Tasty Taco night… Better than Take away Tacos

Who needs take away when you can make beautiful tacos at home? Remember fitness is a way of life, a journey. So learning how to cook well for yourself is very helpful, and you don’t have to rely on take away.

I am a professional chef, and have a Culinary degree, with a specialization in Baking and Pastry.

This is what I make for my family at home. We love taco night and my kiddos love to eat my tacos. Currently my son and daughter are asking for another taco. He ate three already. I would say that is a good sign. These are all whole foods, and things I know where they came from.

The recipe includes the Pico De Gallo, and ground beef mixture. I have noticed that I have readers from all over the world so I will try to add appropriate measurements where I can to help you out. Some may wonder what a Pico De Gallo is, it is similar to a salsa, however, it is not as liquid and sauce like as a salsa. Pico De Gallo is also very fresh and you can add what you like to it.

I set up a taco bar, and let the kiddos decide what they want on their tacos. They both request all of the toppings. I love that my kiddos will eat lots of veg. Starting good habits early will carry them through life. That is the hope at least.


Pico De Gallo Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion small dice
  • 2 small tomatoes diced or about 25 heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 seeded jalapeno
  • 1/2 lemon juiced or a lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs or Euro 1/2 oz of cilantro chopped – (if you don’t like cilantro leave it out)

Directions:

Dice onions, dice tomatoes, small dice the jalapeno, add all ingredients to bowl. Squeeze lemon over your clean fingers to catch the lemon pips. You want to make sure to add lemon or lime as the acid really will brighten the flavors of your Pico.

Ground Meat Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb or Euro 454 g of ground beef or I also like ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 tbs or Euro 1/4 oz ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp or Euro 1/4 oz paprika
  • 1/2 tsp or Euro 1/8 oz of cayenne pepper or ground chipotle pepper (add more if you like spicier)
  • 1/2 cup or Euro 4 oz Beef stock or Turkey stock or Vegetable stock to taste
  • 1/2 seeded small diced jalapeno
  • oil enough to coat bottom of pan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Dice the onion and saute on med/high till soft and caramelized, add meat, while it is cooking add spices on top. Brown the meat and cook till thoroughly done. Drain extra fat from pan, and add stock. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Tips:

  • I take corn tortillas and toast them over the open gas flame on my stove.
  • You can add more ingredients to the meat mixture. Granulated/Ground garlic, Cilantro, and ground coriander.

The following is the stats for one taco:

Calories 143, Fat 5.6g, Fiber 1.9g, Carbs 13.3g, Sodium 209.1mg,

Protein 9.6 g

Healthy Lunch Recipe… Fried Egg on an Avocado and Tomato Cucumber Salad.

I prepped only three lunches this week for myself, because I knew I would have time to make food for myself at lunch time on Tuesday and Thursday. I wanted to make one of my favorite meals.

It has 10.9 grams of protein in it and is so flavorful. It is made of whole foods except the soy sauce. That can be left out if you wish, and substituted with just a pinch of salt. Not only is this super tasty but is so pretty to look at.

This is quick and healthy fast food. =) You don’t need a culinary degree to make this, just a pan, and a few minutes.

One of the rules in culinary school you learn is that you eat with your eyes first, then your nose, and you mouth. What that means is if the meal looks appealing to you, you will enjoy it much more. Just take a look at those garish colored foods. They do not automatically make you think mmm I want to tuck into that.

Anyway, here is what I made, the recipe and the stats for food:

Fried Egg on an Avocado half, and tomato cucumber salad

Recipe:

Yield: 1 serving (to scale up just multiply by the amount of people you have)

  • 201 g heirloom cherry tomatoes sliced in half ( I used approximately 10 tomatoes
  • 155 g cucumber, chopped into bite size pieces ( I used approximately half of an English cucumber.)
  • 9 g of green onion chopped (I used one whole green onion, green and white parts)
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce (alternately you can use a pinch of salt)
  • 1/4 tsp of Olive oil (I used an EVVO that had garlic in it as well)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • Lemon Zest to taste
  • I large egg fried
  • 1/2 tsp veggie oil

Directions:

  • Cut avocado in half, and score avocado, and sprinkle with sea salt if you wish
  • Cook egg, with a 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil
  • Cut heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion, add to a bowl.
  • In another bowl assemble, the balsamic vinegar, soy, olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  • Pour dressing over salad and toss
  • Plate and then enjoy

Caloric Stats for this meal:

306 calories, 21.7g fat, 10g fiber, 19.6g carbs, 213.7mg sodium, 10.9g protien

I hope you get a chance to enjoy this recipe. I have also alternately just made the salad and had a boiled egg with it or, eaten two avocado halves with two fried eggs on it. Change it and make it yours. Enjoy and keep eating well. Let me know what you think.

Tips:

  1. Acidulate the other half of the avocado, and put it in a ziplock bag. You can use it the next day or later for a snack and the acid will keep it from turning brown.
  2. Score your avocado before placing egg on it. This will make it easier to eat if it is just under ripe.
  3. This meal was only 300 calories and it did not meet my protein requirements for this meal so I added another egg. As with any recipe alter it as you need for your body.

Healthy Snacks? Hells Yes!

Diets

Alright… diets and dieting are a sensitive subject for most people. I have done my share of dieting, yo-yoing up and down. Trying out each new fad. I even tried that grapefruit diet. Do you remember that one? Maybe I am just showing my age.  If you want to read more about it. You can find it on Web MD.

I know some of my friends have done keto and have gotten such great results. Other friends have gone paleo, and had some great results. If you have something that works for you I say keep doing it. However, if you feel like your diet is not sustainable than maybe look into what makes your body feel good.

I prefer to try to eat whole foods now. The emphasis is on whole minimally processed foods. For instance if you look at the ingredients in a package of chips and there are more than 3 ingredients and many that you cannot pronounce that is something to avoid. Cooked or raw your body processes those whole food nutrients much more efficiently than it does those foods processed with chemicals.

Nutrigenomics

There is some interesting research going around nutrigenomics. The New York Times has a great article about it. Where scientists and doctors are approaching peoples diseases based on genetics and what they eat.

“There is a buzz around nutritional genomics at the moment, which is partly a matter of timing. A sea change is under way in the approach scientists are taking to disease — they’re looking less to nature or nurture alone for answers, and more to the interactive symphony of ”systems biology” that nutrigenomics epitomizes.

At the same time, chatter around this new science has been amplified by a controversy. The idea of the biological relevance of race — even its very existence — is hotly debated. And the assumption of real genetic markers that distinguish one ethnic group from another is at the philosophical heart of nutrigenomics.

At the same time, chatter around this new science has been amplified by a controversy. The idea of the biological relevance of race — even its very existence — is hotly debated. And the assumption of real genetic markers that distinguish one ethnic group from another is at the philosophical heart of nutrigenomics.

Here’s the most familiar example: If you’re of Northern European ancestry, you can probably digest milk, and if you’re Southeast Asian, you probably can’t. In most mammals, the gene for lactose tolerance switches off once an animal matures beyond the weaning years. Humans shared that fate as well — until a mutation in the DNA of an isolated population of Northern Europeans around 10,000 years ago introduced an adaptive tolerance for nutrient-rich milk. The likelihood that you tolerate milk depends on the degree to which you have Northern European blood.

”That, essentially, is the model — a very dramatic one,” says Jim Kaput, the founder of NutraGenomics, a biotechnology company. ”As humans evolved, and as our bodies interacted with foods on each of the continents, we sort of self-selected for these naturally occurring variants. And certain populations have variants that, when presented with Western-type food — which is usually fatty and overprocessed and high in calories — pushes them toward disease rather than health.”

Credit NYTimes

https://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/04/magazine/what-your-genes-want-you-to-eat.html

I have noticed based on just experimentation, my body does better with more plant based foods, less animal proteins with emphasis on fish and seafood, and avoiding lots of dairy. I am half Japanese and I am lactose intolerant. I still like pizza though!

Eat Whole Foods, Don’t Starve Yourself

I strive… to eat using only whole foods, but I still allow myself to enjoy life. Do I eat things that are not whole foods. Yes! Do I do it all the time? Nope! During the holidays you should let yourself have fun. What is life without celebration? Eat whole foods, don’t starve yourself.

I am the kind of person that can be strict enough with myself to limit myself to 500 calories a day. Please don’t do this. It is not healthy and really messed up my metabolism for a long time. It messes with your hormones and many other body processes. I can tell you it feels painfully boring. It is going to a party and saying nah I can’t even take a bite of anything because I had my apple, boiled egg and saltines I have already allotted for this meal. Its feeling left out. Its the constant guilt about food. When I feel guilty about food, I know I began to resent food. However, if you snack, and eat everyday with health in mind. You can indulge occasionally. It is good for the soul and good for your spirits.

With that said I will stop rambling and get on with the healthy snacks. Eat these nummy things on a normal day and feel like you are treating yourself. Then when a special celebration comes around let loose and have fun.

Banana Almond butter and Grape

Yeild: 1 bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana sliced
  • 2 tsp of almond butter
  • 10 grapes
  • 1 tsp of desiccated unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  • Slice bananas, and place all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy.

Calories: 222 calories, 10g fat, 3.8g fiber, 35.4g carbs, 14.5mg sodium, 3.4g protien

Banana Oatmeal Cookie Bites

Yield: 18 servings

(Gluten free, dairy free, egg free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 2 whole bananas
  • 4 tbs raisins
  • 3 tbs chopped pecans
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 1 pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Smash the bananas, mix in the oats, and then rest of the ingredients.  Roll the mixture into a ball and then place on a greased parchment paper lined pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

Calories for 1 cookie ball: 45.7 calories, 1.47g fat, 1g fiber, 7.37 carbs, 1mg sodium,

Yogurt with Frozen Fruit and Chocolate chips

Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of frozen fruit
  • 10 grams desiccated coconut unsweetened
  • 1 tbs dark chocolate chips

Calories: 300 calories, 11.2g fat, 5.2g carbs, 91.2 mg sodium, 25.2g protein

Remember to create a new habit, it takes 21 days of consistency… try replacing just your snacks with whole foods foods.

Thank you for reading, and have a fantastic day! I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think.

Next Blog: Listening to my body vs. being lazy