Thursday, November 18, 2010

GL Recipe Box: Breakfast "Scramble"

Garden Lites for Breakfast? You heard right! Now you can enjoy your favorite vegetarian souffles morning, noon and night!

One of our staffers came up with this delicious variation on the Zucchini Marinara dish that packs a good dose of protein to start your day right.

1 bowl (7 oz.) Zucchini Marinara
2 large Egg Whites

1. Remove Zucchini Marinara from bag.

2. Heat on high for 3 ½ minutes.
3. Pour egg whites into the bowl and carefully stir in until well combined.

4. Heat on high another 3 ½ minutes. Let stand 1 minute.

*For another variation add 2 Tbsp. shredded reduced fat cheese in step #2 and heat on high for 4 minutes in step #4. (Adds 40 calories and 5 grams fat)

Egg Whites add 40 Calories and 8g of protein, which make the "Scramble":

150 Calories.
11g Protein.
5g Fat.
3g Fiber.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

From Zero to Hero: Exercise Plans

...Tired of being winded at the top of staircases?
...Looking to tone up?
...Just want to challenge yourself?
...Want more energy throughout the day?

You're ready to get real about moving more and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Whatever your reason for getting here, you're here. You've made it. Congratulations! You are motivated enough to make a change for the better. But where to begin?

I spoke before about how difficult it is to stick to vague goals [see: Moving Towards your Goal] and how formulating a specific achievement you want to reach gives you a greater chance of accomplishing that goal. For me, I couldn't find motivation to exercise each day even though I kept telling myself I was going to exercise more. I chose running a 5K as my goal. In order to give myself a fair chance at accomplishing that goal, I am giving myself enough time to healthily get my body ready for such an event. I have taken all the steps to allow myself to succeed. Unrealistic goals do nothing but deter you from accomplishing them.

Going from "homebody" to "toned body" takes a lot, but there are some exercise plans out there that help. Many people recommended the "Couch to 5K" plan that's out there: Couch to 5K which guides runners from nothing to superstar in 9 weeks, 3 workouts a week. I've also researched the Mayo Clinic's 7 week plan, with some form of exercise each day: MayoClinic.

Once you're in 5K shape, there are other sources out there. gives training schedules for both the half marathon (in 10 weeks) and marathon (in 16 weeks). Do not just jump into these plans though, your body will not be conditioned properly and it can cause injury.

With all of these plans (and numerous more!) out there, it's up to you and your doctor to know what's best for you. Maybe your schedule changes all of the time, and you're only able to get a few workouts in a week. Maybe you need the structure of a little exercise every day. You know yourself best. Even if it just means taking a family walk after dinner each night, it's a great way to encourage a healthier lifestyle for yourself loved ones.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recipe Box: Baked Breaded Chicken

When I get home at the end of the day I want something filling, but not too heavy. Healthy, but indulgent. I want to be the reason the hallway in my building smells so great. When people ask whose oven that aroma is coming from, I want to proudly say, "Mine!"

This easy recipe, paired with a Zucchini Souffle side dish, saved my reputation in the kitchen. [My first cooking experience to follow the recipe...] It's not the most exact in measurements, but that's what makes it your own. The Zucchini Souffle balances the chicken well and adds 2 full servings of vegetables on the side. Much better than mashed potatoes!

Baked Breaded Chicken
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Egg white
Italian flavored bread crumbs
NutraSalt Italian flavored Sea Salt (Low Sodium!)

Chili Powder
Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 375.

Cut chicken into smaller pieces. In a bowl, combine 1 egg white with a splash of milk. Whisk with a fork until mixed.

In another bowl, combine equal parts Bisquick and bread crumbs. Add a dash of each remaining seasoning. Mix.

Dredge the chicken pieces in the wet mixture, then in the dry ingredients.

Place breaded pieces onto a greased baking sheet.

Cook for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees. (I always use a meat thermometer to ensure safety)

What you get is nice juicy pieces of golden breaded chicken. The aroma will fill your kitchen and delight those you are cooking for. Because the chicken has been chunked into smaller pieces, it also helps to control portion size. Bon Appetite!

And now, a story...

My first time cooking:

The first time I cooked for my boyfriend I got the idea that he liked quiche. I researched recipes, did all my shopping and spent the good part of an afternoon assembling and baking this homemade quiche. When my boyfriend came over he appreciated my efforts. Even though he really wasn't a fan of quiche, he took a big serving of my culinary masterpiece. Of course this was after we sat around for hours beyond the recipe called for - waiting for the eggs to fully cook. It was 10p.m. by the time we deemed it safe to eat and he took a big first bite.

Boy was he surprised! He did his best to grin and then gulp down his bite. I think his future flashed before his eyes. The horrible meals to come, the nights having to pretend to eat, the acceptance that I could not cook like his mom, let alone cook at all. I didn't get what the big deal was until I took a bite. Oh my goodness. It was the nastiest thing I had ever eaten. I quickly looked at everything I had put into this bomb of a meal. Eggs..check. Cheese..check. Crust...oh. I didn't think of it at the time, but at the store I bought a pre-made crust for my quiche. Thinking all crusts were the same, I bought the one that resembled the picture on my recipe. Big mistake. I had made my quiche with a sweet shortbread crust. Needless to say, we ordered out that night.

Since that stomachache of a night, I have been working towards improving my reputation. After making my chicken recipe the other night, my boyfriend declared to me, "Wow! You are a really great cook." It took several years, but I have wiped away that memory of the quiche and am on the road to future culinary success. Thanks, Baked Breaded Chicken and Zucchini Souffle!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Refusing to Fall Back with Exercise

Mission "Get Buff" is underway! It's much easier to get out and be more active if I'm not thinking of it as a form of dieting. I am supplementing my Garden Lites meal plan with great sources of protein, like chicken, and making sure I drink lots of water.

I'm not the type of person to just jump into anything without hours of research and preparation put into it first. I also found it difficult to say at the beginning of last week "Yeah, I'll start my 5K training next Monday..." and then sit around waiting to be active. So this weekend I did a little unofficial exercise preparation for my exercise preparation.

Saturday my exercise buddy (boyfriend) and I walked around Manhattan and tracked our mileage on his smart phone. I was already winded by the time we reached the top step of the subway stop to begin our walk. I am out of shape. We logged 5 miles in a couple hours, and my legs could feel it the next day.

I printed my workout plan (I'm using the Mayo Clinic 7 weeks to a 5K program, but I'll review other plans later this week) and read it over Sunday so I'd know what I was getting myself into. The Mayo Clinic program works in 30 minute work outs with intervals of running and walking. 30 minutes? Simple.

Sunday was laundry day, so while the clothes were in the washer (for 30 minutes) I thought "What better time to try out this workout?" Exercise buddy in tow, we set out "wogging" all over town for 30 minutes. Wogging is a term coined by my father 12 years ago. When you walk and jog intermittently, it feels wrong to tell others you went for a run. So instead, you wog. I am glad I had someone with me, because it looked a little silly to run for 15 seconds and then walk for 45. Tonight, I will attempt my official start on the exercise plan, and will brave the wog solo.

Here is what I have learned from my pre-pre-5K workouts:
  1. I am embarrassingly out of shape.
  2. I still need to take my inhaler before any form of exercise.
  3. I need new running shoes.
  4. I need a good workout soundtrack.

Did anyone else "get moving" this weekend? What did you do to inspire more mobility into your daily routine? Share with us here or on our Facebook page!

Also, I am accepting suggestions for workout songs to add to my play list.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Exercise and Me: A Timeline

I have always thought of myself as the underdog. Growing up I was short, slow and asthmatic...

Not much has changed.

But what I lack in physical ability, I make up for in heart. When I was on the recreational soccer league from ages 8 through 11, I earned the nickname "Mad Dog." I would run up and down the field like a rabid little puppy darting between all the taller girls to get the winning goal (okay, I don't know if I ever helped a win, but it sounds more inspiring). I still wear my blue number 7 t-shirt from 4th grade and appreciate that the style was to wear giant over sized shirts back then.

By the time I hit middle school, I wanted to stay active but my Mad Dog skills didn't qualify me for any team that require try outs. This is how I ended up on the Cross Country team: everyone got in. I have always been a sprinter, whether it's my short attention span, or the fact that my legs quit after 100 paces, I just always preferred a race that was over in seconds rather than what felt like hours. But there I was, jogging my heart out.

Thinking back to those days, I can still feel the sharp tingling in my throat, the wheezing in my chest, and the constant wonder "Why am I doing this?" My poor parents would cheer me on relentlessly, probably just supervising me so I didn't pass out. But I did get a t-shirt for participating - it even had my last name on it - and I wore that shirt for years, until the tattered shreds were no longer fitting for a shirt that read "Pain is temporary, Pride is forever."

When I got to high school, you'd think I'd learn that I was better suited for more sedentary activities. Painting, reading, sitting. But no, there I was back out on the track. My older brother ran track, so clearly there was no other option. Needless to say, he inherited the same athletic abilities I did, but we won't go into that.

I'm actually quite proud of my time in high school track. I focused more on shorter races and came to terms with the fact that I was never going to win a race. But what I did do was figure out which event had the least number of participants. You see, track is all about gaining points. Points for coming in the top three, points for beating a personal best, points for creativity... okay, I wish. I joined the 300M hurdles because no one else wanted to do that race, and as long as I showed up, I would earn points. And points meant the possibility of earning my letter. So I ran and tripped over hurdles for two consecutive months with one goal in mind: a letter jacket. Yes, that is weird for a girl to want a letter jacket of her own, but I liked to have clothing that made people think I was athletic.

Sure enough, I did it. I proudly wore that jacket until college. Once I hit college, I only dabbled in jogging. The school gym was free for my senior year, so I hopped on a treadmill 5 times a week and got in the best shape of my life. Since then, I've tamed down my desire to prove the asthmatic girl can hold her own, but there's been one dream of mine I've never given up... Racing in a 5K.

Have you figured out why? Free t-shirt.

I knew people who had a whole drawer full of t-shirts collected from various races. Every time I see someone wearing a shirt from a race they participated in, I have a deep respect for them. I don't even like t-shirts, but I'd like to be that person, just once.

It's a great side effect that training for this race will help me in Mission "Get Buff." The healthy lifestyle I've adopted will be a great foundation to build on when I start asking more of my body in the coming months. Also, this whole fantasy of a t-shirt is a great motivator to me. A much more specific and tangible goal than just "Exercise more." Now my goal is "Exercise more in order to build strength and participate in a 5K." Which 5K is still undecided, but something probably in February.

I suggest you sit down and take the time to write down specific goals you have for yourself. You may want to change some things in your life, so find some specific stepping stones that will help you get closer to your goals. Sure, it'd be great to join in a half-marathon, but if you make such grandiose goals, they can become overwhelming. Baby steps towards a better you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Moving Towards Your Goal

I have been very pleased with my progress in the "Get Real" Challenge since we've started in mid-August. I've lost weight, gotten better about what I eat and even inspired others to take on healthier lifestyles! So what's my problem? Why do I feel.... stagnant?

My weight loss has hit a plateau at 9 pounds, but I've really liked the changes in me both inside and out. I don't feel like I have to lose more weight, and my original goal of 20 lbs seems over the top. To me, this isn't a failure in the challenge, this is the GOAL of the challenge. Not weight loss, but finding a way to improve my lifestyle. Looking in the mirror and liking what I see is a great improvement. But I know myself, I like to be constantly challenged. Mission "Like My Body" is accomplished. What's next?

Mission "Get Buff."

I pride myself on my ability to keep up with the boys. At Kosherfest, I was schlepping boxes as much as the other folks, and every time I heard a guy impressed with my lack of daintiness I chose to take it as a compliment. But now, a week later, still feeling each lifted box in my back and shoulders, I realize I am out of shape. And I want to change that.

Vague goals are hard for me. "Lose weight" doesn't spark any sort of fire within me. "Be healthier" is a cop out. "Exercise more" will not help me avoid my snooze button. So what I am doing is forming a more specific event that I will work towards. This event will not be the "end point" of my healthy lifestyle journey, but a mere pit stop along the way. As my first step toward "Mission Get Buff" I will be doing a 5K.

To some, a 5K is just a simple foot race. 3.1 miles... piece of cake. But to me, this has been a dream for quite some time.

Come back to the blog tomorrow when I'll give a little more insight as to what a 5K means to me, and follow me as I train in the next few months. I'm really excited about this upcoming challenge, I hope you are too! As part of your "Get Real" Challenge, try to focus this month on moving more.

"Get Moving" can mean many different things, but here are a few suggestions (feel free to comment with more!):
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Taking the Stairs
  • Martial Arts
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Roller Blading
  • Playing Sports
  • Frisbee

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back & Better Than Ever!

I'm getting back on the blogosphere after taking a brief hiatus to organize Kosherfest. I met some great bloggers there, and there has been a lot of buzz about our Garden Lites!

I thought I'd share with you one blogger's review of our award-winning Zucchini Marinara.

Garden Lites is a great option for Chaviva since she is a kosher AND gluten-free consumer. Here's her take, from her blog
The Gluten-Free Kosher Critic.

Don't have time to read it all right now? Here are some highlights:
I would venture to guess that the only meal-like kosher, gluten-free option
for the health-conscious consumer is Garden Lites, which I blogged about in the

I end up eating soup for meals every day and struggling with
hunger throughout the rest of the day. The kind gal behind the Garden Lites
booth [Peg] explained that she eats the Zucchini Marinara every day for lunch
and has lost some weight as a result. [Over 7 pounds at this point!]

This is ONE point on Weight Watchers. ONE POINT. You could eat two of
them and still be doing yourself some good.

We couldn't agree with you more, Chaviva!