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Summer Cleansing and Cooling Foods

Summer can be a good time to change your eating habits. You can begin by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding all foods that can make you sick by raising your blood pressure, triggering headaches and migraines, or add extra pounds. Summer is also a good time to spend more time outdoors to burn calories and get your heart rate up! Consider starting some enjoyable physical activities which you can turn into healthy habits – hiking, biking, running? Or working out with me a few times each week! But when it’s hot and humid outside, we all want to be cool, so here are some food for summer ideas that might help you feel and look better in the heat.

The best hydration for summer is FRUIT! It will keep your insides cool. Try to eat fruits grown in season, such as melons, apples, grapes, pears, cherries, apricots, berries, plums, peaches, mangos, papaya, tomatoes as well as all citrus fruits. Go for organic whenever you can. Fruit is both cooling and can act as a laxative, which can not only help your body to cool off, but also help with your summer detox and weight loss.

Leafy GREEN vegetables can also have a cooling effect on the body. You can make refreshing and cooling summer salads with slightly bitter-tasting, cleansing greens, such as dandelion greens, watercress and endive. Other cooling vegetables include: asparagus, cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini. As for roots vegetables, you can eat daikon and beets when you are hot.
La Jolla Fruit stand
Turmeric Detox Dressing is perfect match for your summer salads because it contains turmeric and avocado – two cooling foods. Recipe below . . . . :

Have you tried sea vegetables? Summer may be the right time to experiment with them (kelp, spirulina, kombu, hiziki, arame, dulse) because they ALL can help you feel cooler in the heat.

When you exercise more, you need extra protein. Healthy sources of protein that have a cooling effect on the body are: mung beans, grains such as black or brown rice, quinoa, millet, and (my new favorite) kaniwa . . . plus tempeh, soy milk and fish are all great protein.

Finally, herbs and spices such as peppermint, nettles, red clover, lemon balm, cilantro, marjoram can be a perfect addition to your cooling meals. They can also help simple detox of your body and boost your immune system.

Tumeric Detox Dressing
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice + zest of 2 Lemons
¼ avocado
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. raw local honey — if not vegan
Pinch of iodized salt (to taste)

Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Add more avocado if you desire a thicker consistency.


What Are Putting in your Mouth?

Food. We have to make decisions every day about food. What if food is challenging for you to deal with? Many people don’t really know what to eat. Others know what to eat, but simple snack unconsciously. Others are tortured by eating disorders, sadly. I am no psychologist, but I do know a few things about eating healthy. I have established a great “diet” or nutrition plan that works for me and while not everyone needs the same things as I do, I’ll share a few tips and hints I’ve learned.

  1. Portion control. When loading up your dinner plate, remember that 50% of the total meal should be fruits & veggies at least. If you can make it more, great! But, beware of meals that are predominantly just meat and bread or pasta (I’m not pointing fingers, but peperoni pizza?!!). So, take a large helping of the broccoli and lean protein, like salmon. And a smaller portion of the rest of the meal, and skip the butter, eat olive oil instead.
  2. Healthy carbohydrates. Carbs are OH so important! But, really be picky about the type of carbs you’re eating. The more you can eat vegetables as your source of carbs the better! That means sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, corn and squash (acorn, butternut, etc). Here’s a good chart to track them. Next best are the whole grains, for example quinoa, brown rice, and steel cut oatmeal.
  3. Bad carbohydrates. Refined flour lacks nutrients and fiber and will leave you craving more. So try to avoid breads, baked goods, pastas, crackers, and other foods made of refined flour. Also, refined sugar is a bad carb too. So get your sweeteners from honey, maple syrup and agave INSTEAD of sugar. When I do a long bike ride, I simply mix honey in the water bottle and it’s really tasty and better for you than any premixed powder!
  4. Make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats, so you don’t crave the bad ones. That means olive oil in your salad, instead of regular salad dressing. Nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts are also an excellent source of HEALTHY fats that are very important for a variety of reasons, including reducing of inflammation. Not to mention they’re all anti-oxidants!
  5. Last but not least, if your nutrition is still out of control, ask yourself, what am I putting in my mouth? and write it down! Write it in the notes on your phone, each and every thing. Don’t forget to write down the doughnut you ate at Starbucks! Or if writing it down takes too long, simply take a quick photo of it with your phone and at the end of the day log it all. Do your homework. Take this seriously, it’s your health and your life and the longevity of it! It’s preventative healthcare and a good diet I believe will keep your medical costs down!

Also, keep in mind the less you eat out at restaurants and the more you cook at home or pick out healthy options at the grocery store, the easier this is. So go crazy at Trader Joe’s and pick up a box of quinoa instead of a box of salty crackers! Good luck.

One final note regarding eating disorders. If you have a very difficult time with your nutrition and need more serious attention regarding a possible eating disorder, here’s some options in the Bay area.

  • The Body Positive: A great org in Berkeley that offers workshops and lectures, personal coaching, and continuing education. This place seems much more focused on the creation of a positive body image! Their Mission: The Body Positive’s mission is to implement educational programs that transform individual and societal beliefs about weight, body image, and identity. The result is a growing national movement of healthy, confident individuals contributing to positive change in the world.
  • Woodleaf Center: I have heard really good things about this place in Hayes Valley, in San Francisco. They have a twice monthly Free Support Group that might be helpful for you. They also offer outpatient services and accept the following health insurance: Aetna, Cigna, UBH, United Health Care, Great West, Value Options, California Blue Cross, Blue Shield and more. (Please note we do NOT accept Kaiser).
  • Beyond Hunger: This is a place in Marin that has a pretty good reputation as well, and they have a Drop-In Group on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month at 9:30am on 4th St. in San Rafael.

Eating to Thrive

First and most importantly, you need to eat small meals throughout the day rather than 3 large meals per day. You may even want to plan out 4 meals each day. For example:
8 AM – Oatmeal, fruit and nuts with a small yogurt.

10:30 – 11 AM – whole grain granola & lowfat yogurt

2 PM – 1/2 sandwich, or 1/2 a burrito, or veggie soup * * * Remember: whole grains AND lean protein is crucial in order to sustain energy levels

5:30 – 6 PM – Brown Rice with salmon and a salad

Try eating meals every 2 – 3 hours with healthy snacks such as:

* carrots and hummus
* tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole
* Mixed nuts & dried fruit trail mixes (great from Trader Joes)
* Apple & nuts
* celery & peanut butter – or try Almond butter – even better!
* Lara bars
* Lowfat plain yogurt & whole grain granola

For at least one meal a day make sure to have WHOLE grains, not refined like “whole grain bread,” That means cooking brown rice (or brown rice pasta), quinoa, barley, oatmeal (steel cut), whole grain cereals, popcorn!, bulgur (cracked wheat), wheat berries, buckwheat. Eat these and you’ll get:

* Natural, soluble fiber
* Vitamin E
* Vitamin B-6
* Zinc
* Potassium
* Folate
* Protein
* Iron
* Thiamin
* Riboflavin

Also, mix with veggies and lean protein (such as tofu, eggs, fish and turkey) for the best option of sustained energy.

Remember, eating is a habit and if you can get into a habit of eating right then it will become easier and easier! Every time you eat something it can either build you up and make you healthier or break you down and leave you more vulnerable for sickness and disease.

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