It’s shocking how many people overlook the importance of nutrition when it comes to overall wellness and weight loss. Truth be told, what we put in our mouths is more crucial than the time we put in the gym. One of the most common questions I get asked is, “what should I eat post workout that won’t cancel out the calories I just burned?”. Actually, this may be the best news you will hear this month but you you can’t cancel out calories you just burned off during a workout. When you work out, your body burns fat to be used as energy. If you eat right after your workout, those calories won’t be used to replace the burned body fat. Truth be told, your body only stores food as body fat when it doesn’t have anything else to do with the extra calories you eat. Post workout, your body needs to start restoring and repairing itself from your training, so in other words, it needs the calories.
Your body uses the protein you intake to repair and build the muscles that were broken down during your tough workouts. Eating immediately post workout has a few other benefits. The calories you ingest will be used by your body automatically instead of being stored as fat. Eating after a workout can also increase your body’s insulin sensitivity or its ability to use carbohydrates, which is super important for weight loss.
What I eat after I workout depends on how vigorous the exercise was and at what time of the day. Sometimes, if it’s very early in the morning I may not have a huge appetite, where a protein packed shake and a cold pressed juice will do the trick or if it’s later into the day or evening, my body craves something a bit heavier. Here’s some easy options you may want to incorporate into your post workout routine.
The Go-To Salad: Belmonte Raw’s Moroccan Kale Salad
The above shot at Belmonte Raw for Hudson’s Bay by David A. Pike. Wearing Lole Women
When my time is limited post workout, I have several options close to Equinox located in “The Path” (or what I refer to as Toronto’s underground city). It’s kind of the best. Retail shops, liquor stores, restaurants, everything you could ever need and want without ever having to go outside into the freezing cold. My friends at Belmonte Raw recently opened a location there that services the Financial District and within 5 minutes I can scoop up one of my fave salads to go without skipping a beat. But when I have a little more time, I like to prepare something at home where I can also have the option of adding some sort of protein to the salad; tuna, salmon, chicken or steak; like this colourful Rainbow Chopped Salad (shown here without protein).
1 large head romaine lettuce, cored and chopped
1 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 handful of parsley, stemmed and finely chopped
1 apple, chopped into cubes
1 asian pear, chopped into cubes
1/4 cup wakame soaked for 15 minutes, rinsed and drained
1 sheet nori, cut into thin strips
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1 cup of pomegranate seeds
1 avocado, peeled and sliced into cubes
1/2 cup of dried apricots diced finely
1.2 cup of sunflower seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper and your choice of protein (fish, chicken or steak) to taste
*Yields 4-6 servings
Directions: Don’t feel you have to use this exact recipe. Feel free to remove or add ingredients as you see fit. You can think of this as the ultimate bowl of nutrient dense goodness. Add the simple vinaigrette or your choice of dressing, toss everything together and let marinate for at least 15 minutes before eating. SSFitTip: Make before your workout so you can devour right after your sweat sesh.
I don’t think I’ve met a smoothie I didn’t like. I mean, what’s not to love right? Quick to make, you can pack in tons of nutrients, usually on the sweeter tasting side, making it enjoyable to drink. It’s almost impossible to get the recommended amount of folic acid from greens, so blending and juicing dark leafy green veggies like kale and spinach makes things a bit easier. Even those who don’t like the taste of green based smoothies, will love this Stevia-Sweetened Green Tropical Smoothie.
1/2 frozen banana
1 medium tangerine, peeled
1.5-2 cups of coconut water, preferably from young coconuts but bottled is fine
2 cups of kale, chopped
1.2 cup of frozen pineapple
8-10 drops of Sweet Leaf tangerine stevia
*Makes 1-2 large drinks
Directions: Mix all of the ingredients in a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, until smooth.
If it wasn’t considered to be ridiculous, I could easily eat breakfast food for every single meal. There’s always been a special place in my heart for pancakes, crepes and french toast, but for the most part when you eat them at restaurants they aren’t the healthiest. I have come determined to find or create healthy versions of my favourite meals this year and these Red Quinoa Pancakes are pretty delish.
2 organic, free ranged eggs
2 cups of coconut or almond milk
1.5 teaspoons of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of coconut oil
1.5 cups of flour (I prefer to use unbleached wheat or spelt flour as a healthier alternative)
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 cups of red quinoa, cooked
*Makes 20-24 pancakes
Directions: Place milk in a small bowl and pour in the lemon juice. Stir once and let sit for 5 minutes. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix together. Place eggs in a mixing bowl and beat with a wire whisk. Add the coconut oil, dry ingredients and milk to the eggs and mix until combined. Add the quinoa to the batter and mix until combined (make sure to not over mix). Head griddle to medium-medium/high and grease with coconut oil. Pour batter onto the hot griddle (roughly 1/4 cup per pancake) and allow to cook for a minute or so, or until the top of the pancake has bubbled and the sides are cooked. Flip pancake over and finish cooking on the other side for another 30 seconds. Add desired fruit or other toppings and your fave syrup.
When I workout later into the day, specifically in the evening, I finish feeling absolutely famished. If I don’t find something healthy and filling right away, it can lead to danger. I like to eat my dinner early so I need something that’s healthy and that will keep me satisfied until the next morning.Whether your a vegan or not, you must try this Green, Clean Lasagna with Kale Marinara Sauce.
olive oil cooking spray (for the baking dish)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion finely chopped
4 cups of sliced cremini mushrooms
2 cups of shredded lacinato kale leaves
2 cups part skim-ricotta cheese
3 cups of homemade kale marinara (recipe below)
6 no boil lasagna sheet noodles
Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray and set aside. In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and shredded kale, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly. Put the ricotta cheese in a large bowl, and, using a spatula, gently fold in the cooled mushroom-kale mixture until completely incorporated. Assemble the lasagna
Using the prepared baking dish, assemble the lasagna in six layers as follows: 1 cup Homemade Kale Marinara, spread evenly; 3 lasagna noodle sheets (arranged in a single layer); 3⁄4 cup of the kale-mushroom-and ricotta mixture, spread evenly. Repeat the layering a second time, then top with the remaining kale-mushroom-and ricotta mixture, and finish with the grated Pecorino or Romano on top. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in the preheated oven, on the middle rack, for about 25 minutes.
After 20 minutes have passed, remove the foil from the baking dish and move the baking dish to the top rack. To finish, bake, uncovered, for another 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how you love your lasagna finished. Remove the lasagna from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Ingredients for Kale Marinara Sauce:
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped finely
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
Two 28-ounce cans of unsalted organic crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup of fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 cup of finely julienned lacinato kale
In a large stockpot, warm the extra-virgin olive oil over low heat. Add the diced onion and cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes on low heat. Add the crushed tomatoes and fresh oregano leaves and give the sauce a good stir. Cook on low for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the sauce has reduced and thickened, finish with the sea salt, balsamic vinegar, and julienned kale. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes and serve or use in recipes as needed.
ELXR Juice Photography by Danielle Reynolds
Cold pressed juices post workout can help your training through assisting you to stay hydrated and also offers essential nutrients to support muscle development, strength, and provides nutrients which can help reduce oxidation and inflammation due to strenuous exercise. Juicing is also ideal to alkalize your body after a heavy workout. The most significant thing to remember after a workout is that you have to get the vital nutrients back into your body in the easiest and fastest way possible. Then afterwards, have a meal which has fiber. I always turn to ELXR Juice Lab to nourish me with their cold pressed juices.
Post workout, my go-to’s are usually the Pina Vida). This refreshing blend assists with muscle recovery, it’s also an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing while providing an energy boost. Other faves is the brand’s Second Base; packed with tons of vitamins and minerals, Beta Rush because of it’s energizing properties that give me the extra push to get through the rest of my day and Support Group for it’s ability to stabilize blood sugar levels.
There’s no better time like now to cleanse and detox. Want to start your new year with a 1, 3, or 5 day juice cleanse? Use my promo code “So Sasha” when you order your cleanse package from ELXRJuiceLab.com to receive 15% off your order.
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