Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Healthy, Sexy FAT?? YES!

Confused about healthy fats? Lots of folks are. There's a ton of misinformation out there, usually with a few grains of truth sprinkled in just to make it more confusing. Let's break it down a bit, shall we?
image courtesy of

Many of us were raised on the premise that fat is bad. Even evil. To be avoided at all costs. Not only is this an untruth, it's unhealthy! Fat is a crucial and essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, folks often make the mistake of equating dietary fat with body fat. Our bodies require fat for a variety of reasons; from the processing of vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E and K),  to the quality of our skin, hair, and nails, and so much more. Additionally, fat is the go-to energy source when our bodies run out of carbohydrates. Now the phrase "fat-burning" make sense, right?

There are several different kinds of fats. I'm sure you're familiar with the terms mono-unsaturated, poly-unsaturated, saturated, and trans-fats. There's a ton of great info available on these, so I won't spend much time on them other than to point out that saturated fats are nothing to be afraid of. More and more studies are released each year showing that saturated fats have been erroneously vilified. A moderate amount of saturated fats is HEALTHY! What are saturated fats? A few examples are butter, coconut oil, red meat, and full-fat dairy.

So how much fat, and what kinds, should you be incorporating into your healthy eating? I've  listed a variety of healthy fats on my website here, but the "how much" largely depends on your lifestyle and your goals. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to macronutrient ratios (how many of your daily calories come from each macronutrient - protein, carbohydrate, and fat), but a good place to start for most of us is to simply include a serving of healthy fat at each meal and snack.

This month, Tosca Reno and the Eat Clean Diet are giving away a FREE Healthy Fat Starter Kit! This is a GREAT resource and it only takes a few moments to enter. I encourage you to check it out!

Visit to enter! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Raspberry Chipotle Steak

This marinade is fabulously versatile - use it on steak, pork, turkey, chicken... whatever! AND... it's competition diet friendly! Woot! Plus - best of all... it tastes amazing! My kids are begging for more! (for those of you who are Eating Clean, and not on comp diet - substitute a fruit-only spread for the sugar free preserves... the nutritional info below shows data for the recipe both ways).

Raspberry Chipotle Grilled Steak
by Chelle Stafford
serves 6 (reduce or increase recipe as needed)

2 lb London Broil Steak (or other lean cut)
1 small can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1 jar Sugar-Free* Red Raspberry Preserves (10-12 oz)  OR 1 jar Fruit-Only Red Raspberry spread (10-12 oz)
1/4 cup crumbled Reduced Fat Feta Cheese
Spray Oil

Preheat Grill

Remove seeds from 5 peppers and discard seeds. (see tip below)
Mince peppers
Scoop contents of jam jar into a bowl, add peppers and mix well. Taste - if you want more heat, mince up more peppers
In a glass pan, marinate the steak in 1/4 cup of the raspberry/chipotle mixture for 20 minutes
Spray grill with oil, cook steak, basting every few minutes with a bit more sauce
Reserve 2 Tbsp of sauce, and proceed to next step:

INDOOR GRILL: Before meat is cooked through, preheat oven to broil and remove steak to a pan. Top with remaining sauce and the feta. Broil until cheese is lightly golden. Remove from heat and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

OUTDOOR GRILL: When meat is almost cooked through, add remaining sauce and top with feta. Grill until cheese is lightly melted. Remove from heat and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

*TIP: If you like onion, use the chopped onions that are in the adobo peppers can, too! They're very flavorful!

Sugar-Free Version: 255 calories, 36 grams protein, 19 grams carbs, 7 grams fat, 268 mg sodium, 12 grams fiber, 0 grams sugars. 7 grams net carbs.

Clean Version (no added sweeteners, preservatives, fillers): 319 calories, 36 grams protein, 26 grams carbs, 7 grams fat, 268 mg sodium, 1 gram fiber, 20 grams sugars (all natural sugar from the fruit).

Fresh out of the broiler!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day One of Doubles... And clearing up a few things

Can you hear that? Listen close... that's the sound of my legs SCREAMING at me. ;-) Yep, they're pretty upset. Not only was today leg day, but the designated morning cardio was an hour on the stair-master. Ouch. Oh, but that's not all. Today marks day one of my doubles. At 5pm, I was back in the gym, splitting my 2nd hour of cardio between the elliptical and the treadmill (walking incline) so as to give my knees a break (we joke that I have glass knees).  From here on out (until I leave for the Arnold) I'm doing 2 cardio sessions each day. Which means, I am now spending round about 3 hrs each day in the gym, 6 days a week. Though I will be tapering down that cardio toward the end of the next 5 weeks.  And I don't even wanna talk about how hungry I am. ;-)

Do I really love the gym that much? Am I that much of a sweat-slut? Nope. Not really. But... I have a goal to reach, and this is how it's done. Clean eating, proper calorie and macro-nutrient manipulation, strength training, and killer cardio.

Let me also point out that this routine is temporary. It's extreme, and it's not sustainable. This is special event prep. Let me also say, that doing this crazy prep for chilling at The Arnold does not mean I am ashamed of my body as it is right now. In fact, I could show up right now, this moment, and be completely proud of who and where I am. Am I ready to step on the Figure stage today? Ummmm NO, but I don't have to ;-)

Why am I talking about this? Because I recently heard this: "Why are you still trying to lose weight? When are you going to be satisfied? Why do you still think you're fat??"

Misunderstandings are afoot and it's time to clarify exactly what it is I'm doing here.

A) I am not "trying to lose weight". The number on the scale is fairly irrelevant, to be honest. I hit my goal weight in October of 2008 - and (outside of my figure competition when I got teeny-tiny) have maintained it. But the number isn't the point - it's about how I feel, how I look, my health. And again, my goal here isn't to lose weight, it's to lean out to look extra good for a very special event (yes, that would be vanity, and I'm ok with that, lol).

B) I will NEVER be satisfied. I will always strive to be better, to attain more. I may not always be able to do that physically, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can. I'm improving myself, but I'm not unhappy with myself. I'm not working this hard and dieting down because I don't like what I see in the mirror. It's kind of like editing a manuscript - I'm just tweaking the lines a bit to make it better. ;-)

C) Thank goodness, the body dysmorphia is gone! I am NOT fat. I know I am not fat. That in and of itself is a victory, as there was a very, very long time after I lost all that weight (80 lbs!) when I still saw Fat-Chelle in the mirror. So... just because I'm reaching for a goal most folks don't understand, doesn't mean that I'm doing it because I think I'm fat.

So... all that said... any questions?  ;-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shades of Marley...

No - not Bob Marley. Ghost Marley - as in A Christmas Carol. Kind of. It's been a weird morning. Seriously weird.

Had my coffee, kissed the hubby goodbye, then did some work. I'm trying to find that "sweet spot" workout time that works best for my body and doesn't leave me parking in the back 40 at the gym so I've been going in at different times of the day. Today I decided to try the 8am slot. So. I get dressed, take all my supplements, fill my water bottle and add my Amino's and out the door I go.

Back 40. Drat! I'm hiking in today. The gym is packed. Ugh. Oh well, I thought. I did my warmup, then proceeded to the floor. There's a set of cables that I love to use for Chest/Tricep/Shoulder day - but someone was using it. Boo. Moving on, I set up at a different cable station. I am midway through my second round (1 set of 3 different exercises = 1 round) when this elderly gentleman starts invading my space.
1954 A Christmas Carol - Basil Rathbone

INVASION of SPACE. Dude is in my face. I can't extend the cables without hitting him. I pull out my earbud and say, "Can I help you?" and I kid you not... he looked at me like this... See the picture of Marley to the right? Yeah.

I asked again, "Can I help you?"
He started muttering about using my cables.
"I'm using these," I said.
"I just want one of them" he said.
"I'm using both of them," I said. (hello, I was doing flyes!)
"You don't need to use both of them," he said.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  I was just stunned. I look over and one of the Personal Trainers is about 6 feet away with a client watching this. I look at him like "huh? help?!" So he comes over and gently turns the gentleman away from me and tells him he'll have to wait his turn. When he came back, he let me know that this is a daily occurrence - that this man gets irritated and hovers and interrupts people who are using equipment he wants to use. "No joke?" I say.  "Nope. He's just like that. Sorry."  Huh.

So back to work I go. I'm pushing a little stronger now, as I've got a wee bit more adrenaline to work with, lol. Midway through my third round... He's back. He's in my space. He's reaching for the cable handle - it's IN MY HAND. ???? I tried to be nice, I tried to be gentle, to point out that there are other cable systems in the gym (like 4!!) but eventually I had to tell him that I was going to finish my workout and if he didn't move he might get hit. (I'm probably going to hell for that, aren't I?). He wandered off muttering.

Back to work. Next circuit, I'm pumping out shoulder work interspersed with my triceps when... guess who's back! OMG. This time I didn't even bother to pull out my earbud, I just told him to GO AWAY. (Oh yeah, I'm definitely going to hell.)   He continued to hover, interrupt, and do his Marley impression. I ignored him. I finished up my workout, then headed to the stair-master. He was on those cables before I could reach the cardio deck, lol. Crazy!

By the way, my entire workout takes 35 minutes, which isn't that big of a deal, and there ARE multiple cable stations in the gym. It's not like I was hogging the only cable deck for an hour. Yes - I do feel the need to defend myself, lol.

Back home I heated up my egg muffins and ate my breakfast, did more work, and hope to eventually make it into the shower, haha. Shiloh and I have another appointment to view a venue today for the wedding. We are finding that the wedding industry is one big ripoff. Man! We did find one venue, reasonably priced, that she really likes, but it's farther away than we prefer. We're still searching for the truly affordable. Wish us luck.

Oh - and tomorrow? I am NOT going to the gym at 8am. I don't need another visit from Marley.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Almond Chicken Fingers

You're training hard, you're eating clean. Whether you're bulking or leaning, chances are... you're eating a whole lotta chicken.

This week, I had a tray of raw chicken breast in my fridge. Sitting there. Staring at me every time I opened the door. What to do?

My diet is pretty restrictive right now, and my options for adding character to my chicken are... well, limited.  So I started digging around. Freezer, pantry, fridge. Damn that chicken! Mocking me in it's plainness. Then I had a thought (yes, it did hurt a bit).

I started madly mixing, spraying, coating, then sitting outside  the oven door (yes, outside - it's way too hot inside) staring - willing it to cook. Finally, the timer dinged and I whipped out my experiment. It smelled good. It looked good. With Mad-Scientist glee, I plated it and served it to my family, alongside Newman's Own Sockarooni Sauce and servings of steamed veggies. And I waited. And waited.

No one said a word.

"How is it?" I asked.
"Fine." (never a good response)
"Does it taste ok?"
"Sure." (uh-oh.)

So I bit in. And I have to say... my family was quite kind to me. You know that saying, "there's no such thing as too much spice"?  WRONG. OMG. So very wrong. I looked back over my recipe and saw where I'd gone (so very) wrong. Recipe Fail.

I made adjustments and fixed my fail. ;-)  Now, the recipe is not only palatable, but tasty, too ;-)

Here is the (revised - you can thank me later) recipe for my competition diet friendly...

Almond Chicken Fingers
Serves 1

4 oz raw chicken (skinless, boneless)*
2 Tbsp ground almond (like Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Mrs Dash Tomato, Basil & Garlic**
dash of sea-salt
Spray Oil
1/4 cup Clean Marinara Sauce (like Newman's Own Sockarooni Sauce)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil.
Slice chicken breast into 'fingers', about 1" wide (or use pre-cut tenders).
On a plate, mix together the ground almonds, Mrs Dash, and sea salt.
Spray both sides of chicken pieces with oil and roll in the seasoning mix.
Lay chicken pieces on cooking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center.

OPTION: spread a flavored mustard over the raw chicken pieces (instead of spray oil) and sprinkle the seasoning mix on top.

NUTRITION: 277 calories; 34 grams protein, 9 grams carbs, 12 grams fat, 2 grams fiber. 7 net carbs.

*increase amount of chicken per your individual needs.
**use any flavor of unsalted seasoning for a different taste.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday - It's a Whole New Week!

Monday's always represent a fresh start to me. Whether I've achieved the goals of the week before, or have work to do, Monday is always my own personal clean slate.

Last week I met 95% of my goals, lol. I did my weigh in and I'm back down (yay for leaning out!) to 128 lbs. Hopefully I built up some muscle during that initial build phase - I certainly built some definition and am pleased with that.

I ended up flat on my back Friday and missed my workout and cardio - and my food was sadly lacking - not the quality (it was clean), just the quantity, though ironically, I managed to hit my water quota, lol.

Bill was sick as a dog, and actually took a sick day (nearly unheard of in our house), and I was just as bad. Boooo. Saturday we felt better, and I spent the day making plans for meals and such for the coming week.

Sunday I did my grocery shopping, food prep, etc.  I baked up a batch of Chorizo for the family, Shredded crockpot bbq beef for the family, and egg muffins, chicken mini loaves, and chicken breast for me, along with steamer bags of veggies and salad mix.  When I hit my bed last night, I felt like I was back on track.

This morning, I rocked my Leg workout (Monday is heavy leg day, Friday is light leg day), then survived my 40 minutes on the stair-monster. Stretching was challenging as I've somehow managed to strain my left hamstring. UGH. Back home, I heated up my egg muffins and ate my breakfast (see my daily cooler to view my food!), then hit the computer for work. Snack 1 is in and staying down (always a good thing, haha).

Now I'm (finally) hitting the shower and loading my cooler with lunch and snack 2, then Shiloh and I are headed out to view a potential wedding venue. It's looking to be a busy week, but I feel prepared and ready to face it.

How about you? As we hit the last part of January, how are you doing with your own goals?

Don't forget - if you haven't entered already, check out the Eat Clean Diet Re-Vamp Yourself contest! Win a telephone consult with Tosca!!! Woohoo!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Wonders of Wednesdays

hey, a word to the wise... don't google images for "humpday".
Oh dear! I now need to sanitize my web cache!
So here we are. Halfway through the week. Humpday. I always disliked that term. Anyway. What's so wonderful about Wednesday, except that it's a few days away from the weekend?

How about the fact that the week isn't over yet and you can still move toward your goals? Yep. You can. You heard me. Had a rough start to the week with your clean eating and exercise? You've still got time to make this week count. It's only Wednesday ;-) Get goin! What're you waiting for, MONDAY? No way! Don't lose another minute, another day! Where ya' at? Start there. That's what I'm doing.

I'm gonna make a confession. I didn't do my food prep this week. Oh, I have clean eats readily available, but my usual whirlwind of meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and chopping - well, it didn't happen. What I did do was attend the bridal expo with my daughter, and on Sunday, the hubby, me, and said daughter headed to the salon where she tried on her dress for Bill and we subsequently purchased it (and the veil, and the etc), then we spent the afternoon together. It was nice. Those kinds of days don't come often, and I cherished every moment.

I still had enough leftovers to tide us over for a day or two, so I didn't sweat it. Monday I picked up some (clean) pre-cooked chicken breast and fresh produce, then baked up a bag of Swai. There's food. It's clean. It's available. And I'll hit the grocery today to get a few more staples for the family. The week of clean eating isn't doomed because I didn't do my Sunday prep. Sure, I'm not as well organized this week, and there isn't a lot of variety in our food, but with a trip here and there to the store (I'm out of salad greens and bananas), we'll make it through.

Don't waste what's left of the week because you think it's too late to make progress. Point yourself in the direction you want to travel and take the steps. Missed a workout? Get one in. Ate off plan? Get back on. Think you can just slide the rest of the week and "start fresh Monday"? Pfft. Right. How well has that been working out for you? If you're anything like me, not well at all. I've been there, done that. Ya'll know my story.

It's January 16th folks... this is when the vast majority of us toss out our New Year Resolutions. It's also the time when that tiny percentage of us decide not to. You can persevere. Keep going. You've got a goal to reach, and you absolutely can! It doesn't matter where you stand right now... what matters is the next step you take. Each moment has potential that is not lost or wasted as a result of the moment that came before it.
Make it count.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tosca's REVAMP Yourself!

I'm so excited to share this with you - ya'll know I'm an Eat Clean Diet Ambassador, and Tosca Reno (author of The Eat Clean Diet, and one of my own personal heroes) is giving away an amazing opportunity! Check out the link below, and enter to win this great prize! Good Luck!!

@toscareno  @eatcleandiet 

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Competitor Carb Load

We're gearing up for the Spring shows... If you're competing, you're might be within that nitty-gritty 6 week mark. Daily carbs are scarce, and carb load meals are sacred. For me, carb-meal was a list of specific food to consume at one sitting: Sweet potato, banana, oatmeal, and fat (wasn't specified, I could choose any fat I wanted as long as it was just one serving). That was dinner, twice a week (I was lucky, lol). I did this meal a couple times before I just couldn't stand it. Time to come up with something more palatable than eating a sweet potato, a banana, and a bowl of plain (yuck) oatmeal.

I ended up with two ways to enjoy this meal - a pie and a plate of cookies ;-) NOM NOM NOM!

Competition Carb Pie

1 cup Oatmeal (plain)
6 oz baked Sweet Potato (no skin)
4 oz banana, mashed
1 Tbsp butter
Water to moisten
Spray Oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (pure)
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix the sweet-potato & mashed banana together until well combined. Add the spices and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk the oatmeal & baking powder.
Stir all ingredients together, then add water if needed, just until it's moistened.
Pour into greased pie pan & bake for 30-40 minutes.
Less baking makes a "baked oatmeal" dish, more baking creates a "cookie".

Instead of baking as a pie, roll into balls and cook on cookie sheet... This turned out to be my favorite way of carb loading ;-)  

You can also replace the butter with peanut butter or almond butter.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Let the Games Begin...

Today is officially Day One. I completed my bulking (building) phase (the first of many), and have officially crossed over into the cutting/leaning phase. OMG. I finished off last night with my last un-measured meal... I had lean bbq pork, steamed green beans, string cheese, and beets. Lovely, tasty beets. I adore beets - they're kinda like crack to me, lol. I know a lot of folks can't stand them - including everyone else in my house (more for me!), but I truly love and crave beets. Alas, they are a high sugar, starchy vegetable and now off limits - which means, of course, that I ate the rest of the batch last night. ;-)

My final weight came in at 132. I gained 6 lbs total over the last 8 weeks. I can live with that.

This morning, I woke up hungry. And the mental games have begun. Was my body really hungry? Really? Or did it simply know that I was going to be cutting its rations today, and increasing its energy output? Hmmmm. Regardless, I hit the gym fasted. I did my 5 minutes of cardio warmup, then on to legs. After legs were brutalized, I did my cardio intervals, stretched, foam rolled, and then moved on to breakfast.

Upon completion of breakfast, my body told me it was still hungry. Seriously??? Why is it torturing me? I thought I could get a few days into this phase before my metabolism caught on. Drat! Suddenly I find myself craving food that I normally do not (ever) crave... namely, macaroni'n'cheese. C'mon. This is only day 1! And really, only meal 1 of day 1. What the heck? Stupid brain.

So... what'd I do in the gym? Though I'm not nearly at the levels I once was (sigh), here's today's workout...

Leg Press: 130 lbs, 10 reps, followed immediately by 5 reps with 10 count holds at the bottom (knees at 90 degrees).
Stiff Legged  Dead Lift: 15 slow reps with 40 lb barbell, 3 count hold and squeeze (the glutes) at the top.
Russian Twist with 10 lb weight plate (20 each side) followed immediately by:
Slow crunch holding 10 lb weight plate (20).
Rest 60 seconds, Repeat for a total of 4 rounds. (no rest between exercises, just a rest at the end of the circuit).
After the 4th set, I moved on to the glute-blaster for 3 rounds of 10 per leg at 70 lbs, no rest.
After that, I moved back to the elliptical for interval cardio (30 minutes).
Once that was complete, I stretched and foam rolled for 15 minutes.

And now I am sore, hungry (this has to be more mental than physical), and stinking ready for a shower. LOL!

Today, Shiloh and I are going to view a wedding venue - I've seen their pricing, I'm not hopeful. Yikes. Anyway, so my trusty cooler is ready to dash out the door. What's in it? Here's today's Daily Cooler -

What's on your plate today? How are you doing pursuing your 2013 goals?


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Top 5 Diet Mistakes / Fixes

How cool is this??? The amazing gal who wrote my Success Story for @OxygenMagazine (Aug. 2011), has a health-fitness blog on  Allison invited me to share with her readers my top 5 Diet Mistakes and Fixes from my own weight loss journey - and it's up! Take a peek!
Wooohoo!!! Thank you, Allison!!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Erp... Bleh!

Oh my. I'm gonna be honest - I'll be really, really glad when this initial bulking phase is done. Every time I turn around, it's time to eat. Which would be fine, as my eating schedule is no different than normal, it's the amount of food that's the problem. Erp. Bleh.

This is a little funny (funny-ironic) to me, because I have vivid memories of the rib-scraping, mind-screaming, growly-bear hunger I experienced during a certain phase of my Figure competition prep. I would have begged, without pride (ummm, I think I did once, actually - have to check with Tabitha on that one, lol) for even just one more bite. Now, I'm choking it down and trying to keep it there.  Just a few more days, then I can downgrade the serving size, lol. Just a few more days, I can do this, I can make it...

My training is going... as well as can be expected. My arthritis has flared up a bit, but my shoulder is still getting stronger (yay!).  I did manage to sideline myself a bit - haha, of course I did. Would you expect anything less of me? What'd I do? Oh, just threw in a few sets of calf raises followed by 30 minutes on the stairmaster, with half of that pushing through the balls of my feet (in other words, more calf work). Doesn't sound like much, does it? The next day, I was sore. Really sore. Tabitha and I hit the mall, and I really thought walking around all afternoon would help. Maybe it did. Maybe the next day could have been worse (I don't know how, lol). The next morning, I went to get out of bed and fell down. My calves seized hard. I spent that day, and the day after walking on tiptoes - I literally couldn't press my feet flat to the floor.

Yes - my family had many laughs over this. Lemme tell ya - going up the stairs on tiptoes is easy. Down? Risky. Very risky. Especially if you happen to be holding a mug of hot coffee. I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin. I'm recovered now, they're just tight, and I'm grateful I only missed one leg day - which I have to make up now, drat!

Anywho... In other family news, Nakki is doing really well. She had gotten pretty bad, so we took her in to the oncologist last friday - with knots in our stomachs. The nodes on her throat were cutting off her breathing. After examining her, the doctor recommended a treatment to try - with the understanding that it might not (probably wouldn't) work. It did. In spades. Within 6 hours, she was breathing freely, and by the next day those nodes had shrunk down to literally 25% of their former size! Woooohoo!  If this continues to work, she can have two more treatments (month apart).

I can't begin to say how awesome it is to see her playful again. :-D  Yes - we're doing the happy dance over here, lol.

Wedding planning continues... Shiloh and I are attending the big bridal expo here this weekend. Should be fun (and chaotic, haha). We'll be placing her wedding dress order this week, too. Ohmygosh... did I just say that? Yikes! Kinda makes it real.

Bill and are are looking forward to attending the Arnold in Feb/March. Woot! Very excited about that! Who's going? Anyone??

Oh dear... I just looked at the clock and realized I have to go get my food ready to take to the bowling alley tonight. Erp. Blah.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week! Eat Your Colors!

Eat your crayons! Ok, not literally, but consuming a diet full of color has enormous health benefits! Each color found in nature offers a corresponding set of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that can not only help us maintain good health, but also move us closer to reaching (and sustaining) our goals. Let’s add some color to your plate!

Chicken Stuffed Eggplant
Recipe by Chelle Stafford
Makes 4 servings

COLORS IN THIS DISH: Purple, Red, Green, Brown, Orange, Yellow, Black
Eggplant is wonderfully high in fiber, along with containing tons of antioxidants, and is known to contribute to a healthy heart and brain! 

2 Eggplants
1 lb ground chicken breast (can sub ground extra lean turkey breast)
1/2 tsp Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb 
1 Tbsp Mrs Dash Tomato Basil Garlic 
1 can fire roasted crushed tomatoes (I like the Glen Muir brand)
1 medium pepper (any color) diced (or dice 3 or 4 mini multi-colored peppers!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
5-7 crimini (or button) mushrooms, sliced or diced 
Drizzle olive oil 
4 Tbsp Parmesan (fresh) 

  • Preheat oven to 400°. 
  • Line a cookie sheet with foil, spray lightly with cooking oil. Slice eggplant in half, lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil and bake until tender - 30 to 40 minutes. 
  • Brown ground meat with Mrs Dash seasonings. Drain if needed. Add crushed tomatoes, mix together, and set aside.
  • In a skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over med-hi heat. Add peppers & mushrooms and garlic - cook until just tender. Remove from heat and add to meat & tomato mixture. 
  • Scoop out insides of eggplant halves. Discard any excess seeds. Dice up the insides and add to the meat & veggie mixture. 
  • Scoop that meat into the hollowed out eggplant halves and top each with 1 Tbsp Parmesan. 
  • Broil until cheese melts. 
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition per serving: 327 calories; 34 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fat, 11 grams fiber.  13 net carbs.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New You? The ABC's of Reaching Your Goals

Happy New Year! It's Day 2 of January - how go the resolutions? I noticed something odd today in the gym... it wasn't packed. Why is that odd? Because it's Jan.2. Traditionally, this is the first day of the Resolutioners Invasion. They come in, sign up, and crowd the gym. A huge part of me loves this - after all, I'm a former Resolutioner myself and I am thrilled to see new faces with passion and drive to achieve their goals. Go Get 'Em!! A small part of me isn't so happy with all the new faces. It's the cynical part of me - she knows that the vast majority of these folks won't be here in a couple more weeks - some won't even make it through the first week of their Resolutions.  I mentioned that's the cynical part of me, right? ;-) 

But today.... the gym was quiet. Didn't notice any new faces. There was plenty of parking, and I didn't have to wait for any of the machines (though one guy kept working in on my set and leaving the pulley up so high I had to jump for it to move it back). As I worked, I wondered why the Resolutioners weren't here. I wonder if it's because Day 2 falls on a Wednesday, and they're already putting off getting started, telling themselves, "I'll start Monday". 

Speaking as a former Resolutioner, I can say with absolute authority that getting started is crucial. Sounds a little silly doesn't it, but really - if you don't start, you'll never finish. Doesn't matter necessarily, whether it's Jan 1 or Dec 31. Just don't put it off. You want to change? You have to start the process. A wonderful friend of mine, @TheIronPirateKaptain, (she's also a fellow Eat Clean Diet Ambassador) is hosting a lifestyle change challenge on her facebook page, and invited me to guest blog. My post went up yesterday, and I wanted to share it here with you. Though the challenge is closed, you can follow along on her blog - she's a great gal and a huge inspiration. 

New Year, New You? Or will it just be the same’ol flash in the pan? For so many of us, January 1st marks the launch of New Year Resolutions that generally peter out and finally go kaput around January 15th. Why? Why is it so difficult to start something AND finish it?

Here’s the super-secret answer: B’cause it’s HARD. Yes, it’s really that simple. We begin our journey full of energy and passion, and within a few weeks (sometimes days), that passion is fizzled and our energy is frazzled. Once the energy and passion are MIA, motivation goes POOF!

So… how do we prevent it? Here’s another super-secret answer… We DON’T. This is real life. We don’t live in a bubble and can’t use a magic wand to eliminate obstacles. We can, however, be prepared.  Prepare for what? Here is a glimpse down the road: we’re going to hurt, stumble, cry, hunger, want to give up and walk away. 

Gee, Chelle – thanks for the positivity. Want positive? Read a fortune cookie. Want to finish what you start? Keep reading.

The reality is (remember the super-secret answer?) this is HARD. But… it’s doable, and let me tell you right now – it’s worth it. So… you know what’s ahead, now let’s prepare for it. There are three things that can help us finish the journey… and they’re as simple as ABC.

A)    Accountability    B)  Behavior     C)  Compassion

Accountability. Remember Yoda? Do or Do Not, There Is No Try. Well, there is if you don’t tell anyone what you’re up to. Let’s ditch that loophole, and quit “trying”. Tell Someone. What’s your goal? Speak it, write it, put it out there. When people know what we’re working toward, they can help keep us accountable to that goal – and to ourselves. We’re pretty darn good at letting ourselves down, aren't we? But isn't it true that we’ll move mountains to prevent ourselves from letting someone else down? When our motivation or energy flag, when we’re feeling blah, or tempted or whatever – make it known. Accountability. It’s a tool. Use it.

Behavior. What do we do when we run out of motivation? We act like we didn't  Yep. Use your behavior to create the change you want. Don’t wanna work out? Do it anyway. Don’t wanna cook? Do it anyway. Don’t wanna eat healthy? Do it anyway. ACT as if you’re fully motivated and fully engaged in your goals. Do not wait for motivation – it’s like a butterfly, flitting in and out of our lives. If you wait, you will find yourself never changing, never growing, always waiting. Behave as if it’s there, and let motivation catch up to YOU.

Compassion. Cut yourself some slack. We’re our own worst critics. And we’re brutal. Yes, we need to be committed and disciplined. No, we don’t need to rip ourselves up when we slip. It’s going to happen, so when it does, don’t treat yourself like something you stepped in. Being prepared means knowing that mistakes will be made, and when they are, you pick yourself back up and move on. Really, would you ever say to someone else the things you say to yourself in your head? Be compassionate - to you.

Am I making it sound like it’s “easy”? It’s not. I know it’s not. I've walked this road myself. There are hills, ditches, roadblocks, detours and wrong turns. I've been there – and my journey isn't over yet. January 2, 2007 I walked into a gym and changed my life. It wasn't easy – I sweat, cried, burned – and reached my goal. I lost over 80 lbs, and have kept them off for 4+ years.  I’m proof that you CAN do this. You ABSOLUTELY can do this! 

The road to change is waiting - C’mon, ya’ll…. ROAD TRIP!!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Fat Burning Green Chili Casserole

Happy New Year! Anyone trying to (ahem) burn off some toxins after the holiday? Here's a recipe that'll help! Creamy, spicy, and filling, this Green Chili Casserole is packed full of nutrients that'll help you reach your goals. Capsaicin is an athlete’s friend – it helps torch body fat and is anti-inflammatory! There's also a solid boost of vitamins C and K, too!

Green Chili Casserole
Recipe by Chelle Stafford
Makes 6 servings

2 chicken breasts, cooked, shredded
1 cup roasted hatch green chili (fresh or canned)
1 can (7oz) diced green chili
1 cup greek yogurt, fat free, plain
4 oz fat free cream cheese
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup fat free milk
1 green onion, sliced
1 medium tomato, diced

Preheat oven to 375°.
Coat an 8x8 glass pan with spray oil.
Layer roasted hatch chilies across bottom, reserving a few for the top.
In large bowl, mix together shredded chicken, tomato, green onion, cilantro and diced green chilies.
In smaller bowl, blend together the yogurt, cream cheese and milk.
Add yogurt blend to large bowl and mix well.
Spread over hatch chili layer.
Top with more chili (crisscross for decoration - use a pizza cutter to slice chilies).
Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition info per serving: 149 calories; 22 grams protein, 9 grams carbs, 2 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 6 grams sugar. 7 net carbs.

- Don’t like the heat? Replace the hatch chilies with canned or fresh roasted red pepper!
- Got leftovers? Scoop a serving over the top of a baked potato or sweet potato, over brown rice or pasta, or over a bed of lettuce greens.
- Sprinkle reduced-fat feta or Monterey jack cheese over the top.
- The casserole filling makes a great sandwich spread – skip the hatch chilies and skip the cooking… just stuff it into a tortilla, pita, flatbread, or sandwich bread!