Category Archives: Diet
I get asked often what I eat.
And it’s funny sometimes the assumptions people make.
They totally assume I eat whatever way the last read, or heard, was healthy. If they heard about Paleo and their friends have been getting results on that, I must eat some form of that.
If they lost weight on a lower fat diet, they may assume I do that.
They will asked me detailed questions about some of the most random, and in my opinion, unimportant dieting details ever!
When really my diet is nothing fancy.
I keep things simple. The simpler I keep things, the easier it is to create habits that last.
So here are MY SECRETS to a successful diet:
1. Prepare your grocery list before you go to the store. This prevents you from buying random crap or forgetting an ingredient you need for a meal. (I find that often people use the fact that they don’t have all the ingredients to make a meal as an excuse to go out and eat badly.)
2. Use the same basic grocery list every week. Keep things simple. Don’t reinvent your list every week and try to make new and fresh things all the time. Stick with the same basics and vary your diet every once in a while. It may sound boring, but it really isn’t and it makes things EASY, which is key to creating lasting habits.
3. FInd a few staples to keep around in case you need a QUICK and easy meal. For us, staples are things like tomato sauce and tamari. If I have either of those two things around with a protein, I know I can easily make a meal. Tomato sauce can be used for chilis or meatzas or even fake pastas with meat sauces. Tamari can be used to make an easy stir fry or fried rice with whatever meat and veggies you have!
4. Keep your meals centered around protein and veggies. I always make protein the center of my meal with veggies as a side. I don’t worry about having a certain amount of side dishes or even about the exact macronutrient break down. I focus on meat and veggies, knowing that focusing on those things will get me the nutritional profile I want. Then after that I worry about condiments and or other little additives to make the meal taste delicious. (And of course if it is a carb day, I’ll focus on healthy carbs).
5. Get high quality ingredients. Basically what this means to me is “READ THE INGREDIENT LABEL!” People buy the cheapest ingredients or fall for labels such as “healthy,” “gluten-free,” “low-fat,” “organic.” Those labels don’t equal healthy! There are tons of organic creams out there that have a ton of crap in them! And gluten-free foods can be highly processed! Don’t fall for sales labels. Read the ingredients and get quality stuff. I 100% believe that the quality of your ingredients affects not only your health, but also your fitness goals, be they weight loss or strength gains.
6. Avoid vegetable oils and gluten. Honestly, if you avoid these two things, I think you are on the road to a long, healthy life. While yes, I do try to eat grass-fed beef and organic, locally grown produce, I don’t even think that is near as important to your health as simply avoiding the two things above (although I do like supporting good farming practices to help encourage their spread and growth). So if you ask me what the most important component of a healthy diet is, other than listening to your body, I would say it is this – avoid vegetable oils and gluten! Aka avoid inflammation causing foods!
7. Listen to your body. I wrote a whole post on this recently, but it is probably the most important rule I follow and governs ever other tip listed here. I listen to what my body needs/wants. If I worked out more, I give my body more calories and more carbs. If I wasn’t very active, I will eat fewer carbs and calories. I respond to what my body needs. And yes, if my mind needs the break, I will even indulge in a cheat meal or two!
8. Know what restaurants around you have HEALTHY options. While eating in is ALWAYS better, it is good to know what restaurants around your home and work DO have quick and healthy options in case you need to eat out or your routine is really thrown off and eating home cooked food isn’t an option. Plus, I find by just having the option to eat out if you really want/need to, makes you even less likely to want to cheat on your diet.
9. Don’t be afraid to adjust. My diet is continually evolving. I’ve gone through periods of complete low carb. And periods of carb cycling. I’ve gone through periods of fasting and periods of eating 6 small meals a day. And as I settle more and more on things that work, the changes have become smaller…But my diet is still always changing. There are periods of time where I go super strict and then there are periods of time when I indulge in dark chocolate every single night and use a little extra cheese. I’m not afraid to make slight variations because I have a consistent base. I’m not afraid to LISTEN TO MY BODY and adjust instead of forcing my body to follow a set plan that may not be working. If you are flexible and listen, you are going to be more consistent than if you force yourself into a pattern that doesn’t really work (because you won’t be able to force yourself to do something for very long if it doesn’t seem to flow with what your body needs!)
10. Don’t be afraid to eat. This rule has numerous meanings. I think all too often people become afraid to eat bad foods. They eat clean for fear that one cheat treat will completely derail their process. There are also those people who watch all the documentaries and become afraid to eat anything that isn’t extremely naturally raised….like conventionally raised beef. But you can’t be afraid to eat! You’ve got to enjoy life and you’ve got to buy what you can. While yes, I do love buying grass-fed beef because the omega ratio is better and it is NATURALLY RAISED, conventional beef isn’t the worst thing out there! For one, it is still better prepping your food at home than buying pre-made crap. And two, conventional beef can be made healthier by simply cooking it in a good, healthy fat like pasture butter or coconut oil. So don’t think you can’t eat well just because you can’t get grass-fed beef or buy all the super expensive local and organic ingredients (although farmer’s markets are good if you are on a budget). Also, you can’t starve yourself to lose weight. More isn’t always more as we’ve discussed numerous times. Dieting is a balance. Everything in moderation! Just focus on eating whole, natural foods.
If you notice, none of these are things you haven’t heard before. Heck, they are things I’ve even stated numerous times before!
And none of them are exact magic foods you need to eat. There is no secret superfood for weight loss. Leaner meats, fattier meats…They can all be a part of a healthy, clean diet. It’s finding out what YOUR BODY NEEDS.
Honestly, if you take away only two things from this post, I hope they are, KEEP IT SIMPLE and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
Often when I start someone on the road to a healthy diet, I give them macronutrient guidelines. Like keep your protein, carbs and fat at so and so a level.
I usually also discuss with them carb cycling and that they want to try to make the mainstays of their diet protein and vegetables.
I then let them go on their way.
I don’t want to create too many rules or develop too many restrictive guidelines because that just leads to people giving up (aka cheating and then not recording what they eat).
So I give them these very basic guidelines (hit these macronutrient intake numbers and focus on eating whole natural foods) and send them on their way for the first few weeks.
What I find most interesting is what many people have been coming back with…And not only what they come back with but also their surprise and frustration at WHY they aren’t losing weight.
It is very interesting to see that most people ignore the WHOLE NATURAL FOODS part and get super caught up in simply hitting the numbers.
Actually they use the numbers as an excuse to eat bad…”Well I’m still under calories for the day so I can have these Oreos.” Or “I’m under my carbs for the day so this burrito with this huge flour tortilla is fine.”
I know If It Fits Your Macros has become a very popular diet program, and while I think it is a great program with a ton of benefits, I do believe that QUALITY MATTERS when it comes to food.
I mean carbs from fruit and carbs from a flour tortilla might all add up under your macronutrients as CARBS, but their nutritional breakdown is far from the same.
Even ground beef has a very different nutritional breakdown if it is Grass-fed or grain-fed.
I mean just think about GMO vs. non-GMO corn! One is way better for you than the other!
And I firmly believe that the more chemicals, the more processed CRAP we put in our bodies, the less efficiently they run.
So while macros create great guidelines, and I firmly believe in keeping your daily basic intake of carbs to under 150 grams (and even under 100 grams if you are really trying to lose weight), I do believe that not all carbs are created equal. Not all fat, all protein is created equal.
As I’m saying this, I know many of you are also shaking your heads in agreement. You know there are bad fats. You know that sugars are bad for you.
Yet you are the ones that eat prepackaged burger patties or only eat pre-made meals from the grocery store and expect great results just because you are fitting your macros!
All those ingredients that you can’t pronounce on those labels are BAD FOR YOU! That prepackaged salad with that prepackaged balsamic and the ingredients to preserve it isn’t going to be the same as a homemade salad.
Yes it might be BETTER than going out and getting a burger and fries made in vegetable oil, but that doesn’t mean it’s GOOD.
Better doesn’t equal good. Yes, better is better, but just being better isn’t always enough.
It is like saying, “Well I did half my homework due for class today. That is better than last time when I only did a quarter of my homework for class.”
Yea doing half is BETTER but it still isn’t good! It still isn’t going to get you that great grade!
Anyway…That is my rant.
All of this, diet and exercise and reaching your fitness goals, all comes down to one thing – Whether or not we make excuses for ourselves.
I mean come on…We all KNOW basically what we have to do to lose weight and be healthy. We all KNOW we should eat whole natural foods.
Yet we all find ways to make excuses for why we can’t do that. Or why what we are doing should work even though we are skipping the most basic principle to healthy living.
We all make excuses for ourselves and it has got to stop if we want results.
Heck be it quality of food or quality of exercise, QUALITY MATTERS if we want to be healthy.
So stop making excuses. Stop making things more difficult on yourself.
If you want results, QUALITY MATTERS!
I LOVE deviled eggs.
They always seem like such a treat to me even though they are pretty easy to make and can easily be made to fit in your healthy diet.
They can be an appetizer for a party if you don’t want to cheat on your diet or just a fun little side dish for your lunch or dinner. (Shoot you can even save leftovers and eat them for a breakfast!!)
I also find it can help people starting out on a new diet to occasionally be able to indulge in healthy variations of the “treat” or “party foods” they used to love!
Buffalo Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs
1/2-1 tbsp Frank’s Hot Sauce (or other hot sauce)
1 oz blue cheese
1/2 tbsp cream
1 tsp dill
Place eggs in cold water in a pot (to make them easier to peel, put vinegar and salt in the water). Heat the pot on high heat until the water boils. Leave the eggs boiling for about 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and place eggs in cold water.
Once cool, peel the eggs and cut in half.
Scoop out yolks and add to a food processor with cream, cheese, dill, and hot sauce. You can add each ingredient to taste. Blend until smooth.
Place mixture back in eggs and serve!
You can also make jalapeno bacon deviled eggs this way as well! That is one of our other favorites!
What are some other “traditional” party foods or “treat” foods that you love that you’ve made healthy variations of?
I want all my clients to see progress immediately.
But sometimes change is slow to happen. If you slowly make changes to your diet or slowly build your exercise program, results aren’t going to happen immediately.
And while I think that slow steady changes can be best when trying to create new habits, there are times when I recommend clients take an all or nothing approach.
Not seeing the results you want can be frustrating. It can make you feel down. It can make you want to give up.
It can completely derail the healthy lifestyle habits you are trying to instill because you believe they aren’t working.
Forward progress is motivating. Results create excitement and build momentum. They make you even more dedicated to what you are doing because you know it is working.
Progress builds confidence.
So sometimes it is worth suffering through a few really strict weeks or even months to build that forward momentum – to create great progress.
While I’m a huge proponent of slow steady changes, of making realistic changes that you know you can maintain, I do think there are times where you might just have to suck it up and do something that is more intense, more strict, than you would like to maintain. Sometimes there are periods where you have to do something slightly more drastic, slightly unsustainable to get the ball rolling and the momentum moving in the right direction.
This conversation actually came up when I was actually talking to a client yesterday who was frustrated by her very slow progress.
I told her the truth – Her diet wasn’t strict enough and her workouts simply weren’t yet consistent enough to see the drastic changes she wanted as quickly as she wanted them. Her expectations weren’t unrealistic. They were just unrealistic if she made the changes as slowly and inconsistently as she was making them.
I told her she needed to start eating cleaner, cutting her carbs and really focusing her diet on meat, vegetables and fruits.
She then told me that a diet like that simply wasn’t sustainable in the long run for her.
And then I told her something I don’t say very often, “Well it doesn’t need to be!”
She gave me a surprised look because it definitely wasn’t the answer she was expecting.
Sometimes you need to take it back to basics and just cut out everything but the cleanest of clean.
I told her that for the next few months she should focus on just meat, veggies and fruits. If she does that, she will start to see way more progress over the next few weeks.
I told her that once she really got the ball rolling, that forward momentum would start to build on itself and help her keep moving in the right direction.
And as she builds momentum and really gets things rolling then we can slowly start adding back in the foods she enjoys until we’ve created a sustainable diet that doesn’t leave her feeling super deprived.
Because deprivation can derail your diet. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
HOWEVER, if you only deprive yourself for a very short amount of time with a clear end date in mind, it is easier to push through those feelings. It is easier to push through when you know there is a light at the end of the tunnel – when you know this isn’t meant to be the diet you follow for the rest of your life.
And the progress you will see if you choose to buckle down for a few months or a few weeks, will be a huge motivator.
In my opinion it is well worth the few weeks of deprivation to get the momentum rolling in the right direction.
While slow steady changes are great, while I definitely feel like in many cases the tortoise wins out over the hare, if occasionally the tortoise could move just a little bit faster, I don’t think she’d turn down the opportunity.
Stricter periods in your diet and exercise program can help you see results quicker and can reinforce your dedication to your healthy lifestyle.
You aren’t going on a crash diet and expecting it to be the program you follow for the rest of your life. You are just choosing to be a bit stricter for a few weeks to get the momentum going or even just simply to get over a plateau.
You are creating progress with the intention of then slowly developing habits and changes that you can maintain.
You are simply being a tortoise that stumbled on a skateboard and could roll awhile downhill before returning to its steady climb up and over the next hill!
Being successful when creating a healthy lifestyle change is about more than KNOWING the right foods to eat, the right things to do.
It is about DOING the right things.
And DOING is definitely not near as easy as KNOWING.
The question then arises of HOW to make the lifestyle change and how to get it to stick. How do you eat healthy food when you hate cooking? How do you force yourself to eat the right thing when you get home exhausted and have to cook?
What is the KEY to making a healthy diet stick?
If I could tell you one tip to make following a healthy diet easier, I would say it was all about…
If you want to succeed at creating a healthy lifestyle change, you need to plan ahead. And meal prep is all about planning ahead.
It is about preparing food so that you make it easier for yourself to make the healthy choice day in and day out.
Meal prep is about more than making healthy meals. It is even about more than prepping meals for the week.
It is about preparing yourself for success when it comes to eating healthily even when you are stressed and exhausted.
Meal Prep Keys To Success:
- Choose recipes that use the same basic ingredient and then make a grocery list based on these recipes. Choosing recipes that use the same basic ingredients will make your grocery shops easier. It will also ensure that you almost always have what you need to cook healthy meals on hand.
- Prepare a grocery list before you go to the store off of the recipes you plan to use. That way you won’t forget anything and you won’t have any excuse not to cook. It will also make it easier to avoid buying those tempting foods. It is easier to make excuses if you don’t have your plan of attack written down.
- Choose recipes that make leftovers! Leftovers are key. A big complaint about switching to a healthy lifestyle is the fact that people have to cook all the time….And they are too tired. Too exhausted…Don’t have enough time to do that. But if you choose recipes that make leftovers, you don’t need to cook every day. You can actually just take an hour or two on your day off and prep food for the entire week. You can make food for easy lunches. For quick dinners when you get home stressed.
- Keep It Simple! Don’t add in too much variety. Use the same basic recipes over and over. It may sound boring, but sometimes, at the beginning especially, we have to keep things simple so we don’t have to think too much about the change. We only have so much self-control. We can’t use too much of it thinking about our diet if we want to be able to maintain our heathy lifestyle over the long run.
- Get the proper tools. Sometimes you have to spend money to make things simple – aka sometimes you have to spend some money to get the proper cooking tools to make things easier. A crockpot, a blender…both are worth the money because they allow you to make meals with less hassle. Smoothies are a great quick meal. And if you have a crockpot, you can simply throw in some ingredients and then come home from work with a fully cooked meal. These tools are worth the cost because they make life easier. And if something is EASY, you are way more likely to continue doing it!
Eating well doesn’t have to be difficult. You just need to plan ahead. Proper meal prep is the key to making a healthy lifestyle stick because it makes things easier and gives you less room to make excuses!
How do you prep meals for the week? What are your favorite healthy recipes? Do you use a crockpot or just make tons of leftovers?
As you’ve probably all now noticed…Ryan does a lot of the cooking. And he is superb at it (follows in his father’s footsteps…Yea…Just a little sucking up…)
You’ve also probably noticed…I’m obsessed with cauliflower! (Getting sick of me repeating that, huh?)
Combine those two things and you are bound to end up with one great meal! Which Ryan did indeed do this past weekend. He created the LOW CARB SHEPARD’S PIE!
If you double the recipe, you could easily make this dish tonight and have dinner or lunch for almost the rest of the week!
Casseroles like this are great if you don’t have the time to cook or simply don’t enjoy cooking each and every night.
I have lots of clients complain that eating well is so hard because they have to cook when they get home and are exhausted from a long day of work. But when you make a meal like this Shepard’s Pie on a Sunday or Monday, you end up with HEALTHY leftovers you can easily reheat when you get home late, tired and drained from work!
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult or even extremely time-consuming. You just need to plan ahead a little.
So here is a great recipe to use when meal prepping for this week!
Low Carb Shepard’s Pie
1lbs grass-fed ground beef
1/2 head cauliflower
2 tbsp pasture butter
2 oz Grass-fed Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup beef broth
Spices (Cumin, garlic) and Salt and Pepper to taste
Steam cauliflower in water until softened a bit. While cauliflower is steaming, heat a little oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.
Add beef and broth to skillet. Cook allowing the broth to reduce and the beef to brown.
Take steamed cauliflower and add to food processor with butter and egg.
Turn the broiler on your oven on low.
Once broth has reduced and beef is basically cooked through, add to a casserole dish. Place beef on bottom and then scoop cauliflower mash on top. Place in the oven under the broiler and allow the cauliflower mash to brown slightly.
Remove from oven and top with sliced/grated cheese and place back under broiler. Allow cheese to slightly brown and crisp up.
Then scoop out the shepard’s pie and enjoy! You can easily refrigerate the leftovers as the recipe above makes about 4 servings (although if you are Ryan and I on a Saturday afternoon after a morning fast and workout, you will eat the entire thing).
P.S. Posted this one for you *la. Just another meathead you are following on IG for meal prep ideas!
I got into an interesting discussion last night with clients about diet and what they SHOULD be eating every day. Women especially seem to get very obsessed with restricting their calories when they are trying to lose weight.
My simple answer when they asked me what they should be eating and how many calories they needed was:
Your body’s needs change daily.
They of course rolled their eyes at me and shook their heads because they knew I loved giving that very vague answer.
Some days you are super active and require more fuel while other days you aren’t as active and don’t need as much. Some days you are super hungry while other days you aren’t.
Yet so many people restrict their calories (and their carbs) to the exact same level each and every day.
And that maybe why they aren’t getting the results they want.
You need to fuel your body’s needs. And those needs aren’t the same day-to-day.
If you do an intense workout, YOU ARE GOING TO NEED TO EAT MORE. If you deprive yourself of food when your body needs it, you are going to hinder your progress – be it weight loss or strength gains.
Just like if you eat too much on days when you aren’t active you are going to hinder your progress.
Eat when you are HUNGRY.
People are often shocked when I say this, but…IF YOU AREN’T HUNGRY DON’T EAT! And if you are…THEN EAT!
There is really no most important meal or the day. If you aren’t hungry for breakfast, then don’t eat it!
And if you are hungry at 10 p.m., EAT!
You aren’t going to get fat just because you ate after a certain time of night. If your body needs the fuel, it will use it no matter when you eat. It isn’t like your metabolism decides to just shut off because it is 8 p.m.
Your body is pretty good at telling you what it needs.
You just need to learn how to listen because most people don’t really pay attention. They mistake boredom for hunger or even thirst for a need for food. They can also get caught up in thinking they need to eat every few hours or their metabolism will just shut off so they force down food even when their body isn’t really asking for it.
So how do you learn to listen to your body? How do you know when to cycle your calories and carbs?
HOW TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY:
Think before you eat. It’s really that simple. For example….If you just ate like an hour ago (and it was a filling healthy lunch) and you are sitting at your computer doing some boring work and are struck by a desire to just eat, ask yourself, “Am I hungry or am I bored?” I’m guessing more often than you know, your answer will be BORED. Maybe try drinking some water before you dive in. Dehydration is also another common trigger of “hunger pangs.” And so is stress. Think before you eat.
While I know many people may be shocked by what I will say next….Fasting can be a great way to get in tune with your body. I’m not suggesting you start starving yourself, but occasional intermittent fasts can be a great way to realize how often you eat for reasons unrelated to hunger. I found I became way more in tune with my body when I did intermittent fasting.
I no longer NEED to eat at certain times. And some days I don’t eat till late in the afternoon while other days I need to eat something the second I get up.
The point is though that I can RESPOND to my body’s NEEDS. I don’t just have to eat because I’m conditioned to mentally want something at a certain time of day.
Another great way to get in tune with your body is to keep track of your diet, activity level, emotions and lifestyle.
I know this sounds super annoying, but it can be super helpful if you are really struggling to make a healthy lifestyle stick. There are going to be common trends. Emotions may trigger eating binges. Or you may find out that on certain days when you were more active and ate more carbs you had better results than on days when you worked out intensely yet forced yourself to continue to restrict your carb intake.
Tracking reveals patterns so that we aren’t just guessing at what is going on. Guessing generally leads to frustration and failure.
WHEN/HOW TO CARB AND CALORIE CYCLE:
To put it simply as I stated above – eat when you are hungry and listen to what your body craves.
If you don’t workout, your body won’t need the carbs and calories that it does on days when you do workout. And more intense workouts, especially cardio workouts that really deplete your glycogen stores, are going to require more carbs and more calories.
Respond to your activity level and what your body is craving. (And just because your body is craving carbs doesn’t mean you have to give in and go eat a bunch of crap. There are lots of ways to do a carb re-feed without eating unhealthily.)
Plan days of low carb (around 50 grams) for days when you don’t workout or workout lightly. If you have a super hard intense workout, don’t be afraid to up your carbs to even 200-300 grams. Keep the carbs healthy, but fuel the workout.
While you don’t want your carbs to be up at 200g every day (because if you need that many every day you are probably OVERTRAINING), having a few days where you do get up over 150g is ok and even go.
Also, play around with carb timing. Have some carb refeed days and then have some days where maybe you just have carbs AFTER your workout when your body will quickly grab them up to rebuild.
Generally I break down my diet into three days.
Low day – Around 50 grams of carbs, high fat, high protein.
Medium day – Around 100-120 grams of carbs, medium/low-fat, high protein
High day – Around 200-300 grams of carbs, low-fat, medium protein
This basic plan works for me and I always feel energized.
But there are lots of ways to carb cycle – you can do whole day refeeds or just specific meal refeeds after your workouts.
I must say that there are times where I fast, workout and then basically just have carbs after my workouts and that is my refeed for the day.
The point is to listen to your body and not be stuck believing that the only way to get results is to restrict your diet completely.
While low carb can be a great way to kick-start your diet and may even have help you have great success, you may just find that carb and calorie cycling is what you need to get over that last little hurdle. Sometimes a little more can be better when it comes to weight or fat loss.
And while I have no problems running a half marathon fasted and after a week of low carb, you may just find that your body requires MORE carbs to fuel your activity level and help you reach the strength and performance gains you desire.
Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to eat more calories or carbs especially when your body is asking for them! You may just find your goals are easy to reach when you aren’t so militant about restriction.
Desserts are my weakness. But now I don’t eat them very often.
I have a piece of dark chocolate occasionally or some berries, maybe even with a little nut butter. But I never really try to make any “healthy” desserts. I save my cupcakes for cheat days thank you very much. If I want a cupcake, I want the REAL THING.
But the other day, one of Ryan’s students, who’s a chef, told him to try to make a frozen strawberry merengue since it would be healthy.
Of course it being summer and me loving frozen yogurt and ice cream, WE HAD TO TRY IT!
Frozen Strawberry Merengue
3 Egg whites
1/3 cup sliced Strawberries
Honey or sugar if you want (we did not include this)
Slice the strawberries up. While they will get sliced up and mashed further by the blender, you want them small enough to start.
Add egg whites and sliced strawberries to a standing mixer or bowl and blend. Keep mixing until stiff peaks form.
Scoop into a bowl and freeze. The frozen merengue comes out with a fluffy almost snow cone-ish icy texture.
It is super good! Obviously this won’t be super sweat unless your strawberries are so you can add sweetener if you want.
A great low cal, healthy dessert and perfect for our high carb days since we do lower fat on those days!
And since I’m cauliflower obsessed, and love our homemade fried rice as well, I wanted to share this delicious dinner to go along with your dessert!
Cauliflower Fried Rice
1/2 head of cauliflower
1lbs chicken breast
3 garlic chives
4 tbsp Tamari
Garlic, salt and pepper to taste
Rice uncooked cauliflower in a food processor and set aside.
Season chicken and place in a hot skillet coated with a bit of sesame oil.
When chicken is starting to cook, add tamari and chives. (You can add more or less of both depending on your taste.)
When chicken is just about cooked, add cauliflower to pan and then add one egg at a time. Scramble the eggs in the pan and mix in with the cauliflower and chicken.
Serve! And then eat the merengue after…Or along side…Whatever floats your boat!
As one of my clients always says about the cauliflower mash, “The cauliflower tastes like CARBS!” So I guess if you are craving carbs (yes…veggies are carbs but I take it to mean starchy or even maybe bad for you carbs) but don’t want to eat them, this and the cauliflower mash are great options!
Every Thursday Ryan and I go to the farmers market. While I love so many of the things we get there, I’m by far most excited when the fresh seafood stand has SHRIMP! These are the BEST shrimp I’ve ever had. Always so yummy.
So of course….we had to eat them last night!
AND on top of the fresh shrimp, we had a ripe Reed Avocado (the BEST, most buttery avocados) from the market as well. They are in season right now! YAY!
We also of course had to get cauliflower. Because as you all know…I LOVE CAULIFLOWER!
Ryan took all of our fresh farmers market finds (Shrimp, Avocado, Cauliflower) and turned them into one great meal. He created a Cajun Shrimp with Avocado Cream and Cauliflower-Avocado Mash.
Cajun Shrimp with Avocado Cream and Cauliflower-Avocado Mash
1 lb Shrimp
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 Reed Avocado
2 tbsp Pasture-raised Cream
1/2 tbsp Chili
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tbsp Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cut up cauliflower and steam it until it gets a bit softer.
While cauliflower is cooking, add avocado and cream with salt and pepper to a food processor. Blend until creamy.
Heat a skillet with olive oil. Coat shrimp in spices and add to the hot pan. Get a nice sear on the shrimp as you start to make the cauliflower mash.
Spoon avocado cream into a bowl, leaving some behind in the food processor. Add cooked cauliflower to the processor and blend with the avocado cream left behind.
When shrimp has finished cooking, remove them to a plate and spoon out the cauliflower mash. You can serve with the avocado cream or leave the cream on the side.
A great fresh farmers market meal!
What are your favorite meals to make with your farmers market loot?
I get asked a lot about what my grocery list includes – about what I have in my fridge and kitchen cabinets.
If you were to look in our fridge and cabinets, you would see basically the same thing every time.
As I mentioned before, I am a creature of habit. And part of habit is having the same basic foods around every week.
Here are the 15 groceries I make sure I have around the house every single week. (Note some are seasonal…Berries I have around the house during the summer but not once they go out of season.)
1. Grass-fed Beef – We always have grass-fed ground beef around the house. Occasionally we will have some sort of steak as well, but we ALWAYS have ground beef. Bunless burgers, chili, meatballs, meatza pie (meat pizza), stir fry….you can make a ton of different things EASILY. So if we ever need a last-minute meal, ground beef is the go-to. It can easily be cooked in a skillet OR thrown in a crockpot and just left to simmer and cook (this is where the tomatoes come in handy for a quick and easy chili). Plus grass-fed, naturally raised beef is leaner than conventionally raised beef (unless you get the like 90/10) and has a much better omega ratio. HEALTHY FAT! And it freaking just tastes SO GOOD! (Sorry vegetarians and vegans reading this…BUT IT DOES!)
2. Cage-free Eggs - Eggs have been considered healthy than unhealthy than healthy again all because of the cholesterol they contain, but EGGS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! Especially eggs from free-range, naturally raised chickens which have way more good fats than conventional raised chicken eggs (the proof is in the color of the yolk!). Eggs are such a versatile protein. They can be eaten for any meal of the day and can easily be made ahead for the week and then transported anywhere for a snack anytime. Hardboiled eggs, egg muffins, omelets, protein pancakes, healthy deviled eggs…and that is only just a bit of what you can use them for! You could even put them in your coffee….Hmm….
3. Free-Range Chicken – On high carb days we use the lean white meat to stay under 50 grams of fat for the day while on low carb days we eat all that delicious dark meat and skin. Sometimes we buy pieces of chicken, legs and thighs and then breasts separately OR sometimes we get the whole chicken, slather it in pasture-raised butter and bake it in the oven and then have our protein source already cooked for numerous days. (You can even throw it in the crock pot and just let it simmer away no matter what pieces of chicken you buy) While chicken doesn’t have as good an omega ratio as the grass-fed beef by itself, it can easily be made even better by cooking it in a healthy fat like coconut oil or pasture butter. Plus it is really perfect for those carb days – my favorite use of it is in my homemade chicken fried rice! (Eggs can also be a great way to thicken sauces so that you don’t have to use any fake or processed crap to hold things together.)
4. Avocados - A great source of healthy fat to improve your omega ratio AND SUPER YUMMY AND DELICIOUS. I could seriously just eat avocados by the spoonful….oh wait…I actually do that…So creamy and delicious. Often people think that eating healthy means eating bland food with no sauce or toppings. But slice a few strips onto your burger or mash into a guacamole to put on your chili or salad…YUM! I never miss dressing when I top salads with avocados or guacamole. Avocados can also be added to other condiments to make sauces and dressings creamier without having to use bad processed things…like miracle whip…..While we can easily get avocados all year around here, this will be one of those seasonal things in many places (and we do tend to eat more during the summer when we can get really great ones at the farmer’s market). The more you can eat locally and/or seasonally, the better off you are going to be.
5. Berries – Another seasonal food, but super delicious. When I want fruit, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries…even cherries) are my go-to. They are lower in carbs and antioxidant filled. Plus…THEY ARE JUST SO GOOD! You can eat them plain for a low-calorie snack or you can blend them into a smoothie, which is super refreshing after a workout on a super hot day. They are also delicious frozen. A nice little cold treat to satisfy those frozen yogurt cravings. You can even take it a step further and mash the slightly frozen berries up with a bit of coconut milk (or cream) and some dark chocolate chunks if you really want frozen yogurt…Delicious and addicting!
6. Coconut Oil - Good for sauces, cooking, dressings, skin care….Why wouldn’t you have it around? While we don’t need to buy it every week (since one jar can last awhile) it is most definitely a staple. It can easily be added to smoothies and even protein pancakes for a source of healthy fats (and to keep you feeling fuller for longer since that is what fats do).
7. Raw, Pasture, Grass-fed Dairy - Raw Milk, pasture-raised cream, pasture-raised butter, even some raw milk cheese can be found in our fridge. While we don’t tend to keep a ton of cheese around, we do have a bit to occasionally sprinkle on top of things. A little blue cheese on a burger or a little cheese melting in your chili just makes everything taste that much better. However, don’t go overboard with the cheese. And your cheese should never come in a bag or be shredded. It should also be as minimally processed as possible. Just as all of your dairy should be. The pasture-raised butter we get, we use daily to cook in. It holds up well in the heat and helps create a great omega 3-6 ratio in any meal that we cook. Just make sure your butter is truly healthy. Just found out the Kerrygold has some processed crap in it! The cream, Ryan uses in his coffee each day…yuck…coffee…While I more often eat it in dressings and sauces. The raw milk, we drink straight or add to protein shakes. So rich and creamy with a ton of health benefits NOT found in pasteurized milk. (Most people also don’t realize there really isn’t that much more fat in whole milk than in skim. Don’t get me wrong, there is more fat. Just not as much as you would think. Especially not enough in my opinion to consume something MORE processed.) I have no problems with dairy and really enjoy it. But it should still be used in moderation. While we have it around every week, it isn’t something we go overboard with. It is more used as a sprinkling to make every meal taste delicious.
8. Leafy Green Vegetables (Spinach, Broccoli, Spring Mix, Romaine, Arugula) - We most often have some sort of organic lettuce mix around so that we can make side salads to go with our meals because if I’m not eating a side salad, I’m probably forcing Ryan to eat cauliflower since I LOVE IT! Leafy greens are a necessity though in any form that you choose. Really meat and vegetables make up the base of almost every meal for us especially on low carb days. Leafy green vegetables are a great source of nutrients AND they make you feel full and satisfied after eating. And if you are like me and need a certain amount of “content” on the plate to feel like you’ve eaten enough, getting to cover your plate in vegetables is very satisfying.
9. Cauliflower - Did I mention before that I LOVE cauliflower? And now I’m pretty sure Ryan does too! Since we’ve found a great place to get cauliflower at the farmer’s market, we’ve been getting a couple of heads every single week. You can eat it raw or steamed or baked or as “rice” or “mash!” We’ve riced it and put it in chilis. We’ve also been super into making it into a mash and eating it along with our protein. Seriously LOVE the cauliflower mash. You can add cream or butter or a little cheese even. The other day, Ryan threw in garlic chives we found at the farmer’s market, a couple of farm-fresh eggs and CHICKEN LIVER! We got a whole chicken straight from the farm and it had the innards in it still so Ryan decided to throw the liver into the mash since liver is so good for you (and I really really don’t like the taste). In the mash you couldn’t even taste it yet it added some great nutritional benefit to the meal! You of course don’t have to get that crazy with your mashes, but you can get a ton of nutrients into your meal by mixing them in. Cauliflower is also super low-calorie, which I love because that means I can eat like a whole head of it myself…Just kidding…sort of…
10. Tomato Sauce - Tomatoes are great for you in any form as long as a ton of crap hasn’t been added to them. We generally get an organic sauce with no additives in a BPA free can, which is great to pull out when we want to make a last-minute chili or sauce. And the best part about using tomatoes in a sauce is that more lycopene is actually released as the tomatoes are cooked! As I said though, we always have this around just so we can make that quick healthy meal. I do also love fresh little cherry tomatoes though with a little bit of green onion, garlic and olive oil as a nice little summer salad (Sometimes I add in cauliflower too!).
11. White Rice - Our carb day staple. Replenish your glycogen stores quickly and efficiently. Plus white rice is just so tasty! No it isn’t nutrient dense, but that is what the veggies, fruits and meats are for! And while it isn’t nutrient dense, it doesn’t have the phytic acid that brown rice does. This article basically sums up why I choose white rice over brown rice aside from the fact that I enjoy it more and that the whole purpose of the carb refeed is to get your muscles glycogen FAST. So while this isn’t a daily indulgence, it is consumed 2-3 times per week on refeed days. Remember, if you are looking to cut that last little bit of fat, you may need to ADD IN carbs on some days not cut out more stuff. Cutting out foods isn’t always the answer!
12. Balsamic and Olive Oil – We don’t often cook with olive oil, but both olive oil and balsamic vinegar are condiments you always need to have around. They are the quickest and easiest way to make simple and healthy sauces and dressings. Get good ones too. Get a nice thick balsamic and a California Olive Oil.
13. Salsa - You must be careful when picking out salsas. You don’t want to get one with a ton of extra crap in it (you can also make your own salsas if you feel so inclined!). But all-natural salsas can be a great way to add flavor to any meal without adding a ton of calories (most salsas are very low-calorie). I also love to use them on salads since I don’t like dry lettuce. Plus, if the salsa really is all natural, it will add more than just flavor to your meal since many have vegetables, or even fruits, in them!
14. Whey - I’ve wavered on whether or not this one is a staple food, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it is in our busy and sometimes hectic lives. While it shouldn’t be used every day as a meal replacement, it can be a quick and easy protein source to keep you on track if you don’t have time to make a meal or prepare a snack. It is much better than eating cookies or any other crap we give ourselves permission to eat when we get super hungry and there isn’t a super easy and quick healthy option around. Whey at least has nutritional benefit AND can be combined with other ingredients in protein pancakes or smoothies to make it even better for us. A good thing to have around especially if you are always on the go and not the best about cooking. It can be a quick replacement. Just make sure you get one that has as little extra stuff in it as possible.
15. Wild Caught Seafood - We have some form of seafood basically every week. While we are better about this in the “warmer” months when we go to the farmer’s market every week, we do try to eat seafood at least once a week. We shy away from larger fish and anything farm-raised. We eat shrimp and salmon most often. Fish is a great source of healthy fats. And depending on the fish you get, it can be a super low-calorie protein source. Plus when fish is fresh, it just tastes so good! And it can be super quick to cook so is great for a last-minute meal. It can also be cooked the night before and then thrown on a salad or into an omelet the next day!
BONUS: On occasion foods….These are foods we will have around and use maybe once a week at most. They are also foods we can go awhile without replacing.
Nut butters - I love nuts. But they have phytic acid and I have problems consuming them in moderation. We don’t usually keep whole nuts around unless they are macadamia nuts but we do generally have a nut butter or two around. I will put them in protein pancakes or occasionally on fruit. They are a nice little treat, but should be eaten in moderation!
Bacon - I love bacon. LOVE IT! But we’ve gotten away from eating it often just because it is hard to find truly good bacon. We do have it around though on occasion and then use a piece or two to top burgers. We also use the grease to cook in. So if we’ve made bacon for burgers, we usually cook the burgers in the bacon grease right after. Waste not!
We also have a TON of spices. Spices are really key to making great tasting meals. Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland. You just need to learn how to spice it! Here are the grinders and spices we always have around – Garlic Salt grinder, Pepper combination grinder, Paprika, Chili Powder, Cumin, Oregano, Dill, Cayenne Pepper, Basil, Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Cinnamon, Nutmeg. Just make sure you get ones that don’t have additives!
So that is what we have in the kitchen. What are your Diet Staples?
Can I also just ask a question…Why does everyone love almond milk and think it is so healthy? For one, almonds have phytic acid, which prevents your body from absorbing minerals especially if you eat a ton of them. And two, almonds don’t have milk so processing has to go on for you to have almond MILK.