Tip of the Week # 18: Quality vs. Quanitity

quanity

When it comes to the food you put into your body, its more than just “calories in and calories out”… The food you consume is either going to benefit you nutritionally or its not, its either going to give you energy, vitamins, minerals, fiber and everything else or it may make you feel lethargic, worn out or give you a sugar rush that will most likely die within a few hours. So when picking out your food according to price vs. nutrition is a huge thing that a lot of people have a hard time doing.

All the time I hear “eating healthy is expensive” Yeah sure, some of it can be, not gonna deny that. But… I dare you to go to your produce isle and look at how much a bag of 10 potatoes is, or how much a bunch of spinach or romaine is…. a bag of potatoes is about $4 (and there usually are like 10 potatoes in there!) Then go over to the lettuce options you have (not he pre-packaged pre-made salads the actual bunch of leafs… they usually are about $1 $1.50 each bunch ) If your buy 2 or 3 of those, make your own salad mix A. you usually get more than the pre-packaged salads and B. its usually half the price. Key to buying healthy foods is to know where you can save money.

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Now that I got that rant off my chest with a little example were gonna discuss how quality is so much more important to quality. Sure have a few cookies or a pop tart here and there but not every day. Your goal is to get healthy right? Well here are some things to consider when you reach for that junk food.

  • Fake sugar and sugar in general – Now I’m not saying a little sugar is bad. Sometimes you need a little to keep your sanity hahaha.. and sugar from things like fruit aren’t as bad as your actual table sugar…. When you eat sugar or too much sugar is spikes your insulin levels .. which can result in diseases like diabetes and whatnot. When  you insulin levels are spiked you body is constantly trying to “burn that sugar off” first. And with that insulin being spiked your body is going to have a  harder time getting to that fat burning zone. Needless to say sugar any kind, fake or not, your body isn’t used to the amount we normally put into it  now-a-days. Do you really think our systems as humans were meant to eat potato chips, Oreos and sugary cereal all day? or at all for that matter? Limit your sugar intake and you’ll see a change, guarantee it. (I’ll do a post on how to curn sugar cravings and other options you can use that are better than sugar soon if ya’ll would like.)

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  • Ok so as we talked about Oreos and Cereal …. lets take a look at that. So  yeah its yummy don’t get me wrong and like I said, enjoy a fricken oreo here and there (you need to find a balance) but do NOT eat the whole pack in 2 days haha. So when looking at cereal, have you actually looked at the ingredients in Captain Crunch? (I’m picking Captain because its one or was, one of my favs =)) Besides looking at how many calories are in the food and calling it done, I want you to grab a box of a sugary (usually Kellogg’s) cereal and go over to Kashi cereal. Look at the ingredients on the bottom of the nutrition panel. Do you recognize everything in the Captain Crunch? Do you in the Kashi? I bet there is less in Kashi as well. Now…… here is where people don’t realize. . . . yeah Kashi is $4 and Captain is probably $1 .. $2 I don’t know.. So with that and looking at the ingredents, I bet one of the first few ingredients in Captain is “Enriched Bleached Flour” .. Yup! Its exactly what it sounds like, I might as well go grab my flour, bring it down to the laundry room and make my own. sad to say but yes, its true… they bleach it. and I bet the ingredient sugar isn’t far behind it on the list. On the flipside, Kashi probably says something like “Whole Wheat rolled Oats” or something. Now that should like something healthy right ? … and it definitely doesn’t sound like a chemical shit storm… Pay attention to ingredients and look for as minimal as possible.

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  • Lets talk about nutrition (the main point). So which do you think will fill you up faster? A burger from a fast food place? Or a salad? Well the thing is, they both “fill you up” just depends on how long your going to stay full for, which is going to provide your body with the nutrients, vitamins and fiber your body needs to run at top notch and which one is healthier (because being healthy is the main goal here). If your keeping track of your calories (which you should be because you’d be surprised how much you actually eat sometimes). You will notice how easy it is to get up to 1800 calories by eating crap foods. I mean good grief, 2 chips ahoy cookies is 150 calories alone, and between you and me… I cant just eat two at a time, its usually like 4 or 5 ( which equals 300+ cal) haha. Whereas, if you were to cook up 4oz of chicken and some fresh broccoli or whatever veggie you’d like .. the calories is going to be around 180-200 in that. So now that you see you would get to consume more food by eating healthier foods, you have to stop and think about which one is going to “fuel” your body. 4 cookies or a piece of chicken and veggies. The choice is yours but I think I made my point… plus I don’t know about you… but id rather eat a lot, then only have a small amount of food and feel groggy all day.

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  • One more point, sure at first eating healthy sucks (been there, I used to live on ramen, Tostitos pizza and all kinds of horrible things that I usually don’t eat now .. only for a treat do I do that)  But once you start getting used to it, its really not that bad. You start to get creative in the kitchen, you get a fun cookbook, you start to have fun looking for different spices and herbs. Learn to make it fun, get the whole family in on it and don’t look at it as a chore, your taking care of yourself. I personally like to think that my body is the only one I get, I either spend the money on fresh food or I will spend that money at the dr. later on in life. You’ll also notice a significant change in things like energy, sleep patterns and much more.

Plus I saw brown rice, dry beans and frozen veggies at the dollar store … so don’t tell me its expensive, you’re making excuses.

And don’t feel like you have to do everything at once, I didn’t, take baby steps.. this way you don’t quit or get overwhelmed.

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3 and 4 Weeks Out

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OMG! … Guess how many days I have till I step on that stage in that tiny ass bikini? 22! Wholy Moley!! At first it was like aww man this is gonna be a long 3 months, now I’m counting down the days I have till my big day and till I get to eat a fricken cookie hahahah.

So here are my updates =) .. officially sick of green veggies ( I only get certain ones right now since they are super high in fiber and low carb/sugar ect. … and officially sick of fish -> which haha I have probably 3 more weeks of with my luck! … but I’m doing it! 22 fricken days guys!!! eeekkk  )

4 weeks out:

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3 weeks out:

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ps. I know I need to work on smiling and posing at the same time hahha. I look so awkward right now … you’d be surprised how hard it is to stand in those heels and twist your body while still keeping a smile on…

Little more of an update: .. ummm got my almond/peanut butter taken away … right after I joke about how much peanut butter I could probably eat in one sitting lmao… wasn’t too happy about that…

Also! I got a new job! – I’m working at Vitamin Cottage as their Produce Assistant Manager. So pretty excited about starting that (even though it will be during my peek week .. uh bad timing) but I love shopping there for new things! Its like a mini Whole Foods.. without costing an arm and a leg! Whoop Whoop! hahha.

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 So with switching jobs during peek week, I might have jury duty (LMAO), scheduling appointments for tan, hair, nails, makeup, bikini fittings, workouts, prepping my food and living every day life … my body decided to catch a cold … good grief. Other than that .. life is peachy =D

OH and after this .. I plan on getting creative in the kitchen because I need some variety after all this haha… so be ready for some yummy healthy .. and some not-so-healthy recipes hahahha =P

Healthy Protein Bars

Some people know how to read nutrition labels and know what to look for when choosing out food. However, there are those either getting started on making healthy choices and they think just because it may say something like “high protein” or it comes from a commercialized diet plan (i.e. Slim Fast, South Beach, Atkins, or even something at your health store for that matter) it could be worse than a candy bar in some cases. I’m going to show you what to look for when picking out a good and nutritious protein bar, which macros are going to help you throughout the day. So here are some good bars I recommend along with a lesson about bars so you don’t think your being healthy and depriving yourself from a milky way when in all reality you may have just …well… ate the Milky Way. lol…. IDK about you, but I’d rather have the candy bar if that was the case! =)

*** macronutrients
                                 – carbs, protein, and fats.
Pure Organic
Pure Organic Bars (My favs: Cranberry Orange, Wild Blueberry, Chocolate Brownie)
Nutritional Layout: (used Chocolate Brownie for this example)
  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carb: 27g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Sugar: 16g
Upside and when to ideally eat: All organic with no artificial sweeteners, gluten free, non-GMO, minimal ingredients and made from all whole foods. Real food, nothing fake whatsoever.
Downside: I would not eat this bar at night that’s for sure, its more of a breakfast mid-afternoon bar. There is a high amount of sugar that could possibly spike your blood levels too soon before you head off to bed. Now, the sugar is coming from fruits, nuts and seeds so its good sugar but its still sugar. Eat it in the morning and keep a watch on other sugary things you consume throughout the day.
When looking at Calories:  You ideally want to shoot for anything under 200 calories per bar. Whole food based bars can be a little tricky when it comes to this since they usually are a little higher because a high amount of fruit and nuts. (these are good calories and kinda rules out the fact with the high calories.) But usually anything more than 200 would almost be a meal. And there are those bars like that out there and sometimes say to eat the bar and drink 8oz water with it…
quest
Quest Nutrition Bars (My favs: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Chip Cookie Chunk, White Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter … all of them lol. )
Nutritional Layout: (Used Apple Pie for Ex)
  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 9
  • Carb: 24
  • Fiber: 18
  • Protein: 20
  • Sugar: 3
Upside and when to ideally eat: Any time. I love these bars! They are almost perfect… if they could make a plant based one I would be the happiest girl in the world because I have a hard time digesting any dairy (hint hint wink wink @QuestNutrition ) – but ive ironically gotten better at it through this contest prep Im in so that’s exciting!! I miss some dairy haha.
Downside: they use sugar alcohol which hasn’t shown anything bad as of yet, I wish they would start sweetening with stevia.. And only like 4 net carbs in most of them, some less. net carbs are the carbs you count because fiber technically is a carb, but you subtract the sugar alcohol and fiber from the carbohydrate and there you have your “net carbs”. <— little lesson right there! =)
When looking at Protein: Higher is ideally better since the protein will help keep you full. But you need to be aware where the protein is coming from too. Is it from nuts, whey isolate ect.  ??
power crunch
Power Crunch Bars: (My fav: Mint Chocolate, French Vanilla Cream, Wild Berry Cream)
Nutritional Layout:
  • Calories: 200
  • Fat:12
  • Carb: 10
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 13
  • Sugar: 5
Upside and when to ideally eat: Another one that is pretty much ok to eat whenever. Since there is a bit more carbs in this one I wouldn’t ideally do them right before bed or anything. And the protein to carb ratio isn’t too huge compared to some other choices you can make. But these remind me of those wafer cookies I used to eat when I was a kid, I bet if you dipped it in almond milk it would be yummy…. hum ill have to try that.
Downside: lower protein. Higher carb. but still a good choice.
When looking at Carbohydrates: So let me clarify this, carbs aren’t “bad” … whether your trying to stay low or don’t care too much here is what you ideally look for in a bar when it comes to carbohydrates. Carbs can serve as immediate energy and sustained energy too. If your consuming the bar after your workout (which by the way, you should always have some protein and carbs right after your workout to fuel you muscles- this is called the anabolic window) I would shoot for 30g or less. And if there is more carbs in the bar than protein you might has well have a cereal bar…
victory
Victory Bars (my favs – fudge brownie, cookies and cream, peanut butter)
Nutritional Layout:
  • Calories:200
  • Fat:5
  • Carb:25
  • Fiber:20
  • Protein:21
  • Sugar:8
Upside and when to ideally eat: Whenever. These are along the same line as the quest bars. They do have more of a “protein bar” type of feel to them with them being mostly a solid bar.
Downside: Higher in sugar but still not bad at all.
 
When looking at Fats: Keep saturated fats at a minimum but it is ideal to have some fats in your bar. The fats are basically going to either make up some calories in he bar or it wont if its a lower fat. But fats aren’t bad either… its usually from nuts in the bar the fats come from.
kind
Kind Bars (my favs- Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, Carmel Almond and Sea Salt …. all of them hahha)
Nutritional Layout: These have a wide range between carbs and sugars… they are all kind of different .. but yet all good.
  • Calories: 180
  • Fat:12
  • Carb:17
  • Fiber:7
  • Protein:7
  • Sugar:11
Upside and when to ideally eat: Mornings or mid day. As you see they aren’t really a “protein” bar its more of a carb bar hahha or granola bar if you will. They have tons of flavors and different forms of kind bars now too. There is the Kind Strong, Mojo, Healthy Grains and they even have granola now! So you have lots of choices but like I said they are more of a breakfast bar.
Downside: Sugar is going to be higher in these since the sugar will be a natural form of sugar. I believe they are made with cane sugar but I might be wrong.
 
When looking at Sugar: This can go either way but .. lower the better. Some bars have natural sugars ( cane, stevia, tapioca syrup, ect) while some bars have sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol ect. ) Now they haven’t shown any evidence saying that sugar alcohols are necessarily bad for you but some people have issues with them so try it  out and be your own judge. I personally know if I eat too much sugar alcohols (also found in things that are labeled sugar free or chewing gum) I retain water. . . . With natural sugar try not to have it be too high..
cliff2 cliff1
Clif Bars (all if them. Blueberry Crisp, Mint Chocolate Chip, White Macadamia Nut )
Nutritional Layout: ( these range as well – used crunchy peanut butter for example)
  • Calories: 250
  • Fat:6
  • Carb:40
  • Fiber:5
  • Protein:12
  • Sugar:10
Upside and when to ideally eat: Another morning bar!! Love these, these can ideally be used as a meal if you pair it with some protein say a shake or something because of their high calorie content. They have tons of flavors (I love the holiday season because that’s when they come out with pumpkin spice and gingerbread!!! YUM) They are a higher carb bar so it will give you some sustained energy for your day. these are more like a granola bar as well.
Downside: Very high in carbs (which is fine, as long as your not eating these bad boys before bed hahha) and usually higher in sugar.
 
Everything else: Look at the ingredients, if its a HUGE list of 11000 things your cant even pronounce … don’t buy it. If sugar is like the second ingredient, then just go buy a candy bar instead. Look at the protein, then carbs, then calories and of course the ingredients. =)
luna
Luna bars ( all .. I like the peppermint stick a lot, along with Smores, Chocolate Fudge Brownie)
Nutritional Layout:
  • Calories:180
  • Fat:2
  • Carb:27
  • Fiber:3
  • Protein:9
  • Sugar:13
Upside and when to ideally eat: Morning, mid afternoon bar. By now I hope you can see the difference between breakfast bars and anytime bars. They have tons of fun flavors and even though they say a “woman’s bar” men can eat them too.. its just marketing and they have more vitamin B and folic acid in them.. whoooo what a difference right? hahha
Downside: lower in fats (which depending on your goals isn’t really a downside) and higher in sugar.
My favs:
 LOOOVVVEEE Quest bars they are probably my favorite when it comes to what they actually are. 20g protein low carb and a good amount of fat. That being said I don’t eat them all the time, they are not ment to be eaten as a meal replacement either so try to get your nutrition through actual food, your body will thank you for it!
Also love kind bars, kind bars are more of breakfast bar to me since they are more of a “granola” type of bar.
… I pretty much love all these bars hahha. I didn’t post any of the bad ones =)

6 and 5 weeks out

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As time goes on and the days pass a part of me is so nervous and excited and just thrilled I’m actually doing this (no turning back now!) but another part of me is rather relived and happy its almost over. Weird I know. I feel like the whole thing is going to be a bittersweet moment. The joy of being up on that stage (I’ve always loved the limelight ) knowing that I accomplished this goal that in all honestly was WAY harder to complete then I even imagined when I first started. But yet, I can begin to “live” again. Most people don’t realize how hard it is to sit there at a wedding/ baby shower/ anywhere with your 3oz of chicken and 8 asparagus spears while everyone else gorges on things like cake and BBQ ribs in front of you. Me, personally I didn’t mind it, I learned to live through other people, especially Evan hahaha. When we went on our vacation up to Vail I brought all my food and still continued to eat just like I do now, meanwhile he had things like pizza, peach pie, big burgers…… fricken waffle fries.. (not going to lie I wanted a waffle fry haha)

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When a friend of mine was telling me about “off season” and how all the pros of fitness take time off they eat things like pizza, doughnuts and good stuff.. I thought it sounded silly. Since the past 3-4 years through my whole weight loss I literally cannot remember the last time I ate a piece of pizza and since I have been eating clean for this long my thought when she said that to me was “but why would I ruin what I’ve just done??”

Let me just tell you now, I understand completely what she was talking about! through this prep (granted mine was a bit harder because I’ve been on such a prolonged clean diet for so long) … but literally I’ve never craved so much “unhealthy” food in my entire life. I probably pinned about 80 different pumpkin desert recipes on my pinterest the other day- no joke! And the fact that my body is handling whey (dairy) better now makes it even more dangerous!

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So not really sure what’s going to happen at the end of all this to be quite honest. I don’t want to make myself sick (even though I hear that is totally something every competitor does after a show hahah) but I do have a nice little list in my mind of all the different foods I want after this is over. Things like BBQ ribs, pumpkin….. well pumpkin anything!, Oreos, smothered burrito, tostadas, spaghetti … the list goes on…. guess we will see what happens eh?

 

ok without further ado, here are my 6 week and 5 week updates.

6 weeks out

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5 weeks

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I also got to pick out the color of my bikini! How exciting… I was so happy when my coach told me I should do pink or purple (my two favorite colors!!! ) so we opted for one in between its kinda a pinky-purple. … and it matches my gym bag, and my food prep bag haha. LOVE!!! I also was going back and forth between which connectors to use (connectors are the jewels on the bikini that hold it together… I picked the ones I’m going to use.. ya’ll will just have to wait and see which ones heee heee ;P

wpid-img_20140904_172117.jpgoh and I found more amazing PB that I can only eat when Evan isn’t around hahaha .. they need to make flavored almond butter and we’d be in business!!! Also here are some fun pics of Vail!! .. lol our maid probably thought a weirdo was staying there. =P

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Breakfast Oats

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You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup dry instant oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup Blueberries
  • 1/4 cup red Raspberries
  • 1/8 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk
  • Chia and/or hemp seeds to sprinkle

Annnnnnd any other goodies you’d like to add would be juuuust fine!

Prepare oats to package, add goodies and milk and enjoy – cool thing about oats it you can pretty much put anything on it …

Other goodie ideas:

  • any fruit (blackberries, apple slices, banana, pear slices, pineapple, peaches, strawberries, ect)
  • Spices (pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia, vanilla extract. )
  • Milks (cows, hemp, almond, rice, soy)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, walnuts, chia, hemp, flax, pecans)
  • chocolate chips – yep! you just read that right hahaha

 

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Update: 12 Weeks out!

Well I survived 1 whole month. Whooo haha. (it wasn’t that bad… the workouts are brutal though…. )

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Not too much has changed as far as weight ad diet. He did add fish to my plan so that was suuuper exciting haha. (something other than turkey and chicken ahahah)

I notice more of a difference in pictures and body composition than anything (which thank god for pictures because I would probably be freaking out otherwise since when I started with him I was 137ish  and I’m now only 133 lol. But when you think about it, its about 1 lbs. a week which is ideal so I guess I’m on the right track.

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I’m also getting more and more creative with my food to not make it seem like I’m eating the same thing over and over. The other day I did one of these Ms. dash packets (fajita style) in a crock pot of about 6 chicken breasts and made like a pulled chicken type of meal. … and this one was pretty good too. Made it with Ground lean turkey and no tomatoes ( the recipe on the back called for them.. but I’m a rebel and don’t follow rules =P  )

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This was the pulled chicken, it is really juicy (which is god because so many times chicken gets dry fast) … I put it on a salad with some salsa.

Along with just every day life, I also learned to never eat 6 cups of broccoli all day  everyday for 3 days straight.. (or at least I hope that’s what the problem was. So long story short (and I’m just going to say it like it is ya’ll … hope ya don’t get offended) but I was literally keeled over at work and when I got home last night. I was google-ing stomach pain and found that broccoli is a veggie that can A. cause bloating and B. has a harder time digesting in your body… (I didn’t know this)

So with that being said and a laxative taken last night to see if that was the problem (I believe it was BTW) I feel a lot better today and need to go get something other than broccoli for my meals now… since all I have is broccoli hahha.

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this is whats in my fridge hhahahahaa .. oh man..

green beans and asparagus here I come!!!!

 

 

 

 

Garlic and Herb Tuna Salad

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Had this the other day and it was delish!!! … after eating though, I could have gone without the dressing … but its all about a learning experience and seeing what works for you too. But anyways! Here is the recipe!

 

1 cup spinach and baby greens mix

50g (5 slices) cucumber

1 oz avocado

1 packet of tuna ( for this is used Tuna Creations Garlic and Herb flavor but lemon pepper is yummy too! ) =74g

1 oz chopped orange bell pepper

2tbs Walden Farms Chipotle Ranch dressing <— this is what I felt like I could have done without because the avocado acted as a dressing… but its all up to ya’ll.

 

Nutrition Breakdown:

Calories- 250

Protein- 17.5

Carbohydrate: 13.4

Fat: 14.5

 

ps. follow my instagram! I post all kinds of motivational stuff, quotes, recipes, and other stuff!! @amanda_fit_