healthy lifestyle

Meal Planning

Breakfast showdown: Cottage Cheese vs Plain Yogurt

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Most mornings when I’m short on time I reach for cottage cheese for breaky. Low in sugar and carbs, high in protein – it keeps me full throughout the day. Slice up some fresh fruit, or go the savory route with chopped onion, red pepper, celery and black pepper – it’s extremely versatile and takes me about a minute to prep. But this morning I was out. Being far too lazy and short on time for a grocery run, I found some plain yogurt and went for it. It was delicious! Better than my usual cottage cheese and fruit breakfast I’ve been eating for years. So I thought to myself, what really is the difference between the two?

Here’s a comparison of Nordica 2% Cottage Cheese and Astro Original 2% Plain Yogurt per half cup.

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I didn’t choose these brands for any particular reason, but most plain versions tend have similar nutritional values anyways.

Calories Yogurt is slight lower in calories than the cottage cheese (40kcal less, 36% lower). So if you’re strictly counting calories, yogurt can be your friend.

Protein Cottage cheese wins this one, and by a long shot (9g more, almost 300%). A few years ago I opted for a low carbohydrate focused breakfast to a high protein one. That’s why I started eating cottage cheese in the first place. I always found I was starving at work within a few hour of eating cereal, toast etc. Most mornings I work out before eating breakfast so that blast of protein afterwards is great. Plus I still replenish carbs with the fresh fruit I add.

Fat They’re both the same. You chose them at 2%. :P

Carbohydrates Surprisingly they’re both the same. I’ve seen some versions of plain yogurt that have significantly more carbs via sugars, but the Astro brand seems to be a good choice.

Taste I really liked the yogurt better. This may be because I’ve been eating cottage cheese for years straight, and the change up is nice. Both have very different textures, and different flavor. I’m leaning towards the yogurt!

Conclusion: I was honestly expecting to heavily favour the cottage cheese. I assumed the two would vary quite a bit and always thought yogurt was higher in sugars and carbs, so this is a pleasant surprise. I’ll definitely keep both in my morning routine. Keep in mind this is PLAIN yogurt, once you get into the Vanilla and other flavors expect lots of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. If you add chopped fruits, you really shouldn’t need the flavored version anyway.

There are obviously other factors involved in making the right choice for you – some yogurts have higher calcium, lower sodium and Greek yogurt will have more protein. Yogurt also has bacterial cultures with proven benefits for your immune system and so on. For me, I’m more worried about excess sugars, and getting that higher protein content. I’m not afraid of fat either, and it can be your friend - although calorie dense. So unless you’re concerned about higher calories, go the yogurt route. If protein is what you’re looking for, go for cottage cheese. Otherwise – either are a great addition to your morning.

Which of the two do you favor? Or am I the only one who thinks this much about breaky?

Thanks for reading, Matt for TrainRite

 

Exercise, Shameless Self-promotion

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Meal Planning

Deconstructed Taco! (....salad)

Tacos are great! So in an attempt to recreate a healthier version... I came up with this deconstructed salad.It's also great. Honest. You may miss the taco shell and cheeses - but you have to make sacrafices sometimes, right? This was satisfyiing enough for me anyway :)

It may look like a ton of ingredients, but a lot of that is spices that can be left out/exchanged. The majority of your time will be chopping fresh vegetables. Enjoy!

See the recipe here!

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Meal Planning

Favourite Snack: Tandoori Masala Roasted Chickpeas

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photo 1 This is a great snack that I usually make once a week, and bring in my lunch.

They don't take much effort to make at all, just a little bake time. You can literally exchange any of the spices for something you like better; like garlic/chive/dill, cilantro/lime, sea salt and pepper, and so on. Many people do sweeter versions with cinnamon and sugar...so there are endless combinations. The process is the same for each.

Find the recipe here, and enjoy!

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Exercise, Meal Planning, Shameless Self-promotion

What I DID Wednesday

So a friend of mine so politely suggested that maybe I should post more often. I like hearing suggestions from fellow readers and anyone really, so I figured I could start today. I’ve been asked this question fairly often, and this was actually her suggestion to me: What does your typical day look like as far as exercise and meals go? Well my dinner tonight isn’t really typical - I’m expecting to eat as many wings and drink as much beer as I can handle on a “school night”- but the rest really is. On a typical weeknight for dinner I’ll more than likely have some sort of meat (lean steak, chicken breast/thigh, salmon etc.) with salad, steam veg or similar.

Portion control isn’t really my strong suit, so I try to eat before 6:30pm so I don’t feel so full for the early morning workouts.

5:30am Workout: Glutes, Chest, Core (all superset)

Barbell Step-ups – 110lbs x   20, 17, 16 (these are the worst) Pec Fly Machine – 190lbs x 12, 12 ,12

Glute Kickback Machine – 170lbs x 12, 12, 12 each leg Incline Dumbbell Press – 2x70lbs x 10, 10, 9

Barbell Hip Thrust - 185lbs x 12, 12, 12 (looks so suggestive…) Cable Press - 110lbs x 12, 12, 12

Leg Raise with Dumbbell - 25lbs x 12, 12, 12 Torso Twist Machine - 190lbs x 15, 15, 15 each side

Horizontal Sit-up - 45lbs x 12, 12, 12 Sitting Oblique Twist (with Plate) - 25lbs x 25, 25, 25

Finished it off with a 5K run! Now I’m ready for Wing Night!

FOOD:

Before Workout (5:15am) – 5g BCAA, 1 scoop protein powder

Post Workout (7:00am) ­– 5g BCAA, 1 scoop protein powder

Breakfast (7:30am) – Overnight Oats

Snack (10am) – Broccoli & cauliflower

Lunch (12:30pm) – Pulled Chicken Lettuce Wraps (I made tons - I'm eating this all week)

Snack (2pm) – Hardboiled egg & Tandoori Masala Roasted Chickpeas

Dinner (6pm) – Wing night…. So wings and beer! (lots)

Meal Planning

Recipe: Pulled Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Happy new year all! I'm making an effort to post as frequently as possible this year, and check back for some guest posts as well.

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This recipe was created by suggestion from a friend for creating caramelized onions in the slow cooker. I love caramelized onions, but somehow I didn't think the entire wrap filling in onion would be as appetizing. It’s a really simple recipe, and the majority of your time will be spent filling up the slow cooker. Aside from the butter, this recipe is really clean and any spices for the pulled chicken can be substituted, as any of the filling ingredients. Try not to do what I do every time I assemble a wrap: stuff as much filling as I can only to have the entire thing fall apart on first bite. Less is more people! Especially with the delicate lettuce leaves. Needless to say I ate these alone, face covered, what a mess. Enjoy!

See this recipe here.

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Exercise, Meal Planning

A note on being “Healthy”

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I found this great article written by Michelle Armstrong of The Oakville Nutritionist describing how it’s in our nature to make excuses for things we consider to be hard today in modern life. Take a look – it’s definitely a worthwhile read. Excuses are something I've always struggled with; the whole “I’ll just start tomorrow” excuse kept me smoking for much longer than I should have.

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When it comes to your own health and fitness, being “healthy” isn’t really that much work. Why do people think you have to be fanatic and eat only the most tiny, bland meals to be “healthy”? We all know we can’t just sit on our asses all day, that’s unhealthy. Our bodies are designed to be active, not sit in a chair all day (as I am currently doing). We’re not designed for a five-dolla-footlong for the majority of our meals either, much to the chagrin of my office cohorts.

I know everyone is sick of hearing about health and fitness fads and diets, I know I am. I’ve also been on the receiving end of many eye-rolls when I’ve spoken about my fitness regimen to friends and family too, haha. But really, if we all know it’s a necessary part of life, why the hell do we make it seem so complicated?

My basic rules:

-          Get moving. You don’t have to be a gym rat. Just get your heart rate up each and everyday

-          Make your own and eat a variety of foods. Leave the boxed processed foods for rare occasions and of course keep portions in check.

-          Manage your stress. Spend time doing things that make you feel good! I like building things J

Here are my reasons for leading an active life-style:

There’s just one – It just makes me feel good. You’ll never see me smile as wide as when I’m playing hockey, in a good groove running or at the gym, mountain biking, and so on. It’s a sort of therapy for me; it must be all of the endorphins. That’s why I do it. So why is that a bad thing? It also really makes me appreciate those nights when I do go out for wings with the boys, or have a day where I just lay around. See – the reasons aren’t complete vanity, haha.

 PS - don't smoke

Exercise, Meal Planning, Shameless Self-promotion

My 2 Month Shred Challenge

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So recently I decided to start a 2 month shred challenge for myself, to try and cut down some of the extra weight I’ve put on this spring. I tend to… how you say…. “eat like an asshole” when I decide to have dirty cheat meals, and then these easily turn into “cheat weekends”. Recently I've had a lot going on so these have been pretty abundant. Last November I did a 6-week challenge, and my reward was our family Christmas trip to Mexico. That challenge was really effective, I cut down to 158lbs with some great definition - I was really pumped with the results. I didn’t really take any photos for that challenge, as it’s somewhat out of my comfort zone. Also, our travel agency unfortunately cancelled the trip via email on Boxing Day (Canadians - never book with Nolitours!!), so I didn’t feel any satisfaction for of it. This time I’ll be posting weekly “selfies” to showcase the results I’m seeing. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve come out of my shell a bit with the photos.

The Rules:

-          Generally a low carb, low sugar diet. On run days I’ll have a higher carb intake (usually through oats and fruit) -          Nothing with added sugars (this includes dried crans and sweet rice cakes) -          No breads, pasta, rice -          Snacks: fruit on run days only, vegetables otherwise -          3 runs per week -          6 workouts per week -          Meals on side plates only -          No alcohol -          No snacking on almonds as I get out hand with these. I’ll use them as part of meals only. -          Any cheating will be fessed up to

Workout Plan:

I've just begun a new workout routine utilizing my TrainRite logbook. Love this thing; I never have to think about what I have to workout each day – I did all the pre-planning. I actually began this regimen a while back, but due to a neck injury and illness I never got into the full swing of it. Now that I’m 100%, I’ll use it for the entire 62 days. 6 days a week and one rest day. Here’s the breakdown:

Sunday: Rest Day Monday: Lats/Bis Tuesday: Legs/Core Wednesday: Chest/Tris Thursday: Various*/Core Friday: Legs/Shoulders Saturday: Back/Core * “Various” refers to exercises that use a multiple muscle groups, or muscles I couldn’t classify with the other days

Cardio: 3 runs per week – Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (generally quick 5km runs)

Supplements: -          Protein shake immediately before and after workouts -          5grams Creatine on workout days (taken with the aforementioned protein) -          10grams BCAAs, daily -          Daily men’s multi vitamin -          Daily fish oil

Exceptions: -          1 Cheat item per week (NOT a whole meal) -          1 alcoholic drink per week *I’ll adjust any of these that I deem effective or not as I go.

Keeping Track: Call me lazy, but I’ve found that the best way for me to track my results are weight and photos. A lot of people do measurements, but I don’t really think it’s necessary for me. Does anyone else have a method they’ve used before?

So here we go! Today is Day 1 of my challenge. This time I have a trip booked Aug 11th, which gives me 62 days. The last challenge I did was extremely strict, this time I’m going to give myself a few rewards along the way.

If you have any comments or suggestions I’d love to hear them! I’ll keep track of my progress here, but I’ll also post weekly updates.

Thanks for tuning in!

Day 1: Monday, June 10, 2013

Weight: 176.2lbs

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Meal Planning

Finally: FETA, BRUSSEL SPROUT, AND CARAWAY SEED CASSAROLE

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photo 9 Long overdue!

Admittedly, I did not read the entire recipe before grocery shopping… and decided to substitute brussel sprouts for the cabbage. So, I didn’t realize I was supposed to be wrapping the stuffing in cabbage leaves. I just steamed 4 brussel sprouts and halved them, and then layered the rest, placing the brussel sprouts on top as a kind of visual garnish. Lessons learned.

Delicious nonetheless. This was devoured! I made some other intentional substitutions to the original recipe too.

Find my version HERE

Thanks to Poppy’s Patisserie for the recipe!

Don't forget to check out my fitness logbooks!

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Meal Planning

Lunch this week: healthy, hearty Turkey Chili

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Nothing like homemade turkey chili on a rainy day!

After a beautiful Sunday morning long run, I made my way to my favorite local grocers: Fiesta Farms (post to come!) and St. Lawrence Market to grab ingredients for my chili!

I try to do prep cooking on Sundays so I can save time during my busy week!

Want this recipe? Go to the "food!" section of this site, or here!

 

Exercise

Twig legs & no bum cure: sumo squats

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legday2 So this is the reason I fall when I try to sit down today.... all thanks to sumo squats.

I wanted to share one of my 4 leg-day routines. This is my attempt to cure my chicken-leg syndrome. I superset each leg set with a core routine. I've just started, so I can't comment on the results. One of the trainers at my gym mentioned I need to consume a ton of calories to put good mass on  my legs... but I'm not prepared go that route yet.

SUMO SQUATS - 8 x 20

BULGARIAN DUMBBELL SQUATS - 3 x 12 (ea)

WALKING DUMBBELL LUNGES - 3 x 20

SEATED CALF RAISE - 3 x 12

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Meal Planning

My favourite breakfast on run days - Overnight Oats

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My favourite breakfast on run days - Overnight Oats Here's a quick breakfast I have about 3 times a week: Overnight oats! I'll post the recipe under the "food!" section of my blog, but it's comprised of: oats, protein powder (Cellucor's Peanut Butter Marshmallow is my personal favourite), chia seeds, ground flax, almond milk and banana.