Monika Nowak, Nutrition Coach

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My name is Monika Nowak, founder of Power Nutrition LLC, Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer, and food blogger.

My goal is to help you CHANGE your eating habits so that you NEVER have to resort to using fat loss pills, restrictive diets, weight loss scams, counting points, or wearing sweat suits AGAIN.

Break the cycle of yo-yo dieting & lose fat for good.

If you are looking for a quick fix, I'm not your coach.

But if you are READY to make changes & build HABITS that will last a lifetime, let's talk.
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Salt salt salt... It certainly went through a lot in the history of the world. In ancient times salt was a highly prized commodity with an exchange rate equal to gold. In today's world however, it is one of the cheapest condiments, and one that we certainly overuse. Today's post will dig into one of salt's main components: sodium. 

 

Sodium is an electrolyte absolutely necessary for human survival. Our bodies need it to maintain the right balance of fluids, transmit nerve impulses, and contract and relax muscles.

 

The average American consumes more than twice the recommended amount of 2/3 tsp of sodium per day. In excess that can become toxic. High sodium intake puts us at risk of coronary disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, sleeping issues and excess weight. According to scientists at the University of Delaware, high salt intake may impair the inner lining of blood vessels, increase arterial stiffness, weaken the heart and kidney function, and interfere with sympathetic nervous system. 

 

Food manufacturers use salt for flavor, color, texture, and to extend shelf life. The highest sources of sodium are found in processed and packaged foods such as frozen dinners, pizza, cold cuts and cured meats, sandwiches, crackers, breads, rolls, cookies, chips, soups, sauces as well as in fast foods and restaurant meals. 

 

 

Why too much salt is bad for us? 

 

- causes water retention,

- causes high blood pressure - sodium is one of the key players in regulating blood pressure, 

- can lead to bone loss - too much sodium causes our body to excrete calcium through urine, 

- kidney disease due to high blood pressure which causes damage to small vessels in the kidneys, 

- stomach cancer - salt is believed to increase the growth of Helicobacter pylori (H pylori), a bacteria which is linked to higher risk of stomach cancer, 

- weight gain (it changes the way your body metabolizes fat by increasing insulin production,) 

- it's addictive (research shows that consuming a lot of salt triggers the release of dopamine, the reward hormone),

- eating a lot of salty foods increases cravings,

- increases thirst. 

 

What can we do about all this? 

 

 

Tune in for part 2 (coming next week) on how to reduce sodium intake in your diet. 

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Even though the holidays are a few weeks behind us, you may still be experiencing the side effects of all the celebrations including feeling heavy, bloated and stuffed. 

These 6 simple, delicious, inexpensive and easily accessible superfoods will help you bounce back and feel better right away. 

Ok, so what are those debloating superstars? 

 

Parsley

Parsley is one of the best foods to help support and detoxify the liver. Compounds in parsley can help kill some bad bacteria and cause the liver to secrete bile, which is the key player in breaking down fat. 

 

Add freshly chopped parsley to smoothies, soups, salads, sauces, dips, dressings and sprinkle on food before serving. 

 

Fennel

Fennel is a miracle debloater. Fennel tea is my favorite beverage to drink on the first day of my period. It not only reduces bloating, fennel acts as an antispasmodic, relieving cramping. I also love fennel essential oil. I rub it in my abdomen when I feel bloated and always carry it with me when I fly or travel.

 

To make a refreshing and highly effective debloating tonic combine hot fennel tea with fresh ginger slices (let it steep for at least 15 minutes) and freshly squeezed lemon juice. 

 

 

Lemon 

Quercetin in lemons is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Lemons also help to detoxify the liver and that's why I always recommend my clients to start their day with warm water with lemon to help move things along. 

 

Besides lemon water, my favorite use of lemons is to squeeze them over steamed broccoli. 

 

 

Cucumbers

 

Cucumbers are 95% water which makes them an ideal hydrating and cooling food. They are anti-inflammatory, low in calories and high in fiber making them a wonderful choice for digestive health. 

 

If you don't enjoy cucumbers in your salads or as a snack, you can easily blend them into a smoothie. 

 

 

 

Mint 

Mint has been one of the most well-knows plants that help support a healthy digestive tract. There is nothing better than a hot cup of mint tea to settle the stomach after a heavy meal or even food poisoning. Research that shows mint may help relieve IBS by soothing pain from inflammation in the GI tract. 

 

Mint can be enjoyed in teas but also added to salads and smoothies. It adds a great boost of flavor. 

 

 

 

Ginger 

 

Ginger is another old remedy that acts as a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and a root that supports digestion of foods. Ginger essential oil is another oil I use on the first day of my period. It helps with stomach discomfort and cramps. Besides rubbing it into my abdomen I make tea with it from fresh ginger slices (and fennel, and lemon). 

 

 

Want to make a debloating smoothie? Here's my favorite recipe. 

 

 

Additional tips to help with bloating: 

 

  • Increase your water intake (aim for half of your body weight in oz). 

  • Remove any fizzy drinks from your diet (including zero calorie ones). 

  • Avoid any sugar alcohols (they can be found in most protein supplements, protein bars, protein shakes and low calorie/low sugar foods). 

  • Monitor your fiber intake - too much or too little can be as troublesome. Aim for about 25 g of fiber per day. 

  • Reduce sodium intake (high sodium diet causes water retention and increases blood pressure). 

  • Exercise regularly. 

  • Eat slowly and mindfully, chewing your food thoroughly before swallowing. 

 

Did you enjoy this article? Make sure you share it with friends and family members who can benefit from reading it. 

Do you have any questions? You can email me here

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Insufficient protein intake is something I see very often in my clients who work out 4-5 hours per week, especially women in their 40's and 50's. 

It is also one of the main reasons why they often don't see results while working out more than ever before. 

As we age our energy requirement decreases, however protein requirement increases. It is very important to get at least 100 g of protein per day (if you weight at least 120 lbs) when you strength train at least 3 hours per week (especially on those workout days) or if you are over 60 years old. 

From my experience, 100 g can be quite overwhelming at first, especially once you find out that nuts, beans or grains such as quinoa are not really significant sources of protein. 

 

So how does eating 100 g of protein per day looks like? 

 

Breakfasts ideas (27-30 g of protein) 

  • 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites (24 g) + slice of Ezekiel bread (4 g) + 1/2 cup cooked spinach (2g) 

  • 6 oz greek yogurt (18-20 g) + 1 TBS peanut butter (7g) + 1 cup berries (1g) 

  • 1 cup cottage cheese (25-28g) + 1 cup berries or 1 cup sliced banana (1 g) + 0.5 oz pumpkin seeds (4g)

  • protein shake made with protein powder (25-28g) + cup of berries (1g) + 2 cups of raw spinach (1.5g) 

  • 2 eggs (12g) + 2 slices of Ezekiel bread (8g) + 1 oz nitrate-free turkey (8 g) + 1/2 cup cooked spinach (2.5 g)  

  • VEGAN: 1 cup lentils (18 g) + 1/2 cup green peas (4 g) + 1 cup mushrooms (4 g) + 1/2 cup cooked spinach (2.5 g) 

 

Read more HERE 

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To get in shape, you’ll need to be consistent. To be consistent, you’ll need help.

Hi, I'm Monika, a nutrition coach & a behavior change specialist.

I started my company to help people break the cycle of yo-yo dieting. I want to be your last stop in your health & fitness transformation. I'm not going to sell you supplements, detoxes, or weight loss contraptions. If you're looking for a quick fix, I'm not your coach.
​But if you are READY to make changes and build HABITS that will last a lifetime, let's talk.

Interested in learning more about my online coaching program?

Find out more here: https://procoach.app/monika-nowak

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When you are trying to lose weight or improve your health and wellness you don't have to say no to everything, including desserts. 

These nutritionists approved desserts will satisfy your sweet tooth without stretching your pants, and most importantly they are packed with whole foods goodness. 

Enter desserts 2.0 

 

READ MORE HERE

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Promoted

These 3 key micronutrients are crucial for your immune & nervous system function, sleep, bone health and more. Most importantly, they can be found in some of your favorite foods, and easily added to your diet. 

 

B vitamins 

Why are they important? 

B vitamins are responsible for increasing your brain power and protecting your heart. B12 helps your body convert food into energy, and you need it to make the insulation that covers your nerves and helps neurons in the brain communicate with one another. B vitamins are crucial for anybody with neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimers. 

 

Where to get them? 

Vegetarians and vegans are often deficient in B vitamins (especially B12) because the highest sources of them are found in animal products such as eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, fish and red meat. 

Unlike B12, folate and other B vitamins are found in plenty of produce such as spinach, kale, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. 

 

Magnesium 

Why is it important? 

Magnesium is the key mineral for helping you sleep, ease your pain, and relax your muscles (that's why it's so effective for constipation). 

Where to get it? 

Nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, high-fiber vegetables & leafy greens, whole grains, dark chocolate, avocados, fatty fish, bananas. 

 

 

 

Vitamin D

Why is it important? 

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. It's essential for our bones (allows calcium to be absorbed), immune system and it even protects us from cancer (it's an antioxidant). Studies show a link between vitamin D and brain aging, as well as the development of autoimmune disease such as Crohn's, MS or RA. 

Where to get it? 

Vitamin D is difficult to get from food as most of it is produced as a response to sunlight but there are some foods such as egg yolks, raw dairy, and oily fish such as sardines contain it (plus fortified milks and cereals). 

Getting vitamin D through sun exposure is the easiest way but you can't be slathered with sunscreen (which prevents the absorption) so keep the unprotected sun exposure short, about 15 minutes per day (arms & legs). 

Most people who live in the northern climates are deficient in vitamin D and need to supplement so I highly recommend you to have your blood checked for this vitamin next time you visit your doctor. 

 

What did you think about this post? Do you have any questions? Share your comments or ask your questions by emailing me here.

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If you are one of my clients, you've heard it a 1000 times: drinking enough water is one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall health, but also your weight loss (if that's the goal). But do you know why is it so important and why I keep preaching about it? 

Let's explore some facts about water: 

  • We are water! Water makes up nearly 60% of total bodyweight which means that a 100 lb woman actually carries 60 lb of water. Additionally, the more muscle you have, the more water, so keep up with that strength training. 

  • Water is vital for absorbing and transporting nutrients, filtering waste from the blood, and cleansing the colon.

  • Water is also what your liver (healthy liver = healthy body) uses to make quality bile so it can metabolize fat into usable energy and flush out toxins (super important for fat loss!!!!). 

  • If you don’t drink enough water, the bile becomes thick and congested, and your liver's ability to burn fat slows down. When your liver's ability to burn fat slows down, your metabolism slows down right along with it. When your metabolism is low, food has a tendency to turn into fat and you become much more fatigued. 

  • Through the normal activities of daily living, the average adult loses about 6 pints / 12 cups of fluid a day in sweat, urine, exhaled air from breathing, and through our bowel movements.

  • We lose approximately 4 to 8 cups of water just from breathing. How many of you get less than that per day? I know I did till I was about 25 years old and got my act together. 

  • It has been medically proven that just a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25% to 30% loss of energy in the average person. When you have no energy, you’re not motivated to take care of yourself, and healthy living is difficult to sustain. 

  • Symptoms of even mild chronic dehydration include headaches, feeling tired and groggy, constipation, joint pain, back pain, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, dry skin. 

  • Severe chronic dehydration can lead to more serious problems with blood pressure, circulation, kidney function, immune system function, and they digestive disorders.

  • We also often feel hugry becuase we are dehydrated. 

  • Larger people require more water than smaller people therefore body size is important. Sweating rates, exercise  and warmer climates will also increase your water requirements.

  • Consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and sodium (i.e. processed foods) require more water intake. 

  • Carbohydrate storage increases water storage in the body while higher protein intakes tend to stimulate small additional fluid losses (because the body must increase its removal of urinary urea). Switching to high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet triggers very rapid water loss, from decreased stored carbohydrates and increased urinary urea production. This loss however, it only short terms and after a few days on the new diet, those losses stabilize.

 

What will you gain by drinking more water? 

- you will have more energy

- you will digest and absorb your food better ( >>>> easier weight loss)

- you will burn fat more efficiently ( >>>> easier weight loss)

- you will feel less hungry ( >>>> easier weight loss)

- you will go to the bathroom more regularly ( >>>> easier weight loss)

- you will feel less groggy, achy and tired  

- you will flush out more toxins ( >>>> easier weight loss)

- you will be getting more exercise (walking to the bathroom counts) 

- every system in your body will function better 

 

How much water should you drink per day? 

 

A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces, so a 140 lb woman requires about 70 oz of water.

If you exercise, you need additional water - about 16 oz of water per hour of exercise. 

 

Important note: 

If you are currently dehydrated and not getting more than 4 cups per day, best way to increase your water intake is to do it gradually. Add 8 oz of water per day for a week, then increase to two 8 oz of water per day, until you reach your required amount. 

 

 

How to quickly check your hydration status? 

One way to determine proper fluid levels in the body is by checking your urine color. Anything from gold brown to dark brown indicate dehydration and an immediate need for fluid consumption.

 

 

Tips on drinking more water throughout the day: 

  • upon waking (when we are most dehydrated) start your day with a tall glass of water, or even better, lemon water (8oz of warm water with freshly squeezed half lemon); 

  • drink a tall glass of water for every alcoholic drink, coffee, soda, juice or any other calorie-rich liquid; 

  • drink a glass of water  before or after you walk your dog, talk to a friend on the phone,  make morning coffee, etc. -> attaching a new habit to an already existing habit is a great way to start; 

  • carry a bottle of water with you everywhere you go (I highly recommend buying a glass or stainless steel bottle); 

  • set a reminder in your phone to have a glass of water at specific times. 

 

Did you like this article? Then share it with your friends and family. If you have any questions, please contact me here.

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It's Friday night.....you've just ended a long week at the salt mines and want to go to the movies to destress. You enter the cinema and all you can focus on is the smell of freshly buttered popcorn. You're thinking "I've deserved this, I've had a long week". 

 

You order a large popcorn, soda and a box of M&M's.

By the time the commercials are done, you are half way through your snacks, feeling a bit gross already.

 

By the time the movie is over, your stomach hurts and you are hyped up on sugar. You get home and can't fall asleep for a long time. When you wake up, you are tired and feeling regretful of last night's choices, not to mention the disappointment you feel when you step on the scale to realize just how costly last night was. 

Can we make this scenario a bit better? Yes, we can.

 

But brace yourself. It will require you to be adventurous and smuggle your own food to the cinema.

 

Since many of my clients live in Ridgefield, CT or nearby, they are familiar with the Prospector Theater and CVS pharmacy. 

 

One of my clients asked me if I can come up with ideas for healthier foods to bring to the movies that can be purchased at that pharmacy. 

 

So here's me out and about taking pictures of chips and candy at CVS. 

This is what I came up with. 

 

 

 

When you feel like getting something salty or crunchy 

GET THIS

 

AVOID THIS

Summary: 

I was really surprised with the variety of healthier popcorn, chips and other snack options at CVS. There was a tremendous amount of organic, non-gmo snacks, unsweetened versions of popcorn, tortilla chips and even kale chips. Go for the single serve packs whenever possible. They are a bit more expensive but it's MUCH easier to control your eating. 

 

 

When you feel like getting something sweet 

GET THIS

 

 

 

AVOID THIS

 

 

Summary: 

Again, I was surprised with the variety of healthier choices such as freeze-dried fruit, lower sugar bars/cookies, organic options, and lots of single serve treats. Definitely go for those! 

 

 

 

When you feel like getting something creamy

GET THIS

 

AVOID THIS

 

Summary: 

Yet again, I was shocked that you can now get greek yogurt, protein shakes and charcuterie snacks at a pharmacy. That's pretty cool actually. Lots of good options to replace ice cream or sugary sodas and smoothies at the movies. 

 

Did you enjoy this article? Do you have an article idea for me? Shoot me an e-mail

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Many of my clients struggle with meal planning & prepping so today I wanted to share with you my weekly dinner menu & grocery list (for two people). 

My dinner menu is very simple. It's basically meat/fish/poultry with veggies. They are not the master chef kind of dishes but everything below is nutritious, delicious, filling and easy to make. 

The meals are also high in protein, low in carbs, gluten and dairy free. Every dish here is also going to be under 500 calories but only if you use oils sparingly (which I highly recommend). 

Both my husband and I don't eat starchy carbs at dinner but if you usually do, by all means add some complex carbs to your dinners such as sweet potatoes, squash, wild rice, beans or lentils. 

I repeat a variation of this menu every week by switching the protein/veggie combos and using different spices. There are also a bunch of leftovers (from the meat sauce, meatloaf and rotisserie chicken) from this menu that I use for lunch during the week. 

 

Enjoy and I hope you will get some ideas from it. 

 

Grocery list: 

Meat/dairy/fish

  • 2 organic chicken breasts - about 1 lb

  • organic ground turkey 3 lb (1.5 lbs for meat sauce, 1.5 lbs for meatloaf) 

  • 2 wild caught fresh salmon filets - about 1 lb

  • 2 center cut filet mignon - about 1lb 

  • 2 frozen wild caught cod filets - about  1 lb

  • organic whole rotisserie chicken - this is the only thing I will buy separate, the day of 

Produce

  • whole organic broccoli head

  • 2 organic zucchinis

  • whole cauliflower head

  • bag of fresh or frozen green beans

  • bag of fresh organic baby spinach 

  • 1 container of organic mushrooms 

  • 1 organic English cucumber

  • 1 container of organic baby tomatoes 

  • bag of organic lemons 

  • a bunch of fresh thyme

  • a bunch fresh rosemary 

Misc

  • jar of organic marinara sauce (no sugar added) 

  • olive oil or avocado oil spray 

  • salt

  • pepper

  • garlic powder 

  • balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar 

 

Total cost of above foods is around $80 - based on majority of items being organic / wild-caught. 

 

Menu: 

Monday: Grilled salmon w/lemon & thyme + spinach salad with tomatoes & cucumbers 

Tuesday: Grilled filet mignon + sautéed mushrooms & zucchini

Wednesday: Grilled chicken with lemon, rosemary & thyme + broccoli

Thursday: Turkey meatloaf  with mashed cauliflower & marinara sauce

Friday: Baked cod w/lemon and spices + green beans

Saturday: Turkey meat sauce w/ zucchini noodles

Sunday: OUT for dinner or Rotisserie Chicken w/veggies 

 

Below you can find more details on the menu such as cooking tips, recipe details, and pictures of the meals. 

 

Monday 

Grilled salmon w/lemon & thyme + spinach, tomato and cucumber salad 

Cooking tip:

Marinate the fish in a little bit of avocado oil, with salt, pepper, fresh thyme and lemon slices for a few hours before cooking. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon before serving. 

 

 

Tuesday 

Grilled filet mignon + sautéed mushrooms and zucchini

Cooking tip:

Over the last year we've perfected making the steak on a charcoal grill as follows. Take the steak out of the fridge about an hour before cooking. Get the grill really hot about 450 F. Place the filet on direct heat for 4 minutes each side, then wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. It's a perfect medium rare, juiciest steak you will ever have.

 

 

 

Wednesday 

Grilled chicken with lemon, rosemary & thyme + steamed broccoli 

Cooking tip:

Marinate the chicken for a few hours (or best overnight) in lemon juice, lemon slices, salt, pepper, a little bit of olive oil, fresh rosemary and thyme. 

 

Thursday 

Turkey meatloaf (recipe HERE) with mashed cauliflower and marinara sauce 

Cooking tip: 

For cauliflower mash - first shallow steam cauliflower in chicken stock, then drain and place in a food processor. Add garlic powder (or raw garlic), fresh thyme leaves, dried oregano, salt, pepper and blend until smooth. If you really want to make it a hit, add a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese. It will blow your mind.

 

 

Friday 

Baked cod w/lemon and spices + green beans

Cooking tip: 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Use an glass dish with a lid. Slice lemons and place spiced cod (I use a spray of avocado oil and a blend of no-salt seasoning) on top of them. Add more lemons on top. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. Do not overcook. 

 

 

Saturday 

Turkey meat sauce (recipe HERE) w/ zucchini noodles

Cooking tip: 
The longer the sauce cooks the better. Also using fresh herbs & adding a chunk of hard aged cheese like parmesan can really elevate the flavor. 

 

Sunday 

OUT for dinner or Rotisserie Chicken w/veggies 

 

On grilling

Other than the filet mignon, we do all other grilling indoors using this awesome T-fal grill. It's one of my favorite gadgets in the kitchen and I use all the time. It has multiple cooking features, but most importantly it detects thickness of your cut and it adjusts cooking time accordingly. 

Since it has a grill on top and bottom, cooking time is greatly reduced so for grilled chicken it only takes about 10 minutes, while for salmon about 5-7 minutes, depending on size. 

 

If you need help with anything healthy eating related, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or to set up a consultation. You can e-mail me HERE

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While there are number of various, often confusing & opposing diets (high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat) the one thing that all of those diets agree on is vegetable intake.

 

Veggies are absolutely crucial for healthy weight, hormonal balance, mood, energy levels, sleep, sex drive, blood lipids, glucose levels, heart & brain health, immune system, inflammation levels and so much more. 

 

While many of you may say that you have no health complaints thus no reason to start eating veggies now, I will tell you that those seasonal colds, joint aches and pains, moodiness, fatigue & tiredness all go away once you up your intake. 

 

Health organizations recommend consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and let me tell you, as a nation we are nowhere near that. 

 

So how to add more veggies to every meal? 

 

BREAKFAST 

>>> Make savory oatmeal: combine shredded zucchini, finely chopped kale or spinach with roasted garlic, onions, peppers & sprinkle of cheese, and stir it into oatmeal, serve with 2-3 eggs.

>>> Add veggies to your eggs (I use leftovers from the night before). 

 

>>> Add spinach to your morning smoothie - I promise even the most picky eaters won't know it's there. 

 

>>> When making avocado toast, top it with spinach before you place the eggs, and serve with a side of sliced up veggies. 

>>> Even if you prefer a sweet breakfast, you can follow it up with a super refreshing green smoothie that you can sip on your way to work. 

My favorite combo is spinach/kale, lemon, fresh ginger, apple or pineapple and cilantro (recipe HERE). 

 

LUNCH 

>>> Think beyond a salad - veggie soups, stews and chili are an awesome way to sneak in more veggies. 

>>> Bring sliced up vegetables, with or without, a greek yogurt based dip. Cucumbers, carrots, radishes, peppers, celery are all great options (quick tip: store them with a wet paper towel - it will help them stay fresh longer). 

>>> Bring leftovers  - I always make extra veggies at dinner to eat for lunch the next day. I even make enough so I can feed them to my dog Mic who absolutely loves them. 

>>> Use jarred or canned (BPA-free cans) vegetables - stock up on artichokes, heart of palm, roasted peppers, olives, mushrooms and add to your salad or sandwich. 

>>> Order soup/salad and 1/2 sandwich - most delis and lunch joints offer this combo - that's a great compromise if you are a sandwich lover. 

 

DINNER

>>> Substitute a starch with a vegetable in your favorite meal: 

- serve stir-fry in a pepper, portobello or zucchini; 

- serve meat sauce over zucchini noodles;

- make cauliflower mac and cheese; 

- make lettuce wrapped tacos or fajitas; 

- make cauliflower crust pizza - recipe HERE ;

- mash cauliflower instead of potatoes; 

- sub rice for green peas in paella recipes; 

>>> Embrace frozen vegetables - by far my favorite way to add veggies to my dinners is to shallow steam them in chicken broth (pour about 1/2 cup of chicken broth to a pan, cover and bring to boil. Once it boils, add your vegetables, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on the size, fresh/frozen, how you like it cooked). 

Best veggies (either fresh or frozen) for shallow steaming are broccoli, thick leafy greens, zucchini, cauliflower, peas, green beans and brussels sprouts. I always have bags of them in my freezer. 

>>> Add spinach/kale/chard/herbs to your marinara source or soups - especially the ones that are starting to get a little old. The heat will wilt them and you won't even notice. 

>>> Add a veggie appetizer before main course - whether at home or out preface the main course with a small salad, veggie soup or crudités. 

 

If you need extra help figuring out ways to eat healthier, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail to schedule your first consultation.

I've helped dozens of adults as well as children improve their diets. You don't have to do it alone. 

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Weight loss can sometimes feel like a mystical beast, no doubt about that. But the spectrum of weight loss can be quite wide, so let's talk about the behaviors and choices on each end. 

 

There are choices you make & behaviors you execute every day that place you somewhere along this spectrum. 

 

When  you reach for pretzels instead of cut up vegetables you prepared over the weekend, you move towards the 'hard' end.

When you pick a salad in a restaurant instead of pasta, you move towards the "easy" end. 

Nothing happens in a vacuum and each behavior moves you a tiny bit to the left or tiny bit to the right.  

There is always movement to the left or to the right. You never stay still.  Everything you do matters, every choice you make matters. 

So let's get down to it. 

 

How to be in the 'easy' zone? 

  • eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods (80% of diet consisting of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, healthy fats); 

  • enjoy the heck out of the other 20% of the diet - indulge in favorite treats without feeling guilty, buy the yummiest wine/chocolate you can afford :);

  • eat slowly and mindfully, enjoying every bite; 

  • keep food (other than fruits and vegetables) out of plain sight; 

  • drink a lot of water (aim for 1/2 of your body weight in oz);  

  • move daily - even 3 minutes of is better than 0 minutes; 

  • eat nutritionally balanced meals - combo of protein, fat, carbs in each meal; 

  • reduce snacking to a minimum; 

  • be patient and consistent - weight loss it's not a sprint, it's a marathon; 

  • eat your biggest meal post-workout;

  • aim to be consistent not perfect; 

  • make time to engage in de-stressing activities such as meditation, exercise, reading, listening to music; 

  • recognize & name any and all successes, no matter how small; 

  • when you mess up, face it, take responsibility and move on; 

  • use many ways to measure progress, not just the scale; 

  • embrace being hungry - hunger is a natural thing, humans are designed for times of famine, and times of feasts, unfortunately for our health, last 50 years were mostly feasts; 

  • be realistic about the results - don't expect miracles if you don't do the work, you can't reach the top if you don't feeling like climbing; 

  • cook majority of your meals;

  • believe that you are in charge of your own health and destiny; 

 

 

How to be in the hard zone? 

  • eat mostly processed, pre-made foods, with occasional healthy meals;

  • eat out most of the days; 

  • leave temping foods in plain sight; 

  • have a pantry full of junk foods; 

  • avoid fruits and vegetables like the plague; 

  • sit most of the day; 

  • destress with food; 

  • consume majority of your calories in liquid form (coffees, sodas, juices, shakes, wine, beer, etc.); 

  • eat fast and always finish what's on the plate; 

  • never feel hungry; 

  • aim for perfection and when that fails, throw in the towel and go bonkers; 

  • be always in a rush, never taking time for yourself; 

  • be perfect 7am to 6pm then go bonkers; 

  • be perfect Monday thru Thursday, then go bonkers on the weekends; 

  • reward yourself with food after you exercise; 

  • punish yourself with exercise after you had a bad day of eating; 

  • expect to lose all your weight in an unrealistic amount of time;

  • complain about not losing weight; 

  • complain about not losing enough weight; 

  • cut too many calories or food groups; 

  • repeatedly tell yourself that you are weak, you have no willpower, and/or no self-control; 

 

 

 

 

If you need help getting into the 'easy' zone without sacrificing quality of your life and your sanity, let me know. 

I'm also preparing a weekend challenge to help some of my clients get over the "weak-end" phenomenon. They often struggle with being "good" Monday to Friday with behaviors moving them towards the 'easy' end and then they go right back to the 'hard' end after the weekend is done. And the process repeats. So let's break that cycle. 

If you are interested in taking part of my next challenge this coming weekend, let me know. You can reach me HERE

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Intermittent fasting has been known to humans (and animals) since the beginning of time. Religious fasting in particular has been practiced in numerous religions across various cultures for centuries. 

 

Nowadays, intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity in the health and weight loss circles, with multiple studies showing benefits that extend far beyond weight loss, such as improvement in insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, cellular regeneration and overall longevity. 

 

I was exposed to religious fasting for the first time as a kid during Christmas. I'm not sure if my parents just made it up but basically we were suppose to fast from dusk on 12/23 to dusk on Christmas Eve making it a 24 hour fast. Even back then, the thought of not eating for so long was making me panic... a lot. I tried to do it but always failed miserably because I was dizzy or too hungry. To tell you the truth thinking back, my blood sugar levels had to be all over the place because I was hungry all the time. So after a few years I just gave up and never tried it again....Until recently. 

 

16 hour random fast 

My first intermittent fast was during a flight to Poland last December. It was a random decision but one of the best ones I have made, and I am planning to do it again for all future overnight flights. It was the smoothest flight I've had with no digestive issues whatsoever. So this is how it went. 

I had dinner at home at 5pm on Saturday and haven't had any food till I got home in Poland at 3pm (EST+6). Considering the time change it has been 16 hours since I had my last meal and I felt really good. I went on to have normal dinner, watched some TV and went to sleep early. It was a really great experience and I highly recommend you trying it if you ever have any digestive issues (bloating, gas, constipation, belching, etc.) while flying or if you want to use an overnight flight to get a taste of extended fasting.

Now, onto my latest experiment. 

 

22 hour fast 

This latest fast occurred a couple of weeks ago and it was a bit more thought of. At this point I did a lot of research on intermittent fasting and wanted to try to see how my body reacts to an extended fast. 

I had my last meal at 7pm on Monday, and didn't eat or drink anything with calories till 5pm on Tuesday. So here are my observations. 

Firstly, I was shocked how long I could go without food and how great I felt. I had a busy day which definitely helped keep my mind occupied but I didn't suffer any cognitive decline or brain fog that I was expecting. 

Secondly, I was surprised how much energy I had. I actually think I could have had a light workout that day. 

Thirdly, I felt gentle hunger pangs and mild headaches about 3 times total, the worst one with a lot of rumbling in my stomach at lunch time. They all went away in less than 10 minutes. I felt less hungry than during some of my normal days. 

There were a couple more things I noticed: I was very thirsty all day, and I got colder and colder the longer I fasted. 

So when 4 pm arrived I was getting chilly and decided to have dinner at 5pm. I really wanted to last full 24 hrs but maybe next time. 

 

Summary 

Overall I had a great experience and I'm planning to do it about 1x a month for general health benefits. If you are interested in giving intermittent fasting a try or have any questions, shoot my an email. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out this great resource HERE . 

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Salt salt salt... It certainly went through a lot in the history of the world. In ancient times salt was a highly prized commodity with an exchange rate equal to gold. In today's world however, it is one of the cheapest condiments, and one that we certainly overuse. Today's post will dig into one of salt's main components: sodium. 

 

Sodium is an electrolyte absolutely necessary for human survival. Our bodies need it to maintain the right balance of fluids, transmit nerve impulses, and contract and relax muscles.

 

The average American consumes more than twice the recommended amount of 2/3 tsp of sodium per day. In excess that can become toxic. High sodium intake puts us at risk of coronary disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, sleeping issues and excess weight. According to scientists at the University of Delaware, high salt intake may impair the inner lining of blood vessels, increase arterial stiffness, weaken the heart and kidney function, and interfere with sympathetic nervous system. 

 

Food manufacturers use salt for flavor, color, texture, and to extend shelf life. The highest sources of sodium are found in processed and packaged foods such as frozen dinners, pizza, cold cuts and cured meats, sandwiches, crackers, breads, rolls, cookies, chips, soups, sauces as well as in fast foods and restaurant meals. 

 

 

Why too much salt is bad for us? 

 

- causes water retention,

- causes high blood pressure - sodium is one of the key players in regulating blood pressure, 

- can lead to bone loss - too much sodium causes our body to excrete calcium through urine, 

- kidney disease due to high blood pressure which causes damage to small vessels in the kidneys, 

- stomach cancer - salt is believed to increase the growth of Helicobacter pylori (H pylori), a bacteria which is linked to higher risk of stomach cancer, 

- weight gain (it changes the way your body metabolizes fat by increasing insulin production,) 

- it's addictive (research shows that consuming a lot of salt triggers the release of dopamine, the reward hormone),

- eating a lot of salty foods increases cravings,

- increases thirst. 

 

What can we do about all this? 

 

 

Tune in for part 2 (coming next week) on how to reduce sodium intake in your diet. 

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Even though the holidays are a few weeks behind us, you may still be experiencing the side effects of all the celebrations including feeling heavy, bloated and stuffed. 

These 6 simple, delicious, inexpensive and easily accessible superfoods will help you bounce back and feel better right away. 

Ok, so what are those debloating superstars? 

 

Parsley

Parsley is one of the best foods to help support and detoxify the liver. Compounds in parsley can help kill some bad bacteria and cause the liver to secrete bile, which is the key player in breaking down fat. 

 

Add freshly chopped parsley to smoothies, soups, salads, sauces, dips, dressings and sprinkle on food before serving. 

 

Fennel

Fennel is a miracle debloater. Fennel tea is my favorite beverage to drink on the first day of my period. It not only reduces bloating, fennel acts as an antispasmodic, relieving cramping. I also love fennel essential oil. I rub it in my abdomen when I feel bloated and always carry it with me when I fly or travel.

 

To make a refreshing and highly effective debloating tonic combine hot fennel tea with fresh ginger slices (let it steep for at least 15 minutes) and freshly squeezed lemon juice. 

 

 

Lemon 

Quercetin in lemons is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Lemons also help to detoxify the liver and that's why I always recommend my clients to start their day with warm water with lemon to help move things along. 

 

Besides lemon water, my favorite use of lemons is to squeeze them over steamed broccoli. 

 

 

Cucumbers

 

Cucumbers are 95% water which makes them an ideal hydrating and cooling food. They are anti-inflammatory, low in calories and high in fiber making them a wonderful choice for digestive health. 

 

If you don't enjoy cucumbers in your salads or as a snack, you can easily blend them into a smoothie. 

 

 

 

Mint 

Mint has been one of the most well-knows plants that help support a healthy digestive tract. There is nothing better than a hot cup of mint tea to settle the stomach after a heavy meal or even food poisoning. Research that shows mint may help relieve IBS by soothing pain from inflammation in the GI tract. 

 

Mint can be enjoyed in teas but also added to salads and smoothies. It adds a great boost of flavor. 

 

 

 

Ginger 

 

Ginger is another old remedy that acts as a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and a root that supports digestion of foods. Ginger essential oil is another oil I use on the first day of my period. It helps with stomach discomfort and cramps. Besides rubbing it into my abdomen I make tea with it from fresh ginger slices (and fennel, and lemon). 

 

 

Want to make a debloating smoothie? Here's my favorite recipe. 

 

 

Additional tips to help with bloating: 

 

  • Increase your water intake (aim for half of your body weight in oz). 

  • Remove any fizzy drinks from your diet (including zero calorie ones). 

  • Avoid any sugar alcohols (they can be found in most protein supplements, protein bars, protein shakes and low calorie/low sugar foods). 

  • Monitor your fiber intake - too much or too little can be as troublesome. Aim for about 25 g of fiber per day. 

  • Reduce sodium intake (high sodium diet causes water retention and increases blood pressure). 

  • Exercise regularly. 

  • Eat slowly and mindfully, chewing your food thoroughly before swallowing. 

 

Did you enjoy this article? Make sure you share it with friends and family members who can benefit from reading it. 

Do you have any questions? You can email me here

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Insufficient protein intake is something I see very often in my clients who work out 4-5 hours per week, especially women in their 40's and 50's. 

It is also one of the main reasons why they often don't see results while working out more than ever before. 

As we age our energy requirement decreases, however protein requirement increases. It is very important to get at least 100 g of protein per day (if you weight at least 120 lbs) when you strength train at least 3 hours per week (especially on those workout days) or if you are over 60 years old. 

From my experience, 100 g can be quite overwhelming at first, especially once you find out that nuts, beans or grains such as quinoa are not really significant sources of protein. 

 

So how does eating 100 g of protein per day looks like? 

 

Breakfasts ideas (27-30 g of protein) 

  • 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites (24 g) + slice of Ezekiel bread (4 g) + 1/2 cup cooked spinach (2g) 

  • 6 oz greek yogurt (18-20 g) + 1 TBS peanut butter (7g) + 1 cup berries (1g) 

  • 1 cup cottage cheese (25-28g) + 1 cup berries or 1 cup sliced banana (1 g) + 0.5 oz pumpkin seeds (4g)

  • protein shake made with protein powder (25-28g) + cup of berries (1g) + 2 cups of raw spinach (1.5g) 

  • 2 eggs (12g) + 2 slices of Ezekiel bread (8g) + 1 oz nitrate-free turkey (8 g) + 1/2 cup cooked spinach (2.5 g)  

  • VEGAN: 1 cup lentils (18 g) + 1/2 cup green peas (4 g) + 1 cup mushrooms (4 g) + 1/2 cup cooked spinach (2.5 g) 

 

Read more HERE 

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To get in shape, you’ll need to be consistent. To be consistent, you’ll need help.

Hi, I'm Monika, a nutrition coach & a behavior change specialist.

I started my company to help people break the cycle of yo-yo dieting. I want to be your last stop in your health & fitness transformation. I'm not going to sell you supplements, detoxes, or weight loss contraptions. If you're looking for a quick fix, I'm not your coach.
​But if you are READY to make changes and build HABITS that will last a lifetime, let's talk.

Interested in learning more about my online coaching program?

Find out more here: https://procoach.app/monika-nowak

  • 151

When you are trying to lose weight or improve your health and wellness you don't have to say no to everything, including desserts. 

These nutritionists approved desserts will satisfy your sweet tooth without stretching your pants, and most importantly they are packed with whole foods goodness. 

Enter desserts 2.0 

 

READ MORE HERE

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Promoted

These 3 key micronutrients are crucial for your immune & nervous system function, sleep, bone health and more. Most importantly, they can be found in some of your favorite foods, and easily added to your diet. 

 

B vitamins 

Why are they important? 

B vitamins are responsible for increasing your brain power and protecting your heart. B12 helps your body convert food into energy, and you need it to make the insulation that covers your nerves and helps neurons in the brain communicate with one another. B vitamins are crucial for anybody with neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimers. 

 

Where to get them? 

Vegetarians and vegans are often deficient in B vitamins (especially B12) because the highest sources of them are found in animal products such as eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, fish and red meat. 

Unlike B12, folate and other B vitamins are found in plenty of produce such as spinach, kale, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. 

 

Magnesium 

Why is it important? 

Magnesium is the key mineral for helping you sleep, ease your pain, and relax your muscles (that's why it's so effective for constipation). 

Where to get it? 

Nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, high-fiber vegetables & leafy greens, whole grains, dark chocolate, avocados, fatty fish, bananas. 

 

 

 

Vitamin D

Why is it important? 

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. It's essential for our bones (allows calcium to be absorbed), immune system and it even protects us from cancer (it's an antioxidant). Studies show a link between vitamin D and brain aging, as well as the development of autoimmune disease such as Crohn's, MS or RA. 

Where to get it? 

Vitamin D is difficult to get from food as most of it is produced as a response to sunlight but there are some foods such as egg yolks, raw dairy, and oily fish such as sardines contain it (plus fortified milks and cereals). 

Getting vitamin D through sun exposure is the easiest way but you can't be slathered with sunscreen (which prevents the absorption) so keep the unprotected sun exposure short, about 15 minutes per day (arms & legs). 

Most people who live in the northern climates are deficient in vitamin D and need to supplement so I highly recommend you to have your blood checked for this vitamin next time you visit your doctor. 

 

What did you think about this post? Do you have any questions? Share your comments or ask your questions by emailing me here.

  • 482

If you are one of my clients, you've heard it a 1000 times: drinking enough water is one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall health, but also your weight loss (if that's the goal). But do you know why is it so important and why I keep preaching about it? 

Let's explore some facts about water: 

  • We are water! Water makes up nearly 60% of total bodyweight which means that a 100 lb woman actually carries 60 lb of water. Additionally, the more muscle you have, the more water, so keep up with that strength training. 

  • Water is vital for absorbing and transporting nutrients, filtering waste from the blood, and cleansing the colon.

  • Water is also what your liver (healthy liver = healthy body) uses to make quality bile so it can metabolize fat into usable energy and flush out toxins (super important for fat loss!!!!). 

  • If you don’t drink enough water, the bile becomes thick and congested, and your liver's ability to burn fat slows down. When your liver's ability to burn fat slows down, your metabolism slows down right along with it. When your metabolism is low, food has a tendency to turn into fat and you become much more fatigued. 

  • Through the normal activities of daily living, the average adult loses about 6 pints / 12 cups of fluid a day in sweat, urine, exhaled air from breathing, and through our bowel movements.

  • We lose approximately 4 to 8 cups of water just from breathing. How many of you get less than that per day? I know I did till I was about 25 years old and got my act together. 

  • It has been medically proven that just a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25% to 30% loss of energy in the average person. When you have no energy, you’re not motivated to take care of yourself, and healthy living is difficult to sustain. 

  • Symptoms of even mild chronic dehydration include headaches, feeling tired and groggy, constipation, joint pain, back pain, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, dry skin. 

  • Severe chronic dehydration can lead to more serious problems with blood pressure, circulation, kidney function, immune system function, and they digestive disorders.

  • We also often feel hugry becuase we are dehydrated. 

  • Larger people require more water than smaller people therefore body size is important. Sweating rates, exercise  and warmer climates will also increase your water requirements.

  • Consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and sodium (i.e. processed foods) require more water intake. 

  • Carbohydrate storage increases water storage in the body while higher protein intakes tend to stimulate small additional fluid losses (because the body must increase its removal of urinary urea). Switching to high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet triggers very rapid water loss, from decreased stored carbohydrates and increased urinary urea production. This loss however, it only short terms and after a few days on the new diet, those losses stabilize.

 

What will you gain by drinking more water? 

- you will have more energy

- you will digest and absorb your food better ( >>>> easier weight loss)

- you will burn fat more efficiently ( >>>> easier weight loss)

- you will feel less hungry ( >>>> easier weight loss)

- you will go to the bathroom more regularly ( >>>> easier weight loss)

- you will feel less groggy, achy and tired  

- you will flush out more toxins ( >>>> easier weight loss)

- you will be getting more exercise (walking to the bathroom counts) 

- every system in your body will function better 

 

How much water should you drink per day? 

 

A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces, so a 140 lb woman requires about 70 oz of water.

If you exercise, you need additional water - about 16 oz of water per hour of exercise. 

 

Important note: 

If you are currently dehydrated and not getting more than 4 cups per day, best way to increase your water intake is to do it gradually. Add 8 oz of water per day for a week, then increase to two 8 oz of water per day, until you reach your required amount. 

 

 

How to quickly check your hydration status? 

One way to determine proper fluid levels in the body is by checking your urine color. Anything from gold brown to dark brown indicate dehydration and an immediate need for fluid consumption.

 

 

Tips on drinking more water throughout the day: 

  • upon waking (when we are most dehydrated) start your day with a tall glass of water, or even better, lemon water (8oz of warm water with freshly squeezed half lemon); 

  • drink a tall glass of water for every alcoholic drink, coffee, soda, juice or any other calorie-rich liquid; 

  • drink a glass of water  before or after you walk your dog, talk to a friend on the phone,  make morning coffee, etc. -> attaching a new habit to an already existing habit is a great way to start; 

  • carry a bottle of water with you everywhere you go (I highly recommend buying a glass or stainless steel bottle); 

  • set a reminder in your phone to have a glass of water at specific times. 

 

Did you like this article? Then share it with your friends and family. If you have any questions, please contact me here.

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  • 1

It's Friday night.....you've just ended a long week at the salt mines and want to go to the movies to destress. You enter the cinema and all you can focus on is the smell of freshly buttered popcorn. You're thinking "I've deserved this, I've had a long week". 

 

You order a large popcorn, soda and a box of M&M's.

By the time the commercials are done, you are half way through your snacks, feeling a bit gross already.

 

By the time the movie is over, your stomach hurts and you are hyped up on sugar. You get home and can't fall asleep for a long time. When you wake up, you are tired and feeling regretful of last night's choices, not to mention the disappointment you feel when you step on the scale to realize just how costly last night was. 

Can we make this scenario a bit better? Yes, we can.

 

But brace yourself. It will require you to be adventurous and smuggle your own food to the cinema.

 

Since many of my clients live in Ridgefield, CT or nearby, they are familiar with the Prospector Theater and CVS pharmacy. 

 

One of my clients asked me if I can come up with ideas for healthier foods to bring to the movies that can be purchased at that pharmacy. 

 

So here's me out and about taking pictures of chips and candy at CVS. 

This is what I came up with. 

 

 

 

When you feel like getting something salty or crunchy 

GET THIS

 

AVOID THIS

Summary: 

I was really surprised with the variety of healthier popcorn, chips and other snack options at CVS. There was a tremendous amount of organic, non-gmo snacks, unsweetened versions of popcorn, tortilla chips and even kale chips. Go for the single serve packs whenever possible. They are a bit more expensive but it's MUCH easier to control your eating. 

 

 

When you feel like getting something sweet 

GET THIS

 

 

 

AVOID THIS

 

 

Summary: 

Again, I was surprised with the variety of healthier choices such as freeze-dried fruit, lower sugar bars/cookies, organic options, and lots of single serve treats. Definitely go for those! 

 

 

 

When you feel like getting something creamy

GET THIS

 

AVOID THIS

 

Summary: 

Yet again, I was shocked that you can now get greek yogurt, protein shakes and charcuterie snacks at a pharmacy. That's pretty cool actually. Lots of good options to replace ice cream or sugary sodas and smoothies at the movies. 

 

Did you enjoy this article? Do you have an article idea for me? Shoot me an e-mail

  • 586

Many of my clients struggle with meal planning & prepping so today I wanted to share with you my weekly dinner menu & grocery list (for two people). 

My dinner menu is very simple. It's basically meat/fish/poultry with veggies. They are not the master chef kind of dishes but everything below is nutritious, delicious, filling and easy to make. 

The meals are also high in protein, low in carbs, gluten and dairy free. Every dish here is also going to be under 500 calories but only if you use oils sparingly (which I highly recommend). 

Both my husband and I don't eat starchy carbs at dinner but if you usually do, by all means add some complex carbs to your dinners such as sweet potatoes, squash, wild rice, beans or lentils. 

I repeat a variation of this menu every week by switching the protein/veggie combos and using different spices. There are also a bunch of leftovers (from the meat sauce, meatloaf and rotisserie chicken) from this menu that I use for lunch during the week. 

 

Enjoy and I hope you will get some ideas from it. 

 

Grocery list: 

Meat/dairy/fish

  • 2 organic chicken breasts - about 1 lb

  • organic ground turkey 3 lb (1.5 lbs for meat sauce, 1.5 lbs for meatloaf) 

  • 2 wild caught fresh salmon filets - about 1 lb

  • 2 center cut filet mignon - about 1lb 

  • 2 frozen wild caught cod filets - about  1 lb

  • organic whole rotisserie chicken - this is the only thing I will buy separate, the day of 

Produce

  • whole organic broccoli head

  • 2 organic zucchinis

  • whole cauliflower head

  • bag of fresh or frozen green beans

  • bag of fresh organic baby spinach 

  • 1 container of organic mushrooms 

  • 1 organic English cucumber

  • 1 container of organic baby tomatoes 

  • bag of organic lemons 

  • a bunch of fresh thyme

  • a bunch fresh rosemary 

Misc

  • jar of organic marinara sauce (no sugar added) 

  • olive oil or avocado oil spray 

  • salt

  • pepper

  • garlic powder 

  • balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar 

 

Total cost of above foods is around $80 - based on majority of items being organic / wild-caught. 

 

Menu: 

Monday: Grilled salmon w/lemon & thyme + spinach salad with tomatoes & cucumbers 

Tuesday: Grilled filet mignon + sautéed mushrooms & zucchini

Wednesday: Grilled chicken with lemon, rosemary & thyme + broccoli

Thursday: Turkey meatloaf  with mashed cauliflower & marinara sauce

Friday: Baked cod w/lemon and spices + green beans

Saturday: Turkey meat sauce w/ zucchini noodles

Sunday: OUT for dinner or Rotisserie Chicken w/veggies 

 

Below you can find more details on the menu such as cooking tips, recipe details, and pictures of the meals. 

 

Monday 

Grilled salmon w/lemon & thyme + spinach, tomato and cucumber salad 

Cooking tip:

Marinate the fish in a little bit of avocado oil, with salt, pepper, fresh thyme and lemon slices for a few hours before cooking. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon before serving. 

 

 

Tuesday 

Grilled filet mignon + sautéed mushrooms and zucchini

Cooking tip:

Over the last year we've perfected making the steak on a charcoal grill as follows. Take the steak out of the fridge about an hour before cooking. Get the grill really hot about 450 F. Place the filet on direct heat for 4 minutes each side, then wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. It's a perfect medium rare, juiciest steak you will ever have.

 

 

 

Wednesday 

Grilled chicken with lemon, rosemary & thyme + steamed broccoli 

Cooking tip:

Marinate the chicken for a few hours (or best overnight) in lemon juice, lemon slices, salt, pepper, a little bit of olive oil, fresh rosemary and thyme. 

 

Thursday 

Turkey meatloaf (recipe HERE) with mashed cauliflower and marinara sauce 

Cooking tip: 

For cauliflower mash - first shallow steam cauliflower in chicken stock, then drain and place in a food processor. Add garlic powder (or raw garlic), fresh thyme leaves, dried oregano, salt, pepper and blend until smooth. If you really want to make it a hit, add a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese. It will blow your mind.

 

 

Friday 

Baked cod w/lemon and spices + green beans

Cooking tip: 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Use an glass dish with a lid. Slice lemons and place spiced cod (I use a spray of avocado oil and a blend of no-salt seasoning) on top of them. Add more lemons on top. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. Do not overcook. 

 

 

Saturday 

Turkey meat sauce (recipe HERE) w/ zucchini noodles

Cooking tip: 
The longer the sauce cooks the better. Also using fresh herbs & adding a chunk of hard aged cheese like parmesan can really elevate the flavor. 

 

Sunday 

OUT for dinner or Rotisserie Chicken w/veggies 

 

On grilling

Other than the filet mignon, we do all other grilling indoors using this awesome T-fal grill. It's one of my favorite gadgets in the kitchen and I use all the time. It has multiple cooking features, but most importantly it detects thickness of your cut and it adjusts cooking time accordingly. 

Since it has a grill on top and bottom, cooking time is greatly reduced so for grilled chicken it only takes about 10 minutes, while for salmon about 5-7 minutes, depending on size. 

 

If you need help with anything healthy eating related, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or to set up a consultation. You can e-mail me HERE

  • 464

While there are number of various, often confusing & opposing diets (high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat) the one thing that all of those diets agree on is vegetable intake.

 

Veggies are absolutely crucial for healthy weight, hormonal balance, mood, energy levels, sleep, sex drive, blood lipids, glucose levels, heart & brain health, immune system, inflammation levels and so much more. 

 

While many of you may say that you have no health complaints thus no reason to start eating veggies now, I will tell you that those seasonal colds, joint aches and pains, moodiness, fatigue & tiredness all go away once you up your intake. 

 

Health organizations recommend consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and let me tell you, as a nation we are nowhere near that. 

 

So how to add more veggies to every meal? 

 

BREAKFAST 

>>> Make savory oatmeal: combine shredded zucchini, finely chopped kale or spinach with roasted garlic, onions, peppers & sprinkle of cheese, and stir it into oatmeal, serve with 2-3 eggs.

>>> Add veggies to your eggs (I use leftovers from the night before). 

 

>>> Add spinach to your morning smoothie - I promise even the most picky eaters won't know it's there. 

 

>>> When making avocado toast, top it with spinach before you place the eggs, and serve with a side of sliced up veggies. 

>>> Even if you prefer a sweet breakfast, you can follow it up with a super refreshing green smoothie that you can sip on your way to work. 

My favorite combo is spinach/kale, lemon, fresh ginger, apple or pineapple and cilantro (recipe HERE). 

 

LUNCH 

>>> Think beyond a salad - veggie soups, stews and chili are an awesome way to sneak in more veggies. 

>>> Bring sliced up vegetables, with or without, a greek yogurt based dip. Cucumbers, carrots, radishes, peppers, celery are all great options (quick tip: store them with a wet paper towel - it will help them stay fresh longer). 

>>> Bring leftovers  - I always make extra veggies at dinner to eat for lunch the next day. I even make enough so I can feed them to my dog Mic who absolutely loves them. 

>>> Use jarred or canned (BPA-free cans) vegetables - stock up on artichokes, heart of palm, roasted peppers, olives, mushrooms and add to your salad or sandwich. 

>>> Order soup/salad and 1/2 sandwich - most delis and lunch joints offer this combo - that's a great compromise if you are a sandwich lover. 

 

DINNER

>>> Substitute a starch with a vegetable in your favorite meal: 

- serve stir-fry in a pepper, portobello or zucchini; 

- serve meat sauce over zucchini noodles;

- make cauliflower mac and cheese; 

- make lettuce wrapped tacos or fajitas; 

- make cauliflower crust pizza - recipe HERE ;

- mash cauliflower instead of potatoes; 

- sub rice for green peas in paella recipes; 

>>> Embrace frozen vegetables - by far my favorite way to add veggies to my dinners is to shallow steam them in chicken broth (pour about 1/2 cup of chicken broth to a pan, cover and bring to boil. Once it boils, add your vegetables, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on the size, fresh/frozen, how you like it cooked). 

Best veggies (either fresh or frozen) for shallow steaming are broccoli, thick leafy greens, zucchini, cauliflower, peas, green beans and brussels sprouts. I always have bags of them in my freezer. 

>>> Add spinach/kale/chard/herbs to your marinara source or soups - especially the ones that are starting to get a little old. The heat will wilt them and you won't even notice. 

>>> Add a veggie appetizer before main course - whether at home or out preface the main course with a small salad, veggie soup or crudités. 

 

If you need extra help figuring out ways to eat healthier, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail to schedule your first consultation.

I've helped dozens of adults as well as children improve their diets. You don't have to do it alone. 

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Weight loss can sometimes feel like a mystical beast, no doubt about that. But the spectrum of weight loss can be quite wide, so let's talk about the behaviors and choices on each end. 

 

There are choices you make & behaviors you execute every day that place you somewhere along this spectrum. 

 

When  you reach for pretzels instead of cut up vegetables you prepared over the weekend, you move towards the 'hard' end.

When you pick a salad in a restaurant instead of pasta, you move towards the "easy" end. 

Nothing happens in a vacuum and each behavior moves you a tiny bit to the left or tiny bit to the right.  

There is always movement to the left or to the right. You never stay still.  Everything you do matters, every choice you make matters. 

So let's get down to it. 

 

How to be in the 'easy' zone? 

  • eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods (80% of diet consisting of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, healthy fats); 

  • enjoy the heck out of the other 20% of the diet - indulge in favorite treats without feeling guilty, buy the yummiest wine/chocolate you can afford :);

  • eat slowly and mindfully, enjoying every bite; 

  • keep food (other than fruits and vegetables) out of plain sight; 

  • drink a lot of water (aim for 1/2 of your body weight in oz);  

  • move daily - even 3 minutes of is better than 0 minutes; 

  • eat nutritionally balanced meals - combo of protein, fat, carbs in each meal; 

  • reduce snacking to a minimum; 

  • be patient and consistent - weight loss it's not a sprint, it's a marathon; 

  • eat your biggest meal post-workout;

  • aim to be consistent not perfect; 

  • make time to engage in de-stressing activities such as meditation, exercise, reading, listening to music; 

  • recognize & name any and all successes, no matter how small; 

  • when you mess up, face it, take responsibility and move on; 

  • use many ways to measure progress, not just the scale; 

  • embrace being hungry - hunger is a natural thing, humans are designed for times of famine, and times of feasts, unfortunately for our health, last 50 years were mostly feasts; 

  • be realistic about the results - don't expect miracles if you don't do the work, you can't reach the top if you don't feeling like climbing; 

  • cook majority of your meals;

  • believe that you are in charge of your own health and destiny; 

 

 

How to be in the hard zone? 

  • eat mostly processed, pre-made foods, with occasional healthy meals;

  • eat out most of the days; 

  • leave temping foods in plain sight; 

  • have a pantry full of junk foods; 

  • avoid fruits and vegetables like the plague; 

  • sit most of the day; 

  • destress with food; 

  • consume majority of your calories in liquid form (coffees, sodas, juices, shakes, wine, beer, etc.); 

  • eat fast and always finish what's on the plate; 

  • never feel hungry; 

  • aim for perfection and when that fails, throw in the towel and go bonkers; 

  • be always in a rush, never taking time for yourself; 

  • be perfect 7am to 6pm then go bonkers; 

  • be perfect Monday thru Thursday, then go bonkers on the weekends; 

  • reward yourself with food after you exercise; 

  • punish yourself with exercise after you had a bad day of eating; 

  • expect to lose all your weight in an unrealistic amount of time;

  • complain about not losing weight; 

  • complain about not losing enough weight; 

  • cut too many calories or food groups; 

  • repeatedly tell yourself that you are weak, you have no willpower, and/or no self-control; 

 

 

 

 

If you need help getting into the 'easy' zone without sacrificing quality of your life and your sanity, let me know. 

I'm also preparing a weekend challenge to help some of my clients get over the "weak-end" phenomenon. They often struggle with being "good" Monday to Friday with behaviors moving them towards the 'easy' end and then they go right back to the 'hard' end after the weekend is done. And the process repeats. So let's break that cycle. 

If you are interested in taking part of my next challenge this coming weekend, let me know. You can reach me HERE

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Intermittent fasting has been known to humans (and animals) since the beginning of time. Religious fasting in particular has been practiced in numerous religions across various cultures for centuries. 

 

Nowadays, intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity in the health and weight loss circles, with multiple studies showing benefits that extend far beyond weight loss, such as improvement in insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, cellular regeneration and overall longevity. 

 

I was exposed to religious fasting for the first time as a kid during Christmas. I'm not sure if my parents just made it up but basically we were suppose to fast from dusk on 12/23 to dusk on Christmas Eve making it a 24 hour fast. Even back then, the thought of not eating for so long was making me panic... a lot. I tried to do it but always failed miserably because I was dizzy or too hungry. To tell you the truth thinking back, my blood sugar levels had to be all over the place because I was hungry all the time. So after a few years I just gave up and never tried it again....Until recently. 

 

16 hour random fast 

My first intermittent fast was during a flight to Poland last December. It was a random decision but one of the best ones I have made, and I am planning to do it again for all future overnight flights. It was the smoothest flight I've had with no digestive issues whatsoever. So this is how it went. 

I had dinner at home at 5pm on Saturday and haven't had any food till I got home in Poland at 3pm (EST+6). Considering the time change it has been 16 hours since I had my last meal and I felt really good. I went on to have normal dinner, watched some TV and went to sleep early. It was a really great experience and I highly recommend you trying it if you ever have any digestive issues (bloating, gas, constipation, belching, etc.) while flying or if you want to use an overnight flight to get a taste of extended fasting.

Now, onto my latest experiment. 

 

22 hour fast 

This latest fast occurred a couple of weeks ago and it was a bit more thought of. At this point I did a lot of research on intermittent fasting and wanted to try to see how my body reacts to an extended fast. 

I had my last meal at 7pm on Monday, and didn't eat or drink anything with calories till 5pm on Tuesday. So here are my observations. 

Firstly, I was shocked how long I could go without food and how great I felt. I had a busy day which definitely helped keep my mind occupied but I didn't suffer any cognitive decline or brain fog that I was expecting. 

Secondly, I was surprised how much energy I had. I actually think I could have had a light workout that day. 

Thirdly, I felt gentle hunger pangs and mild headaches about 3 times total, the worst one with a lot of rumbling in my stomach at lunch time. They all went away in less than 10 minutes. I felt less hungry than during some of my normal days. 

There were a couple more things I noticed: I was very thirsty all day, and I got colder and colder the longer I fasted. 

So when 4 pm arrived I was getting chilly and decided to have dinner at 5pm. I really wanted to last full 24 hrs but maybe next time. 

 

Summary 

Overall I had a great experience and I'm planning to do it about 1x a month for general health benefits. If you are interested in giving intermittent fasting a try or have any questions, shoot my an email. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out this great resource HERE . 

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