on hand

It's almost summer time, what are you doing to stay fit and healthy during all your beach trips?



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Synergy

Remember this shopping trip at Earth Fare? Well, I have been sipping on the far right drink for several days now...Synergy!

I have been sipping for a couple of days because I cannot decide if I like it! It's made of organic and raw kombucha tea; promising a whole lotta health benefits!
According to Synergy drinks website, Kombucha is alternately known as a Chinese tea, a plant, or a mushroom. But it's not really any of these. It's a living culture of beneficial microorganisms, and in Kombucha's case, the whole is infinitely greater than the sum of its parts! Our Kombucha is delicately cultured - some liken it to fermentation - for 30 days. During this period, essential nutrients form like active enzymes, viable probiotics, amino acids, antioxidants and polyphenols. All of these combine to create an elixir that immediately works with the body to restore balance and vitality.


For me, I grabbed this drink to give me some "umph" during a mid-morning study session. A couple sips and I did feel focused and rejuvenated. Unfortunately, I don't think I could sit and drink this in one sitting. I hope to try another flavor that doesn't taste, well...so raw?

I tried Guava Goddess. All of the Synergy beverages have a similar nutritional profile...check it out:
8 fl oz (2 servings in 1 bottle): 30 calories, 10 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates, 2 g sugar, at least 20% of all your B vitamins, folic acid as well as, probiotics, antioxidents and organic acids!

Their claims to fame: totally raw, all natural, organic, naturally anti-bacterial/anti-fungal, low in carbohydrates, low calories, naturally rejuvenating (I can vouch for that!!), vegan and kosher...to name a few ; )

If you surf their website it has plenty of FAQs and some great serving suggestions. One even says "sip it throughout the day for sustained energy." That's just what I did...and I thought I was off : )
All in all, a pretty cool product; obviously super HEALTHY...click here to find a store that carries Synergy near you!







Friday, May 21, 2010

Different Kind of Obsession

Now let's talk food obsessions. You know I have a weird kind of obsession with my Better'n Peanut Butter but it has slowly shifted to Justin's Maple Almond Butter...well, I have this new thing for Mangos!

Growing up I was never one to opt for the mango. I would always leave it in the bottom of my fruit salad bowl or pawn it off to my little sister (whom was obsessed with them) for a couple extra bananas!! Well, being the branded smart snacker that I am, I always set into the grocery store on a new mission: to try something new! So, maybe the mango wasn't new but it sure hadn't been on the top of my shopping list since...well, forever!

Last week I bought a mango...last week I also devoured that mango in ONE SITTING and now, here I am, and ladies and gentlemen I have found my newest love!





Haven't had a mango? I urge you to try it! Those tastebuds are changing about every 30 days people! For you new folks...it's decribed as having a sweet and succulent flavor that has a bright orang interior and large pit in the middle. When picking this fruit a few tips to keep in mind: make sure the fruit is on the large side with unblemished skin, the skin should not be green or be wrinkled or have black spots and make sure the fruit gives a little bit when you press on it. They can be refrigerated if ripe, if NOT ripe, do not refrigerate.
Season: May-September
The skinny: 1 fruit without refuse; 135 calories, 0.6 g fat, 35 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 31 g sugar, 1 g protein

I would call this, "Nature's candy," at 31 g of sugar a pop! There is nothing wrong with a little bit of sugar, especially when it is coming from a natural source such as this.


Now go have one already...or are you obsessing over something else? do share!







Thursday, May 20, 2010

Glutton for Punishment

I have been going hard for the past four days at the gym and this morning after my forth consecutive day of spin (total glutton for punishment...addicted!!) my legs are crying out for some serious muscle repair and nutrient restoration! So, what a better way to do it than start my afternoon with one of my newest finds....

Amazing Meal by Amazing Grass. It's a powdaaaaaah, for what I am thinking...smoothies?! I also found this at EarthFare. I am on and off making smoothies, it's almost like I get on a kick and blend, blend, blend but then I get worn out! So, I am ready to get back on my kick!

Amazing Meal- Pomegrante Mango Infusion Flavor is like your food pyramid in a cup! A mix of protein, greens, fruits & vegetables all in one.
This product is labeled: organic-raw-gluten free-vegan-soy free-dairy free
An all around crowd pleaser!! : )

From the website it describes this product as- "Amazing Meal Pomegranate Mango Infusion is a naturally balanced source of protein, antioxidant & phytonutrient rich superfoods, cleansing fiber, digestive enzymes and probiotics. Infused with goji and acai berries to give this drink powder one powerful antioxidant punch."

They arn't kidding...definitely added a "punch" to my afternoon : )
What I particularly love about this shhtuff is that it is made from all WHOLE FOOD ingredients. Some of the wholesome goodies include: organic kale and alfalfa, organic rice and hemp protein, organic acai, carrot, banana and blueberry and last but not least, a mixture of active cultures (probiotics...like in yogurt)!

So you may be wondering...how do I eat/ drink this stuff? Well, it directs you to mix the whole powdaaah mixture with 10 oz of water, juice or milk or blend into your favorite smoothie concoction. Well, I tried just mixing it with 10 oz of my Silk Light Vanilla Soy Milk however, I had trouble MIXING. To tackle this monstrous undertaking, I simply tossed everything into my magic bullet and made a smoooooooothie.
Here's what else went in:
-Handful of farmer's market fresh strawberries
-Handful of farmer's market fresh blueberries
-Squirt of agave nectar
-Splash of vanilla extract
-As many ice cubes that would fit

It turned into a pretty amaaaazing meal.
Slightly green in color (thanks to the kale) but delicious and ultimately...just down right satisfying!

The skinny on the Amazing Meal Pomegranate Mango Infusion packet: 110 calories, 1 g fat, 6 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 10 g protein
(My Amaaaaazing Meal Smoothie had approx. 360 calories)





Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pasta Wench


Last week, I ventured out to the downtown farmer's market again. This time I actually came home with some goodies. One of them was this ravioli made by Pasta Wench. I was a little hesitant at first, as I am not a huge ravioli eater but I thought what the heck...my purchase will go to supporting our local vendors, right?!

The Pasta Wench people are located west of Raleigh, situated in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Boone NC and Swannanoa, NC. This was their first time out to the market so I am glad I stumbled upon them. Their pasta is all natural, organic and gourmet; 95% of the ingredients are from NC organic growers. Some of their other products include: all-natural gourmet Fettuccini, Cavatelli, and Spaghetti, as well as homemade gourmet sauces to accompany them. Gluten free pastas are also available.



The portobello, asiago & vidalia flavor I decided to try was exceptionally flavorful. I wasn't sure the best way to cook them [remember, not quite the ravioli-kinda-gal] so I asked the guy at the stand and he said simply serve them in an olive oil and cracked pepper coat. I did just that! He was right;
...the ravioli [on their own] have tons of flavors especially from the bold asiago cheese! With the slightest coat of olive oil and crack of pepper it was a very pleasing meal. Along side I served some sautéed veggies! It was a quick, ready in 10 minutes, no-prep necessary week night meal!

Want to try a Pasta Wench product? visit pastawench.com...they'll ship in time for your next dinner party or weeknight meal!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Siggi's

The last time I tried siggi's was in California; I tried the vanilla flavor because to me, you can't go wrong with vanilla. Evidently, sometimes you can? I didn't like it, the flavor was blah and pretty much nonexistent. As for the texture...that caught me off gaurd!
Now, I know with high protein yogurts like siggi's greek counterparts to expect thick but siggi's was ULTRA THICK! So thick that it only took about 4 bites to fill me up! I couldn't even plish off a full container in one sitting. To me, this product isn't such a good on-the-go lunch item but it is okay for something around the house.

So this taste test gone wrong leads me to the reason for this blog post...
while browsing at EarthFare, I came across siggi's again. I reaaaally want to dig this stuff, so I thought I'd give it another whirl. This time Orange & Ginger was my victim.

This flavor was hands down, the best! I did have to split it between two different snacks but both times I had it topped with fresh berries! The product still managed to stick to my ribs as if it were a huge meal. I would definitely call this yogurt nutrient dense...low in calories, high in nutrients! The bits of orange & ginger [in the yogurt] serve as flavor bursts and aid in giving this yogurt its full flavor profile and refreshing taste.

A little background on the product from the siggi's website: "Skyr is the traditional yogurt of Iceland. It is made by incubating skim milk with live active cultures. The whey, the water naturally found in milk, is then strained away to make for a much thicker, creamier, concentrated yogurt. So to make just one cup of skyr, with all that water going out, you need 3 - 4 times the amount of milk required to make a regular cup of yogurt. As a result of this process skyr comes out with 2-3 times the protein count of standard yogurt."




Siggi's Claims: all natural, milk from grass fed cows, no aspartame, no sucralose, no gelatin, no artificial colorings, no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, No rBGH (milk produced without the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone). Gosh, these people are good ; )

Nutritional profile: 120 calories, 0 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 65 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 16 g protein, 20% calcium


Move over greek yogurt, siggi's has something on ya!!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

NB+W

Hello, hello! Hope your enjoying your Saturday! I sure am; I got up early and attended my two favorite group fitness classes, caught some rays by the pool and even found time to relax and try some of my new snacks!

My two classes this morning (bodypump and rpm) usually start my day off with a 800-900 calorie burn! So, before I head to class it is only fit to have a good breakfast that will be sure to keep my body humming...especially all the way through the tricep and bicep tracks of bodypump...if your a bodypumper you know just what I am talking about! ; )

This morning I decided to try something new NB+W
(Smart Snacker's Nut Butter + Waffle)

I got these waffles when I was trying out the gluten free diet [simply for fun and as an experiement. Also it didn't hurt to see what prospective clients and friends can and cannot eat]. I ended up loving them! Not much of a surprise as I am a sucker for breakfast sweets!

The waffles are, as they read, gluten free, wheat free and a vegetarian product. For a serving of 2 they hit you with 180 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g fiber and 2 g of protein. Not too shabby said the Smart Snacker...but when I slab some of my sample of Justin's Natural Maple Almond Butter this waffle doesn't even know what hit it....and neither did my mouth!
Let's just say, it's the cadillac of nut butters!...this stuff is creamy, flavorful, savory...and oh, SO satisfying. Even the littlest bit goes a long way!


...is your mouth watering yet?!?

Justin's claim to fame: simple ingredients, gluten and dairy free and made free of hydrogenated oils! THANK YOU!
Nutritional profile: 1 sample packet (a little over 2 tbsp): 200 calories, 17 g fat, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 6 g protein

On my waffles today I barely used half of the sample packet! The slightest spread gave it all the flavor. It's no wonder there full sized jars are kind of pricey...; ( The justification? it would last a while!?

Great snack: one waffle and 1/2 Tbsp of Justin's (approx. 140 calories)
Fuel-filled breakfast: two waffles and 1 Tbsp of Justin's (on my second one I even added some fresh strawberries...I am finding new ways to use my 4 lbs everyday) (approx. 280 calories)


Have a nutty night : )





Friday, May 14, 2010

Field Trip

Guys! Today I found somewhere I would like to call "home!" I would honestly rather spend a day here than at a mall...man, that's saying a lot! This glorious place is called Earth Fare, the healthy supermarket!

I pretty much looked like a crazed paparazzi....I had to stop mid-trip because people were staring too much, but I think I hit some high notes...check em' out!
Yes, ladies and gents that's ketchup with agave...I have never scene that!!

Remember, Justins nut butter? I had just tried sample packs in Florida! How cool?
If you're a regular SS reader than you know about the Better'n Peanut Butter obsession I have...and this is obviously different labeling!
I know it's blurry but it reads, "Produce selections: 218 organic options and 47 local!" yeaaah-yaa!
Finally my purchases: a new larabar flavor, siggis orange and ginger, coconut water, blueberries and blackberries, mango, flaxseed, another justin's almond butter to try...well you see.

Stay tuned for the tasting updates!! Have a great Friday!!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mock Creamsicle

So my Mock Creamsicle is my newest obsession! Simply peel the orange and dip it into a vanilla flavored yogurt. My personal favorite for this creation is Yoplaits Light, Fat Free Very Vanilla. With only 110 calories from the yogurt and the orange pushing approx. 70 calories; this is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up, at your desk or on the go!

The yogurt gives you ample Vitamin D and Calcium, the orange provides the Vitamin C and the combination of the two gives you a feeling of satiety! ding ding ding!

Visit the link above and receive a $1.00 off towards your next Yoplait Light purchase and try this combo today!
I ate a whole orange but by the time I remembered to snap a photo...well, it was too late!!

A little history behind this medley: while interning one of the dietitians [I was working with] would always do this but I never reaaaaally tried it until now...I am telling you this because it is a great, healthy snack but I, of course, cannot take all the credit for inventing it ; )


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Perfect Bowl for Breakfast


Are you the type of person that gets out of bed ultimately, for breakfast? Oh my gosh...I am! Especially when I have fresh berries and oatmeal to be eatin'!

My perfect bowl for breakfast includes:
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
H2O (eyeballed, usually until oats are covered)
splash of vanilla soy milk
1 Tbsp of flaxseed meal
1 scoop of Better n' Peanut Butter or other nut butter on hand (add at the end once oatmeal has been nuked, this will allow the nut butter to meeeeeeeeelt...ugh mouth watering)!
generous portion of berries

Relatively low calorie breakfast that sticks to my ribs for several hours...no morning snack necessary. With the satisfying nut butter protein, sweetness of the soy milk and berries and feeling of satiety from the oats, this breakfast is sure to please!
The approximate skinny: 243 calories, 10 g protein, 6 g fiber
(nutrition information using a 1/2 cup strawberries and my nutritional eye; nutrition information may be altered when using other ingredients than those listed above)


Obviously my 4 lbs of berries here are so necessary when it comes to grocery budgeting ; )

I also use these for snacking and a sweet after dinner snack/dessert!



Monday, May 10, 2010

Product Review

As promised...my review of the Bora Bora Exotic Coconut Almond Superfood Bar.

They arn't lying when they say coconut! I am a huge coconut fan but this coconut flavor overpowers all. I bought this bar because its packaging was so appealing. Mentioning all natural, gluten free, no refined sugars, superfood, non-GMO and kosher. Quite pleasing for all, wouldn't you agree? In addition to the great claims, a USDA Organic seal compliments the exotic themed packaging.


Nutritional low down:
210 calories, 14 g fat, 7 g saturated fat (unfortunately, that's what coconut does), 0 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 4 g protein
Ingredient list reads all legible products in which are all organic; you know that’s a plus in my book!


Now whilst this bar hit the high note for flavor profile and had all the flavor a coconut fanatic could dream of, it was more of a treat bar than "feel great" superfood bar that they claim it to be. Got a super sweet tooth? then it's for you! Otherwise, stick to your usual power bar while I search for something to suit you not so sweet toother's ; )

You may catch me snackin' on another Bora Bora bar in the future but for now I am on the look out for the next top bar that curbs my cravings, maintains satiety and is nutritionally appealing. What does a girl have to do to find this!?


Head's up Local Foodies:
Triangle Restaurant Week 2010 is right around the corner! May 17th-23rd offering Lunch at $15 and Dinner at $25 at participating restaurants in the Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill areas. Be sure to check out the website, maybe a restaurant you have been dying to try is participating! I know I have been wanting to check out Zely & Ritz on Raleigh's Downtown Glenwood South, featuring an organic bistro and wine bar! Exciting times for culinary excellence and us, foodies!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Portion Control at it's Best!

Hey guys...long week of RD exam reviewing, internship graduating and than traveling down to FL to watch my little sister graduate college as well! It was a great week of accomplishments! Our quick travels to FL consisted of lots of celebrating, eating and family togetherness...what a blast, right?

Here's a little recap...

Some bar food here (would you like some onion rings with that ketchup? haha, I am a fanatic!)...



and some bar food there [but always managing to stay within my proper portion sizes. Proving you can still indulge and eat your favorite foods while making sensible decisions.]




a treat or two...


and some new finds too : )




Justin's Almond butter...one word: DELICIOUS!
Taste testing verdict to follow.



For now, I must unpack and celebrate Mother's day! Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there...especially mine : )


Monday, May 3, 2010

New Snacks

Hey guys...had a LONG day of foodservice management and normal nutrition. A straight nine hours of sitting and being bombarded with nutrition! I kind of liked it [in a nerdy way]...but my brain does hurt. Some how I have to find room for the next two days too...

As promised...I did find new snacks to try. Now, I haven't tried them just yet (and probably won't until the end of the week) but I picked them out...so CHECK EM' OUT...


Anyone try these yet?


Short and sweet tonight. I am exhausted!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Grow Your Own- Part II

Guys, I walked out on the porch today and to my surprise...


I doubted that tomato plant so this made for an astonishing discovery!

More strawberries. I spy...five little green guys ; )


Tomorrow marks the beginning of the next grueling step in the Registered Dietetian (RD) process (it'll be worth it, it'll be worth it...in the end). We [the other interns and I] start our RD exam review week with the Breeding Associates review course. Everything and anything I ever wanted and needed to know about nutrition and dietetics we will touch on. Exciting and veeeery daunting! Wish me luck! By Thursday I hope to be...registration eligible!!

Have a great Monday! Check back tomorrow, I found some new snacks ; )


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Relaxing Read

Hey guys! Happy Saturday!

Gosh I love the weekends. I feel like they are a boost of positive energy...everyone always seems to be in a better mood, don't they?

So after my rpm and bodypump classes this morning (what a better way to start the day, right?), I thought there would be nothing better to do other than soak up the sun! While pulling into my complex, I saw the whole neighborhood out celebrating the openning of our pool! What a great idea! I gathered my two new mags I have been dying to read (Real Simple and Shape), my refreshing iced coffee and a water bottle and headed out to the the pool.

During my relaxing read I came across this great tip. I thought I'd share:
The latest edition (May 2010) of Shape, in their "Eat right news" section reads:
Shake up your Seafood
Sick of Salmon? Here's another was to get your omega-3s; cook leaner fillets, like cod, in sunflower oil. Accoding to the Journal of Food Science, doing so ups the amount of heart-healthy fats in the dish.



Smart Snacker Tid-bit: Uping the heart-healthy fats (like omega-3s) from the sunflower oil will substitute for those that you are missing in the leaner cuts of seafood. Sunflower oil is a polyunsaturated fat (fancy word for heart-healthy fat). It is high in Vitamin E and low in saturated (artery clogging) fats. It is a great alternative oil for frying.

Making Sense of things: A Closer look at your Polyunsaturated Fats:

Properties:
Soft or liquid at room temperature, Decreases harmful LDL cholesterol, Decreases total cholesterol
Types:
Omega-6
--Linoleic acid – vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, cottonseed), poultry fat
--Arachidonic acid – meats (or made from linoleic acid)
Omega-3
--Linolenic acid
--Oils (flaxseed, canola, walnut, wheat germ, soybean)
--Nuts and seeds (butternuts, walnuts, soybean kernels)
--Vegetables (soybeans)
--EPA and DHA – related to the prevention and treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer.
--Human milk
--Shellfish and fish (mackerel, salmon, anchovy, herring, lake trout, sardines, tuna)
--Or made in the body from linolenic acid
Reference



Along with this great tip, this edition had a ton of great healthy lifestyle suggestions. I love this magazine because it is very practical. Now go out and get one already ; )
Enjoy the rest of your day!



Do you have a favorite magazine with practical tips?