Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blueberry Protein Pancakes

On this morning's breakfast table, we have some delicious, low-cal, blueberry protein pancakes. These are quicker to make than regular pancakes, a great source of protein and fiber, and there isn't any sugar added. (Makes 4 small pancakes; about 300 calories for all of them!)


* 1 egg
* 1/4 cup lowfat organic cottage cheese
* 1/2 cup rolled oats
* 2 Tbsps wheat flour (for thickening)
* 1/2 cup blueberries
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon
* unsweetened applesauce


* Mix all ingredients together, except the applesauce. (If you don't use the flour, I can safely say the pancakes will not stay together.)
* Heat griddle/pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Drop pancake batter with a spoon into small discs, about orange sized. Heat until browned on each side. (They may not seem cooked through because of the cottage cheese; cook until not leaking much.)
* Serve topped with applesauce.

These pancakes are NOT SWEET. If you want to sweeten them up a bit, go for it; but I made them for a sugar-free protein option. The applesauce sweetens them just right!

until later....

"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art."
- La Rochefoucauld

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Weight loss isn't easy. It's amazing how unwanted pounds can pack on so perfectly, so simply, and then sit there so stubbornly. They don't want to move, they like it there. But those extra pounds can be dangerous, depending on how many of them you have. And whether you have a lot to lose, or just a few "vanity pounds", there are tools out there meant to help you understand the process better. And with spring and summer just about upon us, it's the best time I can think of to get out with your families and start a program that works for you. So, here are a few tools that I have found helpful!

#5: THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT! Truly, there is a app for everything under the sun these days. And most people seem to have an iTouch/iPhone/Andriod/whatever that can host different apps from distance trackers to cadence counters to calorie counters. My favorite is the Tap and Track app ($4.99, iTunes). You type in your personal information like your height, weight, etc, you enter in how much you'd like to lose a week, you figure out your BMR (not BMI; your BMR is your basal-metabolic rate, or the rate your body burns calories without exercise, based on your level of general activity), and you're pretty much ready to go. From there, you can enter in meals from the database, or exercise to bank those activity points. Calorie counting is terribly important- calories in mean calories out!! You may be surprised to find you're eating way more calories than you suspected, or way less. A person trying to shed a few pounds doesn't need more than a 500 calorie deficit; any more and it confuses the body, sends it into starvation mode. You can end up packing on weight instead of shedding it! I know it's a pain to enter your meals in. But after a couple of weeks, you get a great idea of what actual portions look like, and I'm willing to bet you'll see results.

#4: WEIGHING YOUR OPTIONS. For goodness sake, get a food scale. You can get one for less than $20 at Wal-Mart if you're hard up for cash. You will be shocked when you see how much an ounce of hummus and an ounce of pita chips are, or how much 4 ounces of salmon is. Eating healthy is great, but if you're eating more calories than you're supposed to by not controlling portions, it won't give you the results you're looking for.

#3: JOIN THE CLUB. How did I get my own ball rolling when I started? I needed support. So I made a club, found people with a similar goal, and started jogging with them. I promise you, there are other people out there who are goal-oriented. Poke around Facebook. Join dailymile, where community members log miles and provide kudos for each other. If you live in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Area Runners has group runs and summer training for all skills of runner, from beginner on up. Join a baseball league. Find two friends who will go walk with you. Have a healthy cooking party, or teach your kids some healthy recipes. There are lots of ways to make healthy habits a lot more fun.

#2: SLEEP IT OFF. How many hours of sleep are you getting a night? 6 hours? Less? You should be getting at least 7-9 hours a night, people. Studies show that not only does less sleep make you tired and less able to function in everyday tasks, but it can aid weight gain. For more on the connection between sleep and weight loss/gain, visit

#1: YOU. I can sit here and tell you to buy a food scale and count your steps and count your calories. But in all honesty, you are your own best tool. You have to make a decision to care about your health. You have to get up and go out. You have to cook for yourself, instead of taking the easier way. Because this isn't about a fast and easy fix. This is about a slow and deliberate CHANGE. I just read a startling fact: 40% of New York Public schoolchildren are overweight; 25% are obese. Think about that. We, as parents and mentors and aunts and uncles and friends, have learned bad behaviors, and are passing them off to the innocent. And it's largely because many don't know any better. Take it upon yourself to educate yourself. Find out where your meat comes from. Find out where your fruits come from. Check out your child's school lunch menu. Buy a reusable water bottle. Cook dinner a few nights a week if that's all you can manage. Make small choices, and they'll add up.

And never, ever think "I'm just one person." Think, "I'm a person, and I am the difference."

until later....

"When I finish a run, every part of me is smiling." - Jeff Galloway

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easy Cheesey Turkitos

The three girls I work for are rather finicky with their foods- "....but what's IN it?" I've figured out the hard way that if I want them to eat something, I'd better stress that it is ground turkey or chicken in the recipe. This was a burrito experiment last night that went over to favored reviews! It has a delicious zesty cheese sauce on top, too.

Plan on about 15 minutes of prep time, and 15 or so minutes in the oven. Makes 6 burritos.


* 1/2 package extra lean Jennie-O ground turkey breast
* 1 cup frozen/canned organic corn
* 1 cup pre-cooked brown rice (I opened a single serve container of brown Minute Rice and just used that)
* 1/2 package taco seasoning
* 6 whole wheat tortillas
* glass baking dish

* 1 Tbsp flour
* 1 Tbsp butter (or butter spray for lower fat)
* 1/3 cup milk
* 1/2-1 cup 2% cheese
* 2 Tbsp salsa (I recommend Jack's Special Mild!)

* Start by preheating oven to 350.
* Sautee the ground turkey until the pinkness is gone. Add the rice and corn when the meat is almost cooked. When the meat looks white and brownish, add the taco seasoning with a little water, maybe a 1/4 cup. Don't worry- the water will cook off.
* I recommend microwaving the tortillas for 25 seconds before you fill them. (Makes them much easier to fold.) Fill each tortilla with about 3 or 4 spoonfuls of the turkey mixture. Fold each end in, then roll until it's a nice, neat burrito. Line them up in the baking dish. Go ahead and bake it for 5 minutes while you make the cheese sauce.
* FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE: It's my standard cheese sauce with a kick. Put the butter/spray butter in the pan and let it heat until it bubbles. Add the spoonful of flour, and I usually kind of smush it all together with a spoon. Add the milk, and get those butter lumps to mix with the milk. Again- the spoon smushing can help with that. Next, add the cheese, and stir until smooth and bubble. Add the salsa, and mix well.
* Pour the cheese sauce all over the tops of your burritos. Slide the pan back in the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese gets a little brown and burritos are hot through.

Top with a heap of salsa when you eat it... just delish! I hope your family loves them as much as we did over here.

until later....

“To support mother and father, to cherish wife and child and to have a simple livelihood; this is the good luck.” ~ Buddha

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In less than a month, I will turn 31 and become a marathon runner, all in the same day.

It's kind of surreal- the work I've done (and subsequently complained about), the social life I've forgone, the changes I've made to my already fairly healthy diet. I've run through terrible cold and sometimes blizzard conditions, and I've had a few bright, unexpectedly warm days. I've had flat courses and face-slapping hills. I've had IT band problems, shin aches, knee pains, sore muscles, back issues...

...all in all, not too bad for a four month length of training.

Pushing myself is something I've had to practice. It doesn't come that easily for me. I went into this thinking, "OK, it'll be hard, but it's within my realm of capabilities."

But I have had my days where I wasn't sure that was true. Where I thought if I didn't have a team to lead into the miles every Saturday, I may have given up by now. Because this training went above and beyond "hard". I tapped into stores of focus and determination I've never touched before.

I had to make up my mind that succeeding at my goal outweighed being comfortable.

We should all live our lives in a way that challenges us. We should do things that are hard, so hard that we doubt our abilities. We you meet a hill, go up it. When you want to stop, focus on a point ahead and keep moving until you touch it.

Decide to do something not because it's easy, but because the challenge will make you feel good about what you can do.

On race day, I'm going to bring focus, optimism, and pride in the work I've done to get me to the starting line.

"Running takes me back to square one. It gives me a basic measure of accomplishment from which all other challenges take relevance." ~Brian McIlrath

Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

Here's a little breakfast sandwich that'll take you 15 minute or less to make... and I guarantee it'll taste much better than any Mickey D's or Jimmy D's warmed up piece of garbage.

But before I get to the sandwich deliciousness, I need to give you the ingredients you'll need for my Magic Avaoado Spread. Pretty simple:
* 1 ripe avocado (If they're soft, they're ripe.)
* 1 Tbsp mayo made with olive oil
* 1/2 tsp basil (I buy the squeezey tubes in the herb aisle, produce section, at Meijer. They keep longer than boxed herbs.)
* OPTIONAL: dash of salt and lemon pepper


* 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg beaters (add a splash of milk to the egg if using real eggs)
* 2 slices Applegate Farms uncured turkey bacon (they sell it at Sawall's for $3.99), or any other turkey bacon (but it won't be as gooo-oooood...)
* 100% Whole Wheat hamburger bun (or substitute whole grain bread... and English muffin might be a bit small)
* 1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced thin
* 1/4 tsp dill
* dash of salt
* 1 Tbsp of olive oil
* 1 Tbsp Magic Avocado Spread


* Heat up a pan. Sautee mushrooms in the olive oil.
* While the mushrooms cook, beat the egg with the dill, salt, and milk (if you're not using Egg Beaters).
* You can also whip up the Magic Avocado Spread while the mushroom cook. Just open up that avocado, get the pit out, and dump the flesh in an airtight container. Add the mayo and basil, and stir rapidly. Add a dash of salt and lemon pepper for added fresh taste.
* Add the egg mixture to the mushrooms.
* Toast the bun/bread/whatever.
* Cook the bacon. You can use another pan, or do what I did and dump the eggs into a bowl and use the same one. It'll still take you 15 minutes or less if you're managing your time! =)
* Spread the avocado spread on your bun- add the eggs and bacon, and enjoy!


* low-calorie
* fat-free
* cholesterol-free
* low in sodium
* phytochemicals that help safeguard against cancer
* about 20% of your daily recommendation of selenium (antioxidant) and 1/3 daily rec for copper
* source of potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin D
* retain their nutrients when cooked!

Mushrooms are often overlooked as a food powerhouse- I don't know if it's because it's a fungus? Regardless, mushrooms are so easy to cook and add nutrient punch to almost any meal.

As for the avocado spread... stop using things like ranch or plain mayo that don't do much for you. I know avocados are high in calories and fat. Avocado is full of good and healthy fat, as well as fiber to keep you feeling full. I'm not asking you to eat an entire avocado- just a spoonful. And pairing the avocado with other fruits and vegetables will actually help you absorb the nutrients from those other foods better!

until later...

"As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it." ~Buddy Hackett