Guacamole Indian Style & Mango Salad

avocadosAs VicFitLa fans know, I love food.  I love looking at it, I love making it and best of all I love eating it! And you should too.  There is no excuse for lazy or bland choices.  You don’t have to eat “boring” in order to be healthy, nor will it kill you to take five minutes to prepare something you can snack on for several days.  Plus, a healthy, balanced snack will not only fuel your system it will also help you feel more satiated. So enough lecturing and on to my recommended snack:  (I don’t have good pictures, because I was starving when I made it and didn’t take time to plate it nicely.)

Guacamole Indian Style and Mango Salad:mangoes

  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2  – 1 tsp minced Thai or Serrano Chile
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 TB Veg/Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp brown mustard
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 package of pappadums
  • 1 ripe mango
  • handful of pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
  • Cilantro, lightly chopped

*A couple of notes: 1) I didn’t have brown mustard only Coleman’s Hot English Mustard on hand.  Which is fine as a substitute but I cut down the amount to 1 tsp and lightened up on the minced Chili. 2) If you don’t like mangoes, try substituting papaya, pineapple or orange sections; the citrus will really complement the flavor of the guac. 3) Pappadums may not be the best starch choice because they are lightly fried. But they are made of rice and chick pea flours making them relatively high in protein and lower on the glycemic index. Plus, if your snack is high in nutrients and well-balanced you can splurge a little  bit to give it taste, variety and in this case crunch! Most grocery stores now carry packages of pappadums – they even come in different flavors.

pappadums

Pappadums

Step One: Blend/Mash with a fork these ingredients: Avocados through the garlic.

Step Two: Heat the oil in a skillet, then stir in the mustard for 90 seconds.  Stir in the remaining spices, remove from heat and let stand two minutes.

Step Three: Blend the avocado mixture with the spices.

Step Four: Peel and thinly slice the mango into skinny strips.  Toss the strips with a giving handful of pepitas.

Step Five: Top the guacamole and mango salad with some chopped fresh cilantro (Unless, you’re like my cousins, who think cilantro tastes like soap…that’s ok, I forgive them. To me beets taste like dirt!)

Step Six: Instead of tortillas or chips, Spoon the guacamole on to the pappadums.

Step Seven: Revel in how amazing this tastes together!

pepitas

Pepitas

Now, while you’re licking your lips I’m going to quickly explain how this is a balanced snack.  The protein lies in the pepitas (so be generous with them.) The starchy carb comes from the pappadum and the fruit comes from the mango and avocado.  When combined together it represents a balanced nutritional snack.  We don’t even need to go into the individual vitamins and minerals present – but let’s just say they are well-represented.

As for portion control – the other aspect of a good snack (150-300 cal.) – you want to use 1 pappadum (@ 176 cal.) Since they are more fragile than chips you can’t overload it with dip – so we’re looking at a 2-4 TB of guacamole and a 1/3 – 1/2 cup of mango salad.

And remember: Don’t Be Afraid of Your Food!

avocado tree

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The Myth of “Fat Burning”

UnknownWhen I see someone walking leisurely on a treadmill, drifting off to the side while watching ‘Ellen’ three screens down on the right, barely breaking a sweat or even breathing hard, I have to chuckle and roll my eyes when they say to themselves, “I’m working out; I’m in the ‘Fat Burning Zone.’  I don’t know any super-lean athletes that got that way by strolling for twenty minutes a day.  Look, moving of any kind is better than not moving at all, but if your goal is to lose weight, wandering and window shopping the glass fronts of Afternoon Television Boulevard is not the way.

Every manufacturer of cardiovascular equipment is guilty of this bit of mis-information, as they all come equipped with a pre-formatted “fat-burning” program to make it easy for people to use.  You must also remember, they don’t want to get sued if you keel over from a heart attack while using their product.Unknown-1

But what does “fat-burning” really mean.  In technical terms your body uses two different systems of energy to run your body: aerobic and anaerobic.  Aerobic is like when you go to the grocery store after you’ve just had Sunday brunch.  When you’re full, it’s pretty easy to stick to what’s on your list and take your time going through the aisles.  But now imagine you started your day with a 5K run and then skipped breakfast.  When you hit the grocery, your brain and stomach begin screaming at you!  Your pace through the store is manic and you’re grabbing whatever you can get your hands on that seems fast.  Maybe there’s a box of cookies open in your cart while you’re throwing in veggies and fruit and probably a pizza.  This is Anaerobic behavior.

imagesLet’s explain it like this: aerobic means that the fuel your body is creating is coming mostly from fat storage.  However, it also means that the body is going at a slow enough pace that there is time to go to the storage tank, gather fuel, break it down to a usable substance and fire the engine.

The closer you get to the anaerobic threshold means that the demands for fuel are greater, the internal pistons are firing harder and faster and burning through the fuel.  So you’re body grabs anything it can get its hands on: fat, glycogen, protein, muscle, etc.images-1

At the end of the day, weight loss is basic math: you have to take more calories out of the system than you put into it.  Sure in the “fat burning zone” you are only using fat for your fuel source, but you also will likely only be burning about 100 calories in a half hour.  Whereas, if you work in the higher end of your aerobic zone, just under your anaerobic threshold, you might not be burning all fat, but you will burn 3-4 x more calories in the same time.  Plus, later in the day, your body must repair whatever it broke down to use as “emergency fuel.” So you get an additional “after burn” affect where your body uses fat to fuel the work of replacing whatever was used up during your workout. Plus, 100 Calories in a half hour might seem like a decent deficit to you, but consider that 1 banana or two Oreos are enough to replace that amount.  Which is better burning off the caloric equivalent of a few mouthfuls or of an entire meal?

I am not suggesting you get on a treadmill and run until you collapse or fly off the back.  But here are some signs that you’re in the true “fat-burning” zone:  you begin to get winded, you break a sweat, you couldn’t “do” it all day and it begins to be hard to focus on anything but the task at hand. Losing weight isn’t easy, but you are not immune to the laws of science.  By following good nutritional principles, proper portion sizes, 20-30 min/3-4 x week in the “true fat-burning zone” and some strength training.  You will get there, absolutely steadily and certainly!VFLogo-final