Something I Love: Vitamin Tea

Today I want to chat about something I am loving right now. Something that I would have never thought I would say that I love. I AM LOVING HOT TEA. Is that weird? Don’t get me wrong, I still drink coffee every morning (I am not quite ready to make the switch to tea in the morning yet) but the rest of the day I am all about tea. To me, coffee tastes like coffee regardless of the type or flavor (I am sure there are a lot of people who would like to vehemently disagree with me here) but the variety of tastes/flavors that comprise the tea world continue to astound me. Also, unlike coffee, tea is easy to drink all day long and can be used for different purposes (as a stimulant, a relaxant or even for medicinal reasons).

Did you know that there are five major varieties of tea: white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh (1)? All of these varieties come from the same plant but the way the leaves of this plant are processed after picking is what changes the variety. After processing into one of these five varieties, tea is then flavored.

My absolutely favorite teas are the types that taste sweet without having to add any additional sweeteners. I have always loved the spicy sweet Good Earth Tea but hands down I have fallen hard for this tea from Harney & Sons:

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It is has such a robust cinnamon sweet flavor and one cup has ½ the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. The tea bags are silky which makes a cup of this tea feel special and indulgent. I found mine at Target. I was excited to see that they also make a green tea with coconut flavor that I am going to try next around. I feel like I am only discovering the tip of the iceberg in terms of tea but I am excited to continue to experiment with it in the future.

Side Note: Not only are there a ton of flavors and varieties of tea but tea also has a lot of health benefits. If you are extremely interested you can read more about the health benefits of tea here: http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/health-benefits-linked-to-drinking-tea

I am curious to know what everyone’s favorite tea is. If you have suggestions feel free to leave it in the comments below. I am always looking for new flavors!

  1. http://www.arborteas.com/pages/Tea-Varieties.html
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Vegan Crispy “Chicken” Tenders

Recently I have been into experimenting with tofu, as soy was one of the six foods I avoided during my elimination diet. However I have begun to start reintroducing it into my meals and it’s been fun playing with the versatile food that tofu is. Currently I have been using firm for most of my recipes with the exception of my smoothies in which I use silken. I thought I would share one of my favorite new recipes after Candace shared her incredible chicken taco boats! 

This recipe is something I got the idea from off of Pinterest, however I have been unable to find the original source as there are multiple ones. So I will say this is inspired by a village! I loved this recipe because of how quick and easy it has been for me to make, and there’s only three ingredients!

Oil Free Vegan Crispy “Chicken” Tenders

(vegan, vegetarian, gluten free)

Ingredients

1 package of firm tofu (I used the WFM organic firm)

1/2-3/4 cup of nutritional yeast

Mrs.Dash Original Seasoning Blend 

 

Instructions

Pre heat the oven to 350 F, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

Carefully drain your tofu from the package and pat dry with a paper towel but be sure to leave some moisture.

Once towel dried cut the tofu into tender like planks, I made mine into twelve slices of equal width.

Take a small plate and place your nutritional yeast in it, I did mine in segments so that there was never too much spilling off the plate.

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Lay each plank into the nutritional yeast and press gently, flip over and do the same action again, I also quickly did each of the edges for an additional crisp factor.

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Once you have coated the tender lay on the baking sheet and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. I used Mrs. Dash, but you could also use Italian or garlic powder, black pepper, there are lots of options!

Now place the coated seasoned planks into the oven for 30-35min. I found any longer made them a little too chewy.

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Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on a cooling rack for at least ten minutes.

I dipped mine in honey mustard and vegan mayo (drool)

There you have it! Easy, oil free “chicken” tenders!

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Healthy Chicken Taco Boats

Hey there and happy Friday everyone!

I am going to continue my series of Fit Posts next week (click here if you missed the first two) but I thought I would change things up and share a random recipe I created from ingredients that I needed to use up in my kitchen that I am seriously loving right now.  Butternut guacamole chicken tacos wrapped in cabbage leaves and dunked in a zippy salsa. It is quick, healthy, delicious and so-so filling! I also always almost have all the ingredients on hand. It is also a super versatile recipe. I like subbing ground turkey and rice for the chicken/squash/bean combo for a change of pace but feel free to add whatever mixture of meat and veggies float your boat (no pun intended). Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

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Butternut Guacamole Chicken Taco Boats

4 oz raw chicken breast

½ cup of raw cubed butternut squash

¼ cup drained black beans

¼ cup chopped bell pepper

¼ cup of chopped onion

3 Lettuce or Cabbage Leaves

1/4 cup of guacamole or avocado

1 tsp taco seasoning

½ cup Salsa of choice (for topping and dipping)

Directions

Heat a little water in a large skillet. Add cubed butternut squash and place a lid over top. Allow squash to steam for 5 minutes. Drain the water.

Add black beans, chopped bell pepper, onion and cubed chicken breast to the skillet with the squash. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and sauté until chicken is cooked through (no longer pink) 3-5 minutes.

Place lettuce leaves on a plate and divide chicken mixture between leaves. Top with guacamole and salsa. Extra salsa on the side is an awesome dip!

Devour.

Note: This entire recipe contains less than 400 calories, 33 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber. Not to mention 2-3 servings of veggies and the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats from the avocado in the guacamole.

Just Breathe

lemon-honeyOne of the most common things I hear people complain about, regardless of it is at work or at school or just in daily interactions; is being busy.

These days a high stress, fast paced, adrenaline pumping lifestyle is something we have all become used to. It seems only normal now to not be able to relax until 9pm at night when you feel like you have been hit by a car. Why is it that we wait until we are at our breaking point to allowing ourselves to let go?

I am certainly just as guilty of this as the next person. And lately it has become apparent to me that this way of life is extremely detrimental to your health. Stress puts your immune system at risk, as well as raising your blood pressure and wrecking havoc on your digestive track (which I know too well, more on that in a later post)

Today I thought I would just focus on one thing that has dramatically changed the way in which I relax in high stress situations such as public speaking, big tests, doctors visits and even traffic.

Breathe. Now this may seem incredibly cliche, but there is a science to it. One of the first things that will benefit you when it comes to breathing which may seem rather obviously but I will say it anyways is the release of toxins. Your body releases somewhere been 65-70% of toxins through breathe. If that isn’t enough motivation on its own I don’t know what is.

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Breathing reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood and increases the amount of oxygen saturation, so with every breathe you are getting healthier blood and better blood to support your body and subsequently lower your blood pressure. By lowering your blood pressure you are counter acting the response we talked about earlier when your body encounters stress.

Trust me and try this next time you are feeling extremely stressed or even slightly overwhelmed. Take a deep breathe through your nose and feel your belly expand with air (in yoga we call this belly breathing) hold this air for five seconds or longer and release through your mouth slowly. Repeat 3-5 times depending on if you are the type of person who gets slightly lightheaded from the extra oxygen. In every situation where I have applied this method I can literally feel my heart and mind slow down. Everything becomes less of a stressor when you give yourself the permission just to breathe.

 

Fit Series Part 2: Cardiovascular Exercise

Hi everyone! Today I would like to delve a little deeper into one component of fitness, which is cardiovascular exercise. This is part 2 of my FIT Series so in case you missed part 1 check it out here.

Cardiovascular exercise includes any activity that increases your heart rate. It is recommended by the American College of Medicine that we get 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise at least 5 days a week (1). Exercises that get your heart pumping (such as swimming, walking, running and bike riding) increase your overall metabolism and make it easier to manage your weight. Other benefits of cardiovascular exercise include better sleep, stronger heart/bones and lungs and even better stress management (1)! Who could say no to such positive benefits?

However, many Americans struggle to fit in regular physical activity. The most often cited reason I hear from clients is that they have too little time. I completely understand. My days sometimes fly by and I wonder how I am ever going to get everything done. I am sure many of you can relate, so today I thought I would share three tips that I use to help me get at least 30 minutes of cardio a day.

  1. I make it a priority by making sure that I exercise before work in the morning

Trust me on this one; it is much harder to workout when you are mentally fatigued from a long day at work. Make sure you set your alarm to give yourself plenty of time to wake up and change. Pro tip: I set my exercise clothes out every night and put them on as soon as I get up so I have no excuses!

2. Have a game plan

Knowing how you plan on working out will help you stay on track and more likely to complete your workout. For example, I usually run three days a week. The night before, I set out my running clothes and I have the length of run in mind beforehand. This helps me mentally prepare and adjust my schedule accordingly.

3. Get enough sleep!

I can’t stress how important this is for me. If I go to bed late that 6 am wake-up call is going to turn into a 6 am snooze button. Aim for at least 7-8 hours a night and getting up to workout in the morning won’t seem so hard. In fact, you will wake up energized and then you will have an energizing workout that will boost your mood for the rest of the day!

As you can see, cardiovascular exercise can be such an amazing and positive way to start your day. It gets your blood flowing and boosts your mood and confidence to help you take on whatever the day throws your way.

Let me know your thoughts on cardio?

Do you have any tips to share on how you fit cardio into your daily routine?

  1. https://www.verywell.com/why-you-need-cardio-exercise-1230812

Focused Studying 101.

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Tomorrow is my first day back to school after winter break, it is also my last semester at my undergrad university (which is both sad and happy at the same time). Sometimes life throws so many different things in your direction at the same time, you become disoriented and unable to focus on one task to the next. This becomes especially challenging when you are working and in school, or even if you aren’t working just somehow setting aside the time to be in the “zone” can be super frustrating.  But I have learned ways to stay focused as a student. Here are some tips from one stressed college student to another, or to someone who’s just looking to boost productivity

 

  1. Get up and get moving. Ok so this may not sound like a tip to stay focused but I find when I do start to drift and not be productive anymore the best thing I can do is walk away and take a breather. Usually I will just do a couple loops around the house, or some energizing wake up yoga from youtube (this always seems to really help me!) It gets my heart rate going and makes me feel less restless and ready to get back on task.
  2. Have a set time to study. Perhaps this is something you have already thought of, but if you have a set time to study you are more likely to do so. Make studying your job, just like you would clock in from time a to time b, do the same thing with studying! If you make it part of your routine, like eating, working out, and Netflix (don’t lie you know it’s true) you can and you will accomplish more if you just make it like anything else.
  3. Plan Plan Plan. This can go hand in hand with point 2. But more specifically invest in a planner, or a planner app. I prefer a physical planner I can write it, studies have shown that the act of writing is a very powerful thing. Plan your week, plan everything you need to do, everything that is due, and anything else you think you might forget. Let’s be real here for anyone who has used a planner before, often times you have the best intentions and then stop using it after a few weeks. Don’t let that happen, take it everywhere with you, it’s your new best friend
  4.  Apps CAN change your life. I know what you are thinking “aren’t apps the biggest distracter of all?” Yes you are right, I personally have devoted many a sleepless night, and long class scrolling through Instagram. But they can also help you! Here are two apps that I would HIGHLY recommend. Firstly the Self Control App is a game changer! This little guy allows you to add a “Blacklist” of websites that are your personal black hole, then set a timer and TADAH! You can no longer use those websites no matter how hard you try, and even if you shut your computer down it won’t undo it. Secondly (this is a more recent addition to my Iphone) is the Forest App, GUYS SERIOUSLY! This is the most frustrating yet perfect app ever. Basically like the Self Control app you set a timer and during that time your tree grows, but however if you leave the app to answer a text or scroll Insta your tree dies. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have had a whole lot of dead trees, and realized how many times I had failed that day, but the wonderful thing is if you succeed you get a cute happy little tree. Another really nice thing about this app is that it keeps track of the amount of time you were focused each day, makes you accountable.

These are just a few things I have learned over the years that make a dramatic difference in my attention span and my focus. Good luck!

Cara

Fit Series Intro/Part 1

 Hello everyone, welcome and yay for my first post 🙂 !

Since Cara spent some time going over the diet side of the equation on Tuesday, I thought I would kick things off by providing some thoughts on fitness. As a dietitian, I definitely understand the importance of diet as it relates to weight maintenance. For optimum health though we all need to be striving to balance our intake (diet) with our outputs (physical activity). However, a full 80% of Americans don’t get enough physical activity (1).

 According to the U.S. government:

“Adults should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both. Adults should also engage in muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights or doing push-ups at least twice per week (1)”

img_4131 You might be asking yourself how you can fit this amount of physical activity into your already crazy schedule? Well, over the next few weeks I would like take a closer look at several components of fitness (aerobic/cardio, flexibility and strength training) and share some pointers from my personal experience of how to meet the government’s recommendations. I am also happy to answer any questions you might have that are related to fitness so feel free to shoot me an email at chornsby17@gmail.com or leave a message in the comments below. I am excited to be begin sharing my passion for physical fitness with all of you so stay tuned!

 1. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-80-percent-of-american-adults-dont-get-recommended-exercise/

“Why I don’t adhere to labels” WIRTM

Welcome to my first post of What I Read This Month or WIRTM. As previously mentioned I am an avid reader, one of my favorite things about books is that it doesn’t matter what kind of mood you are in; you can find something to suit your fancy. During the month of December while on winter break from university I became particularly interested in health and wellness books. Especially those related to diet, lifestyle, and veganism.

The book that struck a chord the most with me personally was Breaking Vegan by Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde . Seriously can not recommend this book enough, especially for someone who is looking to find balance and health in their life and is using a new or extreme diet to control it. I was already a reader of her blog but I had no idea how much of my story fit with hers until I read the book.

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You may be well versed on the subject of orthorexia, or veganism, or all things health but the candid way in which Jordan expresses her story made it a read that I treasured. I also loved the recipes at the end of the book, I’ll be talking about one that I tried as a later post. (Spoiler alert : I grated a cup of baby carrots by hand with a cheese grater because that’s all we had and it took 28 minutes)

I also tweeted Jordan while reading it and she responded back with the sweetest tweet ever #soulsisters

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Good news!

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Finally two of the coolest people you know have started a blog. Jk, but in all seriousness welcome to Vitamin C’s (“C” what we did there?)  We are two Columbus based sisters that wanted to start a blog that is a compilation of our various interests and professional areas of expertise.

With one dietitian and one occupational therapist to be, we have plenty of health related experience to draw from. We also both have unique interests that play off one another fantastically. Candace likes to cook, and strength train; Cara likes to eat Candace’s cooking, and do yoga. Like puzzle pieces we make a perfect team and a more well rounded point of view.

We would like to share some of our favorite recipes with you (cookie pie anyone?), our fitness adventures, professional and athletic wardrobe tips, exploring our city of Columbus, Ohio #614, and anything else that we awkwardly decide to throw ourselves into.

Stay tuned because tomorrow, the real fun begins.

-Vitamin C’s