Yes, you DO need a meal plan. You plan the rest of your life right?

A lot of people ask me why they need a meal plan. Then they laugh when I ask them, “Why do you need a planner to plan your day?”

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We use planners to make sure our lives, personal and work, are running efficiently. Why shouldn’t we plan what and how we eat to make sure our bodies are running efficiently. If our bodies don’t run efficiently, how are the rest of our lives going to run efficiently? It seems like, as a culture, we have attacked “planning” a bit backwards.

Now, it may seem like some healthy people don’t follow meal plans to a “T”. The truth of the matter is, once healthy habits are developed, the need for a strict meal plan is less important.  It’s funny – you will still plan your meals without even knowing it. It will become part of your life.

So if you are on a 1,300 calorie diet (before including calories burned exercising), here is the breakdown of calories per meal.

Breakfast: 200 calories

Snack #1: 100 calories

Lunch: 300 calories

Snack #2: 100 calories

Dinner: 600 calories

These are all approximations. So for example, if  you have a 500 calories meal planned for dinner, you can move 50 calories to each of the snacks you have for the day. But if you didn’t know that you would be saving 100 calories at dinner then you may have been depriving yourself of calories during the day. The opposite is true also. If you end up having a meal 100 or 200 calories over what it should be, but ended up going over on other meals during the day too, then you may end up with en excess amount of calories for the day. Unless you workout, those calories end up turning into weight you are gaining instead of losing!

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Tip for you: Plan on the weekends (or day off depending on your job). Find and choose make-ahead recipes you can make on your day off to bring with you. The more you control what goes into your food, chances are the lower in calories it will be compared to anything you will buy at a restaurant or fast food place.

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Just because I love him so much! 🙂 Have a great Sunday!!!

And don’t forget to plan your meals 😉

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Operation: Wedding Slimdown — The Beginning!

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I am beyond excited to share this post with you today.

Two of my good friends have made the jump to  GET HEALTHY!!!!! To maintain their privacy I will call them Tracy and Julie.

Tracy is getting married in a little over a year from now and Julie is her Maid of Honor! We have been talking for a little while about this but having the wedding getting closer lit a fire under their butts to get moving! I am totally thrilled for them.

Today was our first weigh-in and measurements! We calculated BMI, set short term and long term weight loss goals, discussed their workout schedule, and went over my Food Guideline Packet. (More about that and some other services in about a week or so 🙂 )

Tracy is at 207lbs and Julie is at 204 lbs. 

Long term goal: – 56lbs by early January

Short term goal: 8-10lbs per month (about 2-3 lbs per week)

They also made a great decision and starting Monday are going to be drinking Shakeology to replace one meal a day! With their particular Challenge Pack they also got 2 workouts : Hip Hop Abs and Rockin’ Body. Both are high cardio, fat-burning, ab sculpting workouts..and best of all THEY GET TO DANCE!!! They both love Zumba classes, so I figured this would be perfect for them.

Meal Plan: stick to the guidelines in the Food Guideline Packet + one cheat day per week + Shakeology one meal per day

Workout: Hip Hop Abs & Rockin’ Body

I am so pumped to monitor their progress, kick their butts, and watch them transform their lives and their health!

I am also excited to share their experience with you! Starting today, I will start giving you updates on their progress, struggles, and comments every Saturday after our weekly meeting.

Operation: Wedding Slimdown has begun! Stay tuned 😉

Three Bean Salad with Greek Yogurt Dill dressing

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I know, I know. Its been a few days. I sincerely apologize. Life got in the way…but in a very good way 🙂 I shall explain another time!

I want to share an amazing cold bean salad with you that I cannot seem to get enough of!

Its so easy to make and filled with tons of protein, iron, and fiber!!!

Three (3) Bean Salad w/Greek Yogurt Dill Dressing

Ingredients:

– 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

– 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

– 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

– 1 cup corn, frozen or canned

– 1 clove garlic

So I admit, I snagged the recipe for the Greek Yogurt Dill Dressing from another blog. You can find it here. I wanted to give full credit to the author!

I also added some fresh garlic, as I stated above, instead of garlic powder.

(I could eat fresh minced garlic all day long)

Directions:

1. prepare Greek Yogurt Dill Dressing in large mixing bowl. Taste test.

2. Add all the beans after rinsed and drained

3. Add corn and clove of garlic

4. Stir until combined and refrigerate

Holy yummy!

This is going to be a staple in my fridge. I cannot stop eating it!

Stay tuned for some works in progress later today 🙂

Happy….Thursday?

Why are fruits and veggies better than high fattening foods?

This post is inspired by my Biology class that just started up. I have always hated the sciences and barely made it through each class. Now for my Elementary Ed degree I have to take a few of them. So I decided to have an open mind – and I actually learned something!

This question (blog post title) may seem obvious and to an extent it is. We all know the nutrients in fruits and veggies supersede those of high fattening foods (DUH!!) and that they have fewer calories. No brainer, I know. However the value of a calorie in fruits and veggies is worth a lot more than the value of a calorie in high fattening foods.

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I wanted a better way to explain to those trying to lose weight exactly what it means to gain fat – the real affect of the high fattening foods on our bodies. When my professor explained all of this to us in terms of energy, something clicked and it made so much sense to me! I will do my best to explain it a lot simpler than he did!

The foods we eat, healthy or not, are made up entirely of atoms and bonds. To keep this simple, lets think of the atoms as O and the bonds as . If you look at a fruit in terms of atoms it probably looks like:

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=                                 O

Therefore, our bodies can instantly break it down for energy to be used immediately. (Ever wonder why coaches tell athletes they can eat fruit in the middle of a game?) This is also why people on a vegetarian diet need to eat a little more regularly than others, because the energy they get from their foods is used up immediately causing them to be hungry sooner.

A food such as rice might look like this:

Unknown-2                           =               O–O

Here, our bodies need to break down the bond before they can break down the atom for energy. Because there are 2 atoms(or more), there is more energy but it takes longer for the body to break it down. (This is why athletes eat meals high in carbohydrates the night before a game or race).

Both structures (or my attempt at structures) are both very simple. Both are also foods (or foods similar) that are low in calorie and fat. They give our bodies good energy.

Now check out the structure of a triglyceride, or a food high in fat. I had to find one, because drawing one using a keyboard would have been impossible:

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See how many bonds that have to be broken before our bodies can even start breaking down the atoms for energy? Beyond that, the amount of energy created is more than we use up doing daily activities.

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So unless we workout or use up that excess energy it is stored in our bodies as fat. And we will probably eat ANOTHER meal, with more energy to break down, in the amount of time it takes to break down this energy.

Now, the bond above that I created for the rice might be a little bigger, just as the high fat structure might be a little smaller. However, I hope you can see the complexity of the high fattening food as opposed to the rice or the fruit.

For me, it made so much sense. I hope it did the same for you! I wanted to explain it without scientific jargon so ANYONE can understand. It is easier to grasp these concepts without having to look up every other word!

Like or comment if YOU learned something from this post 🙂

Run day one & my food journal

It is pretty humid today in Providence but nice for me, the sun isn’t out! I say nice because this lazy bum slept until 9 and missed peak running hours! I say this like Im some sort of an avid runner.. haha. I am , however, starting my interval runs today!!!! More about that later.

Breakfast this morning was two hard boiled eggs, w salad dressing(instead of mayo), and scallions with a bit of garlic and onion powder 🙂

1062569_894936103809_1851896808_nLooks a bit like mush but it was delicious!

Over the last few weeks I’ve spoken to a couple of friends who have expressed their desire to lose weight. Other than providing them with a meal plan, I offered a piece of advice: start a food journal. Write down everything you eat every day; even when you sneak an M&M! When you write it down you see the reality of how you really eat, not just how you THINK you eat. SO I decided to take my own advice and start my own! For me, especially as a vegetarian, I want to monitor my protein and iron intakes everyday, and plan my protein intake especially around my workouts!

I, myself, am not aiming at losing a lot of weight necessarily.

My Goal: decrease my body fat and TONE, TONE, TONE!

One of the ways you can “lean out”, sort to speak, is to RUN! I used to love to run. However, when I played college basketball (quite some years ago now) I tore my ACL and had reconstructive surgery. It took me a year of therapy afterward to be semi-normal again, however, running has always caused me issues.

One of the reasons I think this happened is because I would always start out thinking I was in better shape than I was and would inevitably do too much too soon.

This time, I decided to start slowly with interval training. What that means, for those of you who are new to exercising or running, is basically that you run in intervals. You can choose the timing of it – for example, this morning I did a 3 min walking warmup and then jogged for 3 minutes at a time with a 1 min fast-paced walk in between. I did this for a half an hour. It may not seem like much but I was tired when I was done!

My Goal: Increase my jogging 1 min per week – Run 3-4 times per week 

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Afterward, I lifted arms – I will share my arm workout another day.

I wanted to share another workout I did after my run today – well attempted to do. It is called the New York City Ballet Workout. If you know me at all I wouldn’t be surprised if you are laughing your tail off 😉

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Well, I live up to my reputation. I lasted 5 minutes. I am the least graceful person on the face of the planet. I prefer getting down and dirty with my dumbbells and the pavement. I like to sweat and feel sore after. That’s just me! However, if you are a dancer or former dancer, this might be a perfect workout for you! Or if you hate using any kinds of weights etc. You can buy this workout on amazon here.

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Yes, I am icing with frozen brussel sprouts 😉

Another runner recently told me to ice after every workout no matter if your injury hurts or not. It’s called preventative icing 🙂 So I did!

I will leave those of you runners with knee issues with this: if you are running and you feel any kind of pain, not soreness, stop immediately. Having trouble walking the next day due to soreness is one thing, having it be because of pain is another and it lasts far longer!!

Off to make some sort of veggie concoction for lunch!!

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If you get an opportunity, take it. If it changes your life, let it!

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Over the last hour or so I have been watching video after video of the people on my Beachbody team – their successes and their WHY. We all have a reason as to why we got into the TEAM BEACHBODY business. My WHY is very simple yet very meaningful to me – I sincerely love to help people take control of their health! Beachbody has now given me the opportunity to help people take control of their wealth as well!!!

I am so inspired I wanted to share this opportunity with all of you in blogland! Take a minute to check out the video below!

http://www.teambeachbody.com/showcase/-/bcp/767951749001/252484?referringRepId=252484

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a company so incredible!!! AND you get to work entirely from home..or in the car..or on vacation..or anywhere you have access to internet!
My team has a live webinar with details on how to join my Beachbody team! Comment below and I will get you the information you need to attend!!!

Have a wonderful night everybody!!!

Dancing backwards in high heels

Ah, there is really nothing like driving to Cape Cod blasting old school Kenny Chesney. Totally invigorating!Image

I went down to the Cape yesterday for a surprise dinner for my dad’s 60th. We had already done another party and a dinner with Frank Sinatra to celebrate, so he was floored when 8 of his old teaching buddies were there to surprise him at dinner! We went to the British Beer Company and sat in a private room that looked like a greenhouse! It was a great time with a lot of laughs! Who knew they had gluten-free pizza dough? Note to self for the next time I go visit 🙂

I came home early to get my food shopping done. It always makes me smile when I go to check out and my entire carriage is filled with produce and no junk! (Especially when the fellow in front of me has not one vegetable in his ;))

For dinner I was inspired to make a mexican summer salad!!!

ImageI feel silly writing out recipes for salads! So here is my ingredient list

Yummy Summer Mexican Salad:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Purple Onion
  • Plum Tomatoes
  • Scallions
  • Cucumber
  • Corn
  • Black Beans
  • Avocado
  • Chili Powder
  • Balsamic Vinegar

I won’t share how many bowls I actually had 😉

Hope y’all had a fabulous weekend. Im going to watch some videos about all the success stories from my fellow coaches on my Beachbody Team!!!! With some popcorn of course !

**Lentil and Black Bean “Meat”balls*

The other night I invited my mother over for dinner. My parents live on Cape Cod and she comes once a week to visit my grandmother. I like to occasionally invite her over so I can test some of my new recipes on her 😉

just kidding I enjoy her company as well!

But she makes a great guinea pig because she can be rather picky! All week I have been craving spaghetti and meatballs – a meal I physically cannot ingest!  SO I came up with an idea to make meatballs using lentils and black beans, both important staples in my vegetarian/gluten-free kitchen. When I create recipes I literally wing them. I have an idea of what I want to put in them in terms of ingredients and flavors but it is most of the time a crapshoot. For me, that is the fun of it 🙂

After we have the “meat”balls for dinner, I sent some home for my father to try. He isn’t as picky but holds nothing back when it comes to his opinions! SO here is the recipe – pickymom approved and opinionateddad approved 🙂

 

Lentil & Black Bean “Meat”balls

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs or ground rice chex
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil.
  2. Cook lentils using package instructions (Usually for green lentils, 1 cup uncooked lentils to 2 cups water, add lentils to boiling water, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes)
  3. While lentils are cooking, grind your rice chex in a food processor until fine and until you have one cup. Strain and rinse black beans.
  4. When lentils are finished cooking, stir in black beans while still on stove top to warm them up and make them easier to mash – about 3 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat and transfer to large mixing bowl. Using potato masher, mash lentils and black beans until most are smooth but leaving some pieces of whole lentils.Add onions and scallions. Add oregano, cayenne, white pepper, minced garlic, and onion powder. Stir well
  6. Add your gluten-free bread crumbs or ground rice chex. Mix well.
  7. At this point I would taste your mixture to make sure you like how it tastes and so you can add any additional spices you desire.
  8. Combine the eggs with the mixture one at a time until mixed in completely. Note: the mixture will be sticky!
  9. Using a tablespoon, scoop out mixture one by one and mold into a ball with your hands. Place on cookie sheet in rows. Note: the meatballs can be as close to each other as needed since they do not expand when they are cooked!
  10. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until they are as crispy/browned as you like!

Makes roughly 20 meatballs.

I made mine HUGE 🙂

This recipe calls for black beans, however you can use any beans that can be mashed such as cannellini beans, kidney beans, etc. For those of you who are gluten-free, these are served well over white or brown rice and canned or homemade tomato sauce! I made my own tomato sauce with petite diced tomatoes and italian spices!

If you make these, please let me know how you like them 🙂

 

Have a lovely Saturday !!

Gluten-Free and Me

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Happy Friday! Today’s post I initially planned for a few weeks from now. However recently a friend of mine told me she was forced to go gluten-free by her doctor and instead of bombarding her with everything I know on the subject, I promised a post so she and others can refer back to it! So here goes.

A lot of people are forced to go gluten-free by a direct order from their doctor for health reasons. Some are positively tested for celiac’s disease while others are diagnosed to have gluten intolerance. Either way, going gluten-free was one of the most daunting experiences in my life. Whether you realize it or not, food is an integral part of every person’s life no matter how much they enjoy it!

     My reasons for going gluten-free, though not so clinical, were definitely out of concern for my health. I will share my whole story at some point because it is rather long, but I wanted to share how I cope with a gluten-free lifestyle TODAY to help those who are struggling with this or are just starting!

     First and foremost, if you have been told by a doctor that you need to start eating gluten-free, I would highly suggest getting the test for Celiac’s Disease. Those who suffer from Celiac’s and Gluten Intolerance suffer from the same symptoms, however if you have Celiac’s and ingest even the littlest big of gluten from cross contamination, it can start to destroy your small intestine! Those with Celiac’s have to be extra careful going out to eat or eating at a friend’s or relatives for that reason; they have to be extra picky about the questions they ask those who are preparing their food for them!

     The first thing I did after realizing I must eat gluten-free was go through my entire kitchen and remove EVERYTHING that contained gluten: flour, condiments, bread, wraps..everything. If you have other family members who can eat gluten, you can put those products in a place together so as not to cross-contaminate anything you eat that is gluten-free. For me, I gave it all away to friends and family! Eliminating gluten-containing foods forced me to read labels. There were some obvious items, such as bread, that I knew contained gluten, but others such as soy sauce caught me by complete surprise!

I am going to give a HUGE piece of advice: A lot of products that SHOULD be gluten-free, meaning their actual ingredients do not contain gluten, really are not gluten-free. If the label reads some variation of this: “This product processed in a plant also processing wheat”, then you are at risk of cross-contamination and should not eat that item! For me, and from what I’ve read a lot of other people who have gone gluten-free, this was the most discouraging experience in the whole process! I would look at water crackers and think, “These HAVE GOT to be gluten-free!” — nope. Water crackers? Really? It didn’t make sense to me and I found myself huffing and puffing out of every Stop & Shop, Price-Rite, and Ocean State Job Lot looking for a snack that didn’t contain gluten.

    It was at this moment that I started to break down. I was hungry and all I could think about was what I couldn’t eat. I was given the book Living Gluten-Free for Dummies by Danna Korn when I first went gluten-free but I never picked it up. I decided it was time to do some SERIOUS research. The book changed my life! No really – it did! She talks a lot about the affect gluten has on our bodies but also how to deal with going gluten-free emotionally and mentally. One of the most important tips she gives is to focus on foods you CAN eat and prepare them in ways that are delicious, appealing, and able to be duplicated. You can buy her book on amazon here.

     It was after that book that I decided to eat foods that were naturally gluten-free. It simplified my options and my budget! it also kept me healthy. It’s kind of interesting – at the same time I went gluten-free, I also went meatless! I’ll share that adventure another day 🙂

     For those of you just going gluten-free, here are some not so obvious foods that you definitely want to check.

  • Soy Sauce
  • Bouillion cubes
  • Dry-roasted peanuts
  • Any and all sauces – especially cream sauces that are thickened
  • Products containing rice – rice is naturally gluten-free, however processed rice products may not be
  • Anything breaded unless labelled gluten-free
  • Veggie Burgers

Soy Sauce: every soy sauce that I checked out in the market has gluten in it. After doing a ton of research I found  a product with no calories, no gluten, tastes just like soy sauce, and is all-natural! It’s called Bragg’s Liquid Aminos – you can get it at any market in the organic foods aisle!

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Bouillion Cubes: This one shocked me and drove me nuts! Definitely check your labels! Herb Ox is the brand I use and you can get them at Stop and Shop in the soups aisle! They are a little more expensive but well worth it!

Dry-Roasted Peanuts: I have yet to find a brand of dry-roasted peanuts that are gluten-free. However, peanut butter IS gluten-free for the most part depending on the brand. Check your label! When it comes to something that I cannot find gluten-free, I tend to think I probably shouldn’t be eating it anyway and cut it out of my diet.

Those are probably the three actual products that were most surprising to me and that taught me to read every label. I feel like a broken record!!! But I cant stress how important that is. It is better to know and be frustrated than to ignore and feel like crap!

My best advice to you is to stick to naturally gluten-free foods that don’t even have labels! Now your probably thinking, that is a pretty bland diet. Well it doesn’t have to be!! Just last night I made meatless meatballs with lentil and black beans! They were delicious and had the texture of actual meatballs. Both Gluten-free and vegetarian. (recipe to come very soon). Over the last 7 months I have experimented with so many different foods and ways to combine and season them. It has actually become very fun – almost like a game. Definitely try to find the positive while going gluten-free and challenge yourself to create something nobody thought of. It can be a nice hobby and you will enjoy eating so much more!!

Please comment for any further questions and stayed tuned for my Lentil and Black Bean “Meat”balls!!

😉

30-DAY VEGETARIAN CHALLENGE!!!

Over the last couple of months I have done a lot of reading about the health benefits of a Vegetarian diet. For clarification purposes, a vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat but may occasionally consume dairy and/or fish. Different people are comfortable with different levels of consumption of dairy and fish and it is a completely personal decision. A vegan, on the other hand does not consume any animal products whatsoever.

Check out this quick video on the benefits of a vegetarian diet!

 

 

I have been consuming a vegetarian diet since this past January (almost 7 months) and I feel absolutely fantastic! Not only has my energy level skyrocketed, but being a foodie by nature it allows me to eat a ton a food every day!

Many doctors, like the gentlemen in the video above, are huge advocates for a vegetarian diet for many reasons. Some even promote being a vegetarian during the day and eating a meal with meat at dinnertime. Even that is said to increase health! The problem with switching to a vegetarian diet is most people jump into it without doing the proper research. We do get some valuable protein and iron from animal meat. These are two important nutrients that people seem to lack when they go meatless. However, they are very easy to replace with the right foods! When I first went vegetarian I had to do boatloads of research to ensure I was consuming enough calories every day, getting enough protein (which is actually a lot easier than it seems), and especially getting enough iron!

BUT  I am here to make this process a whole lot easier! I am starting a 30-day VEGETARIAN CHALLENGE! With my help, and the help of Shakeology, I challenge you to experience the health benefits of a vegetarian diet.

How does Shakeology help?

Shakeology offers a vegan option for two flavors of shakes; chocolate and tropical strawberry. They are dairy-free and soy-free! By purchasing and committing to Shakeology for one month, you are guaranteed at least one meal per day that is full of essential nutrients for a vegetarian. Shakeology also helps increase energy and aids in weight loss, if those are your goals as well.

How do I help?

Well, if this isn’t obvious already I will elaborate. I have DONE all the research and am living a much healthier vegetarian life! As your coach for this challenge I am here for support; nutrition tips, recipes, recipe ideas, along with all the encouragement needed to help you discover the benefits of eating vegetarian.

What do you need to do to join the challenge group?

  • Email me (cassimalec@beachbodycoach.com) or Facebook Message me (www.facebook.com/cassi.malec) to find out how to purchase Shakeology and join the private Facebook Group dedicated to this challenge.
  • Commit to eliminating meat for 30 days and drinking a Shakeology shake once per day.

Start Date: July 8th

Spots Available: 10

You Get:

  • One vegetarian meal per day – Shakeology
  • One – on – one guidance and support via the private Facebook Group (or via email if you do not have Facebook)
  • Group support from others also participating!
  • MONEY BACK GUARANTEE!! – if you are not satisfied with your results I will give you your money back for your purchase of Shakeology!
  • Nutrition advice, recipe ideas, my recipes, and other ideas/experiences that make the transition easier!

If you decide at the end of the 30 days that eating a vegetarian diet REALLY isn’t for you, there will be absolutely no hard feelings. I am not a preacher and am not trying to “convert” you by any means for any moral reasons whatsoever. I am only trying to give people an easy way to switch to a vegetarian diet without having to search all over the web for healthy replacements. Why reinvent the wheel? If I can help get YOU to a healthier YOU, that is all I am aiming for!

GO VEGGIES!! 🙂

email: cassimalec@beachbodycoach.com

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cassi.malec