Sunday, August 25, 2013

Taste the Rainbow Breakfast Edition: Sweet Potato Hash

As you may know, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I can eat it any meal of the day and never get sick of it. For a while my go-to breakfast was overnight oats. My gluten allergy ruined that good thing so I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out what I could eat for breakfast instead of my oats. I know that there are GF oats, but I'm trying to eliminate as much gluten as possible. Oats are usually cross contaminated and there's not a 100% guarantee that they will be GF. So my quest for a filling breakfast began. I consulted Pinterest and found various recipes for sweet potato hash. I wanted to get really creative and find veggies in every color to make the dish pop. I stayed fairly close to the original recipe, but I added a bunch of other things too 'cuz that's what I do. Without further ado, here's another tried and true Pinterest recipe that I approve.

Colorful Sweet Potato Hash
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1 medium purple sweet potato, cubed
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped (the original called for 1 but I like it hot)
2 cloves garlic (I used 3 or 4)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook sweet potatoes for 8 minutes until they are semi-soft. Don't over cook them as they will be mushy. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

In a large saute pan, you will heat up 1 tbsp. of coconut oil and then saute the onion, bell peppers and jalapenos until the onion looks translucent. Add in the cilantro, garlic, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. 

Mix the ingredients for another minute or two. Add in the potatoes and stir for another minute or two. 

Makes 6 servings. I had my sweet potato hash with 1/2 cup black beans, 2 hard boiled eggs, and a healthy squirt of sriracha.

Macros: (will vary based upon the ingredients used)
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories: 162
Fat: 7.3 grams
Carbs: 24.1 grams
Protein: 1.9 grams


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paleo Orange Chicken with Asian Slaw

Since I've started my clean eating lifestyle, I've tried many different dishes from various diets. Paleo is one of those diets that has great dishes, but I'm just not ready to give up all of my grains quite yet. It's bad enough that I recently had to go gluten free. Geez! At least let me keep rice and quinoa!!

I have a pretty set ritual on Sundays - meal prep for the upcoming week. I'll plan what I'm going to eat for breakfast and lunch. Since I live with Panda and his family, his mom usually ends up making dinner unless it's something that either: a.) I don't like, b.) can't eat, or c.) is gross. I probably end up making my own meals half of the time because she makes things I don't like or can't eat. 

I digress...last week I felt like doing an Asian theme for lunch and I happened to find a yummy sounding recipe for Paleo Orange Chicken on Pinterest (all credit for the Paleo Chicken go to that blog!). The Asian slaw was inspired by a food thread on the Livestrong Community. Both were easy to make and delicious. The only downside for me - I didn't make enough to keep me full all afternoon. I typically stick to a "70s style diet". Meaning that I eat 3 big meals a day. I will, however, eat a snack around 5PM on the way home prior to working out so I have some fuel for my work out. Otherwise I go from noon to around 8 PM without eating. So the next time (and yes there will be a next time) that I make this recipe, I'll double it up to make enough to feed the machine!

Paleo Orange Chicken
1 lb. of chicken thighs (boneless & skinless)
3 tbsp. coconut oil (or any other fat you prefer)
Juice of 2 oranges (I used Minneolas)
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp. fresh ginger
3 tbsp. Braggs Amino Acids or Coconut Aminos
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce or sriracha (I used both!)
3 green onions chopped for garnish

In a small sauce pot, you will add the juice of the 2 oranges, orange zest, ginger, the amino acids/coconut aminos and chili garlic sauce and/or sriracha. Let the sauce simmer on medium to medium to low heat.

While the sauce is simmering, you will need to cube the chicken. Once you've prepped the chicken, you will need to heat the coconut oil in a saute pan. Once the oil has heated, you will need to fry the chicken until it gets a golden brown crust on the outside. Approximately 5-6 minutes.

Once your chicken has been fried, you will want to drain the excess oil. In a mixing bowl, you will put the chicken and then mix in the Orange sauce and green onions. Mix thoroughly so that the chicken is completely covered.

Servings: 5
Serving size: 1/2 cup

Macros (Your macros may differ depending on the ingredients used)
Calories: 149
Fat: 11.1 grams
Carbs: 2.2 grams
Protein: 10.6 grams 

Asian Slaw w/an Asian Vinaigrette (this is a Hungry Latina original!)
2 bags of broccoli slaw (I got mine from Trader Joe's)
1 container of shelled edamame
8 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp. Sesame Oil
1 tsp. fresh ginger
1 tsp. fresh garlic
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, throw in the broccoli slaw and edamame. Mix together so that all ingredients are evenly distributed. Makes 11 servings.

For the vinaigrette, you will need to combine the rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper into a bottle (I used some random jar hanging out in the cupboard) and shake, shake, shake, shake your bottle. Voila. Now you have Asian Vinaigrette. Makes 8 servings.

Macros for Asian Slaw (this will vary based upon the ingredients you use)
Serving size: 2 cups
Calories: 84 calories
Fat: 2.7 grams
Carbs: 8.5 grams
Protein: 6.4 grams

Macros for Asian Vinaigrette (this will vary based upon the ingredients you use)
Serving size: 1 tbsp.
Calories: 54 
Fat: 3.5 grams
Carbs: 0.2 grams
Protein: 0 grams

Keeping it real with paper plates.

Fitness Update: Weeks 11-14

I honestly cannot believe that a month has gone by and I haven’t done a single progress report! Arg! Where does the time go?! Well for me…it’s sleep – eat – gym – work – repeat again. A LOT has happened in this month as well. I’ll try to condense it all into a short but sweet post.

So I can’t remember if I mentioned that I had been really tired lately despite working out, cleaning up the diet, and getting about 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I finally went to the doctor to get labs done. They came back with a clean bill of health…for the most part. The results also pointed to a wheat (gluten) allergy. Out of a 1 – 5 scale (1 being the lowest and 5 being the worst) I came back with a State 2 gluten allergy. The doctor also suggested getting a sleep study done to see if I have sleep apnea as well. For those of you that know me, I’m a sleeper. I can sleep through just about anything. I’ve slept through concerts, baseball games, basketball games, The Battle of Helms Deep (Lord of the Rings), etc. So it’s not a matter of not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep, it’s a matter of getting quality sleep. Assuming my insurance covers this, this will be next on the agenda to do as well as going to an allergist to verify the allergies. Unfortunately, basic food allergy tests aren’t always accurate and pose a 54% inaccuracy. Case in point – they tested me for dairy and shrimp allergies. I’m lactose intolerant and get a crazy weird rash every time I eat shrimp. How you like them apples?!

So naturally I did crazy research on gluten allergies, the foods to avoid, and symptoms of a gluten allergy. LUCKILY I’ve eliminated all processed foods as they are the biggest offenders of gluten allergies. It’s the lesser known offenders that I’ve had to get rid of…soy sauce, oats, ponzu, etc. Quitting oats has made me sad. No more overnight oats :( which are like my favorite. I’ve had to be creative with breakfast (more to come on that) which has been fun, but frustrating since the oats were tried and true. I also consulted with the Livestrong Community about their thoughts and what the GF (Gluten Free) peeps do. Last Sunday was the first official day of being GF. Saturday would’ve counted, but Panda and I had Shabu Shabu (Japanese hot pot). The dang Ponzu sauce has gluten *slaps forehead*. So far I’ve noticed a considerable increase in energy during the day. This is a positive beginning. Now if only I could get more than 7 hours of sleep…

So it’s official – I’ve kicked gluten, dairy, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, soda, and processed foods. Did this happen overnight? HECK NO! It was all about baby steps. It looked more like this:
Processed foods – oh no more bloating? No feeling sick to my stomach? This is awesome!
A few weeks pass by…
Soda – no more bloating! Sweeeeeet!
A month or two goes by…
Artificial Sweeteners – fruit tastes so much sweeter…no bloating?!?!? (can you see a common theme here)
A month goes by…
Caffeine – no more jaw/face pain?! YESSSS! Oh wait…I’m sooooooooo tired…blah…zzzz…
A few weeks feeling blah and then…
Dairy – no more bloating?! No more stomach pain?! Sign me upppppp! Hello almond/coconut milk! (less calories too!)
Gluten allergy?! MUST.STOP.GLUTEN.!!!!!!!!!!!
Gluten – more energy?!?!?!?! What do I do?! OMG soooooooooo much energy!

So now you will be seeing a lot more GF recipes coming in the near future with me experimenting with various things. So far there has been some good progress. ;)

Fitness Gadgets
Every day I feel stronger and the stairs leave me less winded. I took it up a notch and FINALLY opted to get a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM)! Best decision I’ve made in a while. That guy is awesome! I burn way more than I thought I did. It’s really cool to wear it while working out and see the kind of calorie burns I’m doing with the various exercises that I’ve been doing. For example, the second to last NRoL4W Stage 1 Workouts A&B burned a whopping 538 calories for 90 minutes (that included warm up and cool down)! Before I had no idea how to tracking weight lifting. My Fitness Pal (MFP) calculated a burn of 281 calories for an hour.

I decided to get a Polar ft4 after I did all my research and heard about it on Livestrong. It was affordable ($67 on and did what I needed it to do: track my burns. An added bonus: it is PINK! :) If you want to take your weight loss journey to the next level, I would HIGHLY recommend getting one. It definitely takes the guess work out of the burn, calorie counting, etc. Is it 100% accurate? Absolutely not. But the margin of error is around 25%. I’ll take 75% accuracy over 0% any day!

Since I’ve joined Instagram, I’ve become an addict. LITERALLY. I’m on there all the time and I’m posting things non-stop. That’s beside the point. The point is, they have themes for each day. Like Friday is Flex Fridays. Then you have Transformation Tuesdays. So I decided to post a picture of my own. Back in March for St. Patrick’s day, Panda and I went to a charity dinner. They had a photographer there that took the worst picture of my life. It’s this very picture that made me realize that I had gone way too far and had gained a ridiculous amount of weight. 

Around that time I also weighed myself – a whopping 174 pounds on a 5’2” frame! Let’s fast forward to August 6th. Midway progress pics and down 19 pounds. Amazing what 19 pounds can do for a person right? It was amazing to see the transformation just in my face, not to mention everywhere else. The hard work is really paying off and you can see it. The proof is in the pictures! I also started taking full body progress pictures back in June to see the progress there. Here’s a comparison from when I first started lifting heavy with the NRoL4W to a week ago. Then you have the reaction of Panda when I make him take my picture. Ha! Not a happy panda.

Here’s the stats from day one of measuring:

How has your progress been? Slow? Steady? Like they say – slow and steady wins the race! Hope you guys are out there kicking ass and taking names!