Awesome Smoothie Ingredient

Lately I’ve been back into using my Vitamix to make protein-rich smoothies for breakfast, which I pour into an insulated bottle (this one) and drink when I remember them, which is usually around 11 AM.

My usual recipe: 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, and frozen fruit.

Even though this process only takes five minutes, I’m always on borrowed time in the morning and I’m all for anything that streamlines my routine.

And confession: I also recently discovered that the estimated portions of frozen fruit that I have been using – measured with the time-tested technique I refer to as “eyeballing” the amount – are roughly double what they should be.

Last weekend I picked up this bag of frozen mango chunks at the grocery store:

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But what I didn’t realize is that inside this bag, there are five pre-portioned bags of mango chunks.

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Each bag is eight ounces, which is the perfect amount for a smoothie. The stats aren’t bad, either, since each bag contains 90 calories and there is no added sugar.

 

 

 

Travel Snacks

Right now I’m trying to avoid airport/airplane and otherwise bad-for-you travel food whenever possible.

This takes some planning, but with multiple trips back-to-back, I need to buckle down on healthy eating.

Here’s the latest crop of snacks that made it into my carry-on.

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Mary’s Gone Crackers. These gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan crackers come in seven varieties.

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Go Macro bars. Stats: 260 cals, 9g fat, 10g sugar, 10g protein, 1g fiber. The fiber is the weak link here, but I’m ok with this as an overall meal replacement.

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The Think Thin name kind of throws me off (seems a bit too Slim Fast-y for me), but I was attracted to the low sugar content of these bars – only 2g! 

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This 22 Days bar was an instant favorite. Although I’ve only tried this bar, I’m intrigued by the company’s manifesto. Vegan home delivery meal service? I would actually love to try that.

Other staples: plain water, mineral water (I almost entirely gave up soda six months ago), and my old friend, coffee with a splash of milk.

While it’s still healthier to make your own food and eat at home, I still figure I’m better off with these choices than, say, the Panda Express at Gate 75.

 

 

Kale Scramble

Do you like savory or sweet things for breakfast?

If I had to pick just one category, I’d pick savory, but I like both.

I only go out to brunch about once a year, which is more than adequate since I unfortunately tend to eat my body weight in things like muffins, omelets and hash browns when given the chance.

My usual breakfast is either a mid-morning Greek yogurt with berries, eaten at my desk between patients when I’m in clinic, or a smoothie made from almond milk, vanilla protein powder and frozen fruit – usually consumed when I’m on the go.

But lately, when I have enough time, I’m really digging veggie and egg white scrambles smothered with Sriracha.

I am so, so addicted to Sriracha, and this is a perfect vehicle for it.

Here was my breakfast last Saturday:

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Ingredients:

  • Coconut oil spray for pan
  • 2-3 cups raw kale
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup egg whites or egg substitute
  • Sriracha, salsa or other hot sauce of your choice

Directions:

  • Spray a saute pan with coconut spray.
  • Add cherry tomatoes and sauté on high heat. Ok to let tomatoes blister and split.
  • When tomatoes are thoroughly cooked, add a few handfuls of chopped, raw kale.
  • Spray the kale leaves with a little extra coconut spray and season with coarse salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes (optional).
  • Cook the kale until softened, then add eggs to pan and scramble.
  • Smother with Sriracha and inhale. 

Any veggies can be used for this, but one reason kale is great is because it is less watery than other greens like spinach. When I make this with spinach, I usually have to drain out excess water before adding the eggs.

I try to limit the amount of cooking spray I use, so the end result usually involves some serious scrubbing of my pan.

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Still worth it, though.

 

On and Off the Wagon

candy

Argh.

Ok, I hit a speed bump last week with leftover Halloween candy.

Consuming fistfuls of miniature Hershey bars wasn’t quite in my plan, but that’s where I found myself.

This week I’m back on the wagon, but I was left thinking about something I heard several years ago, namely that if you’re going to indulge, make it special.

I can tell you right now that there was nothing special about the pile of Halloween candy I ate.

It wasn’t Great-Grandma’s toffee recipe, lovingly re-created once a year for the holidays. It wasn’t even Cadbury Crème Eggs, available only at Easter.

You could buy any of the leftover treats I shoveled down my gullet from a random vending machine, and some of them even seemed a little stale. Ick.

I’m so mad at myself for falling into the trap of mindlessly overindulging on nutritional garbage, but I’m going to learn my lesson and soldier on.

Resolution: with the holidays approaching, if I choose to indulge, I will enjoy something that is unique, not readily available and worth it.

This Japanese proverb is also proving helpful:

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This just made me laugh:

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Fresh Persimmons

I was so excited to see that our local food co-op had fresh persimmons.

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Have you tried them?

I didn’t grow up eating persimmons, so these sweet fruits are relatively new to me.

There are basically two kinds of persimmons available in the U.S., Fuyu (what’s seen above) and Hachiya (below).

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Fuyus are more tomato-shaped versus Hachiyas, which are like acorns.

Both types should be eaten when fully ripe. 

(Hachiyas will taste bitter and chalky if you eat them too soon, but Fuyus are a bit more forgiving).

The fruit should be soft and the skin becomes almost translucent. The entire fruit is edible minus the leaves and stem.

You can slice off the top and scoop out the flesh with a spoon (it almost becomes a pudding when super ripe), or slice like a tomato.

I also like to refrigerate them right before eating, so the temperature is cool and they’re easier to prepare.

Their flavor is hard for me to describe, but it’s very mild, sweet and sort of melon-y. 

They are delicious.

Here’s a bowl I sliced for breakfast last weekend:

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Yum.

 

World Vegetarian Day

Today’s World Vegetarian Day, if you keep track of these types of things.

After being a strict vegetarian for more than a dozen years, I slowly started to eat seafood when I was in medical school.

Ironically, it was Gross Anatomy class that made me reconsider my position. I asked myself why I thought it was ok to dissect another human body yet I was totally grossed out by eating a Filet O’Fish?

Further review reinforced that Filets O’Fish are still pretty disgusting, but every once in a while I would eat high quality seafood, which now boils down to about 4-6 times a year.

If health is your goal, consider Meatless Mondays. My Uber health conscious friend G. has been doing this for a few years and swears by its power. Stumped for recipes? Look here.

Some final words with a bit of humor from A. Whitney Brown:

I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.

 

 

 

Make A Splash

Fact: I need to consume more water.

Another fact: Plain water is pretty boring.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – you can make “spa water” by infusing regular water with slices of citrus fruits or even herbs.

But this will kick it up another notch: Get fancy with your ice, too.

One way is to add frozen berries or fruit slices to your spa water.

Another is to fill an ice cube tray with coconut water, freeze and use the cubes to give water a subtle hint of the tropics. This would be great with frozen pineapple slices as your “ice.”