Inner Athlete, Heather Roe, has inspired me to post a very easy and tasty chicken dish that you could make for dinner quite quickly (under 30 minutes, with very little prep work). My children liked it, although I had to add mashed potatoes and cucumber slices to the menu, as Josh and I consumed all the brussel sprouts and mushroom on their behalf. You are welcome, children.
Here is the recipe (serves 4)
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 lb. chicken tenders ( or chicken breast that you will cut into strips)
2 Tablespoons Grapeseed oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried Thyme (I love this herb so I used 1 tsp. but if you have young kids you may want to cut down or take out altogether. I always try the flavour out on my family and then know for next time!)
salt and pepper
3/4 lb. mushrooms, halved (or quartered if very large)
3/4 Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved lengthwise (quartered if large) - if you despise Brussels sprouts then use broccoli, but please try them first - they are very good for you!
Halve your veggies and cut up the chicken (if you couldn't find tenders) - if you haven't already :)
Preheat oven to 450, placing racks in upper and lower positions. In a small bowl, mix the Panko crumbs and Parmesan together. Set aside.
Toss the veggies on a rimmed baking sheet with 2 teaspoons of oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss again.
Roast them on the lower rack until golden brown and tender, about 25 minutes (this will hopefully be timed perfectly for when the chicken is ready!)
Place the chicken in a 9"x 13" baking dish and then add 1 teaspoon of oil. Toss the chicken around in the oil, then sprinkle on the Thyme and season with salt and pepper. Toss the chicken around again (just not up in the air hahahaha).
Arrange the pieces so they are a single layer in the dish and then evenly distribute the Panko mixture on top. Drizzle a Tablespoon of the oil over top (if you use a little more to ensure each piece gets some, that's okay) and then place on the upper rack in the oven.
Bake until golden brown on top and chicken is cooked through (20 minutes or so). Check by cutting the largest piece in the middle.
Serve it all together and enjoy!!
As I stared at my carton of eggs I realized that I wasn't in the mood for hard boiled eggs with my salad today. So, I had a look inside my fridge for inspiration.
Here is what I took out:
Yes, a fritatta in the works!
The beauty of this type of dish is that you can use whatever veggies you have on hand.
Add a tablespoon each of butter and grapeseed oil to a med-high heat frying pan. Let it heat up and then add sliced onion, diced pepper and chopped broccoli (everything needs to be pretty small).
Add some salt and pepper and saute until the onions start to brown. Meanwhile whisk 8 eggs in a bowl with some salt and pepper. Turn on the broiler in your oven. Once the onions are browning, pour in the eggs and turn the heat down a little. Chop up some of the rosemary (maybe a tablespoon?) and I also sprinkled some Italian seasoning on it. Once you see the sides start to set (you can lift some areas to let some uncooked egg get through to the bottom of the pan) take it off the heat and place it under the broiler. Once it is the colour you see in the photo, it is done!! The whole process is quick and easy AND SUPER DELICIOUS! I chopped mine up into a bowl of greens with grape tomatoes, cucumber and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. I will then cut the pieces into individual slices and wrap them up - ready for a quick reheat for breakfast on a piece of Rideau Bakery Rye toast ....or even on it's own. Very portable and makes a great dinner or snack, too.
There are some excellent, small, organic fish farms out there. However, the majority of the fish you will buy in the grocery store or be served in the restaurant is from the nasty big farms. The environmental impact of these farms deserves a blog - One of the biggest concerns is the amount of food required to raise farmed salmon. It generally takes three pounds of wild fish to grow one pound of farmed salmon. The environmental impact of salmon farming is still increasing as global production continues to rise.
Most salmon are farmed in open pens and cages in coastal waters. Waste from these farms is released directly into the ocean. Parasites and diseases from farmed salmon can spread to wild fish swimming near the farms and escaping farmed salmon can harm wild populations.
But for now I want you to know about the nutritional impact on you.
A large survey yet of pollutants in salmon, reported in the January 9, 2004 issue of Science, clearly indicates that because of the feed they receive, farmed fish have much higher levels of carcinogenic pesticides (specifically polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, and two other organochlorine compounds, dieldrin and toxaphene) than wild caught salmon. Although this study was a few years ago, things are no better.
The massive study, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts' Environment program, was conducted by six scientists who analyzed about 700 salmon from around the world for more than 50 contaminants. For 13 of 14 of the organochlorines tested, farmed salmon were more contaminated than wild ones. Levels were highest in European farmed salmon, followed by those from North America. Chilean farmed salmon were the cleanest. The oil and meal the farmed salmon were fed exhibited a similar pattern.
For the most contaminated fish-from farms in Scotland and the Faroe Islands-a quarter of one serving (55 grams of uncooked salmon) per month was the maximum amount that could be eaten before boosting cancer risk, according to EPA guidelines. One half-serving (110 grams) of farmed salmon from Canada or Maine could be eaten per month without adding to significant risk, and one serving (220 grams) per month would be acceptable for fish from Chile or the U.S. state of Washington.
In comparison, according to EPA guidelines, it is considered safe to eat one serving (220 grams) of some types of wild salmon from Alaska or British Columbia eight times a month.
It is strongly recommended that pregnant women, nursing mothers and women of childbearing age avoid eating all farm raised fish including salmon. Organochlorines damage the developing endocrine system, immune system, and brain. Once consumed, these toxic compounds are stored in body fat where they can remain for decades until they are passed to a woman's fetus during pregnancy or excreted in her breast milk.
How to get wild salmon:
Fresh Salmon The season for fresh wild salmon begins around late February so ask your fishmonger about its availability. Salmon will become more affordable in the succeeding months as increasing numbers return to fresh water to spawn. Wild salmon is a great addition to your menu because it is rich in essential omega-3 fats and also is an excellent source of high quality protein. While it is difficult to get fresh wild salmon during certain times of the year because the season for wild salmon begins in late February and ends in November, frozen or previously frozen salmon is available. If you don't see previously frozen salmon on ice or frozen salmon at your local fishmonger's, ask if it can be ordered for you. Frozen salmon may also be ordered on-line. Just enter "Frozen wild salmon" into your Search engine, and you'll find a number of suppliers. While King salmon is often considered the best tasting salmon and also has the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids, Coho salmon is also very good.
Canned Salmon Another way to add wild salmon to your menu is to purchase canned salmon, which is available year round and is much less expensive than fresh or frozen salmon. Most all canned salmon is wild salmon, and this is indicated on the label. Canned salmon offers some additional advantages as well. It is usually packed in its own oil, so you can benefit from greater quantities of omega-3s.
Smoked Salmon Smoked wild salmon is also available year round, but because the smoking process reduces its omega-3 content by 75% and also deposits carcinogenic compounds on the salmon, it is not recommended to eat smoked salmon often.
Lox Although only very lightly smoked, this type of prepared salmon contains large quantities of preservatives including sodium nitrate. Since frequent consumption of sodium nitrate has been linked to colon cancer, it is not recommended to eat lox often.
Stokstad, E. Salmon survey stokes debate about farmed fish. Science, vol 303, p154-5, January 9, 2004.
With this crazy weather, it may be more difficult to get motivated and come to class. I understand! But, please remember why you are coming in the first place. Remember how amazing you feel after - both mentally and physically. This week is an important one as it is the middle of the session and WE MUST PUSH THROUGH. What a perfect time to add the push up ;)
Here is the blog from September about this:
Enter the push up. Yikes, I know. However, when I here people say they suck at them....I must remind said people that you don't suck at them, you just haven't done them enough. How can you be good at anything unless you practise?
Push ups are one of the best full body workouts we can do. They challenge us physically and mentally.
Please remember that it is not just an upper body push. You will find yourself doing these more effectively if you squeeze every muscle you can think of! Tighten your bum, core, legs, arms, back and shoulders. Use your entire body to lift you up - especially focus on your centre as you pull up. Use the first day of this workout as your benchmark to see how much you improve by the end of the week.
I refer to the 3rd week as THE PUSH, so push ups are a natural fit :)
The best way to guarantee your healthy eating success is to be organized. Always having good choices on hand helps you eliminate the bad ones (for the most part, anyway!!) I work on the 80/20 rule: for 80 percent of my week I eat really well - clean, homemade, raw and fresh. For 20 percent I allow myself to indulge in things like ice cream, pizza or a chai soy latte from Starbucks. I do make sure that my ice cream and pizza are high quality and as 'real' as possible. Living like this, I have found that weeks go by when I have no need for my '20 percent'. Once you give your body the nutrient it needs from natural food sources, cravings for the 'bad' stuff lessens and you start to crave the good!
Here is what I do to ensure my proper eating:
I boil 8-12 organic eggs: slice into a salad or on top of a piece of toast. Eat whole with a little salt and pepper.
I bake 1-2 lbs. chicken breasts (I try to go for organic or free range, but it depends on my financial situation and where I shop!). The buttemilk chicken recipe on website ensures a moist chicken with great flavour: slice into a salad or in a sandwich (about 4 ounces). Always great to warm up when you have no time or energy to make dinner.
I bake protein bars, muffins and/or make energy balls - recipes on the website – GRAB AND GO!! Always have these in the fridge and freezer. When you see that you are down to 3-4 bake some more! Bring one with you wherever you go.
I cook brown rice and quinoa (at least 2 cups of each) – add ½ cup to a salad instead of chicken or eggs for a change. Or, have a cup with mixed veggies and a nice dressing for lunch or dinner. Warm up as a side for dinner.
I always have in my kitchen:
a big box of PC organic salad greens: it’s like the never ending supply of salad! The leaves are packed in so tight, you will get at least 4 awesome salads out of this box for about 5 bucks. Excellent source of EVERYTHING GOOD FOR YOU! Great liver cleanse, too.
a container of PC organic grape tomatoes: some things are worth buying organic. Anything that you consume often you should consider investing in the organic choice. I LOVE these little tomatoes and add them to every salad.
a block of goat feta: adds a flavour I enjoy to my salads and is a good source of protein. Goat is a better choice because the protein molecule is smaller and our digestive system has an easier time with it. If you can find local, that’s even better.
a bag of raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds to add extra protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals and healthy fats for any salad.
Farmboy balsamic vinaigrette which has a clean ingredient list and is really delicious. I will also make my own dressings to mix things up.
organic (or free range) eggs – to scramble or make an omelette for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
a bag of organic apples – as with the tomatoes, I eat apples daily and therefore invest in the organic produce.
any of the Farmboy soups: The ones in the plastic containers, not the glass jars. I have first hand knowledge that these are made with quality ingredients and no preservatives. They are delicious.
a bunch of bananas – so wonderfully portable and a great source of magnesium and potassium. Add a handful of nuts and that is a great snack!
a box of organic instant oatmeal packages – for breakfast or snack this is super quick and healthy. I add a little bit of unsweetened almond or coconut milk, some unsweetened coconut, a sprinkle of nuts and seeds,a touch of maple syrup. Sometimes, if I’m not feeling too lazy, I will chop up an apple, too!
a box of Jordan’s organic muesli – I love this stuff and it isn’t overly processed like most cereals.
a carton of unsweetened almond or coconut milk – to add to my muesli and oatmeal.
bags of almonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts – any mix of these for the fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein and good fats.
cans of unsweetened coconut water – Grace brand found at Bulk Barn is the best! This should replace any sports drink. It has the trace minerals/electrolytes needed for after a great workout. It makes a nice change from water every once in awhile.
a loaf of Rideau bakery or Rudolph’s bread – clean ingredient list.
a bag of Kettleman’s bagels- clean ingredient list and I occasionally crave a bagel!
a jar almond and sunflower seed butter – for my bagel and/or apples.
a bag of organic romaine lettuce hearts - adds some crunch to my greens.
a bag of organic coffee – again, something I have daily so I go organic. Unfortunately, the chemicals found in non-organic coffee are terrible and include heavy metals.
a tub of high quality protein powder. I switch from a vegan to whey and choose different flavours to mix things up. Always handy to make a quick shake when pinched for time.
Mushrooms, green onion, purple onion, cucumber, peppers, green beans, fennel, etc………. any veggies that look the freshest at the store to add to a salad or omelette.
Most of these things can be found at Bulk Barn, the Natural Value department of Loblaws or Independent grocers and stores like Nature's Way in Kemptville.
Email me with any questions you may have about this blog!!!!
There’s been a lot of talk about green coffee bean extract, especially since it appeared on the Dr. Oz show. Green coffee beans have emerged as the new Raspberry Ketones — similarly described by Dr. Oz as a “miracle pill that can burn fat” and a “magic cure for weight loss.”
It is a naturally occurring compound in these beans that induce "thermogenesis", the speeding up of your metabolism and the burning of excess fat. This compound is called CHLOROGENIC ACID. The most effective green coffee bean supplements need to contain at least 45 percent chlorogenic acid.
Tea (black, green or white) and coffee contain chlorogenic acid and, although the green coffee bean extract people would like to differ, it does not get destroyed during the roasting process.
If you decide to use this supplement (or drink a fair amount of coffee or tea) you need to know that chlorogenic acid robs the body of magnesium, iron and zinc. I strongly recommend a high quality multi vitamin along with extra magnesium to compensate for this loss.
Another thing to consider is this: coffee beans contain about 250 different chemicals — some with positive and others with negative effects on human health. The idea of consuming an extract that contains both good and bad chemicals in dense concentration seems an unwise thing to do. Remember that these guys contain caffeine, too.
Lastly, I would argue that hormonal imbalance is the biggest issue in the battle with fat loss. We are surrounded by hormone disruptors, not just in the food we eat, but in the items we use to clean our bodies, clothes and homes. It is virtually impossible to avoid these 'xenoestrogens' and consequently many of us suffer with the frustration of not being able to lose those extra pounds of fat. No amount of green coffee bean extract will fix problems like cortisol imbalance, estrogen dominance or hypothyroidism.
We need to eat as clean as possible and exercise regularly to achieve what balance we can in the world we live in today. Cook your own food, buy organic whenever you can, eat dark green vegetables daily and drink fresh lemon juice in water every morning (please see previous blog!).
Keep exercising, breathe deeply, try and get enough sleep and laugh often...these things all have a positive effect on our hormones, too!
Nothing will beat clean eating and exercise....I hate to sound so simplistic, but it's true!
Throughout the year, I will be offering my humble opinion on a number of things that I hope you will find helpful!
Let's start with Grapeseed Oil.
I use this as a substitute for vegetable oil.
Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of the winemaking industry, so no new crops need to be harvested – happier planet!
Due to the high smoke point of grapeseed oil (420 F or 220 C), it is a healthier choice for sauting and stir-frying in comparison to unrefined (virgin or extra virgin) olive oil, whose smoke point is only 320 F (160 C).
The smoke point of an oil is the amount of heat an oil can withstand before it begins to break down, forming free radicals in the process. When heated, grapeseed oil neutralizes free radicals, allowing your food to retain its freshness and flavour when cooked.
Due to its light, clean, nutty flavour, grapeseed oil can be used in baking, marinades, salad dressings, homemade mayonnaise, and sauces without interfering with delicate flavour combinations.
When purchasing grapeseed oil, avoid oils that have been extracted using hexane, a harsh chemical. Look for brands that are expeller-pressed, a chemical-free mechanical method of oil extraction. As with all oils, try and find a bottle that is dark. The exposure to light in a clear bottle, while sitting on a grocery store shelf, damages the oil.
When stored in a cool, dry place away from direct light, grapeseed oil can last for at least a year. Once opened, it is best stored in the fridge.
Grapeseed oil contains a very high level of antioxidant vitamin E (60 to 120 mg per 100 g), a fat-soluble antioxidant which prevents injury of cell membranes. Vitamin E, along with selenium, copper, and manganese, is an integral component of our cells innate antioxidant defence system.
Vitamin E deficiency is associated with premature aging, cataracts, uncontrolled diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and infection. Vitamin E also increases the bioavailability of vitamin A by inhibiting its destruction in the digestive tract. Vitamin A is a critical nutrient for maintaining health of all membranes, including the digestive tract, lungs, and urinary tract, as well as our external protective barrier, the skin.
Coupled with its ability to protect liver cells from damage, vitamin E provides complete protection of the body's innate protective mechanisms.
So there you have it! Although it is a pricier choice than your average vegetable oil - I truly believe the extra couple of bucks is worth it.
In anticipation of a very full room, I have added the following times to the class schedule for the first week:
Monday and Wednesday 7:30 pm
Friday 10:00 am
Our January session is now full!!! Well, I am capping it at this current number of members....we shall see how full the classes are and go from there! It is hard to say what the maximum number of Inner Athletes is - we will judge it by the size of the classes. I will not be taking new members in during the session, but if the classes are not crowded, I will open the next session up to more women who wish to PUMP UP THE JAM with us!!!!
Thank you to those of you who have stuck with me since the very beginning and thank you to those of you who are willing to give me a try :)
My goal is, and always will be, to better your day to day living. I am here to make you stronger, more energetic, more relaxed and happier. We all have different goals, but we all share the want to achieve greater health and enjoyment of life.
I can't wait to get started again. See you soon xo