Monthly Archives: February 2011

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Complete Proteins

I’m blogging from Phoenix again as I will be spending the rest of the week working from here.  My aunt just told me what the meal plan is for the rest of the week, and y’all have reason to be excited because we are going to be making some really delicious yet really simple Indian foods. :) 

When I arrived here today, everyone was getting ready for dinner.  I had a really late lunch (4:30 pm), so I wasn’t  hungry for a big dinner, but I took a few pictures anyways.

Sweet, juicy mangos! I made a little room for this treat!

Rotli - Indian flatbread (relative of naan)

Cabbage and potato shak (veggies with different spices)

My plan is to make Indian food at least twice a week once I move into my apartment in Boston.  I want to take some of the traditional dishes I grew up eating and add a little twist…don’t worry, I will take you all on this journey with me!

Complete Proteins

Back in August 2010, I made the decision to become a vegetarian (for good).  I have gone between eating white meat and being a vegetarian quite a few times in my life, but I know in my heart (cheesy but true) that this time the switch is permanent.  I was kind of leaning towards vegetarianism at the time, but after watching “Food, Inc.”, I broke down (literally in tears) and made the decision to become a veggie from now until the end of time. :)  And honestly, I haven’t looked back since!

Anyways, I knew when I made the decision that I would have to reexamine my diet to ensure that I was getting adequate amounts of protein and iron in my body.  What I didn’t consider was the kinds of protein I was consuming.  It’s been awhile since I’ve studied biology!!  See, animal proteins are good sources of complete proteins (eggs, meat, poultry, cheese, and fish) – they contain all 9 essential amino acids.  On the other hand, legumes, nuts, and seeds contain mostly incomplete proteins as they are missing one or more essential amino acids.  Essential amino acids are important because they can’t be manufactured by your body but are still needed to perform all bodily functions.  So, what can us non meat eaters do?  Well, we are not helpless…we can combine certain foods to create complete proteins.

Examples:

  • Combine grains and legumes: Peanut butter on whole wheat bread
  • Combine grains and nuts/seeds: Whole wheat bun with sesame seeds
  • Combine legumes and nuts/seeds: Hummus (chickpeas and sesame paste)

More examples:

  • Oatmeal with milk
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Salad with beans and a hard-cooked egg
  • Yogurt and granola
  • Bean and cheese burrito

Also, it’s important to know that these foods contain 8 of the 9 essential amino acids:

  • Fruits: Bananas, dates, tomatoes
  • Nuts: Almonds, coconuts, filberts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pecans
  • Vegetables: Alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, carrots, eggplants, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, corn, okra, squash

Finally, it’s important to note that not every food or meal you eat has to have most of the essential amino acids.  It’s important to maintain a well-balanced diet, so that in totality, all of your meals combined give your body the nutrients it needs.  As long as you have different complementary proteins present in your diet, you are on the right path! 

My high school biology teacher would be so proud of me!!

Oscar Night!

SOOOO, I meant for this post to go up last night after the Oscars, but guess who fell asleep during the show…ME!  Another factoid about me: put me in front of a TV (at night) or in a moving car, bus, train, plane (any time) and 9 times out of 10 I will fall asleep…oops!  I apologize, but here is my Oscar Night post anyways…

I haven’t watched an awards show in a LONG time, but I thought I would tune in tonight, since I’ve seen a lot of the movies that were nominated.  I’ve been setting up for my movers all day, so I wanted to just sit and relax for a couple of hours.  And it’s kinda fun seeing all the glamor that is Hollywood!

My Oscar notes :) :

  • The mom’s of nominees segment was so cute!  I can just imagine what my mom would say if she ever had the opportunity to be featured in something like that! 
  • I love the color of Mila Kunis’s dress – lilac!  She looked so pretty.
  • Maria Menunos’s hair is gorgeous – I have to figure out how I can replicate at home!
  • Justin Timberlake…need I say more!
  • James Franco isn’t as impressive as I thought he would be.
  • Anne Hathaway has a beautiful voice.  I remember her singing at another show a few years ago and being impressed then as well.
  • I had no clue Christian Bale has an English accent.  What?!
  • Long speeches really get on my nerves!
  • What is Cate Blanchett wearing?  Not a fan of her dress.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal…need I say more!
  • Robert Downey, Jr. will always be attractive to me!  Such a hottie!
  • Jennifer Hudson looks beautiful!
  • And there’s no K in Rahman, people!

(This is where I fell asleep…zzzzz!)

As I’m sitting on my couch watching the show, I’m craving a lot of different foods I don’t currently have at home.  Let’s see…right about now I could eat (not all at once, but one/two of these things):

  • some really dark chocolate
  • a big, veggie filled salad
  • a strawberry banana smoothie
  • popcorn
  • a spoonful of peanut butter
  • blueberries
  • samosas
  • apple sauce

LOL!  I know this is a random list, but my food supply is running low, so of course this is when I start craving all of the above!  Don’t you hate it when that happens?  You always want what you can’t have!  Ugh!  Hope you all were able to give in to your cravings tonight!

What’s your opinion on award shows like the Oscars?  Love them or hate them?

Start Strength Training NOW!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far!  I’ve been meaning to talk about this awesome bread my aunt gets from a co-op here in Arizona called Bountiful Baskets.  She buys 5 loaves for a total of $10.  It is seriously the best bread I’ve ever tasted.  It’s very earthy, light, and sweet, and with a little nut butter, it’s perfection!  Yay for delicious breakfasts after eating not so healthy food for a week!

Strength Training

I picked up a copy of this month’s Women’s Health at the airport and was happy to see an article titled “Lose Your Fear of Lifting.”  It talked about the 12 reasons why we should incorporate lifting into our workout routines.  All of the points made me really want to amp up my strength training and ensure that I get in at least 2 sessions a week. 

12 Reasons to Strength Train

1. You’ll lose 40 percent more fat.
2. Your clothes will fit better.
3. You’ll burn more calories.
4. Your diet will improve.
5. You’ll handle stress better.
6. You’ll be happier.
7. You’ll build stronger bones.
8. You’ll get into shape faster.
9. Your heart will be healthier.
10. You’ll be way more productive.
11. You’ll live longer.
12. You’ll be smarter.

If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you know that I am a huge Jillian Michael’s fan.  I even have 4 of her DVDs.  My favorite one is “No More Trouble Zones” because it is a great whole body workout, including your shoulders, triceps, biceps, inner and outer thighs, abs, glutes, hamstrings, back, and more! 

Jillian’s philosophy is based on circuit training, so you do 2 sets of 5 moves that target specific muscles using 3 pound weights.  I love that each move targets more than one body part (compound exercises) because you burn more calories that way.  For example, she’ll have you do squats with shoulder presses, lunges with bicep curls…you get the point!  It’s so fun and challenging, and the great thing about it is that I don’t have to count reps – Jillian does it for me!.  I know that not everyone is really motivated to workout at home, so maybe this is not for you.  But I really think that finding a way to fit in these types of workouts is important, regardless of what that looks like for you.

Personally, since I’ve started strength training more seriously, I have seen more muscle tone and a significant improvement in my running.  I can run farther for a longer period of time with no pain.  I really do attribute JM’s DVD to that!  I know many of us absolutely love cardio, but did you know that the afterburn of strength training lasts for up to 39-48 hours after you are done exercising!  If that doesn’t get you to start now, I don’t know what will!

Have you incorporated strength training into your workout schedule?  If so, how do you think it’s benefited you?