What I’ve been Eating: Lunch.

How is it already February? I don’t think I’ve even been able to process the fact that we’ve past the holiday season and Valentine’s Day is next weekend. Holy heck!

Since my schedule has been so busy lately, I’ve been going after really quick lunches so I can focus on cleaning, walking Nella, getting in a quick workout, or running an errand over my lunch hour. Today I’m sharing three of the three quick lunches I’ve been eating like crazy lately. I try to get in a good portion of protein for my lunches so I’m full through the afternoon and can avoid cravings.

Lunches from Left to Right:

  • Scrambled Eggs & Turkey: Brown up about 1/2 cup of ground turkey with 21 Season Salute from Trader Joes. When the turkey is almost fully cooked, add in two stirred up eggs – scramble in the pan all together. Place in a bowl and top with salsa.
  • Ground Chicken Salad: Brown up about 1/2 cup of ground chicken in a pan with 21 Season Salute from Trader Joes. Place over butter lettuce, 1/8 cup shredded Mexican Cheese, & 1 spoonful of Plain Greek Yogurt.
  • Pasta & Green Beans: Pictured is the Birds Eye Veggie Made Mac & Cheese (but all of these pastas are super delicious) with crushed red pepper. Side of 1 can Green Beans with a slice of Pepper Jack Laughing Cow Cheese.

These are my current go-to lunches that only take about ten minutes to whip up because I’m always about being super productive through my day and maximizing my time. If you have quick lunches that you love, I’d be happy to hear & try them out.

If you enjoy food ideas, you can find more from me daily on Instagram at @ashraeeining where I share a lot of different meals, snacks, and drink ideas on stories! Let’s be best friends on social ūüôā

Gut Health: What is it & why it matters.

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The human gut microbiome is complex and powerful in impacting our overall health – in a good or bad way depending on how we treat it. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, as well as heart & brain health, boosted mood, healthy sleeping patterns, and an effective digestive tract.

The term gut microbiome refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your intestines. A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body.

Signs your gut might be out of whack:

  • Digestive Issues
    • Gas and/or bloating
    • Constipation
    • Irregular bowel movements
  • Mental Issues
    • Like depression, anxiety, and brain fog
  • Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies
  • Unintential Weight Gains
    • Or struggles managing a healthy weight
  • Chronic Unmanaged Stress
  • Skin Problems
  • Trouble Falling into a Deep Sleep

Ways to improve your gut health: 

  • Improve Eating habits (see below section)
    • Monitor consumption of prebiotics and probiotics
      • If it is a struggle to get enough in your normal diet, consider taking a supplement (address this with your doctor to make sure it is a healthy option for you)
    • Consider food intolerances that upset your gut
  • Stay Hydrated
    • Attempt to get in a recommended amount of water for your body weight
  • Implement a Consistent Sleep Pattern
    • Going to bed and waking up at the same times will help your body & digestive system fall into a flow
  • Reduce Stress
    • This is easy said than done but consider areas of your life that are more stress inducing and consider how you can change this.

A happy gut means a healthy feeling body. A diet rich in immune-supporting probiotic & prebiotic foods will fuel your gut with what it needs for your microbiome to thrive. Probioctic foods contain “good” bacteria or live cultures that are found naturally in your gut. Prebiotic foods nourish the probiotic foods in your digestive tract.

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Probioctic Foods:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Fermented Foods
    • Kimchi
    • Kombucha
    • Olives
    • Pickled Beets
    • Pickles
    • Sauerkraut
    • Soybeans
  • Grains
    • Sourdough Bread

Prebiotic Foods: 

  • Fruit
    • Berries
    • Bananas
    • Tomatoes
  • Veggies
  • Grains
    • Barley
    • Flaxseeds
    • Oatmeal
    • Wheat
  • Legumes
    • Beans
    • Chickpeas
    • Lentils

Beginning a journey to improve your gut might take a bit, so be patient. Implementing a healthy diet and reducing your stress won’t heal a gut in a day but will begin to detox the gut microbiome of toxins.

But please keep in mind this isn’t an overhaul either! Like I always like to say, life is a balance of healthy habits and periodic indulgences. We want to incorporate healthy habits in our lives so that WE. FEEL. GOOD. but what also feels good…. a fudgy brownie with vanilla ice cream. So definitely implement new healthy habits into your life but don’t deprive yourself!

Stayed tuned for a Morning Routine for a Happy Gut later this week!

Favorite Berry Smoothie.

You can’t go wrong with a good smoothie. I enjoy the fact that you can cram in a ton of good fruits & veggies into one glass. Also there is such a variety that there are endless opportunities for a new flavor every day.¬†

Over the years, I’ve definitely done my fair share of experimenting with different concoctions of smoothies and have nailed down my favorite blend of ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, I still do some new mixing every now and then to keep things spicy but this is, for sure, my tired and true smoothie recipe that I keep coming back to and it hardly ever fails that I don’t have these ingredients on hand.¬†

I prefer to blend my smoothies in a Nutribullet¬†(not sponsored but wouldn’t mind being ;). It’s the perfect kitchen gadget to blend everything in one cup and then drink straight out of that same cup. Who doesn’t like less dishes? I also like to use my Nutribullet to blend my homemade Ranch Dressing. ¬†¬†(Not going to lie, I do have my eye on a Vitamix too).

Ingredients: 

  • Frozen Berries¬†
    • I prefer a blend of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries but also grab blends with mango, banana, and peaches often.
    • Make sure to check the back of the package for any added sugar. Unnecessary ingredients are sometimes added to make the berries sweeter – but we don’t need that ūüėČ
  • Spinach¬†
    • I add about a cup
  • Banana¬†
    • For creaminess
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
    • About 2-3 scoops¬†
    • For creaminess
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Chia seeds & Flax seeds
    • I use the Barlean’s mix which can also be found at most Sam’s Club locations
  • Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)¬†
    • I prefer NG Nutritions brand & it looks like they now call the flavor ‘Vanilla Ice Cream which sounds absolutely delicious.¬†
      • This brand does contain 2g of sugar per scoop
  • Almond Milk
    • I add this last and fill the cup up to about an inch below the rim

Enjoy this yummy treat as a mid-afternoon snack on a hot afternoon or as a breakfast replacement on those rushed mornings!

Let me know your thoughts after you try this delicious drink & if you make any substitutes to make it your own.