I am thrilled to be having Jasmin Niemiec from Coach Jasmin guest posting today and telling you all about the nutrition program that has totally changed the way I am eating! Jasmin is my run coach mentor and I have gone through her Carb Cycling for Runners in the past and haven’t looked back! I figured who better to learn about carb cycling from than someone who coaches it and is a true example of how carb cycling has changed her body and her view of food! And if you are one of my vegetarian readers, I plan on doing a follow up post in the near future of how I do carb cycling – especially on those low carb days!
I have been implementing carb cycling for myself and my athletes via my Carb Cycling for Runners Bootcamp for 7 months now and have reaped the benefits!! At a minimum you could say that I have learned A LOT about food and my body! (If you have not seen my results yet check out the blog “Workout Programs for Women & Carb Cycling” and see for yourself.)
I am leaner than I have been in years, have lots of energy all day (without caffeine!), and feel so healthy. Honestly, I do not miss the foods I removed from my diet, and do not want to go back to how I used to eat!
In a snip-it carb cycling is alternating days between high/regular/low calorie days and high/low carbohydrate days based on your exercise for the day. This process resets your metabolism to burn fat, and repairs your muscles more effectively to keep your body going!
If you were to google “Carb Cycling” you would find many coaches and fitness experts have been eating this way for a long time! But it is more than just alternating days, it is KNOWING THE FOODS YOU ARE EATING. Knowing not only what macros (protein, carbs, fat, other nutrients) are in each food but the effects each food has in your body. In joining my VIP Running Program, I give each member the book The All-Day Fat-Burning Diet (by Yuri Elkaim), which explains in very understandable detail how food effects the body and how YOUR BODY can become an efficient fat burning machine. This book is EYE OPENING and totally changed the way I see my food and workouts. When you know how to eat right, you do not have to work out harder or longer; instead it is about having having your food and exercises work together to make a better you!
(Note from Kristen: I read this book before joining Jasmin’s program and I can totally attest to how eye opening it really is! I don’t think I will go back to my former way of eating!)
IMPORTANT: Carb Cycling is not to just test now and then. Low calorie/low carbohydrate days should not be repeated many days in a row as it could actually harm you. I would highly encourage anyone interested in Carb Cycling to talk with me (a nutritional expert) to tailor this program to YOUR body and fitness level.
THE THREE BIGGEST REASONS I HEAR THAT PEOPLE DO NOT EAT CLEAN IS BECAUSE THEY THINK EATING CLEAN IS HARD, IT TAKES MORE EFFORT, AND THAT THEY WOULD MISS OUT ON LOTS OF FOOD.
2 of the 3 are LIES. It does take a little bit more effort to know your food or read labels, but worth the benefits! However, it is NOT any harder than the meals you already are preparing and truthfully, through the variation of days I still eat all food groups. And the foods I did cut out, I do not miss. Dairy and gluten are not at all necessary in my diet, and there are plenty of other substitutes that are just as delicious and more effective for my body!
Okay I will get off my soap box now and share with you what a regular calorie and low carb day looks like for me.
The key factor in the regular calorie and low carb day is high protein and fats. These will keep you full throughout the day. Each meal should include a portion of meat and lots of veggies, the low carb veggies! (Yep, I bet you did not know some VEGETABLES have carbs!! read the book ALL-DAY FAT-BURNING DIET)
BREAKFAST: Eggs are my favorite breakfast because they provide good protein with minimal carb, almost any veggie in my fridge can be added with them, and they can be either omelets, scrambles, or quiches! I like changing it up so that I do not get bored with my meals. Below are my current two favorite egg combinations:
Bacon and Brussel Sprouts
- 2 eggs scrambled
- brussel sprouts
- turkey bacon
- hot sauce
- 2 eggs
- topped with..
- up to 1/4 of the avocado
NOTE: Omelets can EASILY be made into quiches to have them ready to eat for quick mornings. Just make your quiche on Sunday and just re-heat each morning! See my “Easy Quiche Recipes – Ham and Zucchini” on how to make the quiche (omit the potato for low carb days!)
LUNCH: My lunches are generally LARGE salads which contains contains a hefty portion of protein (this is generally after a workout so it is my biggest meal) and more veggies. (The salad in the picture is in a serving salad bowl, not a normal cereal bowl 🙂 ) On low carb days you can eat as many of the “low carb” veggies as you want. Thats right, no limits! I currently flip flop days between these two salads:
- 1 can Abacore Tuna (from Costco or Aldi)
- 2 TBSP mayo (made with olive oil)
- Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
- Romain lettuce
- Cherry/grape tomatoes
- Squeeze of Lime juice
Italian “Sub” Salad… without the sub!
- Romain Lettuce and Spinach
- Cherry/grape tomatoes
- Orange Peppers
- Banana Peppers
- Turkey Ham
- Smallest amount of either Italian Dressing or Balsamic Dressing
- additional toppings include…
- Black Olives
- Boiled Eggs
SNACK TIME: This is the hardest time of day for me, 3:00pm. My goal at the beginning of the day is to eat enough food at each main meal to not need a snack, but sometimes it is a necessity. Other times I hate just watching my kids eat a delicious snack and I want to join in the fun too! Here are my top three snack choices:
- Shakeology made with almond milk, peanut butter, and ice
- 1 Scoop of my favorite nut mixture
- 2 Hard boiled eggs with a little salsa on top
NOTE: I like snacks that I can make ahead of time for the week so that I know what ingredients are in them (no store made granola bars here!!) and they will be quick! Quick is important for me because I have an impulse to eat, I need to be able to SEE my healthy food options otherwise I linger at the cupboards and I go downhill quickly. Are you the same way?!
DINNER: As you probably guessed, my dinner plate contains protein and veggies. I try to change up the veggies I have at each meal to make sure I am getting a variety. My Homemade Mini Meatball recipe is a go to around our house when our fridge is emptying and I have no more brain power to think of another meal for the week. Although I lean on this recipe at the end of our week, it always satisfies my tastebuds and our tummy’s!
The reason I love this recipe is because I can easily change it up. The Mini Meatballs can be eaten with spaghetti sauce for the classic Italian dish (skip the noodles!) or with a little BBQ sauce as with Mini Meatloafs!! I generally serve this dish with a side of either broccoli, asparagus, or a side salad!
Homemade Meatballs Recipe:
- 1 lb 100% ground beef or ground turkey
- 1/4 cup ground oats
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Oregano
- Cayenne pepper to taste
Mix ingredients in a bowl then scoop into a cupcake pan using an ice cream scooper. (This makes portion control easier!!) Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until center reaches 165 degrees. You will want to double the recipe to ensure there will be enough leftovers the next day!
NOTE: If you are using spaghetti sauce and NEEEEED the “noodles” use spaghetti squash or zoodles (zucchini noodles!). You can easily make zoodles with a Zoodle Slicer.
Now before you say “carb-cycling is not for me, I could never eat this way” (believe it or not, I used to say this too!), know that I attempt eating this way 90% of the time. I am human, and still love chocolate. This is not about dieting off and on, its about portion control and making my body a fat burning machine! I do give myself treats now and then, but I no longer feel controlled by my food. I can eat a cookie and be satisfied AND not guilty about it!
(Note from Kristen: I just discovered Halo Top Creamery ice cream and it’s a great option to have around on low carb days!)
If you want to see a sneak peek into by Carb Cycling for Runners Meal + Running Plan, Click here are receive my FAVORITE Circuit Workout for Runners Routine! This will give you a full bodyweight circuit, interval workout, and a sneak peek into by FEAST day for my runners. Check it out!!
Thank you so much Jasmin! If you haven’t yet, check out my Hip Circuit that will help keep you injury free and running stronger and faster! It’s the perfect way to warm up those hips before going on a run – or you can even use it as a cool down!