Let’s Talk Water

There is no wrong with water, there is only right. I mean think about it. Water is the substance of life. We absolutely can NOT survive without water. That’s incredible.

Our bodies need water so they can stay properly hydrated. I mean think about it – you can starve yourself all you want – but you can only go about 3 days without water. Google it.water2.jpg

Every time you drink water it goes to all of the major components of your body: your brain, lungs, kidneys and even your joints. How do you expect to run long distances or lift as heavy as possible if your body, your cells and your bones aren’t filled with the substance to keep you going. It’s simple, you can’t.

I know there are some people who just don’t like the taste but that’s an easy fix. And I’m not talking about Gatorade or any high calorie sports drink for that matter.  In fact, there are natural ingredients that can replenish electrolytes when mixed with water (if you really are working out that hard). Whatever the case – if you needed a reason to drink water, here’s a few:

  1. – Our bodies are 60 – 70 % water. (remember it’s going to brains, blood, muscle all that jazz)

2. – It helps you digest and absorb all the nutrients you need properly. How do you think the chemical reactions in your stomach go about? Not with air, that’s for sure. You need water to help transport all of your nutrients.

3. – Water apparently also helps us metabolize store fat. (okay, that I didn’t know) Not only that but it suppresses the appetite naturally, which I can attest to.  Think about it: when you think your hungry, and then you have a glass of water naturally that thought dissipates (get it?). Conventional wisdom will tell you people mistake hunger for thirst all the time.

4. Lastly, and probably the most obvious, water helps you cool down. Ask any runner, ask any lifter. Nothing taste better than a swig of water after a good race.

Personally, I’ve loved drinking water for as long as I can remember. My dad would say I’m a fish. However, as I’ve aged, I have noticed I have to remember to drink water. I can get so engulfed in my own work that I don’t even realize I’m thirsty. And then I end up going for the wrong thing. Like apple pie or ice cream, when all I really need is some water.

Now, I’ve researched how much water the body needs and the general consensus is 8 glasses of 8 ounces a day. But here’s the kicker – there’s no real evidence supporting that. If you have time, check out this Dartmouth Medical School study – or this comprehensive article on hydration and water. Prepared to have your mind blown.

water3].jpgThe one thing I have come to agree with is that you drink when you are thirsty.  Also, there’s water in almost everything natural that we eat. If you don’t know whether your hydrated or not – you can always check your urine. Your body will not, can not, lie to you.

The main thing is to keep hydrated and if you are working out hard body, drink more water
. It really does help keep you full and help that digestive system, you feel me. 

I’m thirsty right now writing about water but I got a nice cup of ice-cold water right next to me.

Alba ❤

Sources:

Bodybuilding.com; USCG Water School, Nerdfitness, Fitday, and good ol’ WebMD.

More Avocado, Please

As a Caribbean gal, I love me some Avocado. It goes great on the side of any meal like: rice and beans with some pollo guisado; or platanos con salami; and of course, guacamole (duh!) The latter two are a few staples that I grew up eating being Dominican and all, and honestly, that’s probably why I love Avocado. All you need is a little bit of salt and your pretty much Gucci (good to go).

In fact, I just had half of an Avocado like 40 minutes ago with a little bit of salt. Oh man, was that good. But you know what’s even better? The fact that it’s a healthy. Lord Jesus, I’m about to teach y’all a little something because you if you didn’t know about how

good this was for you — your about to find out.

healthy-tuna-stuffed-avocado

Credit: LifeHack.Org

First of all let’s get into texture. It is so smooth and creamy, with a rich texture and it also taste kind of like “cool”. Like it gives you a cool feeling.

Most avocados look pear-shaped, like the picture in the article and if the outer shell is bright green normally means they haven’t ripened which is good – they last a bit longer in your home; but once they start turning brown they’re at a perfect spot for cutting and eating. If you try cutting it while it’s still bright green, it’ll be hard and the taste will definitely not be as smooth. Trust me you got to be patient with this bad boy.

The most popular type of avocado is the Hass Avocado. Check out the stats:

According to Authority Nutrition:

  • it only has 160 calories
  • 2 grams of protein
  • 15 grams of healthy fat
  • 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber so technically there are only 2 “net” carbs. That makes it a low carb friendly plant food.

Did I forget to mention the taste is amazing.  Aside from its quick stats, Avocados are overall good for several health issues as well.

Credit: Seattle Times

Credit: Seattle Times

I checked a few sites, including LiveScience, and most included these facts –

The fruit is good for your heart (because Avocados are high in mono and polyunsaturated fats – experts say that could help reduce blood levels and decrease risk of heart disease).

It can also regulate blood pressure because of its high levels of potassium; prevent birth defects if your pregnant (because of its folic acid) and even help reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Overall, Avocados are the real deal people. I love the fruit (that looks like a vegetable).

Try putting some in a shake. I like putting about a quarter of an avocado with some kale, spinach, pineapple, half a banana and about a cup of water. Voila. It tastes amazing and imagine all the nutrients you’re getting because of all the green. 😉

Need some more super easy Avocado inspiration?                                                                                 Check out BuzzFeeds 29 Super-Easy Avocado Recipes.

Put a little Kale on it

Kale smoothies, Kale salads, Kale chips, Kale in your sandwich, or even in your panini; if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, I’m about to change your mind.

To be honest, I thought Kale was straight up nasty rabbit food, just nasty. However, once I saw just how many nutrients it packed, I thought maybe it’s time to implement it into some of my meals.

Let me give you little brief on the benefits of the leafiest of greens, ever. (Seriously, Kale sometimes smells like grass.) kale2

For starters, Kale is known as a super food.  What the heck does that even mean? In a nutshell, it means if you eat enough of this daily you won’t have to see the doctor as often. It’s kind of like the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and the funny thing about that is an apple is a superfood too!

Kale is like a veggie superstar in it’s own way, according to Mind Body Green’s article 10 Great Health Benefits of Eating Kale:

  • It’s filled with powerful antioxidants, like flavonoids, and that my friends helps protect against various cancers.
  • Kale is also rich in Vitamin K, A, C and even in calcium, what! That means from keeping your skin youthful — to aiding your metabolism and preventing bone loss, the vegetable carries a powerful punch.
  • Kale is also filled with much fiber, which is great for detoxing.
  • Not only that, but one cup of raw Kale is only 33 calories and zero fat. Zero.(Uh yeah, sign me up.)

And if your not convinced yet on why you should try it, five health experts in a Time article gave it the all clear as the cruciferous king of superfoods. In fact, “Kale’s so hot because it packs in more nutrition than practically any other whole food,” says Many Oaklander of Time Magazine.

kalesmoothieNow to incorporate Kale into your meals I would simply start off with a smoothie.

Here’s my favorite: Kale and Banana smoothie

I like to use it as a base and sometime I change it up and add a vanilla protein, or use strawberries instead of banana. It’s so delicious it’s almost like an ice cream shake. Personally, I love adding fresh mint leaves because it gives it a super fresh taste too. So good.

If your on the go, Panera Bread also has Roasted Turkey and Carmelized Kale Panini that’s heaven.

Kale salads aren’t my cup of tea and I haven’t tried Kale chips because I honestly prefer the smoothies.

So if you haven’t tried Kale yet, I would highly suggest it — at least once 🙂

And don’t feel rushed to try it immediately, you can try it on National Kale Day (coming up in October), if you want. Yup, it’s a real thing.

Protein in the Morning

Not the most yummiest sounding thing ever — but it’s actually kind of nice.

It’s 9 a.m. in Florida and I have a track workout in an hour or so. Instead of making the typical oatmeal and scrambled egg whites, I decided to go for a blue berry protein shake with Kale. There I have my greens, protein and sweetness. It’s definitely different without the hassle of having to use pots and pans. And even better, it’s easy.

If you have a blender, or my favorite a magic bullet, all you have to do is put all the ingredients in the container and blend. Here’s what I use:

  • cup of milk (Lactaid for me)

    Photo on 7-20-16 at 8.57 AM

    My shake is in this christmas mug, because I’m desperately waiting for the most wonderful time of the year. #reallife

  • half cup of ice, give or take
  • All the leaves off of a long stalk of Kale (doesn’t matter what kind)
  • Two fresh mint leaves (minty taste, yasss baby yasss)
  • A spoonful of chia seeds
  • Two or three spoons of frozen blueberries
  • and my fav — Jamie Eason’s Vanilla Protein one scoop

Make sure it’s super blended and creamy, and enjoy my friends.

Thanksgiving Coma No More

Thanksgiving ComaIt is Wednesday – therefore – “Happy Humpday” everyone.

First things first, I hope everyone reading this had an amazing holiday. I know I sure did. I hope good food was eaten, digested and then worked off. I had the luxury of attending at least three different Thanksgiving dinners because I was invited to
them and they were all were going on at different times during the day.

I had left overs for days. Literally, I did not cook a single thing for days including:
Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  It was lovely and, yet, at times I felt very
sluggish. It was not a good feeling at all. But that’s okay, because I did work out in
between days and now that it’s a new week I’ve been starting fresh every day!

I’ve been preparing my meals the night before (only because I avoided my kitchen
on Sunday for meal prep), heading to the gym after work and getting a full nights
rest. I will confess that it has been difficult. All I’ve wanted to do is sleep the last
couple of days. I’m actually super sleepy right now – and I’m on my lunch break. But that’s besides the point. Fact is, I think I may have gone a little over board with all of the food that I ate over the weekend.  Let this be a lesson, overeating is not cool. It’s definitely not good for the body and it sets you back on what ever little progress you’ve had.

By all means, I do not regret eating all that good food. Turkey, ham, macaroni and
cheese, more turkey, more ham, brisket (first time having brisket ever and it was absolutely amazing), sweet potatoes and all of those delicious foods that everyone is familiar with I ate over the weekend. However, next year I know better. Although, it is the middle of the week I’m proud to say that I have the right mindset and that I know better for next year.

Holidays happen. Ofcourse. The key is to be prepared, not only with food and your
body but mentally too. Because if you’ve already decided that your going to devour
all the food that you can get your hands on, in your mind…. Then, that’s most likely what you’ll do in real life.

Cheat Meals Are Great, But Not For Everyone

Here’s the scenario: You’ve been dieting for about two weeks. You’ve heard about cheat meals and you kind of understand why people do it, but you’ve been doing so well with your workouts and eating right that you “just don’t want to mess up.” Right? Then, that time comes when your out with your the girls, or with the fellas, and you decide “What the heck?” you’ve been doing good anyways, and decide to have your cheat meal right then and there: at the bar, at the movies or at that restaurant. Welp, you’ve just set yourself a couple of workouts back.

I don’t know about many of the readers that this blog attracts, but if your anything like me — and something tells me we might have some things in common — you’ve been in some type of situation where you just say F it, or I’m going to reward myself, and quite frankly that’s not how cheat meals work. After doing some research on the science of cheat meals, the purpose and how to correctly execute an actual cheat meal (not a cheat day, or a binge meal); I realized that I’ve been literally cheating myself with my so called “cheat meals.” For starters, cheat meals aren’t for everyone!

WHO ARE CHEAT MEALS FOR?

Five Guys tends to have this affect on me to, and its definitely one of my favorite cheat meals! Image Credit via Facebook @FiveGuysUK

Five Guys tends to have this affect on me to, and its definitely one of my favorite cheat meals! Image Credit via Facebook @FiveGuysUK

I would say extreme dieters, but that would be too extreme. According Scooby Werkstatt, bodybuilder and creator of Scoobysworkshop, cheat meals are for a specific group of people: those who want to maximize strength and muscle mass (body builders), those wanting to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, and those who want to lose fat fast without losing muscle. This group is normally on a strict nutrition regimen where they take each and every calorie very seriously. He states, “A cheat meal is a safety pressure relief valve to keep you from binging.” And when your on a strict diet, its absolutely paramount.

John Berardi, writer for BodyBuilding.com and someone who specializes in human performance and nutrition consulting, addresses the issue and stays within the same aspect. In his article “Damage Control To Cheat Or Not To Cheat” he says, “Cheat meals should only be planned during periods of the year when you’re trying to gain mass. During this time, cheat meals eaten once per week or once every two weeks are fine, depending on your goals or your body-fat percentage. The leaner you are, the more often you can cheat.”

Of course, the leaner you are the more often you can cheat because you burn more fat with more muscle. Which brings me to my next section:

WHO CAN’T CHEAT ON THEIR MEALS?

Experts say its people who are just starting out on their fitness regimen, basically, trying to lose weight. Why? Because they are in the beginning and most of the foods being eaten by the individuals are being eaten in moderation (or at least they should be because less intake of calories throughout the day creates weight loss). It’s not like they’re hardcore dieting. It’s also a mental thing when you think about it. However, if they are hardcore dieting, while trying to lose weight (in the beginning) after a cheat meal, people are still more susceptible to reverting back to their old eating habits. Beradi from Bodybuilding.com states, “First, psychologically, it’s very difficult to stay disciplined after a cheat meal. After weeks of dieting, the taste buds, which have all but given up hope, are stirred back to life.” Oh, how I know that to be true.

If you are striving for that ideal body and you are cutting out foods and eating right, there is a correct way to have a cheat meal; especially if you know you shouldn’t but you feel like you absolutely must because your, basically, transitioning into a healthier lifestyle.

SO HOW DO YOU HAVE A CHEAT MEAL?

Image Credit via Google Images

Image Credit via Google Images

It simple, you plan. You plan a day that your going to cheat out of the week, you plan your meal and on that day you eat. You do not binge, you do not overeat, you just — like I like to say — “polite-fully” cheat. It’s a reward, and even if you don’t feel like you need it, you do. I can’t count how many times I skipped my cheat meals while attempting to build muscle mass, and then out of no where I just cheat and I’m completely thrown off of my mojo and set back on my gains. It sucks, that’s why you must plan and you must cheat. But remember, its a meal, meaning one serving, not a whole day of eating whatever you want or a “let’s go the buffet for my cheat meal” kind of thing.

In Adam Wynn’s article, “The Art and Science of “Cheat Meals“” for LiveStrong, he gives some creative options for cheat meal plans. The most interesting one to me, and most practical for anyone who is trying to lose weight and must transition by having a cheat meal, was the 90/10 plan. With 90/10 plan, people with sedentary lifestyles (like working behind a desk) eat clean 90% or the time never skipping a meal and cheat 10%, seems simple enough, especially if you don’t burn enough calories during the day.

Cheat meals can be a wonderful thing, for the right person. One word that really plays a huge role in cheat meals for whomever decides to incorporate it is discipline. If your just starting out on your fitness journey and you have much to lose discipline is key, and so is willpower. You must recognize that if your making small changes here and there, but gradually changing your eating habits, then there is no need for a cheat meal. If you are, however, starting off cold turkey by eating right 5 -6 meals a day, perfectly portioned and appropriately balanced with the nutrients, then I don’t see why you couldn’t have a cheat meal just remember to be discipline. It’s easy to eat a cheese burger, but its a little harder to stop.

-Alba

Meal Prepping for a First Timer

Today is Sunday and for most body builders, fitness junkies and gym heads it means MEAL PREP Sunday. For those of you who don’t know, meal prepping is basically cooking your food for the week (or a few days) and putting it in food storage containers. It’s a way to have your meals ready, especially if your on a tight schedule, or are trying to eat 5-6 times a day. It’s also good because you know exactly what your consuming and it’s cost effective. When your on a path to a healthier life, food prepping can become one of the best tools, especially when it’s combined with a good exercise regimen. Also, if your always full you save money, avoid temptation and properly fuel yourself healthily for your body and your workouts!

Well, as the title states “Meal Prepping for a First Timer” it was my first time meal prepping for the week. I’ve always been a healthy eater, I cook most if not all of my food but I’m always taking my time cooking. So, I finally decided that I would try meal prepping my lunches, dinners and some snacks for the week to save me some time and properly fuel my body for workouts. Also, I figured I could be more consistent with my meals and my portion sizes. After all of the time I spent, I must say I am pretty content, but boyyyy was I unprepared.

Here are the facts:

  • It took me about 4-5 hrs, (if done correctly it should only take about 2).

    I did a little something something in the kitchen!

    I did a little something something in the kitchen!

  • I watched two full movies while I was cooking, Thor & Iron Man 2; I couldn’t multitask and I wasted time.
  • I was looking up recipes right before I started cooking; (I knew what I wanted to cook, but not how to cook it. Un-prepared).
  • I forgot to thaw out my ground Turkey meat, (even more time wasted).
  • I was cooking and washing my dishes at the same time, (I’ve never used my dishwasher, bad experience).

***I didn’t burn anything. I didn’t cut myself. I didn’t hurt anyone***

What an experience, huh?

After all of the time I spent, I must say I am pretty content, but boyyyy what I unprepared.

The Meals – Iceberg lettuce medley with sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes and sautéed chicken breast (3 containers). Baked sweet potatoes with baked asparagus, steamed broccoli and easy peasy Turkey meatballs, that came out delicious by the way (4 containers).

The Snacks – Sliced strawberries which you can place them in just about anything like; Greek yogurt, oatmeal, and ezekial toast with almond butter, (to name a few). Also some celery sticks grape tomatoes which are also great with any healthy dipping sauces; I like eating them with almond butter.

All in all, I would have to say that I wish I would have planned and prepared myself better because it took me entirely too long but now I know better for next Sunday. Next week, I will have my recipes prepared, my ingredients ready (and thawed) and some good music in the background (probably

End Result, timely and yet successful !

End Result, timely and yet successful !

Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor type music). Time is key, and so is less distraction try not to watch movies like I did! Remember to prepare!

Giving thanks to the Freckle Foodie for Baked Sweet Potato instructions; Wishful chef for her amazing Baked Turkey Meatball recipe; Simply recipes for the Roasted Asparagus recipe; and Google because without it I would not have found them and meal prepped semi-succesfully!

-Alba