How to Make Zucchini Pasta!

How to Make Zucchini Pasta!

You know that feeling of fatigue, guilt, and pants-button popping after you consume a plate of pasta? Let’s avoid that. 

11954695_10100447861174448_2282437885262855254_nTrading out pasta can be easier than you think– after all, it’s usually more about the sauce and accoutrements than the actual pasta. 

This past week, I saw some awesome pasta sauce on sale at Whole Foods, and the inner Italian in me wanted some spaghetti. I looked at the different pastas– regular, organic, gluten-free, and decided this… no matter which pasta I chose, it was still going to be a processed food and I was still going to be tired after I ate it. Then I remembered a wonderful trick for pasta cravings:

Zucchini pasta!IMG_4833

I dusted off my vegetable spiraler, and got to work. I think you can do the same thing with acheese grater, but the spiraler is a better band-aid free alternative. You simply cut off the end of the zucchini (local is best), and crank the lever! 

I baked some chicken thighs to mix in for some protein, used Cucina Antica Tomato Basil tomato sauce, and topped it with some Nutritional Yeast, for a cheesy-parmesan-like effect. Voila!

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Hate Running? Try this.

Hate Running? Try this.

Some people love running. Heck, I find myself in periods of running-loving myself. To all you haters out there, from a likeability standpoint, I find that when you are out of season with your practice, it typically takes about 3 weeks of consistent running to get back into your groove. The first week you feel like your appendages weigh 1000 pounds, you can hardly breathe, and the thought of stepping outside seems like a chore that you don’t wanna do [stomps feet]. The second week, it starts to make sense. You get the whole “running-thing” and its appeal. You start gaining some momentum, speed, and consistency, but it still feels like exercise. By the third week, you’re in a groove. You actually want to run, and not even just that, but it’s engrained in you. You can’t wait to lace up those sneakers and find yourself bounding along the pavement lost in your thoughts, admiring the beauty that surrounds you, and embracing the pumping of oxygen surging through your heart, lungs, and muscles.

Alright, enough of that. So why wouldn’t someone want to run on a regular basis (other than the trifle It’s hard excuse). Well as you may have noticed at some point in your life, running can be rough on the hips, knees, and ankles. It’s an extended period of impact on your joints, especially when running on pavement or a treadmill. To add to this conundrum, your body is bound to adapt to the impact for the time being. Many a runner can relate to the experience of feeling initial discomfort when starting out on a run, pushing through it, and then feeling the repercussions ten-fold afterward. This is because our body acts appropriately to produce endorphins masking this physical discomfort, but underlying all of this was the initial physical pain which you discredited. 

In addition to being rough on the joints, running causes an excess release of cortisol, our stress hormone, and also the hormone that is associated with fat storage, particularly around the mid-section. Essentially what you’re telling your body is, “We’re in danger! Run!” Our ancestors were not used to running miles at a time to run away from danger, and as a result your body enters an extended period of cortisol being released, with the added bonus of contributing to accelerated aging and hormonal imbalance. 

So what’s the alternative? Well there are lots, and mixing up your workout can be highly beneficial– mix in some yoga, weight lifting, boxing, jumping rope, body work, etc. But if you want to get your run-kick without the standard 2- 6 mile daily run, try doing some interval training. Not only is this better for your hormonal harmony and joints, but it also burns fat more rapidly, melting off fat even into the next day. This can look like the following:IMG_8469

  • 2 minutes Warm Up
  • 15 seconds: Sprint
  • 45 seconds: Slow jog (or walk)
  • 15 seconds: Sprint
  • 45 seconds: Slow jog (or walk)
  • … (Repeat Sprint/slow 10 times)
  • 10- 20 minutes Cool Down (Slow jog or walk)

I found a great app I wanted to share. It’s called IntervalTimer, and you can time out your workout so that it notifies you when to sprint, when to jog, and when to cool down, all while playing your music in the background. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Do you do intervals currently?

What do your intervals look like?

Do you notice a difference in your body composition or lifestyle factors after incorporating intervals in place of, or in combination with running or walking?

Please share below!

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Banana Avocado Smoothie

Banana Avocado Smoothie

Banana and avocado? They’re actually a match made in heaven when it comes to getting a wallop of nutrients. By pairing the banana with the healthy fats of the avocado, you are going to slow down the absorption of sugar in your bloodstream. What this means for you is more sustained energy, without the draining spike and drop of blood sugar. 

I prefer to use bananas that are going brown, since they are a bit sweeter and easier on your digestion. This recipe is low glycemic, and you can make it even lower in sugar by using half a banana (instead of a whole).

By adding healthy protein to your smoothie you can call this a complete breakfast, with the three important components to a complete meal: Fat, Fiber, and Protein. Without Fat, Fiber, and Protein, you may find that your smoothie leaves you hungry an hour later. Two proteins that I love are: Hemp Protein (you can even get this at Trader Joe’s), and clean sources of whey protein without all the added junk– I love this one through TLS— Transitions Lifestyles System.

The coconut milk I prefer is the Whole Foods 365 Days full-fat Coconut Milk. Shake this up to mix the coconut cream with the coconut water. Don’t be afraid of these fats! They will keep you fuller longer, and away from the need to snack. 

You can add any types of greens, but my preferred smoothie greens are the mixed field greens– you get a variety of nutrients, they are a gentler taste, and easier on the digestion. Start with a few if you are new to greens in the smoothie, and add more as you adapt to the taste over time. You likely won’t even taste them in there with just a handful.

The cacao will give you a zing of energy and chocolatey taste.

You can save any extra for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack!

11148761_10100436770230788_336491818781932626_nIngredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2-4 T protein powder (or one packet TLS Whey Protein)
  • 1-2 handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1-2 T cacao (raw cocoa)
  • Few drops Stevia (optional)
  • Water to consistency of choice (Start with 1/2 cup and add from there)
  • 4 ice cubes (unless you used frozen banana!)

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in blender.
  2. Start with a 1/2 cup of water and add additional water if necessary.
  3. Pour into a glass and drink slowly– try chewing your smoothie before swallowing for optimal digestion!
  4. Save extra in an enclosed container for a snack.

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