Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blackened Tilapia Fish Tacos with Mango Slaw

Fish tacos are one of the healthy meals my husband will eat without fuss. The kids will eat the components separately, and I can eat about a million of them ;)

I volunteered to make supper for the in-laws the other night, so I thought I would throw these together in the hopes that it would make everyone happy. I served the fish tacos alongside some roasted zucchini and red pepper. For dessert, I mixed up some simple strawberry shortcakes with a little key lime cheesecake yogurt.  

They were a hit, so I thought I would share my recipe here. I will write up the shortcakes next week.

Blackened Tilapia Fish Tacos with Mango Slaw

Serves 6

12 corn tortillas
6 fillets of tilapia (I buy frozen and thaw in the sink)
1 recipe of my blackening seasoning (recipe HERE - I just keep it on hand in the cabinet)
Fresh or dried cilantro, to taste
Optional - thinly sliced avocado, limes

1 bag shredded cabbage or coleslaw veggie mix
1/2 mango, diced
1/4 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt (you could also use mayo)
3 tbsp sweetener of choice (I used stevia)
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp vinegar (I used mango Balsamic vinegar)
dash of salt and pepper 

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sweetener, lime juice, and vinegar. Toss with cabbage or coleslaw mix and diced mango until coated. This can be made the night before and stored in the fridge.

Preheat a large non-stick grill pan over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Season each side of the tilapia fillets with blackening seasoning and cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side.

Heat up the corn tortillas. Divide each fillet between 2 tortillas and top with approximately 1/4 cup mango coleslaw. Top with a slice of avocado and squeeze of lime juice, if desired. Garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Nutritional stats per serving

(1/6 of recipe, excludes avocado)

299 calories

3 g fat

37 g carbs

29 g protein

Sunday, May 10, 2015

How to Talk Yourself into the Gym and Sticking with Your Nutrition Plan

I feel like sharing a big secret- most people suck at sticking to training consistently OR sticking to a nutrition plan. Almost everyone in the industry I know personally, along with VERY fit friends, struggle more with one or the other. Nobody finds this stuff "easy". So let yourself off the hook! Feel better? Good!

With that being said, there is probably a hack, or trick, that might help you get better at the things you struggle with. Some of these tricks were game changers for me.

The following was a post from a dear Venus Vet friend, Laura:

I did NOT want to work-out today... Today is a "talk myself into it" day.
Here is how I talk myself into it:

1. I still bring all my work-out clothes to the office. I can stare at them all day long, if I want.
2. I have to go to the gym. I tell myself I need only spend "20 minutes" there....but it is non-negotiable that I have to go.
3. When I get to the gym, I tell myself "you only need to do 2 sets of each exercise"....this isn't true, as I am supposed to do 3, but I give myself PERMISSION to only do 2 sets.
4. When I get onto the first exercise, I talk myself into doing 3 sets of it. And I do that for each subsequent exercise.
5. By the end, I have spent 50-60 minutes in the gym, and I give myself PERMISSION to stay 10 more minutes for a nice stretch.

BOOM! Lifting done and I have talked myself through it. The "talking through it" expends energy....the "after glow" is ALWAYS worth that extra effort to get it done.

I think the previous is outstanding advice for anyone who struggles with getting their training done.

Here are a couple of other suggestions that I will add as a first thing in the morning gym goer:

  • Sleep in your gym clothes
  • Place your alarm in a place that you have to get OUT of bed to turn off.

Do you have any other tricks or hacks that gets you to the gym?

This got me thinking about diet/macro/nutritional hacks and tips. Here are a few of mine:

  • Treats/trigger foods are best out of sight- in a pantry instead of on the counter and in a box instead of glass.
  • I cannot tell myself anything is off limits, that ends in overdoing it for me later. I can plan X amount in and stick that amount. I can stick to that amount way more often than not. 
  • If a surprise treat shows up at the house or work (for example, today a student brought my favorite brownies with nuts for me!) I re-arrange to budget it in.  A couple of brownies took the place of my protein bar snack today. Ideal? No. But lots better than overeating now or really overdoing it tomorrow by not having some today. Also on that note, I plate off a treat from the break room and cover it for later. That leaves me from feeling like I have to have whatever right now, which is a fear of missing out. It sounds dumb writing it out, but many struggle with FOMO.
  • I feel most secure with a plan- overall for the week's meals and then planning out the day's specific amounts in MFP. Some people are the opposite, they rebel from a plan. Ideally, we trust ourselves to make the best choice in whatever situation- plan or no plan. I am learning and growing in self trust to make the best choices without a plan.
  • Most of the time, I would rather trade breakfast for a dessert. I like most of my calories starting about 5 pm. So most days is a smaller lunch, protein bar snack (<200 cals), larger dinner, and dessert.
  • Walking or coffee/hot tea will delay my hunger and cut cravings.
  • I need plenty of veggies/fruit and lots of protein in relation to carbs and fats to feel my best.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids helps me to look and feel my best. I try to have a big drink with me at all times or else I will not drink enough.
  • If I am not paying attention to my intake, my natural tendency is to overeat. It is what it is.

What are your nutritional hacks and tips?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bulgarian Split Squats with a Band

Bulgarian split squats require a great deal of strength, but this unilateral exercise is great for the quads, hams, and glutes! This exercise will definitely let you know if you are lacking strength anywhere. If you need a regression, substitute weighted squats. To make it more challenging, add weights but I would place your foot on a stable surface like a bench instead of using the band.

I like using the band for body weight BSS.  It is comfortable for my ankle and hip. My bench is too high for me.

One other thing that I have noticed this movement will definitely make any hip, knee, or ankle mobility issues apparent! I have some ankle and hip mobility issues that I am working on. Dr. Kelly Starrett has some great, free online video mobility tutorials available on his YouTube channel; these have really helped me out!

Form tips:
* keep your torso upright
* it helps to start with your back knee on the ground so you can get your front leg in the right position
* your toe should not go past your knee on the front leg
* do not lift the heel on the front foot
* a full rep should include the back knee touching the ground (I struggle here, working on it! But at least get thigh parallel to ground on your front foot)

Try these and see what you think!
X - Liss

Friday, April 24, 2015

Venus Meets up in Miami

This past weekend, Venus members from around the world met up in fabulous South Beach in Miami, Florida, on the beach. We enjoy each other so much in the community that we knew we would have a blast in real life! We put a heads up in the forum about 2 months ago, and I could hardly wait until it was time to go!
Dinner at Meat Market on Lincoln in Miami

Enjoying a night out on the town; dinner at Meat Market on Lincoln
Hanging out at Miami Beach

From left: Coach Lita, Coach Liss, Coach Jenny, and Naomi enjoying Miami Beach

As crazy as it sounds, we make some pretty tight bonds in the Venus forum.  We are from all over the world and completely different walks of life, but driving change puts us on a similar path.   ...Continue Reading HERE

Sunday, April 19, 2015

6 Nuggets on Getting Stuff Done

Venus hosted a call the other day with a guru on taking action or getting stuff done (GSD). I actually was not that excited about it but felt I needed to take part, and I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Here are some tidbits I took away.

1) Linguistics matter

The term "workout" might have negative connotations for you. Everyone is different, study how that word makes you feel. What do you associate it with? If the term is negative, use a new term for your Venus weight lifting program. Perhaps training (my personal fave) or exercise would be a better fit for you. The same goes with anything- diet, chores, budget, whatever.

2) Get off the excited wheel

Whenever you start a new diet-exercise plan (or really any new program) you are excited for about 7 days. Then the new excitement wears off and things become mundane. 99% of the population goes searching for the next "thing" soon after and thus circle the excited wheel again.

Thing is, on the other side of mundane lies the goal. Looks like this- excited < mundane < goal

If you would stick with plan XYZ (we are assuming the plan works, Venus for example) then you will arrive at goal in time. Instead the majority are in the excited loop. Excited < mundane < new plan < excited < mundane < new plan

3)  Find happiness in striving

Most people *think* they will finally be happy once they achieve goal X (insert body, money, significant other)

And they never are. Because the new wears off the goal once you achieve it in 2 days, studies show. Even goals that take YEARS to achieve such as winning an Olympic medal or setting foot on the moon.

Learn to be content where you are, find the happy in striving.  Again, this is true for health, wealth, and relationships.

4) Quit focusing on your problems

Instead focus on HOW to SOLVE them. The only sure way to fail is to stop trying. The thing that makes big achievers different is that they are consistent. They are persistent in troubleshooting and refusing to give up. Allowing others- especially someone who has been there, to help you problem solve is key. (This is where coaching come in, and why it works!) 

It is said there are no new problems. Quit trying to reinvent the wheel. Many hands make short work.

5) Be congruent

Do you do what you say you will? If you cannot count on YOU, who can you count on? Be decisive (indecisiveness is common for women) and live it with 2 feet in. Quit half-heartedly doing things, be in or out.

6) There is no perfect

Perfectionists tend to operate as procrastinators (It gives an out as to why it is not good enough to anyone else, and helps to avoid the task because of the mental drain.) Perfectionists also operate from a scared position, afraid to mess up.  No person. At anything. So quit trying to live up to that.

Instead focus on "more often than not" and doing "your honest best."

These nuggets were some reminders I needed that day, so I though I would share :) GSD!
X- Liss

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Healthy Stuffed Peppers

Growing up, my momma used to make stuffed peppers. They were wonderful. And I had kind of forgotten about them until I suddenly had a craving the other day.

The best thing is that this recipe is easy to sub and exchange items in to fit your plan. I will show you how I tweaked it, and suggest some other easy changes. The servings are huge, a great bang for your calorie buck! And at 409 calories per pepper and 39 g of protein, I am loving these macros.

Healthy Stuffed Peppers

Makes 4 hearty servings

4 bell peppers in any color
1 lbs lean ground beef (I used 90% lean, you could also sub lean ground chicken or turkey)
1 can tomato sauce (you could also sub diced tomatoes)
1/2 cup rice, cooked (you could also sub uncooked oats, even breadcrumbs or pureed cauliflower)
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 tbsp egg whites (or one whole egg)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp stevia
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves, pressed)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup cheese (Optional. I used cheddar. You could sub parmesan and mix it with the other ingredients.)

What you do:
Preheat oven to 350F.

Wash the peppers, and cut the tops off and remove the seeds inside. Place in a microwave safe dish, and microwave for 5 minutes to blanch.

In a separate large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients (except cheese) by hand thoroughly.

Grease an 8x8" pan and place the peppers upright. Stuff the meat mixture into the peppers. Place in the oven for 1 hour.

The last 3-5 minutes, pull the peppers out and top with cheese. Put back in the oven to melt.

Nutritional stats per serving:

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 409
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19 g30 %
Saturated Fat 9 g45 %
Monounsaturated Fat 7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 118 mg39 %
Sodium 1118 mg47 %
Potassium 1011 mg29 %
Total Carbohydrate 17 g6 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g14 %
Sugars 8 g
Protein 39 g78 %
Vitamin A83 %
Vitamin C263 %
Calcium17 %
Iron29 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because therecipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

10 Weight watchers points plus PPV

9 weight watchers points

Sunday, April 5, 2015

High Protein Pumpkin Pie

I had a craving for pumpkin pie this week. Haha! Makes perfect sense since it is Easter, right?

So I took a fellow Venus Coach, Coach Roberta AKA Ro's protein custard souffle recipe and tweaked it to what I had and my craving! Everyone has been raving about these protein custards she has been making too! So I had to check them out. The nutritional stats are IMPRESSIVE :) 21g protein in 145 cals. DANNNNG.

I am thinking this will be excellent for breakfast, snack, or dessert. YES!

High Protein Pumpkin Pie

Serves 4

1 can pumpkin puree
2 cups egg whites (I used Egg Beaters)
1/2 cup water (you could sub unsweetened almond milk too)
1 scoop vanilla whey protein (I used GNC wheybolic vanilla)
2 tbsp stevia powder (or approx 20 drops of liquid)
2 tbsp whole almonds, ground (or 1 tbsp almond flour)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice (you can also sub in equal parts nutmeg, clove, ginger, and cinnamon)

What you do: Preheat oven to 250*F. Grind the almonds into powder in the blender or food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a greased 8x8" pan and bake for 60 min.

Cool and cut into fourths. Store chilled.

Nutritional Stats
Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 145
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2 g3 %
Saturated Fat 0 g1 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 10 mg3 %
Sodium 234 mg10 %
Potassium 221 mg6 %
Total Carbohydrate 9 g3 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g13 %
Sugars 4 g
Protein 21 g42 %
Vitamin A0 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium4 %
Iron2 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because therecipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

3 weight watcher points plus PPV

2 weight watchers points