A word from my personal trainer about building a relationship with food

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Hi everyone!  When my friend and client, Annette, asked me to write something for her blog, something about healthy eating, I thought: YAAY! I get to be famous! And on top of that, I get the great opportunity to list a few things I’ve learned in my 20 years of experience in the health and fitness world, working with people who have tried it ALL, including myself.

I’m sure that you have (like I have) heard or tried one of these: Juicing, Paleo, Atkins, Vegan, Raw, Mediterranean, Intermittent Fasting, South Beach, the list of diets seems to be only ever increasing, and you may always be asking: but which one…? And the answer to that is a big ol’: Depends.  

They all have something in common: they all pay important attention to the overall caloric intake (which works!), and all of them are equally effective and ineffective. I know! Even more confusing, right?  Our nutrition, a close to a perfect one, is or should be highly personalized simply because different approaches work for different people. It really depends on the individual, our needs, our lifestyle, and our commitment to our overall goal to stick to a plan that would help us.   

Here are some things I like to have in mind when working on a nutrition plan to keep a healthy relationship with food:

Keep it fresh. I avoid highly processed foods, or keep them to a minimum because they are not friendly, just drama!
Keep it clean. Some sauces, toppings and batters are messy friends; keep them away!
White rice, potatoes and yams are friends. They say they are all wild, but I’ve learned to like them as friends.
Quantity and quality.  They are really good to me; they moderate all my wild food-buddies.
Education is key. The more you know about your sweethearts, the better you are with them.
Watch the alcohol. She’s sneaky.
Learn to read. Reading and understanding labels helps us choose good food-friendships.
My health is important. I want to keep it! So I hang out with foods that add value to my life.
My lifestyle is also important. I’m very active, so I eat good things that I know give me good vibes and energy, and when I am not that active, I eat things that keep me on the chill mode.

As we move forward into the new year, with all our new eating resolutions in place, let’s all agree that the most fabulous secret to a great diet is being happy and enjoying all that we eat. It will help us stay committed to those resolutions, and good results will follow. Our diet should not be boring, time specific, a tiring effort, nor should it be a pain. I see a diet as a friendship; it should be nurturing, long lasting, fun and enjoyable, most importantly, a healthy one.

I guarantee you that if you are physically active, and actively caring for what you eat, you will be happy with the way you look.  My word!

Gabriel A. Ceballos -Strength and Conditioning Personal Trainer, ACSM Certified

photo by: Alexandra Sofis

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Rise and Shine Green Smoothie

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Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend, and I’m here today with an easy green smoothie sure to satiate. Let me be abundantly clear on this from the get-go: embracing green smoothies for me took a while. I couldn’t get passed the idea of drinking vegetables and fruits that I typically ate muddled in a salad or individually as snacks.

It wasn’t until my husband and I tried Simple Green Smoothies recipes that we really started to get on board. Now, we have one almost every day. Here are a few things that we’ve learned:

  1. Invest in a great blender. Annette loves her Nutribullet, and I love my Ninja. No matter what blender you use, it’s really important you get one that can handle the different textures of frozen fruits and veggies with ease. It will make your smoothie taste so much better.
  2. Decide which green vegetable works best for you as your base. I used to be a tried and true kale gal, but I’ve since shifted over to spinach. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what greens you use as long as you use some. Decide what you love, no matter what the recipe says, and stick with that. Pro Tip: Use your leftover smoothie greens as salads for the week.
  3. Blend smoothies two servings at a time. Keep the second in a tightly sealed mason jar for the next day – or share it with a friend!
  4. Feel free to play. If you don’t like grapefruits, use an orange instead. If you love pineapple, double up on that. If you happen to have some spare clementines around, toss those in, too. Enjoy being in the kitchen and playing with flavors. A fun smoothie is a better smoothie.

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The smoothie recipe I’m sharing today is modified from Simple Green Smoothies’ Beginner’s Luck. As the title indicates, it’s a great first timer smoothie and a fantastic way to ease into the green smoothie lifestyle.

Rise and Shine Green Smoothie
serves 2

You will need:
– 2 cups spinach
– 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
– 1 cup frozen pineapple
– 1 cup frozen mango
– 2 fresh, ripe bananas, peeled
– 1 fresh, ripe orange, peeled

To prepare:

Blend spinach and milk together until spinach is fully combined.

Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pour into a cute glass and sip through an even cuter straw. Store any remaining smoothie for tomorrow!

Note: when you think it’s blended, let it blend a little more. The longer this one blends, the more of the orange pith will disappear and blend into the rest of the drink.

xo, Nicole

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Raw Food Homemade Energy Bites

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I don’t know about you, but store bought energy bars sort of gross me out. When I need a little something sweet and satisfying these will do the trick. I have amended a recipe from one green planet.

These bars are super good; let me know what you think. I usually store a bunch in the freezer and take them along to snack on during the day.

*Note these are more delicate than store bought energy bars, so place them in a glass sealed container rather than a plastic bag, they will hold and travel better.

Raw Super Food Energy Bars with Dark Chocolate
(note: I have amended the original recipe)
makes 20- 2 inch diameter bites

You will need:

– 1 cup walnuts
– 1/3 cup chia seeds ( *optional they are really rough on the teeth)
– 1/3 cup ground flax seeds
– 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
– 1/4 cup cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
– 1/4 cup coconut flakes
– 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
– 1 cup raisins
– 2 cup dates ( remove the pit)
– 1-2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, as needed
– 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips melted

To prepare:

  1. Throw the dry ingredients in your food processor, then add the dates and raisins and process until everything it starts to stick together for at least 5 minutes it needs to resemble a paste. If it’s too dry, add more dates or coconut oil.
  2.  Mix in with your hands, forming rounds balls (note you really need to press together the mix) take the balls and press into a small muffin tin.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute, whisk to smooth
  4.  Carefully remove the energy bar cups from the tin and top off with melted chocolate  let them cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
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Easy Asian Spicy Soup

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This soup recipe is an oldie but goodie. In cold weather, it’s just the thing that makes you feel warm inside. Plus, it’s super easy and impressive. I am all about Asian flavors these days, and this Asian spicy soup hits the spot. Let me know how you like it.

Tell me about some of your favorite soup choices this month in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

Asian Spicy Soup
(Chinese Hot and Sour Soup)
Serves 4

You will need:

– 1 tbsp oil
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 25g (0.8 ounce/ about 6-7  mushrooms) shitake mushrooms, sliced
– 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes *adjust to taste*
– 3 fresh tomatoes, roughly diced
– 2 cups of chopped kale ( I used the curly variety)
– 1 cup frozen corn kernels
– 4 cup low sodium chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth also)
– A dash of soy sauce * adjust to taste; you may need more if you make your own broth*
– 1 tbsp sesame oil (you can add more if you prefer a stronger scent)
– 2 dashes of white ground pepper
– 3 tbsps cornstarch
– 1/2 cup cold water
– 2 eggs, beaten
– Spring onions, chopped for garnish *optional*

To prepare:

In a large pot (or a wok), heat up a tablespoon of cooking oil and then add mushrooms, garlic and chilli flakes. Saute over low heat until the garlic becomes aromatic. Add kale, tomatoes and sweet corn and stir to combine with the fragrant ingredients. Pour the broth into the vegetable mixture and let it simmer with a lid on over high heat until it starts to boil. Turn the flame over to the low and simmer for another 10 minutes after the broth reaches its boiling point. In the meantime, mix the cornstarch with cold water. Remove the lid. Over high heat and while the soup is bubbling vigorously, add the cornstarch mixture and stir to combine with the soup. The soup will thicken as it boils. Keep it boiling until it reaches your desired consistency. Then gradually pour the beaten eggs into the soup in a circular motion (rather streaming the egg in one spot). Allow the eggs to be fully cooked before you start stirring the soup. This is to ensure the eggs do not cloud the soup and they should appear ribbon-like. Stir in the sesame oil, soy sauce and white pepper. Serve immediately.

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Vitamin-y Juice

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Ahh the carrot: a simple yet complex vegetable…

I love carrot juice! I make sure to have a glass at least once a week.

This is a lovely recipe, and one you will use time and time again. It’s both tasty and satisfying. Plus, it’s full of vitamins perfect for the winter months.

Carrot Juice
Serves 1

You will need:
– 3 carrots
– 1/2-inch piece fresh turmeric or ¼ to ½ teaspoon dried
– 1/2-inch piece ginger
– 1 cup orange juice ( freshly squeezed)
– 1/2 cup ice
– 1/8 teaspoon dried cinnamon

To prepare:

Put the ingredients into your juicer (I use a Nutribullet) and blend!

Let me know how it’s going. Write any comments or questions below.

Happy Juicing! xx

Photo from: The Honor System

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