Chia Seeds

Diet v. Exercise

Good morning and Happy Friday! I had the hardest time falling asleep last night even though I was tired – I think that 2 hour nap really threw me off. Though not feeling very well rested, I did wake up feeling good health-wise. My throat doesn’t hut at all and I’m really proud of myself for taking care of myself and fighting this sickness off before it got bad. I was in the mood for pancakes when I woke up, but I was dragging and running behind and didn’t have time to cook them without being ridiculously late for work, so I went another route.

This morning, I mixed together:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 2/3 cup almond milk

And then I made a Breakfast Parfait by layering a sliced banana, a few strawberries, and the oats together.

It was delicious and so simple. Making parfaits out of “overnight oats” (can I really call them that when they don’t sit overnight?) makes them a lot more fun and spreads the toppings throughout. Yum!

I got the new issue of Women’s Health Magazine yesterday and I am loving it so far. This is definitely one of my favorite mags, and there was an interesting article in there asking whether diet or exercise is the primary factor affecting certain things. I was surprised by some of the answers, but take a stab at these and I’ll report the correct answers at lunch.

1.) Lose Weight

2.) Boost Energy

3.) Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

4.) Prevent Diabetes

5.) Prevent Cancer

6.) Improve Mood

Do you think diet or exercise works best for each of these 6 factors?

Also, I never heard from the winner of the KIND Bar Giveaway, so I’ll post a new winner at lunch today as well.

Chiacake Tacos

Good morning! It’s Fridayyyyy! Woohoo! I looked at Women’s Health Mag’s Day 5 Tips for National Women’s Health Week and loved the tips because they are all about healthy weight loss, something I can totally relate to. The tips are very simple and straightforward, but I think its good to see them put out so simply to get back to the basics.

  1. Eat when you’re hungry! This one is a lot easier said than done, but obviously makes a lot of sense. You don’t want to limit yourself and not eat when you’re physically hungry, but you also don’t want to give into emotional eating out of boredom, sadness, happiness, etc etc. For me, this is a constant struggle. When food is in front of me, my impulse is to eat it whether I’m hungry or not. Recently I’ve been working on listening to my hunger cues, but also controlling my environment. If there are chips and salsa (or guac!) out, I will eat them, hands down. So, I try to either move away from the snacks (after having a few, of course) or just put them away if I’m at my own house. I’d love to have the self control to have them out there and just resist, but I’m not there yet.
  2. Be realistic. This is why I love Weight Watchers so much. I tried Atkins and was quite successful on the program, but gained back nearly all of the weight I lost once I started eating carbs again. Cutting out any food group is just not realistic longterm (for me – especially carbs!), and you need to be able to make lifestyle changes, not just quick fixes. Weight Watchers is great because it helps you learn how to navigate certain social situations, gives you a supportive group of people who struggle with the same things you do so you don’t feel alone, and doesn’t have you cut out any one food group, even cake and sweets. I think being realistic is also super important in terms of time frame. The longer it takes you take off the weight, the longer it’ll stay off. I think having milestones or mini goals can be a good motivator to help you stay on track, but not if you’re going to set unrealistic goals and beat yourself up if you don’t reach them. My weight loss journey started in 2005 and I’ve been working hard and focusing on weight loss for over a year and am not even there yet (but am getting very close).
  3. Get moving. This one goes without saying. You don’t NEED to exercise to lose weight, but you do need to exercise to maintain weight loss, and to be healthy overall! It doesn’t mean you have to compete in triathlons or run for hours on end (see point #2 – be realistic!) but you do need to do something. Walking can be a good starting point for a long of people, but its good to change up your activity, and find something you love! And don’t be afraid to try new things – you might surprise yourself. I never in a million years thought I’d love running – I literally used to do anything in my power to avoid doing the mandatory laps at soccer practice when I was a kid and would call out sick during the day of the mile run in gym class. But for me, I love the challenge of running and even though I’ve had a brief hiatus from it recently, I’m happy to be back to it!

What do you think about these tips? Any other big ones you think are important to be mindful of?

Now, today’s breakfast! This one was pretty amazing. I made Chia Cake Batter with:

I couldn’t decide what I wanted for toppings on the pancakes, so I did something a little different on each one!

One with almond butter & banana, one with greek yogurt & strawberries, and one with coconut flakes & hershey’s syrup. I picked these up and ate them like tacos, as seen on Kath’s blog (except she actually cooked them in taco shapes, I made mine normal and just rolled ’em up!). I’ll use any excuse I can to eat with my hands.

Do you see how thick and fluffy these pancakes are? The chia seeds soak up all the liquid (which is why I used more than normal today) and make for the fluffiest, most delicious pancakes.

Nom, nom, nom.

20 Miles!

I am already back in DC and just got back from my longest bikeride ever! It’s been a goooood day.

I ended up falling asleep fast and hard last night and it felt so good. I woke up without an alarm around 8 am and hung out with my sister and her husband for a bit while we drank some coffee. Then they made me delicious breakfast before I got on the road.

2 farm fresh scrambled eggs, 2 slices of tomato, 1/4 an avocado, and 1 piece of whole wheat toast. It was simple, yet delicious. I ended up spreading the avocado on the toast and it was awesome. I love how colorful this plate is! I ended up getting on the road around 10am which was awesome because I made it home in no time. I literally hit no traffic and made it around 12:30 which included a stop for gas. I’m so glad we celebrated last night so I didn’t get caught in Mother’s Day Brunch traffic… that always makes me cranky!

After I got home, I unpacked quickly and then decided to go for a bikeride. It’s a gorgeous, sunny, and cool day here in DC – perfect weather for a ride. I set out not quite sure how far I would go, and I was feeling so good that I decided to do 20 miles! It was my longest ride to date, and besides my butt being pretty sore, I feel great now too. I went on the Mount Vernon Trail towards Alexandria, and I usually get sort of turned around because the trail isn’t marked well during certain parts, but I had an idea of where to go and asked a few riders for directions, and then figured it out. I went 10 miles towards Mount Vernon (which was 4 miles further) and then turned around and came back. Soon I want to do the full ride of 28 miles (14 each way) but I didn’t want to push it since 16 was the furthest I’d gone before today. It is only a little hilly in parts but it was a nice, challenging ride.

Today’s stats:

– Distance: 20.13 miles

– Duration: 1hr35min3sec

– Avg. Pace: 4:43min/mi

– Avg. Speed: 12.7mph

– Calories Burned: 1172

Overall, a great ride! I brought these Gu Chomps with me:

And I ate 5 of them on the ride (115 calories worth). I didn’t like these AT ALL. They are chewy but kind of stick to your teeth and the flavor just tasted gross. I’m pissed at myself because I bought 5 packages of these because they were having a special at a race expo but I’d never tried them before! Maybe the other flavors will be better, but I much prefer the Sports Beans which actually taste like candy.

As soon as I got home, I was craving a smoothie, so I made an interesting combo.

Into the blender went:

  • 1.5 cups light soy milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 15 frozen cherries
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 3 cups baby kale (end of the bag)

Now this smoothie had a lot of potential… minus the kale. When I put spinach into smoothies, I can barely tell its there because it doesn’t really affect the taste or texture. Not so with the kale… It was baby kale so it’s a lot more tender than regular kale, but it didn’t blend up nearly as well as the spinach does so I could taste it and felt “chunks” of it (ew) in the smoothie. I think if I had put spinach in there instead it would have been a winning combo. I didn’t let it go to waste but I don’t think I’ll be using kale in my green smoothies anymore!

I’m off to shower and relax a bit. Hope Sunday is treating you well!

Chi Chi Chi Chia

Everyone remembers that jingle from the Chia Pet commercials, right? I can never get it out of my head any time I see the word Chia.. and recently I’ve seen it a lot in the blogsphere because Chia Seeds are everywhere! I’d never tried them for myself, but I like new things and I’ve heard they are really good for you, so I did a little research.

Here’s what I found. Chia seeds come from the Salvia Hispanica plant, which is a plant that grows in the desert and very liberally in southern Mexico.  Some of the health benefits associated with Chia Seeds are:

  1. Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  2. High in fiber
  3. Also a source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
  4. Don’t have to be ground for your body to absorb their nutrients (like with flax seeds)
  5. When added to water, it forms a gel-like substance. This means a similar process happens in our stomach, meaning we stay fuller for longer after eating them.
  6. Helps your body stay hydrated because they absorb 10x their weight in water.
  7. Stabilizes your blood sugar because it slows the process of converting carbs into sugars (great for Diabetics)
  8. Have been found to lower blood pressure
  9. Can help with weight loss because they keep you fuller longer so you’ll eat less, and they lower your caloric intake when eaten with meals.

So, with all these benefits, I couldn’t wait to give them a try. You can put them into or on top of pretty much anything, so today I made some overnight oats with chia seeds.

Into the mix went:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/2 container of Plain 0% Chobani
  • 1/3 cup light soy milk
  • Toppings: Dried strawberries and dried unsweetened coconut flakes

I am sooo full after this bowl! I think I’m going to start using 1/3 cup of oats instead of 1/2 cup because the chia seeds and the protein powder together in this have left me stuffed! Aren’t these dried strawberries so cute?

They have added sugar which I didn’t realize until after I got them but they are sooo tasty, and a little goes a long way. I ordered the dried strawberries, coconut flakes, and chia seeds from NutsOnline. They had really reasonable prices and the delivery was fast – I ordered Friday and it came yesterday. I’d definitely order from them again, but I got huge bags of everything so I shouldn’t need to for a while! 😉

Happy Hump Day!

1 2