Gabby lives in foodie heaven as a blogger, freelance recipe developer and food photographer, not to mention she’s married to a chef! Almost two years ago, though, the bakeaholic had to make some major diet and lifestyle changes when she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. With some of her favorite ingredients and meals no longer an option (she’s used to be a sucker for Belgian beer!), the self-proclaimed “kitchen explorer” had to take matters into her own oven-mitted hands to make gluten-free cooking taste not only good, but great.
Monotonous rice and lettuce-based meals were quickly transformed and with it—Gabby’s life. She felt better and food became more personal and exhilarating, thanks to a new-found creativity fueling her “science experiments.” From drool-worthy desserts (Grain-Free Chipotle Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Glaze? Yes, please!) to energizing, on-the-go breakfasts, like Vegan Blueberry Power Muffins, Gabby shows that a food allergy doesn’t stop your meals from being tasty and fun! Read on to hear about how Gabby stays motivated and fit outside of the kitchen.
My favorite way to work out: CrossFit! I love the combination of weight lifting (my favorite), intensity and focused training. Since starting CrossFit about seven months ago, I’m the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been! The community you find yourself is second to none—your coaches and fellow athletes see you at your best and your worst, support you, cheer for you when you think you can’t keep going and keep you accountable.
On my fit life list: Deadlift 250 lb (current max is 230 lb), unassisted strict pull-up, do a muscle up, run a race with my mom in a different state (she is a great runner–me, not so much), stay healthy, lift weights throughout my life.
I’m happiest when I’m: Doing something I love whether that is cooking with my husband (he went to culinary school!), wine tasting with my family, doing food photography for my job (I work for a magazine) or just picking up a heavy barbell. Cooking and baking are my stress relievers and I’m lucky that I get to do that as a job. I’m convinced that there is not much a late night cookie baking session can’t fix.
My biggest motivator: My biggest motivation each day is that I want to be better/stronger/faster than I was the day before. Some days are great, some days aren’t but with support from my fellow athletes, coach and others, I move in that direction each day. A long-term motivator for me is trying to be the most fit I can be so that I can live life to the fullest. There is no doubt that picking up 200 pounds is satisfying on its own, but it’s also extremely beneficial—if something were to happen to my husband, I could help him, I have the capacity to move objects without assistance and I’m a better functioning human being because of it. I hope to be the grandmother who can still pick up her grandkids at 80 years old and can continue to do activities with my family—building and maintaining strength will make that possible.
Olympic sport I’d love to try: Olympic weightlifting or gymnastics!
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that the holiday season has passed, we’re experiencing a bit of cabin fever. Not all of us can jet off for a warm-weather getaway, but we can all take a trip to the kitchen to whip up meals that take our taste buds on a trip around the globe! Lindsay Nixon, author of the new book Happy Herbivore Abroad, shared two low-fat, vegan recipes to help us do just that.
Lentil Taco Meat
“I got this idea from one of my fans and now we make lentil tacos (or burritos, or enchiladas!) at least once a week. Use brown- or the greenish-colored lentils here, not red or yellow,” Nixon suggests.
- 2 cups cooked lentils
- 2 tablespoosn ketchup
- 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons lemon or lime (juice)
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (granulated)
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder (granulated)
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- nondairy milk (optional)
- salsa (optional)
- Pulse warm lentils in a food processor or blender until chopped up or pureed (your choice).
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.
- Taste, adding salt or pepper as desired, plus a splash of nondairy milk or a touch of salsa if the mixture looks dry.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories 137, Total Fat 1.1g, Carbohydrates 23.9g, Fiber 9g, Sugars 3.9g, Protein 9.9g
Summertime serves up a lot of temptation. Ice cream, fruity, calorie-packed cocktails, the list of diet wreckers is endless. But according to a recent MorningStar Farms survey, it’s not vacation or the parade of food festivals women blame on their diet woes, it’s backyard barbecues. That’s why they’ve teamed up with Top Chef alum and co-host on ABC’s The Chew Carla Hall for her simple grilling tips to have a scale-friendly summer. Read below to have an easier, healthier weekend fête, plus a new recipe to test out!
- Prep it: Spray some nonstick cooking spray on the grilling surface before turning up the heat. It makes flipping your food easier than ever.
- Think outside the bowl: Use your salad to top grilled burgers. Whether it’s a slaw or Caprese salad, consider this the adult version of playing with your food.
- Get fresh: Use the grill to take advantage of summer’s wide produce selection. Marinate fresh vegetables in a light salad dressing and grill under tender for a tasty side dish. After the meal, add slices of angel food cake and stone fruit or pineapple to the grill for an easy, crowd-pleasing dessert.
Read more to get Carla’s Black Bean Burger with Peach Pico de Gallo recipe.
Our May issue (on stands now!) features a lightened-up version of enchiladas, along with tips from Julian Medina, Chef/Owner Toloache, Yerba Buena and Coppelia restaurants in NYC. And with Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, we were psyched to score a few more online-only recipes from the inventive chef! Combine the gourmet recipes below with the guilt-free one in the mag and you’ll have a flavorful fiesta ready to go!
Guacamole de Frutas (serves 4)
- 2 Mexican Hass avocados
- 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons Vidalia onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons mango, diced
- 2 tablespoons peach, diced
- 2 tablespoons apple, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon habanero pepper, minced
- 1 teaspoon Thai basil, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
- Kosher salt to taste
1. Scoop the pulp out of the ripe avocados into a bowl.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and a pinch of salt. Mash the ingredients together, leaving it chunky and check the seasoning.
3. Serve with warm corn tortillas or chips.
Toloache Margarita (serves 1)
For the Hibiscus Puree:
- 1 cup of hibiscus flower
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 ounce sugar
Combine ingredients into a blender, or food processor and puree until smooth. Let cool.
For the Virgin Mix:
- 1 ounce Cointreau
- 1 ounce lime juice
In a separate container combine the Cointreau and lime juice, stir well.
For the Toloache Margarita:
- ½ bar spoon of blueberries
- 2 ounces hibiscus puree
- 2 ounces Herradura Blanco
- 1 ounce virgin mix
- Splash of simple syrup
1. In a cocktail shaker muddle the ½ bar spoon of blueberries, then add the hibiscus puree. Pour in the Herradura Blanco, virgin mix and simple syrup. Add ice and shake well.
2. Pour the margarita into a chilled rocks glass and garnish with a hibiscus flower and lime wedge.
Keep reading for an ambitious chicken quesadilla…!
If you’ve read the books, you know foraging for natural food is a big element to survival in The Hunger Games. Even though the Games don’t actually exist (phew!), eating food in their natural state can be delicious and satisfying. So when Daily Burn sent us some recipes from their meal plan inspired by the series, we couldn’t resist! See below for a few of our favorites, along with some tips for eating a more hunter-gatherer diet.
Hunger Games Porridge
- 1/3 cup quick oats
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 2 tbsp coconut flakes
- Dash of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- Optional: berries for topping
- In a small bowl, combine oats, coconut flakes, ground flaxseed and cinnamon.
- Add boiling water and stir. Add almond butter and stir once again.
- Top with berries if desired.
Tasty Tip: Get creative! Try new fruits and veggies, and don’t be afraid of different flavor combinations, like tossing strawberries on top of your usual grilled chicken salad. You’ll be surprised how delicious natural foods can be when mixed in multiple ways.
For two more all-natural recipes, click below.
When you hear the words “deep” or “fry” (or even worse, those two words smushed together!), our bodies tend to do two things. Our faces cringe but our stomachs growl, as it goes with most things in life that are so good, yet so terribly bad for your waistline.
Now there’s a new alternative to enjoying your crispy fried favorites, the T-Fal Actifry, a multi-cooker that makes healthier versions of fatty foods by using only a tablespoon of oil. Pulsed hot air and a stirring paddle helps cook food evenly, making everything from French fries to fried rice and even chicken wings.
We snagged a recipe from Chef Danny Boome, who whipped up this veggie dish at the latest T-Fal launch, Ingenio, a line of cookware. Pair it with a healthy comfort food for a well-rounded meal that only takes minutes.
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts and Red Cabbage
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small red cabbage, sliced
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Trim the Brussels sprouts and peel off an outer layer of leaves. Cut the sprouts in half lengthwise, larger sprouts can be quartered. Place the sprouts in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring the sprouts to a boil and drain immediately. Transfer the sprouts to the bowl of ice water (this will stop the cooking and help preserve them). Drain well.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the Brussels sprouts and cook for 1 minute. Add sliced cabbage and cook until cabbage has softened and the sprouts are warmed through. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.
Now tell us: What cooking substitutions do you use in the kitchen to make your comfort foods healthier?
More from FITNESS: Our Favorite Low-Cal Comfort Food Recipes
Looking for a quick side dish to whip up and bring to your Thanksgiving feast next week? We snagged the perfect recipe from Food Should Taste Good‘s chef Ryan Leker. It might not be appropriate next to the turkey, but it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser as an appetizer to hold you over until dinner. Check it out below:
Food Should Taste Good Ginger Snap Dip
Makes: 2 cups
Serves: 5-8 people
- 1 pound mascarpone
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons water
Place mascarpone in mixing bowl to soften. Combine remaining ingredients in small saucepan and place on low heat. Heat gently, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved and all ingredients are combined, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. When the mixture is cool, whisk into softened mascarpone. Serve with Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato tortilla chips.
Update 10/17/11: We have a winner! Congrats to Elizabeth from Walnut Creek, California! Thanks to everyone who entered!
In the October issue of FITNESS, there’s a delicious, slimmed-down version of French Onion Soup that clocks in at just 266 calories per serving. In case you missed it,
we’re defriending you. you can still get your hands on the recipe created by Meg Galvin, World Master Chef and Healthy Cooking Expert at SparkPeople.com, in the brand-new book, The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight. SparkRecipes.com Editor Stepfanie Romie worked with Meg and the rest of the Spark team to pull together a thick collection of light-and-healthy recipes, like:
- Skinny Eggs Florentine
- Lifesaving Lentil Soup
- Bluegrass Jambalaya
- Spicy Turkey Mini Meatloaves
- Key Lime Tartlets
- And more!
That’s all good news, right? Now for the great news: We’re giving away one of the cookbooks to a lucky reader this weekend! All you have to do is click here to answer a quick question and enter your contact info. We won’t use your info for anything else and we’ll announce on Monday morning who the lucky cookbook recipient is!
Yes, you read that right. Today is National Taco Day! To celebrate, we squeezed our way into the kitchen at Los Feliz in New York City to get a skinny version of one of our favorite party foods. Try this yummy fish taco recipe Chef Julieta Ballesteros shared with us for all the taste and half the calories. Plus, check out some healthy ingredient substitutes to use below for any recipe to make your taco healthier.
Ingredient Swaps for a Healthier Taco:
- Try corn tortillas, they are lighter than flour shells.
- Adding fish in tacos instead of beef will give you a great source of protein while being low in fat.
- Spices like adobo give flavor to your food without packing on extra calories.
- Beans are a great source of minerals and vitamins.
- Chiles can suppress your appetite, making you feel fuller faster.
Read on for Chef Ballesteros recipe for fish tacos.
I love to cook, and thanks to my Italian mother I often use measurements like “five healthy shakes” instead of exact amounts. So when making dinner for a friend that’s on a low sodium diet this weekend, (my “five healthy shakes” would probably max out her sodium intake for the next year) I came to a realization — salt is everywhere, especially in my kitchen!
It’s no secret that a majority of Americans crave all things salty. In fact, this ABC News article reports that companies like Campbell’s are adding more salt to their Harvest Select soups after consumers complained they were too bland. With health experts telling us to avoid excess salt, and companies adding more into processed foods, what’s a girl to do?
I tested out some salt substitutes to see if I could live without my beloved salt shaker. Below, some of the things I tried and how my taste buds fared.
- Lemon juice: I used this on almost everything I would normally salt, like pasta, chicken, and veggies. Not only did I find a new condiment I’m obsessed with, I didn’t miss my usual salty taste one bit.
- Vinegar: A quick lesson learned, a little bit of this goes a long, long way. Add to potato salads, regular leafy salads, and raw veggies.
- Spices: Another tasty substitute, I swapped out garlic salt for rosemary and oregano when making homemade tomato sauce. Not only did the sauce taste basically the same, I finally put my spice rack to good use!
Now tell us: What do you use to substitute salt when you cook?