Tag Archives: Nutrition

Nutrition Tips For Thanksgiving

The holidays give a lot of people anxiety when it comes to eating, being fearful of overindulging, not being able to control their intake, or for some, not sure how to approach any holiday while still enjoying the foods they love. My simplest piece of advice that I can offer always reigns true for anything in love, eat mindfully but allow your space to indulge without guilt, how do we do this? Well if you keep following along you’ll find out.

 

Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays, mainly because I get two in one year. As a Canadian we celebrate Thanksgiving in October however also being American, we celebrate this holiday but in November. From the pie to the stuffing to the gravy, this holiday is all about the food and I’m here for it (sometimes I end up in a food coma, actually let’s be honest, I always end up in a food coma around Thanksgiving).

 

As always, my tips are just suggestions and in no way do you need to follow them head-on. I’m simply sharing what I share with clients who struggle with this holiday and want to also stay on track with their goals while enjoying all the amazing food that sits in front of them.

 

Fasting for Thanksgiving is a big no-no, you do not need to fast for this festivity unless you are someone who already follows an intermittent fasting schedule. Instead, let us look at the day this way:

 

  1. Enjoy a high protein, low carb, and fat breakfast
  2. If your Thanksgiving dinner sits in the early afternoon, instead of having lunch, make yourself a high protein, low carb/low fat snack.

 

          • If anything, people struggle with getting enough protein in on this day so having 1-2 meals or one meal and one snack that is high in protein will set you up for success.

 

      3. For your Thanksgiving meal, the following is a suggestion:

 

          • 1/4 protein, 1/2 carb, 1/2 vegetable, 1/4 fat (can be included in protein/carb). Within this structure, you’re still hitting all your core groups and you can visually see on your plate where each macronutrient sits.
          • For dessert, if there are many different kinds sometimes I’ll opt for smaller portions to allow more space for a variation or if I’m more prone to want just apple pie, 1-2 slices is the perfect amount for me (I’ll never skip dessert, it’s the best part).

 

Remember, these are just suggestions to get the most out of your holiday without feeling like you overindulged. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t struggle with these feelings then please disregard my suggestions or follow them if you want to also stay mindful of your goals. Everyone is different and we all have different relationships with food, that is why what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for the next person.

 

If anyone needs any extra advice or wants to reach out to speak on the holiday, feel free to DM me on my personal Instagram. I’m always available for a little chat, especially since I’ll be spending the Holiday virtually with my family.

 

Have a great Thanksgiving Union Fam, much love,

 

Jocelyn

Question: Do you incorporate a lot of protein bars and shakes into your diet?

The simple answer, yes. The long answer, you’ll find below.

 

Let’s define the term “a lot” because if you’re eating 3 protein bars a day and drinking 1-3 protein shakes, most if not all of your protein intake is coming from supplementation which ideally is not the route we want to take in regards to our nutrition. What we want to do is focus on whole and nutrient-dense foods then use supplementation to make up for the spaces in which we desire a protein bar or need that post-workout shake.

 

Breaking it down further, focusing on eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a good start and then from there add in your snacks and your post-workout shakes. If you follow a structure as similar to this you’re more than likely eating at around your body weight in protein without realizing it and without actually tracking your food (which is a tool that works for some but not all individuals).

When we under-eat in regards to our protein intake we lose lean muscle mass, can experience chronic fatigue, and experience other health-related issues. This is why getting in an adequate amount of protein is important to our overall health and wellness.

 

Everyone’s goals are different which is why my diet wouldn’t work for someone else, therefor my easiest piece of advice would be to eat your body weight in protein or around there (being mindful of not under-eating) and not overdoing it on the bars/protein shakes. Choose whole and nutrient-dense options first then fill in the spaces with mindful choices.

 

This is a perfect moment to plug my favorite protein bar and small-business, whom I wrote about back in quarantine, Nash Nutrition. These bars are made with clean and nutrient-dense ingredients, soy-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free, as well as naturally sweetened with honey and dates. If you’re looking for a solid, trustworthy protein bar, Nash Nutrition is my recommendation.

 

Purchasing from them is also a purchase towards supporting a small business, something we are proud to do here at Union Fitness. As the holiday seasons are approaching I encourage you to shop locally and shop small.

 

If you have any nutrition questions please message us on Instagram, Facebook, or Jocelyn specifically on her Instagram to get your questions answered in a blog post.

Nutrition Debunking (Part Two)

Have you ever noticed that a lot of “fad diets” really stray away from consumption of carbs or labels will market foods as “low-carb,” this is a primary example of society conditioning us to believe a certain food group is bad without really allowing ourselves to process the truth. I’m going to flat out say it, CARBOHYDRATES ARE NOT BAD.

 

So, the question remains, why are we conditioned to believe carbs are bad? All good and tasty things we love have carbohydrates in them, such as: pastries, bread and snack foods. Ultimately these are things you want to eat in moderation but the sheer fact that carbs are marketed as bad leads us to believe we shouldn’t eat even the ones that do benefit us. The reality here is if the average person really looked into what they should be eating, we would find that most humans, if not all should be getting in at least 100g – 200g of carbs a day based on their specific needs and daily caloric intake. A lot of times when I have clients come to me I’m noticing if not all are in a deficit and not fueling their body properly, this comes as a shock when I actually start introducing more food into their diets. The responses I get are, “I feel like I’m eating too much,” “I feel like this is way too many carbs” – Mostly these feelings stem from eating whole and nutrient dense carbs (rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes) energy sources that will keep you fuller for a longer period of time vs pastries, bread and snack foods that only curb that hunger feeling for maybe less than an hour.

 

The reason we see low-carb diets advertised for weight-loss is because it’s an easier grab of the consumers attention then actually taking the time to educate a client on eating in a deficit and working out as a sustainable approach. This is why diet culture is insanely toxic for the human mind/body and also at the same time very profitable. Like I said in part one of my Nutrition Debunking series, quick-fixes do not yield long-term results. The idea here that makes diet culture so profitable is that it requires the consumer to continuously come back for more, it’s basically an endless cycle of dieting. Do you really want to spend your entire life dieting on and off? I’d hope not. Telling the consumer carbs are bad or to eat low-carb creates lack of trust in an energy sources that our bodies need, we’ll get used to eating a lower and lower amount of calories until we are starving ourselves and then we’ll binge and find ourselves chasing that low-carb diet again that some Instagram influencer told us to do because juice cleanses are needed to feel “refreshed” again.

 

Honestly, aren’t you sick of dieting? Aren’t you tired of always feeling like you can’t have this or that? True nutrition education teaches nutrition professionals how to bring awareness to sustainable weight-loss that yields long-term results, habit building and trust creating relationships with all types of food. The truth to the whole “carbs are bad” or eating only “low-carb” is that it’s indeed fake news. You can have that doughnut or muffin and go about your day not feeling bad or feeling like you threw your whole day off because of one thing. Allow yourself to have the pastry and then go about your day choosing whole and nutrient dense foods, making good choices that fuel your body and making sure you are eating around your body weight in protein.

 

It is my ultimate goal to educate people on eating well and never telling yourself you can’t have something because honestly thats just dumb, why would you ever avoid foods that make you happy. Life is all about balance and being insanely restrictive isn’t fun, it creates stress, makes you unhappy and feel inadequate – Trust me I’ve done the whole restrictive thing. When we let ourselves enjoy we want it less, the desire to binge becomes undesirable and honestly we become a happier, healthier version of ourself. 

 

If you’re ever curious as to what you should be consuming, grab me and pull me to the side in the gym or DM me on Instagram (@jlemay). I’d rather spend 30 min with you making sure you are fueling your body and feeling your best than have you spend the rest of your life feeling like you have no idea what you’re doing or that you’re not seeing the results you want to see.

NUTRITION DEBUNKING (PART ONE)

What’s up guys, Jocelyn here. I’m super excited, overly passionate and invested about anything and everything nutrition related. After finishing my Nutrition Coaching cert through Precision Nutrition I’ve had so many opportunities to personally help and/or guide people through their own nutrition journeys. I’ve found consistently, even from just coaching in general that there are A LOT of nutrition myths out there, thus another nutritious blog post from yours truly (see what I did there?).

 

Misinformation exists, especially in the fitness world and it’s a huge problem for professionals in this industry trying to properly educate individuals. The market for dieting is growing every year, from weight-loss supplements, juice cleanses and meal plan templates, we are seeing the biggest marketing scheme for “quick-fixes” take over the health and wellness industry.

 

In this blog post I’m going to focus specifically on the diet culture within the fitness industry and providing educational and informational responses on why these chosen paths for weight-loss are ultimately damaging not only for your body but mental health as well.

 

Let me first clear things up, there are no quick fixes especially when it comes to weight-loss.

 

Getting right into it, I want to start off with this idea that we need to eat 1200 calories a day in order to see weight-loss happen. Here’s what will happen if you only consume 1200 calories, you will lose weight (awesome right? Not exactly), you will also lose some fat but also muscle. The biggest problem with restrictive eating is that your metabolism will eventually get used to eating at such a low caloric intake that you will have to continue to eat less and less calories to see progress in your weight-loss. The issue with this is that it creates an unhealthy relationship with food, it creates stress and stress comes with a whole list of things it does to your body. Having such a mentality leads to disordered eating, labeling food as “good or bad” and then eventually binging because you’ve deprived your body of what it needs for so long, this is not only harmful for your body but also your mind.

 

No person on this earth except for a child under eight that doesn’t exercise should be eating less than 1200 calories (according to the 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines). As we get older the baseline amount of calories we need to function properly go up and they will also vary dependent on how active of a lifestyle we live and if/how hard we workout. This is why a one-size meal plan templates does not work and why juice cleanses are a superficial. The main reason why a one-size meal plan doesn’t work (side note: it may work for some people when its a customized plan for their specific needs) however, we are all different and that means the amount of calories we need is different from say myself and what my fellow co-worker Curtis needs to fuel his Powerlifting training. Therefore, buying a one-size fits all meal plan template from an Instagram influencer might not be the best move for long-term sustainable success.

 

Let’s move onto juice cleanses, a market that has generated $215 million dollars in 2012 (according to market research firm NPD group via Harvard Health). The biggest issue I have personally with juice cleanses is that they claim to “detoxify” your body when in actuality your body comes equipped with a natural detox system AKA your kidneys and liver. If you have healthy kidneys and liver they will filter blood, expel toxins and cleanse your body 24/7. Juice cleanses will profit off of detox marketing and misguide people thinking this is what they need to do to rid their body of waste so that they feel healthier. These cleanses are generally low in calories and in-turn result in weight loss, however the real question here is what do the participants do once they have finished their cleanse? Just because you rid your body of all the “toxins” within it doesn’t mean you can go back to how you were eating before and evermore your internal desire to binge will be high due to restricting yourself for days. We also need to pay attention to how much protein the body is getting, even if you are vegan/vegetarian these diets still get a healthy amount of protein to maintain muscle mass. Juice cleanses have little to no protein in them, overall the juice cleanse is just a “quick-fix” to a long-term problem.

 

Good nutrition comes from education on whole and nutrient dense foods, a stress-free and relationship centered focus in regards to food. Restricting calories, following diets that are a one-size fits all approach or thinking quick-fixes are going to get the job done is not going to promote health for the long-term. Nutrition Coaches like my myself focus solely on making sure the client in eating enough food to sustain a healthy weight while also reaching their goals, the biggest myth of all is that you need to starve yourself to lose weight when in reality you probably need to eat more than you already are now to achieve your weight-loss goals.

 

Next time you’re scrolling through social media pay closer attention to what type of information you’re taking in and if you have specific nutrition questions, stop me in the gym next time you see me and/or stay tuned for part two!

 

Much love,

 

J

 

References:

Publishing, Harvard Health. “Juicing — Fad or Fab” Harvard Health, health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/juicing-fad-or-fab.

“Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015” 2020 8th Edition 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/.

Chef CeJ

Hello Union Chefs

 

Today it’s time to get on the line and run a dish on the fly (chef jargon).

 

Here is what is on the menu at Cafe de Union;

 

Fresh As Heck Cucumber & Tomato Salad

 

Quiche Me I’m Irish…Maybe

 

Pineapple Express & Spicy Shrimp Battle Spears

 

Shake Shake Shake Shakshuka 

 

FAH Cuc & Tomato Salad Recipe

 

I’m a big farmers market fan and do my best to get the majority of my produce from these cool pop up markets. Thankfully Union’s own Big Cod “Farmer Fran” Miller brought in some of that fresh fresh produce.

 

Ingredients: Cucumber, Tomato, Hot Pepper, Green Pepper, Garlic, Olives, Onions, Olive Oil, Wine Vinegar, Salt , a weeee bit of Suggaa. Slice, dice, pour, mix, clap your hands and just like that you have yourself a Fresh As Heck Salad!

 

Quiche me I’m Irish…formerly known as Quiche By A Rose Recipe 

 

I like pies and I like breakfast things, so we put it all together.

 

Ingredients: All the Veggies you like, Hot Peppers, Sweet Pepper, Onions, Garlic, Tomatoes, Parsley, Fan Favorite Cheese, Eggs, Heavy Whip It Good Cream, Salt, Pepper, Pie Crust.

 

Sauté up the veggies while the pie crust is baking in the oven and then toss those veggies into a bowl with the eggs, cream and whip it up real good. When you’re ready, pour the mixture into the pie crust and let that puppy bake for about 20-30 minutes. Slice it up and enjoy.

 

Spicy Shrimp Battle Spears Recipe

 

Sweet heat on a fresh Summa Day!

 

Ingredients: Shrimps, Pineapples, Zucchini, Squash, Onions, Sweet Peppers, Mushrooms, Jalapeno, Garlic, Olive Oil, Lime, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt and whatever else you want to toss on the stick. Toss it in foil or right on the grill and let the magic happen.

 

Shake Shake Shake Shakshuka Recipe 

 

A meal all in 1 cast iron skillet.

 

Ingredients: Onions, Garlic, Peppers, Tomato Sauce, Tomatoes Diced, Eggs, Paprika, Chili Powder, Salt, Pepper, Cilantro & Parsley. Sautee all the veggies and sauce in the skillet. After about 10 minutes use a spoon to make a pot hole to crack 1 egg per hole in. Cover the skillet for a few minutes (depending on how “dippy” you like your eggs) Then garnish with the herbs, wipe the drool off your mouth and feast my friends.

 

As always, have fun cooking and devouring new meals! Stay spicy my young Chefs.

 

Cheers,

 

Chef CeJ

It Goes Beyond the Gym

You’ve probably heard it before, “ you can’t outwork a bad diet.” I mean you can try but at some point you’ll either hit a plateau with your goals or you’ll start feeling “blah” and those are things that happen when either you’re not eating enough or you’re not fueling your body with the proper nutrients it needs to perform simple daily tasks.

 

If you’re an athlete within your respected sport or a member of Union Fitness coming in at 5:30PM to get bumpy with CJ in #Powerful, you’ve probably more than likely heard someone or our staff briefly mention anything in regards to nutrition. Not only do we want our clients to perform to the best of their abilities but we also want them to feel good in their everyday life. This all starts and ends with the basics of good nutrition. Good nutrition can be defined as eating whole and nutrient dense foods. Generally in a good diet we want to look for foods that contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats. These foods include, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and lean protein (when prepared with little to no saturated facts or added sugars/sodium).

 

So back to the all defining phrase, “you can’t outwork a bad diet.” For example, let’s use an early 30’s female, who works a full-time job, eats out a lot, workouts 1 hour a day and likes to enjoy a glass of wine before ending her evening – This would be what her day looks like.

 

6AM Wake-Up

 

Breakfast: breakfast sandwich from fast-food chain + coffee

Heads into work for 9AM

Lunch: chicken salad with ranch and a diet soda

Afternoon snack: greek yogurt with granola + water

Leaves work at 5PM

Takes CJ’s 5:30PM #Powerful

Dinner: burger and fries + glass of wine

 

Now let’s break this down a little, overall she’s not eating terribly but we can nit pick at a few things. First, she’s not eating enough and more specifically she’s not eating enough whole and nutrient dense foods. Secondly, her fast-food breakfast sandwich, diet soda and a burger/fries will eventually leave her feeling the “blah” sensation at some point (if her eating is consistently like this). Her water intake is also very low and my overall observation is she just needs to replace a few things that would fuel her body better.

 

Let’s take a look at the same woman but with a better understanding of eating well.

 

6AM Wake-Up

 

Breakfast: glass of water, breakfast wrap (homemade) + coffee

Heads into work for 9AM

Snack: greek yogurt with granola/blueberries + water

Lunch: glass of water, chicken salad with balsamic dressing and a soda water

Afternoon Snack: Protein bar, banana + glass of water

Leaves work at 5PM

Takes CJ’s 5:30PM #Powerful

Post-Workout: Protein shake + granola bar

Dinner: Seafood pasta + glass of wine

 

After she has learned the basics of good nutrition she implemented a few things, increasing her water intake, increasing her protein intake, choosing drink options that are healthier and making sure her meals are portioned and opting for more homemade meals and whole foods. She is eating more and fueling her body for the simple things like daily tasks whilst getting the nutrients she needs to help her get through a PM workout.

 

The goal here is to understand that regardless if you want to gain muscle or lose weight, you’re going to need to eat but what your nutritional plan looks like is going to be specific to your own goals and your genetic makeup. While we’re at it too, diet culture has long engrained in us that we need to eat less to lose weight and thats not necessary the case (but thats another blog post for another time).

 

It all comes down to fueling your body for daily life and working out. So, whatever your goals may be keep in mind whole and nutrient dense foods are the answer, shop the perimeter of your grocery store and allow yourself to eat the things you love in moderation.

 

Much love,

 

J

My Five

I feel like its been a hot minute since I last wrote a blog and whilst I normally have something to say in regards to nutrition, training or even mental wellness today I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to throw at you five things I cannot possible live without, this is in regards to every aspect of my life and a little “get to know me” type of post if you’re new to Union Fitness and have no idea who that blonde chick in the Birkenstock’s is.

 

My Five

 

Coffee: I’m a huge advocate for letting your body wake up naturally rather then jump out of bed and literally run for the freshly made pot waiting for you on the counter. However, there is nothing like it when I take that first sip in the morning, I truly do go to bed thinking about that initial cup of coffee. I will argue that Starbucks is consistently just okay and I’d much rather opt in for a small business brew that has been locally sourced.

 

Breakfast Food: I don’t know about any of y’all but I could eat breakfast at all hours of the day, I mean its basically an excuse to eat dessert at 8AM in the morning. I’d say my favorite breakfast meal that I don’t normally get to eat would be a crepes with a Nutella spread, bananas + strawberries doused in maple syrup (because I’m also Canadian, duh).

 

The Gym: Pretty sure a lot of people feel me here, especially post-quarantine I realized how much of my socializing in life comes from the gym atmosphere. Not only is it a huge hobby of mine it’s also my job and I’m very thankful to be able to do what I love on a day to day basis. The gym has allowed me to grow immensely over the past six years and within the last three, getting more involved in the competitive aspect I’ve truly learned how important it is to love the process and love the day in/day out mentality.

 

Leggings: I’m getting pretty basic here with my top five but if I’m being real with you, I own two pairs of jeans and thats 100% the truth. Leggings are my work, workout and life choice of clothing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I despise clothes that are tight and especially during specific times of the year sometimes I really just hate clothes and would much rather live on a private island so I could wear a bikini all day long.

 

Ice Cream: Hands down would do absolutely anything (that is legal) for Ben & Jerrys. I’m a fan of chocolate Halo Top but lets be honest, if I’m going to have ice cream I’m going to eat the real stuff, even if a lot of dairy hurts my stomach. I’m just a huge ice cream girl, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a whole pint in one sitting, truly wondering if maybe I could handle another. Name a better ice cream company, I’ll wait….

 

As generic as my answers are they are so truthful, my life is super boring and primarily revolves around work, training, eating and sleeping but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. So, now that I’ve told you all my five, I’m nominating my fellow co-worker Cayt Neff to white about her five things she can’t live without!

 

Much love,
J

Four Pillars: Sleep

I won’t talk too much about what someone can do during this pandemic. I believe that enough people talking about how to maintain your fitness during the current situation. What I do want to talk about is what I believe to be the four pillars to success in any fitness goal. These are the four subjects that I start with everyone I work with and constantly maintain status on them. Especially, if you feel like you hit a wall or stuck in going forward revert back to these four:

 

Sleep, Nutrition, Training, Water.

 

In that exact order as well. I realize that these might seem obvious but through a series of articles on each, I plan to cover certain points that I find people miss.

 

Let’s start with sleep. Sleep is by far the most important key to achieving any goal you have. Especially any physical goal. If you want to understand how important sleep really is I highly recommend looking into Dr. Matthew Walkers research.

 

Again everyone knows how important it is but how do you optimize it. Well besides sleep hygiene (no tv before bed, going to sleep at the same time each night, and no blue light an hour before bed) I believe there to nutritional deficiencies and air way problems that seriously hinder your sleep.

 

  1. Vitamin D
    1. Vitamin D is highly important for calcium absorption but less known that low vitamin D levels are associated with sleep disorders. Dr. Stasha Gominak has done some great work in looking at deficiencies in vitamin D and B vitamins with sleep disorders. Now, I am no doctor or dietitian so I highly, HIGHLY, recommend getting blood work. This helps establish where you are now. Another thing I want to make clear is when you get the test is important to note that the “normal” range for vitamin D is 30ng/mL – 100ng/mL which is a HUGE range. That just makes sure you are not sick that do not show optimal levels. Just because you are not defined as sick does not mean you are not showing symptoms that are effected by not being in an optimal range. I shoot to keep my levels around 60ng/dL. I do this by being outside as much as I can but also supplementing vitamin D. Again talk to a health professional but here is a link for further info on Vitamin and sleep which could help tremendously

 

https://drgominak.com

 

  1. Magnesium
    1. This one you might have heard of. A lot of sleeping supplements out there load this one up but the real question is why would so many people be so deficient in this one? I believe people consume an abundant amount of diuretics which can flush out important electrolytes and minerals. If you are drawing a blank let’s run through an average day. Waking up to a great cup of coffee is your first diuretic, then maybe around three you have another cup of diuretic and maybe it’s been a particularly long day so you have an alcoholic beverage or two to finish the day with a strong diuretic. Even before that hit’s you, most people’s magnesium levels are lower than optimal since magnesium is green leafy vegetables, which most people don’t consume. Again we are talking about optimal levels and since it’s not fat-soluble you can flush these real quick but also replenish quickly too. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian before supplementing but since magnesium is water-soluble it is fairly harmless to supplement. If you want to consume magnesium through food try a spinach smoothie with more than a cup in it as well as snack on Brazil nuts, which unfortunately taste like dirt.

 

  1. CPAP Machine (Continuous positive airway pressure)
    1. I want to give a client experience with this one. I had a client that wanted to get into powerlifting. The first thing I do is bring up my four pillars (for any goal). At first, he would always say that his sleep was great but after a while, he finally mentioned how he snores rather constantly through the night. Realizing that snoring is not a good sign I recommended a sleep study. It took some time but eventually convinced him to get a sleep study. My client was diagnosed a CPAP machine right away. Let me make something extremely clear, before this he told me he got “good” sleep, he didn’t wake up that tired, and normally felt energized throughout the day but once he got the CPAP machine one of the first things he told me was “I didn’t realize how poor I have been sleeping for so long.” One point I want to stress, the more I work with people the more I realize how common this is. I have seen all shapes and sizes have this problem so just because you don’t have a neck like some of our powerlifters doesn’t mean you don’t have it.

 

You might feel that you are sleeping “well” but I would argue that you also might be sleeping so poorly for so long that your baseline could eventually be one of your worst nights of sleep. 

Side note his blood pressure went down that was on the higher side for some time.

 

I hope you noticed how many times I mentioned “optimal.” It’s important because it’s not usually that giant red flags that hold us back from our goal. It can be the little things over a long period of time that ultimately restricts us from accomplishing our goals. Optimizing the little things can have a profound effect.

Here are added articles/videos that go more in depth:

https://www.sleepdiplomat.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCyJd-9VFq8&t=3s

https://thesleepdoctor.com/2019/02/12/5-vitamin-deficiencies-that-can-affect-your-sleep/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/sleep/ask-the-doctor-sleep-and-magnesium-supplements

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27225921/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6212970/

Lean, Mean & Green

Lean, Mean & Green

Finding Balance

St. Patrick’s Day will soon be upon us, and if you live in Pittsburgh like us, the annual parade (their website is taking be back to the early days of the internet) is tomorrow, March 11th. If you plan on celebrating your Irish heritage but want to dial back on the debauchery, try to find balance between your healthy habits and having a good time. We’ve compiled some tips that have been helpful for us, and recipes & drinks that we like to indulge in from time to time.

First thing’s first, get a morning workout in. Union Fitness opens at 8am on the weekends. Shower in our facilities, and we’re only a 10-minute walk from downtown. Get those extra steps in, you’ll feel much better about those beers you’re going to consume later! If you can’t make it to the gym tomorrow, come to our happy hour yoga class tonight, it happens every Friday!

Don’t go hungry. If there’s a plate of corned beef hash with your name on it, fill up on the cabbage first. Cabbage is low in calories and will help you feel fuller, longer. Cabbage is a member of the brassica family of veggies that includes broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflowers. Indulge in the classics but keep portion sizes in the back of your mind. Eat slowly and savor each bite.

Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more. Follow the tried and true rule of alternating alcoholic beverages with a glass of water.

Now what to guzzle down all day? Believe it or not, Guinness is not nearly as bad as people think, it’s dark color and heavy body do not mean it’s higher in calories. Twelve ounces of Guinness has 125, which is comparable to many light beers.

If you’re hosting your own party, try out some of these cocktails:

Jameson Jell-o Shots (35 calories per shot)

Jello Shots

Ingredients:
3 small (.30 oz) packages Jell-o Sugar Free Gelatin
24 ounces Water (Boiling)
9 ounces Water (Cold)
15 ounces Jameson (Cold)
½ cup fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
Juice from a fresh lime
Green Food Coloring or Dye

Place fresh mint leaves in a small dish. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Using a muddle stick or a wooden spoon, press down on the leaves and twist. Repeat the action several times until the mint leaves release oil and smell minty. Set aside.

Mix the Jell-o mix and muddled mint leaves, with the boiling water until the powder is fully dissolved. Strain mint leaves.

Add the Cold water, 20 drops of green dye, or until you get the color you desire, and Jameson. Pour the cooling mixture into 28 plastic shot glasses. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until fully set.

Skinny Margarita (145calories)

Margarita

Ingredients:
To rim the glass: kosher salt, lime wedge
1 1/2 oz silver tequila (about 3 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon light agave nectar (add 2 if you prefer a sweeter margarita)
Ice

Rim the glass: Pour a thin layer of salt onto a small plate. Rub a lime wedge around the top edge of your glass, then dip the glass into the salt, and twist. Fill the glass with ice and set aside.
Fill a small cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, lime juice, and agave. Close and shake energetically until you feel the shaker start to get cold and frost over. Strain into the rimmed glass over the ice.

Spicy BLT Green Bloody Marys

Bloody Mary

We can take credit for this delish take on a Bloody Mary, but we insist on giving it a try if you’re hosting a breakfast or brunch. This particular cocktail requires a little extra work and motivation, but it’s worth it! Plus, bacon is added to the mix – a little protein never hurt anyone.

Remember that moderation is key. Drink smarter, stay hydrated, watch your portions and be safe out there!

Dolce Diet Week 2: CHEATER

Dolce Diet Week 2: CHEATER

 

Week 2:

 

Change is hard.  Ok, so I have a confession. I’m about to be as honest as Usher in the early 00’s right now. You know Eco Bistro right? Well on Thursday’s they have a Pittsburgh steak salad special. Although I grew up in Pittsburgh, I don’t have too many distinct Pittsburgh characteristics. I don’t speak Pittsburghese. I can barely name the three rivers. I’ve never had an Iron City beer. I’m not a Steelers fan, or Penguins, or what’s our other team again? BUT— I LOVE, and I’m talking an unhealthy-obsession-type-LOVE of French-fries on my salads. Lots of them. The more the better. I embrace this part of my Pittsburgh heritage wholeheartedly. Anyway, back to my confession. On Thursday, I broke from the Dolce Diet to indulge in one of those glorious Pittsburgh salads, with extra fries. (GASP!) The worst part? My coworkers managed to get photographic proof (see below). I was caught red handed.

So yeah, I had something not so healthy. I “cheated” on my diet. Did I punish myself with endless, sweaty hours on the treadmill? Nope. The elliptical? Nope. Did I starve myself for the rest of the day to make up for it? Not a chance. Did I at least berate myself a little bit, maybe lament at my inability to stick to the plan? Never. What did I do then? I smirked at my coworkers and enjoyed my French-fries topped with lettuce. The end.

You see, if you know me or have ever come to one of my classes, you hear me talk about balance a lot. And not just necessarily in yoga poses when we balance on our heads. It applies to life too, including our well thought out diet and training plans. Balance is key because we are HUMANS, and we are vastly imperfect. We can’t always stick to the perfect plan. We can’t always be perfect parents or perfect friends or perfect exercisers. We can, however, balance it all out at the end. So, if you had something unhealthy, balance it out with some extra veggies. If you lost your temper and yelled at your kids, give them some extra kisses and snuggles. If you thought negatively about yourself, look in the mirror and say something kind.

I strive for balance but when days like this Thursday (read: French Fry Indulging) roll around, it’s important to leave the guilt and judgement out of it. There is no space in the Dolce Diet, or my life, for demeaning thoughts or feelings of shame. Practice kindness. Practice balance. So, for now, I’m back to my regularly scheduled Dolce Diet plan as I try not to tip the scales too far into French-fry land…until next Thursday, then all bets are off!