Blog

Favorite Nutrition Books/Cookbooks

A book or cookbook is always a great gift to give. Even with the abundance of free recipes available to us online sometimes it’s nice to cook out of a real book! Plus they make for good house decorations and things for guests to look at. A lot of you have mentioned wanting quick, easy recipes and several of these fit that bill. If you read my favorite food blogs you may recognize some of these names. These are either cookbooks or nutrition books that I own and cook out of often, have on my wishlist, or have read and enjoyed. Without further ado:

  1. Fed and Fit – Delicious and creative recipes! Many of her recipes could feed a crowd and are great for leftovers and freezing. I love the upfront of this book that talks about her four pillars: fitness, food, mindset, and lifestyle & hydration. There’s also a 28-day plan and a whole workout section at the end.
  2. Nomnompaleo Cookbook – This is one that I haven’t personally cooked from but have been eyeing up! I like all of the recipes that I’ve made from her website and this books looks like a lot of fun to cook from. She splits up the recipes in the book based on how much time you have to cook which makes it approachable for the novice to seasoned cook!
  3. Food Freedom Forever – This book comes from the creator of the Whole 30 program. Reading this really changed the way that I think about food. A powerful, relatable read that I will keep coming back to.
  4. Body Love – I read this entire thing in one weekend over the Summer. I really like the author’s approach and mindset to living a healthy lifestyle that makes it achievable for anyone. Kelly LeVeque is famous for her “fab four” smoothie and works with celebrity clientele – about a fourth of this book is recipes.
  5. Wired to Eat – A little more science focused but still a very informative, interesting read. If you’re interested in learning more about the ketogenic diet and carb testing this would be a good book to pick up. There’s also meal plans, shopping lists, and recipes included.

Let me know if you get any of these and what you think of them!

Alcohol & Working Out

Although I already missed the biggest drinking day of the year (the day before Thanksgiving) I know there will be plenty more drinking occasions that come up with holiday parties and the new year. But let’s be honest, there’s always something to celebrate, and often times alcohol is involved. So, today I’d like to talk about how alcohol affects your workouts. Now, I’m not advocating for or against consuming alcohol but knowledge is power and once you’re armed with the facts I advise you to use them at your discretion!

Starting off with some basics – when you consume alcohol, most of it is absorbed by the stomach and the rest is absorbed through the small intestine. From there, it makes its way around the body, causing all of those fun, loose feelings, while the liver works furiously to metabolize the alcohol brought to it by the bloodstream.

So, how does this process affect our workouts?

The first, and probably most obvious way, is through dehydration. Alcohol is a toxin and once the body recognizes that it starts sending extra fluid to our organs, like the liver, to help process it out, and this process takes a lot of water to get done. (Ever wonder why when you go out drinking you have to use the bathroom more often? This is why, your body is pulling from water stores to flush the toxins out). All of that being said, you’ll likely be dehydrated when you work out after a night of drinking if you didn’t compensate by drinking more water. (A great way to combat that is by drinking a glass of water between each drink).

Decreased energy is another potential after effect of drinking. This happens because alcohol consumption can actually slow the uptake of glycogen for the muscles and the brain – which is really just to say that if can make you feel a bit more sluggish mentally and physically.

Now, looking at it from the reverse angle, how does drinking after a workout effect you? There have been many studies done that show that alcohol decreases protein synthesis. Essentially what this means is it keeps your body from tissue repair or building.  This can cause soreness to last longer, progress to be stalled, and it has a big impact on decreased stamina.

There are also some long term effects that alcohol consumption can have on working out. Excessive drinking has potential to do damage to the gut which in turn can damage our ability to absorb vital nutrients that help us to recover from workouts and progress in our fitness goals. Additionally, heavy drinkers tend to have a lower basal metabolic rate which can effect your ability to lose body fat since in a sedentary state you will be burning fewer calories.

Again, this is not meant to be preachy, and social drinking can absolutely be a part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle but these are some of the ways it could be negating your efforts in the gym.

My Favorite Kitchen Tools

‘Tis the season for baking and cooking! With Black Friday coming up I thought I’d do something a little more fun and share some of my favorite kitchen tools that are likely to be on sale this week. Here are some of the items in my kitchen that I couldn’t live without:

Food Processor – I have an older version of this but I love it! I use it most frequently for making sauces, pestos, dough, and energy balls.

Cast Iron Skillet – It does take a little time to season right, but don’t be intimidated! This versatile non-stick skillet can be used for sauteing, pan-frying, searing, baking, roasting, etc. The surface heats evenly and it can even be used in the oven. I’ve had mine for years and I use it multiple times a week.

Instant Pot – I actually got this on Black Friday last year, so hopefully it goes on sale again this week. This multi-cooker functions as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, among other things and you can expect your dishes to be prepared up to 70% faster using it. Lately, I’ve made bison chili and salsa shredded chicken, and I hard boil eggs in it almost weekly. I love how hands off and versatile it is. If you avoid cooking because you think it takes too much time, this is the product for you.

Y Peeler – This one may seem silly but I use it multiple times a week. For $3 this is by far the BEST peeler I’ve ever used. It works really well for peeling potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, etc.

French Press – Although I don’t drink coffee anymore, I used my french press daily for years. It’s not too labor intensive of a process and results in much better coffee than what you’d get from a drip machine. Plus it’s a fun, fancy thing to add to your morning routine!

A good knife and baking sheets are also essential, but I don’t necessarily have a favorite brand for those. Please reach out to me if you have any questions about any of these items!

 

Hydration

The jury is out on exactly how much water we should be consuming on a daily basis but what we do know for sure is that our body weight is made up of 60% water and every system in our body needs it to function. The recommended intake is based on various factors including your sex, age, and activity level and although there is no exact science a rule of thumb that I’ve come to trust is this: take your body weight and divide that by two and shoot to drink that amount in ounces. This is a more accurate guideline as the old adage encouraging people to drink eight glasses a day isn’t individualized at all.

So, for example, a 150lb. individual would shoot to drink at least 75 oz. of water/day.

Now, this doesn’t account for working out, being in extreme heat, etc. so at the end of the day you’ll need to listen to your body and your thirst signals to know what the perfect amount of H2O is for you!

Additional reasons why we need water:

  • Helps us eliminate waste (fights constipation)
  • Transports nutrients all over body
  • Helps you fight off cravings that are really just dehydration in disguise
  • Works as a cooling system when body is overheated
  • Helps us to digest our food
    • I want to make an important note here: when eating a meal, water should be used solely to aid in swallowing. Excessive liquid intake during mealtime can lead to indigestion, bloating, and nutrient malabsorption. Without getting too into the nutritional science weeds, know that drinking while eating dilutes stomach acid, which is essential to break down food properly. Try to drink water only between meal times this week and see how you feel!

Finally, if you’re looking for a quick test of your hydration level, take a look in the toilet bowl. The more pale and clear your pee is, the more hydrated you are.

 

Healthy Travel Tips

As the holiday season quickly approaches, I wanted to offer up some healthy travel tips should you find yourself heading out of town in the next couple of months!

The first, and possibly most important tip that I have, is to give yourself some grace when you’re on the road. Not every meal is going to be perfect, workouts may get thrown off, and you should absolutely enjoy yourself and your time with family & friends rather than stressing over food and exercise. That being said, here are a couple of things that have helped me:

Stay Hydrated! Traveling (especially flying) dehydrates you and since we aren’t engaging in our normal routine it’s easy to forget to drink water. I especially like to keep myself accountable by always carrying a water bottle, which at times can be a nuisance, but means I have no excuse to always have something to fill up.

Always bring snacks. Flight delays, lack of decent options, and hanger (hunger + anger) are all things that we may inevitably have to deal with while traveling. Arming yourself with some healthy snacks is one way to manage. I always travel with RxBars, nuts/raisins, nut butter packs, and travel friendly fruits like apples, bananas, and oranges.

Maintain your routine. To the best of your ability, try to recreate your typical daily routine wherever you find yourself. If you like working out in the morning, wake up and do something first thing even if that’s just a walk or quick body weight workout in your hotel room. Get creative! If you normally read before bed, bring a good book along. On my most recent trip I brought some collagen peptides to put into my morning coffee and magnesium to help me sleep at night, just like I would at home!

All of these things may sound simple but they have all really helped me to make the most out of my trips! Be on the lookout for a post all about staying healthy for the holidays.