Avocado Chicken Salad

 

Avocado Chicken Salad

Nutrition Facts: Avocado chicken Salad

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. of Chicken Breast
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/4 Cup of Corn
  • 1/2 an Onion
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • Cilantro
  • Cayenne Powder

*Makes 3 servings

As always, adapt ingredients to your own preferences.

Directions:

  1. Cook chicken breast and chop into chicken salad form.
  2. Combine avocado and lime then mash up. Add to chicken.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Eat.

This goes well on 100% whole wheat bread for a filling sandwich.

 

Spinach and Quinoa Dish

Quinoa is a great filling alternative to rice or pasta and it gives a nice boost of protein. I threw the quinoa together with a bunch of other ingredients and this was the result. Enjoy ūüôā

Spinach and Quinoa

Spinach and Quinoa Nutrition Facts

*The sodium intake will vary depending on which specific brands are used. Look for unsalted frozen spinach to have it lower than the one listed in the nutrition facts.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup Quinoa (cook with 3 cups of water)
  • 1 full bag of Frozen Spinach (2-3 cups)
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 6 cloves of Garlic
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 cup of Grated Parmesan
  • 1/8 cup of Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup of Liquid Egg Whites

* Serves 6

Directions:

  1. Cook Quinoa (2 cups of water for 1 cup of quinoa). Put in pot and bring to boil, them put stove on low. Cook until ready (~15 minutes).
  2. Cook frozen spinach in microwave, cook according to instructions on bag.
  3. Chop onion and garlic.
  4. Put all ingredients listed in oven dish and stick in the oven for about 15 minutes at 300 F.

 

Healthy People Don’t Eat Cake For Breakfast

Modern society has a bit of a sugar problem. By a bit I mean we are a bunch of out-of-control addicts. Sugar consumption has increased exponentially as we have become more industrialized. One of the most alarming common dietary practices in our society is eating cake for breakfast. This  leads to rapid blood sugar spikes followed by a crash not too long after.

Sometimes we shamelessly eat dessert for breakfast (e.g. donuts), although we have other ways of cleverly disguising it as something that looks a little more nutritionally reasonable.

muffins Glazed-Donut

 

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waffles1 Maple Syrup on Pancakes

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Eating a healthy breakfast is especially important because it sets your course for the day. But unfortunately many people are in a rush in the morning and grab a quick meal on the fly (if they can). This often results in breakfasts high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. This will make you more inclined to make unhealthy decisions later in the day as well.

To add onto this many people will have fruit juices and/or coffee spiked with more sugar. Coffee places like Starbucks that specialize in liquid bliss that is saturated in sugar are a key source of this.

Healthy Options

While having a more substantial breakfast might add a few minutes onto your morning, it keeps you better fueled throughout the day.

I always have fruit in the morning and usually have it with either plain greek yogurt, eggs or whole gain bread with almond butter.

Typical breakfast: Greek yogurt, berries, granola and honey.

Greek yogurt, berries, granola and honey.

If chewing seems like a lot of effort at such an ungodly hour of too early to function, blending is a great way to go. Just throw some fruit, greek yogurt and juice in a blender and it will be ready before your coffee is.

¬†If you don’t eat much in the morning, make sure you have healthy snacks with you such as fruit and nuts. Otherwise you may find yourself making less than ideal choices when your appetite starts to register.

Read More:

The Effort Efficient Guide to Healthy Eating

How to Keep Your Coffee Interesting (Without Turning it Into a Liquid Cupcake)

The Basics of Blending

 

Bruschetta & Eggplant Bruschetta

The first time I tried bruschetta was while visiting Florence in 2006 when I was a freshman in high school. I was instantly obsessed and within a few bites I was already figuring out the recipe and how I was going to make it the next day. Bruschetta has remained one of my favorite foods to make, although I try to keep it as a treat since it could easily get out of hand. I recently experimented with replacing the bread with eggplant since that makes it slightly better nutritionally.

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

Bruschetta Nutrition Facts

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette (minus the ends)
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 8 oz. of mozzarella
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • oregano
  • basil
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

*Serves 8

Directions:

  1. Slice baguette into quarters (not including ends) vertically, then slice through the quarters horizontally.
  2. Chop tomatoes and garlic.
  3. Brush olive oil/lemon juice with marinating brush onto baguette.
  4. Put tomatoes, garlic and herbs on baguette.
  5. Add mozzarella on top (1 oz. per serving).
  6. Bake in oven at 350 F until mozzarella is adequately melted.

Eggplant Bruschetta

Eggplant Bruschetta

Eggplant Bruschetta Nutrition Facts

Ingredients:

  • 8 disc-like slices of eggplant
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 8 oz. of mozzarella
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • oregano
  • basil
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

*Serves 8

Directions:

  1. Slice eggplant to make 8 discs.
  2. Brush olive oil and lemon juice with marinating brush onto eggplant.
  3. Bake eggplant for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Chop tomatoes and garlic.
  5. Put tomatoes, garlic and herbs on eggplant.
  6. Add mozzarella on top (1 oz. per serving).
  7. Bake in oven at 350 F until mozzarella is adequately melted.

Do you even squat, bro?: The Importance of Strength Training Your Whole Body

There is a bit of a trend among gym rats of people who neglect their lower body in strength training. While both men and women do this, it is more visible with men because they grow muscle more easily. While the memes are extreme examples, I think there are a lot of people who will do cardio along with upper body strength exercises.  Along with lower body, the back is also neglected often.

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Strength training is very important for injury prevention. The knees and back are common areas to wear down later in life, so strengthening them would be a good idea. The legs are the largest muscles and the ones we use the most often. In addition to injury prevention, training your whole body is also important for balance, agility and not having the build of a chicken.

Cardio is not enough for the lower body because it primarily uses a different type of muscle (Type I/ aerobic) than resistance training (Type II/ anaerobic).

Recommended Exercises

 Deadlifts

Deadlift Front

Deadlift Back

Squats

Squats

Reminder:

  • Go for a weight you can just barely do 1 or 2 sets of 10 reps.
  • Make sure you wait 2-3 days before working the same muscle groups (so they can rebuild).
  • Get enough protein (at least 0.6 g/ lb of body weight)

More:

Do you even lift, bro?: An Introduction to Strength Training

The 20 Photos Prove That Skipping Leg Day is Never Okay

GymRa (source of gifs)

 

How to Be an Annoying Health Junkie

Many health junkies (including myself) like to share our enthusiasm for being healthy with others. ¬†The healthier and fitter you get, the¬†more likely your healthy lifestyle will make others feel bad. Talking about healthy foods/ exercise doesn’t annoy¬†people nearly as much when you are overweight.

The awkward thing with health is that most of these have to do with how others may perceive you rather than actually being self-righteous and judgmental. While it would be really great if people only got annoyed or offended when you were actually being mean/judgmental…. that isn’t the case. Part of it is just a matter of knowing your audience and finding how to talk about your interests without making other people feel bad. That said,¬†don’t be a self-righteous health snob.

Generally speaking, talking about healthy foods and exercise isn’t a problem.¬†It is if you get to the more analytical side of things or anything that involves or could be perceived as involving¬†judgement (even if directed at yourself) that some people get annoyed.

At the same time, you shouldn’t feel responsible when other people project their insecurities onto you. You shouldn’t feel guilty for sharing your passions and interests when you are doing so in a non-judgemental attitude. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to make healthy decisions in your life and wanting to improve yourself.

Or you can just not give a shit.

1. Analyze your food at the table: 

Is butter a carb?

For many health conscious individuals, analyzing our food is second nature. Keep your analysis to yourself and your food log. Unless someone specifically asks for your nutritional analysis, do not share it. Even if people are talking about flavor and other aspects of the food.

2. Provide justifications whenever you eat junk food.

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Chances are you are doing this because you feel insecure about making unhealthy choices and rationalizing it helps you deal with this. But others may interpret this as being judgmental towards them.

3. Only make weird healthy food when having others over for dinner.

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They may feel like they are being forced into nutritional boot camp. It’s okay to make some weird healthy stuff, but make sure there are some options within the comfort zone of your guests.

4. Be open about having fat days.

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Some people don’t like it when people who are fitter than them have fat days.

5. Be really picky and uptight while eating out.

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Unless you have an allergy or are on a diet that completely restricts certain foods (e.g. vegan), relax a little. You will regain complete control when you return to your own refrigerator.

6. Talk about how bad you’re being whenever you unleash your inner fat kid.

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Even though you are saying things in relation to what is normal to you, this may come across the wrong way when you are eating less than or equal to everyone else in the room.

7. Mention wanting to lose weight when relatively thin.

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This is okay around some people, but a lot of people will find it really annoying.

8. Try to convert the non-believers.

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There is an important difference between sharing your passion for health and pushing others to make¬†healthy choices in a “my way is the right way” manner.

9. Make people feel guilty about what they are about to eat/ are currently eating.

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Just don’t.

Superfoods

Despite what the label may lead you to believe, superfoods do not wear capes or give you magical powers (such a disappointment). Superfoods are simply highly nutritious foods that are therefore good for your health.

How Superfoods Get Their Powers

1. Identify a specific highly nutritious food.

  • Ideally you want one that is notably high in something that has a health buzz to it like omega-3s or antioxidants.
  • You want something that is high in nutrients that the average person is deficient in.
  • Look for something that is foreign and exotic (or at least sounds that way).
  • For maximum results, find a food that was grown in the local environment of ancient civilizations that rich white liberals associate with having special spiritual knowledge so you can say that culture recognized the food for its “healing properties”. (Those healing properties had nothing to do with simply fulfilling nutritional needs/ not being toxic and therefore making people healthy).

2. Find scientific research that finds an association between eating that food and having indicators of being healthy.

  • Helping people lose weight is a plus.
  • Ignore¬†all biases in research.
  • Hyperbolize results.

3. Get that food media coverage about how awesome and beneficial it is. 

  • You don’t want to do it through conventional advertisements. Do it through getting biased research sensationalized attention, making documentaries about how bad the American diet is and how awesome your food is.
  • Get popular health people in the media such as Dr. Oz to give it a thumbs up.
  • Make it all¬†about that specific food, not the diet as a whole and simply fulfilling nutritional needs.
  • Make sure people know that eating that food will solve all their problems in life and probably save the world.
  • Portray the pharmaceutical industry, fast food, anything Americans commonly¬†eat and the processed food industry as The Big Bad Wolf that is making them sick and stupid.
  • Turn your food into a movement. This is about more than just food. It’s a lifestyle. It is a part of who you are.

4. Give it some flair by adding adjectives or occasionally a random ingredient to it.

  • This is necessary so people perceive it as different than the generic version or similar standard foods a few aisles down with a nearly identical nutritional profile.
  • You want to use adjectives that people will associate with being natural, wholesome and exotic. The best part is you don’t have to actually do anything different. Just describe it differently.
  • You might want to add an extra fancy sounding ingredient or two that has a buzz around it.

5. Quadruple the price.