Re-Vamp Your Breakfast With Some Protein

Cereal, muffins, pancakes, waffles, toast, bagels, jelly, bananas, juice, cinnamon rolls  – staples of the traditional American breakfast.

carbbreakfast

While most of these foods CAN be incorporated into a healthy diet, they all have one thing in common – high carb, low protein.

What’s the big deal? Starting your day off with a well-rounded, and balanced breakfast can set up the rest of your day for success. According to a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, subjects who ate a high protein breakfast (58% of calories from protein vs. 19% of calories from protein) saw a significant decrease in post-meal ghrelin (a hormone that signals hunger).

Another study from the Journal of Nutrition found that subjects who previously skipped breakfast, ate a high protein breakfast (35 grams) saw significant decreases in cravings for sweets and snacks later in the day compared to groups who continued skipping breakfast or ate a smaller amount of protein (13 grams) at breakfast.

These results are not anything new, but rather support the case for shifting our traditional, high carb breakfasts towards a more balanced breakfast, composed of more protein.

It is crucial to note that the studies did not have subjects eating a pure protein breakfast, but rather a high protein breakfast, in which protein made up 40-60% of total calories at breakfast. Thus proving that you can still have a carb source at breakfast, you just need to balance it out.

What should you eat?

While the most obvious go to would be eggs, I understand that some people aren’t like me and can eat eggs everyday.

proteinbreakfast

Some other great options include:

Greek Yogurt Parfaits 

Greek yogurt contains about 16 grams of protein per 6 oz. serving. While some including myself cannot stomach the flavor of plain Greek Yogurt, I recommend blending fresh or frozen berries into the yogurt. This will help release the flavors of the berries into the yogurt rather than buying the high sugar flavored yogurts. Combine the yogurt with 1/4 cup dry oats, and 1oz. slivered almonds/walnuts and you are looking at about 330 calories, with 18 grams of protein, 32 grams of carbs, and 15 grams of heart healthy fats.Blueberry Quinoa Parfait

Anti-Oxidant Chocolate Shake

Looking for something quick, and tasty? Look no further. Combine 12 oz. skim milk, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, 1 cup of frozen blueberries, 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, and a quick dash of vanilla extract and you have an awesome, super high protein shake. Blend it all up and enjoy slowly. 

380 calories, 46g carbs, 42g protein and 6g fat

Breakfast Ham and Black Bean Burrito (you can add eggs here too)

Take a whole wheat tortilla, and fill it with 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup diced ham, 1/4 cup chopped red and green peppers, 1 Tbsp. diced onion, and a 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Add salsa and enjoy. I would warm it up on a frying pan myself, and probably add some eggs…

440 calories, 44 g carbs, 28g protein, and 15g fat (without the eggs)

450 calories, 34g carbs, 30g protein, and 21g fat (with 1 egg instead of the beans)

There are many other recipes out there that a simple google search will turn up, however make sure you look closely at the recipe itself and maybe enter it into myfitnesspal.com. I found some “high protein” smoothies that had almost 100 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein in them – hardly high protein.

Key Take Aways:

  1. Look for a good balance of carbs and protein – try to get a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Carbs are not the enemy, but you need a balance to help your body later in the day.
  3. You can get creative with breakfast, it doesn’t have to be a stereotypical breakfast either.

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How to Salvage Even the Worst of Diet Days

Starting off, I know this post might ruffle some feathers because I still will be talking about eating processed and fast food. By no way do I think any of these foods are the best choice to be eating; however, we have ALL had that day where all our plans go to $#!t and we end up eating at places we might not normally eat. This post is about how to minimize the damage while still eating at different “junk food” locations.

Think of it as a Eat This, Not That kind of post. No one is forcing you against your will to go to McDonald’s, but if you happen to end up there, how can you make the smartest choice?

What if your kids REALLY REALLY want to go to Dairy Queen for ice cream, and you just HAVE to get something? Yes, the best option would be to politely say, no thank you, but I personally haven’t figured out how to do that yet when it comes to ice cream.

For the purpose of this post, we will be following Person A, and Person B, and we will see where they end up at the end of the day. Calories are listed, along with amounts of carbs, protein and fat (in grams).

So you decide to start your day at Starbucks. Ready to buy a triple vente mochalattefrappa vanilla coffee? Think again.

 

A) Vente Salted Carmel Mocha = 473 calories – 74 carbs, 18 fat, 14 protein

B) Grande Skinny Salted Carmel Latte = 130 calories – 19 carbs, 0 fat, 12 protein

***Don’t drink your calories. You came to the coffee shop for a quick kick of energy in the form of caffeine, not for your early morning dessert. Make the smart choice, leave out the added sugar and heavy cream, and get your caffeine fix without the added calories***

Next on our day of fun comes breakfast! Let’s stop at Denny’s, ‘Mericas Diner! Ok lots of choices here, but they have this “Fit Fare” menu… must be healthy. I’ll take the Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast, right off the Fit Fare Menu!

Wedding at Denny’s? #Merica!

A) Fit Fare Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast = 750 calories, 131 carbs, 14 fat, 29 protein

B) Fit Fare Loaded Veggie Omelet w/ Fruit Cup Side option = 420 calories, 51 carbs, 13 fat, 29 protein

***Just because something is labelled healthy or fit, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice still. When it comes to breakfast, try to be as anti-American as possible (this might get me on a watch list or something?). The traditional American breakfast is SO carb heavy that one can easily meet their carb goals for the entire day if they aren’t careful. Cereal, toast, pancakes, muffins, bagels, waffles = ALL CARBS! Your first choice should be a protein source (eggs in this case). Starting the day with protein will set you up for success. If there is an option to add on a side, always pick the fruit or vegetable option. This should be an automatic response.***

It’s the lunch hour and you are crammed into your co-workers van. “Hey guys, mind if we stop at McDonalds?” He says as he takes a gulp from his 36 oz. Super America Mt. Dew from yesterday’s lunch break…

A) Double Cheeseburger, Large Fry, and a Medium Coke = 1140 calories, 153 carbs, 47 fat, 31 protein

B) Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Kids Fry, and a Water = 460 calories, 56 carbs, 11 fat, 34 protein

***Yes, I realize you could be even healthier and get a salad instead of fries. Or if you are a male trying to get more protein in the day, another grilled chicken sandwich might be a better option. The point I am trying to make here is damage control. If you just NEED to eat some McDonalds fries, the kids portion is more than enough. A large fry is over 500 calories alone, while the kids option is only 110 calories. BY making this simple swap alone you are saving 400 calories from your daily intake, and still getting a little bit of those salty fries.

Also, same thing as at Starbucks, don’t drink your calories! A medium fountain soda is right around 200 calories. Combine this with a dessert before breakfast from the coffee shop and you have drunk over 600 liquid calories for the day! These calories are of ZERO benefit to you and your body. I can’t stress this enough.***

It is now 3pm at work, you are crashing, you think you are hungry (but its really just boredom or stress?) Time for a healthy snack! Kashi granola bars sound healthy.

A) Kashi Granola Bar – 130 calories, 21 carbs, 4 fat, 6 protein

B) Nothing OR Chocolate Milk Whey Protein Shake made in water = 130 calories, 5 carbs, 2 fat, 25 protein

Maybe a little overkill…

***Equal calories here, different macronutrients. By having some protein for a snack, you will be more satiated (full) versus eating a quick carb source. This should tie you over until dinner. Also, maybe you aren’t hungry. Take a second to reflect on what is going on in your day. Are you stressed out? Are you just bored at your desk? Food won’t fix that. Go for a little walk to the drinking fountain, fill up your water bottle, and take some deep breaths. ***

You are driving home from work and your spouse calls. “Hey honey, we have so much going on tonight, I am going to pick up Pizza Hut for dinner. What do you want?” Sigh…

A) Two pieces of hand tossed, large, pepperoni and sausage pizza = 660 calories, 98 carbs, 26 fat, 30 protein

B) Two pieces of thin crust, large, pepperoni = 560 calories, 56 carbs, 28 fat, 24 protein

***This is a tough one here. Even by switching to thin crust and only one fatty meat, you only save 100 calories. You could get a veggie pizza option here, but would the kids eat that? If so, then do that. However, if you have to get one pizza for you and one for the kids, there will likely be leftovers – and we don’t want leftovers sitting around for later. Another option here could be to politely recommend to your spouse/person offering to pick up pizza, to grab a pre-made rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, along with some type of veggie. Saves time, and a ton of calories!***

Just when you thought your diet day from hell was over, juniors tee-ball team is hitting up DQ for Blizzards! You know that ice cream is not on the plan, but you just can’t say no…

A) Small DQ Reese’s Blizzard – 580 calories, 74 carbs, 21 fat, 13 protein

B) Kids Vanilla Cone – 170 calories, 27 carbs, 0 fat, 4 protein

***Another option here is get nothing, enjoy company and your kids, and maybe steal a bite from someones treat. Especially if you are person A in this case, you have had more than your fair share of food for the day. Also notice that Blizzard is a SMALL! 580 calories in a SMALL! Holy crap!***

The day is over. That was crazy. Now I will be the first one to say that neither one of these people had the best day when it comes to food choices. But lets take a look at the daily totals:

A) 3733 calories, 551 carbs, 130 fat, 123 protein (269 grams of sugar)

B) 1873 calories, 214 carbs, 54 fat, 128 protein (76 grams of sugar)

Person B ate at all the same places as Person A, but had almost 2000 fewer calories, 340 less grams of carbs, less than half the fat, and a little more protein!

The power of choice can be huge, especially when it comes to making decisions about what you will eat at some of the less healthy locations out there. It can be done.

Remember, we all fall off the wagon sometimes, it’s not your whole life, it’s only one day. You haven’t thrown everything away ($100 to anyone besides my best friend who gets that reference).

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5 Foods to ALWAYS Have In Your Home

It’s 7pm. You just finished dinner an hour ago, and you are still hungry! Are you? Maybe you are stressed, pissed off, bored, or just tired?

Or maybe you had a skimpy breakfast, missed lunch, and had a light dinner on the go. Maybe you are hungry.

If you reflect on you day, and come to the conclusion, “wow, I really didn’t eat a lot today”, this may mean it is time for a snack. (Sidenote: this is where using food tracking apps and site, such as MyFitnessPal.com – friend me @mgorski2 – can come in handy)

Another scenario for you: You get home for dinner, kids are gone, spouse is gone, and you are hungry. Nothing pre-made, nothing in the fridge really… order pizza, eat a bag of chips, or just get right to the ice cream. It happens.

9068061-Young-woman-looking-on-empty-shelf-in-fridge--Stock-Photo-refrigerator

With these two scenarios being pretty common, it is best to revisit the old adage of “Fail to plan, plan to fail”.

In both scenarios, you are feeling real, physical hunger. (Emotional hunger is a different beast for another time) This means it is time to eat. That is only half the battle. If nothing is prepared or you don’t have any go-to’s in the fridge, it can be so easy to reach for the nearest bag of **** and go to pound town.

To avoid this from happening, I recommend keeping the following foods, ALWAYS stocked in your house.

1) Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a pure protein delight. A cup of 2% packs 27 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fat. This is a great late afternoon, or even after dinner snack. The protein helps with fullness, while not adding to your waistline.

When to Eat: anytime. Use it as a main protein source of a meat-free meal, a mid afternoon snack, or even a later day snack to help reach your protein goals, without adding a ton of fat or carbs to your diet. Try adding black pepper, fresh chives or basil to flavor it up a little.

2) Unsalted Premium Mixed Nuts

I say premium just because the non-premium are about 75% peanuts with some almonds tossed in. The premium nuts have heart healthy almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pecans loaded in the mix. The one thing to be cautious with is the calories. One ounce (pictured below), contains 172 calories, mostly from healthy fats. It is not a lot quantity wise, but it can hold you over until your next meal if you are really hungry.

When to Eat: Use mixed nuts as filler snacks (as long as you can control your portion). They can also be used on salads to provide some fat, or crushed up as “breading” for chicken or fish – try pecans or walnuts here.

Mixed-Nuts-28-grams

3) Eggs

I will take this one step further and say “hardboiled eggs” (yolks are ok! – Read HERE). These can be quick protein snacks, or make up part of a whole meal. One egg is about 80 calories and 6 grams of protein. Even having eggs for breakfast is not as time consuming as many people think. Heat some olive oil or coconut oil in a pan on medium. Wait 2-3 minutes, then crack your eggs right into the pan and scramble up in the pan. This saves dishes and time. Keep the eggs moving to prevent burning (I HATE burnt eggs), add black pepper, and they should be done in 2-3 minutes. You can’t tell me that sacrificing your health and eating some sugar filled cereal is worth more time than 4-6 minutes. Combine with some fresh berries (no time at all) and you have a great, high protein breakfast in under 10 minutes.

When to Eat: breakfast or as a protein source at a snack or non-meat meal.

4) Fresh Berries

As I just mentioned, fresh berries can be added to a meal to make it complete and very flavorful. Berries are my favorite fruit, far and above all other fruits, because of their natural sweetness and uber high does of vitamins and polyphenols. I like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and black berries. 

While they may be more expensive than other fruits, they are very worth it. The quantities you can eat without sacrificing calories is awesome, and they are loaded with fiber (especially rasp and black).

When to Eat: as a side with a meal, or in plain yogurt to add flavor. Flavored yogurts are loaded with crap sugar. Instead, buy plain, and blend in some fresh berries. This adds a ton of flavor, and fractions of the sugar. If you are having berries as a snack during a hunger pang, I would pair up with a protein source too – to help with fullness.

5) Beans

Beans are the long lost and forgotten carbohydrate of the western world. A great majority of the world lives off of beans and rice, yet we tend to reach for processed “healthy” garbage like rice-cakes when we are hungry. No need. Beans can fill a carb and protein void quickly and with tons of health benefit. You can buy beans super cheap – especially dried beans – and they last forever. A half cup of black beans – and most other beans at that – contains 20 grams of carbs (8 of which are fiber) and 8 grams of protein.

When to Eat: Add canned, rinsed beans to your eggs in the morning as a great carb source. Add beans to the side dish of any meal – you can replace your bread based carb. Or try making an awesome black bean salad to use as a side dish paired with a good meat protein source.

Awesome Black Bean Salad
Servings: 8
Total Time: 20 Minutes
img_1033

Ingredients

  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ear fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients  in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Cals Per Serving: 212 – Carbs 31g, Protein 10g, Fat 6g

These are my 5 personal favorite staples to always keep on hand for crunch times or when you aren’t feeling like preparing something extravagant but also want to stay on track with your eating plan.

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How to Survive a Long Weekend Food Fest, and Still Enjoy Yourself

Overview:

  • Portions still matter, calories still matter
  • Maintain healthy eating patterns
  • Be active, however you can
  • Return to your routine as soon as the trip is over
  • Enjoy your vacation guilt free

Reuben Sandwich with fries, authentic Mexican fajitas + 20 oz. margarita, Denny’s Grand Slam* and Gino’s East – Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza. (*The Grand Slam was custom, more about this later*)

Rueben...

Rueben…

What do all these foods have in common?

 

I consumed them all this past weekend on my road trip to Cedar Point (the rollercoaster capital of the world) with my lovely fiancée, Amanda. You know what also rocks? After just one day of being back, my weight was right back to where it was before I left. (I’m not a huge fan of the scale, but I weighed myself purposely before the trip because I wanted to prove this point)

Fajitas...

Fajitas…

Now before you think I am trying to rub it in your face and brag about how much crap I ate, let me make it perfectly clear that I sorta am. That may sound harsh, but at the same time I want it to. I want to get rid of this notion that you have to starve yourself, forgo enjoying foods that you want to enjoy, and make all these terrible sacrifices while going on what is supposed to be a fun, and enjoyable vacation.

This being said I also want to make two very clear points:

  1. I am not overweight, obese, or really trying to lose weight right now. However, I do not want to gain weight either with my wedding coming up in 5 months (HOLY S#!T)
  2. I realize how hard it is to lose weight, I know that it is not easy, and I know this post may come off as offensive to people who really struggle with their weight. I work with people every day who struggle with their weight and body image. I was once there. I was once 260 lbs. (45 more than I am now) and I lost it and kept it off now for over 6 years.

20 oz...

20 oz…

In no way do I mean to offend, rather, I want to help people regain control of their lives without obsessing over food while trying to enjoy their lives.

Now, how the hell did I consume this food, along with riding in a car for 14 hours over the weekend, and not gain a single fraction of a pound? This is where the magic happens…

First off, go back to the word: vacation. This should be a time of enjoyment, relaxation and plenty of fun. It doesn’t mean pure gluttony. The foods I listed at the start may sound like pure gluttony, however I will argue they were purely part of the vacation. The follow-up to that reasoning would be; how are those foods not gluttony?

Gino's East...pure enjoyment, only 350 cals per slice!

Gino’s East…pure enjoyment, only 350 cals per slice!

This brings me to point numero uno:

1) Maintain Portion Control and At Least Match Calorie Goals

Yes I ate some less than “healthy” foods, but no I did not eat ONLY those foods nor did I eat ridiculous quantities of those foods. Here are the quantities of the foods I ate:

  • The whole reuben sandwich, half the fries, water for beverage
  • The entire plate of fajitas, and the 20 oz. margarita, water for beverage (this was the day we spent at the park, in which I tracked over 16000 steps, and had a tiny sandwich for lunch to avoid puking all over my fellow riders)
  • A build your own Grand Slam (2 eggs, 2 egg whites, 2 chicken sausages, and whole wheat pancakes) coffee as beverage
  • 2 slices of Ginos East deep dish

All of these meals (except the fajitas) were right around 700 calories, which for me, is my goal per meal to maintain my current weight. Yes, they weren’t very nutritious, but calorically they were “controlled” and consistent with my caloric intakes prior to the trip. I could have easily ordered a full Grand Slam or had a third slice of pie – making these meals closer to 1200 calories each.

"Healthified" Grand Slam

“Healthified” Grand Slam

This is where mindful eating can be huge. Slow down, and listen to your body. Eat until you are satisfied, but not bursting at the seams.

If you have NO CLUE how to guesstimate your calories, use an app like MyFitnessPal to check out your meal options BEFORE ordering them.

You can even use the strategy with fast food joint. Yes they aren’t optimal, but it also doesn’t mean you need to pound 1500 calories in one meal. Do your research BEFORE you eat it, or plan out a cute car full of healthy meals and snacks, like my good friend and fellow RD, Jen, suggests here on her awesome blog.

*All other meals on the trip were very light, because I knew we would be going on rides, or eating hardy later in the day.

2) Maintain normal eating patterns

I am not a big snacker throughout the day. If I do snack, it is usually a protein shake or another source of protein and maybe a little healthy fat. Therefore, the only snack we brought in the car for the drive was beef jerky. The big goal again is to maintain some consistency.

People tend to go crazy with snacks in the car, why, I have no clue. You are literally setting yourself up for boredom eating. Car rides suck, especially when you have nothing but flat ass northern Indiana and Ohio to drive through.

jack.links_.beef_.jerky_

If I would have brought M&M’s, sodas, chips, trail mix, etc. I can guarantee I would have pounded those foods like nothing. Only bring snacks if you are a snacker, and you know you snack responsibly. If so, only pack portions that you normally would eat so you can’t devour an entire bag of almonds in one sitting (almonds are healthy, but are still easy to over consume)

3) Physical Activity is a MUST

Notice I didn’t say exercise here. It doesn’t have to be an actual workout, but move around when you have the chance. Go explore the local areas. Find some state parks that are close by and walk, climb and hike them. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, then you may have to get a little more creative, but just don’t sit around all day. Find something of interest and go walk around. A museum, art gallery, shopping mall, anything to get you moving after sitting in a car or on a plane all day.

Lake Erie shore, precious.

Lake Erie shore, precious.

Every bit matters.

As I stated earlier, we got about 16000 steps in while at Cedar Point. The night before, we went up to Johnson’s Island and walked around the Lake Erie shore line, and checked out the area. As soon as we got back from our trip, I got in a quick bodyweight and band workout while Amanda went for a run.

It was just returning to the norm. Which brings me to my final point:

4) The SECOND Vacation is Over, Get Back to Your Routine

This is assuming you already have a good routine in place. You don’t need to go on some detox, or starve yourself, or workout for 3 hours the day after. Just get back to your routine. As soon as I was unpacked I was itching to workout (or maybe it was that I hadn’t showered yet…) It felt great to get a workout in as soon as I could.

Normal Breakfast

Normal Breakfast

Standard Lunch

Standard Lunch


Typical Dinner

Typical Dinner

Then the next morning I started my day off with my usual workout day breakfast, followed up with a standard lunch and dinner. No big deal.

If there were one word to sum up the process here it would be: consistency.

Anyone who takes their health seriously needs consistency throughout it. From your meals, to your workouts, to your sleeping patterns. Consistency is huge.

On the flip side, anyone who takes their LIFE seriously, also needs to know how to enjoy it, guilt free, knowing that they will return to their consistent patterns as soon as the vacation is over.

All Cholesterol is Not Created Equal: A Review (Summary) of Egg Consumption and Heart Health

This is something I have been waiting for for a long time. A review article, published by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, looking at egg consumption and finally getting with the times on egg/cholesterol/heart disease research. Without further adieu, here are some of the main points, as highlighted by yours truly:

All Cholesterol Is Not Created Equal: A Review of Egg Consumption and Heart Health.

Clayton, Z. and Fusco. E.  SCAN’S PULSE. Spring 2015, Vol 34. No.2

In several recent studies, egg consumption and thus higher intakes of cholesterol than previously recommended, NO relationships to serum cholesterol, all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, or angina has been observed. The original cholesterol recommendations (less than 300mg/day – and one egg yolk contains 185-265mg) were based off of a popular study known as Framingham Study (1961) which showed that high SERUM, not dietary, cholesterol did lead to increased risk of  cardio vascular disease (CVD). The study then made the gutsy recommendation that dietary cholesterol be limited, although it never actually showed any link between dietary cholesterol intake and serum cholesterol levels.

“To date, no controlled dietary intervention trials have determined a link between egg consumption and CVD in individuals who are at low risk and at increased risk for CVD. Egg yolks are a fantastic source of potent anti-oxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect against lipid oxidation (one of the key contributing factors to CVD). ”

Different study findings, with the direct intake of eggs being the key variable: 

  • “…consumption of an egg-based breakfast that added 2 eggs per day to normal dietary intake for 12 weeks did not alter lipoprotein concentrations in healthy, active individuals” , “…the egg based breakfast significantly improved triglyceride concentration independent of resistance exercise”
  • “…2 eggs, 5 times per week for 14 weeks did not alter blood lipids when compared to an egg-free, calorie matched breakfast”
  • “…3 eggs per day for 30 days did not have alterations in their LDL or HDL…”

What about egg intake in people who are at increased risk for CVD?

  • “Individuals following an egg based, lower fat diet exhibited significantly decreased adiposity relative to those consuming a bagel based, low-fat diet”
  • “…when 3 whole eggs per day for 12 weeks were added to a moderate carb restricted diet in overweight/obese adult men, no difference in LDL was observed, whereas sig. increase in HDL occurred relative to a cholesterol free egg substitute”
  • “…the addition of whole eggs to a moderate carb restriction (25-30% energy) was applied, producing a significant increase in HDL, along with decreases in triglycerides, oxidized LDL and VLDL in individuals with Metabolic Syndrome”
  • …” individuals consuming whole eggs have significantly decreased tumor necrosis factor, and C-Reactive protein – relative to individuals consuming a cholesterol free substitute.”

The final take away, directly from the article:

“…it is becoming clear that eggs do not place healthy or diseased individuals at increased risk for CVD, and they may ultimately serve to decrease disease risk.”

My take away:

As always, there may be exceptions to these studies, and some people (~10%) have been deemed hyper-responders when it comes to dietary cholesterol. It is always best to check with your doctor, and make sure they are constantly monitoring your cholesterol levels, especially your small particle LDL. Also, by just adding eggs to your diet, and not changing anything else, you may still not have the benefits. Example – if you add 3 eggs to your diet, but still eat sugary cereals, bagels, muffins, and other highly processed carbohydrates on a constant basis, you won’t benefit from just adding eggs. Also, still keep overall calories in mind, as a calorie deficit is still needed to lead to weight loss!

Lastly, here is my breakfast, almost every single morning:

IMG_1708

3 eggs, 3 turkey sausage links, 1/2 red pepper, slice of onion, 3 mushrooms – sautéed in coconut oil

1 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup blackberries

410 calories, 25g carbs, 21g fat, 34g protein, 8g fiber

SNAP Challenge – Day 5: Breakfast

For BFast today I went with a little more creativity and made a 1 egg, 3 egg white omelet with 3/4 cup mixed veggies and 1/4 cup cottage cheese. 1/2 cup dry oats with 1/2 banana. The omelet was pretty simple to make, just sautéed up the veggies, set aside. Poured the egg and whites into the pan and cooked until solid, then folded it over the veggies and half of the cottage cheese, and put the rest on top.

DSC00061Breakfast Stats:

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Calories: 398

Carbs: 51 grams

Fat: 8 grams

Protein: 34 grams

 

 

SNAP Challenge – Day 3: Breakfast

Decided to get pretty crazy and switch up my breakfast today. Went with an old classic bodybuilder-like recipe, oat pancakes. (After my 4 cups of water of course)

2 eggs, 2 egg whites, 3/4 cup oats, 1 T cottage cheese, 1 banana, dash of cinnamon – blend and fry. 

Blend all ingredients

Blend all ingredients

Make like pancakes...

Make like pancakes…

5 stack of 4-5" pancakes

5 stack of 4-5″ pancakes

First things first, you could eat these with sugar free syrup – 0 calories. I decided to try them plain…then added the syrup.

Breakfast Stats:

Prep Time: 8 minutes (would’ve been much shorter if I hada griddle or a bigger pan, I only could make one pancake at a time.)

Calories: 508 (this was too high and I could barely finish the meal, next time id take one egg out, use half a banana and only 1/2 cup of oats)

Carbs: 69 grams

Fat: 13 grams

Protein: 33 grams

As I just stated, this was TOO MUCH food! I won’t be needing a snack between now and lunch, thats for sure. If I made the previously stated changes, it only would have been 311 calories, much more feasible for a smaller person or someone trying to lose weight.  By the end of writing this, I’ve actually acquired a wee bit of a stomach ache…food coma commence…

SNAP Challenge – Day 1 Breakfast

Woke up this morning feeling good and ready to start this challenge. Just a quick note, this “new diet” will be a little different than what I’m used to. I typically eat very healthy, but eat a lot more to support my needs as a 23 year old male who works out pretty intensely 4 days a week with weights, plus cardio at least 5 days a week. I usually have chicken quite a bit, eat more whole eggs, more healthy fats and a protein supplement once a day. I will log this week in chronological order as best as I can.

Upon Rising:

Poured myself 4 cups of water. This is a great way to start your day, even before eating or drinking any morning coffee. It jump starts your metabolism and also fills your stomach up a little bit to help with satiety, or fullness. It also has been argued as a good way to “cleanse” the body from the previous day, and get things flushed through your organs.

4 Cups of Water - ASAP

4 Cups of Water – ASAP

I drank this while checking emails and other things on my computer.

Breakfast:

The first thing I did for breakfast was cut up my peppers and onion for my eggs. I also started heating a pan with 1 Tbsp of olive oil on medium heat.

Peppers & Onion

Peppers & Onion

These vegetables are rich in many great vitamins and other phytonutrients. After dicing them, it came out to equal EXACTLY one cup of veggies (pretty good estimation I must say).

1 Cup of Red, Green peppers and onion

1 Cup of Red, Green peppers and onion

I then added these to the pan and sautéed them for about a minute. While this was happening, I measured out and poured 1/2 cup oats into a microwavable container along with 1 cup of water, and microwaved for 2.5 minutes.

Sautéing the veggies

Sautéing the veggies

While the oats were cooking, I added one whole egg, and 3 egg whites to the veggies, scrambled and cooked until done. After the oats were done, I sliced up 1/2 banana and added it to the oats. This gave the oats some natural sweetness. I wrapped the rest of the banana in saran wrap and put it in the fridge for later.

Along with breakfast, I had another 4 cups of water.

1/2 cup dry oats, 1/2 medium banana

1/2 cup dry oats, 1/2 medium banana

1 whole egg, 3 Egg whites + veggies

1 whole egg, 3 Egg whites + veggies

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast Stats:

Total Prep Time: 6 minutes

Nutrients:

Calories: 366

Carbs: 49 grams

Fat: 8 grams

Protein: 29 grams

Sodium: 241 milligrams

Fiber: 8 grams

After Breakfast:

After breakfast, I diced up the rest of the peppers and half of the onion, and placed them in freezer bags. This will save time for when I use them in other meals, and keep them fresh in the freezer.

            Diced veggies

Diced veggies

     Freezer bags of veggies

Freezer bags of veggies

Start Your Day Right! With a Great Breakfast!

It has always been said, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” This couldn’t be more true! After waking, your body has essentially been in a fasted state all night long (assuming you aren’t staying up late and snacking!) The best thing you can do is to feed your body with some great nutrients and first thing in the morning. This is a prime window of opportunity to re-fuel and start your day off on the right foot.

Doing breakfast the right way can be a little daunting at first, and may seem to take too much time. How easy is it to throw some Eggo Waffles in the toaster or reach for that morning doughnut? This is the wrong idea. As stated earlier, your body has been in “fasting” mode for hopefully at least 7 hours of sleep, plus the time since you last at dinner. The worst thing you can do is to pump it full of fats and sugars! This will keep your metabolism down, start the fat storage process up, and make you hungry in another hour or so.

Doughnuts, Bacon, Greasy Sausage, Poptarts, Etc…

One of the best foods you can eat for breakfast (and all day) is the whole egg. Eating eggs for breakfast has been linked to feeling fuller throughout the day, causing you to eat less. The article and study can be found here: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Breakfast-eggs-offer-better-protein-satiety-benefits-Study . One thing to be careful of is the amount of whole eggs you eat in a day. They are higher in saturated fat and cholesterol, but one or two whole eggs per day is perfectly fine. Each egg is packed with protein, minerals, and some fat. Most of the protein comes from the egg whites, so if you want more protein to boost your satiety (fullness levels) add in some egg whites as well!

The next thing to consider is vegetables! Whether they are in an omelet, or just scrambled in the eggs, you can never EVER get enough veggies. Just ignore the small amount of calories that vegetables pack because they will never add up to much, especially on your waistline. Vegetables are mostly made of fibrous carbs and loaded with vitamins and minerals. They also add a TON of volume to your meal, which in turn will fill up your stomach faster.

Fresh veggies may take a while in the morning to chop and cook up. So, if you are pressed for time, try this little trick my father taught me. Over the weekend, or the night before, whenever you have some spare time, chop up the vegetables you wish to add to your eggs, pat them dry, and put them all in a freezer bag or Tupperware container. This works great if you buy in bulk and are worried about them going bad. You will be set for the week! Now in the morning, throw some healthy oil in a frying pan (olive or canola works best). Heat the oil on medium for about 3 minutes, then add your pre-chopped frozen veggies to the pan. This will quickly thaw them and they will be good as fresh. After they have sauteed for a bit, add your eggs right to the pan and either let them sit for an omelet, or mix them up for a scrambler. Here is the exact breakfast I made this morning:

1) Heat 1T Canola oil in a large 10″ skillet for 3 min.

2) Add frozen veggies (1/2 c Red Pepper, 2T onion, 1/3c mushrooms, 1/2 of a small zucchini)

Vegetables thawed, and sizzling!

3) Cook until thawed and “sizzling”

4) Add 2 whole eggs, and 3 egg whites, scramble.

5) Plate, top with 1/4 of an avocado, chopped, and 1T of homemade green salsa.

All of this food adds up to only:

320 calories, 12g of Carbs, 15g Fat (mostly healthy fat from the avocado), and 32g of Protein! On top of that, it packs about 5g of Fiber and NO SUGAR! And, it only took me 8 minutes to make!

Other vegetables I recommend trying are: green peppers, spinach, asparagus, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, chopped kale, or any other of your favorites!