nutrition
Protein Packed Low Country Boil

Protein Packed Low Country Boil

Last week I decided to surprise my New Orleans-born wife with a little taste of home while we watched the Saints game. This is a super easy crock pot recipe and a great way to get a lot of flavor with low calories and plenty of protein. When most folks think of Southern Low Country cooking I think there is the common misconception to think “unhealthy”. Well, that’s not the case here at all!

Here’s the recipe! We loved it so much that we made a big second plate!

  • 1 Bag of small red potatoes from Trader Joes
  • 2 Ears of Corn
  • 1 Can of Beer-preferably a wheat or lager
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1 tbsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Whole Lemon
  • 1 Package of Pre- cooked Chicken Andouille Sausage(Trader Joes)
  • 1 Bag of Pre-cooked Large Shrimp(Trader Joes)
  • 1 Bag of Shrimp/Crab Boil Seasoning( we got ours from The Spice and Tea Exchange in Grapevine)

Let the veggies, beer, water and spices simmer in the crockpot for about 2-3 hours. Then add the sausage and shrimp about 30 minutes prior to serving.

Link Share

Link Share

Here are some articles we’re reading lately. If you have any favorites or responses, leave them below!

Why Exercise is the Best Medicine for your Brain” — LA Times: a fascinating read!

Stop the Gluten-Free Trend!“–Food , Pleasure & Health: want to send this to everyone who tells me something’s healthy, because it’s gluten-free.

What the Health: A Wolf’s Eye Review” — Robb Wolf: in response to the panic that’s seemingly spreading.

Coffee Break: 20 Favorite Fiction Books” — Emily Ley Blog: great list.

“Strength,Size or Power?”–For those who are looking to program their own workouts, or just have a better understanding of which set and rep schemes are best for their goals, then check this out!

“Animal Protein v.s Plant Protein”— Don’t let the title scare you, this one isn’t TOO controversial, just shedding some light on the protein quality as well as the IMPORTANCE of including a variety of vegetables into your diet!

 

Weekly Workouts + Recipe

Weekly Workouts + Recipe

 

Recipe:

We’ve added one meal into rotation to have once a week. When I was younger, I called it “sausage chicken” and the name stuck. It’s super easy and nutritious, so I thought I’d share it with you! There are few measurements to this recipe, because it’s that simple

  1. Place however much chicken on a pan. Place 1 tsp of butter on each breast or tender of chicken.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Flip the chicken over. Add chicken andouille sausage all throughout the pan. Make sure it’s cut up so that the flavor can permeate the chicken.
  4. Some of the butter will have melted in the pan. Spoon it over the chicken again.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. DONE! 🙂

We typically serve this with any greens.  Okra, zucchini, or asparagus are our favorites right now.

Protein Hacks

Protein Hacks

I refuse to eat nothing but chicken breast, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. I would probably reach my goals a bit faster if I did, but I would also not be a nice person. I like food too much. You may or may not know that I track macros, and on some days when I need to get some extra protein in, I don’t have the willpower to eat chicken or drink a shake. Here are some of my favorite things to do with protein powder. I’ve shared the recipes and macros according to my exact ingredients. Obviously, you can manipulate the macros to fit your needs based on which protein powder you use or what add-ons you choose. I’m no chef, so hopefully these directions are easy to follow.

 

Protein Pancakes

Chocolate protein pancakes: In a bowl, mix together 1 scoop chocolate whey protein + 1 egg + 6 egg whites. Add water until it’s the consistency you like. Pour into a pan, flip once until it’s cooked through. Top with 1/4c berries + 1/3 banana. Your macros will vary depending on the type of protein you use or if you substitute 3 more egg whites for an egg. Macros: 37P 22C 7F (the carbs come mostly from the berries + banana, so you can do without for a low-carb option)

Vanilla Protein Pancakes: See recipe above. Substitute vanilla protein instead of chocolate. If I still need carbs in my day and choose berries instead of a banana, I’ll add 1/4 cup oatmeal. This makes the pancake extra hearty and filling.

Protein Oatmeal

Vanilla spiced proatmeal: Put 1/4 cup oatmeal + 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir in 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder. Top with 1 tsp of chia seeds + 2 tsp of pumpkin spice. Macros: 27P 18C 4F

Acai Bowl 

Acai bowl: In a blender, mix 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 scoop Amazing Grass greens powder, 1 Sambazon Acai pack, 1/2 cup frozen mango. Add water (or liquid of your choice) until it’s the consistency you like. Pour into a bowl. Top with 1/4 cup granola of your choice. I use the cherry almond granola from Whole Foods. I also topped with 1 tbsp Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter. Macros: 24P 48C 15F

I hope you enjoy these recipes! Let me know YOUR favorite way to use protein powder in a new recipe!

 

Weekly Workouts + Mini Cut

Weekly Workouts + Mini Cut

Hi everyone! I know I’m late on weekly workouts, but I wanted to add a second component this week.

For those of you who may have read about my fitness journey (here) or followed for a little while, you may know that I’ve been “bulking”. I say that lightly, because it’s been a slow process and really nothing extreme. I’ve gotten to the point where I want to start “cutting” back down again, and I’ve been looking for some guidance/a program to follow. Zach recently downloaded The Bulking Protocal (here) from Power Athlete, and he told me about The Leaning Protocal (here). Well, I downloaded it on a whim and thought I’d share with you some of my “tricks of the trade” from when I originally cut down 20+ pounds (over 2 years) and what I’ll be TRYING to keep in mind over the next few weeks. Keep in mind that I am not certifed as a trainer or nutritionist. All of this information has come from trial and error and the guidance of my sweet husband (who is a CSCS and studied nutrition in college). I really encourage you to seek out guidance from professionals.

 

  1. Portion control: No, I’m not talking about eating an entire plate of spaghetti or ordering two double-doubles from In-n-Out. I’m talking about portion control even with our “healthy” foods. When we created our wedding registry, we invested in a good food scale. It may sound obsessive, but I found that it has made a huge difference in tracking macros. I used to eyeball my 4 ounces of chicken for meals, and it turns out I was only eating 2-2.5 ounces. I was not getting the amount of protein that I thought I was. Similarly, when it comes to items out of a jar or a bag, it’s so easy to track one serving size but actually eat 2-3 at one time. These informative posts are pretty eye-opening.

 

2. Ditch the scale: I still struggle with this, I really do. But having my body fat measured on a weekly basis gave me a whole new perspective. When I decided I wanted to do a small “bulk”, I knew I’d have to watch my weight go up. But as I did so, I experienced some newbie gains and saw my weight go up while my (overall) body fat percentage went down. That doesn’t mean I didn’t gain any body fat–it just means I gained more muscle than fat. This is possible. At this point, I’m working on cutting down a bit, but I have a little more freedom to let go of that scale number.

3. Protein: I see some  YouTubers or Instagrammers claim that you can protein from things like hummus and nuts, but y’all–how many nuts & tubs of hummus are you eating?! These new macros have me aiming for MORE than 1 gram per pound of body weight. When I used to just track calories vs. tracking macros, I ate probably 60-80 grams per day. I’ve had to up that quite a bit, but it makes all the difference with recovery, muscle growth, fat loss, and basic functioning of the human body.

4. Cross-training: What I have found works best for my body is incorporating more than just one type of training. I’ve gone through points in my life where I just did yoga, or just did spin classes 5-6 times a week. Those workouts are great in isolation, but the best results I’ve come from mixing up the workouts and training all parts of the body. I do a lot of weight training currently and the beauty of that is the room for variety within the workouts. I’ll do a super intense Crossfit-esque WOD, a slow body-building type workout, or add in cardio. Zach and I have been hitting a lot of yoga classes in DFW too!

 

Do you have any tips for a small cutting phase? I’d love to learn about your favorite tips and tricks!

Weekly Workouts + Polar Watch

Weekly Workouts + Polar Watch

Hi everyone,

Along with this week’s weekly workouts, I wanted to include something that has changed the game a bit for me. Keep scrolling to learn more!

Click this link for workout video.

So, the game changer I mentioned…over Spring Break, I found myself wondering how my home all-day activity level compared to my teacher life activity level. It certainly seemed like I was expending a lot less energy on my couch watching Netflix than my typical chasing around 7-year olds. I read a few reviews and impulse ordered the PolarA360 watch on Amazon same-day shipping.

I absolutely love being able to check my steps & calories burned throughout the day, BUT I find this most helpful during my workouts. You can use the touch screen to display exactly what you want during your workout. I usually default mine to current heart rate and time spent during workouts, but you can see the percentage of time spent in different heart rate zones or calories burned during the workout.

It’s been the most fascinating to wear my watch consistently during cardio, weight training, barre, and yoga classes!

If you wear it all throughout the day, it tracks your activity level, notifies you if you are inactive and gives you graphs to show how your day was. The examples above show an ACTIVE day with a workout, and the second shows a more typical day with afternoon workouts. You can see the time of day when I was taking an afternoon nap and the times during the day when I sat consistently. Pictured below are screenshots of the daily summary VS a screenshot of the workout information it gives you.

I find myself setting additional goals throughout if I notice my heart rate is low OR if I don’t seem to be burning very many calories.

 

Do you have a recommendation for a heart rate monitor? What’s your favorite workout watch?

 

Protein Powder Review

Protein Powder Review

You may have read my review on protein bars here. Since then, I’ve tried out a couple of new protein powders and wanted to share my thoughts. With that being said, I want to highlight that these should be treated as a supplement, not a meal replacement or replacement for eating real protein-packed foods. Almost all of my choices are chocolate flavored, but note that these products do come in other flavors–I just haven’t tried them all : )

Carnivor Chocolate

Taste: This is a pretty no-fail choice if you want a tasty chocolate protein. A worker at Vitamin Shoppe asked me how I could stand the “meat taste”. I must have given him the most confused/disgusted face, because he quickly retracted his question and said “oh it must just be me…” ha!

Nutrition: 120 calories per scoop-23P, 8C, 0F. It as added BCAAs and added Creatine.

Overall: This protein is a little foamy when mixed, but it mixes well. I think this is the perfect option for people with casein or whey intolerances/allergies. It’s an alternative to a “green” or vegan protein powder, if you’re okay with animal products.

PEScience Frosted Chocolate Cupcake

Taste: SWEET! The first two or three shakes I drank with this protein were almost nauseatingly sweet. I eventually got used to it, and other proteins started tasting bland in comparison.

Nutrition: 120 calories per scoop-24P, 1C, 1.5F. This is a whey + casein blend.

Overall: I like having the benefits of both whey + casein. Zach explained to me that whey protein is quick-digesting, so it causes a spike in protein synthesis. Casein is slow digesting, so it releases amino acids over time. If you can get past the sweet flavor, I do recommend this choice.

Dymatize Elite XT

Taste: Like I mentioned before, this tasted bland in comparison to PEScience, but either way, I like the flavor. It’s easy to get down post-workout or early in the morning.

Nutrition: 130 calories per scoop-21P, 8C, 1.5F. This is also a whey + casein blend with BCAAs and 2.2 G Leucine.

Overall: This is a very inexpensive protein. I think a 4lb container on Amazon goes for about $30. In addition, it’s also an extended release protein with the whey + casein combination.

Vega Greens Smoothie

Taste: Y’all. This is not a favorite of my mine for taste. The only time I use this is in a smoothie, with lots of mango/acai/things to take away the green/powder taste.

Nutrition: 110 calories per scoops-20P, 3C, 2F. This is a combination of pea protein, hemp protein, and brown rice protein. You get the benefits of spinach, kale, and broccoli too!

Overall: After having this in my cabinet for a while, I rarely find myself reaching for it. It’s one of those situations where I’d rather just plain eat broccoli OR drink a green juice if I’m desperate to get greens in.

 

If you’re looking for single-serve packets, my favorite are the BodyTech Whey Protein Powder from Vitamin Shoppe in Red Velvet or Mocha. These come in little packets that you can throw in a gym bag or lunch box and not worry about packaging anything up. I like to keep them on hand for a quick go-to.

Please note that I am not a nutritionist. I am simply sharing what works best for my body and my tastebuds. Zach and I are happy to answer any additional questions/comments you may have (he can share HIS nutrition background)!

Dallas Fitness Ambassadors: Yoga

Dallas Fitness Ambassadors: Yoga

 

Last week, we had the privilege of attending Sunset Yoga with CorePower at NorthPark Center. This Dallas Fitness Ambassadors event took place in the CenterPark Garden, along with many of the NorthPark retailers. While we rolled out our mats and waited for class to start, we snacked on a few delicious treats from GreenHouse Market. Talk about making healthy taste GREAT! First we tried a dairy-free chocolate brownie-esque yummy that was made with dates, cocoa and a few other healthy things + a raspberry on top. It tasted so indulgent but was made with fresh real ingredients. The second thing we had was chia seed pudding made with coconut milk. THIS inspired me to try to make chia seed pudding at home. Wish me luck!

The weather had been cool for the past few days, but it ended up being near-perfect conditions. Jay from CorePower led us through 60 minutes of yoga and it felt glorious to be outside looking up at the blue sky throughout it! I honestly think we would take yoga more often if we could be surrounded by beautiful weather. But we live in Texas, so that’s a long shot.

After the class was over, DryBar offered braids, MakeupForever offered lip touch-ups, and MiniLuxe did polish changes! It was such a fun way to feel glam after getting some fitness in! Fresh & Sugarfina provided samples, too. If you haven’t tasted Sugarfina candies–DO IT! They’re so tasty.

We both feel so lucky to be a part of Dallas Fitness Ambassadors! We’ve met some really sweet friends and gotten the chance to explore our city a little bit more! Make sure to follow the account on Twitter and Instagram so that YOU can attend the next event!

I Love Juice Bar Dallas

I Love Juice Bar Dallas

One of our favorite places to visit on weekends is the Shops at Park Lane. This cute little area is home to the J.Crew Mercantile, Old Navy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, St. Bernard Sports Outlet, Zyn22 and more. They have a few restaurants too, and one of their newest foodie spots is I Love Juice Bar. We stumbled across this place one Saturday and after buying a delicious smoothie, ended up leaving the credit card in the slot. We returned the next day for the credit card and more goodies.

This past weekend, we were able to spend some time trying out the menu and chatting with the store manager, Kavita. One of the first things we should mention about I Love Juice Bar is their customer service. During our hour in the store, we noticed that Kavita knows so many of the customers that visited. When they walked in, she asked them how their recent juice cleanse went or she knew their typical drink order. She is knowledgeable about each product at I Love Juice Bar and can answer any questions.

We started with smoothies. Pictured above are the Matcha Green smoothie (left) and the Peachy Greens smoothie (right). You would never know that these two yummy drinks are filled with superfoods like spinach, spirulina, or maca powder. They had such great flavors–nothing “green” tasting about them. One of the great things about I Love Juice Bar is that they don’t use ice in their smoothies, so nothing gets watered down. It’s all real and fresh ingredients.

After smoothies, we moved on to shots. Their inventory of shots seemed endless, but Kavita showed us the most popular items and explained their purposes. Left to right, the first is their ACV shot. For those of you who have tried to shoot apple cider vinegar at home (I tried it making my own today-yuck), this blew it out of the water. They blend coconut water, cayenne pepper, and himalayan salt to take away some of the acidity. This would make taking ACV daily much easier! The second is the toomeric shot, which is huge for anti-inflammatory purposes, among others listed here. The third is the allergy shot, which basically everyone in Texas could use…right? This one was actually the tastiest in our opinion. The last is the sniffle stopper. We found this one unique and interesting, because it has an essential oil blend in it!

Obviously, we can’t go without mentioning their namesake–juices. We tried the We Got the Beet, Orange you Glad, Fresh Greens, and Sweet Greens. All of these had great tastes, are pretty low in calories, and are freshly made. They’re made fresh daily (several times a day), but if a customer does not want a pre-made juice, he or she can request a made-to-order juice! If you become addicted like we did, buy a growler for $8 and fill up on Fridays for 15% off. The juices are sold by the ounce.

I Love Juice Bar has a great selection of food and snacks from local companies in the area that you can take to go and know that you’re getting whole nutrition ingredients. We tried the Sprouts Sandwich and Pad Thai Noodle Cup–delish. All of the nutrition info is listed online or on the packages,  if you want to check it out before you choose!

Obviously, we saved the best for last. The Acai Bowl was not only GORGEOUS to look at, but tasted INCREDIBLE. Like, we would go back for more daily. It’s topped with granola, honey, berries, cacao nibs (yum), bee pollen, chia & hemp seeds, and the holy grail-almond  butter. We’ll definitely be returning soon for another one of these beauties.

If you try it out, let us know what we should order next time!

 

Lauren and Zach

 

 

I love Juice Bar Dallas provided complimentary food and drink items in exchange for this review. All opinions remain our own. 

Favorite Cookbooks

Favorite Cookbooks

 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Every Last Crumb: If you are a fan of indulgent meals and sweet treats, but need to stay clear of certain allergens, this is the cookbook for you. From tortillas to biscuits to cupcakes to chili & grilled cheese, this makes a paleo approach to eating a lot more fun. Warning: not macro-friendly.

Practical Paleo: Diane Sanfillipo’s cookbook is so much more than just recipes. She walks you through topics such as gut health, transitioning to a Paleo approach, and how common health disorders can be managed through eliminating certain foods. She also includes meal plans in addition to the recipes. Neither of us follows a strict Paleo approach these days, but still love these cookbooks.

It’s All Good: This cookbook by Gwyneth Paltrow is a little more comprehensive and grain-heavy. It does include her personal story about nutrition and how it changed her life. We tend to pull vegetable dishes or “sides” from this cookbook.

Flavors of the Southern Coast: This is our newest addition, and we found ourselves drooling over many of the pictures. We picked this up keeping Lent in mind, because we both fast from meat on Friday and are always looking for seafood recipes. We are pretty sure these recipes will remain on rotation well past Lent.

Dallas Fitness Ambassadors
  • This egg-in-a-hole from @presscafefwtx put all others to shame. Prosciutto, fontina, and cheddar on the yummiest bread. New favorite #datespot 🍳🍞
  • Today on the blog, we are answering the dreaded question: "but how do you get your #cardio?!" SPOILER ALERT: it doesn't include squatting your wife.
  • @g2gbar has become a favorite for both of us! The ingredient list on these bars makes you feel really good about what you're eating! Thanks to @equippingstrength for sending some of these our way!
  • Vanilla-cinnamon oatmeal with coconut cream & fresh berries. Don't be surprised if we drive back to Fort Worth to eat this again tomorrow 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • Today I taught a health lesson on reading nutrition labels. The conversation among 10-year olds quickly turned to:
1️⃣Fat is bad for you. 
2️⃣No, carbs are bad. Carbs make you fat. 
3️⃣Don't eat too many calories. 
How do we change our conversations about food from what NOT to eat ➡️ how certain foods can serve our bodies. I.E.:
1️⃣Fats promote hormone balance and brain function.
2️⃣Carbs are our primary source of energy.
3️⃣Let's focus on macro/micronutrients instead. 
If we can keep things this simple, we can start to focus on the benefits of food rather than the misconceptions.
  • ✨🍁CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR GIVEAWAY WINNER @shellelizabeth1 🍁✨We hope you enjoy your $275 gift card to @Target! Have fun on your shopping trip! Please DM @lifestyledbyleena in order to claim your prize!
  • It seems like everyone is talking about macros-protein, fat, and carbs: super important, but we often forget to talk about MICROnutrients. I personally get into a rut with choosing go-to foods day after day, BUT the foundation for building a rounded, balanced day means including things like fruits and vegetables every. single. day. 🍎🍇🌽🥕 The micronutrients found on this plate have been proven to support energy & brain function, an active metabolism, and a healthy complexion & hair. 💇🏻 To see a list, look in the comments ⬇️
  • This cool fall weather 🍁🍂means it's time to take those workouts outside! I absolutely love outdoor workouts and my go to workout tools are my @onnit kettle-bells! You simply cannot beat the versatility of the kettle-bell. Here's my top 5 go to movements.
1. KB Swing
2. KB Deadlift
3. Single Arm KB Push Press
4. KB Suitcase Carry
5. KB Goblet Squat
  • Is this fall weather in DFW making anyone else want to grab a novel, some hot coffee, and spend the day on the couch? We both blogged our top 5 recent reads--link in bio! 🍁☕️📚