Blog

Bring on Breakfast!

oatmeal breakfast

I love breakfast! Eggs are great and oatmeal is the perfect side dish. It’s healthy, inexpensive and easy to fix. However, my secret ingredient in this dish is cottage cheese (12 grams of protein/serving). Don’t turn up your nose so fast! Research shows that adding protein increases thermogenesis (calorie expenditure), satiety and decreases hunger. More importantly, it tastes great!

Recently I tried this as a one bowl meal and it really hit the spot and got me out of the house in record time. The directions to prepare both of these are listed below give them a try and let me know what you think. You might have to add 2 teaspoons of sugar in the one bowl recipe depending on your sweet tooth as the eggs hide the flavor with just one. However, one teaspoon works just fine for me.

one bowl breakfast

Don’t like eggs no problem, don’t add them. However make sure to add ¼ of a tablespoon of real butter, this slows digestion insuring the meal stays with you and only adds a little bit of fat (2-3 grams).

Omelet and Oatmeal

Ingredients

-1/2 tablespoon olive oil

-2 eggs plus 3 egg whites

-1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

-lots of pepper

-fresh avocado

-1/2 cup old fashioned oats

-1 cup water

-1-2 teaspoons turbinado cane sugar

-1/2 cup 4% milk fat small curd cottage cheese

-small handful of raisins

Directions

  1. Crack eggs in bowl, remove 3 yolks and mix well so liquid has even consistency.
  2. Add oil to skillet and turn stove to medium high (let skillet warm before adding eggs).
  3. Pour eggs into skillet, if you wait for the oil and skillet to warm, the egg mix will spread thinly and evenly across the skillet, making it easier to fold and flip your omelet.
  4. Add a ¼ of a cup of shredded parmesan and lots of pepper
  5. Once the bottom of the egg mix is solid, fold ½ of it over to make your omelet.
  6. Cook for one to two minutes more and then flip and cook on 1-2 minutes on this side to insure omelet is cooked evenly throughout. When down, slide out of skillet and onto a plate, top with avocado.
  7. Add 1 cup of water and a ½ cup of old fashioned oats to a small pot.
  8. Turn stove to high and bring to a boil, turn burner to medium and simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally so oats don’t stick or burn.
  9. Remove from heat and let it sit for a minute or two. Add cottage cheese, turbinado sugar and mix well.
  10. Pour oatmeal into bowl, arrange raisins in smiley face and dive in.

 

One Bowl Recipe

Ingredients

-1/2 tablespoon olive oil

-2 eggs plus 3 egg whites

-1/2 cup old fashioned oats

-1 cup water

-1-2 teaspoons turbinado cane sugar

-1/2 cup 4% milk fat small curd cottage cheese

-small handful of raisins

-1/4 tablespoon of butter if not adding eggs

Directions

  1. Crack eggs in bowl, remove 3 yolks and mix well so liquid has even consistency.
  2. Add oil to skillet and turn stove to medium high (let skillet warm before adding eggs). Wait a minute of two for oil and skillet to warm
  3.  Pour egg mix into skillet move eggs so they cook but don’t brown.
  4. Once eggs are done (solid and not watery), remove from heat and add to bowl.
  5. Add 1 cup of water and a ½ cup of old fashioned oats to a small pot. (If not adding eggs add ¼ table of butter to the mix.)
  6. Turn stove to high and bring to a boil, turn burner to medium and simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally so oats don’t stick or burn.
  7. Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two. Add cottage cheese, turbinado sugar and mix well.
  8. Pour oatmeal into bowl with eggs, arrange raisins in smiley face and dive in.

 

Advertisements

Summer Veggies With Pan-Seared Steak = One Great Dinner!

summer vegs and steak 2

steak and summer vegs 3

Just tried this one on the family and had the greatest compliment, no leftovers! It’s meets all my requirements—-its healthy, filling and visually appealing. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Ingredients

-3 yellow squash

-1-2 zuchinni

-1 sweet bell pepper (red, yellow or orange)

-1 yellow onion

-1 handful of grape tomatoes

-1 can of sliced mushrooms

-1 1/2 teaspoons of dried leaf organo

-3/4 teaspoon basil

-dash of black pepper

-Italian Style Blend shredded cheese  (just Parmesan would work but I like the variety in this mix)

-pure olive oil

-1/2 tablespoon of real butter (stick butter not liquid, I prefer unsalted)

-petite sirloin steak

 

Directions

  1. Rinse all veggies (this includes the canned mushrooms).
  2. Cut squash, zucchini and onion in half then slice thin, dice the red bell pepper.
  3.  Pour all veggies into a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix. Then add the oregano, basil and black pepper and mix again. Make sure you spend some time doing this so the oil and spices adhere to all the veggies.
  4. Turn stove on medium high and place a large pan on the burner, add one tablespoon of olive oil, let the oil heat and swirl it around the pan to coat.
  5. Add veggies and cook until they are tender. While the veggies are cooking, grab a cookie sheet and using the 1/2 tablespoon of butter coat baking sheet.
  6. Pour veggies onto baking sheet and sprinkle with cheese. How much? It’s up to you remember though we are trying to compliment the taste of the veggies not cover it up.
  7. Broil on high until browned.
  8. While you are browning the veggies. Take the pan you sautéed the veggies in and add an additional tablespoon of olive oil.
  9. Turn stove burner to high and swirl oil around.
  10. Do not start this step until you have a kitchen timer ready. As you will turn the steaks every minute, this way you sear the meat to lock in flavor but minimize charring. Add steaks to pan and turn every minute for a total of 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the steak. You might have to add a little olive oil to the top of the steaks in-between turning to minimize charring.

11. Spoon out veggies onto a plate and top with steak.

 

Adding Exercise To Your Daily Routine

We all know we need to exercise but sometimes it’s tough to fit into a schedule. I find the earlier in the day I exercise the more successful I am. So, here’s a workout that fits into a lunch hour and still leaves time to eat. Additionally, I designed the program to work multiple facets of fitness—muscle strength, endurance and power. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Before starting any exercise program, check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to participate. Also, some exercises might not be suitable for everyone. If you feel pain, dizziness or something just doesn’t feel right—stop!

 WEEK 1

15 minute walk, at the end of the walk perform the exercises listed below.

Perform 1 set of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise listed below

Lunges: Click on the exercise name to go to my video library; make sure you watch the entire video to determine which of the three versions of lunges is best for you based on your current activity level and level of conditioning.

Push-ups with a plus: As with the lunges, watch the video to determine which of the three versions of push-ups is best for you based on your current activity level and level of conditioning.

 

WEEK 2

20 minute walk, at the end of the walk perform, the exercises you did in week one and add skaters (see video below).

Skaters: Watch the video to determine which of the three versions of skaters is best for you based on your current activity level and level of conditioning. For this exercise you should perform 1 set of 10-20 repetitions per leg.

 

WEEK 3

30 minute walk, halfway through stop and do one set of each exercise, adding bounding (see video below). At the end of your walk complete a second set set of each exercise.

Bounding: Watch the video to determine which of the three versions of bounding is best for you based on your current activity level and level of conditioning. For this exercise you should perform 1 set of 10-20 repetitions per leg.

 

Thirty minutes of walking is plenty. As you continue you on with this program you need to change it up to keep it challenging. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Increase your pace (walk faster)
  2. Change your route—add hills and steps
  3. Do not split up the strength exercises but perform both sets as a circuit repeating twice or even three times
  4. Change or add exercises (videos for these exercises are coming soon)
  • Work your abs by adding 1-2 sets of planks
  • Drop one of the lower extremity exercises and add 1-2 sets of burpees
  • Carry a ther-band and add a rowing exercise
  • Try performing 1-2 sets of long jumps, instead of skaters

Looking for a healthy lunch? Try Mark’s Big Salad!

Big Salad 1

The secret to this recipe is making the nut mix early and allowing the dressing to marinate with the nuts and craisins you add. 

Ingredients

Nut Mix

-1 cup of pecans, sunflower seeds, almonds and walnuts

-small handful of reduced sugar craisins

-dollop of balsamic vinaigrette

Salad

-2 cups broccoli (I prefer frozen.)

-handful of baby carrots

-handful of grape tomatoes

-1/2 and avocado

-2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

Directions

The night before:

  1. Pour 1 cup each of pecans, almonds and sunflower seeds into your blender
  2. add a small handful of craisins and dollop of balsamic vinaigrette
  3. Blend at high speed for 2-3 minutes make sure you stop a couple of times to move things around so everything gets chopped up
  4. Refrigerate for later use.

The day of:

  1. Warm the broccoli in the microwave and then set out to cool.
  2. Rinse carrots and tomatoes, chop carrots and slice tomatoes and avocado into thin wedges
  3. Add carrots, tomatoes, avocado and dressing to broccoli and mix well.
  4. Top with ½ to 1 cup of nut mix and you’re done.

 

While I recommend making the nut mix before hand, I’ve had this numerous times right after blending and always had a great meal. Give it a try and tell me what you think! I guarantee it will fill you up and provide you with plenty of energy to plow through your day.

 

Steak and Beet Salad (yes beets!)

Steak and Beet Salad 2

Beets aren’t just for thanksgiving dinner. They are chock full of anti-oxidants that are good for us and they taste great! Here’s a simple way to work these into your diet that’s fast and easy to prepare.

Ingredients

-large handful of spinach chopped

-4-5 grape tomatoes (sliced)

– 4-5 baby carrots (chopped)

-large handful of shoestring beets (You can find these in your stores produce section.)

-Steak—round, petite sirloin, London broil, any cut will do. This is also a great dish to utilize leftovers.

-1/2 cup 4% milk fat cottage cheese

-Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (to taste)

-Black Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Rinse spinach, pat dry and chop into strips.
  2. Rinse Carrots and Tomatoes, slice tomatoes into thin wedges and chop carrots into small pieces.
  3. Drain and rinse shoestring beets.
  4. Warm steak in microwave.
  5. Add all ingredients to your salad bowl except cottage cheese and pepper, using a pair of salad tongs mix all ingredients together.
  6. Add cottage cheese and pepper
  7. Dive in, cause dinner’s ready!

Todays Lunch Special–Tuna Salad Over Broccoli!

Tuna Salad

Here’s a quick, easy and healthy lunch dish that fits in anyone’s budget and dietary guidelines.

INGREDIENTSPrimal Mayo Label

1 ½ cups of broccoli (I prefer frozen)

1 medium tomato parmesan

1 handful of baby carrots

¼ of an avocado

1 can albacore tuna

2 tablespoons shaved parmesanbalsamic vina

Anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Primal Kitchen Mayo

2 tablespoons Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

1 teaspoon raisins

Pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Warm the broccoli in the microwave and then set out to cool.
  2. Rinse carrots and tomatoes, slice tomatoes and avocado into thin wedges
  3. Drain tuna of all water and spoon into a bowl.
  4. Add mayo and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese to bowl and mix well. How much mayo you add really depends on you, remember though the purpose of this mayo is to highlight the flavor of the tuna and meld all the ingredients together not mask it. The tuna shouldn’t be swimming in mayo (get it, tuna’s a fish and it’s swimming!—come for the recipes, stay for the humor).
  5. Microwave tuna for 1 minute and remix.
  6. Add carrots, tomatoes, avocado and dressing to broccoli and mix well.
  7. Top with tuna, raisins and pepper.
  8. I’ve found that this tastes better after it’s been refrigerated. So make it the night before, put it in your lunch box the next morning and have it for lunch at work!

 

ADDITIONAL INFO

  1. Don’t get sticker shock when you go to the grocery to pick up primal kitchen mayo, it’s expensive but well worth it. You won’t use nearly as much as you do with other brands.  Compare the ingredients, which one would you rather eat?

mayo comparison

  1. You’ll also find that it’s pretty tart. However, there isn’t any added sugar or high fructose corn syrup and you don’t need it. Like I said the addition of mayo in this recipe isn’t to mask flavors but highlight them.

 

 

 

 

Summer’s here let’s barbecue!

I love barbecue chicken and pork, not a big fan of ribs (too much work)! So with the pools opening this weekend here’s a recipe to serve your family and friends at your next get together.

IngredientsSTUBBS

1 lb. of chicken breasts

3-4 large sweet onions

3-tablespoons of olive oil

STUBBS BAR-B-Q rub (love this stuff—lot’s of flavor no sugar)

1-2 teaspoons of Turbinado Sugar

Directionsturbinado sugar

  1. Rinse chicken in cold water, pat dry and cut into strips or medallions
  2. Place chicken in large bowl, sprinkle with rub (I use at least 1/3 of a bottle in this recipe). Mix well, if the chicken looks dry add some olive oil and mix again.
  3. Add 1-2 teaspoons of Turbinado Cane Sugar and mix well. How much sugar you use depends on how sweet you like your barbecue. Keep in mind a little goes a long way.
  4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, the longer you marinate the better. That being said, I’ve made this all at once and still had a great meal.
  5. Slice the sweet onion into thick strips.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a sauté pan and let the oil warm up on medium heat. Next, add the onions and sauté until they are about ½ done they should still be white/yellow and a little soft.
  7. Remove the onions from the sauté pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil and increase the temp to medium high, let the oil warm up and then add the chicken. When the chicken is about ½ way done, times vary, add the onions back to the pan.
  8. Make sure you cook down all the water in the pan. You might need to add more oil but this will insure the chicken is done. The onions aren’t done until they are golden brown. Caramelizing the onions is a key step in the process it sweetens the dish without any added sugar.
  9. If you want you can serve the chicken right away. However, to add a little more flavor paint the chicken with olive oil and put on the grill for a few minutes to get that smoky flavor we all love with barbecue. Be careful though, chicken breast meat dries out really fast since there isn’t any skin on it.

 

Pair this with a small side of sweet potato fries or over the top of a spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Don’t add barbecue sauce! It’s too high in sugar and trust me you have plenty of flavor without it.

 

Give it a try you and your guests will love it. Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions.

 

Reducing Waistline Woes

As we age it gets harder and harder to keep fat off our waistline. Here are two tips to help you with that and neither involves crunches, sit-ups or a treadmill!

  1. GET SOME SLEEP

Chronic sleep deprivation upsets the levels of three important regulatory hormones—cortisol, leptin and grehlin.

Cortisol is an essential hormone for life. One of its primary functions is to regulate glucose levels in the bloodstream by breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins. During periods of high stress like chronic sleep deprivation; cortisol levels remain elevated and your body shifts from mobilizing fat for energy to storing it around your waist.

Leptin and Grelin control your appetite. Leptin suppresses appetite while grehlin stimulates it. With sleep deprivation as we decrease our sleep time, leptin levels drop and grehlin levels increase. This results in increased appetite especially for high carbohydrate foods.

  1. SNACK WISELY

Snacks are part of our day. However, stay away from refined and overly processed foods like potato chips, pretzels, crackers and yogurts with high sugar content. These aren’t snack foods their fat foods.  Build your snacks around proteins and fats and healthy carbs like:

  • ¼ cup salted cashews, 1 oz. cheddar cheese and a tablespoon of raisins
  • 1 cup of FAGE unsweetened Greek yogurt with one teaspoon of Turbinado Cane Sugar and 1 oz. of cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter spread on an apple (red Delicious are my personal favorite)
  • String Cheese, a slice of ham and one tablespoon of raisins
  • Peanut Butter Toast with Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Sprouted Whole Grain Bread
  • Remember that nut mix I gave you in my last post, it’s also great as a snack. One cup of that with avocados, a tablespoon of craisins, tomatoes and baby carrots is a quick an easy snack that will fill you up as well.

 

There you go two tips to help you with your waistline with no exercise involved. That‘s it for now, I’ll post again soon. Let me know what you think of these!

First Steps To Improving Your Health

Think small! List the behaviors in your life that you’d like to change, decide which one to tackle first and develop a plan for just that one. I know your thinking, “Mark, I’m all in! I’m going to hit the gym, eat healthy, go to bed early and get up early, volunteer like I’ve always wanted to do,  and…………….”

I appreciate your enthusiasm but slowly integrating healthy changes improves your chances for long term success.  Tackling one issue at a time you’ll stay motivated, avoid being overwhelmed and see positive changes. Don’t know where to start here’s a few of suggestions and some info on why these should be on your list.

  1. Make sleep a priority
  • The Centers for Disease Control reports 1/3 of Americans don’t get enough sleep and recently listed it as major health problem.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation increases your risk of developing Type II diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Obesity, Stroke, Depression and suppresses immune system function making you more susceptible to whatever illness is making the rounds.
  • Pick a bed time and stick to it. In the beginning you’ll have to let some things go but with your new-found energy you’ll feel better and be surprised at what you can complete when you’re awake.

 

  1. Look at your diet and make sure your making the right food choices
  • Eat real food—if you have to consult a chemist to find out what the ingredients are put it back.
  • Carbohydrate rich, highly processed foods aren’t on the menu. Avoid added sugar, vegetables high in starch, flour and cereal grains.
  • What meal is your biggest struggle? I love breakfast but by the time I get everyone in the house up and moving in the morning preparing a good breakfast is tough. Try a protein shake! Mix milk, frozen strawberries, a scoop of protein powder, one tablespoon of peanut butter and powder in a blender for one-two minutes and your done.
  • Fill your plate and lunch box with veggies, high fiber carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean cuts of meat. Here’s a quick and easy recipe to get you started, it’s my go to lunch

Ingredients
-2 cups broccoli
-handful of baby carrots
-handful of grape tomatoes
-small handful of reduced sugar craisins
-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette
-1/2 cup of chopped pecans, sunflower seeds and almonds (walnuts work to! )
-1/2 an avocado (cubed)

Directions
1. Pour 1 cup each of pecans, almonds and sunflower seeds into your blender
2. Add a small handful of craisins and dollop of balsamic vinaigrette
3. Blend at high speed for 2-3 minutes make sure you stop a couple of times to
move things around so everything gets chopped up
4. Add a 1/2 a cup of this to the ingredients listed above and your done.
5. Refrigerate the rest for later meals.

 

3. Schedule a physical with your physician and find out what your health risks are. 

  • We all have behaviors in life that negatively affect our health. But, we’re on auto-pilot. Work and family responsibilities cause us to put our health on the back burner. We rationalize. “Hey I’ve haven’t put on that much weight or I eat pretty good.” Objective measurements and risk quantification can spark real change.

 

  •  For example, a couple of years ago I had my yearly physical and was expecting stellar results. “Hey I eat right and exercise how could I not be healthy?” When I met with my doctor both my fasting blood glucose and A1C were elevated putting my in the pre-diabetic category. Initially, I was stunned! I drove home angry and in disbelief. However the bottom line was, I wasn’t as healthy as I led myself to believe. After I accepted this (begrudgingly); I made a list of my behaviors/signs that could cause these results.

 

My list looked like this

  1. Sleep—5-6 hours a night during the week then sleeping weekend away
  2. Diet: Eating way to many starchy carbs, sweet tooth out of control
  3. Not managing my stress well
  4. My waist circumference had increased substantially to 39 inches (or more)

 YIKES! No wonder my levels were elevated! My first goal was to start going to bed earlier. In just a couple of weeks I was amazed at how good I felt with adequate sleep. I was so use to being tired that I had forgotten what it felt like to be well rested. Well it’s been couple of years now and thanks to slowly integrating changes and really watching my health my numbers have returned back to normal.

You can change, it’s not easy. It takes a plan, patience and perseverance. But don’t worry I’m here to help! This is my first (of many) blog posts. In the future in addition to written posts you’ll have access to videos on exercise, stress management and cooking to help you make real, sustainable changes in your life and improve your health! In the meantime, if you have any questions about how you can implement change comment on my blog below or send me an email at mkaelin@bellarmine.edu