May, 2013 | The Cycle Project

Archive for May, 2013

May
30
2013
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Slow Cooker Chicken Breast

 

Putting dinner in the slow cooker before you leave for work in the morning is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you’ll be eating a healthy dinner that night. This chicken breast comes out so tender that it literally falls apart – it’s delicious.

Makes: 6 Servings 

Here’s what you need…

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 lbs organic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 dried figs, chopped
  • 1 cup butternut squash, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  1. In a large skillet place the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet, browning each side for about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the contents of the skillet to your slow cooker and top with the remaining ingredients.
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 389 calories, 7g fat, 400mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, and 48g protein

 

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May
27
2013
0

The Bad-Decision Domino Effect

Ever notice how one seemingly insignificant poor decision snowballs into another, then another, then another?

Let me give you an example…

Monday morning at 6am your alarm starts blaring. Instead of getting right up and arriving to your scheduled workout on time, you hit snooze and arrive 10 minutes late. During the workout everything feels extra heavy, so you put down your weights and grab something lighter, thinking that it’s just going to be one of those days.

At lunch you add a side of chips to your usual chicken salad and grab a diet soda instead of water. During your afternoon break the vending machine calls to you, but you settle instead for another cup of coffee laced with sweet creamer. In the caffeine and sugar induced buzz that follows, you call your honey and announce that instead of eating that sensible dinner at home you guys are going out to your favorite restaurant.

After dinner you decide to settle in with some ice cream and a movie instead of taking the dog on a walk. After all, it’s been one of those days.

The next morning at 6am when your alarm starts blaring you skip snooze and reset the whole thing for 7am. You decide that your body really needs a break from all that exercise. After all, the gym will be there tomorrow, right?

It may be there, but at the rate you’re going that doesn’t matter since you’ll be sleeping.

This string of bad decisions is best described as a Domino Effect. I believe that we are all in a constant state of Domino Effect – for better or for worse.

Either you’re in the midst of a downward slide, where one bad decision slides right into the next, OR you’re bettering yourself and are in the midst of making a string of good decisions.

Good decisions are just as contagious as bad ones.

A great morning workout leads you to choose a healthier lunch and then to skip your afternoon sugar fix. Since you’re on a roll, you to eat a healthy dinner and then take the dog out for a brisk walk before getting into bed early enough to wake up refreshed and on time for tomorrow’s workout.

Imagine where these two paths will take you in 3 months, 6 months and 12 months. The sting of good decisions will transform you into a fitter, healthier version of yourself–full of energy and confidence.

The string of bad decisions will morph you into a defeated version of yourself–filled with regret and disappointment.

So how do you stay on track?

The most foolproof method I’ve found is through professional accountability. This means enlisting the support of someone whose job is to make sure that you are getting to your workouts, making sound nutritional choices and getting plenty of rest and hydration.

That’s what I do for my clients, and I’m good at it.

I’m passionate about making sure that you continue to strive towards bettering yourself through a fit and active lifestyle, making good decision after good decision.

Wouldn’t you like to see yourself after a 12-month string of good decisions? I sure would.

 

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May
24
2013
0

Healthy Mini Muffins

 

Need a quick breakfast or snack item that won’t erase that awesome workout you just did this morning? Whip up a batch of these gluten and sugar free mini muffins and stock your fridge with the perfect on-the-go snack.Servings:

24 mini muffins 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • half of a ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/3 cup coconut crystals
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, grade b
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk, canned, full fat
  • 2 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a mini muffin pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the almond flour, flax meal, coconut flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In another medium bowl combine the eggs, banana, coconut crystals, maple syrup, coconut milk, almond butter and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix well.
  4. Slowly add the melted coconut oil, mix until all the lumps disappear.
  5. Add the raisins and pecans and mix well.
  6. Divide the batter for 24 mini muffins. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and fully set.
  7. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Nutritional Analysis: One Serving equals: 88 calories, 6g fat, 65mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and 3g protein

 

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May
23
2013
0

Hitting Your Target

One of the all-time great motivators, Zig Ziglar, talks about setting goals.   Are you a wandering generality or a meaningful specific?  Make sure you set your goals!

 

May
22
2013
0

Pack Your Snacks

How tempting will that vending machine or drive thru be if you have a home-packed snack ready to go at the first sign of hunger? Not as tempting, that’s for sure.

Make it a habit to pack wholesome, energy-inducing snacks with you each day and watch how quickly your fitness results start to show.

 

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May
20
2013
0

7 Foods to NEVER Eat

Are you eating the wrong foods?

I see it happen all the time…fitness results that are thrown away by eating the wrong foods. Don’t let this be you. You workout hard, so keep your results by avoiding the following 7 foods:

1) Don’t Eat White Pasta
White pasta will never be OK to eat when your goal is to look fit. Sorry, it’s filled with way too many simple carbs. These plentiful carbs have one singular goal: to become stored on your body as fat.

Eat This: Spaghetti Squash 
On those nights when you really crave a big bowl of noodles, try this instead. Poke a spaghetti squash all over then bake at 400 degrees F for 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, scoop out the seeds and then scrape out the long, noodle-like strands of squash. Serve these healthy noodles with spaghetti sauce and meatballs.

2) Don’t Eat Store Bought Salad Dressing
The nutritional benefit of your salad is all but undone by the questionable ingredients in store bought salad dressing. From trans fats to preservatives, store bought salad dressing is a landfill of unnatural ingredients that are best avoided.

Eat This: Simple Homemade Dressing
Making you own salad dressing is so simple, it literally takes less than five minutes, and it tastes so much better freshly made. Here’s the equation to use when making your own dressing:

  • 3 parts high quality oil – extra virgin olive oil, hemp seed oil, flax seed oil, or sesame seed oil.
  • 1 part something acidic – vinegar, lemon, lime
  • A dash of salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Some fresh or dried herbs

3) Don’t Eat Packaged Granola Bars
Packaged bars have one thing going for them – the convenience factor. This convenience comes at a price, as each packaged bar contains more preservatives, carbs, calories and sugars than you should be eating.

Eat This: Raw Nuts
When you need a quick, energizing snack look no further than a handful of raw nuts. This is a great way to cut down on the sugar and other harmful additives in granola bars while still enjoying a convenient energy boost.

4) Don’t Drink Blended Coffee Drinks
Coffee chains have made it socially acceptable to sip on a large blended coffee drink topped with whipped cream, anytime and anyplace. Unfortunately your body is going to respond to all that sugar in the only way that it knows how…by storing it as fat. These blended drinks are extremely addictive, so it’s best to avoid them completely.

Drink This: Unsweetened Iced Tea
The whole idea behind blended coffee drinks is to quench your thirst, but there are more fitness-friendly ways to do so. Double brew 4 cups of your favorite tea – try Chai Rooibos – then chill it in the fridge for a few hours. Serve over ice and sweeten with a sprinkle of Stevia if needed. Guilt-free refreshment.

5) Don’t Eat Fast Food Breakfast Sandwiches
The drive thru may be calling you, especially when you’ve left for work in such a hurry that you forgot to eat breakfast, but don’t give in. Fast food breakfast sandwiches are filled with loads of preservatives, trans fats and questionable ingredients. Not to mention these little breakfast bombs contain more calories and fat than you need in the morning.

Eat This: Healthy Mini Muffins 
This recipe for Healthy Mini Muffins make the perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack to keep you out of the drive thru line. Make a batch on the weekend to stock the fridge and then grab as needed throughout your busy week.

6) Don’t Eat Sweetened Yogurt
Little cups of fruit-flavored yogurts are often marketed as the next best weight loss secret, but you know better. These ultra-sweet concoctions are filled with sugars, corn syrup and preservatives, which will derail your fitness results and send you on a sugar high.

Eat This: Plain Greek Yogurt with Fruit
Plain Greek yogurt has more protein and far less sugar than the cute little fruit-flavored yogurt cups. Dress it up by adding your own, chopped fresh fruit.

7) Don’t Eat Potato Chips
Around three o’clock in the afternoon, when that vending machine is calling out your name, remember this fact: Studies suggest that a potato chip habit caused subjects to gain weight even faster than an ice cream habit. This is likely due to all the preservatives, trans fats, empty calories and salt, and how hard it is to each just a few.

Eat This: Bake Kale Chips Kale chips are crunchy and satisfying, just like potato chips, yet you’re able to crunch away guilt-free. Filled with fiber, protein and real food nutrients, this is one crunchy snack that won’t expand your waistline. Here’s how to make them at home: Wash and tear one bunch of kale into chip-sized pieces. Toss with a Tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.

The quickest and most permanent way to lose weight and feel amazing is through a combination of healthy eating and consistent, challenging workouts.

I’m here to help you meet your fitness and weight loss goals.

You deserve that fit and attractive body – I can help you get it.

 

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May
20
2013
1

The Bitter Truth About Splenda

The Bitter Truth About Splenda

If you were told to ingest a biologically alien synthetic chemical whose presence on this planet did not predate 1976, and whose structure is only a few atoms away from the deadly pesticide DDT, and you knew that not only were there no long term human safety studies performed on it, but that it had been already proven in tests to have following adverse health effects:

· Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage) 

· Enlarged liver and kidneys.

· Abnormal histopathological changes in spleen and thymus

· Increased cecal weight 

· Reduced growth rate

· DNA Damage

· Adverse changes to gastrointestinal bacteria

· Abnormal Pelvic Mineralization

· Decreased red blood cell count 

· Hyperplasia of the pelvis

· Aborted pregnancy (Maternal & Fetal Toxicity)

· Decreased fetal body weights and placental weights 

· Bowel inflammation/Crohn’s Disease

· Triggering migraine

· Increase glycosylation of hemoglobin (HbA1c) for diabetics

…would you still consume it? Of course not! And yet, millions of Americans (including our precious children!) are doing exactly that by consuming Splenda. So, what is sucralose, chemically speaking?

Like “Splenda,” the term “sucralose” is a cute little marketing ploy. The true name of this ugly little chemical is actually too long for the human tongue to comfortably pronounce (which is usually an excellent indication that it is not safe to ingest!) Go ahead and see if you can wrap your vocal chords around this phonetic monstrosity:

1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-BETA-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranoside

Despite the intended insinuation, sucralose is not a form of sucrose (cane sugar). Sucralose/Splenda is produced through artificially substituting three hydroxyl groups (hydrogen + oxygen) with three chlorine atoms in the sugar (sucrose) molecule. Natural sugar is a hydrocarbon built around 12 carbon atoms. When transformed into Splenda it becomes a chlorocarbon, in the same family as deadly pesticides like DDT, insecticides, biocides, disinfectants like Chlorox Bleach, and WWI poison gas like dichlorourea.

The makers of sucralose/Splenda argue that this “remarkably stable” chemical passes unchanged into the urine and feces, when in fact, up to 11% to 27% is absorbed into the body (FDA, 1999). In fact, the varying degrees to which sucralose is absorbed is used as a marker for gut and intestinal permeability to determine certain disease states. Once absorbed, some portion of this chlorocarbon accumulates in the body (between 1.6% to 12.2%). What effects will these accumulated chemicals have? According to James Bowen, M.D:

“Any chlorocarbons not directly excreted from the body intact can cause immense damage to the processes of human metabolism and, eventually, our internal organs. The liver is a detoxification organ which deals with ingested poisons. Chlorocarbons damage the hepatocytes, the liver’s metabolic cells, and destroy them. In test animals Splenda produced swollen livers, as do all chlorocarbon poisons, and also calcified the kidneys of test animals in toxicity studies.”

How can this be true for an FDA approved sweetener?

FDA approval does not in any way guarantee safety… sadly enough, in many cases, it guarantees the exact opposite. Take aspartame for instance. Aspartame (Equal/NutraSweet) contains 10% methanol, which is broken down in our body into two extremely toxic substances: formaldehyde and formic acid. There are over 30 known adverse health effects associated with its consumption! This sweetener gained FDA approval in 1981, despite appalling evidence linking it to cancer, particularly, brain cancer.

So, if Splenda is not a viable alternative to sugar, what can we use instead?

When one uncouples the experience of “sweetness” from caloric content, the body becomes confused because it does not receive nourishment and therefore will not attain satiety – this, in turn, leads to overindulgence. Indeed, new studies have shown exactly this: those who consume synthetic sweeteners are more prone to obesity. What this means is that when we ingest something sweet, it should also have caloric and nutritional content. Anything less than this equation is a recipe for failure and ill health.

Thankfully Nature provides us with a veritable cornucopia of healthy sweeteners: honeystevia,xylitolerythritol, and dehydrated organic cane juice, all of which are available at your local health food store. Next time that sweet tooth calls, remember not to succumb to advertising hype which would convert poisonous chemicals into “magical” no-calorie sweeteners. Use both common sense and a sense of moderation, and your body will thank you.

 

By: Sayer Ji

Source

May
17
2013
0

Sweet & Smokey Chicken

 

This chicken has awesome flavor and is quick to make on a weeknight. Serve with a leafy green salad and a side of asparagus or broccoli for the perfect flat abs meal.

Makes: 4 Servings
Here’s what you need…

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on, organic chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • dash of salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place in a large ziplock bag.
  3. In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Add to the ziplock bag and toss until the chicken is fully coated.
  4. Place the coated chicken thighs on a broiling pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 248 calories, 18g fat, 428mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, and 18g protein

 

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May
15
2013
0

The Weekly Cheat

A little balance in life is important. So while eating healthy most of the time is essential for flat abs, it’s OK to enjoy a weekly cheat.

The rules of the cheat day are simple: control your calories but loosen up on the content of your diet. So you’ve been craving pizza all week long? Enjoy a slice on your cheat day.

Notice I said a slice and not the whole pizza. Indulge with control!

 

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May
13
2013
0

5 Nutrition Secrets for Flat Abs

As much as I love exercise (and you know I do!) exercise alone will not get you a toned stomach.

What you eat is a huge part of the equation.

Someone could workout all day long, but then eat in a way that promotes major fat storage, and they wouldn’t have a toned, beach-ready tummy.  Like the time I decided I could eat whatever I wanted training for an Ironman (15-20 hrs a week) and still gained 10 lbs!

While your diet is probably not terrible, the 5 secrets below will help you improve it even more. And a cleaner diet means flatter and more attractive abs.

Secret #1: Don’t eat late
This is the most simple and effective way to flatten your abs. Instead of eating less food late at night, simply don’t eat late at all. Try these tips…

  • Brush your teeth right after dinner. Once your teeth are clean, you’ve put an end to your consumption for the day.
  • Change things up. If your evening routine revolves around food then find a new routine.
  • Let this good habit form. The first few weeks will be tough, but soon your new no-food-late routine will feel normal.

Secret #2 Drink more water
Drinking lots of water is another extremely simple way to promote fat loss. Chronic dehydration triggers false hunger signals that causes you to eat extra, empty calories. Consume 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water every day.  Try these tips…

  • Drink a big glass of water before each meal. This will make you less likely to overeat.
  • Replace sugar-filled sodas, coffee drinks and juices with water. This tip alone can make a huge difference in the shape of your body.
  • Carry water with you throughout the day.

Secret #3: Load up on fiber
Most of us do not get enough fiber in our diet, which is 25-35 grams a day.  This is a problem since fiber is essential when it comes to getting lean. Fiber-filled foods are low in calories and are filling, so you’ll be eating less and getting lean. Try these tips…

  • Turn salads into meals. Add a serving of lean protein to a large pile of greens for a guiltless meal. *Try the recipe for Sweet & Smokey Chicken below and serve it on a bed of greens.
  • Include vegetables in every meal. The benefits to eating more veggies are too many to list, so just know that your body will become healthier and leaner with each fibrous bite.
  • Fruits are a tasty source of fiber. Eat fresh, seasonal fruits every day.

Secret #4: Eat fewer bad carbs
Now I didn’t say to cut out all carbs, but rather to eat fewer bad carbs. These diet secrets are meant as lifestyle changes for you to stick with long term. Eating fewer carbs is a realistic and very effective way to flatten your tummy. Try these tips…

  • Choose whole grain bread and pasta instead of white. Whole grains are less likely to be stored as fat. That being said, limit the amount that you eat.
  • Eat half of the carbs. Make your sandwich open-faced and cut down the size of your pasta serving.
  • Avoid carb-filled snacks. Instead of crackers or chips, have a hard boiled egg, a protein shake, fresh fruit or veggies.

Secret #5: Only wholesome sweets
Refined sugar-filled sweets will quickly add up around your waistline. Learn to enjoy natural sweets. Try these tips…

  • Fruit is natural candy. When you stop eating refined sugar you’ll find fresh fruit to be more sweet and delicious than ever.
  • Do not eat foods that contain white sugar or high fructose corn syrup. These items are the worst for your abs.
  • Try wholesome sweeteners, like pure maple syrup, raw honey or dates in your cooking instead of white sugar. Get white sugar out of your kitchen.

Take these diet secrets and run with them. These tips, along with a challenging and consistent exercise program, are the formula for a toned, lean body.

I’m here to help you meet your fitness and weight loss goals, so guarantee your results by teaming up with me.

You deserve that fit and attractive body – I can help you get it.

 

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