A Stripped Down Meal Plan

A stripped down meal plan is not a lifestyle. It is designed to help you with the last 10 lbs or to get you read for an event. This is not an option if you are just starting your weight loss journey or have a lot of weight left to lose. It follows the basic principles of eating clean but really strips it down. The basic Clean Eating Principles are:
  1. Eat more often. Eat 6 small meals every day spaced about 2-3 hours apart
  2. Make sure your last meal is at least 3 hours before you go to bed
  3. Eat breakfast EVERY day. You need to start with fuel in AM to boost your metabolism.
  4. Eat Fats but Healthy Fats every day.
  5. Eat carbs (grain or fruit) always with a protein
  6. Drink 2-3 liters of water daily (Your weight divided by 2 in ounces is a minimum)
  7. Carry a cooler packed with your meals so you always have healthy food available
  8. Depend of fresh fruits and veggies for fiber, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
  9. Be mindful of portion sizes. You likely need much less food than you think.
  10. Do not eat anything processed. Stick to foods with less than 6 ingredients.
The last 10 pounds will be the most difficult and stubborn so to do it in a healthy way, without depriving yourself and sacrificing nutrition, you need to supplement your diet with an abundance of fruits and veggeis. Examples of good veggies: Yams, bell peppers, cucumber, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, spinach, zucchini, green beans, radishes, onion, and my favorite garlic. Examples of good fruits: Apples, berries, cherries, tomatoes (yes a fruit), limes, lemons, apricots, and oranges. Great Protein Sources include: Eggs, lean fish, lean turkey, chicken, shrimp, bison (very low fat red meat), quinoa, hummus, tofu and tempeh. Healthy Fat options include: Nuts (almonds and walnuts), seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), avocados (my favorite fat), and oils (sesame, coconut, olive, walnut, flaxseed and fish). So here is a ideal Strip Down Day including workout: 4:00 am - Get up early and do my workout (T25, Turbo Fire, or Chalean Extreme for me) 5:00 am - Breakfast - One piece of whole grain bread, 1 egg, and 1/4 avocado egg] 8:00 am - Snack - Vanilla Shakeology shaked with water and two Tbsp of powder peanut butter. Shakeology is a meal replacement shake and to read more about it: (What is Shakeolog) shakeology 11:00 am - Lunch - Raw Spinach, chopped onion, garbanzo beans, tomato, 6 oz baked chicken, and an olive oil based wasabi salad dressing. 2:00 pm - Snack - A cup of berries and a handful of unsalted almonds 5:00 pm - Dinner - 6 oz Grilled Rock Fish, Grilled bell pepper and onion, and 1 cup quinoa dinner 8:00 pm - Off to bed and then start it all over again the next day 🙂 As you can see this is not a starvation diet. You still get to eat a lot of food. But to strip down I focus on cutting down dairy and carbohydrates (not carborexic though). And there is absolutely nothing processed on my meal plan.      

What roles do you play and are you giving 100%?

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I have several roles and each of them is equally important. At first you think “no way”, but each role is somehow related to and attributes to every other role. For instance, my role as a Business Woman contributes to my Engineering career because the personal development and team building I do as a Beachbody coach has rolled over into the way I conduct business as an Engineer. I am a better Engineer for it and it is reflecting in my paycheck, both engineering and Beachbody. My role as a Hard Core health conscious woman has attributed to the Fun Social Jenn because I look and feel better in my skin which allows me to feel more confident and outgoing. My dedication to being a good Furr Mommy and work ethic as an Electrical Engineer contribute to the health of my marriage because they are things that my husband admires about me and are at the core of why we fell in love. My role as a good wife contributes to my Beachbody Business because it keeps me focused. My husband is my partner. I count on the health of my marriage to keep me centered and on track. Otherwise my mind would wonder. It is important to identify all your roles and make sure you are giving 100% effort in all of them. If you slack off in one area because you do not find it as important as another, it will hurt your other roles whether you intend it to or not. There is a domino effect of failing in just one of your roles. Here is an example. Sometimes as people become parents, they begin to neglect their role as husband/wife. They are just trying to be an amazing mommy/daddy but being an amazing wife/husband is also very important especially since you are a role model for your children. Children learn what a healthy relationship looks like from YOU. If your marriage is not healthy, you will feel un appreciated and possibly depressed because at the end of the day children require lots of love and attention but don’t give it back until older. You are pretty much a slave to wiping drool and changing diapers for a few years. So if you are not receiving love and affection from your marriage partner this absolutely pours over into your job and friendships. It’s hard not to take it to work with you and with friends it’s likely all you can talk about or you are just not as social and fun because your mind is somewhere else. So be mindful of this domino effect and don’t take any role for granted and remember to be appreciative of the others in your life for the roles they play. Please share this so other people can be reminded as well.

Summer Slim Down Online Fitness Group Starting Soon

Challenge Post Summer is upon us and its time to start my first official Summer Slim Down Fitness Group starting June 2nd. In this group I help you with meal planning/prep and keep you moving, literally. Participation is completely online in a secret Facebook group and your workouts are done in the privacy of your own home, but they must be done!!!! No ladies left behind! If you are truly READY, send me a friend request on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jenngraham57) and message me for details.

Good protein sources for vegetarians

Vegetarians run a high risk of low iron due to the fact that they do not consume animal meat which is a primary source of protein. So for those of you doing a vegetarian diet or lifestyle, here are some great sources of protein: 1. Beans and Lentils - They are the cheapest source of protein. So whether you prefer kidney, garbanzo, white, black, or pinto beans, buy lots of cans of beans, rinse and drain them to remove 40% of the sodium, and use them in everything.
  • White beans taste awesome in pasta
  • Garbanzo or edamame in stir-fries
  • Black beans and pinto in burritios, tacos and quesadillas
  • Lentils or kidney are great in salads and whole grain pita lunches.
To avoid toxins found in metal canned foods, buy an organic grand, look for frozen beans, or buy dried ones and cook them yourself. 2. Nuts and Seeds - Nuts contain 3 to 7 grams of protein per 1/3 cup serving depending on the type (peanuts and pine nuts have the most). Seeds have 2-5 grams per 1/3 cup serving depending on the type. As far as nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, and pine nuts are all good vegetarian protein sources. Sprinkle them on everything from salads to yogurt. As far as seeds, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower are great sources of protein. Perhaps try a seed butter on toast with jelly. I prefer jalapeno jelly. I like a little spice. 3. Chia seeds have some protein, not as much as nuts or legumes, but they have high nutritional value. They are an incredible source of fiber with nearly 11 grams of fiber in a single ounce. That is 1/2 your daily value of fiber. They contain 18% of your daily calcium requirement, which is more that triple the amount you get from a serving of milk. And they have no flavor so you can add a tablespoon to almost anything. Throw them in the blender with a shake or mix them in with some rice. They won't alter the flavor of anything you eat. 4. Tofu and Tempeh - Tofu has 8 grams of protein per serving while Tempeh has 18 grams per serving. Literally, use tofu in place of chicken in any recipe. You can make a burger with it or use it in chili or seasoned or broiled into a high-protein crouton on a salad. But look for organic products to avoid GMOs (genetically modified organism). If you are not a fan of the texture of soy or tempeh, you can try soy in the form of soy milk which has 8 grams of protein per glass. Do not make soy your main source of protein though because too much can cause issues with hormones in your body for both women and men. Aim for one serving of soy per day maximum. 5. Hemp - Hemp seeds contain 6 grams of protein per ounce and hemp milk has  2 grams per cup. So if you are freaked out by the potential affects on your hormones by soy, then hemp products are the next best choice. Hemp is sold as a dairy alternative or as seeds and is one of the very few plants proteins that supply you with all the essential amino acids. These acids are necessary to build muscle and create more protein. The fatty acids in hemp seeds and hemp milk also boost your immune system. 6. Eggs contain 6 grams of protein per egg. The protein in eggs has the highest biological value which is a measure of how well it supports your body's protein needs of any food, including beef. The yolks contain vitamin B12. 7. Greek Yogurt has 15 - 20 grams of protein per 6 ounce serving. All dairy sources are good sources of protein but Greek Yogurt contains the same amount of protein as a three ounce serving of lean meat. So top that off with a handful of nuts and you will get a large amount of your daily protein in a single meal. 8. Avocados contain 4 grams of protein per avocado. All veggies contain between 1 - 2 grams of protein per cup but avocados (which are technically a fruit) but avocados contain twice that. The protein in avocado also contains all nine essential amino acids. The same acids your body needs to build muscle. 9. Pseudograins - These are actually seeds that are cooked and served like grains. Some wonderful pseudograins include quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and wild rice. Pseudograins are a great alternative for people that have an intolerance to the gluten in wheat, barley and rye. However whole grains contain decent amounts of protein, wheat providing the highest plant based protein of any food. If you decide to eat corn, choose blue over the yellow and white because it has 30% more protein.   So as you can see there are lots of options and alternatives to get appropriate amounts of protein in the diet when following a vegetarian lifestyle.  

Tips to Get Started Eating Clean Now

Are you ready mentally to start eating clean but have no idea where to start? Are you struggling with how to ditch your old habits? I have some tips for you to make the transition a little smoother. 1) You need to first sit down and decide what "Eating Clean" means to you. It can be defined differently for everyone. You may choose not to eat organic vegetables to save money for instance and that is fine. When I first started my Eat Clean Basics were:
  • Nothing White. This means no sugar, white flour (includes pasta, bread, muffins, etc), no white rice. Literally tell yourself, if its white and is not a vegetable or fruit, its off limits. Some products are not white but have multiple ingredients so this requires you to read labels and make sure none of the offending items are in it.
  • No Alcohol. This was a big sacrifice for me at first because I was in my 20's with no children when I started eating clean. But it was a necessary sacrifice I would make 100 times over.
  • Eat Healthy Sources of Fats. Make sure that you are getting your fats from natural healthy sources. Some great options are: avocado, olive oil coconut oil, and nuts.
  • Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats. Quite honestly, you have a large variety of food available to you when eating clean it just may not be familiar to you.....yet. So try out some new recipe ideas with ingredients you have never tried before. You may find some whole foods you never knew you loved. And a big key to keep in mind is that you should never feel hungry or deprived. If you are doing it correctly, you will be moderately hungry before it is time for you to eat again. Staving off the hunger feeling will dramatically help with the sugar cravings and within a few weeks they should be gone completely.
  • Treat Yourself. If there is something you just really love that is off limits when eating clean then it is acceptable and recommended to treat yourself occasionally. Be mindful though that this is a "cheat meal" and not an entire day or week. It is best to decide when you will have your cheat meal and how often. Make it part of your prep. This is your treat so have it and enjoy it but do not go overboard with it. If you choose to have some cake, don't eat the whole cake. Stick to the normal serving of that particular item. I personally love frozen yogurt covered with rainbow sprinkles and butterfinger so I get it on the way home from work almost every Friday.
  • Stock a clean eating pantry and load the fridge up with fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. If you are looking for convenience stock your freezer with the frozen varieties. Just be sure the frozen fruit does not have added sugar.
2) Clean out the fridge and pantry. First of all discard all the expired stuff and start reading labels. If you find anything with ingredients that are not "clean" or that you cannot pronounce, throw it away. Or if you feel bad throwing stuff away like I did, send a food care package to someone that would really appreciate it. And throw away anything that says "fat free"!! That screams processed food. The only fat free food you should consume is fat free Greek yogurt. 3) Make a grocery list. The first grocery store (or stores) trip will be a big one because several things can and should be purchased in bulk. So budget accordingly or limit your variety the first week so that you are not buying everything in one trip. For instance, maybe decide to get the quinoa in bulk on the first week trip and then a big bag of rice on the next trip. Or olive oil this time and coconut oil next time. This will limit the variety of food but it wont hit the pocket book as hard. And build up your spice variety as you go. Spices can be expensive but they go a long way so maybe just get a few each trip. Here is a great shipping list for beginners. 4) Use shopping day as Prep day too. Don't under estimate how much time it takes to prep food. Try and get your grocery shopping done early in the day and get right to prep when you get home. I like to buy lots of veggies for stir fries and do all the chopping on Sunday. If you have ever made fajitas or stir fry, you know that it takes about 30 minutes just to cut up all the veggies. That is a lot of time to spend during the week after a long day at work. As much as I love coming home to a clean house, I love coming home to an easy to make dinner. Pre-chopping cuts the time to make dinner in half. I also like to make a batch of my dutch oven chicken on Sunday which I use in salads, wraps, etc throughout the week. I also make a large batch of my quinoa/rice recipe which I will use with dinners or fry up with some egg whites to make myself an Asian style fried quinoa/rice (this is the bomb.com). Find all my recipes and videos here. 5) Buy a cooler or lunch bag. I personally have a lunch bag that I use to keep my snacks and lunch cold in for work. You can pick these up cheap on amazon and go crazy and get a fun color. The cooler is key because you have all your meals for the work day in one spot and easily accessible. The best part is that you can take food that needs to be refrigerated when you work in a place that does not have a refrigerator accessible. 6) Give yourself time to adjust. If you are intimidated by all the changes then take it one step at a time. Slowly take things away and start adding new foods into your diet. Start with substitutions like greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise and cut out the soda and fast food. This is your lifestyle so you need to change it at your own speed. Some people are able to do this in one fail swoop and others need baby step their way along. Small changes are still changes so you will be on the right track. I really hope these tips help you feel less intimidated and ready to take control of your health. Remember that eating clean is a lifestyle choice and not a diet so don't treat it as something you are dreading. Make it fun. Add your own fun flair and prepare yourself to reap the benefits of eating clean. Eating Clean has changed my life. If you want to hear how I managed to transform my lifestyle, here is my story.

What is Eating Clean?

eat clean1 Eating clean means to consume food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. By eating foods in their natural state, you remove a lot of exposure to toxins that are used in processed foods. Most important to recognize about eating clean is that it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation. This leads to an improved life one meal at a time. If you follow these methods, you are on track to looking and feeling like a better version of yourself: 1 - Eat lots of Plants - Eat fruits and vegetables in their natural form or as close to it as possible. Preferably in the form which they were harvested. This means lettuce simply chopped and fruit freshly picked. However for some vegetables, you may steam or cook to change the texture if that makes them more palatable. For instance, I love broccoli but just like it a little softer so I steam it. It is still close to its natural form and actually it has been proven that steaming your vegetables breaks down the cell wall of the plant cells and makes it easier for your body to absorb the naturally occurring nutrients. Just don't over cook the veggies because then you do the opposite and destroy the nutrients. I like to steam until they veggies are bright green. If they are turning yellow, you cooked them too long. 2 - Include Meats - If possible get your meat from a butcher and not processed. If you want ground meat, buy it an ask the butcher to grind it for you. That way you know there are no mystery ingredients in your ground meat. Try to incorporate different types of meat like chicken, turkey, fish, etc. And limit your red meat to one day per week. Avoid canned or processed meat of all kinds and this includes: canned tuna, spam, and lunch meat (unless cut at a deli from a larger cut of unprocessed meat). 3 - Enjoy Grains - You NEED carbs so don't listen to people that do crash diets and are "carborexic" for weeks on end. Yes they lose weight but they put it all back on when they start eating carbs again. That type of diet is not a lifestyle and not sustainable. Eat grains that are "whole" and have not been broken down. Some great forms of grains to eat are: quinoa, Brown rice, Barley, Millet, Farro, Buckwheat, Kamut, Amaranth, and Oats. Follow a general rule that "white" is processed. The reason grains are processed is to remove the part of the grain with the shorter shelf life and leave the parts that will sustain longer. This is how companies have cut back on losing product because it has gone bad. Companies know it has less health benefit after being processed but it has a greater financial benefit for them. And make sure when you buy whole grain that it is really whole grain. This leads to my next point.... food label 4 - Read Labels - A company is allowed to call a product "whole grain" as long as the main ingredient is truly whole grain. So as long as the bread is 51% whole grain, they slap it on the label. So read the ingredient list. The ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance. If the second ingredient is a non-whole grain, don't buy it because it is not a true "whole grain". 5 - Eat Fewer Ingredients - Read labels and try and buy foods that have fewer than 6 ingredients in the ingredient list. And make sure you can recognize and pronounce all of the ingredients. Companies like to add fillers to save money and they are generally loaded with sugar. 6 - Eat 5-6 small meals per day - Eating multiple smaller meals helps to maintain a good glucose level in your body and prevents sugar spikes. Granted, this is assuming you are eating foods that are not loaded with sugar. Regarding sugar..... 7 - Keep sugar in check - You are allowed to eat naturally occurring sugar (fruit for instance) but keep a limit on it. Fruit is 100% natural and also loaded with sugar. Limit yourself to 3 servings of fruit per day. Also be mindful that grains are a form of sugar. The grain is broken down into sugar in your body and then is used for energy. If sugar is not used, it is stored.....we know how that goes. Try and consume most of your grains and fruit before 2 pm so your body has an opportunity to break down the sugar before you go to bed. I think the French really got it right by making lunch their biggest meal of the day. Keep dinner lite, mostly protein and veggies. 8 - Drink your share of water - Your body NEEDS water to function properly. In fact, water is the most important thing you put in your body every day. There is no point in eating clean food unless you are going to give your body the water it needs to function and make the good food (fuel) you put into your body work to provide energy. To calculate how much water you should drink daily, take your weight in pounds and divide it by two. The result is the number of ounces of water you need to consume daily. In Conclusion This may be very overwhelming if you are new to eating clean but don't let that stop you from making the good and necessary changes to reclaim your health. Just baby step your way along. Start by cutting out fast food while adding more meat which, yes, you need to cook. Sorry, you need to figure that out. Then start removing boxed foods from your diet. Then lastly, remove foods from the dairy section of the grocery store. This will be the hardest step but dairy is VERY processed. But if you cannot give it up 100% then at least choose harder cheeses and low sugar varieties. But for those of you that are 100% ready to eat clean, I like to follow the rule of shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. All the fresh food with be in the perimeter in the produce section and meat department. You can do this. Your body will thank you for it.   I used the principles of Clean Eating and Exercise to lose 40 lbs and naturally reverse my PCOS. So I know it can be done. See how I did it.

Challengers dropping serious inches

Heather transformation I love when my challengers are so proud of their progress in my Challenge Group that they start posting pictures on their facebook walls. This proud momma has finally ditched her baby belly and is totally ready for summer. She even bought a new bikini which she wanted to show off in this picture. It is these results and seeing how happy and accomplished my challengers feel after they see what they have done for themselves that keep me going as a Beachbody Coach. I help people reach their goals and dreams. What could feel better?

Creamy Paleo Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

 

Creamy Paleo Chicken Enchiladas Verdes are made with grain-free tortillas filled with seasoned, shredded chicken and topped with a combination of tomatillo salsa verde and “Cashew Sour Cream”. The resulting dish captures the essence of classic Chicken Enchiladas Verdes without the grains and dairy. The spiciness will depend in large measure upon the salsa you use – whether it be my homemade version or a jarred variety. The paleo tortillas lend a more “crepe-like” texture to the dish than standard tortillas. But I think you will agree creamy chicken-filled crepes are pretty delectable and should satisfy your craving for creamy chicken enchiladas quite well.

Cashew Sour Cream Sauce Recipe

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup liquid (water, chicken stock or vegetable stock)

How to Make Cashew Sour Cream

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl, cover with water and allow to soak for several hours or over night. (Alternatively, you can cover with water, heat to a simmer and turn off the heat and allow to soak for at least an hour)
  2. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
  3. Place cashews in a food processor or high speed blender with the lemon juice, salt and about half the liquid. Pulse to process scraping the sides down as necessary. Add the remaining liquid and process for several minutes until extremely smooth.

Ingredients for Paleo Chicken Enchiladas

  • paleo tortillas
  • 3 cups diced and/or shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 cups salsa verde
  • 1 recipe cashew sour cream, (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
  • salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • chicken stock

How to Make Creamy Paleo Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F
  2. Combine the salsa verde and cashew sour cream in a medium sauce pan and heat slowly until warm. Season will salt and pepper to taste.Paleo Salsa and Sour Cream Sauce
  3. Mix approximately 1 1/2 cups of the salsa/sour cream mixture with the shredded chicken.
  4. Roll 1/8th of the chicken mixture in each of the tortillas (about 1/3-1/2 cup each) and assemble the chicken enchiladas, side by side, in a pan (use 9 x 13 or similar size/shape). Assemble Chicken Enchiladas LR
  5. Top the chicken enchiladas with the remaining salsa/sour cream mixture. (Thin out the sauce with extra chicken stock if it is too thick after heating)
    Paleo Chicken Enchiladas Verdes
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and heat in the oven for 30 minutes or until heated through.
  7. Remove from the oven and top with slices of avocado and scallions. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-8

Creamy Paleo Chicken Enchiladas Verdes | Paleo Spirit #dairyfree #paleo

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Paleo Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Ingredients
  • 10 medium tomatillos (approximately 2 lbs)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 2 serrano chiles
  • 1 medium-small poblano pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small white onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (about half a “bunch”)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Place the veggies (except the onion)- tomatillos, jalapeños, serranos, poblano and garlic – onto a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil.
  2. Roast under a hot broiler about 10 minutes per side (or until browned/slightly-blackened in spots)
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool
  4. Place the onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times.
  5. For a very hot salsa you can simply add the roasted veggies to the food processor with the other ingredients and continue to process until you have reached the desired consistency.
  6. If you prefer a mild salsa you should cut open the peppers and remove the seeds and the membrane surrounding the seeds. When I make it I leave in about half the seeds and membranes and it is on the medium hot side.