Training, Sauerkraut and Other Noms

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Hello all, Nidhi here.

So begins the rigorous training for the fitness competition in June… Made a visit to Whole Foods ❤

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Day two has come to a wrap and I am already learning that I’m possibly doing this whole thing wrong… already…

It seems I cannot abide by my own “rules” by just eating very healthy and exercising. Although I knew this; it is much, much more than that. It IS calories and it IS counting your macros… so I can’t just rely on high carbs along with low fat and low – no sodium and sugar.

My friend who is a registered holistic nutritionist (who is also doing the competition) explained to me why she has cut her calories from 2500 to 1600 and not only is she training like a beast at the gym, she is struggling to feel full. She explains why she can’t have as many greens and vegetables as she wants.. Why she must be so strict to aid in her cutting her weight down. She has been training for two – three weeks and she’s been pretty strong throughout the process. But her explanation was a good wake up call and early enough for me to learn from it for this competition.

Whoever is reading, I’m not trying to take light of what fitness competitions are. Please don’t take my “I’ll eat healthy and not count calories/macros” attitude as a way of undermining these competitions. Call it ignorance, that’s fine. I knew it would be hard but I’ve discovered I may have to do the calorie counting that I didn’t want to do. But you know what, I’m up for the challenge and I will do my best to keep a healthy attitude. If anyone has any advice/comments, feel free to send them my way. Again, we’re not professionals here… just sharing our life experiences and journey :). A small part of me hopes I don’t have to be as disciplined with my macros since I am not needing to cut weight and just build muscle (I know it’s a short time, this competition isn’t pro). If anyone has input on this… would love to hear! Need as much advise as I can get :\.

Also… I say this is hard because although I consider myself very active, I do not enjoy working out unless it involves me hitting things i.e. muay thai, slam ball, etc. My body is already aching from being on a bike and doing HIIT with kettle bells! The only way you can get me to train for an hour of cardio is for you to give me a weighted hammer and let me beat the sh** out of a tire with it… same thing with gloves and bag. THAT I can do! Furthermore, I’ve lost some confidence in my physical abilities as well because I’ve torn ligaments in my right knee a while ago so I am only teaching kickboxing these days and not training so the activity is minimal… so this may boost my confidence and keep me feeling good about myself… Even though the gym isn’t exactly my happy place, my desire to tighten and strengthen my body is way stronger than my horrible feelings towards to the stairmaster and bike. Regardless, I’m pretty happy this opportunity came along and just in time for bikini season!

P.S. Does anyone have any great exercises that work the glutes that puts minimal stress on my knee?

Moving forward… I have had a couple of great meals that I’ve enjoyed. Although they didn’t exactly fit in my macros – they fit within my original plan: low sodium, low sugar, low fat and generous in carbs.

The first picture you see way above my ramble is a taco salad I made sans any taco shells or tortilla chips. Spices can definitely go a long way with some cumin, chilli and cayenne pepper without the salt. I missed the salt a little bit in this meal but I need to adjust my tastes to not want so much of it… also need to do some experimenting.

I love these salads as they’re so versatile to put together; any veggies, corn, beans and greens combined with the those spices… instant taco salad! You can also make “meat” out of grinding walnuts with those spices and a little bit of soy sauce believe it or not! I missed that too :(.

The puple topping you see on the salad is homemade sauerkraut with red cabbage and carrots. The recipe is seen below at this gorgeous website:

Ruby Kraut (and Why It’s So Good For You)

I’ve been getting into the sauerkraut before meals because if prepared at home; it is a fantastic probiotic enzyme to aid in your digestion. And it’s yummy!

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I think Jack is a closeted vegetarian.. He’s always whining and reaching for veggies when I’m chopping them up… He successfully reached the peppercorns as I was taking this picture… pepper… everywhere.

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Those colours just scream nourishment, I love it!

See you in the next post 🙂

Love,

Nidhi

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Happiness is pizza, chocolate and E! television on a Friday night

Hello!

Happy Friday! Yes, I am blogging on a friday night. Jen and I are huge advocates for staying in on Fridays with our pets, thinking about food and keeping comfy in our sweats. Sometimes we Skype and talk about how much we love our lives in our sweats. It’s a common side effect of a Canadian February (We are killing it in Sochi – WOOOOOO BABY!)

Besides sitting at home bathing in Canadian pride, I am also walling in self-pity due to the failure of planning my 25th birthday. My party was supposed to be tomorrow and my best friends do not live in this beloved province (Jen’s all like “look at me I’m so awesome with my Manhattan life” – dammit she is awesome with her Manhattan life) so I have been a bit of a Debbie Downer as the plans have fallen through with the “locals.” It sucks, but life must go on… nothing a bottle of red can’t fix – kidding… 2 bottles. Woah, is this my diary!?

Anyways, because of my mood I have been craving those good old comfort foods for consolation. However, when we eat emotionally we are essentially punishing our bodies for feeling badly in turn making us feel worse about eating poorly when we’re trying our best to make conscious efforts towards a healthy lifestyle.

A year ago I would have ordered a pizza, this year I made a homemade personal pizza that cost me… *drumroll* … 210 calories. Whaaaaat!? I’m not for counting calories but you all must know the beauty of this pizza. It’s a revolution, people! GUILT-FREE EFFING PIZZA.

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This dish is vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free. Yes, I used an egg. 90% of the time I practice a vegan diet but once in a while I will throw an egg in there. Sometimes there needs to be flexibility and I personally do not fuss if I am limited to options when I am out with others. If my back is against the wall, I will not fuss with the server or chef and will order something vegetarian, not always vegan.

Moving forward, the crust is made out of cauliflower. *pause for reaction* The original recipe is seen below. I don’t want to break any rules so I am just sharing this recipe rather than repeating it here:

Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe

This website is absolutely lovely and I am so happy to have found it. I tried out the crust recipe sans mozzarella (I imagine it was delicious with it but if it’s in my control I’m quite strict with my dairy intake). When it was baked, it didn’t fall apart so I was quite impressed with this recipe. However, because I didn’t use cheese, I tasted the egg more than I would have originally liked so if I were to do this over I would probably experiment by adding quinoa or almond flour. Why not a rice/wheat flour? I do my best to stick to the food combining rules by not combining starches with protein. Since both quinoa/almond and egg are protein and/or fats, I’d like to think that’d work well together. If anyone has any non-starch recommendations – please share! I’m by no means an expert so I am all ears on anyone suggestions are anytime.

Check out the crust; not bad!

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Throw some sea salt, garlic powder, add some spices and you’re solid – and so is the crust ;).

I didn’t have any tomato sauce so I used some Hunt’s pure tomato paste and mixed it with Neal Brothers Salsa which created a pretty delicious tomato spread. In pizza, I LOVE tomato sauce so I packed it on.

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Add whatever toppings you wish, I had an odd mix but it made my tummy happy with some roasted red peppers, crushed chilli’s, zucchini as pepperoni slices all on a bed of kale and arugula. It was my unconventional version of a rustic pizza.

It was guilt-free, satisfying, delicious and made my heart feel well. Not just because I was “emotionally eating” but because I knew I was making a wonderful decision for my body – not to punish it because I was in a sour mood. We are what we eat and if we want to keep a positive attitude, we must feed ourselves the beautiful, colourful, earthy foods that nurture these positive emotions.

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Next, I mentioned chocolate. How can I speak of comfort foods and not talk about chocolate??

Tonight I made an almond butter spread with chocolate. I stumbled onto the original recipe via Pinterest which seems to be hellbent on toying with my emotions between the latest fitness workouts and cupcakes. Pinterest, I love you but you hurt.

The link is from Ambitious kitchen and is seen below:

Homemade Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

It’s delicious and puts such a creative healthy twist to butter spreads on toast. This original recipe includes coconut oil however I swapped this with almond milk. Although coconut oil is a good fat, I decided the almond butter alone provided enough in this recipe.

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For my slightly different vegan version I used:

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of unsalted roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 blocks of Bakers pure dark chocolate
  • pinch of stevia as needed for a no-sugar option
  • pinch of himalayan sea salt (optional)

If you have a food processor you can make your own almond butter by processing it for 5 – 10 minutes. It will become smooth when it’s consistently mixing; scrape down the sides as needed. If you don’t have a food processor you can use store-bought almond butter in a glass jar (warning, it’s delicious with apple slices).

Next, gentle melt the Bakers chocolate and pour into almond butter mixture with the milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix again then follow with the cacao powder. If the mixture becomes thick and pasty, add more almond milk – or you can try gently melting coconut oil for a “silky” texture and taste. If you don’t find it’s sweet enough and you want to avoid adding more sugar from the maple syrup, add some stevia to suit your taste buds.

That my friend, is happiness in a jar:

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I can’t decide whether I’m going to spread this on toast for breakfast or put in a banana smoothie. Maybe both!? Oh first world dilemma’s; contemplations such as these remind me how lucky I am. A 25th birthday party fallout is really a first-world problem and I can truly count my blessings… “Dear diary…”

Anyways, what’s great about adding the almond milk in this mixture is it cuts the calories and fats per serving so it is not as heavy. *note: calories are not important with fruits and vegetables but it is good to monitor them with nuts and grains*

This is extremely healthy but is still a treat so try to resist eating half of the jar if you try this out. I’ve made this recipe with hazelnuts and my goodness, it was just like Nutella and it was gone ASAP.

Let me know your thoughts and if you enjoy these ideas. There are so many amazing blogs out there and am so thankful to have resources and the means to try them. Pinterest is my favourite but it can be a weapon!

Thank you for reading, and I apologize for any annoying rants!

love,

Nidhi

Snack Attack: Homemade Hummus and Carrots

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Hummus is one of my favourite snacks that is generally on the healthier side compared to a lot of other dips. However, if you buy them packaged how healthy are they really? They’re full of preservatives with chemicals and a higher oil content in less desirable forms such as canola and/or vegetable oil (not to mention they’re usually modified).

I have been craving hummus for a while now and instead of reaching for the Sabra brand that my mother brought home (tastes so good, but not to good for your body) I decided to make some homemade! It was extremely quick, easier and even better; simple, healthy and just as satisfying as the store-bought stuff.

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Without further hesitation, my recipe is below :).

Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Hummus:

  • 1 can of organic garbanzo/chickpeas (Yves), drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted over a grill (no oil needed), seedless and diced
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp himalayan/sea salt
  • 1 tbsp crushed peppers

In a blender or food processor, puree the chickpeas with oil. Once smooth, tahini, lemon juice and minced garlic; puree until smooth and well combined. Add roasted pepper and puree again. Last round, add garlic powder, salt and crushed peppers.

Let cool in the fridge or serve right away. Enjoy along side some vegetables or crackers 🙂

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Love, peace & hair grease,

Nidhi