Eat Smart with Jan Tilley: Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich

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!

Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich

30 mins + marinade
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

GRILLED CHICKEN

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


TZATZIKI SAUCE

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

Nutrition Information
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!

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How To Choose The Right Running (Or Walking) Shoe

Choosing the right shoe for you walk or run is an important decision. The wrong shoes can lead to injury, discomfort, or end your outdoor career before it begins. However, choosing the right shoe will keep your feet happy, support your unique running mechanics, and make the miles fly by.

1. Foot Type and Gait Analysis

We all have unique physical attributes. The first step to finding the right pair of running shoes is to determine your individual needs. Do you have flat feet or high arches? Do you pronate or supinate? Are you a heel-striker? These are difficult questions, especially for beginners. Fortunately, there are experts available (at no cost) to analyze your specific needs and point you in the right direction. Find your local running specialty store and pay them a visit.

2. Don’t Believe the Hype

Be careful not to get caught up in the marketing hype that shoe companies use to sell their products. Barefoot running, spring-loaded blades, energy return lugs, extra thin soles, extra thick soles, etc. They all claim to be innovative and new, which is why they are best to avoid. You want to go with something that has been tested and validated.

3. Comfort Over Style

Once you know the type of shoe you need, the fun begins. Try on as many shoes as you can. When you find a shoe that feels good, you’ll know it right away. Your running shoes should provide plenty of wiggle room for your toes while remaining snug around your heel. Hopefully, you find a shoe that looks as good as it feels.

4. Use Before Buying

Take them out for a test drive before purchasing them. Most specialty stores will allow you to take a quick run in their shoes before you buy them. If you purchase online, look for companies that will allow you to return them after taking them out of the box for a run. The run test should be done at your regular running pace to determine fit and feel.

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Eat Smart with Jan Tilley: Decadent Chocolate Souflles

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!

Decadent Chocolate Souffles

*Adapted from the New Mayo Clinic Cookbook
35 mins

Dessert

Serves 12

INGREDIENTS

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
Nutrition Information
90 calories, 3g fat,
5mg cholesterol, 55mg sodium,
15g carbohydrate, 2g fiber,
3g protein

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,

Jan

For more information on Jan Tilley, MS RDN LD, check out her website at jtawellness.com.

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Is It Worse To Have A Bad Night’s Sleep Or A Short Night’s Sleep?

Parents of newborns — and anyone else who faces multiple awakenings a night — know this to be true: The brain fog and testy temper from waking up several times throughout the night is real. And now, research is backing this up.

A new study in the journal Sleep Medicine shows that cognitive ability, attention span and mood are all impacted negatively from interrupted sleep — to a similar extent as only getting four hours of sleep.

“The sleep of many parents is often disrupted by external sources such as a crying baby demanding care during the night. Doctors on call, who may receive several phone calls a night, also experience disruptions,” study researcher Avi Sadeh, a professor at Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences, explained in a statement. “These night wakings could be relatively short — only five to ten minutes — but they disrupt the natural sleep rhythm.”

For the study, Sadeh and other researchers had 61 healthy adults between ages 20 and 29, 40 of whom were women, undergo two nights of sleep. One night, the participants had a normal night’s sleep, but the other night, they were assigned to either have restricted sleep (just four hours of sleep for the night) or induced night-wakings (where they were woken up four times over an eight-hour period in bed). For the participants assigned to the night-wakings group, the wakings were each about 15 minutes and required them to do a short task on a computer before being allowed to go back to sleep.

Researchers monitored sleep with sleep diaries and actigraphy. The next morning of each of the nights, participants underwent testing and answered questionnaires to gauge their mood, alertness and attention.

All of the participants — those who got restricted sleep, and those woken up during the night — experienced attention problems and more confusion, fatigue and depression as a result of their bad sleep. Researchers noted that even though the study only examined the effects of one night of bad sleep, “we know that these effects accumulate and therefore the functional price new parents — who awaken three to ten times a night for months on end — pay for common infant sleep disturbance is enormous,” Sadeh said in the statement.

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6 Tips To Make Eating Healthy Easy, Even When You’re On The Go

It’s a familiar scenario: you have five minutes before you have to leave for work and you haven’t made your lunch yet. You know grabbing something from the cafe downstairs is going to be unhealthy and expensive.

Next time you shop, ensure you stock up on these six ingredients. Having them on hand and ready to go will make fixing lunches a breeze!

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is actually a vegetable from the beet and spinach family, but it can act as the perfect gluten-free grain base for your salad. Quinoa is high in protein, essential fatty acids, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, and minerals. Quinoa cooks up in about 15 minutes and is very versatile. Add it to soups, salads or any meal where you would use rice. Always cook extra and keep it in the fridge.

2. Finely grated carrots

Finely grated carrots add an extra vegetable to any meal in an instant.

Carrots are high in vitamin C when eaten raw. The high fiber content helps lower cholesterol. The beta carotene is converted into vitamin A, which protects vision, especially night vision. It also helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.

Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system and fights against the free radicals that cause cancer. It also reduces the incidence of strokes.

Beta carotene is a fat soluble compound. In order to absorb it, you need to eat carrots with some healthy fat or oil. Always eat them with a salad dressing containing oil or with our next ingredient.

3. Avocados

When you eat healthy fats, you lose fat. Avocados are rich in healthy essential fatty acids which contain natural anti-inflammatory properties: regulate blood sugar, and are high in fiber, vitamins and potassium. And, they are good for your heart. Cut your avocado in half and bring half or the whole thing along. At lunch time, peel it and cut it into cubes. That green outer layer of the avocado’s flesh is high in cancer fighting antioxidants.

4. Vegetables to steam in advance

Many people think of only using lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a salad. Pump up your veggie intake by adding all kinds of left over, lightly steamed vegetables from your dinner the night before, or that you prepare in advance. Beans, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, beets, corn, peas, asparagus, sweet potatoes … ah, the possibilities.

5. Hummus, beans, or other protein

To balance your lunch and satisfy your appetite, you need a source of protein. Hummus is a great way to include this protein. Alternatively, add your favorite beans to your salad. They’re high in fiber and low in fat. Choose kidney beans, lima beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.

Cold leftover chicken or fish will satisfy the non-vegetarians. Prepare these in advance and keep them handy to add to your veggies for lunch!

6. Homemade salad dressing

Store-bought dressings contain unhealthy, processed oils, added sugar, salt, and chemical preservatives. Make a big jar of your own. Add two parts extra virgin olive oil to one part your choice of unpasteurized vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar. Unpasteurised vinegar is the best choice because the less processing a food has undergone, the healthier it is for us. Avoid white vinegar as it blocks the production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach that is needed for digestion.

Add in some sun-dried sea salt or Himalayan salt and your favorite dried herbs: basil, oregano, Dijon etc., along with some crushed garlic. Transport your salad dressing in a small, leak-proof plastic container. Add it into your salad right before you eat so everything stays fresh and crisp.

It takes some planning, but with these staples on hand, you can create an endless variety of healthy lunches that will help you save money, give you more energy, and keep you satisfied until dinner so you avoid the temptation of an unhealthy afternoon snack.

Happy shopping and bon appétit!

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