Quinoa Crab Cakes

This is an all-time favorite, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to post it!

I grew up with my Dad working on the corporate side of some higher-end restaurant chains, so I was exposed to and fell in love with crab cakes at an early age! If you love them like I do, you may have shed a tear about the fact that your typical version, being fried and full of gluten-y bread crumbs, was probably not going to be a very welcome part of your average fitness or weight loss routine. I’ve got your back! I absolutely love seafood of all types, but it’s nice to have an alternative to fish, fish, fish, salmon, salmon, shrimp, shrimp all the time. Many people think of only having crab or crab cakes at restaurants- I say bring some healthy luxury home! And it’s quick to make to boot.

Quinoa Crab Cakes

Quinoa Crab Cakes

1 pound crab meat (I buy a can in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s for about $8-9)
1 1/2 Cups cooked organic quinoa
2 whole eggs
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp prepared mustard (I prefer Dijon or Annie’s Organic Horseradish Mustard)
1 tsp dry mustard spice
1 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce or Red Pepper Flakes to taste (I use Tapatio hot sauce)

In large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a fork. Add all other ingredients except crab and quinoa. Mix well. Fold in crab and quinoa until evenly coated.

Over medium flame, heat enough coconut oil in a flat bottom skillet to fully and evenly coat the pan. Using hands, form crab cake mixture into cakes about 3 inches in diameter. Place into skillet with enough room between each cake that you can fit a spatula in between to flip one without ruining the others. Cook 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Makes approx 8 cakes depending on how big you make them.

If your cakes fall apart, play with your amount of quinoa (a little less). Also, you need the heat high enough for the cakes to brown fairly quickly as this helps them hold together. Even so, these do take a gentle hand to flip. If starts to break apart, you may have tried to flip it too soon. Just shovel it back together with the spatula and it should come together if allowed to cook long enough before flipping again.

Serve over a bed of leafy greens. I love this with an asian style dressing like sesame ginger. When I’m in a pinch and don’t have something homemade on hand, I use Walden Farms Sesame Ginger.

[Note: On Fit Fab Mama Phase 2, this recipe would be perfect for a workout day because the quinoa takes care of your healthy carb serving. Just be sure to have for breakfast or lunch. For healthy lifestyle eating this is a great dinner, one of my husband's favorites!]

 

Split Pea Soup with Leeks

I have so many great recipes I want to get posted, but I’ve been feeling like I have to post with pretty pictures and it’s slowing me down. Half the time I make the darn thing and realize along the way I didn’t take pics and probably won’t be making it again for at least a week. Or I remember at the end to take the pic of the final product but all my ingredient shots and chances for pics showing the cooking process didn’t happen. I decided to just get some stuff up here with no photos or stock photos I find somewhere and go back and edit/add my own pics later. Hope you don’t mind!!

This recipe is such an accident, really it’s comical. On vacay with my parents and family in Palm Springs, my mom made this soup and we loved it. I asked her for the recipe and she said “It’s on the bag of the split peas”. Really? People actually try recipes that come on the packaging of foods they buy? Who knew!!? I have adapted it a little bit, but it was actually really healthy as it was on the bag- shocker! Soups are a great way to make something that will serve for more than one meal, transport easily if you need something to take to work, and when you just have to leave something simmering for an hour you can get so many other things done while “cooking”. :)

Also, I love leeks!! I don’t know if it’s typical to make split pea soup with leeks, but I certainly won’t be messing with a good thing. Split peas are a legume and provide about 11 grams each of protein and fiber per serving.

[Notes: The recipe recommended cooking all veggies whole and blending in a food processor at the end. The soup simmers for at least an hour so everything is completely soft by the end. Chopping the veggies I found no need to blend and just enjoyed my soup with a creamy yet hearty texture. Try it either way, but I'd rather chop the veggies and clean 1 knife than blend and have to clean my whole food processor! Oh, and I don't have a good history of success blending or pureeing hot substances. I don't know what I'm missing, but I usually create some type of kitchen-destroying explosion that I can do without. If you aren't challenged in this area, by all means, blend away!]

Green Split PeasSplit Pea Soup with Leeks

1 Cup green split peas
4 large carrots peeled + cut into circles
1 tsp Turmeric
2 onions peeled + chopped
2 stalks leeks, washed + chopped
5 Cups organic chicken broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt + pepper to taste

Optional: add ham or Trader Joe’s organic garlic chicken sausage cut into bit size pieces.

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil, cover and let simmer 50-60 min or until cooked. (In making this 3 times, I really want the peas completely soft and it seems to take about 60-70 min, but depending on the peas you use it could vary, doesn’t hurt to taste after 50 min and see how they are doing.)

 

 

Super Clean Asian Chicken

This gallery contains 2 photos.

My recent posts have been long, here’s a quick recipe. Always gets rave reviews from company- they have no idea how healthy it is!! Enjoy!  ** CLEAN Asian Chicken Marinade ** 1/4 C Braggs liquid aminos or Tamari (we are going for gluten free here but if all you have is soy sauce it will … Keep reading 

No Recipe? No Problem

One of the biggest stopping points for some people when it comes to healthy eating is knowing how to construct tasty meals properly. But let’s face it, sometimes there’s just no time to be following a recipe with an ingredient list 15 items deep- you have 10 min to throw together a lunch or dinner and you want it to be healthy and you want it to taste good.  If your weeks and weekends are as packed as mine and your life changes week to week as much as mine does, it is also very helpful to have some habits that do not rely on setting aside 1/2 of your Sunday every week for food planning and prep.

A while back I noticed that if I would just buy my 5 favorite veggies and 3-5 favorite proteins each week I could pretty much throw together dinner M-F in about 20 min give or take. Make enough at dinner to have some leftovers and now you have lunch for the following day- brilliant! And maybe I’m just not that picky, but if something tastes good I don’t mind eating it twice over 2 days knowing that dinner the next night is something new.

Fit Fab Fave veggies: Zucchini, Broccoli, Spinach, Asparagus, Bell Pepper

Fit Fab Fave proteins: Chicken thighs or breasts, Salmon, Steak, Shrimp, Trader Joe’s Chicken Garlic Sausage

[Everything organic/wild]

Next step is learn to prepare them quickly and dressed up with dry spices or clean marinades. Maybe I’m just boring, but it doesn’t really matter which veggie I’m preparing, if I douse it in garlic and onion powder, sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes it always seems to turn out great. Sometimes I have fresh garlic or shallots around, sometimes not.

I love to use my wok- first I stir-fry (clean oils only like olive or coconut) until veggies start turning bright green and are about 1/2 way done, then I cover so they can steam a little and soak up the flavors. I personally don’t like mushy veggies, so I just get them softened enough that the natural sweetness comes through but they still have a good texture and crunch.

Spinach is dual purpose- I love to wilt it down in olive oil with lots of garlic and red pepper flakes (makes me feel like I’m in a restaurant!). But I also use it either by itself or along with spring mix or kale or field greens for chicken/steak/salmon salads.

In our house practically all of our chicken, salmon, and steak is grilled. My husband is a wiz with not overcooking so they always come out juicy and flavorful. I know there are some warnings out there about too much grilling, but at this point in our lives we feel like eating healthy overall and having it taste good trump trying to make baking and broiling taste as good as my hubby the grill ninja can! Plus no pan to wash later- that’s a deal breaker for me, I mean I already have to wash my totally non-stick wok. :) If you want to read more about how to avoid the main risks of grilling, here’s an article.

The garlic chicken sausages or frozen shrimp I listed are a lifesaver when you don’t even have time to cook your other protein options or forgot to marinate them or even take them out of the freezer (my husband doesn’t understand why it’s so hard for me to remember to take the meat out, but it just is!) I prepare the veggies as above in the wok but then stir fry the shrimp or sausage in another skillet before combining them to serve together.

To finish up, here’s a little gallery of meals I made recently with whatever I had around the house at that time.

photo 3-1

 

 

Wok to cook veggies

 

 
photo 4

 

 

Grilled Salmon over Spring Mix
with Walden Farms Sesame Ginger

 

 

 

photo 2

 

 

Left over grilled chicken and
chopped bell pepper salad;
dressing is homemade Creamy Parsley

 

 

 

steak salad

 

 

Grilled steak over Spinach and Spring Mix
with chopped red bell pepper

 

 

 

IMG_0406

 

 

 

Shrimp and veggie stir fry

 

 

 

You may be noticing these meals are free of any starchy carbs. This makes them perfect for Fit Fab Mama Phase 1 meal plans. We have plenty of other recipes for clean carbs that can be served along with these protein/veggie main dishes. I am not anti-carb, but I do believe most people eat way to many grains and potatoes thinking that they “need” them to be healthy and balanced. The truth is that most people have sugar-processing issues and would be better off without them, especially gluten rich foods like bread and pasta (even “whole grain”- doesn’t matter, it’s still gluten, still probably GMO, still highly processed). Veggies are still carbs! But I will leave that discussion for another article. Until then, enjoy the next Fave Veggie/Fave Protein meal you prepare!

Hard Body Pics: Motivating or a Slap in the Face?

What’s your gut reaction to this picture?

ripped abs  For me pictures like this have always been motivation- something to shoot for or put on a vision board. I can’t really put it exactly into words, but it taps into my innate competitive spirit and makes me feel something along the lines of “it’s possible!” or “if she can do it, so can I (and I want to do it!- except not the navel piercing ha! no offense if you have one, I don’t dislike them, it’s just not for me). I noticed that I am generally drawn to things- pictures, quotes, systems, tips, tricks, clothing, travel destinations, etc.- that inspire WHERE I AM GOING…not where I currently am.

But I recently had a friend enlighten me that some women see pictures like this and feel the exact opposite. “If all you post is just rock-hard pictures that most of us didn’t even look like before we had kids, you’re going to alienate a lot of people,” she told me.  Wow. I never even thought of that. I asked her to expand on that, because my brain just wasn’t getting it. She explained how for her, pictures like this might turn her off, sending a message that being a more “regular” but still healthy and fit mama is not good enough. Or that my blog is only for mamas that want to have a 6-pack, nothing less. She said some women feel deflated looking at pictures like this- it’s like a slap in the face to see this and feel like they are so far off from that as their own personal reality. It doesn’t motivate them, in fact it hurts their confidence to be held to an impossible standard, a perfectionistic image that is not obtainable. “If this is what [beautiful, fit, healthy, whatever] is, then I am not”. “Why bother? If this is the goal and I may never get there then what’s the point?”

Since I want to appeal to all the mamas out there, I will strive to post all types of pics, but I do want to take a moment and reflect on the mindset underneath these two gut reactions. NEITHER IS WRONG- I’m just curious and want to start a dialogue. We can better support each other as women if we already understand how differently we think!

I admit that I would like to pat myself on the back for “my way” of reacting to the picture- positive, forward moving, etc. However, constantly striving to “get somewhere” and if I’m honest, rarely being content with where I AM can be exhausting. I have lost 32 pounds, a ton of body fat and at least 4 dress sizes in the past year and a half…but am I satisfied with my body? No. I am much happier and healthier than 32 pounds ago…it’s not like I’m completely crazy and refuse to notice the difference and my efforts and hard work paying off…but satisfied? That is not the word I would use.

Some people would say that I will NEVER GET WHERE I’M GOING because I keep changing the destination. Now that’s a tough road to be on if you want to feel some accomplishment, fulfillment and enjoyment in life. ENJOY THE JOURNEY…we’ve all heard it. Well, I’m still working on it, that’s for sure! Others would say it’s a good thing to always have a “next goal” in mind. What strategy do you apply (consciously or subconsciously!) to your goals and life?

chineseproverb

Now on the flip side, based on initial reaction alone, it would be easy for someone who thinks like me to judge those who don’t resonate with fitness model pics as negative or settling for mediocre. But the girlfriend who pointed this out to me is not that way- she has goals, eats healthy, does yoga and walks the “yogi” positive mindset. But she’s not so “hard charging” in her approach to things like I am. When I look at her I feel like she is more accepting of her own accomplishments and if I’m honest, may have more confidence than I do! I would say she does a better job of enjoying the journey she is on than I do. Even if I can’t understand it, she clearly finds a way to get motivated without the motivation coming from NOT LIKING HER CURRENT REALITY. HMMMMM…that could be very empowering!

What are your thoughts? Are hard body pictures inspiring or intimidating? Do you enjoy the journey or are you charging from one goal to the next? What kinds of pics and posts do you want to see on the Fit Fab Mama blog that will be sure to inspire you?!

Kitchen = Health Spa

“…I have begun to think of a home kitchen in much the same way I think of a health spa – a place where people can come to be restored, feel better, experience pleasure, and become healthier. And this is how I’d like you to start thinking about your kitchen. Your kitchen is at the heart of your health.

In your home, you probably keep your medicine chest in the bathroom. I’m offering a second medicine chest, one that helps prevent diseases and symptoms and that you keep right in your kitchen cupboards, fridge, freezer, and pantry.”

– Dr. John La Puma, author of “Chef MD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine”

spa collage

What’s with the buzz about fish oil?

Today we are going to get just a little “scientific” on you mama…don’t worry, there is no pop quiz!fish-oils

It never fails, whenever I teach my clean eating program at the clinic I get push back on buying organic- too expensive, does it really matter, why, etc. The answer is YES it matters!

With articles to come we can go more in depth on the issues with hormones and anti-biotics in non-organic foods and the incredible trashing of our planet and our health that GMOs are, but for today I want to focus on something that for most people is a lesser-known part of the eat organic equation: Omega-3 balance.

What my typical client knows:

  • you should take a fish oil supplement
  • something along the lines of “salmon is good for you”

What my typical client doesn’t know:

  • WHY!
  • where to find a good quality fish oil supplement

Without writing a textbook, let me address these points.

WHY take a fish oil supplement?

We need some anthropology here…I’m so excited this may be the first time in my life I’ve directly used my college Anthro degree for something! Back in the hunter gatherer days, our ancestors ate a diet pretty much balanced in Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils (roughly 1:1 ratio). They were also completely free of diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes- top killers in todays world.

Dating back to the industrial revolution, the ratio in the average consumption of Omega-6 vs Omega-3 began to drastically favor Omega-6 mostly due to the invention of vegetable oils and mass livestock production with grain feeds.

Check out this chart of typical oils and see how much Omega-6 they have compared to fish oil.

efacontentoils

Now, when you feed animals cereal grains (corn, wheat, etc.) instead of them being “grass fed”, this literally changes the meat we as humans end up consuming. Yep, you guessed it, the industrialized meat production process raises the Omega-6 content in the final product.

And it’s not just the food the animals eat…imagine your cage raised chicken like a “couch potato” chicken- never gets exercise because he is forced to lie around in overcrowded conditions on top of his poor couch potato chicken neighbors. Now imagine an “athlete” chicken- this is your free-range guy who can move around, stretch his legs, maybe even run. The muscles are different in the two birds which means the meat we consume is very different. And yes, once again, the athlete meat is higher in Omega-3 than the couch potato meat.

When you buy organic, grass-fed, and free range meat products, you are getting meat that contains more protein ounce for ounce, is typically leaner, and also much higher in healthy Omega-3s.

The average American is now estimated to consume at least a 10:1 up to 25:1 ratio of Omega-6 vs Omega-3! WOW! And the imbalance has been accelerated especially in the past 15-20 years. If you’re not a label reader, next time you’re at the store just do a 5 minute exercise and try to find a loaf of bread or hummus that does not contain soybean oil or another high Omega-6 oil on the chart above. This stuff is being added to everything and things you would not expect it in. Even if you are already buying organic/grass-fed meats and eating salmon it’s still important to supplement Omega-3 to continually tip the scales in favor of Omega-3 and away from high Omega-6 levels.

The bottom line on WHY buy organic and supplement with fish oil? Because there is a scientifically established link between high Omega-6 consumption and all inflammatory diseases, including the following:1013293_10151790598990709_614260842_n

  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease
  • macular degeneration
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • asthma
  • cancer
  • psychiatric disorders
  • autoimmune diseases

The body uses the same enzymes to break down both kinds of Omegas. So if your Omega-3 levels are higher relative to Omega-6 this is what gets used and absorbed around the body. This lowers inflammation in the tissues and lowers risk for disease. If Omega-6 is more prevalent, it gets broken down and has an inflammatory effect on the body, making the likelihood of any/all inflammatory disease higher or if disease is already present, makes it worse.

So there you have it, even if you already knew that taking fish oil had something to do with being heart healthy, now you actually understand it and the bigger picture behind getting as much Omega-3 as possible in the diet. As a bonus, your body is more willing to let go of stored fat when you provide it with enough healthy fats in your diet. Win-win! Counteract disease and lean out too!

[Here is a link to a fantastic article that will give you all sorts of data and studies and charts if you're the kind of person who wants "proof" of everything I've written here. I encourage research!! :) ]

How to Find a Good Quality Fish Oil Supplement

Sorry to say, but many of your grocery store fish oil capsules are low quality or have a “fishy” aftertaste or cause “fish burps”- yuck! Consuming daily doses of a poor quality fish oil can actually worsen inflammation- yes, a bad fish oil can be worse than no fish oil! If you break open a capsule and it has a fishy smell or you’re using a liquid supplement, do not consume it if it smells rancid or fishy!

A good quality fish oil should have EPA and DHA specified on the label. DHA is very important- look for somewhere around 200-300 mg per capsule/serving. You want a supplement that has been molecularly distilled to remove toxins. Look for fish sources like salmon, cod liver, sardines, and anchovies. Krill oil is another excellent source, and preliminary research shows it may be better absorbed than other sources.

Ultra-Body-Omega-28-days_125

 

 

I use the 28 Days to Health brand Lemon Ultra Body Omega. This is also what we carry at Rejuvenate Chiropractic Spa and it can be purchased online here. This meets the requirements for quality and tastes like lemon candy! No pills to take. My kids eat it off a spoon and ask for it every day!

SO Over Salads? Me Too!

broccoliThe benefits of getting enough veggies in your diet are not disputed. More energy, protection against disease, working to optimize the body’s pH, glowing radiant skin- I could keep going, but you get the point. This is why I’m so excited to share my recent revelation with you- I call it SALAD FOR BREAKFAST! Just stay with me here…it’s not what you think!

Be honest, if you’re like me, it takes some effort to stay “on the wagon” with eating clean. I know when I’m at work, running around with kid activities, and keeping up with a full social calendar, the temptations and unhealthy foods, alcohol, sugar, you name it, it’s always in my face! Forget the fact that my husband is downing ice cream, cookies, some form of chocolate, or honey roasted peanuts by the pound next to me almost every night once we get the kids in bed. Can you relate? Oh by the way, he’s 6′ 3″ works out like crazy and you’d never know he eats like that by how he looks, which makes it all the more completely annoying!!!

I try not to judge others (note- “try” means I know I shouldn’t but don’t always succeed- you feel me mamas?!), but COME ON! did you really need to bring in an entire bag of candy corns to the office break room? How did you know I love candy corns? And since I own a medical clinic, let’s just say once we hit Thanksgiving it’s not WILL WE get a pound of chocolates or a tub of butter cookies delivered daily but HOW MANY pounds and tubs!? PLEASE don’t get me wrong…I absolutely LOVE that our patients and referral sources want to love on us, I just have to point out the irony that we are a “health care facility” and the amount of junk food in our break room during the holidays should be illegal!

OK, what does this have to do with salads, you ask? Here’s the thing…if you’re on the go or ordering out, sometimes it seems like a salad is your only healthy option. And even there you have to know how to order the salad- YES, sorry to break it to you, many salads and dressings can add up to be worse than a cheeseburger when it comes to healthy eating. But by the time you get down to the lean protein, greens, healthy veggies, and manage to make or find a somewhat yummy dressing…well let’s just say it’s my experience that those healthy salads get OLD REAL FAST.

Try these two options instead- any meal actually not just breakfast, but it’s really convenient in the morning and the energy boost and craving (i.e. sugar and salt) control you should see is amazing to set you up to win for the rest of the day.

SALAD FOR BREAKFAST- SMOOTHIE OPTION

saladbfast

 

 

 

 

 

1. Start with 6-8 oz cold water or unsweetened Flax Milk in your blender or nutribullet

2. Add a serving of your favorite protein powder (I recommend one with at least 20 g of protein per serving)- flavor doesn’t matter, but I love this with chocolate or strawberry.

3. Stuff in 2+ cups of leafy greens. Spinach is a great place to start because you literally won’t taste it at all! TRUST ME- that green monster will just taste like your protein. But as you build up and become a seasoned greens eater you will want to try the most nutrient dense greens you can try- mustard, collard, spring mix lettuces, and the almighty kale! Trader Joe’s has a fantastic mix of baby greens called power greens- it’s always in my fridge.

4. Optional- depending on how many calories and carbs you want in this meal, you can also add some frozen organic berries and unsweetened greek yogurt. Play with the amount of liquid and/or ice to get the thickness or thinness you prefer. But even just the protein and greens is fantastic and nutritious for an almost no carb small meal or snack.

SALAD FOR BREAKFAST- OMELET/SCRAMBLE OPTION

1. In a medium skillet start with 1-2 tsp coconut oil or grass-fed butter. If this isn’t enough to coat the pan try coconut oil spray as well.

2. Add 2 cups leafy greens and/or chopped veggies. Some of my favorites are bell pepper, broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms. Normally I do the leafy greens and at least 1 crunchy veggie because I like to have texture. Here is a sample of my spinach mushroom version :)

3. Add your favorite spices (mine are garlic/onion powder, dill, sea salt and crushed red pepper flakes) and cook veggies on medium-low heat until greens begin to wilt and crunchy veggies begin to soften.

4. Add 3-4 egg whites beaten until fluffy with a fork. Depending on how much fat you want in this meal you can also use some whole eggs, some whites.

5. If you’re awesome and you have a great non-stick skillet, this can turn into an amazing omelet. If you’re like me, it will normally end up as a scramble!!

Try this for dinner when you’re too tired to make anything else!!

Imagine if you had option 1 and option 2 in the same day, that would be 4 cups of green veggie goodness consumed in a day without feeling like you even went near a salad! Genius!!!

ENJOY!

Quick Oatmeal & Egg White Pancake

Raw whole grain oats are a fairly slow digesting carb which makes them perfect for fuel in the morning without spiking blood sugar. But sometimes just eating a bowl of cooked oatmeal can get boring. In addition, while oats do contain some protein, typically you’re looking to get upwards of 20 g of protein in a well designed meal, and they just don’t have enough in a reasonable portion size.

Here is one of my favorite and super quick ways to enjoy oats by adding egg whites to boost up your protein. Takes no longer than scrambling an egg, but this is a complete meal including your extra clean and healthy fat source- coconut oil! Sounds crazy, but this really cooks up and holds together like a pancake- one of the healthiest you’ll ever eat!

OatmealPancake

Quick Oatmeal & Egg White Pancake

1/2 C whole grain oats
3 organic egg whites

Beat egg whites in a small bowl until frothy. Add oats and mix well. Now you have pancake “batter”!

In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tsp coconut oil. If this is not enough to coat pan, you can also add a spray of coconut oil cooking spray.

Pour batter into pan and spread evenly into 1 large pancake.

Cook pancake until golden brown on both sides.

Toppings: 1 C organic berries or 1 tsp all fruit preserves (no sugar or sweetener- just fruit)