Winter Detox

I don’t know about you but I’m in serious need of a detox. I practice flexible dieting – mostly clean eating with some treats thrown in the mix. However, lately I’ve been WAY too flexible. So, I’ve decided enough is enough. Let’s get 2018 started off right! Beginning this Monday, January 15, I will be doing a 30-day winter detox. That word “detox” often scares people. Hell…it scares me too. I don’t believe in juicing or following any type of extreme diet. History has taught me that you will do much more harm than good by following any type of prolonged elimination. This detox is just a way to get our bodies and minds back on track. For 30-days we will be following a strictly clean, protein-heavy diet. No cheat/treat days/meals. Now, I do realize Superbowl Sunday falls in the midst of this. I will likely be participating so I will personally be extending my own detox a few days. Anyone following along can bring their own food to the party or do as I will. I’ve compiled a list to take shopping this weekend. We will be eating 3 meals and two snacks per day (a total of 5 “meals”). I will post everything I eat on here and on MyFitnessPal for you guys to see. If there is something you enjoy and you don’t see it on this list, please feel free to reach out! Also important to note, you do not have to purchase everything you see. This is just a list of compliant foods for the 30-day detox program. You can find these foods at any local supermarket.

  • Oats (quick, old fashioned, or steel cut – none of that pre-made, packaged garbage)
  • Plain, greek yogurt
  • Eggs/egg whites
  • Tuna (solid white, preferred. Always packed in water, not oil!)
  • Brown Rice
  • Low carb wraps (Trader Joe’s)
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers (English or regular)
  • Tomatoes
  • Chickpeas, black beans, or any beans you’d like (make sure they aren’t packed in oil or soaked in some sauce)
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potato
  • Quinoa
  • Chicken or turkey breast
  • Ground Turkey or chicken
  • Steak or ground beef – whichever cut you like…just make sure it’s very lean!
  • Peppers
  • Butternut squash
  • Veggies (kale, asparagus, string beans, zucchini, brussels, broccoli, cauliflower, etc)
  • Tilapia, salmon, or whatever fish you prefer
  • Almonds, cashews
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Seltzer (plain or flavored)
  • Brown rice cakes (Trader Joe’s sells a good one!)
  • Edamame
  • Protein pasta (Banza is a really good one and easy to find)
  • Unsweetened cashew, coconut, or almond milk (for shakes and soups)

**Not listed here are my kitchen staples (balsamic vinegar, cooking spray/oil, hot sauce, mustard, spices, etc.) as well as my protein powder /BCAAs.**

Water – make sure you are drinking 8-10 glasses (or 80-100oz) of water per day!

Protein Bars – You want to look for bars high in protein and low in sugar. You also want to be careful with carbs. Here’s a tip – look at the fiber then subtract from your carbs. That produces net carbs, which you should aim to always be under 10. Quest bars are excellent for this. RX bars have a higher carb count but have minimal and very clean ingredients. Depending on what you are eating throughout the day, this can be another good option. Other good options include No Cow & Paleo bars. If there is a brand that you prefer and you think will fit the criteria, send to me & I will let you know if it can be added

Fruit – this is tricky. A lot of fruits are extremely high in sugar and while it is always better than eating a cookie or candy, you still need to be mindful. They do contain a lot of vitamins and minerals so we will keep them on. For the next 30-days, stick with berries such as blueberries and raspberries. You can also use lemons or limes for your water. I would steer clear of grapes, apples, and melons for now. Bananas are loaded with sugar and carbs but are excellent before or after a workout. For that reason, I will allow bananas on the plan if you eat them sparingly…and only around an intense workout.

Coffee – If you know me, you know I rarely am seen without a cup of coffee in hand. I’ve done diets where it’s forbidden…and I have yet to figure out why. Of course, like most things, too much caffeine is not good. However, in moderation it’s fine. Now…what you put into your coffee may be another story. I always put almond milk in mine. Sometimes I get fancy and buy coffee creamer- which is eyeballed to the serving size. I don’t like super sweet coffee so that’s good enough for me. I recommend the same for all of you. NO SUGAR ADDED for the next 30 days. If you’re usual order is light & sweet you will have to adjust. Use skim milk and stevia (or Splenda if, like me, you hate stevia). Be careful to not use too much of those sweeteners! If you’re going to use creamers, measure it out. We often put way more than we think! You can also buy the creamers pre-portioned in small cups, also making them portable!

I will be posting some recipes and some of the foods I like on here tomorrow. Check out my Instagram for even more info – @thefight2befit

Let’s work!!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

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Spicy Chickpeas & Hummus Recipe

What you’ll need:

  • One 14 oz. can chickpeas (preferably not in oil), rinsed and drained
  • Paprika
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

For the hummus:

  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Add chickpeas to a pan and toast on medium heat until liquid dissolves. Do not add oil or anything besides chickpeas to the pan!
  2. Sprinkle paprika to cover the chickpeas. Add crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  3. Once liquid dissolves, remove chickpeas from heat and let cool.


To make the hummus:

  1. In a blender (or magic bullet) add a tablespoon each of lemon juice and olive oil.
  2. Add half of the chickpeas (or all if using a blender not bullet), a pinch of salt, and a 3-count of water.
  3. Blend completely.
  4. If using a bullet, add the remaining chickpeas and another 2-count of water. Blend. *NoteYou may want to add a little more salt and red pepper flakes at this point, according to individual taste.*
  5. Sprinkle paprika on top and cover. Refrigerate for 3 hours or more and enjoy!


Happy snacking!!

-Gina

A Healthy & Happy End to Summer

Image result for end of summer bbqSummer’s (sadly) coming to a close. I’m sure by now you think you have it all figured out and can throw the best BBQ party anyone has ever been to. However, I’m willing to bet there are many things you haven’t even thought of when it comes to hosting a healthy feast for your family & friends. In this post, I’ll give you some of my tips as well as some healthy ideas to end the summer of 2016 with a bang! Let’s get started!

One of my favorite ways to cook is on the grill. I wish that I lived in a climate that made this possible year-round but since I don’t right now…I’m stuck with it being summer only. Grilling gives everything such amazing flavor and it’s super easy for prep and clean-up. When people think of BBQ, they typically think of burgers and hot dogs BUT there are so many more options! You can make chicken, turkey burgers, vegetables, fish…virtually anything your heart desires. You can also use this BBQ time as meal prep for your week ahead. Grill some extra meats and you will be set for the entire week! The best advice I can give anyone when preparing for a Labor Day BBQ…or any get together – spend a little extra time planning the menu. Think of your guests and what they like…but also think of healthy options. Make your list, check local sales, and head to the store for those items. By being a little prepared, you will end up being a lot less stressed and your entire event will run much smoother.

In addition to the grill, you will need to think of snacks. One great option to pair with platters of chips, pretzels, & crudités is Chobani Mezé Dip™. Mezé Dips™ are made from Greek yogurt and real vegetables with only natural, non-GMO ingredients and no artificial flavors or preservatives. They come in flavors such as Roasted Red Pepper, Chili Lime, Three Pepper Salsa, and Smoked Onion Parmesan. Best of all, they are low in calories and good for you! Try that instead of traditional dip or hummus this weekend 🙂

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As far as side dishes go, have your guests bring something they love. This will keep everyone involved and cut down on your own prep time…and expenses.

Now then…the drinks. I’ve written about this in a previous post however this is such a common diet buster at get-togethers…it’s worth mentioning again. You have to be smart about it. Enjoy a light beer or skinny cocktail but save the calories for the delicious food instead. Trust me, you won’t regret that choice!

Lastly, and my least favorite – cleaning up. The best part of a BBQ party is how low maintenance it all really is. Head to your local Dollar Tree or dollar store and stock up on paper goods – tablecloth, napkins, plates, utensils, cups – get it all. While you’re there, get a few bowls and aluminum tins as well. When the party is over, you can throw everything away!! The only clean up required will be your grill (and putting away any leftovers, of course).

No matter where you go or what you do this weekend, make sure to enjoy every second. Life is too short to spend it unhappy. Stay safe  & stay healthy everyone!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Healthy Eating On-the-Go

One of the most common questions that I’m asked is about eating on the go. What do you do when home cooked food isn’t an option? Let’s face it – life gets busy and there isn’t always time to meal prep. So, I thought I would shed some light on this topic by offering some of my favorite places to go…as well as some menu suggestions. We will start with lunch, since that tends to be the meal that gives people the most trouble. Let’s get started!

The first thing I want to get out of the way…Fast food can ACTUALLY be healthy. Yes…you read that right. I can’t believe I wrote that myself. The fact is that our budgets do not always allow for $10 salads or fancypants meals…but we still need to eat! Healthy options are available everywhere…you just have to look. With that out of the way, let’s go through some of my favorite places 🙂

Wendy’s – I have always loved their salads. Over the years, I stopped eating them but out of desperation I had one this week…and now I don’t know why I ever stopped. I had the Power Mediterranean and it was packed with protein and tons of healthy eats. Best part? It only cost $7!! That meal kept me full for hours and didn’t break the bank.

They also have other salads available, which do not contain as much protein but are equally good options.

Chick-Fil-A – I love me some Chick-Fil-A. Their meat is pure chicken and is always cooked fresh. I will be honest here and say that every time I go, I tend get the same meal – 8 piece chicken nuggets (not the grilled kind) with waffle fries and a sweet tea.

I know…not exactly a dieter’s delight. However, I don’t eat it often so I allow myself the treat when I do go. If this is what is convenient to you and you go more often, opt instead for one of their salads or grilled chicken options…and avoid the shakes & sweet tea altogether.

Moe’s/Chipotle/Salsa Fresca – This is by far one of the best options. The only rule – get a bowl…not burrito. Tell them to only put half the portion of rice (brown, if possible). Load up on veggies and meat. Stay away from the sour cream, add only a sprinkle of cheese and you are golden.

You can also get a salad and load it up with meat & veggies, which is equally good.

Boston Market – Another amazing option. Get the 1/4 white meal and add veggies as one of (or both) of your sides.

You can have any potatoes…just skip the gravy…and the cornbread. They put it on my plate above even though I refused it. However I didn’t eat it. I’ve had good cornbread…this isn’t it for me. However, if it is for you, then by all means enjoy it…just skip the potatoes.

Deli/Subway – When going to Subway you can get a 6-inch sub, have them scoop the middle of the bread out and get anything your heart desires. They don’t put a lot of meat or cheese anyway so anything you get will be ok. Delis can be a little more tricky. I would opt for a salad or a wrap with grilled chicken or sliced turkey. Watch your dressing and condiment selections but otherwise it should be good to go.

Diner – Diners are great for the simple fact they have HUGE menus. There are so many options to choose from and so many variations you can make.

Some suggestions: chicken souvaki (sauce on the side and NO fries), salads with grilled chicken (dressing on the side), or a turkey burger without a bun or fries. The list goes on and on. Another idea is to get breakfast for any meal. You can get an egg whites any way you like. The only thing you have to watch is your sides with this, since they definitely do not cook the eggs in a healthy way…meaning they load the griddle up with butter. Be cautious and use your judgment.

Chinese Takeout – Asian food can be really healthy if you do it the smart way. It may not look as appealing but it does taste good. Order your food steamed with brown rice (ie: chicken and string beans or broccoli) and get the sauce of your choice on the side. You will notice that if you spoon the sauce onto the food, you are using A  LOT less and therefore consuming at least half of the usual calories. Another good option – sushi. You have to watch the kind you get…and I would ask for brown rice instead of white, if possible…but it is definitely one of the better options on the menu.

Muscle Maker Grill – I LOVE THIS PLACE! There isn’t anything on the menu that I would advise against.

This place is designed for healthy eating and while it may not be budget friendly, is definitely worth the extra cash. If it’s local to you, definitely give it a shot!

I hope this helps just a little bit! When all else fails, find a salad or grilled chicken option wherever you are. You can never go wrong when choosing either of those. Just watch for your sides and condiments/dressing and you will be just fine!

For questions on this or any of my personal training/nutritional counseling specials, email me at TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Until next week, stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

 

 

Cinco de Mayo – The Healthy Way

Happy Cinco de Mayo!! Anyone who knows me knows just how much I LOVE Mexican food…and margaritas! Many people believe that when you are trying to lose weight or keep your diet in check you can’t enjoy that stuff…but you can!!

I always preach that it’s better to satisfy a craving and be done rather than deprive yourself…and ultimately binge later. The basics are to avoid the heavy sauces, sour cream, overloading on cheese, and fried menu items. Order guacamole, if possible, as it’s a very healthy addition to your meal. Here are some more tips for dining out tonight:

  • Order fajitas! They contain lots of meat and veggies – you can’t go wrong! Where things tend to go haywire is with the rice, beans, and everything else. Order steak, fish, or chicken and make sure to ask for corn tortillas. Most places have that option nowadays with so many suffering from gluten allergies. The corn tortillas are always smaller and therefore will be somewhat better. Now, the other things. DO not eat the refried beans. If you really want beans, ask for black instead. And as far as the rice…..eat a spoon of it and be done. Trust me when I tell you, on Cinco de Mayo the rice is almost always the worst part of the meal….anywhere you go. Add the pico in and leave out the sour cream…there are better ways to spend those calories.
  • Chips. This gets it’s own category. I know how delicious it is…and after waiting who knows how long for a table tonight you will be hungry. Have a few (and I mean a few) and be done. If you know you won’t be able to only eat a couple of chips, tell the waiter you don’t want them on the table. That way, the temptation isn’t even there!
  • Burritos – This is an easy one guys. Make it a bowl. If you can sub out the regular “mexican” rice for brown…do that. Be smart about the type of burrito you choose, and if possible, create your own. It will contain everything you want and be guilt-free.
  • Tacos – This is another great option. If you don’t want to leave smelling like a restaurant (as fajitas tend to do) go with this. Ask for the corn tortillas and you’re good to go. Remember – no refried beans on the side!
  • Taco salad – Don’t….just don’t. This always comes in an enormous FRIED shell. They load it with lettuce but they also put tons of cheese and other nonsense that you shouldn’t bother with.for all the calories in this, you may as well have something good.
  • MARGARITAS!!!! I get asked this question by clients and friends all the time – Can we still have a drink when we go out?? The answer is yes. After all, who goes out on Cinco de Mayo and doesn’t?! It’s about moderation. If you like how regular margaritas taste and prefer it not to be so strong, order it as is and only have one. Better yet? Order the skinny margarita. It has half the calories and will usually be stronger. I don’t like mine sweet so I tell them to leave out the agave and replace it with seltzer. That option is even better since seltzer has no calories at all…so the margarita will be even less.

If you prefer a more subdued evening, there are many delicious and easy to make options for you at home. I’ve done Cinco at home and it’s definitely the easiest & healthiest way to go. The atmosphere isn’t the same but you can make it to your own taste and make it macro friendly. You can make tacos or your own burrito bowls from the comfort of your own kitchen and by using your own ingredients, you can tailor it to your diet specifications. You can even make a margarita at home! If you don’t want to crack open a ready-made (and quite delicious) SkinnyGirl margarita, you can make it by adding tequila, triple sec, seltzer, and a splash of lime juice. Boom.

Whatever you choose to do tonight, make sure you enjoy it. There is nothing worse than having amazing food and a great time with friends and loved ones…only to have it squashed by the food noise & all the guilt that accompanies it. Allow yourself a night out & try to make smart choices. And you know what…if you slip up tonight and have one too many drinks or decide to get something more fattening to eat…SO WHAT?! It’s one meal and one night! Get back on your grind tomorrow morning and continue through the weekend. Life is so much more than rock hard abs every single day – learn to love this new healthier lifestyle and trust me….it will be easy to stick to.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Summertime Shred Recipes

The first week of my Summertime Shred is in the books!! While I may be loosely following a workout plan from Bodybuilding.com, I decided to create my own meal plan for this 6-week shred. After the last shred I did in 2014, I couldn’t deal with the crazy restrictions. No more poverty macros and minimal calories for this girl! I created a flexible diet plan which is high in protein and doesn’t leave me hungry every night. I’ve also come up with a few amazing recipes that are sure to jazz up even the strictest diet. Whether you are following along with my shred or just looking for some healthy recipes, these will satisfy even your toughest critic. Best of all? You can make them all in 30 minutes or less! Check them out and let me know what you think!

 

Chili-Lime Chicken Burgers

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*This recipe can be used for tilapia as well. Just coat the fish with lime juice first then add seasonings before placing in a grill pan.*

  • 1 pound/package of ground chicken (I use Perdue)
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or more if you prefer things spicier)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • parsley, optional
  1. Combine spices and ground chicken together. Divide meat into 4 parts  and create burger patties.
  2. Lightly coat the bottom of a grill pan with olive oil and heat to medium high. Place burgers in pan.
  3. Cook each side until brown (approx 5-8 min per side), then lower heat to medium and cover.
  4. Continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
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Chili-Lime Tilapia

Butternut Squash Soup

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*This recipe is for 1 serving…and is absolutely perfect for a quick meal! I roast the squash ahead of time using a little cinnamon and black pepper. I place in a container and portion it out for the week. However, if you used the entire batch, it would serve at least 4. You will have to add more liquid, accordingly.*

  • 1 cup of cut butternut squash (I use Trader Joe’s pre-cut variety)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened cashew or coconut milk
  1. In a blender (or magic bullet), combine squash and 1/2 cup of milk. Blend until creamy.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine blended squash with remaining milk. Heat on medium and stir. Continue to cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until heated through.
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Roasted Butternut Squash

 

Turkey Chili

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*I’ve posted this before, but it’s so good that it’s worth posting again 🙂 I serve mine over brown rice but you can enjoy a nice, hearty bowl of this chili without the rice and it will taste just as good!*

  • 1 pound/package of ground turkey
  • 1/2 can of diced tomatoes (approx. 7 oz)
  • 1/4 cup of frozen bell pepper strips
  • chili powder
  • parsley
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  1. In a large saucepan with a little olive oil (to coat the bottom of pan), combine turkey and spices. Cook on medium high heat and brown evenly.
  2. Add diced tomatoes & peppers as well as hot sauce, if you choose. Add a 1/4 cup of water and lower heat to simmer.
  3. Cover & continue to cook for approximately 20 minutes. Serve over brown rice (optional) and top with your favorite cheese.

 

Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

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*Serves 1 – to serve more, use additional potatoes.*

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled
  • cinnamon/black pepper, to taste
  1. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut sweet potato length-wise into strips. Place strips on cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon and pepper. Drizzle olive oil on top.
  3. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

 

Have suggestions for what I should cook up next? Email me at TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com and let me know!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

Game Day Essentials

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One of the hardest things about being on a weight loss journey is learning to make healthy choices with food. Whether it’s a simple dinner at a restaurant or a celebration it can be really hard to make smart choices with so many temptations in front of you. It can be especially hard while watching sporting events. I was reminded of just this with the Superbowl this weekend. I read somewhere that the average person consumes 5,000 calories during the big game. 5,000. That’s insane! We are all working way too hard on our fitness and/or health goals for that nonsense. I have come up with several healthy alternatives to typical Superbowl snacks. Try them out and let me know what you think!

Buffalo Chicken:  You can’t really have a Superbowl party or watch any sports without buffalo chicken. The normal version is deep fried chicken wings/tenders. Well…not mine. I have two different ways to give the same feel…with a fraction of the calories.

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For the wings, I marinate the wings in the sauce early in the day. Then about 1-2 hours before kickoff I get them going in an oven on 375. I take care to flip often so they are evenly cooked. Then about 30 minutes before I take them out I turn the oven up to 450 and let them crisp up. The wings pictured are BBQ and Buffalo flavored. I also make boneless version of this. I marinate the chicken in buffalo sauce then using a regular grill pan, I cook the chicken breast on the stove. Once it’s cooked, I pour a little more sauce on top before serving. The key is also to making your own buffalo sauce. Hot sauce contains a lot of sodium so the key is to marinate the chicken and let the excess drip off. I also don’t put a lot of butter in my sauce. This weekend, I used a butter alternative but if that is not available to you, use one pat of the real deal and that’s it. Butter is only used to make the sauce coat the chicken better anyway. Add pepper, parsley, and other seasonings to your taste thereafter.

Mac N Cheese: I LOVE mac n cheese but let’s be honest – it’s not the best for the waistline. Now, all pasta will contain the carbs but I have found a way to make the cheese sauce a lot less fattening.

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I use whole wheat pasta to start then in a separate pot I combine fat free american cheese and a 1/4 cup of unsweetened cashew milk. Yes, cashew milk. I have become a HUGE fan of that stuff…it is super creamy and I swear it makes everything taste better. I also mixed in a sprinkle of shredded cheese to thicken it up a bit, rather than using flour, and I added a little black pepper and parsley. The result was incredible!

Dips: This may be one of the biggest killers at a party. You just mindlessly dip the assortment of snacks as you watch the game…ignoring the crazy amount of calories consumed. You can make your own dip by subbing out the sour cream for Greek yogurt…or you can avoid it altogether, as I did. I made hummus and guacamole. Both contain the essential good fat and taste great.

Next time you host a party or attend a sporting event, do your best to make healthy choices. While it’s okay to indulge from time to time, it’s important to not go so far overboard that you ruin all of your hard work. There are always better alternatives available so it’s up to you to be strong and actually take them. Remember your goals and keep your eye on the prize – it will make the decision to be healthy that much easier.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com