Bust a Move to 38 calorie brownies

brownieOriginally written: 3/1/2016

This body building adventure has sure gotten complicated. I thought I would just eat healthy, move more, and then saunter on stage in a skimpy bikini whilst sporting a fake tan and some even faker costume jewels. Much to my surprise, THIS IS NOT TRUE! My body building coach, Kyle Glickman, has informed me that we can go two ways here… fitness or figure, so I need to be prepared for both. Posing coach, Megan Cormack, has informed me that the Athletic category means I have to perform a routine-BUST IT. The mere thought of having to memorize some moves on stage puts me into a new category of anxious! My eyes bug out of my head and I start mumbling nonsense. After I take a few deep breaths I am calm and a new sense of confidence washes over… YOU CAN DO THIS. I didn’t accept this challenge just to be scared away by some silly steps and moves, so bring it….

 

Megan’s first question to me: “What do you want your music to be?”

“What do I want my music to be??? What do I want my music to be????” I thought. “I don’t even know what I want my moves to be, much less my music!” I spent the better part of the day listening to snippets of popular songs and some chill beats that I like, but really have no clue. This was a job for the protein brownie. Yup-I simply needed to eat a decadent protein brownie and I’d find my music. I’ve already made a few batches of this brownie recipe that I modified from Pinterest. I found that they’re much better when made in cupcake tins! Here’s my version of the 38 Calorie Brownie:

Ingredients
  • 1 container light and fit greek yogurt- I used toasted coconut-this also works with plain fat free greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk-30 cals
  • ½ cup Cocoa powder (I like to use the special dark)
  • 1/3 cup Old fashioned rolled oats (like Quaker)-grind these into an oat flour first
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup Truvia Baking Blend (or any natural/stevia based sweetener that pours like sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin (NOT PUMPKIN PIE)
  • 10 g Nestles mini morsels
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except chocolate morsels) into a food processor or a blender, and blend until smooth (about 1 minute).
  3. Fold in chocolate chip morsels
  4. Pour into lined muffin tin-should fill it half way
  5. Bake for about 10-15 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure middle is cooked. Wait until fully cooled about 10-15 minutes before eating! I’m so impulsive with my food I always end up burning the roof of my mouth!

 

My FLAVOR-RIGHT things…

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day I decided to share some of my FAVORITE food hacks! I know that some of you fellow If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) people have some of your own too. I’m all about sharing because, let’s face it, this dieting thing is NOT easy. I hate watching people’s scrunched up faces as they stare at the nutrition facts on the backs of peanut butter and tubes of cookie dough while wasting precious time in the grocery store. I’ve been there and will offer up advice whenever I see the “huh-uh-erggg” face.

“What’s a “macro”, you ask? (what’s the right way to write that I ask) A macro is the shortened form of “macronutrient”.  All food has macronutrients composed of Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrate. These macronutrients (macros for short) each have a caloric value. Pay attention, this is why eating Paleo may not be working for you. One gram of Fat (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, lard, etc) yield 9 k/cals, while one gram of protein yields 4 k/cals, the same goes for carbohydrates (1 g=4/kcals). You can see why eating a lot of almond flour or avocado might be adding a little too many calories to your diet! That being said, most people who choose to eat Paleo don’t eat enough carbohydrates-so the fuel comes from the fat. Just be mindful and start looking at food as fuel. You’ll also want to make sure you get lots of fiber and water in there too… fiber = happy.

Many people have the misconception that fruits and vegetables are not considered “carbs” because they’re not starchy-correction- Fruits, Vegetables, Breads, Candy, half and half, milk, even some marinated meats and ground meats HAVE CARBS, be mindful of this. You’d be amazed at how many things you think are low in fat or carbs are actually not. Some good examples of this are almonds (1 cup of almonds has 45g fat, 20 g carbs, 20 g protein-not really a great source for protein), peanut butter, granola, and dried fruits.

Alright, now that we have that covered-according the the FDA an average woman should be consuming around 1600-2000 cals/day give or take a few hundred due to size, activity level, and other health factors. Men should be consuming 2,200-2,400 cals/day, same rules apply. Here’s my disclaimer-I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist-if you want solid nutritional counseling please look up Kyle Glickman-he’s phenomenal and has his master’s degree in nutrition and strength and conditioning. He’s also a fitness model, competitive body builder, a strength and conditioning coach, and an all around nice guy! He will meet you where you are without any judgement. He has been my coach for the past 8 months and I’ve lost close to 30 lbs of FAT since working with him. Note-It has only been a month since I have been extremely strict-dropping 10 more lbs. I wasn’t always strict which is why it took so long to get to where I am now.

Moving forward… My daily macronutrient goals are going to look very different than yours and yours may look very different than someone else you know. I’m training for a body building competition, so my macros are high in protein, but my carb and fat intake varies depending on my training etc. We will make up some macros here for instructional purposes.

I keep track of what I eat with My Fitness Pal, it makes it easy to track my eating. It’s a free app that let’s you scan a bar code- try tracking what you put in your gullet for one day.. it’s pretty eye opening. A friend of mine text me the other day when he did this for the first time-he was AMAZED!

It’s way more accurate if you weigh your food, so I invested in a $20 digital food scale-“The Biggest Loser” is the best I’ve found, don’t skimp and get the cheap one at wal-mart, it’s no good.

OK- Pretend I have 150 carbs, 135 protein, and 40 fat for each day-that’s 1500 calories/day (if my math is correct). I have to make sure I eat this much of each macronutrient, but not any more. It can be tough when faced with doughnut or cupcakes, maybe you love a good marbleized steak? Well, here are my favorite food hacks so that you can enjoy some of the indulgences you really love once in a while! Here are some screen shots of my daily intake to give you an idea of what typical meals look like:

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Without further adieu-MY FAVORITE THINGS!

Sweets/Ingredients for Sweets:

Arctic Zero Ice Cream- Cookie Dough ALL THE WAY

Teddy Grahams

True Whip– I love this because it’s a better option than Cool Whip-more natural ingredients

Nutter Butter Wafers – I love these because one serving is 5 wafers-so I can eat one or two and they are delish!

Maple Grove Sugar Free Maple Syrup

Hershey’s sugar free chocolate syrup

Nestles mini morsels

Nestles Fat Free/sugar free hot cocoa

Protein Fluff-Click for various recipes-you’ll need XANTHUM GUM

Stevia in the Raw, Truvia, and Splenda Brown Sugar and White Sugar Granules-I’m not crazy about stevia or splenda, but I spent a ton of money on huge bags and will finish them. Next time I will try monkfruit.

 

Bread/Crackers/Pasta/Cereal:

Tumaro’s Let’s Skip The Sandwich Multigrain Wraps

P28 Protein Flat Bread (high fiber and protein) and Bagels-careful of the fat content here

Kontos Flax-Oat bran and whole wheat Lavash

Explore Asia Soybean, Edamame, Adzuki Bean, or Black Bean Pasta

Shirotaki Noodles (6 Carbs for 2 servings) –

Yam fiber  No oodles that are gluten and soy free I believe

Gold Fish Pretzels and Crackers-check the label-23 carbs for almost 50 pieces

All Bran Buds- HIGH IN FIBER- I like adding 10 g of this to my yogurt some mornings

I caution you against any granola-I LOVE granola, but it’s not worth it-you’ll eat it and then be hungry the next day

 

Dairy/Yogurt/Cheese- Includes Dairy Free Substitutes

Laughing Cow Light Swiss & Regular Swiss (wedges)

Fat Free Cream Cheese

Franklin Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese

Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Mozzarella and Mexican Blend Cheeses

Sargento Reduced Fat Shredded Mexican Blend

Kraft Fat Free Shredded Mozzarella and Shredded Cheddar

Oikos Triple Zero yogurt-high in fiber, low in carbs, high in protein

Plain, fat free Greek Yogurt- I use this as a sour cream substitution all the time!

Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk (30 cals)

Almond Breeze Coconut/Almond Milk  (45 cals)

Olivio Light-olive oil spread 1 TBSP=5 g fat

 

Veggies/Beans/Fruits

Fat Free Refried Beans

Baby Bok Choy -I make a ton of this (steam it) and dress it with low sodium Hoison)-again careful there are 5 carbs per serving here

Spaghetti Squash

Broccoli-though it’s not my favorite

Cauliflower

Cucumber

Celery

Cherry Tomatoes

PICKLES!!!!- these can be high in sodium-careful

Yams (be careful-these are high in carbs)

Romaine Hearts

Raspberries, Blackberries, and Strawberries (high in fiber)

Granny Smith Apple

Stay away from fruits high in sugar like mangoes and bananas-limit your consumption

 

Condiments/Spreads

Just Great Stuff Powdered Peanut Butter

Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter

Sugar Free Peach Apricot and Passion Fruit  Spread

Olivio Light-buttery spread

Bolthouse Farms Cucumber Dill Dressing

Spicy Mustard

Siracha

Jalapeño Tabasco

 

Eggs/Meat/Protein

Egg Beaters Liquid eggs, not egg whites (same as buying an 18 pack egg carton)

Free Range Eggs-Poached in these little cups. Be careful with eggs, yes high in protein, but also high in fat-I mix eggs and egg beaters to get the healthy fats from the eggs and the amino acids from the egg beaters

Gianelli Turkey Sausage

Chicken Breasts

Shrimp

Tilapia

Scallops

Smoked Salmon-lower fat-need to check

GNC AMP Wheybolic 60- cookies n cream, chocolate and vanilla ice cream- Cook with a lower grade whey that’s a little less expensive-use the isolate for after workouts

Dymatize Elite ISO (this is isolate-don’t cook with it)

Jay Robb- Egg White Protein Powder

Optimum Nutrition Casein – I LOVE making my protein fluff with this before bed-Casein releases into your muscles slower than the isolate which curbs morning hunger

 

What are some of your favorite healthy foods???

Cautions:

Macro living is great because you can pick and choose what you eat, as long as it fits. A lot of diet foods are filled with chemicals which can be more harmful than healthy.

Be careful not to consume too many products with aspartame. I think eating sugar substitutes are great for a small treat, but these can have ill effects on your body and mental function. I know that I have adverse reactions to stevia and think it can be quite bitter tasting. Back to aspartame-try not to consume this more than once or twice/week. I can’t tell you how many people have told me about aspartame poisoning-symptoms can be found here.

Bottom line: I need to remind myself of this too… Regardless of the sugar substitute you use, you’re tricking your body into believing something is sweet. Your body can’t process it like it would glucose which can cause issues-possibly even pancreatic cancer and Grave’s disease. Again, I’m not a doctor and I only have a limited understanding of this stuff, if you want to know more I’d suggest a google search.

 

Pancakes, syrup, and a brownie… That’s what I call breakfast!!!

I have been scouring the web for some butternut squash and chicken crockpot recipes. I have had this squash sitting on my counter for more than a month and it is ready to be roasted or baked. I originally sliced it to make cheese sandwiches-I can post that recipe another day. I found a bunch that call for quinoa and I’m not really a big fan of using my macros for quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah), but I did find a recipe for butternut squash pancakes that knocked my socks off- or if you were using correct grammar-it knocked off my socks. NOTE you must roast the squash FIRST. I hastily split open the squash and to my surprise there was life inside! Little sprouts ready to push their way through the flesh of the vegetable. I even took a picture to share with you! See below. Moving on.. These were soooo good that I made a second batch right away (with a few alterations) and packed them up for lunchfast the next day. You see, I’m supposed to complete my cardio in the morning in a fasted state, which means NO eating before (read why here). Then I wait a few to eat, maybe insert a work day at school, then eat some more carbs and heavy lift. Today was Saturday (and a game day-GO USA Rugby!!!) and a very very cold Saturday at that. The temp was -1, but -30 with the wind chill, so I wanted to limit my outdoor time as much as possible. I made the decision that I would power through a few hours at the gym and take a break between cardio and strength (#bodybuilderproblems) to write reports or put some time into this here blog. I packed up my computer, student files and work out clothes and got to it. I could only think about those pancakes while crushing the stair mill, (yup folks we are kicking it up a NOTCH and going leg heavy on the cardio). Walking and climbing stairs makes me want to bang my head against a rock. I really dislike it even with all of the entertainment options. Life is really hard some times…. (this is my attempt to make fun of myself-laugh here). The wait was worth it! I topped these pancakes with strawberries and some sugar free maple syrup, the taste was divine! I promise-these are WORTH it! Try them for yourself, let me know how they turned out or if you modified in any way!

 

Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes- Macros for the whole pancake recipe: Cals 200, F:3.8, P: 29.9, Carb: 12.9, Fiber: 3.8 (I usually divide in half)

45 g (.25 cups) roasted (not oiled) butternut squash or canned pumpkin

1 TBS  pumpkin spice

1 TBS cinnamon

1 tsp stevia

1 oz Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk (30 cals/1 cup)

26 g of GNC pumpkin Spice Anabolic Whey Protein Powder (you can sub this for any protein you’d like)\

7 g Hogeson Farms Flax Chia seed blend

69 g liquid egg whites or egg beaters

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
  2. heat skillet on med-low with a burst of nonstick spray
  3. pour 2 large pancakes, or 4 smaller sized cakes onto skillet
  4. wait for cakes to start bubbling and the outer edges to be cooked-then flip
  5. Pancakes should get golden brown on each side
  6. Add your favorite toppings-I prefer sliced strawberries, sugar free maple syrup by Maple Grove Farms AND a protein brownie (link for recipe coming soon! (macros for 100 g of strawberries and 4 oz maple syrup= ADD 9.6 Carb, .8 protein, and 2.5 fiber for strawberries and 2 carbs for syrup)

My favorite was made with GNC wheybolic cookies and cream whey powder and 1 tsp of vanilla- Eliminate the cinnamon and pumpkin spice for these. Just writing this makes me want MORE!!!!! I know what I’m making in the morning! I might even bring some to Megan Cormack (no longer an amateur, she’s pro), my amazing posing coach AND competition suit creator!

 

Here’s the pic of the sprouting squash! It’s so pretty!

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Chirkey Broccoflower and Banza Soup

I started this soup before I went to the gym tonight, decided to make an “everything but the… refrigerator” soup. I had cauliflower and broccoli that needed to GO stat. I quickly threw the green and white florets into my food processor and then dumped it all in the crockpot. Set it on high and dashed out the door to destroy my lats and lower traps. I returned from the gym and could smell this soup from the driveway, the odor wafting through the large cracks in the door frame (note to self: get door seal fixed). I was so excited to try it (AND HUNGRY) that I threw in the pasta and then took a spoonful straight to my gullet, BIG MISTAKE-HUGE.  The roof of my mouth is now raw… UGH. Enough babbling… here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

3 Box Containers Wegmans Organic Chicken Broth

1 lb Turkey Breast cutlets

6 oz chicken breast

400 g broccoli (food processed/blended)

400 g Cauliflower (food processed/blended)

3 stalks celery

5 baby carrots

100 g chopped onion

2 large garlic cloves chopped

Few sprigs of fresh parsley

1/4 cup sherry

1-2 TBSP Trader Joe’s every day seasoning (to taste), cracked red pepper

170 g Banza chickpea pasta

As much salt as you need to taste (I try to keep it low bc it affects my weight too much)

 

1) Shred broccoli and cauliflower in your food processor or blender until it looks like confetti. You will have to do this in small batches so you don’t muck up your food processor or blender.

2) Combine Broccoli, onion, garlic, celery stalk (in-tact), carrots, parsley, seasoning, chicken broth, and sherry in your crockpot and turn on high. Cook for 4-5 hours

3) Take out chicken and turkey and shred, return to pot

4) Remove celery and carrots

5) Add Banza Pasta and wait 10 minutes-or until pasta is soft

6) Serve and season more if you’d like! Makes 8 large servings (1.5 cups each)-careful not to burn your mouth like I did! It was so good I couldn’t help myself!

Macros: 233 cals, Fat: 2.1, Carbs: 18.8, Protein: 35.4

 

Low Calorie Enchiladas

I love these little pouches of heaven. Easy to make and great macros with tons of fiber!!! The wraps (Let’s Skip the Sandwich) are from Wegmans, and you can only find them at the larger stores like Pittsford or Ridgemont. There’s another brand that gets close (Ole Xtreme Wellness) to the same macros, but you’ll have to adjust. Here’s the basic recipe, but you can add or subtract anything you’d like.

Ingredients:

1 pkg Tumaro’s Let’s Skip the Sandwich

Overnight Beer Shredded Chicken

Fat Free refried beans (I use Old El Paso)

Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce

Kraft Fat Free Shredded Cheddar

Sargento OR Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Mexican Blend

Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

Green Tabasco Any type of Hot Sauce you’d like-as long as it has no cals!

 

1)Preheat oven to 350 first. Then set up your work space by placing a small plate on your digital food scale and lining up the ingredients-I like to start with refried beans because I can smear them evenly on the wrap. I typically put the wrap on the plate, tare it and then add an item, tare-add another-etc. Each wrap should have this much of each item in order to get the same macros in each serving. Makes 8 servings.

1.5 oz shredded chicken

14 g fat free shredded cheddar

14 g reduced fat Mexican blend cheese

41 g fat free refried beans

1 TBSP nonfat plain Greek Yogurt (.1 oz)

 

2) Roll them however you want, but make sure they will fit in your casserole pan

3) Pour the can of enchilada sauce over the entire pan, make sure each enchilada gets some saucy love!

4) Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes

 

Macro breakdown for one enchilada: Cals-186, Fat-4.3, Carbs 18.7, Protein 24.6, Fiber- 8.5

 

If you want less protein reduce your chicken or nix the Greek yogurt! Sometimes I add peppers and onions! YUM

echilada-sauce-small

 

 

Overnight Beer Shredded Chicken

Ingredients:

3-5 lbs boneless chicken breasts

3 cans of beer

1 packet of taco seasoning

water if needed to add

 

1) add all ingredients to crockpot

2) add water or more beer to cover the chicken

3) cook at low heat for about 12 hours ( I cook overnight)

4) Chill-skim off hardened fat (or skip this step and drain the chicken with a slotted spoon)

5) The chicken will fall apart naturally- I store it in some of the juices from the crockpot so it doesn’t dry out too much

Use it in enchiladas, salads, tacos, quesadillas, spaghetti squash dishes-so many more!

 

Pomegranate Salsa

Pomegranate seeds are the anti-oxidants of the gods.. or so they say. Who are they??? I have no clue, but they say it!

 

My friend Rachel Chafee made this lovely dish for a recent holiday party and I’d like to share her genius with all of you. More of Rachel’s recipes can be found on her blog- Life without bread and butter.  Rachel suffers from many food in-tolerances including-but not limited to gluten, dairy, and soy. Her story is worth reading if you find yourself struggling with gastrointestinal troubles.

At any rate-here’s the recipe:

1/2 pomegranate seeded (see video below for a great tutorial on the cleanest easiest way to do this)

1 cucumber (chopped)

1/4 red onion (chopped)

1-2 limes (juiced)

Cilantro (chopped-add to your taste)

Jalapeno (chopped-add to your to taste)

1 clove garlic (chopped)

 

Add all ingredients and mix in a bowl and serve with tortilla chips.

My favorite are the “Way Better” simply so sweet chili.

You will yield the best results if you refrigerate and wait one to two days before serving-then all of the flavors combine and it tastes soooo much better!

Try adding pear, apples, avocado, or watermelon-all tasty combinations.

If you are strict paleo this is a perfect salad dressing-or side salad complement to a nice white fish or poultry dish.

 

Sweet Potato and Parsnip Fries

Oh I love me a good parsnip! Pronounced Pah-snip if you’d like to sound regal and of English high society. I had some root veggie fries at a recent holiday gathering with friends and decided to create my own version… hope you try and enjoy!

 

2 sweet potatoes

2 parnsnips

olive oil

garlic powder

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

course salt

freshly ground pepper

 

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2) cut vegetables in matchstick form-only thicker than match sticks-more like french fries-haha

3) pull rosemary in a bunch and twist a little to bruise the leaves and release the oils-then finely chop

4) Put vegetables in a large container for tossing with oil (I like to use a zip lock bag, though that’s not totally green)-the amount of oil used will vary-but you don’t want the veggies to be slick-at the same time you don’t want them to be dry-so start with a little-toss-and add more as needed. You may want to try some of that olive oil spray to lightly coat the vegetables

5) in a separate bowl-combine garlic powder (1-2 tsp), rosemary, salt, and pepper-stir it up

6) add spice bowl to vegetables while tossing-making sure all spices are distributed onto the veggies

7) spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes on the middle rack. You may need to toss them half way through-check for burning edges

8) broil on high for 2-3 minutes for a final crisp-again-watch for burning edges

9) EAT!!!!

Note: the image is not mine-I borrowed it from http://prairielemon.blogspot.com/

Paleo-ish Kale & Sausage Soup

I bought a bunch of Kale and want to do something amazing with it.. I could A) juice it; B) cook it down like greens and beans; C) make another kale salad; or D) YES D) make SOUP.

 

This soup turned out AMAZING! I used someone else’s recipe, but then morphed it into a perfect symphony of flavor!
I didn’t exactly measure anything-so hopefully this will work for you!

What you’ll need:

1 big bag of chopped Kale

1 large onion (chopped)

1 head cauliflower (chopped-chunky not small pieces)

1 parsnip (sliced)

3-4 cloves of garlic (chopped)

3 red potatoes (sliced)

1 yam (sliced)

1 cup white wine (this  & red potato is what makes this dish un-paleo)

olive oil

1 lb sweet Italian sausage

4 cups chicken broth

 

1) Preheat oven to 375

2) Brown Italian sausage, drain and reserve oil

3) Place cauliflower, parsnips, onion, and garlic in a roasting pan: drizzle with sausage oil & olive oil-toss until veggies are lightly coated

4) Roast for 30-40 minutes until cauliflower and parsnips are soft

5) Boil a large pot of water and add potatoes and yams-cook until tender-drain and rinse

6) While vegetables are roasting and boiling, place sausage, wine and chicken stock into a large soup pot and simmer

7) Once roasting vegetables are tender to a good forking (haha)-Remove from oven and take 1/2 of the roasted vegetables-puree with chicken stock until smooth and creamy consistency-like heavy cream

8) Add pureed veggies to sausage and stock-stir in until fully dissolved

9) Add kale

10) Add boiled potatoes

11) Stir in the rest of the roasted vegetables

12) Simmer until kale wilts

13) Serve to hungry guests who will love you even more because of this amazing soup!

 

Things to try:

Add a squirt of lemon to your personal bowl-YUMMM

Add some grated Romano cheese-no longer paleo-but still yum!

Add some red pepper flakes-Spicy

Leave out the potatoes-or only use yams

Serve with crusty multigrain bread slathered with butter or even better-shallot and thyme finishing butter (err not paleo)

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Kale Salad

 

I love the health benefits of kale, but have heard a lot of complaints from folks who say that it’s difficult to cook. This recipe took me under 10 minutes to prepare, and it’s ohhhh so delicious! Thanks to Lisa for the inspiration of the basis of this salad!

1 bunch of fresh Kale de-ribbed and chopped- any variety

2 TBSP olive oil

2 tsp salt

1/8 cup lemon juice

2  chopped figs (optional)

2 apples chopped (core removed)

handful of chopped crasins

1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano

1/4 cup finely chopped pancetta (optional)

 

Whisk lemon juice, olive oil and salt together in a small bowl

Add lemon juice mixture to Kale and massage into Kale until fully coated

Fold in chopped apples, figs, & crasins

Mix in Pecorino and Pancetta

Wait 15 minutes before serving

 

What’s the deal with kale? Would pop-eye kick the can of spinach for a bunch of kale???

Kale is a super green whose varieties are not all GREEN! There’s the deep purple Redbor Kale, Red Russian Kale, and the Kamome Red Kale. The red varieties seem to take on more of a purple/pink hue than red.  Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. A leafy green, kale is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, collards, and cabbage.

The Huffington Post Canada published an article in July of 2013 comparing spinach and kale. The results indicated that Kale has an overall edge, but that Spinach is a little better for pregnant women due to it’s high folate content. Here are some highlights from the Huffington Post article.

Vitamin A: Spinach is a great way to get vitamin A, important for skin and eye health, into your diet — a one-cup serving provides 56 per cent of your recommended daily intake (RDI). But kale is a vitamin-A powerhouse, giving you a whopping 206 per cent of your recommended intake for the same serving.

Vitamin B6: Kale also beats out spinach in for vitamin B6, though less dramatically. The former has 9 per cent of your RDI for this essential vitamin, thought to be related to heart and brain health, though spinach still provides 3 per cent of your RDI.

Vitamin C: Remember that tip about vitamin C? You’ll get a little in your salad anyway when you eat kale, which has 80.4 mg or 9 per cent of your RDI per one-cup serving compared to spinach’s 8.43 mg or 1 per cent. Vitamin C is important for tissue repair health all over your body.

Vitamin K: We might not think about vitamin K very often, but it’s important for our bodies — it helps protect our bones and is key in blood clotting. Both of these vegetables are a great way to get more in your diet, especially kale, which has 684 per cent of your RDI. Spinach has plenty as well, with 181 per cent.

Important: if you’re on blood-thinning medication like warfarin or need to restrict your dietary vitamin K for any other reason, talk to your doctor before eating vitamin-K rich foods like these.

Folate: Folate, known as folic acid when it’s added to foods and folate when it occurs naturally — is particularly important for women of child bearing age, as it’s related to the prevention of neural tube defects in developing fetuses. Spinach is the winner here, with 15 per cent of your RDI in every cup. Kale is still a source, but a less impressive one at 5 per cent for the same amount.

Calcium: When people think calcium they think dairy, but it’s actually found in many vegetables as well. A cup of kale provides 9 per cent of your daily calcium needs, compared to 3 per cent for spinach. As well, spinach has compounds that could impede absorption so it shouldn’t be your key source of the mineral.
Getting enough vitamin D is important too—your body won’t absorb calcium properly without an adequate amount of vitamin D.

Copper: Copper is a trace mineral, so we don’t need a lot of it in our diets, but we do require it for the production of red blood cells; it’s also related to nerve and immune health. Kale is a good way to get it, with 10 per cent of the RDI in a cup, while spinach also has a little bit at 2 per cent.

Manganese: It’s another mineral our bodies need in small amounts, and kale has you covered at 26 per cent of the RDI per serving. Spinach isn’t too shabby either, giving you 13 per cent of your daily manganese, important for forming connective tissue and hormones.

Bottom line- both greens are power houses, be careful with your consumption of either green if you’re on blood thinning meds (vitamin K is for “clotting”) and if you have osteoporosis or any other calcium deficiency. Eat foods rich in calcium at meals opposite your kale or spinach dining days.

 

 

 

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