Vegetable Enchiladas

veggie

You’ll Need:

12 small corn tortillas

1 medium onion, chopped

1 lb of sweet potatoes- cut into small chunks

1 1/2 tbs olive oil

1 can low-sodium black beans (rinsed and drained)

1 avocado

cilantro

2 cups brown rice

1 can enchilada sauce (8 oz)

Your choice of cheese – 1 cup

1 cup roasted red peppers

1/2 tbsp. chipotle powder

1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder

1 cup corn

1 tsp. ground cumin

avocado

How to make:

  1.  Heat oven at 300. In a bowl, toss potatoes in 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil and spread out onto a baking sheet. Bake till potatoes are soft and lightly browned. around 20-30 min
  2. In a large pan, heat up the rest of the olive oil. Add onion, chili powder, cumin, and chipotle. Cook till onion is tender then add beans, peppers and corn. Cook for about 5 more min. Remove 1/2 of corn mix and set aside.
  3. Put tortillas in oven, wrapped up in foil for 10 min
  4. Add rice, potatoes and enchilada sauce to pan. Cook for 6 min.
  5. Place 6 tortillas on baking sheet. Spread the mixture onto the top of the tortillas along with 1/2 cup of cheese. Top it with 6 more tortillas and add the remaining mixture and the remaining cheese on top so your making 2 layers.
  6. Bake for about 6 more min, until cheese is nice and melted. Top with avocado and cilantro.. =)

Enjoy!
beans black

(I did not come up with this recipe, I got it out of Self Magazine.)

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The Paleo Diet- Why I LOVE it – And all about it!

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So if you ask me what’s my favorite diet and/or way of eating this is definitely in my top #3 (along with clean eating and veganism) I truly believe that this is the way we were meant to eat, along with a few splurges every once in a while ;). So throughout my weight loss journey, back when I was 210, I was always having stomach aches and wasn’t sleeping well and just all around feeling like shit. The  Dr. said I might have an intolerance to gluten or dairy and I was looking for a diet that basically knocked out those two things. I kept finding vegan books but nothing that still included meat… So I pondered with veganism for a while, I worked with the clean eating stuff, but it was Paleo that kinda set off the light bulb for me. I was able to eat all these healthy foods, without getting sick every time I ate, and I was able to stuff my face until I was full without having to count any fricken calories! What’s better than that?!?! ps. I loath counting calories.

So enough about me. You may be asking well what is Paleo? Let me tell you!

So when I say Paleo, I’m talking about WAY back in the day with what our ancestors ate during the olden age (hunter- gatherer diet) . And if they couldn’t eat it.. neither can you! So say to-da-loo to cereal, bread, pastas, dairy and processed crap! But also say adios to counting calories!!! (sorry count Dracula – ah ah ah )

So when looking at us as humans… we haven’t changed since then. Back then we were lean, fit, happy, energetic and athletic. We had to hunt and gather our foods to be able to survive. Now, look at us now….were tiered, “too busy”, unhappy and possibly depressed, overweight and lethargic.. and all we have to do to get our food is either run to a grocery store where everything is laid out conveniently or pull our happy asses through the drive through that’s closest to home. Sad but true. So what the hell happened? One word: Agriculture! .. YUP… We started farming, and making foods out of other foods, finding fake foods that didn’t cost much to put into other foods and the chaos began! We went from being hunters to farmers.

So lets talk about grains…. they weren’t a part of our diet back then, but they are a majority of our diet now??? Something’s wrong here. The government is still recommending we get 6-11 servings of grains a day… really? Even not eating the paleo way that sounds like a lot. I don’t know about you but I think fruits and veggies should be what we mostly should be consuming because .. well have you ever heard I diet that bans fruits and veggies? Nope!

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So when we look at grains, out bodies aren’t really able to digest them. When we eat grains (carbohydrates), our body’s turn that into glucose, which is a form of sugar that gives us energy to perform throughout the day and in our lives. But here’s the kicker– any glucose that’s NOT used or excreted tough things like exercise or physical activity gets stored as fat. So think about all those times your eating your carb loaded breakfast and then go to work to sit at a desk all day….. No wonder your tiered (sugar high or about an hour and then you experience the crash) and no wonder the pounds started creeping on.

So I’m sure you have heard of gluten by now with all the craze of “gluten free” products out there. Most grains contain either gluten or lectins.. or both. Gluten is most commonly found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Lectins are natural toxins that exist within those grains and that your consuming every time you eat a form of grain,… can anyone say .. yummm?

So basically there is no sugar in this diet either, as our ancestors didn’t drink tea with sweet N low in it, nor did they eat any processed foods like a twinkie….. So the only form of sugar you will be consuming of from fruits mainly and veggies sometimes.

This is not a “low carb diet” where you basically eat no carbs at all (like Adkins) you’ll still get a good amount of carbs if your eating fruits and veggies still. Yes, our body needs some carbohydrates to function and its a main source of energy (but high carb diets aren’t the answer – which is what the average American is used to). See, with the absence of a crap ton of carbs, our body will take stored fat and burn that INSTEAD of carbs. YAY (Which is called ketogenisis.. if you wanted to know haha) So if your reading right, lower carbs (no grains) = no glucose( sugar) makes the body burn stored fat instead YAY! So when you think of carbs, the obvious fruit comes to mind, but there are things like sweet potatoes too that can curb that “I need starch” feeling. Most of your carbs are going to come from veggies and fruit though.

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Enough about grains, onto the dairy! – I love this topic! Dairy never really phased me as an “unhealthy” food option until I read the book “Skinny Bitch” (I have a review here :  Skinny Bitch )  Never did I think that I would be able to give up things like cheese, ice-cream, Greek yogurt and chocolate! But I did! It was fricken difficult, I will say that, and it did take time but I feel SOOO much better now that I did. OK- enough about me. So what’s wrong with dairy you’re probably asking?? So when looking at dairy, we are the only species in this world that continues to consume dairy through adulthood, every other species only drinks it as a baby and naturally, they wean off of it as toddler ages come along. Also, were the only species that consumes another species milk! …. (hopefully the wheels are turning in your head right now)…. So why are we drinking cows milk? Are we cows? Cows milk is meant for baby cows, not humans. Just like giraffe milk is meant for baby giraffes, cat milk is meant for baby cats. Get where I’m going with this? (hopefully you are). So when a woman gives birth, she naturally produces milk to feed to her young, its full of the vital nutrients that the baby needs to grow into a strong and healthy toddler yes? Its known to be the biggest growth spurt in a persons life… The mother stop breast feeding and her milk glands dry up (hence this is where the weaning is supposed to take place) But nope! We don’t stop there, we feed our kids and even as adults we continue to drink milk. But is it milk that were supposed to be consuming? Is it from humans? nope! Were gonna consume milk from cows….

When a cow is nursing (much like humans, after birth to give her baby calf the nutrients it needs to grow from a 100 lbs calf into a 2000 lb cow) her milk ducts dry up too, and the weaning begins! SO … lets see… mothers milk takes a baby from around 5lbs to 25 lbs where as a cows milk takes a 100lbs calf to 2000lb cow… this doesn’t seem fattening at all right???? Common people! You’d think that if we were consuming milk from another species, we’d be consuming gorilla milk or something (since they are supposed to be the closest thing to us right?!

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NO legumes no beans- why? Because beans ideally need to be “processed” before they are edible. Simple as that, so when looking at a bean, can you just eat a bag of dried beans? ha-ha no. Neither could our ancestors so beans and legumes fall under that category of “processed foods”. You cant eat beans right off the stalk because some of them are toxic too (like soy). They are known for causing inflammation and can throw off your hormonal balance as well. Also beans you have to soak the little sucker, rinse and switch the water, cook the crap out of them for forever for them to be edible… I don’t think our ancestors did all that work for a few beans …

So now your probably thinking well that the hell do I get to eat if your taking away all my pasta, cereal, cheese and milk?!? Well now that we’ve cut out all man-made products and processed crap, lets take a look at what’s left, Oh natural things that were put on this earth to eat. YAY!  And good news! You basically can eat as much as you’d like (my favorite part!)

Ps. I’m not adding everything but I’m sure you can Google different options!

  • Lean meats (grass- fed obviously … remember you are what you eat ate! – meaning if your eating grain fed cattle, your eating grains- and there is study that shows that’s hard for them to digest too…. )
  • Lean Beef- Flank steak, top sirloin, London broil, lean veal,
  • Lean pork, poultry (white meats), organ meats (liver and tongue), turkey, game hen, chicken, duck, goose.
  • Game meats- Bison, elk, deer, bear, pheasant, quail…
  • Fish- bass, trout, salmon, tuna, tilapia, red snapper….
  • Shellfish- shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters, clams…
  • Pretty much any fruits and veggies you want. Limiting starchy veggies like potatoes and legumes.
  • Healthy fats- almonds, cashews, seeds, pine nuts..

Foods you can eat in moderation –

  • Avocados, walnuts, olive, flax seeds, coffee, teas, wine and beer, dried fruits…
  • The reason they are in moderation is because did you see our ancestors lugging around a food dehydrator for their fruit or a beer. No. but its ok to live a little too..

Foods you avoid on Paleo:

  • (DAIRY) All processed foods with/without dairy
  • Butter, cheese, cream, frozen yogurt, milk, powdered milk,
  • (GRAINS) Barley, Corn, Millet, Oats, Rice, Rye, Wild Rice, Wheat, Buckwheat, Quinoa
  • (LEGUMES) All beans, Black eye peas, lentils, miso, snow peas, peanuts, soybeans and soy products, peanut butter
  • (STARCHY VEGGIES) Potatoes and potato products (fries, chips ect..) Limit your sweet potatoes and yams to a minimum.
  • (HIGH SALTED FOODS) – Bacon, pork rinds, cheese, deli meat, pickled foods, sausage, salted nuts, salami, hot dogs, ham, Ketchup…
  • (FATTY MEATS) – Beef Tips, Bacon, Lamb chop, fatty ground beef, skin of turkey and chicken…
  • Soft drink and juices
  • (SWEETS) – doughnuts, cakes, candy, honey, sugar (real and fake)

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Now, Paleo is kind of what set it all off for me personally, but if its not for you, its not for you. Plain and simple, you have to find something that works for you as a person because if you feel like your in a “diet” your most likely going to be miserable. Did I follow Paleo 100% when I was on  it ? nope! I had some beans here and there, I slowly weaned myself off dairy too (which was hard to do) but I made it work for me without messing it up too much.  I also started off with cutting out only gluten in the beginning and I found some “gluten free cereals” and I had oats still…. so I was more of a 80% Paleo do-er.

Try it for 30 days, see if you notice any difference? Are you sleeping better? Are you loosing weight or feeling more energetic? You never know unless you try it.

The Salad Bar – Building a Kick-Ass Salad! =)

So when it comes to salads, you want to stick to somewhere around 400- 500 calories. That way its enough to sustain you but not to much to where you should have probably just of had a pizza or some pasta. . . And remember calories aren’t everything, you need your good fats in there too to absorb nutrients and adding some protein is always good too.

spinachromainespring mixmixed baby

  • Picking your Greens – pile them on!!! (keep in mind a usual salad has about 3-4 cups at least depending on how much you want.)

Spinach- Only has 7 calories per 1 cup and very high in Vitamin A, low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Romaine-  10 calories per cup. a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium.

Spring Mix- 6 calories per cup. Since this is a mix, you get all kinds of good-ness!!

Iceberg- 8 calories per cup ( not my fav, because it doesn’t have many nutrients, its basically eating a plate of water.. id skip this one, but if your not that used to salads all the time this may be a way to wean you into them. )

Mixed Baby Greens – 6 calories per cup. Since this is a mix, you get all kinds of good-ness!!

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  • Protein

Shrimp – 60 calories, 1 gram of fat per 3 oz.

Chicken (breast, skinless) – 179 calories per 4 oz. 4g fat. 35g protein.

Beans-  calories, 0 grams of fat per 1/2 cup. (there are SOOO many different kinda too! My fav ?, black, kidney, and chickpeas)

Steak – 162 calories, 9 grams of fat per 3 oz.

Tofu- 34 calories per slice (around 84g). 1g fat. 5g protein.

Tuna (canned, in water)- 179 calories per cup. 1g fat. 39g protein. Good source of Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

Salmon (Wild, Atlantic) – 281 calories per 1/2 Fillet. 13g fat. 39g protein.

Hard Boiled Eggs- 78 calories per Med. egg. 5g fat . 6g protein.

fetacheddar   blue c       ameri

  • Cheese

Feta- 99 calories, 8 grams of fat per 1/4 cup.

Cheddar- 114 calories, 9 grams fat per 1/4 cup

Blue- 119 calories, 10 grams fat per 1/4 cup.

American- 94 calories per 1 oz. 6g fat.

Dairy-free (G0-Veggie Brand) – 90 calories per 1/3 cup. 6g fat.

straw         apples     grape     pear

  • Fruit

Strawberries- 24 calories, 0 grams fat per 1/2 cup.

Dried Fruits  (Apricots) – 34 calories. 0g far per 4 pieces.

Dried Fruits ( Cranberries) – 123 calories per 1/3 cup.

Grapes- 52 calories. 0g fat per 1/2 cup.

Pears- 1 pear 86 calories. 0g fat.

Apples – 95 calories per 1 medium apple.

Mandarin Oranges-103 calories per 1 cup. 1g fat

cucumber          tomato      bell       mush     olive    brocl

  • Pile on the VEGGIES! – and they pretty mush all have 0g fat.

Cucumber- 8 calories per 5 slices.

Broccoli- 20 calories per 1 cup.

Olives-  63 calories per 4 jumbo olives, slice them up, they will go a long way!

Cauliflower- 27 calories in 1 cup

Onion- 8 calories on 2 tbsp.

Carrots- 50 calories in 1 cup of shreds.

Tomato – only 3 calories in 1 cherry tomato.

Bell Peppers- 5 calories in 10 strips.

Mushrooms- 22 calories in 1 cup

Sugar Snap Peas-  41 calories in 1 cup

Radishes- 9 calories in 1/2 cup

corn       avo       whater

  • Other Random Goodies!

Corn- 16 calories per 2 tbsp. o g fat.

Avocado- 23 calories per 1 tbsp. 2g fat.

Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin ,etc.) –  depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

Mixed Nuts –  depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

Water chestnuts- 60 calories per 1/2 cup

Croutons- 122 calories per cup

  • To Top it Off — Dressings. (ALL PER 2 TBSP. )

Oil and Vinegar- 81 calories. 7g fat.

Light Balsamic- 20 calories. 1g fat.

Fat-free Italian – 13 calories. 0g fat

Thousand Island- 111 calories. 11g fat.

Honey Mustard- 139 calories. 12g fat

Ranch- 149 calories. 15g fat.

Caesar- 163 calories. 17g fat.

Salsa -depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

salad 1       salad 2       salad 3         salad 4

Olive Garden Healthy Options

So.. I love me some Olive Garden. And its safe to say that its one of my fav’s and I almost ALWAYS get a gift card to that place from a family member for Christmas or my birthday. So needless to say its a known fact that I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN! haha

But not everything there is healthy either. Just like other restaurants, they have good healthy options, and … eh, lets just go with the fact that they have poor decisions as well…So.. which do you choose? How do you know what’s a “healthy” option without bombarding the waitress about all the nutritional information and looking like a crazed, obsessed dieter.

And that my dear friends, is why  I’m here!

AMANDA to the RESCUE!!!

So being the salad and breadstick lover I am, I’m sad to say that one serving of their delicious salad (that’s drenched in awesome dressing I might add) and one breadstick is a whopping 500 calories alone. Sad, but true. And don’t go and try to blame the breadstick either! ok. One breadstick is around 150 calories, so most of the issue is actually coming from the drenched salad… ironically. So, quick fix, as for the dressing on the side! YAY! (don’t drench it when you get it on the side either- that’s defeating the purpose) Instead, dip the prongs of your fork into the dressing and, then, get a fork full of salad. Tastes the same, saves some un-needed calories.

  • Next .. say you want an Appetizer.

Stuffed mushrooms is probably your best option – 280 cal.

Mussels de Napoli which is 180 calories but extremely high in sodium so … only have a few.

Unlike the Lasagna Fritta that’s around 1,030…HOLY SMOKES!

  • Next, the main meal!

Soups and salads are always a better choice (usually) depending on where you go….

Now I know I just bashed the famous Olive Garden salad, bit its not that bad, if its your main course, just go light on the dressing.

Best Soup option – Pasta e fagioli  (it has the lowest amount of sodium)

Other options include

  • Cheese ravioli with marinara sause
  • Linguine alla Marinara
  • Parmesan Crusted tilapia
  • Plain ol’ Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Herbed Grilled Salmon
  • Apricot Chicken
  • Ravioli Portobello
  • Chicken marsalla (kind of high in sodium , so if you cut in half, that would be ideal)

And as good as that Tour of Italy dish looks , its almost your entire days worth of calories along in that one dish! oh my.. – 1.450 calories and 3,800mg of sodium. WOW

To make your dish even healthier .. you can always ask for Whole grain or Gluten free noodles. Regular linguini and penne are the other two better options.

And choose marinara over any white cream sauce.

Also – here is the link to Olive Gardens Menu and Nutritional Information if you want to look for yourself. https://www.olivegarden.com/Menu/Nutrition/

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