WIAW #4

Today’s WIAW (a linkup where fellow foodies showcase their daily eats) shows everything I ate yesterday (plus non-pictured copious amounts of H2O). I was on campus pretty much all day and packed my lunch, snacks and dinner. It’s a good example of how you can eat healthy while at work or school all day. All it takes is a little planning the night before.

As always, remember that the point of WIAW is not to compare your eats to mine, but to gain meal ideas and recipe inspiration. Plus, it’s always fun to get a glimpse into the lives of the bloggers you follow! See what everyone else is eating here and check out more of my own eats here.

 

Pre-workout snack- 5:15am

I had a busy day on campus ahead of me, so I decided to wake up extra early to squeeze in an at-home yoga workout beforehand. I’m the type of person who absolutely NEEDS a little something in my stomach before I workout, no matter how early it is. Today I opted for ½ a pumpkin pie Larabar. It’s energy dense to keep me going, but light enough so as not to weigh me down through all the twists, folds, planks, etc. I do!

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Breakfast-7:15am

I strayed from my usual morning oatmeal because I had an intense craving for a classic pb & j on toast! I paired it with a plum and glass of milk to wash it all down. Perfect.

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Mid-morning snack-11am

I felt snacky and slightly hungry mid-morning, but didn’t want to break for lunch quite yet so I ate my emergency “if I get ravenous snack” of an apple.

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Lunch-12:30pm

Shortly after, I was definitely ready for lunch. I packed a large salad with mixed greens and tons of fun toppings including beets, butternut squash, dried cranberries, cucumbers, blue cheese, walnuts, tomatoes and peppers. I topped it all with a chopped chicken thigh (which is a great change up from the usual chicken breast even though it is slightly higher in fat) and tossed it in my homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

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Dinner-5:15pm

I have a night class from 6-9pm on Tuesdays so I usually skip the afternoon snack and just eat an early dinner. Tonight I packed a turkey burger on a piece of toast with avocado (hidden underneath!) plus another salad (that’s already mostly eaten in this pic) similar to the one I had for lunch but without the chicken. I tend to go on vegetable kicks and right now, I’m all about the salad with beets, dried cranberries and blue cheese!

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Evening snack/dessert-9pm

After I got home from class, I still had a bit of reading to do and decided I wanted chocolate to make it more bearable. I had a couple handfuls of these dark chocolate caramel pretzels crisps (which are AMAZING and are made with simple, non-funky ingredients). I had the amount pictured X2!

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Supplement Series Part 2: A Focus on Protein Powder, Creatine & Pre-workout

Last week, I introduced you to the first of three posts about nutrition supplements. For more information on the background, regulation and safety of supplementation, click here (link). Today, I’m going to focus on evaluating three supplements: protein powder, creatine and pre-workout. I see and get asked a lot about these in my job as a dietitian and also as a group exercise instructor. I am frequently in the fitness environment, whether it be instructing, giving wellness presentations or individual counseling sessions, or just working out myself, and I know there is a lot of misinformation out there. So let’s get into it to see whether these products actually work and are worth your money!

Protein Powder

Reason people use it-believed to enhance muscle growth and improve strength

Benefits-

  • Convenient
  • Replenishes muscle glycogen stores
  • May reduce muscle soreness and inflammation

Cons-

  • Protein powder is not better for muscle development compared to real food
  • May contain excessive amounts of protein or “funky” ingredients
  • May not be made from “high-quality” protein (i.e. whey protein)

Overall thoughts- Protein powder does what it is supposed to do: it repairs muscle fibers and replenishes glycogen stores lost through exercise. However, “real” foods high in protein (i.e. meats dairy, beans, etc.) are just as beneficial and offer additional nutritional benefit including vitamins, minerals and fiber. So, if you can, just eat a protein-rich snack or meal after a workout. However, if this is impossible, a protein shake is a good, easy option. Whey protein is best, or if you are vegetarian, choose a high-quality plant-based product. As always, read the labels and make sure you can pronounce most of the ingredients.

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Creatine

Reason people use it-creatine is an amino acid naturally produced by the body. It is thought to enhance workout performance and increase muscle mass

Benefits-

  • Some studies show improvement in performance and muscle mass when consumed in amounts of 20-25g/day

Cons-

  • Those with naturally high body creatine levels do not benefit from additional creatine supplementation
  • Long-term use may cause down-regulation of natural creatine synthesis

Overall thoughts-Taking additional creatine may be beneficial if your goal is muscle growth. However, more research is needed to conclude this. At the current time, there is still controversy surrounding it and not enough evidence to absolutely prove that it works. If you do decide to take it, ingest only 20-25g at one time.

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Pre-workout

Reason people use it- Basically an energy drink, it is believed to improve workout performance

Pros-

  • Placebo effect

Cons-

  • No research indicating additional enhanced performance compared to placebo

Overall thoughts-Taking pre-workout results in purely a placebo effect and there are no studies indicating improved workout performance. In support of this, one study* compared two groups of college males, measuring their lean body mass (muscle) and workout performance. One group consumed a pre-workout beverage 15 minutes before a weight-lifting session while the other group drank a placebo. Lean body mass and workout performance significantly improved in BOTH groups. This indicates that there is no additional benefit to consuming pre-workout. In fact, they oftentimes contain a slue of warnings and funky ingredients that may be harmful in the long run.

*Kudrna R, Moodie N, McCartney M, Bustamante J, Fry A, Gallagher P. The Effect of a Multi-Ingredient High Caffeine Pre-Exercise Supplement on Strength Power and Body Composision in 8 Weeks of Resistance Training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2011 Mar 1;25:S112.

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Next week I will discuss whether or not you actually need supplements, and if so, how to choose the best and safest one!

Italian Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

I’m coming at you today with a classic comfort food dish, meatloaf. However, my recipe has a healthy twist. Instead of high-fat ground beef, I chose to use lean ground turkey, which drastically decreases the fat content of the dish. In place of highly processed breadcrumbs, I subbed whole-grain quinoa to increase the fiber content. Finally, I snuck in a healthy serving of vegetables by using natural marinara sauce and tossing in some fresh baby tomatoes.

Additionally, instead of baking it in a large loaf pan, I chose to use muffin tins. This not only creates instant portion control, but also decreases the baking time! So basically, it’s a win-win situation. This is also a great freezer-friendly meal as well. Simply bake, freeze, de-thaw and heat back up when your ready!

Italian Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 lb. lean ground turkey

1 egg, beaten

¼ cup quinoa, uncooked

1/3 cup tomatoes, chopped

½ onion, diced

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

1 Tbs. Italian seasoning

2 ½ cups marinara sauce

6 Tbs. mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 375O F.

Combine all ingredients from lean ground turkey to Italian seasoning in a large bowl. Add in 2 cups of the marinara sauce. Divide into a large, greased muffin tin (6 muffins total). Top with remaining marinara and mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

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Supplement Series Part 1: Definition, Regulation & Safety

Supplements are hot sellers in today’s society where everyone is in search of a quick fix to their nutrition woes. Whether the goal is weight-loss, increased muscle mass or enhanced workout performance, supplements are an ever-growing industry that more and more people are buying into (literally).

Unfortunately, there is a lack of testing and monitoring and products oftentimes sport untrue claims. In fact, many supplements are actually ineffective and can even be hazardous to your health. As a result, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you all with the accurate facts in regards to supplementation. In this three-part series I will be addressing the following:

Part 1: A general overview of supplements including their definition and regulation

Part 2: A focus on three popular nutrition supplements (protein powder, creatine and pre-workout)

Part 3: Tips on choosing the safest supplement and general recommendations addressing whether or not you actually need to be taking them

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Today, I’ll start out by giving you a little overview of supplements before diving into the knitty-gritty details.

1.) Definition

First off, what exactly is a supplement? According to the Dietary Supplement and Education Act (DSHEA), a dietary supplement is any “vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, other dietary supplements, and any concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or a combination of any of these ingredients”. So for example, I take an additional probiotic and Vitamin D, thus I take supplements. If you take a daily multi-vitamin, you take supplements.

2.) Background and Regulation

More than $32 billion a year is spent on more than 85,000 different types of supplements in U.S. alone. Unlike almost everything else (including food, beverages & makeup) they are not required to be tested for safety or efficacy by Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, a supplement must be proven to be dangerous before it can be recalled and subsequently taken off the market.

3.) Safety

There is no guarantee of product purity or potency. Since the FDA is not required to test supplements before placing them on the shelves of GNC, basically anyone can create and market a product even if they don’t work. This also means supplements are prone to deceptive labeling. Products may be laced with banned or harmful substances (i.e. steroids, amphetamines, active ingredients in prescription drugs, etc.), obviously posing health risks. This could also result in what’s called “accidental doping”. For instance, an athlete may be using a protein powder that contains steroids, but he/she may not know it because it is not listed on the label because the law does not require it. Thus, they may fail their drug test and be kicked off their sports team as a result. Of course, not all supplements contain illegal or harmful drugs (I’ll get into this in part 3), but this indicates the need for precaution when choosing a brand.

 

Now you have a better understanding of what supplements actually are and how they are regulated (or more accurately, how they are not regulated). Part 2 will focus on three specific supplements I see a lot in the nutrition and fitness world: protein powder, creatine and pre-workout.

WIAW #3

Today showcases all my eats from yesterday. As I mentioned here, I am back on the healthy eating train after a week of delicious, albeit heavy, food followed by coke and saltines when I got sick towards the end of my trip. Read more about the premise behind WIAW here and remember, the goal is NOT TO COMPARE YOURSELF to others. Without further adieu, here we go!

Breakfast: 7am

Banana oatmeal in an almost empty peanut butter jar (alternatively titled: Oats In A Jar or OIAJ). This is a great way to get all the peanut butter goodness without wasting any!

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Lunch: 11:30am

Turkey meatloaf muffins + 1/2 baked sweet potato w/ cinnamon + & Parmesan garlic roasted brussel sprouts. All of which I prepped this past Sunday, which was awesome to simply pack up and go with for a busy day on campus.

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Snack: 3pm

Strawberry Greek yogurt + 1 Nature Valley crunchy honey granola bar crumbled on top.

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Dinner: 5:30pm

Salmon burger wrap w/ pepper jack cheese & veggies + carrots + a 100 calorie individual guacamole cup (found at Costco!) which I dipped both the carrots and my wrap in.

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Snack/Dessert: 9pm

A simple Pink Lady apple topped w/ cinnamon. Sometimes I want ice cream the size of my head and sometimes a simple piece of fruit is exactly what I crave. It’s just a matter of really listening to your body.

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See what everyone else is eating here!

Monday Meal Prep

I just got back from a spring break get-away to San Francisco, CA with my best friend. We both had an AMAZING time eating, drinking and exploring unnnnntilll we both got hit with a nasty stomach bug Thursday…yeah, major bummer. Anyways, after a week off from working out and consuming ALL the rich food (followed by nothing but flat Coke and saltines), I am more than ready to get back to my normal healthy routine.

To do so, I immediately hit the grocery store and prepped a couple nutritious dishes to have on hand throughout the week. I previously posted some basic meal prepping guidelines and ideas here, but thought it would be beneficial to show you what that means through a real life example.

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Pictured above is everything I prepped yesterday including:

  • Half recipe of Italian turkey meatloaf muffins (recipe coming SOON!)
  • 2 baked sweet potatoes
  • Roasted brussel sprouts with lemon, garlic and Parmesan
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • Cut and washed fresh fruit (un-pictured)

Potential meal ideas using these items include the following:

  • Meatloaf + brussel sprouts + fruit
  • Eggs/Omelet + sweet potato
  • Chicken breast + sweet potato + brussel sprouts
  • Wrap w/chicken, cheese and veggies + fresh fruit
  • Salad w/grilled chicken + crackers

This goes to show that you don’t have to eat the same thing everyday when you make food in advance. In fact, it allows you to get a little more creative with the items you have already cooked! Preparing all of this took me a total of 1½ hours which isn’t long at all given the longer cooking time for the sweet potatoes and meatloaf. Hopefully this inspires you to do your own meal prep and gives you some helpful ideas!

24 years, 24 Questions: An About Me Survey

 

1.) What’s your whole name?

Taylor Elizabeth Lechner

2.) Are you named after anyone?

Nope. Despite it sounding like I was named after Elizabeth Taylor, this is not the case. My parents just liked the name.

3.) Do you have any siblings?

Yes, I have one younger sister. We are 16 months apart and she currently lives in Japan!

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4.) Where did you grow up?

Fort Wayne, Indiana.

5.) Three words to describe yourself?

Organized, caring and passionate

6.) What activities did you do in high school?

Nada! No sports, no clubs, nothing. I was pretty shy and wasn’t into sports which surprises a lot of people. My shyness definitely went away after I went to college.

7.) Where did you go to college?

Purdue University for undergraduate and I’m working on my masters at Bowling Green State University in Ohio at the moment. Just a couple more months until I’m done!! Hallelujah.

8.) What activities did you do in college?

I worked in a dietetics lab as a freshman/sophomore for one of my professors to get experience…it solidified that I never want to do research for a living. Getting up at 6am and trudging through the snow to collect urine samples was not my cup of tea. It was great experience though!

I joined a sorority my sophomore year and was heavily involved in that. I was on the philanthropy committee and standards board and was Vice President and President during my junior and senior years.

I started teaching spinning classes as junior and continued up until I moved. Most notable, I was Student Wellness Coordinator and a cooking instructor at Purdue’s CoRec starting my Junior year as well. I helped find and develop recipes, ran special events and lead demonstrations myself. It was the most fun job I’ve EVER had and I hope to get a similar one during my career as a dietitian.

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9.) What did you study in college?

Dietetics. I also have a dual minor in psychology and organizational leadership & supervision (OLS). I knew I wanted to have the psych minor all along, but took up OLS the last semester before graduating. I had all my required course work done and I needed more credits to be considered a full time student! My advisor said she had never seen that happen before! Summer classes for the win.

10.) What was your first job?

I worked in the concessions stand at a movie theatre. Always came home smelling like butter.

11.) What kind of music do you like?

Anything upbeat that you can workout or dance to! I love remixes and mashups and use them a lot in my spin classes. I’m constantly listening to music to add to my playlists.

12.) What’s one hobby that you’d like to take up?

Hmm, I don’t know about a “hobby” per se, but I would love to get certified to teach a new exercise format, specifically Body Pump.

13.) If you didn’t choose your current profession, what would you be?

A psychologist/counselor. I LOVE talking to people and helping them sort out their problems. I’m the one all my friends come to talk to and I’m very good at reading people’s emotions and empathizing with them.

14.) What’s the biggest project on your to-do list right now?

My master’s manuscript (a.k.a. my research paper).

15.) Do you have any irrational fears?

I’m really terrified of tornados. I watched the movie Twister at a friends house when I was in kindergarten (rebelling against my mom who wouldn’t let me watch it as home) and have been scared of them ever since. I’m also scared of sharks.

16.) Favorite drink?

For everyday, I would say water. Otherwise, definitely wine followed by margaritas.

17.) Favorite food?

Peanut butter.

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18.) Have you ever traveled outside the country?

Yep! I’ve been to Mexico; St. Martin; Haiti; Puerto Rico and Quebec; Canada.

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19.) Place you want to travel to?

France and Italy!

20.) Favorite workout?

At the moment, power vinyasa yoga. I’ve been really sore lately and it’s a great combination of strength and stretching.

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21.) Least favorite workout?

Anything that involves dancing like Zumba, WERQ, cardio hip-hop, etc. I can’t follow and just end up flailing around.

22.) Do you speak any other languages?

No. Took Spanish in high school but forget all of it.

23.) Dream job?

Wellness dietitian at a university or corporate gym OR dietitian at an eating disorder clinic.

24.) What would your last meal be (gotta end on a food question of course)?

Right now, a good cheeseburger and fries followed by a large piece of triple chocolate cheesecake with lots of whipped cream and ice cream!