From Chia Pet to Chia Power!

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On yet another incarnation on the evolutionary spiral, Chia—first  introduced in the form of a ram as “Chia Pets” in 1982—are all the rage these days, and with good reason. Tinier than poppy seeds, these power-packed oval seeds are more available today than when introduced by Dr. Oz on Oprah a couple years ago.  A relative of the mint family, the Chia seed boosts energy and is packed with protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and iron… a virtual microchip of nutrition!

Originally from South and Central America, Chia is the Mayan word for strength and was used by Southwestern Indian Tribes as “the runners food” for long treks for trade and by the Tarahumara Indians, as depicted in the fantastic book:  Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall.

Chia has been found to aid in:

  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Blood Sugar and Insulin Sensitivity
  • Increasing Energy and Endurance
  • Weight loss
  • Improved Colonic Health

It is said that 1 tablespoon of Chia seed is worth 24 hours of energy! So If you’re feeling low on energy and looking for a healthier energy drink, Chia seeds may just be the thing.

To make your own Chia Energy Drink, combine Chia Seeds, Water, Lime Juice and Honey.  Ratios vary by individual taste…being as how measuring spoons aren’t in regular use by indigenous tribes, but our home brew tends to be a simple 1-cup concoction:

Chia Power Drink

  • 1  Cup   Warm or Hot Water
  • 1  Tbsp. Honey*
  • 1  Tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • 1  Tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice (or Lemon Juice)

Stir well, or shake in a shaker bottle, let sit for a couple minutes, as you would steep a tea.  The seeds will absorb some of the water and increase in size.  Sip slowly and try “chewing” each sip.

*OR, 1 tsp. honey if you can go with less sweet but there’s also natural energy in the honey, so experiment with this and of course using less is best.  The higher quantity of honey (or maple syrup) is good for those trying to wean themselves from unhealthy energy boosters such as sugary coffees, teas or sodas, and can be gradually reduced.

Chia in This, That and Everything

Chia seeds are really easy to add to virtually anything.  You can sprinkle the seeds on salads, cereals (hot and cold), fruits and vegetables; blend them into your smoothies, add them to spreads and bake them into bread!  As you can see, there are endless ways to use chia seeds, and while their flavor is barely noticeable, their contribution to your health likely will be!

Ask for Chia seeds at your local Whole Foods, Earth Fare or natural food store.  If you try it or already have experience with Chia, please share your experience.

*Additional resource:

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Healthy Post-workout Protein Shake

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After a good My Gym Trainer workout, it is important to give your body the fuel it needs to repair muscles and refill energy stores. This is the perfect window to have a protein shake containing whey protein and a little carbohydrate for recouping (but not too much or it will go into fat storage). Choosing what types of carbs is important because ones that are more quickly absorbed are ideal, but they should still be clean ones like fruit, honey or real grape juice (i.e. it’s not an excuse to grab a cookie!).

Here is one of our My Gym Trainer favorites and Jill making it using the Magic Bullet blender (love that thing!), yum!

Protein Berry Smoothie

  • 1 scoop strawberry whey protein powder
  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk (vanilla or original flavor)
  • 1 cup mixed frozen berries
  • ½ cup ice

Add muscle recovery supplements like L-glutamine or branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) if you want
Place all ingredients in the Magic Bullet and blend until smooth Give it a try!

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My Gym Trainer-Approved Pancakes!

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Let’s face it, chicken breasts can get old. Dry. Boring.  Recently, we were fooling around in the kitchen and formulated a great– simple and quick!– recipe for some protein pancakes.  They are yummy, and they are ideal for right after a good, hard MGT workout because of the whey protein and oats.  Here is the recipe, let us know what you think!

Mix the following in a large bowl or mix in blender:

  • 2/3 cup liquid egg whites
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
  • 2/3 cup dry old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • (Optional- dash of Pumpkin Pie spice)

Blend or mix until smooth.  Spray an omelet pan with PAM and put on medium heat.
Pour batter into pan and cook as one BIG pancake.  Makes 2 large pancakes (2 servings).
Add 2 tbsp Josephs Sugar-free maple syrup and eat!

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Coconut for Fat-Loss! Plus, MGT-Approved Coconut Cake Recipe!

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Coconut oil, flour and milk are all high in saturated fat. Which would normally be a dietary no-no, BUT unlike all other saturated fats, the ones contained in coconut are medium-chained (as opposed to long-chained), and are biochemically dissimilar and thus are metabolized completely different. Luckily, the metabolism of coconut does NOT lead to fat storage as other saturated fats can, but will actually help burn fat, especially in the midsection.

In July 2009, a study published in the journal Lipids showed that supplementing
with coconut oil, as opposed to soybean oil, led to a significant loss of fat in the
midsection for women ages 20-40 years old. Both groups lost weight, as they
were all told to follow a low-calorie diet, however, the coconut oil group lost
significant amounts of fat from their middles, while the other group did not.
How to use: Virgin coconut oil can be used for baking, and is especially great for
cooking at high heats, since it remains stable, while others like olive or canola do
not. Use it in place of others oils to sautée up veggies, grease a cookie sheet
or cook meats on the range. Coconut flour is similarly helpful in fat loss efforts,
and contains a remarkable 5 grams of fiber in only 2 tbsp! Incorporate into baked
goods by substituting half of the called-for flour with coconut flour. At My Gym
Trainer we did something similar while experimenting in the kitchen last week,
and voila!

Here is our own healthy, fat-loss Coconut Cake recipe for you!
A great dessert2-3x/week!

Healthy Coconut Cake
12 egg whites
8 egg yolks
1 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 cup water
3/4 cup erythritol (like Zero, get at Whole Foods)
1/4 cup liquid maltitol (like Joseph’s, get at Whole Foods)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat over 350 F, grease a 9×13 pan
Makes 12 servings

• In a medium bowl, beat 12 egg whites (use electric mixer) until it is thick/
foamy and leaves small, soft peaks, set aside

• In a large bowl, beat 8 egg yolks until smooth, then add coconut flour,
melted coconut oil and melted butter, salt, water, erythritol, maltitol, vanilla
and coconut extracts and mix all with a spoon

• Slowly add foamed egg whites (break up into 3-4 separate additions), and
mix with spoon

• Once all whites are mixed in, pour batter into greased up pan

• Bake 40 minutes, or until fork comes out clean in the middle

• Let cool completely and then cut into 12 servings, and serve
Refrigerate any leftovers, enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 piece (makes 12 servings)
Calories: 200
Fat: 13g (10g sat)
Carb: 10g (6.5g fiber)
Protein: 8g

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