Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Going Grain-Free + Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)

You probably didn't notice, but I've been posting fewer recipes with grains. Why? Because I've slowly cut all grains, even the whole ones, from my diet in the past few months.

You might ask, "Why would you do that? Whole grains are good for you! They provide your body with fiber and other nutrients." 

Trust me. I used to think the same thing. However, in he past six months or so, grains have been causing me more trouble than good. 

After paying attention to how I felt after eating certain foods, I realized the extremely "full" feeling I had after eating grains probably wasn't normal. I basically looked like I was pregnant even though I DEFINITELY wasn't.

After realizing this about six months ago, I started to slowly reduce my grains intake. Then, I just stopped eating grains altogether one day in the beginning of June. And you know what? I feel GREAT. 

I haven't experienced bloating, tiredness after eating, feelings of being hangry or cravings for sweets. Not to mention, my energy is pretty high all day. The few times I've eaten the number of grains I used to eat in one day, my stomach blew up like a balloon, and I just felt generally uncomfortable.

Although I never intended to go completely grain free, I did, and I've stuck with it for about six weeks. It's not for everyone, but it's working for me.

No, I'm not following a Paleo or low-carb diet. I still eat dairy (a no-no for Paleo) and carbs in the form of starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and fruit, especially after super tough workouts. Once every week or so, I'll have a sandwich made with sprouted grain bread, but most days I don't eat wheat, oats, rice, etc.

I'm not going to lie. It was HARD and took time to adjust to a grain-free diet since I basically lived on grains my entire life up to this point. However, I feel 1000 times better without grains, and the change gave me the opportunity to be creative in the kitchen, which is how the recipe for these Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps was born.

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Hungry Gator Gal (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)

If you like spicy Cajun food and Jimmy John's "unwich," you'll LOVE these wraps.

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Hungry Gator Gal (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)

Who needs grainy bread when you've got crispy, crunchy lettuce? Yay for leafy greens!

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Hungry Gator Gal (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)

Let's not forget about the generous drizzle of cool, creamy Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing on top (a.k.a. one of my favorite dressings on this planet).

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Hungry Gator Gal (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)
   
I made this meal for lunch one day and added bell pepper slices on the side for some extra crunch and because I'm eating A LOT more veggies because I'm not eating grains. You could also add a few chunks of extra sharp cheddar cheese. Cabot makes my favorite.

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Hungry Gator Gal (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)

Let me know if you give the recipe below a try. It's perfect for an easy dinner and makes for tasty leftovers the next day for lunch . . . if you have leftovers ;). 

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps (grain-free, low-carb,  drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)


Preparation time: 30 minutes


Cook time: 15-20 minutes


Serves four people


Difficulty: Easy

 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds lean ground turkey (I buy the 93/7 variety.)
  • 1/3 cup your favorite barbecue sauce (I used Stubb's Original.)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (Try to find a salt-free version, if possible.)
  • 1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • Two large leaves of romaine lettuce
  • 2-4 tablespoons Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (for cooking the turkey)

Steps:

  1. Combine ground turkey, BBQ sauce, mustard, onion and all of the seasonings in a large bowl. Stir until well-combined, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the flavors "sink in."
  2. After 30 minutes, heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.
  3. Add turkey to the skillet and cook until light brown (about 15-20 minutes). Stir the turkey every few minutes until it's finished cooking.
  4. Wash your lettuce and place each leaf on a plate to make "boats."
  5. Add a spoonful or two of turkey to each lettuce "boat."
  6. Add a handful of green onions to each lettuce "boat."
  7. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of the dressing on top of each wrap.
  8. Serve with cheddar cheese and extra veggies, if desired.

Question:

  1. Do you eat grain-free? Why or why not?

Helpful/ interesting articles about going grain free:

 

Related HGG Recipes:


Tomato Basil Turkey Burgers

Tomato Basil Turkey Burgers from Hungry Gator Gal

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf Muffins



Spicy Salsa Meatloaf

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chest + Back Supersets Workout

Some days I lift heavy with fewer repetitions, and other days I train with lighter weights and a higher number of repetitions.

So what happens when I feel like doing both in the same day? Routines like this chest and back supersets workout.

Chest + Back Supersets Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

Whether you should complete a high number of reps with lighter weights or fewer reps with heavy weight is an often-debated topic in the fitness world. However, the truth is that neither training plan is better than the other. You can do both!

Although I'm not a certified fitness professional, I'm a firm believer in keeping your muscles guessing. I constantly switch both my cardio and strength workouts each week.

Now more than ever, I'm focusing on a well-rounded fitness program. Basically, I'm training concurrently (i.e. for cardio and lifting goals at the same time). I've been doing it for a little more than a year and have seen significant gains in overall physical fitness.

Although I hope you try the workout, I'm not going to be disappointed if you don't. Why? Because you should move in a way that makes YOU happy. <----Great post. Seriously. Check it out!

If you train concurrently, that's great. Feel free to join me in the gym. However, if you don't train concurrently, that's awesome too. YOU should do what works best for YOU.

Maybe that's running three times a week. Maybe it's practicing yoga every day. I could care less as long as you're happy. Life's too short to do things we don't like to do. :)

Question:

  1. What's your favorite way to move?
 

Additional Upper Body Workouts:


Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout

Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Quick Bicep & Tricep Blast Circuit

Quick Bicep & Tricep Blast Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Push and Pull Upper Body Circuit Workout

Push and Pull Upper Body Circuit Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pumping Iron Playlist

Here's playlist for when you need motivation to lift things up and put them down.

Pumping Iron Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal (an @spotify playlist)


Here's the Spotify playlist for fans of streaming.



Follow me (Brianna Kolota) on Spotify if you like this playlist and want to see more of my music.

I listen to mainly EDM and pop in the gym, but I like alternative hits while I'm chillin' at home, studying or working. You'll find a mix of all three types of music if you check out my playlists.

Question:

  1. What are some of your favorite workout songs right now?

Related HGG Posts:

Summer Workout Jams

Summer Workout Jams Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal (spotify playlist included)

Ultimate EDM Playlist



Summer Sweat Playlist 

Summer Sweat Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Iced French Vanilla Protein Coffee

You know what's better than regular coffee in the summer? ICED COFFEE!

And you know what's better than iced coffee? PROTEIN ICED COFFEE!

Iced French Vanilla Protein Coffee from Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Yes, I'm using all capitals because I'm EXCITED to share this drink. Aaaaand I might be slightly over-caffeinated as I type this post.

This cool and creamy treat has been the perfect drink to sip on while I'm making a post-workout feast meal. To get started, just fill a large tumbler with ice.


Photo by Brianna Kolota

Pop your iced coffee K-Cup into the machine. If you don't have a Keurig, you can buy iced coffee quarts at the grocery store or follow this easy recipe.

Green Mountain French Vanilla Iced Coffee on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Add a little sweetener. My current fave is Trader Joe's Stevia Extract.

Trader Joe's Stevia Extract

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Then add a half or a full scoop or vanilla protein powder. I used Body Fortress Super Advanced Vanilla Whey Protein, but feel free to use your favorite brand.

Body Fortress Super Advanced Vanilla Whey Protein on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Iced French Vanilla Protein Coffee from Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Give the drink a stir, and you're ready to feed those muscles while getting your caffeine kick for the day.

But really though. It's SO easy to overdo the caffeine with this drink. I could chug four cups in 10 minutes if I wasn't paying attention.

I was trying to cut back on my caffeine intake because it's the summertime and I'm not in school. However, now that I'm watching my cousins as their nanny, I have two or three cups a day. I love kids, but they're EXHAUSTING. Kudos to all the mothers out there.

Let me know if you try the coffee. I'd love to know what you think! :)

Question:

  1. Do you drink iced coffee in the summertime?


Related HGG Posts:


Very Berry French Vanilla Smoothie

Very Berry French Vanilla Smoothie from Hungry Gator Gal #OneChange #VegaOne

Banana Vanilla Chai Doughboy Smoothie



Coffee Banana Breakfast Cookie Dough Cereal

Thursday, July 10, 2014

26-Minute Boredom-Busting Treadmill Workout

The treadmill is far from being a "dreadmill" with this 26-minute boredom-busting workout.

26-Minute Boredom-Busting Treadmill Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

Seriously though. If you think 26 minutes is nothing, you're in for a surprise. The first half of the workout includes a seriously difficult speed pyramid. Then you finish off strong with speed intervals.

In other words, you're testing both your speed and endurance in one workout. More bang for your workout buck if you ask me.

Complete this workout by itself if you're short on time, but feel free to complete 15-30 minutes of strength training before or afterward. I like to do upper body work because my legs are pretty much JELL-O after a treadmill workout like this one.

Let me know if you give it a try. I'd love to know what you think. :)

Question:

  1. Do you like or dislike treadmill workouts?
  2. How often do you train with intervals or pyramids?

Related HGG Posts:


Quick Cardio Tabata Sets

Quick Cardio Tabata Sets from Hungry Gator Gal

5-4-3-2-1 Lower Body Blast Workout

5-4-3-2-1 Lower Body Blast Workout from hungrygatorgal.com 

Quick Bicep & Tricep Blast 

Quick Bicep & Tricep Blast Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Monday, July 7, 2014

Salsa Ranch Tuna Salad (mayo-free; made with Bolthouse Farms yogurt derssing)

I'm beginning to think each summer is hotter than the last in Florida. I wish the picture below was a joke, but it's not.


It was about 93 degrees Fahrenheit in St. Pete last week, but the humidity made it feel like a whopping 112 degrees. In other words, you're drowning in sweat with one step out the door.

When it's painfully hot, I don't feel like cooking at all, which is why I eat a TON of salads and smoothies during the summer.


Photos by Brianna Kolota

Recipes clockwise starting with the top left corner: Apple Cheddar Grape Salad, Berry Cheesecake Smoothie, Chocolate PB & J Smoothie, Chocolate Blueberry Smoothie

Speaking of salads, you've probably heard me mention Bolthouse Farms on Hungry Gator Gal if you're a longtime reader. I've been topping my salads with the brand's wide selection of yogurt dressings since I started the blog.

Although I've tried almost every kind, my family and I LOVE the Salsa Ranch flavor. We use a whole bottle EVERY week.

@BolthouseFarms Salsa Ranch yogurt dressing

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Given the humidity, I decided to make a tuna salad with the Salsa Ranch Yogurt Dressing. I knew the cold, creamy yogurt dressing would hit the spot. Not to mentinon, it's only 45 calories and three grams of fat for 2 tablespoons.

To make the salad, I chopped some veggies and put them in a large bowl with  the dressing, ground flax seed, Dijon mustard and some spices.

Salsa Ranch Tuna Salad on Hungry Gator Gal (mayo-free; made with @BolthouseFarms yogurt dressing)

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Then, I added some tuna. . .

Bumble Bee Chunk Lite Tuna

Photo by Brianna Kolota

. . . and stirred away until I had a light but filling salad.

Salsa Ranch Tuna Salad (mayo-free; made with @BolthouseFarms yogurt dressing)

Photo by Brianna Kolota

The salad makes about eight 1/2-cup servings, which will feed six to eight people or one extremely hungry teenage boy for two days (a.k.a. my brother). You could also make this recipe and have enough lunches for a week.


Salsa Ranch Tuna Salad on Hungry Gator Gal (mayo-free; made with @BolthouseFarms yogurt dressing)

Photo by Brianna Kolota

You can serve the tuna salad as an open-faced sandwich with cheese like I did here. I used Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread and placed Havarti on one half and Swiss on the other.

You could also eat the tuna as a salad with some lettuce, veggies and additional Salsa Ranch Yogurt Dressing. Maybe even some lettuce wraps? I would imagine this tuna also tastes good with Triscuits or some other cracker-turned-dipping-device.

Did I mention this recipe only takes 10 minutes to make? :)

P.S. You can find cooking tips, recipes that Bolthouse Farms products and more on the Bolthouse Farms blog. I thought the grilled fruit recipe and trending food article were pretty interesting.

Salsa Ranch Tuna Salad (mayo-free; made with Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressing)


Makes about eight 1/2-cup servings


Difficulty: Easy


Total Preparation Time: 10 minutes


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced green onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 20 ounces canned tuna (drain the water)
  • 3/4 cup Bolthouse Farms Salsa Ranch Yogurt Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (canned or fresh; if canned, drain juice)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Steps:

  1. Chop veggies.
  2. Add veggies and all other ingredients to a large bowl. I recommend making the salad in a large bowl with a lid so you can easily store leftovers.
  3. Eat on a bed of lettuce, as a sandwich, with crackers or all by itself.
Let me know if you try the recipe. I'd love to know what you think! :)

Note: I was not compensated for writing this post or creating this recipe. However, Bolthouse Farms did send me four coupons for one free Bolthouse Farms product after I sent an email saying how much I loved the company's dressings. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

5-4-3-2-1 Total Body Blast Workout (strength, cardio and stretching)

This red, white and blue workout is my attempt at making exercise patriotic in honor of America's birthday this week. 

5-4-3-2-1 Total Body Blast Workout from Hungry Gator Gal (strength, cardio and stretching)

Can you see the firework bursting in the background? It's how your muscles will feel (i.e. ready to burst) after doing strength training, cardio and stretching in under an hour.

'Murica. ;)

Questions:

  1. How are you celebrating the Fourth of July?
  2. Do you work out on holidays? (I typically take the day off to spend time with family and friends.)


Related HGG Posts:


5-4-3-2-1 Lower Body Blast Workout

5-4-3-2-1 Lower Body Blast Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Total Body Burnout Circuit Workout

Total Body Burnout Circuit Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

Total Body Superset Workout