ZenBunni

I of course took note of this dairy-free chocolate company, Zenbunni, as soon as I spotted the name – having been dubbed “Bunny” from an early age, I was lured in by the utter cuteness the moniker. And, of course…chocolate without dairy. ❤ 

Per the site, Zenibunni is. . .

ARTISANAL STONE GROUND BIODYNAMIC CACAO

EACH ZENBUNNI BAR IS HANDCRAFTED USING A WIDE OPEN RANGE OF CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC, ORGANIC, AND WILD FORAGED HEIRLOOM SPICES, HERBS, LEAVES, FLOWERS, NUTS, OILS, SALTS AND MINERALS TO SOOTHE, INSPIRE, AMAZE, DELIGHT, HEAL, AND NURTURE YOU, ALL GRACIOUSLY PROVIDED BY MOTHER NATURE.

The Company – who seems to have an overarching sense of “higher-vibration” going on – offers a variety of goodieseverything from chocolate bars, to coffees, to “coconache” (a blend of chocolate and coconut  butter…um, yes!) and drinking chocolate. Delicious, nature-loving, and energy-elevating? I like it. 🙂  

Locations are few and far between, sadly – while you can order online, bummer that you can’t just see sizing, and maybe snag one as a trial, in person. The bars seem to be pretty tiny, too, but at least the caloric profile isn’t outrageous…so it’s still a good option when a real craving hits. 

So while I wish I could just get one to see if I even liked it, I’m still psyched to see a yummy, dairy free option out there (available, at least, online), as cute and as creative as can be…

(PS, they have a Rabbit Report too, if you feel like signing up for updates!)

Costco Shenanigans

A lot of my buddies are weight lifters, figure competitors, and all around athletes – they need healthy food, and in serious quantity!  While I can’t say a restaurant-sized mayo is on my list (nor can I quite figure out who – OTHER than a restaurant could use it), there are so many great options at stores of the Costco ilk.  

For families who need to feed a lot of mouths, you can count on these kinds of stores to carry gargantuan spices too – things you will need on a daily basis, such as salt, pepper, and seasonings (giant plus – and kudos – for having the mineral-rich Himalayan pink salt also!  They were ahead of the curve on this one, and I’m psyched they still carry it!

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It definitely can save you a penny – or several – over time, so any of the more basic items are worth snagging there if you can.  They had a ton of organic fruit, and the fish, poultry, and meat sections are ENORMOUS (you can always freeze what you won’t consume right away!)

Of course there is a plethora of other stuff as well – frozen veggies, frozen chicken, salmon burgers, shrimp, cartoned egg whites and organic eggs – it’s score city if you have a solid appetite OR just need more than what the regular supermarket has on hand.  They even have salsa, hummus, turkey slices which, generally, aren’t the unhealthier ones – nice!

You can also find large-scale holiday paraphernalia while you’re out stocking up on food – always a blast.  I’m not necessarily coming home with these private skeletons but…way to go, Costco, busting out the Halloween so early!  YAAAHhHHHssSS! (Happy little (protein-eating) goth girl!)

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For more food-related deliciousness

My Current Go-To Meal

Despite my immense propensity for “getting bored,” I never seem to tire of healthy foods.  I’m enormously thankful for that, as I am scarcely exempt from getting cravings.  Fortunately a giant bowl protein and vegetables is generally enough to derail those venomous “you know you want a cookie”s, but it doesn’t mean it is always easy!  My willpower is tightly tied to my goals – I do my best to adhere to those, and focus on the end result as much as I can, which helps me see past the immediate satisfaction I *think* I’ll feel. 

gvu.gatech.edu

gvu.gatech.edu

Eating protein DOES help – you are providing your body with a slower-digesting source of fuel that registers as “satiety” for a longer period…and I definitely need that!  If not, I’d be in trouble – after my late 20s, food started to “stick,” whether I protested or not.  Staying well hydrated helps to stave off cravings as well, which helps me stick to my goals as best I can.

Shutterstock 283730408

Shutterstock 283730408

Lately my protein choices have changed (just a hair!) – since I eat a lot of the same foods, it isn’t at all surprising!  That said, it also isn’t so dramatic a change, my body will have any issues processing.  I’ve swapped out chicken breasts and tenders for ground chicken.  At least for now. I can’t say why specifically, but it totally hits the spot! 😀 Regardless of the protein source (salmon, shrimp and mild fish are other favorites!), I will always add vegetables.  

I add a few veggies into this recipe, but I add even more with it for a meal – I probably go through about 8  lbs of vegetables a day.  Yes…I said A DAY.  You know those enormous 4 lb frozen mixed vegetable packages at the supermarket?  I go through at least two a day (sometimes I use one, along with several smaller packages, varying the “mix.”)  Veggies add healthy, less calorically-dense VOLUME and, because I love to eat, volume is key.  My favorite picks are:

  • California Blend – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots. (I use these for the bulk)
  • Italian Blend – broccoli, cauliflower, Italian green beans, zucchini, carrots
  • Asian Blend – broccoli, snap peas, water chestnuts, red peppers, mushrooms
  • Ranchero Fiesta – broccoli, white beans, chickpeas, carrots, red peppers, dark red kidney beans, Italian green beans. (I generally use half a bag, mixed with less starchy vegetables, but I love these for the extra fiber and protein (which, again, helps you stay satisfied longer!))

Those aside, my favorite vegetables to prepare with the ground chicken are organic red, yellow, and orange peppers (sweeter than the green), sliced baby bella mushrooms, and fire roasted tomatoes.  Sometimes I also add baby spinach, but I’ll toss it in towards the end if I do so it doesn’t get cooked too much and lose nutrients.

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I slice the peppers into small strips, after removing the stem and seeds, and quartering.  The mushrooms just need to be rinsed, and that’s it!  I will heat the stove on high and toss all the veggies with some salt and pepper into my snazzy Curtis Stone pan (which I don’t have to use any oil with! 🙂 ) I generally put the cover on and let them simmer, stirring occasionally, for about six or seven minutes.  

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Then I put two pounds of ground chicken (Whole Foods can grind breast meat for you if they are out!) into a second, larger pan, over high heat – again, no oil is necessary, but I do sprinkle Jane’s Mixed Up Salt on both sides (it’s easy to sprinkle on one side while in the package, then when you place it in the pan face down, you can add to the second side.)  I give it about two or three minutes on high to let one side brown gently, then I flip.  I’ll give it a minute or two and then start to chop it with my spatula, and flip as necessary.  

I DON’T like dried-out meat, so I will get it cooked about 75% through, then add in the vegetable mixture, which is softened by now, but not overcooked.  I’ll let that simmer on a medium to high heat mixing periodically until it’s cooked through.  

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And voila…easy as that.  The whole thing doesn’t take more than about 15 minutes or so, and it lasts me through a few meals.  I DO tend to eat “dinner” a few times at Night, though… 🙂  It really is like feeding a raptor.

For more of my Nutritional Choices… 😀

Traveling Nutrition III

When I travel, I am always prepared – from an hour car ride to a several-hour flight, I am guaranteed to have snacks on my bag!  My other half is, as I’ve enumerated in the past, a great sport about it all – it’s not unlike traveling with a five year-old! 😀

The other day I had to head to NYC for the day – I probably spent about five and a half hours on the train, and a good two stuck at the train station.  At first I was thinking “UGH…this is just like an airport, only smaller with fewer options!”  Despite that I had my snacks, I was hoping for something more filling…so I scoped the scene.  

Fortunately, there was a deli in the terminal!  Most people ordered like normal folks – sandwiches and salads.  Then I get to the counter and ask for a half pound of sliced turkey!  I was so excited that there were healthy options available, and that I didn’t have to resort to buying a sandwich and removing the majority of it (including its exoskeleton, very likely!)

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But even without having the deli nearby, I was prepared!  I had one bag with all of my reading materials, and another for my snacks:

  • Fresh fruit is a great option because it contains fiber, nutrients and water…not to mention natural sugar to satisfy any I’m-traveling-let-me-just-grab-a-candybar-cravings. I brought a sumo orange, an organic fuji apple, and red grapes
  • Pistachios are another good option – the bag was small enough that I wouldn’t have gone crazy even if I ate it all (portions matter, especially with nuts!)  The fat and protein was helpful so I could feel full and not like I needed to devour something I’d be unhappy about!  I get salted and roasted because I do need a bit of extra salt, and the roasted flavor is delicious.
  • Seaweed chips in Barbecue are a favorite of mine… I don’t eat them every day but they are a nice crunchy option instead of having potato chips or crackers.  Sometimes baby carrots aren’t enough!

The sliced turkey was a great idea in addition to all the other goodies – it turned out to be a long day and the protein was just what I needed to stay satisfied.  (I did eat breakfast, by the way – egg whites and vegetables!)

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It’s better to be prepared with some healthy snacks if you are out and about, lest you order something unhealthy that you feel unhappy about later on – it isn’t hard to do, and there are items you can take without refrigeration.  

If you DO forget, most places these days have fresh fruit to buy, or at least fruit salads, as well as cut veggies (if I buy those, I get the ones with hummus, not a creamy dip!)  I was really excited to see the deli, though, and so appreciate how many more food shops are adding nutritious foods to their shelves….even in a dingy train station (no offense, PENN!)