Monday, January 15, 2007

Avocado and Endive Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

I present to you one of the most delicious, nutritious and easiest salads you could ever make. Here in Sweden, GOOD avocados are readily available. If you are like me, your body craves certain things at various times and one of these "things" is salads. Sometimes you just want a crunchy, healthy nourishing dish and this one takes the cake (uh oh, did I say cake?!?). Anyway, I really suggest you give it a try because I think you will like it. The following recipe is enough for little over one serving, so just multiply it to accommodate more.

1 avocado
1 endive
1 tspn of dijon mustard
1 1/2 tblspns of white wine or champagne vinegar
Olive Oil
S&P to taste

Cut the root end off the endive, remove bad leaves and the slice the remainder. Soak in very cold/ice water to remove dirt and crisp the leaves. Spin dry. While soaking the endive, make the dressing. Whisk the mustard and vinegar together. Gradually add olive oil, whisking continuously to emulsify. The amount of olive oil depends on how tangy you want your dressing to be. Add salt & pepper to taste. Cube the avocado, combine with the endive and then add the dressing - lightly toss and serve!

There are so many good things for you in this salad, it's unbelievable!! I think the best is all the GOOD fats you are getting and it still tastes amazing. Click here to read up on the benefits of avocados. Enjoy!

Friday, January 5, 2007

The Benefits of Honey

Did you know there are benefits to honey? Besides being a better option than refined, white sugar, honey is believed to reduce your cholesterol. Living in a small country like Sweden, it is very easy to buy local produce but I know how hard it is to find these types of things in the states. It's so easy just to head to your local grocery store on the corner and pick up all your ingredients, but if the benefit of having local produce is this, then maybe it is worth the effort to go out of your way. Since I drink two cups of coffee a day and in that coffee I add milk and sugar, I've decided to replace the sugar with honey. I postponed this decision for quite a while, but now that I have done it I can tell you that I cannot taste a difference.

Now for a little more about this site - as I mention in my previous post, I am not a nutritionist or a professional trainer. I have, however, now linked this site to my other site so I will definitely have more people looking at this than just me and my husband. That being said, I also know there are people out there who know more about working out and nutrition than me so please feel free to comment when I am speaking out of turn or incorrectly about something. Most of what I am saying comes from what I have learned through the years of working out, listening to my body and reading lots and LOTS of articles on health. This site is more of a way for me to chronicle my process, share information I find interesting as well as take lots of food photos (I needed a justification, I guess, for this current obsession).

Enough of a disclaimer? Good!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

You are what you Eat!

Ever hear of that expression? I really believe it is true. If you eat fatty food, you will be fat. I am one of the lucky ones. I have a semi fast metabolism. However, after taking a look at my before pictures I took Monday night, I don't think I realized how much I am covering up. I had already made up my mind to eat better and get more exercise, whenever possible. These pictures definitely motivated me to get on track. I typically have a good week's worth of excuses before I really start committing to things but they inevitably always start with "I will begin ______ on Sunday, the beginning of the week." Well, guess what? After looking back and realizing how fast the last year has gone by, starting Sunday is not good enough.

What is good enough? The foods my body has consumed today. This morning I started out with a breakfast smoothie. It is made with:
1/2 cup .5% natural yogurt
1/2 cup .5% milk
1/2 cup frozen blueberries & raspberries
1/2 tablespoon of local honey
Just blend together and voila - a really yummy, filling breakfast that is good for you too (so good, it even grows among plants - ha!). As most of you know, blueberries and raspberries are filled with antioxidants which help your body fight against tons of diseases including Macular Degeneration, they help your brain by reducing the effects of age related conditions such as Alzheimers or dementia and they promote gastrointestinal health (no details needed here!). To get a full report on blueberries or raspberries, just click here or here.

For my afternoon snack, I opted for a really good protein/carb combo with a sprinkle of fruit. Behold, the power of a peanut butter and banana sandwhich...
Of course, in true UN-Elvis form, I did not fry mine. Nor did I pop a ton of sleeping pills afterwards. Instead, I enjoyed it with a cup of green tea. I recently read that eating a meal like this before or after running helps your muscles recover more quickly and reduces your soreness. This is because during workouts, your body burns carbs first then goes to the proteins stored in your muscles next (hence, muscle soreness, fatigue). By providing your body with a sandwich like this, it uses this fuel instead as the bananas are a "high-glycemic carbohydrate" meaning they will be absorbed quickly. In addition, bananas are an excellent health source providing 467mg of potassium which help protects against high blood pressure among other things. To see the full write up on bananas, click here.

My way of dieting is this - do what you can, when you can and don't sweat it when you can't. Now you can take that quote to the bank.

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year, New Me

It's a new year and like many, many other people in the world, I too have new year resolutions. One of mine is to become more fit and enjoy better food. Now, I am not saying that I don't eat well, because I do. But what I want to experience is really, REALLY good food that is also good for me. I also want to take my exercise and my body a little more serious. And finally, I want to expand my writing and food photography while not bothering my family or friends who read my other blog. I am not a doctor, nutrionist or a personal trainer but what I am is an individual who has been working out in some way for the last 12 years as well as an individual who has worked in the hospitality industry for the last 10 years. These two passions are now being combined in this blog as a way for me to express my passions as well as a way to document my progress in changing the shape of my body. I have gotten close, many times, to being in really good shape all the while enjoying good food along the way, so I know it can be done. And you, my "lucky" reader, will be along for the ride as I plan on documenting not only what I eat on a daily basis, but I will also record my exercise routine and post weekly progress pictures.

Happy New Year and best of luck to you and your resolutions!