Turkey Taco Bake 

The recipe below makes TWO 9×13 dishes because one serving is 1/4 of the pan. Say what!?!? I made this “mini prep” and since being a parent means I have to feed all these children 😉 I made 2 pans worth so they could enjoy too. Thumbs up all around BUT, I thought is was pretty bland. Next time I may use a pre-packaged taco seasoning pack and add more jalapenos and hot sauce.  This recipe does freeze well.

INGREDIENTS:

▪️2 cups uncooked Brown Rice

▪️2 Yellow Onions, chopped

▪️6 Cloves of Garlic, minced

▪️2 Jalapeños, chopped

▪️48oz (3 pkgs.) Lean or Extra Lean Ground Turkey

▪️2 Bell Peppers (any color), chopped

▪️3 Limes – Squeezed for fresh juice

▪️4 Tbsp. Chili Powder

▪️2 tsp. Oregano

▪️1 tsp. Thyme

▪️Hot Sauce to taste (you’re gonna want to use this if you like a little kick)

▪️2 cups Shredded Mexican Four Cheese

▪️2 – 15oz cans of Tomato Sauce (no added sodium)

DIRECTIONS:

1️⃣Cook Brown Rice according to box instructions and set aside.

2️⃣Let’s get everything chopped, minced and juiced so it’s ready to go! Chop/Mince onions, garlic and jalapeño and set aside in same bowl. Chop peppers and set aside in same bowl. Juice limes and set aside.

3️⃣Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 9×13 baking dishes with cooking spray.

4️⃣In a large pot set to medium/high heat, sauté Onion, Garlic and Jalapeños until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.

5️⃣Add ground turkey to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Add peppers and continue to cook until the turkey is no longer pink.

6️⃣Drain turkey mixture and return to the pot. Add lime juice and seasonings stirring to combine. Then add tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of cheese and hot sauce (if using), stirring well.

7️⃣Split the turkey mixture into the two baking dishes and top both with the remaining cheese. Cover each dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

8️⃣Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and the edges are bubbling. Let it cool 10 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

 

MACROS for my exact ingredients…

46g Protein

29.5g Carbs

14.4g Fat

439 Calories

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Managing Chronic Pain Naturally

If you don’t know by now, I suffer from chronic pain caused by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Syringomyelia (SM). I am often asked how I manage to do what I do each day while living with two very debilitating and painful diseases. And in addition, how I manage without the aid of medication.

I will first say that each person with MS and SM are very different patients. The way MS attacks one person can, and usually is, completely different from the way it attacks someone else. Same goes with SM and the severity of the syrinx and the speed of progression.

Part of me believes that I am very lucky to feel the way that I do considering everything, and another part of me would like to believe that the mental and physical fight I put up each day is actually helping me feel better.

There are two very important things that I do to help manage my chronic pain – EXERCISE and Reduce STRESS. I’ll also share below a third and fourth option that I don’t personally use/follow to help with chronic pain but ones that I’ve heard have worked wonders for others with chronic pain.

REDUCE STRESS

Try to maintain as much of a stress free life as possible. I know that’s tough in general and even harder when you’re in pain and unable to relax. Stress increases the body’s sensitivity to pain so managing your stress is a natural way to help.

EXERCISE

Another option and one that I’ve followed since 2009, is exercise.

When you exercise you’re boosting your endorphins. Endorphins are brain chemicals that help improve your mood while blocking pain signals. I started working out right after my diagnosis in an effort to make my body as physically strong as possible so if/when something neurological were to happen that I couldn’t control, at least my body would be strong and healthy to fight back in the best way possible.

There are so many benefits to exercise and I believe everyone should incorporate some sort of fitness routine into their life, no matter what. I think that’s obvious since I’m a Personal Trainer and live my life helping others feel healthier, happier and stronger through fitness.

I do not follow/use the next two options below but they may help you naturally manage your chronic pain. I have friends who have had great success with each.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

I’ve heard really great things about medical marijuana for pain management. Someone very close to me uses medical marijuana for their pain and was able to stop taking all of their pain medication so I think it’s definitely a good option to look into.

THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet involves eating a lot of veggies and fish, some fruits, limited amounts of dairy and whole grains and very little red meat, flour and sugar. I know many people with MS and chronic pain who follow this diet and have had great success.

Bottom line, this is your journey. Find the path that works best for you and don’t let anyone try to tell you that their way is the best way. We are all different, we all respond differently to medications and natural remedies and we all have the right to choose.

 

Protein

How important is Protein? It’s so important that without it, we could die or become severely malnourished.

All of your enzymes, cell transporters, blood transporters, all your cells scaffolding and structures, 100% of your hair and fingernails, much of your muscle, bone and internal organs and many hormones are mostly protein.

Makes sense now why Protein is so important.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Protein is 0.8g per kg of body weight (0.4g/lb) for the sedentary adult. For strength athletes that number increases to about 1.2-1.7g per kg of body weight(0.5-0.8g/lb) and for endurance athletes the RDA is 1.2-1.4g per kg of body weight (0.5-0.6g/lb).

There are many different factors that play a role in how much protein you should be consuming each day. Some of those factors are…

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Activity Level
  • How many total calories we eat/need
  • Our carbohydrate intake

Finding the right amount of protein to consume can involve a bit of trial and error. The RDA’s provided above are a good starting point. Determine which category you fall under and begin there. I personally consume a little less than 1g of Protein per pound of body weight.

For those who have a plant-based diet (Vegetarian or Vegan), you’ll have to work a little harder to get more protein from a mix of different sources in order to meet your protein needs.

Crockpot Paleo Turkey Meatballs and Garlic Parmesan Zoodles

This weeks meal prep is Crockpot Paleo Turkey Meatballs and Garlic Parmesan Zoodles. This meal is full of flavor and really filling!

I used a recipe from Pinterest to make the meatballs. Link below.

Crockpot Paleo Turkey Meatballs

I saw a video on Facebook of the Garlic Parmesan Zoodles and quickly jotted down the steps so I don’t have a real recipe for that but I’ll share what I did.

 

 

Garlic Parmesan Zoodles

1. Zoodle your Zucchini (I use a spiralizer).

2. Add Ghee (clarified butter) and chopped garlic to a pan set on medium and allow Ghee to melt.

3. Add Zoodles to pan and cook for a few minutes before adding the shredded Parmesan, tossing Zoodles to help melt the Parmesan.

4. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Here’s the problem I had…the Parmesan didn’t melt very pretty and was kind of clumpy. I think next time I’ll prepare the Zoodles the same way but only add the Parmesan once the Zoodles are done. The kick provided by the red pepper flakes was perfect!

I “plated” the food in my meal prep containers sans tomato sauce and additional Parmesan. I’ll only add those two elements when I’m ready to eat, as seen in this photo above.

Patience


This picture is a great example of patience. Sometimes we get so frustrated by the tiny changes that we seriously consider just quitting our fitness journey all together. 

DON’T QUIT!!! Every tiny change will grow to big changes.

The January picture shows 64.4 lbs of body fat mass and 32.6% body fat. In yesterday’s picture, the measurements are considerably different at 36.8 lbs of body fat mass and 21.9% body fat. 

That’s nearly 30 pounds of body fat gone!

These results were obtained by eating healthy and exercising, that’s it! 

ARE YOU READY FOR A CHANGE??

Message me and let’s get started!

Lunch. Easy. Healthy. Good. A quick tip…


Lunch. Easy. Healthy. Good. A quick tip (which ended up being a long tip, sorry) for those who are struggling to eat healthy while at home or when you’re in a hurry and starving.

PLAN FOR SUCCESS

I don’t just mean meal prepping but that helps A LOT! I also suggest you have healthy foods that you enjoy in your home at all times. Don’t run out!

I always have tuna, hardboiled eggs, ready-to-eat salad and a light dressing, protein bars, fruit, rice cakes, all natural peanut butter, protein sweets i.e. ice cream & cookies, no sugar added fruit popsicles and Smartfood or SkinnyPop popcorn.

When I meal prep, that’s usually just for dinner so what about breakfast and lunch?

Breakfast is easy! Eggs, egg whites, oats, frittata, protein pancakes, English muffins, fruit, etc. Lunch can be tough for me. I’m usually coming home from the gym and a few errands and have a cranky baby and (during the summer), two older children who would happily agree to any form of fast food. I CAN’T CAVE, I HAVE GOALS!

That’s when the foods I mentioned above and what you see in the photo, come in handy. I make the tuna when I’m not rushed or starving and I make enough to eat for lunch for 2 or 3 days. These can be done with other foods that are your favorite.

When I’m out and about and I know we may be eating dinner later or maybe I’ll get hungry while driving around or end up stopping for ice cream for the kids (that happens a lot), I ALWAYS have a protein bar with me. My healthier option. My favorite, Oh Yeah ONE in Peanut Butter Pie flavor. I HATE protein bars and it took me about 3 years of trying different ones until I found something I could stand.

If you think you can’t do it, if you think you’ll never like healthier options and always feel like you’re suffering for your goals, it does NOT have to be that way. There are ways to conquer your goals without the misery. Trust me.

My children ate Bagel Bites for lunch today. I LOVEEEEE Bagel Bites! But oddly enough, I was not tempted and I enjoyed my healthy lunch. This is a strange feeling for me still which is why I was inspired to write this insanely long post. (Sorry again)

Lastly, if you need help, accountability, or you want to bounce ideas off of someone, I’m happy to help.

Take a picture, it’ll last longer!


“Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”

Remember that saying? Well now I keep that in my memory bank as I progress through my own health and fitness journey.

Even though I’ve been at this fitness thing for many years now, I still have moments of frustration and definitely times where I am completely uncomfortable in my body. And times when the scale is just evil and not posting my desired number.

There are many ways to track your progress and photos are a great way to see how far you’ve come or, to jolt your motivation to make some changes.

Keep them private, take a front, back and side photo every 2-4 weeks and wear the same outfit each time. Actually seeing the change can be much more motivating than losing 15lbs and feeling as though nothing has changed.
For more tracking options for your particular goals, send me a message and I can give you some ideas.

London Broil w/Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts

It’s August!! One of my favorite months because I was born in August. Yay!!

We have a delicious Meal Prep this week…

London Broil that was marinated for 24 hours and grilled to a beautiful medium-rare (the picture makes the meat look a bit more pink than it is in person). This was my first time (successfully) cooking on the grill. The last meal I attempted to grill was turkey burgers and they ended up becoming burnt turkey crumbles because they fell apart and into the fire.

Ingredients for the marinade per 2 pounds of London Broil are:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

 

Easy Meal Prep – Turkey Patties with Sauteed Asparagus and Mushrooms

 

Another easy Meal Prep idea for you guys. Here we have Turkey patties with sautéed asparagus and mushrooms. These are His and Hers, mine have the 3 patties (bottom of the photo) and my husband has 5 patties.

I honestly do not go into the grocery store knowing exactly how much of everything I need. I go in thinking, “I need a lot!” This prep made 16 meals and it included everything that you see in the ingredients photo.

Have a question or comment, I’d love to hear it. Let’s Chat!

 

 

Why Low Carb Diets Don’t Work for Long Term Goals…

I wanted to share this article with you; Author credit goes to Mike Gorski.


Here’s What You Need To Know…

1. We’ve all heard it before, “carbs make you fat,” and some of us still believe this myth. You know what makes you fat? A surplus of calories, shitty food quality and a sedentary lifestyle.

2. Sure you can drop a few quick pounds fending off carbs for a while, but your performance, hormonal balance, and general mental and emotional abilities and health will suffer. Did I mention you’ll probably end up even fatter once you kick the “low carb” kick?

3. Here’s why prioritizing carbs, and training and eating like an athlete will create the foundation for fat-loss and general health benefits we are all shooting for. And yes, this is a sustainable long term option unlike your low carb crash diet.

You Think Carbs Will Make You Fat?

“Carbs will make you fat. Want to lose fat? Just cut back on your carbs, and increase your cardio.” – Muttered by numerous fitness “professionals” on a daily basis.

It is this irresponsible advice and approach that has wrecked peoples bodies internally and externally, left people feeling like shit zombies, and kept people looking flat and deflated.

Carbs have gotten such a bad rep over the years that it has become the second coming of the low fat craze. Everything is touted as low-carb, low-glycemic, etc. and all to stave off the dreaded belly fat.

The truth is, whether you are a competitive athlete, professional physique model, or just a weekend warrior looking to shed some pounds for your upcoming high school reunion – carbs can, and should be your friend.

Low carb diets may work in brief for quick “weight loss”, but what is this weight loss, and what are the real results when cutting out a high amount of carbs from the diet?

To break it down simply, low carb diets do work for general WEIGHT LOSS because you are entering a caloric deficit by cutting out an entire macronutrient group, and thus a huge chunk of your calories; creating a caloric deficit which is needed for weight loss.

Low Carb diets may also be good for more sedentary individuals or extremely obese individuals looking to control insulin and blood sugar levels. Because you ended up reading this article, I assume that you don’t fit this category.

Why Low Carb Diets DON’T Work for the Body You Want

More times than not, the weight loss from low carb diets ends up being water loss, and glycogen depletion, thus leaving the dieter looking flat, feeling weak, confused and tired. As soon as carbs are re-introduced, weight gain occurs and the “weight loss” visual results vanish as well.

Most people who have serious aesthetic goals in mind have a certain body type they are looking for. To get that body type you need to be training seriously, intensely, and continuously. You cannot perform optimally in the gym, and reach the gainz you seek long term without carbohydrates.

For men, being on low carb diets for extended periods of time can also lead to lowered testosterone levels and elevated cortisol. These are two of the most important hormones when it comes to getting shredded versus holding onto fat, and low carbs may push each of them in the wrong direction.

For women, eating low carb for extended periods of time leads to hypothalamic amenorrhea – i.e. irregular periods and some seriously messed up hormones.

4 Reasons You Need Carbs

Here are the four most important reasons you better be prioritizing carbohydrate intake in your diet. If you are struggling with your body composition or performance in and out of the gym, you may want to take notes.

#1 Carbs Fuel Intense Workouts

Because you read Dr. John Rusin, you must train seriously. Because you train seriously, you need carbohydrates in your life. Carbs fuel your intense workouts, allow you to avoid burnout, and push through those final reps of triple drop set split squats.

While pre-workout carbs don’t directly lead to muscle gain, as they have a limited role in muscle protein synthesis, they DO allow you to train harder, heavier and thus leading to the appropriate anabolic response and hormonal cascade that we are all seeking.

Loading up on the right kind of carbs pre-workout is just as important. You know what your body can handle, but most people would feel a high fiber carbs or large meals sitting in their guts during their squats.

A lighter, faster digesting carb 60-90 minutes before you workout is the best option. Some good options here would be white rice, white bagels, bananas or other lower fiber fruits or starchy carbs. If Whole food doesn’t sit well with you, try a liquid carb drink, as some carbs here may be better than none.

Bottom line is, I recommend a minimum of 30-60 grams of carbs 60-90 minutes before your workout.

#2 Carbs Promote Recovery After Intense Workouts

During intense training sessions, glycogen is pulled from muscle storage to help replace your ATP, fueling muscular contractions. Over the course of an intense training session, glycogen can be depleted by as much as 26%. However, this is a total body measurement and glycogen stores are actually used locally. What this means is that if you train legs, almost all of the glycogen in your legs could be used up – but only 26% of your total body glycogen was used.

Long story short, you need to replenish that glycogen, and carbs will do the trick.

Within a hour or two after your workout, make sure you consume 1/4th to ½ your body weight in grams of carbohydrates. For example, a 200-pound man should have 50-100 grams of carbs within an hour or two after an intense workout.

Good choices here are your faster digesting carbs again, as we don’t want them sitting in our gut, and sometimes it can be hard to eat high fiber carbs right after a workout. White rice, pasta, bread, or a sport drink will do the trick here.

#3 Carbs Optimized Hormones

Hormones play a huge role in gaining muscle mass, losing body fat, and just feeling good overall. So why would we want to go on a diet that messes with all of those elements so dramatically?

Low carb diets for people who are serious about their training can lead to the following hormonal changes:

  • Lowered testosterone
  • Increased cortisol
  • Lowered thyroid function
  • Lowered luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in women.

All of which lead to less energy, slowed metabolism, low sex drive, and impaired immune function. Sounds like fun doesn’t it?

One of the most important, and obvious hormones that is controlled by carbs is insulin. Insulin, being very anabolic, is important for building muscle and is crucial for replenishing glycogen as stated earlier.

The fear of insulin is what started the whole low-carb craze in the first place. Remember, you train hard, you need insulin to build your body, you don’t fit the mold of the low-carb dieters.

So how do we avoid messing up our hormones and reverting to the levels of a 10 year old boy? Make sure your daily carb intake never gets under 100 grams per day or under 30% of your total caloric intake just to be safe. You need to monitor your energy levels during workouts to truly know what your goal should be, as some people may need a much higher minimum dose than 100 grams.

#4 Carbs Enhance Mental Health

Live your life…responsibly. One of the most important, and under talked about aspects of our nutrition is how it affects our mental health. Low carb dieters tend to get to the point of jonezing so hard for carbs that its all they want to talk about.

We should be able to enjoy what we eat, while still reaching the goals and bodies that we desire.

Many of our favorite “guilty pleasure” foods are carb heavy. Pizza, pasta, desserts, etc. It is okay to enjoy these things on occasion with responsibility and being able to tell yourself that it won’t completely ruin your physique. If you know your caloric goals, your macro nutrient goals (especially carbs after reading this), make about 10-20% of your weekly calories come from the less “healthy” forms of carbs and foods.

Just make sure that the rest of your carbohydrates during the week come from whole, minimally processed foods such as: oats, rice, beans, fruits, potatoes and non-starchy vegetables.

It’s Finally Time To Embrace Carbs

Don’t be that guy pulling plain chicken breasts out of your pockets when you go out for a nice dinner with friends.

By avoiding a low carb diet, I guarantee you will feel better, be happier, and get the results you are looking for (or even better). Make sure you keep hitting the weights hard, keep your total nutrition on point, and the carbs will do the rest of the work for you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Mike Gorski is a Registered Dietitian and personal trainer located just outside of Madison, Wisconsin. Mike works with clients on a wide variety of goals including sports performance, post-rehab training, weight loss, and overall healthy behavior change. His ideas and methods have been featured on some of the top publications in the fitness industry including the Personal Trainer Development Center. Mike’s mission is to create positive behavior change with all his clients that will not only get them to their personal goal, but last them a lifetime.

Learn more about Mike on his:

Website: http://www.mgfitlife.com Facebook: mgfitlife Instagram: mgfitlife