2/9/18

Product Review - Mediterra Bars

For more information: Mediterra Nutrition
Mediterra Inc.
NY, NY
Produce of Canada
Mediterranutrition.com

About the Company from the website:
Tag Line: Good Health. It's In Our Nature.                        
About:  Inspired by the time tested Mediterranean Diet, they took its all-natural ingredients, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, fiber-packed grains and seeds and created a healthy option to complement the nonstop pace of modern life. Mediterra is pioneered by Telemaque Lavidas, and is inspired by his memories of delicious and healthy Mediterranean meals shared in the warmth of family and friends in his homeland of Greece. The now New York-based Lavidas became passionate about adapting the traditional Mediterranean diet with an emphasis on consuming more whole grains, fruits, greens, and less meats and sweets to meet the fast pace of modern life. The result is Mediterranean gourmet nutrition bursting with flavor that raises the bar. Mediterra products offer a healthy snack alternative

Products:
Mediterra Mediterranean Nutrition Savory Bar
Mediterra Mediterranean Nutrition Yogurt & Oat Bar

Label Claims:
All Natural    
Non-GMO  
Gluten-Free

Nutrition Facts Examples:

Savory Bar:  Kale, Pomegranate, Quinoa & Almonds Bar:
Serving Size: 1 bar   
Calories: 130                    
Total Fat: 7 g                    
Total Carb: 18 g             
Fiber: 5 g   
Sugars: 3 g                  
Protein:  6 g                   
Sodium: 110 mg                     
Iron: 8% DV   

Ingredients:
Pea Crisps (pea protein, rice flour), Almonds, Inulin, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Cashews, Kale, Quinoa, Pomegranate, Cashew Butter, Olive Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Sea Salt, Sunflower Oil Blend (sunflower oil, rosemary extract, mixed tocopherols), Citric Acid, Agar, Basil, Organic Flavor.

Product Flavors:
  • Black Olives & Walnuts             
  • Kale, Pomegranate, Quinoa & Almonds 
  • Kale, Apple, Quinoa & Almonds            
  • Kale & Pumpkin Seeds


Product feedback:
  • Healthy alternative to the many sugar-filled bars on the market
  • Healthy fats to provide satiety
  • Savory flavors
  • Plant based protein (pea)
  • Inulin may cause GI issues in sensitive individuals
  • All-natural, low in sugar
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten free
  • Vegan

Yogurt and Oat Bar: Fig & Almonds Bar:            
Serving Size: 1 bar
Calories: 170                   
Total Fat: 5 g                     
Total Carb: 26 g           
Fiber: 5 g                    
Sugars: 11 g             
Protein: 6 g                  
Sodium: 135 mg            
Iron: 6% DV

Ingredients:
Gluten Free Rolled Oats, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Almonds, Yogurt Flavored Coating [sugar, palm kernel oil, nonfat dry milk, yogurt powder (cultured whey protein concentrate and cultured skim milk), soy lecithin, salt], Figs, Soy Nuggets (Isolated Soy Protein, Rice Starch), Tapioca Syrup, Honey, Low Fat Yogurt Powder (whey protein concentrate, skim milk, yogurt cultures [L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus]), Fig Paste, Rice Crisp (rice flour, rice bran, raisin juice concentrate, honey, salt), Quinoa, High Oleic Sunfower Oil, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Vanilla Extract, GMO Free Mixed Tocopherols.

Product Flavors:
  • Fig & Almonds  
  • Cherry & Pistachio  
  • Apricot & Pistachio  
  • Lemon & Walnuts

Product Feedback:
  • Thin layer of yogurt, not too sweet compared to other iced/yogurt bars
  • Soft, chewy texture
  • Flavorful
  • All Natural
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-Free


2/8/18

Plant-strong Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowl
By Joey Mock, RD, LD, CLT
 
A protein/veggie/grain bowl with a trendy name, there are no hard rules when it comes to creating one of these colorful, nutrient packed bowls. Buddha Bowls are a great meal to customize based on what you have on hand and what you need to use up before it expires or spoils. When creating your bowl, it is entirely up to you as to what veggies/greens, proteins, seeds, grains, and/or dressings that you want to use. The following recipe is a delicious place to get started with your Buddha Bowl creations. This takes a little time to make so be sure to prepare extras as the leftovers are just as delicious! 

GROCERY LIST
  • Canola oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Thyme
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric (optional)
  • Oregano (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Extra firm tofu
  • Sweet potato
  • Chickpeas
  • Red onion
  • Garlic
  • Carrots (shredded)
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Lemon (Optional)

Ingredients

For the Tofu Marinade:
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Couple of dashes cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 14 ounces extra firm tofu, drained, dried, and cubed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • ¼ of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1-15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Couple of dashes turmeric (optional)
  • Couple of dashes oregano (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • ¼ cup carrots, shredded (per bowl)
  • 1 cup spinach (per bowl)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon or a drizzle of dressing
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well blended.
  3. Place the cubed tofu in a bowl and pour the marinade over the tofu. Marinate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Place the sweet potatoes, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes.*
  5. Meanwhile, place the chickpeas, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, turmeric, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  6. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chickpea mixture and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Set chickpeas aside.
  7. Remove the tofu from the marinade and fry in the same skillet as the chickpea mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring gently.
  8. Place the carrots, spinach, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and tofu in a medium-large bowl and top off with sliced avocado and lemon juice or a drizzle of dressing.**
  9. Enjoy!
     
*Time saving tip: If enjoying baked or roasted sweet potatoes at another meal, make extra for this recipe. To reheat, saute the onion, garlic, and cooked sweet potato in a skillet with a little oil until onion is tender and potatoes are heated through.
**If you prefer a dressing over the greens, a tahini or vinaigrette work well. This Mediterranean Vinaigrette is a tasty one that I made for the leftovers (I omitted the red pepper flakes and cut back on the salt).


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2/7/18

The power of patience in your athletic journey


Do you call yourself a hard working athlete? If you answered yes, YAY! You are already on your way to reaching your athletic goals this season!

But now you need to answer an even more important question - are you a patient athlete?

If you find that your hard work isn't paying off quick enough, you may loose motivation to train because of the long journey ahead of you with a race so far in the future, especially when faced with an obstacle or setback. Or, your high motivation to work hard may cause you to want to work even harder in order to speed the rate of improvement (especially if you are crunched for time with a rapidly approaching race) - Rest days become a waste of time, you give an effort harder than planned, sleep and diet are pushed aside in order to train more and you rush each workout in order to see faster results.

While you may be a hard working, motivated athlete, hard work only works if you are patient enough to embrace the slow and steady path ahead of you.

Far too many athletes suffer from the "I need results now" syndrome which is one of the biggest reasons why athletes fall short of their potential. Not to mention an increased risk for injury in the inpatient athlete as the muscles, tendons and ligaments need a lot of time for adaptation. 

In a world of instant gratification and real-time tracking/data, it's understandable why athletes seek quick fixes when they "need results now". Although we know slow, steady and consistent work pays off, many athletes don't have the mindset to be patient and diligent when results are not quick to accomplish.

Success isn't quick and it doesn't happen overnight. It can take many months, if not many years, to become better, faster, stronger or more resilient/durable. To experience success, you have to put in the effort day after day, month after month, year after year. Even in the face of "no improvements," trust that you are improving and you are getting closer to success.

As we welcome the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics, I encourage you to take inventory of your 2018 athletic goals and feel motivated and inspired by the performances made by the Olympic athletes in each sport. While these athletes are genetically gifted, the only way to reach "Olympic" status is with hard work, discipline and patience. Countless hours of training when no one is watching, staying disciplined through adversity and overcoming countless setbacks makes an athlete great. In other words, don't focus on in-the-moment results but instead, focus on what is happening in the moment to foster future success.

Hard work only works as hard as you do and hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. 


2/6/18

Veg out with this flavorful homemade sauce


The other night I made this delicious broccoli and mushroom, jasmine rice stir-fry, topped with a delicious flavorful sauce filled with lots of spices. Although the picture may look bland, the flavors were lively on my taste buds.

For any individual who has yet to appreciate the value of eating vegetables, there could be a reason behind your dislike for the products made by Mother Earth.......

TASTE

There are five different flavors that come from food - sweet, salty, savory, sour and bitter.
If you like sour, it may come in the form of candy or fruit.
Not surprisingly, sweet and salty are the most popular flavors.
Savory is often the term we give to food that is tasty and full of flavor.

So that leaves bitter.

It's not that often that you hear someone say "I love bitter foods!" so this could explain the aversion that many people (especially kids) feel toward vegetables. While you may learn to like them, some people are more sensitive to the bitter compounds in vegetables than others.

Because you should and need to eat a wide variety of vegetables, there are a few ways to make vegetables more savory.

  1. Use of salt - typically a little pinch will go a long way.
  2. Marinating - neutralize the bitterness.
  3. Cooking method - roasting makes veggies sweeter, steaming reduces bitterness and overcooking may increase bitterness.
  4. Add-in's - Blending or mixing-in vegetables into a dish (ex. soup, chili, dip, smoothie) or sauce (ex. marinara) can keep your taste buds happy while also adding a nice dose of nutrients to your favorite recipes. 
  5. Sauces - The key to a fabulous vegetable dish is in the sauce. Regardless if your veggies are cooked (stir fry) or raw (salad), a flavorful sauce/dressing can take vegetables from being bland, bitter and boring to yummilicious! 
To excite your taste buds and to help you turn any bitter vegetable dish into a delicious, tasty dish, here's a flavorful sauce that I created to dress up my jasmine rice, lentil, mushroom, onion and broccoli stir fry topped with sliced avocado and tofu. Enjoy!


Trimarni's Flavorful Veg-out Sauce
Ingredients 
  • ~20 baby tomatoes (I used 1/2 container of 10.5 Cherubs)
  • 1 tsp shredded ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili powder 
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 
Directions
  1. Mix together ingredients in a food processor or blender. 
  2. Pulse until smooth. 
  3. Pour over veggies (suggest stir-fry) and mix until combined. 

2/5/18

How to choose the right RD for your needs



Today, it's easy to turn to the internet and social media for health advice - regardless of the reliability of the source.

I'm constantly amazed by the health-related questions that are asked on social media/forums and the responses given by followers. Questions about how many calories to eat to lose weight, the "best" sport nutrition to consume during workouts, what diet to follow in order to improve health and how to eliminate GI issues are among the most common questions that I see posted on forums/social media. Do you really trust advice from strangers? I sure hope not!

The internet is a great place to help you select the best professional for your needs - not for asking/seeking advice for a specific health related problem.

As it relates to finding a nutrition "expert" to assist in your health, performance and/or body composition goals, here are my suggestions to help you choose the right RD for your needs.


  1. Credentials - Today, anyone can claim to be a nutrition expert. Health coaches, bloggers, athletes, personal trainers, holistic practitioners, chiropractors and even most doctors do not have the appropriate education/schooling to provide realistic and practical advice. Look for RD (Registered Dietitian) or RDN or LD/N to ensure that your nutrition expert is actually a nutrition expert.....by law. Furthermore, if you are an athlete, look for advanced credentialing such as CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sport Dietetics) to demonstrate specialized experience, knowledge, skill and expertise in sport dietetics.
  2. Experience - It goes without saying that you should be searching for an expert who has expert experience in the area that you need help with. If you are an athlete, your dietitian should be experienced in sports, not renal or pediatric clinical nutrition, as an example. Just because someone is a RD, this doesn't mean that he/she can professionally counsel you. While she/he may have textbook or internet knowledge, make sure he/she is real life experience. Do your research to make sure your RD can actually help you with your needs.

  3. Avoid black or white thinking - When you reach out to a nutrition expert, you should be able to ask questions as to the why's and what's for treatment. A compassionate and devoted RD should treat you like an individual, listening to your story and concerns and always considering options and different problem solving strategies. Rigid thinking means solutions are either one way or another - no in between. There are always exceptions to the rules because with nutrition, there should not be rules. Flexible thinking is important in the counseling process as it relates to long-term success.
  4. Philosophy - Since most nutrition professionals have some type of online presence, "follow" a dietitian to make sure you understand and believe in his/her nutrition methods and philosophy. Ask around for recommendations and referrals from athletes who have worked with your potential RD. Pay attention to contradictions in advice, extreme methods or affiliations to "sell" you a product. Take some time to understand the set of beliefs and principles from your future RD to ensure your nutrition expert is passionate and practices what he/she preaches. Above all, a philosophy outlines the values that are important to that person/business. If you don't connect with his/her philosophy, there's a good chance that dietitian is not the right fit for you. 
Today, it seems like everyone is in need of health advice. That is why there are RD's - trained professionals who specialize in nutrition. Sadly, there are many untrained/unqualified nutrition experts providing nutrition advice that is often useless, expensive and sometimes dangerous. As with any professional, it's important to find someone who is properly trained and offers sensible, realistic, sound advice. Don't choose your nutrition expert from his/her social media following/presence or a promise that he/she can cure your issues by prescribing large doses of supplements.

With so many self-made experts, it's difficult to recognize who is trustworthy or not. Be mindful that nutrition is not a quick fix. Don't expect immediate, rapid or dramatic changes with your health. If your nutrition expert promises that you will be an overnight success, be warned that something is too good to be true.

Just like with any field, finding the right professional for your needs may take time. Just make sure you aren't spending your time googling for free advice when there is a trained and experienced professional that can help you answer your questions and give you appropriate advice that you can adhere to and above all, will not sabotage your health or performance.