Plant Power Protein Smoothie

Good morning everyone!

It was an early morning for me as I have a lot on the go this week in terms of work, helping out with my sister’s wedding and prepping for this competition. I love keeping busy, especially when everything I’m keeping busy with fuels my creativity and mental/physical wellbeing.

The contest prep is going good. Right now it’s experimenting with nutrition and trying not fall into my sweet tooth cravings. So far it’s been good! Except for Saturday… I went to the grocery store and bought my friend a birthday gift which is where I laid my eyes on Heidi’s 85% dark chocolate. I have never been tempted buy milk chocolate (luckily) but when it comes to dark chocolate; I love it…and I say to myself “It’s a WAY better choice than most” which is very true. However, for contest prep although one or two pieces may fit into my macros, eating the whole thing as I did isn’t ideal. I don’t believe anyone who says one piece of dark chocolate is sweet but bitter enough to be satisfying – I CALL BULLSH**. Give me all of the dark chocolate. Futhermore, on Monday my boyfriend came back from his trip and we sat on the couch, ate kettle cooked chips (no sodium, but still) and shared a bag of cinnamon sugar popcorn. It was my fault because I actually brought it for him and figured I won’t want any… but I did. Although I felt a tiny hinge of guilt afterwards but decided not to feel that bad especially since I ate a green smoothie prior so my stomach was lined to digest the food better. I didn’t plan this and this doesn’t mean you can alkalize your stomach and eat poorly after (that’s counterproductive as your body will battle between acidity and alkalinity), I’m just saying it’s a good idea for those practicing healthier eating habits that are eating out at a restaurant once in  a while.

I’ve concluded that since my body is in decent shape and I have been eating very healthy for the majority (usually do, but now I’m taking macro’s into consideration); I feel that if I have a snack attack once every couple of weeks it’s not going to hurt me in training. Once you set restrictions to heavily and beat yourself up when your heart wants to enjoy something – you are doing damage. The key is to enjoy your meals, not eat them because they’re healthy. So far I’m already see some positive results at my waistline since I’m visiting the gym almost everyday for two hours at a time with plenty of cardio. Every other day I’m training through Muay Thai and doing weights. That is enough to keep me motivated and excited for the results yet to come in another few weeks and from then on till the actually contest day in June.

Having said that, if you’re facing temptation then compromise with a healthier choice that satisfies your tastebuds. You won’t feel as guilty and there are so many amazing recipes available online as we’re now in a society that is more health-conscious (almost too conscious). If you have a slip up every now and again, move on. Do not downward spiral and please do not be upset at yourself. Thank yourself for the delicious snack, treat your body with respect and say “Since you treated me, I will treat you to the gym.”

Moving forward with the purpose of my post.

I’ve created a new smoothie recipe that is at first glance, on the questionable side of things. Since I’m not buying vegetables and greens that I typically eat anymore I’ve got to get creative on packing my smoothies in with complementary vegetables that meet my daily requirements. It’s amazing how you really need to adjust between even considerably healthy vegetables based on their sodium and sugar content. This required some sit down time and cross-referencing of foods that fit into my regime. The result wasn’t too bad; swapping spinach for kale; almond milk in my smoothies for water, etc.

For the next few weeks I am moderating between:

everyday: kale, cucumber, romaine lettuce, zucchini green pepper, 1 – 2 bananas (I can’t deal with stevia all the time as a sweetener), garlic, onion, ginger root, turmeric root

every few days: bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, lentils, millet, amaranth, quinoa and brown rice.

The list doesn’t look so bad to me because I love vegetables and I love carbs even more. Last night I was so happy with my big bowl of brown rice and sweet tomatoes seasoned with Mexican spices. I picked up a pamphlet from Whole Foods last week that gave me a guideline to using spices and it’s definitely come in handy to keep my belly happy without the extra sodium. And guess what, my taste buds are already adjusting and I don’t miss it!  In about a month, I can start reintroducing more fruit into my diet (I love fruit in the spring/summer) as it will be more alkaline by then being able to digest it better and reap the positive benefits of it. Colour me excited!

For this smoothie, I used essentially every green mentioned above except for zucchini and green peppers:

Image

  • 1 bunch purple kale
  • romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 large cucumber
  • 1″ ginger root
  • 1- 2 large frozen banana(s)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup of filtered water
  • ground cinnamon
  • vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein (optional)

At the beginning it was immediately getting that gorgeous green colour that screams ‘nourishment.’

I won’t pretend I wasn’t scared though…

Image

Please cucumber, be a good decision…

Image

Bananas make everything okay…

Image

After pureeing everything one by one (protein/cinnamon then bananas/ginger; last) I was quite happy with the end result (after adding the second banana). The hemp powder was strong at first but the fact that it was natural and there was zero sugar and sodium content I am happy with it.

  • 284 Cals:
  • 97 mg sodium,
  • 28g sugar from bananas.
  • 2.4g fat
  • 15g fibre
  • 19.4g protein

It was fresh and tasty with a hint of ginger which was so refreshing. This will be a repeat recipe on some mornings and I love the idea of packing a detoxifying, healthy meal in one delicious smoothie. It’s important to note that it is key this smoothie be enjoyed cold… I feel that it can only actually be enjoyed cold.

Image

Happy body, happy mind.

If you try this out, let me know what you think! Share some of your Plant-Powered faves!

Love,

Nidhi

Bananas: The Miracle Fruit

Bananas for bananas!

Image

image from http://artbananas.blogspot.ca

If you haven’t figure out already, I love bananas. Brown, spotted – give me all of the bananas. Frozen bananas are my saving grace from dairy ice cream cravings. They are sometimes enough to distract me from wanting chocolate… actually, they usually are. I think it all started from when I was a child; the only thing that made me at peace with falling sick was knowing I’d get to have the banana medicine (if you don’t know know what the banana medicine was you missed out!)

Since I am prepping for this competition and am already learning a lot along the way, I understand that I need to keep my sugars low and for now I will have to keep fruit to a minimum. Thank goodness bananas are low-glycemic otherwise I don’t know how I’d cope without them. I ate 4 of them in a row on my first day of training and knew that was probably a mistake… especially because they were not spotty so I was going to have an issue digesting them (under-ripe bananas do not digest well) especially having that many in one sitting.

Anyways, I’ve reduced my banana consumption down to two a day (not all at once!) and thought I’d share how I prepared them :).

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Fro-yo 

Image

What I used:

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs for some crunch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 scoop of Vegan Proteins+ Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)

Blend in a food processor and enjoy as a breakfast snack :). I loved including the cacao nibs. It gave me some of the necessary fats that I needed today plus the chocolatey crunch. Chocolate + Bananas + Happy, happy girl!

Sweet Vegetable Protein Smoothie (I don’t have a better name for it)

Image

What I used:

  • 1 cup of pure organic carrot juice
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup of organic spinach
  • 1 frozen banana cut into chunks
  • 1/2 scoop of Vegan Protein+ Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)

This sound like a strange mix but it’s amazing what a banana and some vanilla flavouring can do. I love this as a pre-workout snack and think I will use the recipe more often. Maybe not everyday because of the sodium content (260-something mg) but is definitely an option that will be repeated.

Now I’m off to actually work out!

Love,

Nidhi

Training, Sauerkraut and Other Noms

Image

Hello all, Nidhi here.

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

photo 1

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!

photo 1

photo 2

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.

photo 3photo 5

Those colours just scream nourishment, I love it!

See you in the next post 🙂

Love,

Nidhi