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TrainerTiff: January 2013 >

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Recipe: Warm Lentil Soup for a Cold Winter Day

When you look outside and see gray skies, clouds, or possibly snow -- there's nothing better to warm you up than a hearty bowl of soup.

I absolutely love soup. It's light yet filling and you can be so creative with the ingredients and flavors.

Way back over Thanksgiving, the family and I left Arizona and went back home to Michigan to celebrate the holiday with our families. One particular day, my dad mentioned going out to grab some lunch. Knowing how particular I am about the foods I eat, he pondered for a minute, then enthusiastically said, "I know just the place." It turned out to be the cute little soup and sandwich shop, Zoup.


I got some type of veggie sandwich and a cup of lemon lentil soup. The soup was downright delicious. So much in fact, that I made mental note to try and re-create it once I got back to Arizona.

Well, after reviewing tons of different recipes to get a feel of what ingredients go in the soup (my usual process for creating my own recipes), and a little trial and error, I got it. And I want to share it with you. So the next time you're feeling a little gloomy and cold from the winter weather, go ahead -- whip up this tasty and healthy soup. You'll be happy you did.

Check it out!


2 cups lentils
2 1/2 cups water
3 cups vegetable stock (plus)
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 small tomato, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp vegetable chicken base
1/8 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/8 tsp pepper (or to taste)
1/2 lemon, juiced
Lemon zest grated from 1/4 of the lemon

1. In a stock pot, on medium heat add coconut oil and olive oil. Add garlic, onions, green pepper, carrots and celery. Saute until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add water, vegetable stock. Then add lentils.

3. Add remaining ingredients: tomatoes, vegetable base, seasonings, lemon juice and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and stir frequently for a couple minutes.

4. Reduce heat to low and let soup simmer for about 30 minutes or until the consistency is no longer liquid, but of a thick consistency. You can add more vegetable stock, if it becomes too thick.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Featured: Volleyball Magazine

A couple months ago, Volleyball Magazine reached out to me stating they wanted to include my blog in an upcoming issue featuring nutrition blogs, and wanted to know if I'd be interested. The first thought that popped into my head was, of course!

I'm excited to share with you that you can find me in the February 2013 issue of the magazine. Check it out here!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Food Journal: Take a Peek at What I Eat

This drink is cleansing and a great way to flush the system to start the day.
Grapefruit is light and full of vitamins and minerals. It also contains the antioxidant
lycopene. And under the rind is the compound, naringin -- which helps regulate insulin. 
Whole wheat pasta doesn't spike blood glucose levels like white pasta.
No meat here. I avoid pairing meats with starchy carbs to allow for better digestion
If you're focusing on losing bodyfat, protein smoothies are a good supplement to ensure you're getting
adequate protein in your diet. 
I do enjoy a trip to Starbucks every now and then. But instead of getting large lattes or other mixed drinks,
I opt for a tall (sometimes a short) regular coffee.
I do add sugar and cream. And sometimes I have them top it with whipped cream.
This way I get a little treat without all the extra that comes with the typical mixed drinks.

Nuts are a great snack option. They are good source of essential fatty acids, protein and fiber.

When I have turkey burgers, I avoid the bun as it's a bad food pairing. I like to experiment with flavors to make them tasty -- this one has jalapenos mixed in. And since I avoid starchy carbs with meat, that presents a problem for finding a binding agent for the burgers. Instead of using the typical breadcrumbs, I use almond meal -- you can't even taste it and it works perfectly.
My meals change depending on what I'm focusing on. Whether it be adding muscle, leaning out or maintenance -- all goals require a different approach to diet. Right now I'm working toward leaning out a tad. Every so often, I slack off a little (yes, I do too) and need to refocus my efforts. I never let things get too far off track -- I check my bodyfat percentage often to keep an eye on things. The meals reflected here are what I consider to be a pretty good day -- eating every few hours, food pairings were good and I avoided starchy carbs at night. And at the end of the night when I was dog tired from chasing my twins around all day, I went to the gym at 10 p.m. to get in some cardio. Not to toot my own horn ... but, toot toot

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recipe: TrainerTiff's Tabouli Salad Packs Protein

Here's a lunch option that includes an assortment of veggies and a bit of protein from an unlikely source, hemp seeds.

You can find hemp seeds at most natural food stores. Here in Arizona, I get mine from Sprout's Farmers Market. These little seeds are full of nutrients like zinc, magnesium, iron, essential fatty acids and are a complete protein source.

Chickpeas are included in this dish as well, and they add to the protein element of this recipe.

The tabouli portion of this recipe, I adapted from Kimberly Snyder's recipe and added loads of vegetables and the chickpeas. You can eat this salad all by itself as it's really filling -- and tasty too. But you can also have it as a side dish to a veggie sandwich or soup.

Check it out!


1 cucumber
1 yellow squash
2 Roma tomatoes
1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley
2 green onion stalks, chopped
1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tsp minced garlic

Directions: Slice cucumber and squash into slices and then into quarters. Dice the tomatoes and chop the parsley. In a large mixing bowl, add the cucumber, squash, tomatoes, parsley, hemp seeds and chickpeas. Mix well.

In a food processor, place all the dressing ingredients in and pulse until the dressing has emulsified (about 10 seconds).

Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. This salad is ready to eat but is best if you let it chill.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blueberry Coconut Water

Coconut water is great by itself. It's a perfect post-workout drink because it contains a high amount of electrolytes which helps maintain proper fluid balance in your body -- I love it after hot yoga. But sometimes you might want some added flavor.

There are a lot of flavored varieties to choose from, but why not make your own? Adding some fresh fruit to coconut water is a fantastic way to make your taste buds happy, while also get the added vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that come from the fruit.

Check out this quick and simple recipe for blueberry coconut water. It tastes like dessert.


16 oz coconut water
1/2 container frozen blueberries

In a blender add the coconut water and blueberries and blend until desired smoothness.

Tip: Add a tablespoon of chia seeds or a scoop of protein powder and turn it into a protein shake.