Hey everyone! It seems as if I have been away from you all for forever! School has been incredibly hectic with exams and assessments, but I had to make some time this morning to share a recent food journey with you all.

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If you follow my food log on Instagram (tiffanydietetics), you have probably noticed that my meals include a lot of greens and fibrous veggies…this is nothing new. What has changed as of recent however, my protein sources. As of June 5th (my 36th birthday), I made the decision to cut out all meat from my diet with the exception of eggs. Although Veganism and Vegetarian diets are more popular now than ever, I know there are many of my fellow bodybuilding friends out there that are saying, “What the hell for?”

I made this decision after completing an assessment for school regarding the effects of a Vegan diet on muscle building. Not only was the information completely opposite of everything I thought I knew, but study after study in my opinion, showed a vegetarian diet to be the healthiest nutritional approach of all.

I would assume this transition would be hard for a lot people, but I can say in all honesty  I haven’t had any struggles. I traded red meat and pork about a year ago for turkey and chicken, so I didn’t have those cravings to worry about. Becoming bored with eggs was a concern in the beginning, but that was never an issue either.

The main highlight of this trial for me has been the loads of energy. Granted, I have since been reverse dieting to increase my overall caloric intake for winter gains, but I noticed the energy increase immediately.

So, were there any downsides? There was something that I found to be really odd and random, and I will say that it almost made me pull the plug on the Vegetarian trial and call it a day…Cellulite!!! What?! Ok, slow down. Don’t let this be a determining factor if you are considering the Vegan road. Let me explain. When I decided to take on this journey I was mid-way through my summer shredding program, which meant a lower carb intake than usual. I knew that once changing to a vegetarian approach I would have to switch up my macros, which automatically meant an increase in carbohydrates to make up for the decrease in protein. Because I had been in a deficit, my carbohydrate intake was around 160 grams per day. When I made the switch, I increased those carbs immediately to 200 grams per day. For someone like myself that doesn’t eat a lot of processed foods to reach 200 grams a day, is a lot when you’ve been in a deficit; therefor, this meant adding in more grains. Don’t get me wrong, I love oats and brown rice, and these are staples in my diet year round; however, when Im doing a cut, I had rather fill my belly with loads of fibrous veggies. Well, keep in mind, I had been doing a cut for about 10 weeks, so my body hadn’t been accustomed to all the grains I was now packing in to make up for the carb increase.  Am I saying that grains give you cellulite?! NO! I am saying that carbohydrates absorb water. When the body is not familiar with something, and then you throw something at it, out of the norm, it’s going to respond negatively. Just like most females, I hold any excess fat in my hips and butt.  I manage to keep excess fat at bay, and stay relatively lean year round, which keeps cellulite to a minimum, but we all have a dimple here and there. But man, oh man…one week in and I was stressing. I felt heavy  and fluffy, and a bit dimply all over. I was ready to call it quits. The best comparison I can give is that feeling when you have had way too much Chinese food and the next day you feel like a puffer fish. Thats how I felt for an entire week. Basically, the increase in carbs was causing me to retain loads of water, and my body wasn’t accustomed to that. To fix the problem, I simply increased my water intake. Although it sounds counter-active, an increase in water will keep you from retaining water, so that was my approach. I also coupled the increased water intake with an am HIIT session everyday for the following week, which forced me to sweat, A lot.

Week one was a hurdle, but by week two I felt great. I stuck to my Ovo-Vegetarian approach for just over 15-weeks. Week 16, I gorged on sushi with my fellow foodies following the Olympia. I have had chicken twice since my Vegetarian food journey, and have since cut it back out as well.

As of now, I will continue my vegetarian journey. Feel free to follow along as I share my thoughts on this approach to nutrition.

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Beef liver is one of the most nutrition packed foods in the world.  In fact, it is 100 times more nutritious than muscle meat. It is one of the richest  sources of amino acids compared to other protein sources; essential for body cell growth, repairs and regeneration.

While it’s true that fresh fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and minerals, their micronutrient content doesn’t  always hold up to what is found in meats and organ meats – especially liver.

Most animal foods contain some amount of vitamin B12, but by far, the best source is liver which should be eaten at least once a week. Many disorders of the nervous system result from vitamin B12 deficiency causing a myriad of illnesses and behaviors (less than optimal functioning brain and nervous system, such as difficulty in thinking and remembering, panic attacks, weakness, loss of balance, numbness in the hands and feet, or agitated depression). Beef liver plays vital roles in the production of genetic materials and red blood cells and in neurological health.

The same serving of beef liver supplies 917 percent of the adult female RDA for vitamin A and 713 percent of the adult male RDA. Vitamin A is integral to vital organ, immune, vision and reproductive functions and is also active in cell communication, growth and differentiation. A slice of beef liver also offers 212 percent of the adult female RDA for riboflavin and 179 percent of the adult male RDA. Riboflavin helps your body metabolize food and maintain vision and skin health.

A popular objection to eating liver is the belief that the liver is a storage organ for toxins in the body. While it is true that one of the liver’s role is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons), it does not store these toxins. Toxins the body cannot eliminate are likely to accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues and nervous systems.

It is recommend to incorporate organ meat into your diet at least twice per week.  In fact, the more organ meat in your diet, the better, especially if it’s grass-fed.  Because the flavor can be challenging for some and because cooking organ meat can be daunting, I am sharing my favorite way to prepare beef liver 🙂

Ingredients:

100-115 gram sliver of beef liver (about 1/2 inch thick)
1 Tbsp. organic, salt free butter
2 Tbsp. coconut flour
2 tsp garlic salt
1 Egg

Directions:
Whisk one egg and pour into a Ziploc bag. Add beef liver, seal and lightly shake until evenly saturated. Add coconut flour, seal and lightly shake until coated (some may prefer more breading- in this case add more egg and flour).
Using a cast iron skillet over low-medium heat, melt 1/2 Tbsp butter then add liver and sprinkle with 1 tsp garlic salt. After 3-5 minutes, remove liver, adding 1 Tbsp butter and cook liver on opposite side, sprinkle with 1 tsp garlic salt.

Serve with caramelized onions and grilled asparagus.

 

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100g of bananas, 100g of grapefruit, 50g of apple, 1 egg, 4 egg whites- Macros: 25P/40P/5F
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200g of broccoli, 3oz of chicken cooked in 1T of coconut oil, 50g of avocado, 90g of brown rice, 2T of salsa- Macros: 30P/50C/15F
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Western scramble: 2 fried eggs topped with 3oz of chicken, 150g of mixed peppers and onions, taco sauce and ms. dash southwestern spice- Macros: 35P/10C/12F
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64g of rice topped with 4oz of grilled shrimp cooked in 1tsp of coconut oil, 1 egg over easy and 40g of avocado- Macros: 30P/25C/12F
Post-Workout Smoothie: 1/2 banana, 50g mixed berries, 1 scoop of protein, 1/2T almond butter- Macros: 25P/20C/5F
1/2 scoop any flavor protein, 2T PB2 mixed with water, add 140g mixed berries, 10g crushed nuts- Macros: 15P/20C/10F

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Macro Prepping Vlogs:

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                           To see more meal ideas: RECIPES

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For daily food posts follow my IG

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe pears
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ¼ cup crushed walnuts
  • (optional) yogurt or frozen yogurtDirections:
    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the pears in half and place on a baking sheet (I cut a sliver off the other end so they sat upright). Using a measuring spoon or melon baller, scoop out the seeds.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  •  1 egg
  •  1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  •  1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  •  1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  •  1/2 cup  bleu cheese crumbled
  •  1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  Olive oil, to grease the baking dish

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • 3 tablespoons natural butter, melted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub the bottom of a large baking dish with a bit of oil, to prevent the meatballs from sticking.
Combine all meatball ingredients until well-blended. (The mixture may feel a bit sticky.) Roll the mixture into one inch balls. Place in a single layer in the baking dish and bake for about 25 minutes.
Combine the Frank’s Red Hot with the melted butter. For a milder sauce, add more butter or decrease the hot sauce.

Pour the sauce over the meatballs and serve!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup natural apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon hickory smoke spice
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (add more for more kick)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Add all ingredients to saucepan and simmer on medium/low heat for 30 minutes.
2. Enjoy on EVERYTHING

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Juice of 1 lemon, or more, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, or more, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Place asparagus in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste; gently toss to combine. Place into oven and roast for 8-10 minutes, or until tender but crisp.
  • Serve immediately, tossed with garlic, lemon juice and Parmesan.

When you think of an endurance athletes diet, many people think long distance runners and cyclists and other endurance athletes, spend most of their calories eating pasta. This is partially true, but their bodies need much more than carbs. Also, a lot of people think these athletes can eat whatever they want  because of higher metabolism or they will burn the calories with the next cardio session. However, as with any other athlete, it is important that these athletes establish just as healthy eating habits as any other.

The food you eat should be of good quality. A good diet consists of protein, carbs, and many fresh vegetables and fruit. By “good quality,” that doesn’t mean that chips count as carbs, fried fish as protein, and French fries as vegetables. You also need to consider how many calories you should be consuming per day. According to the US Dept. of Agriculture, women who are active should eat 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day, and active men should consume 2,400 to 3,000 calories per day. You can spend these calories however you wish, although it is important that your body gets enough nutrients to keep you training healthily.

Carbohydrates      You hear of athletes “carbing up” before races and holding pasta parties with teammates. Many foods have carbohydrates in them, but when you eat carbs, they should be nutrient dense. Some examples of good food sources for carbohydrates would be rice, pasta, whole wheat bread, oats, wheat cereal, and crackers. For endurance athletes, about 70% of diet should consist of carbs, unless you intend to increase your protein intake to cut down on carbs. Because your body digests carbs slowly, the energy will last much longer than if you eat a candy bar that burns off quickly.
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Protein      An average person needs .36 grams of protein per pound. Endurance based activities, require more protein to sustain their energy throughout the day and throughout their workouts. An equation you can use to figure out how much protein you need for your body is to multiply your weight by .45 grams. The number you get will tell you how many grams of protein you need daily. This number would be the minimum amount of protein you should eat. Examples of good protein are grilled meats (steak, chicken, turkey, pork), soy patties, eggs, beans, and nuts.
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Fruits and Vegetables      Fruits and Vegetables are not a main course, but they do provide a good source of energy to your body. You can eat them as a mid-day or post-run snack or as a side for your meal. Fruits and vegetables provide nutrients that are essential to your health like vitamin C, dietary fiber, folic acid, and vitamin A. Fruits and vegetables contain no cholesterol, and they naturally have few calories and little fat. It is never a bad idea to add a fruit or vegetable to your daily food intake.
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Water    It is essential that you hydrate yourself throughout the day. You should drink about fifteen minutes or half an hour prior to your cardio and immediately after your session. It is ideal to carry around a water bottle with you if you don’t think you will have a break to get water.
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Vegetarian Diets      You can be a vegetarian and still get the appropriate nutrients and energy to be healthy. There are many alternative foods that still provide protein such as quinoa, soy, beans, nuts, and tofu. As a vegetarian, you should still go by the same standards for the amount of nutrients you need; you will just get them in a different way.

Asparagus Couscous with Chickpeas and Almonds

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion {chopped}
  • 1 lb of  Chopped Chicken
  • 2 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 avocado diced
  • cilantro {for garnish}

Instructions:

  • heat the skillet over medium
  • add the oil and onion
  • saute until soft {just a few minutes}
  • add the chicken, and cook
  • add the taco seasoning
  • stir in the rice and beans, cooking until everything is warmed through
  • top with the cheese, and cook until melted
  • remove from the heat, and top with the diced tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro

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Ingredients:

  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw peanuts
  • 4 tbs bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 lb organic chicken breasts, cut into strips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, chop the peanuts into a coarse meal.

In a small bowl, house the oil.  In a separate medium sized bowl, combine the peanut meal, bread crumbs, garlic powder, parsley flakes and salt.  Dip the chicken strips first into the oil (allowing the excess oil to drip down) and then dredge them in the crumb mixture; pressing down to adhere it to the chicken.

Place them on the baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked through; when sliced in the thickest part, the juices shourld run clear.