Need a vacation, from your vacation?
Hopefully, this month has brought out the best of your peak performance. In seeking to be the very best, we must not forget the importance of downtime. Ask any performer and they will tell you the key to their success is ensuring adequate rest and recovery. In our practice at JTA Wellness, we find that many of our clients have a case of the “go-go’s” (no not the band!); where they tend to be going to a soccer game, going on business trip, going to plan a party, or going to babysit the grandbabies. Seldom do we hear people state they are taking time out of their day to recharge and let their body recoup. This week we want to challenge you to take charge of some of that long overdue R&R!
Think of the different areas of performance we have discussed this month (cognitive, digestive, emotional, athletic) and how much dedication they require on a daily basis. We have to be actively striving to achieve peak performance, but the strategy lies in the balance of not running oneself ragged; finding the yin to go with the yang, if you will!
Let’s explore the impact of rest and recovery on each of the performance areas.
Cognitive: We all know the feeling of being ‘brain-dead’. When this happens take a step back and determine the reason behind that feeling. Is the brain not being fueled? Are we overwhelmed or stressed? Take time out of the day to assess your mental prowess. It is a simple way of slowing down to give the mind the space it needs to perform at its peak.
Digestive: Learning that the gut has a mind of its own means it too needs adequate amounts of downtime. Giving your gut rest through deep breathing exercises, eliminating heavy calorie laden foods, or incorporating fiber rich foods that keep things moving are all solutions to managing your GI recovery.
Emotional: Who doesn’t need an emotional reboot from time to time? Often when we are feeling emotionally imbalanced, we are simply tired. Sleep is a time in which the body has a chance to heal and repair itself. Catching enough zzz’s can also affect your body’s reaction to insulin, along with other appetite stimulating hormones. How much is too much? Click here to learn more about how much sleep we should be getting and its impact on our health.
Athletic: A body in motion will continue to stay in motion, unless there is an outside force getting in the way. Remember, with training more is not always better. Over-training or over-use of the body can lead to excessive wear and tear. Tapering off before a competition, stretching, adding flexibility workouts are all vital aspects of a training routine.
This week’s Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich is a combination of the art of meal assembly and the ease of a slap together sandwich. Use grilled chicken (that can be marinated and grilled ahead of time), along with a zesty tatziki sauce (purchased or prepared using the recipe below) to create the ultimate performance sandwich on this your day of R&R!
30 mins + marinade
4 (5oz) skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon each ground pepper, cumin & turmeric
1 large cucumber thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon light sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
BREAD & SPREAD
2 tablespoons hummus
8 slices artisan bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 sprigs fresh dill
340 calories, 11g fat, 65mg cholesterol, 780mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 31g protein
(Sodium is dependent on the artisan bread chosen.)
1. Combine chicken, buttermilk, Kosher salt, pepper, curry, cumin, and turmeric in a large re-sealable plastic bag, seal, and turn to coat. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
2. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in medium bowl combine cucumber, red onion, sour cream, lemon juice, celery seeds, and Greek yogurt.
3. Grill chicken until cooked through, 5–7 minutes per side. Brush bread on both sides with oil and grill until toasted, about 2 minutes per side; spread with hummus. Layer with chicken breast, tzatziki sauce, sprinkle with fresh dill and enjoy!Leave a Comment »
As the Aerosmith song proclaims….”Sweet Emotion!”
We all have days where we just want to throw in the towel and tell ourselves I am too stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, worried, or tense to press onward. Controlling our stress hormone is an essential cornerstone of taking charge of our emotional performance. The hormone at the epicenter of stress management is cortisol, a hormone released from the adrenal glands atop the kidney.
Designed to give you a quick jolt of energy when you need to flee a dangerous situation (there’s a cheetah chasing you, an earthquake strikes, etc.), this is the role of cortisol. But our modern way of life, rampant with chaos and deadlines, has us frazzled into thinking that everything is a threat. What’s the result? Adrenal glands begin to emit cortisol which keeps us on high alert, even when there isn’t imminent danger looming. Enough time passes and this puts strain on your adrenals and creates a serious hormonal imbalance, not to mention raising your blood pressure and insulin levels.
It might help to think of cortisol as ‘The Hulk’ hormone: it’s not supposed to always be on, but that’s exactly what happens when you’re constantly stressed. Once cortisol gets a taste of its own power or can’t control the rage, Bruce Banner’s alter ego emerges and wreaks havoc on other hormones like insulin, growth hormone, epinephrine, and thyroid.
Keep that cortisol high enough on a daily basis, and fat storage increases. This is due to the fact that our body is now in survival response mode. Our body will not release weight when in this state; it’s going to slow our metabolism so that we have extra energy stores in case they are needed. Couple stress, poor sleep, and unbalanced hormone levels with a high-sugar, high-processed food diet, and you’ve got a surefire formula to feel crummy, sluggish, and unattractive.
Don’t despair, amidst this viscous cycle of stress there is hope. They key is moderation. Learning to achieve balance between the foods you consume, exercise you expend and the stress you allow in your life.
Through moderation and NOT deprivation we are able to control our indulgences for life’s sweet treats, in turn taking charge of our emotional performance (one chocolate-y bite at a time)! Decadent Chocolate Soufflés will provide a sweet treat without overindulging.
We leave you with this: Stressed spelled backwards is desserts, coincidence…I think not!
*Adapted from the New Mayo Clinic Cookbook
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground almonds
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup 1% milk
4 egg whites
3 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
1 cup raspberries
90 calories, 3g fat,
5mg cholesterol, 55mg sodium,
15g carbohydrate, 2g fiber,
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat bottom of 12 – 3 oz ramekins (or soufflé cups) with cooking spray.
In small bowl, combine cocoa and hot water, stirring until smooth; set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in canola oil. Add flour, ground almonds and cinnamon. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in brown sugar, honey and salt. Gradually add milk and stir constantly until thickened (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and stir into the cocoa mixture. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy with electric mixer on high speed. Add granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cocoa mixture. Then fold the remaining egg whites into the cocoa mixture, mixing gently only until no white streaks remain.
Divide the mixture into the prepared dishes. Bake for 15 minutes or until the soufflé rises above the rim and is set in the center. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with raspberries. Serve warm.
In Good Health,
For more information on Jan Tilley, MS RDN LD, check out her website at jtawellness.com.Leave a Comment »
Are you at peak performance?
Performance is typically thought of in relation to athletic ability, but in reality it can encompass multi facets including cognitive, digestive, emotional, athletic, and rest/recovery. This month we will be focusing on all aspects of performance to provide you tools to boost your performance in each area.
Food for thought…your cognitive prowess is significantly impacted by the foods you choose. The brain and its protective covering (the myelin sheath) are comprised of 60-70% fat, thus the need for consumption of essential fatty acids is vital to our daily thought process. While the brain may be structurally made up of fat, its primary fuel source comes from carbohydrates. Our brain’s efficiency is determined by what type of carbohydrate foods we consume. Carbs have a dual function; they act as an energy source as well as being the most initial component for most reactions in the body. During a day, about ¾ of the carbs consumed are used to fuel the brain. The brain requires a steady input of carbohydrates since it is unable to store large amounts of carbs throughout the day. No wonder we feel sleepy and slow during the day if we skip meals. Being able to maintain peak cognitive performance throughout the day requires a steady flow of nutrient and fluid intake.
In honor of July 4th.. .let the fireworks of flavor explode with this week’s recipe, Salmon Croquettes with Avocado Lime Dressing. This recipe is designed to include all the basic nutrients your brain needs to reach its peak performance.
Salmon Croquettes with Avocado Lime Dressing
Serves 6 (12 patties)
1 large sweet potato, cooked, cooled and mashed
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup packed chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten
5 (5oz) packets of skinless, boneless Pink Salmon
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ ripe medium avocado
¾ cup packed fresh cilantro
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon agave or honey
½ teaspoon salt
270 calories, 10g fat, 85mg cholesterol, 630mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 28g protein
1. In a large bowl, stir together mashed sweet potato, bread crumbs, parsley, shallots, lemon zest and juice, hot sauce and seasonings. Stir in egg and salmon; mix together just until blended.
2. Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out evenly sized croquettes until you have twelve patties. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (you can also freeze the patties for future use).
3. While croquettes are chilling, prepare dressing. Place all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and set aside.
4. In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in medium high heat. Place six croquettes into skillet and cook for about 4 minutes or until golden brown. Gently flip and cook another 4 minutes. Place croquettes on baking sheet and warm (250 degrees) and repeat with remaining oil and croquettes.
5. Serve 2 croquettes over mixed green salad. Top with two tablespoons of dressing.Leave a Comment »
On a daily basis, I talk to clients who do not drink enough water because they simply do not enjoy the taste. A common reply I hear when asked about how much water they consume is, “when the ice melts in my drink.” Summer is here and most of us do not consider the impact the heat has on our hydration needs. So grab a glass of ice cold water and read on.
Did you know that 60% of your body is made up of water? We can conclude then, that water impacts many functions within our body. Drinking fluids serves a variety of purposes, such as eliminating waste through urine; regulating body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
This week, we invite you to evaluate your hydration habits with the provided questions below:
- How many different sources of fluids do I consume that hydrate me?
- Do I know how much fluid I should be drinking each day?
- Am I able to recognize the signs and symptoms of over-hydration and dehydration?
- Can I identify the functions within my body that water affects?
- Am I willing to choose water over other fluids to ensure proper hydration?
Being aware of signs/symptoms of dehydration is important when trying to maintain proper nutrient balance within the body. Common signs/symptoms include dark-colored urine, salty sweat, thirst, flush skin, increase in body temperature, dizziness and rapid breathing or pulse. Take a break, check your pulse….. have you been sipping on fluids while reading this message, or water?
You may be wondering what counts toward your fluid intake. We identify it best in a liquid form, but hydration can also be found within the foods we eat. The proportion of water that comes from beverages and food varies with the proportion of fruits and vegetables in the diet. According to USDA National Nutrient Database, the water content for selected foods was as follows: water at 100%; melon, cabbage, celery, lettuce at 90-99%; fruit, cooked broccoli at 80-89%; avocados, cottage cheese, baked potato, shrimp at 70-79%.
Salads, while hydrating as they are, happen to be left as forethought or a side dish for most people. We would like to show you how to hydrate with food and, in fact, make salad the shining star. Our recipe this week is inspired by the ingredients found in Vietnamese spring rolls and the fresh explosion of flavors that they offer. This Vietnamese Spring Roll Salad is designed to be an all in one entrée, perfectly orchestrated to include starch, fruit, protein, and fat needs.
- • 4 ounces vermicelli rice noodles, cooked as directed on package
- • 2 cups skinless cold rotisserie chicken breast—shredded
- • 2 cups Boston lettuce, torn
- • 1 cup matchstick carrots
- • 1 cup bean sprouts
- • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- • 2 green onions, sliced
- • 1 cup fresh papaya, cubed
- • ¼ cup basil, torn
- • ¼ cup cilantro, torn
- • ¼ cup mint, torn
- • ¼ cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- • 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
- • ½ teaspoon oil
- • 1 clove garlic, chopped
- • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- • 1 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- • ¼ cup water
- • ½ teaspoon fish sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
- • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- • 1 fresh lime, juiced
- • 1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
- Assemble the salad, toss in dressing and enjoy.
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until it thickens, about 2 minutes.