Back to Basics

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of really broad topic style blogs recently. I really like doing those types of things. Or general updates about goals and plans etc. But it’s been ages and ages since I just posted about food and workouts. So that’s what I’m going to do today!

I’m just shy of 11 weeks out from my next competition and I am not losing weight… I blame my addiction to chocolate PB2 and the Lindt Dark Sea Salt chocolate. I only have max 100 calories worth of either a day… but I’m convinced that’s the reason, mostly because it’s always the things we love that we are forced to give up. Ugh… stupid body. Just be skinny naturally ok?! Deal. Moving on.  🙂

But all in all I have been keeping carbs higher which I actually find hard to do since I can’t eat gluten. So I’ve been eating oats relatively frequently. My normal go to oatmeal recipes is my pumpkin pie oats (yes I know it’s almost April, no I don’t care). But I figured I should try to branch out flavour wise a bit more. My issue is that I like the volume that pumpkin adds to the oats without too many calories.

Cue Zoats.

While perusing instagram I came across a recipe for Zoats or Zucchini Oats and decided to give it a try. My personal favourite flavour at the moment is ginger molasses. Here’s the recipe:

Ginger Molasses Zoats

Ingredients

  • ½ c. Large flake oats

    Some very yummy Zoats

  • ½ c. Egg whites
  • ¾ c. Water
  • ½ large zucchini (about ½ c.) shredded
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dried ginger powder)
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Directions

  1. Combine oats, water and egg whites in a saucepan a bring to a boil on med-high high, stirring frequently with a fork so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan
  2. Reduce heat a simmer until desired consistency is reached (about 8 minutes for me) then stir in remaining ingredients and return to a simmer.
  3. Serve and enjoy.

Nutritional Info

Calories – 295      Carbs – 48 g     Fat – 3 g    Protein – 20 g

It’s definitely been a go to breakfast in the past week or so. The ingredients will be scaled down to 1/3 c. Oats and egg whites and Stevia instead of molasses as I cut calories more. It’s a very versatile recipe.

As for workouts. I’ve been doing minimal cardio and lifting really heavy as I love to do. My favourite workouts right now are Back and Bi’s so I’ll give you the layout I’ve been doing for that here. I’ve really taken it back to basics for this. Really just focusing on form and moving as much weight as possible. As always, please keep in mind that I have been working out for many years now. Please do not assume the weights I post are what you should be lifting… it’s just for frame of reference as I am always curious how much other people lift, so I figure someone might find it interesting too.

Back to basics – Back and Bi’s

looking wide 🙂

Warmup – 5 mins either running or rowing (preferably rowing as it actually warms up the back muscles)

  Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Lat pull downs 100 x 12 105 x 10 110 x 8
One arm DB rows 60 x 10 65 x 8 70 x 6
Supp. bent over BB rows 90 x 10 90 x 10 90 x 10
Rear delt flyes (w. DBs) 15 x 12 15 x 12 15 x 12
Back extensions BW x 12 BW x 12 BW x 12
Dumbbell bicep curls 20 x 10 20 x 10 20 x 10
Concentration curls 12.5 x 10 12.5 x 10 12.5 x 10

 

Cool down – lots of stretching!

So there we go… a more normal, less rant-y post.

Love and health

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Taco Salad and Stuff

From my inspired title you can probably tell I’m still feeling pretty (very) under the weather. But I managed to get my butt into work today and even got in a decent workout. I did a very short chest and tri’s workout that got me a great pump and then hopped on the elliptical for 30 minutes, followed by the stairmaster for 30 minutes. Yes I did an hour of cardio.

Evidence of the wonderful pump I got :)

Evidence of the wonderful pump I got 🙂

If you have been following me you might recall that I was not planning on doing hours of LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio. Well turns out trying to do circuit style workouts AND HIIT cardio puts a hell of a lot of strain on you central nervous system and makes you want to crawl in a hole and sleep forever. Who knew? It’s also most definitely NOT recommended for you to do high intensity anything while you are sick because it puts stress on your body and will make your recovery waaaaay longer. So I will be doing between 45 mins to an hour of LISS cardio until I feel back to 100%, then I will start alternating and doing 20 minutes of HIIT 2-3 times a week and LISS on the other days.

This is much more cardio than I had planned, but I’m really struggling to drop weight so “needs must”. Because I know that this much steady state cardio will have an impact on my metabolism I have to make sure that I don’t just stop doing cardio cold turkey after my competition. Just like a reverse diet, I will have to reverse out of my cardio too. First by dropping the duration, and then the frequency. Hopefully by doing so I will not gain a lot of weight back and will be able to build back my metabolism.

Anyways, that enough whining for one day.. on to food!!!

I wanted tacos the other day… actually that’s a lie, I wanted nachos because the cheese to everything else ratio on nachos tends to be a million times better, or maybe that’s just the way I make nachos. Regardless, nacho/fajita/taco/mexican type food was wanted and I needed to make it low carb. So I asked my boyfriend to pick up some ingredients like ground turkey, bibb lettuce and taco seasoning so I could make tacos and wrap them in lettuce… voila low carb tacos. And he graciously agreed… and then proceeded to forget to do that entirely, haha, happens to the best of us. So when I got home there were no makings of tacos to be had, but gosh darn it I wanted something mexican tasting. So I made this salad and it hit the spot perfectly, so sometimes things work out just fine 🙂 And now you can make this taco inspired salad even when you don’t have anything that you would normally make tacos with.

Low Carb Taco Salad (serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 6 oz chicken breast (or whatever amount you need based on your macros/diet)

    Taco salad number 1 with cheese

    Taco salad number 1 with cheese

  • Some sort of taco/buffalo/spicy seasoning – I had buffalo chicken seasoning in the cupboard so that’s what I used
  • 2 cups salad greens
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/4 cup non fat greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • 1/2 oz grated cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Season Chicken with taco/whatever seasoning you are using to imitate taco seasoning and cook either in a skillet or the oven (I assume you all know how to cook chicken breasts – just cook ’em!)
  2. Mix greek yogurt and as much of the seasoning as you want together to your tastes, mine was pretty spicy!
  3. Cut the red pepper into strips and arrange on top of salad greens, then slice up the chicken and top with the salsa, greek yogurt and cheddar cheese.

Super simple, but so satisfying!

Low Carb Taco Salad number 2 without cheese and not as nicely arranged because the first was so yummy I wanted it again!

Low Carb Taco Salad number 2 without cheese and not as nicely arranged because the first was so yummy I wanted it again!

Nutritional Info:  Cals – 345  Carbs – 12 g    Fat – 9 g    Protein – 50 g!

 

Low carb fluffy pancakes

So I was going to post this recipe yesterday only I got busy at work, and then went to hang out with my sister and watched Aladdin and made red thai curry. Oh that and my brain isn’t working because I’m outrageously sick. I’ve been sick since Saturday to be honest but I was “pushing through” because I’m less than 4 weeks away from the stage and really can’t afford to just rest. Only now my body is basically giving me no choice. Today will be spent drinking lots of tea and looking up ways to deal with chest congestion and head colds. If anyone knows of a secret cure for a bad cold please let me know so I can get better and get back in the gym!!!

Anyways… pancakes. I made these for a weekend breakfast because I wanted something filling, low carb and NOT eggs. I love eggs but even I get sick of them sometimes. But most protein/low carb pancakes are either not really that low carb, or turn out kind of gross because they are just straight protein powder and egg whites. Well I’m here to tell you there is a third option. Coconut flour is something I am rapidly learning to love and it is what makes these pancakes so good. When combined with Whey protein it really lends a nice “cakey” quality and its low carb and super high in fibre, so the carbs it does have are not really going to impact your blood sugar which is the real issue at the end of the day.

I will forewarn you that with the vanilla protein powder I was definitely able to taste the coconut flavour, so if you aren’t a fan of coconut I would try it with either additional vanilla, or chocolate whey or some other flavour to help mask the coconut. Thankfully, I looooove coconut so I thought this was great.

Low Carb Fluffy Pancakes (serves 2)

Super Fluffy Protein Pancakes

Super Fluffy Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (or 4 egg whites)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used 1% goats milk)
  • 4 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Pam/butter/fat for greasing the pan

Directions

  1. Put eggs and egg whites in a blender and blend until fluffy (about 20 seconds) – I think this is part of what made them so fluffy and awesome
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender (other than the fat) and blend until well incorporated and smooth
  3. Heat a large pan to medium heat and grease with whatever fat you are using, then scoop 2-3 tbsp of batter at a time to make small pancakes – I have had much better luck with smaller pancakes when it comes to protein pancakes
  4. Cook until bubbles start to appear (about 2-3 minutes) then flip carefully and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes. Repeat this until all the batter is gone – I got 12 small pancakes from this recipe
  5. Serve with your favourite toppings – I used a half scoop of chocolate whey powder mixed with a little water as a “syrup” because that is what fit my macros

Nutritional Info:   Cals – 240   Carbs – 11 g (5 g of fibre!)  Fat – 8 g  Protein – 31 g

 

So much contest prepping!

I forgot how much fun it can be to try to make really (like really REALLY) good food while in contest prep mode and carb cycling and working out like a fiend. I have been slacking on the posts, but making up for it with amazing kitchen creations… which I will share over the next few days. Here is a little teaser of the recipe’s I will be sharing.

Super Fluffy Protein Pancakes

Super Fluffy Protein Pancakes

Low Carb Taco Salad

Low Carb Taco Salad

But today… today I will share with you my new favourite low carb recipe. It’s so good I was making embarrassing noises while I ate and my boyfriend kept giving me weird looks.

Salmon with Cauliflower Asian Fried Rice

I have tried cauliflower rice before and I was kind of disappointed in it to be honest. It just tasted like rice shaped bits of cauliflower to me. But now I have found the secret, and it is frying 🙂 It’s a little time-consuming, but makes a large portion and is so worth it!

Cauliflower Asian Fried “Rice”

Makes 4 servings (1 cup each)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium or half a huge (which is what I had) head of cauliflower
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 thumb sized knob of ginger (or more to taste)
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Directions

  1. Wash the cauliflower and chop it up into 1 inch pieces making sure to dry them off.

    Everything in the wok.

    Everything in the wok.

  2. Pulse the pieces in a food processor about 20 times until you get uniform rice-sized pieces. I had to do 3 batches because I have a small processor, but make sure not to over process it.
  3. Put processed cauliflower in a bowl lined with paper towel to absorb excess moisture and set aside.
  4. Dice onions and snap peas and add them to the cauliflower.
  5. Grate ginger and garlic on a microplane and set aside.
  6. Heat the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large wok or frying pan and sautee the ginger and garlic until fragrant and slightly browned (about 3 minutes).
  7. Add the cauliflower, onions and snap peas  to the pan and mix well to incorporate the ginger, garlic and oil; continue mixing for 5 minutes until onions start to become translucent and everything starts to brown slightly.
  8. Make a well in the centre to expose the pan and crack the eggs into it, scramble these with a spatula until the are almost cooked and then fold everything back together so the egg gets distributed through the whole dish.
  9. Drizzle the fish sauce and soy sauce over the mixture and toss in the pan for another 1-2 minutes until desired consistency is reached.
  10. Serve as a side dish or add some leftover chopped up chicken or shrimp and make this the main course.

Nutritional Info (for 1 cup):  Cals – 170   Carbs – 15 g   Fat – 10 g   Protein – 8g

I think cauliflower might be a new go to thing for me. I will be trying out cauliflower mashed “potatoes” tonight as another low carb option and I’m hoping it goes well. I think the key is to season it really well so you don’t have an overpowering “cauliflower” taste.

And just to give you an update for contest prep, I am 4 weeks out from UFE Halloween Mayhem and finally losing some weight. The progress came a little late in the game, so I won’t be as lean as I was hoping for, but I will certainly be lean enough to not look out of place and I hope I will still do well. Here is a progress pic from yesterday morning, which is exactly 4 weeks out from the competition.

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Healthy Protein Treats

Ok, so I have discovered Protein Pow in the last few week and I’m seriously wondering how I have gone this long without discovering this website!? Her stuff is amaze-balls. It’s so tasty and very healthy, AND lot’s of the stuff actually is low carb and high protein… and then there are high carb options with the protein too for the high carb days. But it’s pretty hard to find legitimately “low carb cakes that are tasty, so finding ones that are calls for some serious celebration.

So I tried out this recipe for low carb chocolate cake and topped it with a vanilla and greek yogurt protein ice cream. And it came out beautifully.. as you can see 🙂

This turned out sort of soufflee-ish and was awesome warm or cold.

This turned out sort of soufflee-ish and was awesome warm or cold.

What’s nice about this recipe is that the cake is actually healthy, not just “healthified” or “healthier” but actively helping you on your way to achieve greater health. Woohoo!

So then I wanted something pumpkin-y, but it was a low carb day… so my go to pumpkin oats were not an option 😦 So inspired by Protein Pow, I decided to try to make a protein mug cake that was not bone dry and rubbery (like most are). I took the idea of using a “moisturizer” ingredient in order to counteracts the drying effect of whey and also incorporated coconut flour which seems to help with the cakey consistency. It was awesome! Here is the recipe.

Pumpkin Protein Mug Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

    The slightly raw in the centre microwave pumpkin protein mug cake

    The slightly raw in the centre microwave pumpkin protein mug cake

  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (just plain pumpkin)
  • 2 tbsp milk (I used 1% goat’s milk, but any milk will work)
  • Stevia or other sweetener to taste (if needed)

Directions:

  1. Mix the first 4 ingredients (dry ingredients) together in a bowl until well incorporated
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients into the dry mix until all lumps are gone and batter is smooth
  3. Grab a mug or bowl that will hold about 2 times as much batter as you have (it expands a lot!) and grease the inside with pam or coconut oil or whatever tickles your fancy and transfer the batter into the greased container
  4. stick the mug in the microwave and microwave on high for 90 seconds, then check for doneness, continue microwaving in 30 second intervals until set through. Mine was a little undercooked in the centre on the bottom, but I didn’t mind, it was yummy 🙂
  5. Flip the cake out onto a plate and top with whatever you like, I didn’t use any toppings because it didn’t fit my macros for the day and it was delicious and moist and cakey all on its own!

*** If you want to change the flavour of the cake just swap out the pumpkin puree for some non-fat greek yogurt and you have a neutral base to work with, you can then change the flavour either with different protein powders, or different additives, like peanut butter, cocoa powder, mint extract, coconut flakes etc. You can also change the pumpkin for banana, sweet potato, or even apple sauce, but those would all change the nutritional info and make it higher carb. The possibilities are endless! ***

Nutritional Info:  Cals – 270   Carbs – 16 g    Fat – 4g (2 g from the pam)   Protein – 40 g!!!!!

Now on that note, since I have had 4 of these delicious protein cakes of some sort over the last 8 days, I seem to have reawakened my sweet tooth. That’s no beuno this close to the competition.

Side note: Oh my god…. realization just hit me… My competition is EXACTLY 1 month from today… EEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!

Ok, so I have decided not to make any more of these and to try to limit my artificial sweeteners (even stevia) to my protein shakes and coffee or tea. I will definitely be back to making these after contest prep though 🙂