Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 6/29/14

For Fitness, Push Yourself– “Everyone agrees, of course, that any exercise is more healthful than none. But beyond that baseline, is strenuous exercise somehow better, from a physiological standpoint, than a relative stroll?”

Cuomo Plan Seeks to End New York’s AIDS Epidemic– New York is a state that typically likes to lead the way in terms of change. We saw this with food calorie counts being required on menus in New York City’s restaurants and coffee chains since July 2008. New York is also looking to be one of the first states to require GMO labeling on foods. This article focuses on how New York has decided to take a stance on helping to make HIV no longer the huge  city epidemic it is currently by 2020.

Hangovers, Why– If we could find a cure for hangovers, what an amazing concept. This article is a good one for those of us who enjoy a few drinks from time to time. I had no idea this was an area of focus for scientists, but worthwhile in my opinion. “But the interesting thing is that one of the most effective hangover cures are ones that administer glucose. One of the other mechanisms of the hangover is to do with glucose metabolism and not having enough blood sugar.”

“Is a Calorie Really Just a Calorie?”– I like this article because it asks the question I have thought about many times, are all calories equal? It is like any diet or weight loss plan. Everyone has had success with something at some point. I think it comes down to finding what works for you and is sustainable. However I like the 3 points he lays out at the end. In summary try to eat more whole and real foods.

Watching too much TV may increase risk of early death: Three hours a day linked to premature death from any cause– “Adults who watch TV three hours or more a day may double their risk of premature death from any cause. Researchers suggest adults should consider getting regular exercise, avoiding long sedentary periods and reducing TV viewing to one to two hours a day.”

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Photo from Huff Post

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Let’s Talk Real Estate in San Francisco-WTF

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Now I know I live in an expensive city. I moved out here from Colorado about 8 years ago and when looking for an apartment I was in pure sticker shock. In college my first house was $1,200 a month in rent for 5 of us to split. We had 5 bedroom’s, 2 living rooms, 3 bathrooms, a huge backyard, and even a garage. The first time I moved in alone it was my senior year in college and I remember thinking how expensive the 700+ square foot apartment was, with the walk in closet, right in our downtown district, for $600 a month. Did I mention that included all bills, even cable!

When I first moved to the bay area I came out with my best friend and she found us an apartment down by San Francisco State university. Now for those of you who do not know the area that is essentially almost Daly City. It was a large 2 bedroom 2 bathroom and we split it for $1,400 a month. After a year my BFF decided to move back to Colorado so I decided to find a one bedroom in the city. I set my budget, I wanted to find a place for $1,200 a month or less in an area I wanted to live in.

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I remember refreshing Craigslist constantly with maybe only a couple of apartments fitting my criteria popping up a week. The posts were always taken down within a few hours due to so much interest. I would go to these open houses with my rental application, copies of my bank statements, a referral letter, copies of current pay stubs, a check in hand for first and last months rent, and anything else that might help sell me. I would apply and apply and never was picked. I was 24 and had only been at my job for a year, so apparently I was not as desirable as a steady older couple. I remember crying to my mom at night that it should not be so hard to find a place to live!

Then it happened. I had just applied to yet another apartment and was rejected. However the landlord felt like I reminded her of her daughter and told me she had a place that was not on the market yet and if I wanted it I could have it. It was a one bedroom 700 square foot apartment, with a garage,  in my top neighborhood Potrero Hill, and it would be $1,35o a month. If I chose not to take it they were going to bring it up to market value which was $2,000 at the time. Now this was more then what I wanted to pay, but I felt lucky and I took it! Did I mention it is rent controlled?

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I have now been in this apartment for almost 7 years and I love it! 2 years ago my wonderful boyfriend and his amazing golden retriever moved in with me. Now my apartment does not allow dogs, but I was so in love and never thought twice about it. Well 2 years later the landlord has finally found out about our amazing pooch and I now find myself in need of a new home.

This is where the crazy starts. Studios in this city, in the not desirable areas, start at about $2k a month to rent. How does one go from a large 1 bedroom apartment in their favorite neighborhood, with a garage, to a shoe box with a man and a dog! I decided I just cant do it! If I am going to be paying $2k+ a month in rent I would rather pay a mortgage. I have wanted to buy for years and always never pulled the trigger. So now I felt like this was a sign for me to buy.

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Real Estate has now become my second job. I research constantly, go look at open houses, and I am obsessed. In 6 weeks I have placed 2 offers (almost 3) and lost on all of them. I am starting to feel like how I felt 7 years ago. That young 24 year old just wanting to find a place to live and feeling completely hopeless. I keep telling myself everything happens for a reason and it took me 6 months to find the place I currently live in, but once I did it has been the most perfect place. However let me say this market is crazy! More to come on this subject, we are only in the beginning 🙂

Snacking or Meals- What do you prefer?

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Snacking……what can I say about it. I am obsessed. I hate sitting down to eat a full meal. I would much rather graze and eat all day. I love eating, who doesn’t right.  So the idea of taking long extended breaks from it throughout the day just does not seem to work for me. I wake up in the morning and before the hunger hits I feel normal. I go to the gym, get ready, grab my coffee, down a bottle of water, and I am able to start my day worry free. Then mid morning the hunger starts to set in and then that is when it all begins.

I typically eat the same thing for breakfast everyday. Some might find this boring or even monotonous. Not me. Every morning I still get excited for what meal is in store for me. Now this is not to say I never switch it up. I try to vary things on the weekend or when I travel, but for the most part I am usually good with eating the same thing most days. Right now my breakfast of choice is overnight oats. If you have never made them then you are missing out! They are sweet, creamy, filling, and amazing. A couple of hours later if I can hold out that long is when the snacking starts.

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Sometimes I make a full on meal for lunch. Usually it is when I know I have a packed afternoon and I will have to eat quickly. However if I know I will have time to enjoy lunch then I snack. I vary it up everyday, but some of my favorites are roasted or cut up veggies, dips like hummus or eggplant pesto, crackers, fruit in season, homemade breads, baked tofu, side salads, etc. I like little things that I can just continue to eat throughout the afternoon. One thing I hate is that really full feeling, especially at work. So snacking seems to keep me energized all day.

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I would like to say that is the end of my snacking, but oh no. It continues. Next I come home and usually grab some nuts, crackers, and cheese first thing upon entering the door. There are days when my purse does not even make it off of my shoulder before a snack is in hand. Dinner is when I eat my most filling meal of the day. I like feeling full and relaxed at the end of the day. This is also where I like to splurge if I am going to eat something more un-healthy. However I try to save that for going out to eat with friends and just use dinner at home as a time to eat healthy. But let’s be honest, it does not always work.

Now here is the whole point of my blog. I have found an eating routine that works for me. I can’t recommend it for everyone, but through a lot of trial and error I have finally learned how to keep myself happy, healthy, not starving or deprived, and overall just satisfied. I highly recommend everyone spend sometime thinking about their eating routine and really focusing in on what makes you happy. Eating is not just a meal to me, it is so much more then just making my hunger go away. It is the experience of it. Now the only thing I need to work on is learning how not to snack after dinner…….I guess none of us are perfect right 🙂

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 6/22/14

Exercise and the ‘Good’ Bugs in Our Gut-  “A multitude of studies have shown that people with large and diverse germ populations in their digestive tracts tend to be less prone to obesity, immune problems and other health disorders than people with low microbial diversity, and that certain germs, in particular, may contribute to improved metabolic and immune health.”

Sunbathing ‘may be addictive’ warning-When we think about addiction we automatically think about alcohol, drugs, food, sex, but who thinks about sun? This article dives into whether or not UV and sunlight can be addictive. The article features to very different perspectives. Either way it looks like more research will need to be done on the subject.

Insurance Coverage Expands, but Gaps Remain– This study compares 2013 to 2009 to see if the gaps in healthcare for families since the Affordable Care Act went into place. It looks like “sharp coverage gaps remained depending on factors like age, race or ethnicity and where people live.”

 Why Extreme Diets are Fundamentally Flawed– This article is a review based off of a new book called Diet Cults where the author Matt Fitzgerald “Exposes the irrationality, half-truths, and downright impossibility of a “single right way” to eat, and reveals how to develop rational, healthy eating habits.”  Overall I think there is some good merit to what is said and I am interested to pick up the book and give it a read.

Single-tasking is the new Multitasking– This video is very funny and true. I don’t know if anyone else out there is like me, but I can’t seem to focus on just one thing. I am constantly doing multiple things at the same time and always question if my multitasking actually helps me get more done?

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Photo from Huff Post

Navigating the Un-Healthy

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Every now and again we find ourselves in situations where eating healthy is not easy and sometimes just plain difficult!  Thinking back to before my weight loss there was never a moment where I thought about what I was eating. I would eat any and everything I wanted to without a moment of pause for what I was actually putting into my body. If it tasted good and I wanted it I would just eat it.

When I went into weight loss mode and in my early days of maintenance I would obsess about food. My biggest concerns always came down to calories and making sure I was within my set range.  I did eat healthy with a main focus on fruits, veggies, and various proteins. However I would also eat a lot more processed foods because it was easy for me to identity their calories and that way I was making sure everything I was eating was fitting into my calorie budget for the day.  If I found myself in a situation where there was not a healthy food option or I was not able to see the calories on something I would panic. How was I going to be able to eat if I did not know how many calories something had?!?!

This may sound silly to some, but when food and how you are nourishing your body is all you think about for a while it is hard to not be able to control the situation. Well at least for me. After being in weight maintenance for long enough now I have learned how to work through these situations and the things to look out for in order to make sure I am doing the best I can for my body.

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This past week I found myself in a few situations where eating healthy was not as easy as I would have wanted. I was in Arkansas for work and typically I never have a problem eating healthy here as I have a rental car and can go to my favorite Arkansas spots like Panera or grab some things at the grocery store. This week however I was out for our big shareholders meeting and therefore most of the meals there were provided for us.

I am not going to lie and say I have come so far that being in a room with a bunch of un-healthy food does not still make me panic because it totally still does!  However now I take a step back, breathe, and have learned to just do the best I can and know I will be back to my normal routine in a couple of days.  I thought it might be good to share a couple of my tips for navigating through these type of food situations and what works for me.

Breakfast is by far the easiest one to normally figure out. Most hotels offer oatmeal, fresh fruit, yogurt, or eggs as a healthy option. If you stick to eating these foods you will probably end up feeling full, satisfied, and will not have consumed too many calories. The high calorie foods are going to be the bagels, muffins, fruit juices, sausages, bacon, and waffles.  For myself I started each morning off with a big bowl of fruit and either yogurt or an egg white omelet with veggies to get some protein in.

It was lunch and dinner where healthier options were really more limited. Most of the events had a lot of processed or fried foods and main dishes based with bread or pasta. Now of course I did have to end up eating some of these things, but I tried to limit how much I consumed of them and tried to help off set calories where I could. My first go to is always to fill up as much as I can on veggies, lean protein, and fruit. This way you are getting fuller first on the healthier foods and will then hopefully eat less of the higher calories items later. Dairy and condiments can have a lot of hidden calories in them so if I could I choose to get my sandwich or burger without the cheese, avoided mayo and creamy salad dressings, and passed on anything fried.  In order to help me escape the dessert table I would just eat a mint or a piece of dark chocolate after dinner. That way I was ending my meal with a little something, but was not indulging every night. Of course I did end up having a cookie one night because sometimes you just need to have a cookie. I know some of these things seem minimal, but over time it is these little things that really do add up. Small changes will eventually lead to big changes if you keep at them for long enough.

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Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 6/15/14

World Cup Refs Run 6 Miles Per Game– With the World Cup just kicking off I thought it would only be fitting to include an article on the subject. However instead of having it geared to the players, lets take a look at the amount of work the Ref;s have to do per game. I for one would not have guessed the amount of exercise needed.

Overestimating How Hard We Exercise– We always hear how important it is to make sure we are getting enough physical activity in every week. For adults it is recommended 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. However this article raises the question do adults know what moderate exercise is vs. vigorous?

Protein and Muscle: The Basics– I for one know I need to incorporate more protein in my diet. However if anyone else is like me I struggle on how much should I have and when. This article is short and sweet, but does a good job summarizing how protein helps muscles build.

If We Want People to Eat Real Food, We Must Make It Easier to Eat Real Food- This is more of an opinion article, but I think it has some good points.  “If we are going to invest in a broad campaign telling people to “eat real food,” we must also invest in a broad campaign to make eating real food an “easier” choice to make.”

10 Biggest Diet Mistakes– Having been successful with weight loss I have to say I really agree with all of the points made in this article. A lot of this I practice or did when I was starting my journey.

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Photo from Huff Post

Career Development Panel Discussion- Part 2 The Questions

Hi Everyone! As promised earlier this week, below are some of the questions people at my office were curious about and wanted to have more clarity on during the panel. Overall I thought it was a great group of questions and that a lot of people could benefit from the answers even outside of my office walls. I did narrow the questions down to a group that would be more applicable to a greater population though.  I also do want to note that the answers are just my opinions and thoughts based off of what has worked for me in my career. I am by no means an expert and  there are a lot of different opinions and advice people have out there that is good and valid that may differ from my own. However I tried to narrow my answers down to what people overall thought was the most beneficial.

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Whats the best way to find a mentor at work?

  • Find people you like, respect their work style, and want to learn more from.
  • Then just reach out to them and setup a coffee or lunch date
  • Come prepared with topics to discuss, questions you have, guide it to be what you need/want it to be
  • The Mentee needs to really be the one owning the mentor relationship
  • If you find after a few times meeting you are just not clicking there is nothing wrong with ending a mentor-ship. These relationships are meant to help you, so don’t force something

What courses do you recommend for personal development? What books do you recommend?

  • I really liked the birkman method class where it walks you through understanding not only your own work personality, but also different personalities around you in the workplace
  • The success we achieve can largely depend on how well we understand ourselves and those with whom we interact. Much of our time is spent working with others to accomplish objectives. People skills are one of the most critical we can develop.
  • Recently I have been reading books about or from Leaders in our industry.  It is interesting to see how leaders at the top of their field have approached work and what has lead to their successes. Below are some of the books I would reccomend reading
  1. “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook is a great book! It gives a whole new perspective of being a woman in business
  2. “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” by Brad Stone, it makes you really appreciate when you work for a company with a great culture and also seeing the grit needed to push the limits in terms of innovation
  3. Currently I am Reading  “Thrive” by Arriana Huffington the founder of Huffington Post. This book is all about work life balance, which I am a big believer in. In order for us to really be the best we can be we need to make sure we prioritize ourselves.

Whats the best way to approach the conversation of being considered for promotion?

  • I am a big advocate in owning your own career development.
  • I always have approached my managers with what my goals are and the things I need to do in order to make them happen.
  • Then I work at delivering the goals discussed. At the end of the day you do have to prove yourself
  • Always keep the dialogue open and talk about it frequently with your manager. I believe everyone should know where they stand in their current role at work
  • Be responsive to constructive feedback and show how you are listening it and trying to learn from it

For those of us who are more “introverted” – we hear so much about how important visibility is to advancing your career. What advice do you have for those people who are more on the introverted or quiet side?

  • First I agree, speaking up to get visibility is very important. However if this is not your strong suite I don’t think that means you can’t succeed or move up
  • In terms of  speaking in public though I can say I personally have always been really shy about speaking up in big publish forums. In almost all of my evaluations this has been an area for me to work on.
  • The only thing I have found that works is practice. Start slowly with pushing yourself. First try speaking up in your team meetings where you know everyone and feel comfortable. Once you start to do that and it feels comfortable then start speaking up in larger group meetings until you feel even more comfortable. Keep challenging yourself, the more you do it the easier it gets. I promise!
  • If speaking up is not your strong suite find ways to showcase what you are strong at and get more visibility there. Are you really strong at in person one on one conversations? Then make a point to go talk to leaders in the office. Are you strong at crafting great e-mails? Then work at creating great re-caps and presenting information out to your manager.
  • It is all about playing up where you are strong and working to improve where you need to get better. Everyone has something to work on

I’ve heard some people say that one of the only ways to move up quickly is to keep jumping companies or jobs every couple of years. What are your thoughts on that?

  • I think it all comes down to working hard and liking where you are. I started as a merchandise assistant which is the entry level position in merchandising and have been promoted 4 times over the last 7 years. I believe if you work hard for a company then the company will want to reward you for it, however I also believe if you are not getting what you want out of a job then sometimes moving can help as well. Just remember going to another company does not mean you will move up any faster. When you start somewhere new you have to prove to a new group of people you as a worker. For some people this is easy, for others it may be harder. At the end of the day it all comes down to really liking what you do and feeling like you are contributing to something you believe in.

I’ve had so many different managers over a short period of time due to turnover or re-orgs. It feels like I have to start all over with each manager and that I’m not gaining traction on advancing my career. Any advice on how to handle that sort of situation?

  • In my time at my company I have had 9 different managers, that is almost 1-2 a year. I do think having new managers is tough because you do have to re-build a new relationship and prove yourself with them.
  • However I think it is important to be honest with your new manager when they come on board.
  • Tell them that you are concerned about all of the changes and how it is important for you to stay on track to move up. I have had very honest and frank conversations with new managers on what I what and what I am concerned about.
  • With every new manager I have started the relationship off by letting them know what I want from my career and see how they can support or help me with it.
  • If you are a strong worker your manager will learn quickly.

 

Career Development Panel Discussion- Part 1

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At work I was recently asked to be part of a panel discussion series focused on educating and inspiring employees within our company on Career Development. The focus of this panel was to share feedback and advice on how someone goes about shaping their own career within our company.  When the committee started choosing who to invite to be on the panel my name came up since I have been successful in my tenure here and have moved up quickly. Thus the invite was given to me and I of course had to accept!

First I cant even put into words how flattered, humbled, excited, and terrified I was to receive the invitation. I now manage a larger team at work and with that job comes giving feedback, suggestions, and sharing my opinions. However it is still hard for me to believe that my thoughts and advice are anything that others would want to hear.  This is where I think sometimes we have to step back, reflect, and trust in our own abilities. There is a reason we get to where we are at.

The panel consisted of 5 of us all at Senior to Director levels across various areas within the company. The discussion was scheduled for an hour and luckily enough the woman organizing the event had asked the audience in advance for questions, which gave us some time to think through everything and have good solid answers going into the discussion. The forum was hosted as a Q & A so most of the questions were asked throughout the hour by the audience themselves, but when there was a little quite time the host would ask one of the pre-set questions.

I have never been a fan of speaking in public, especially when it is off the cuff and you do not have everything you want to say typed out, memorized, and prepared for. This was why in part I was so scared to accept the invitation. I have started to learn that the higher up you progress at work the more speaking and contributing your thoughts and ideas is a part of the everyday job. Therefore I have slowly learned to accept it and now I am constantly pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

Overall the panel discussion went great! The committee who arranged it at work said after it was all said and done they received a ton of positive feedback and that the audience thought it was truly beneficial. I cant even put into words how pro-found the experience was for me not only professionally, but also personally.With that in my next blog post I plan on sharing with everyone some of the questions asked along with what my advice was for them. Again I am by no means an expert, so it is just my humble advice on what has worked for me. So stay tuned!

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 6/8/14

Prolonged fasting ‘re-boots’ immune system– “In mice, prolonged periods of fasting – repeated cycles of 2-4 days with no food – over the course of 6 months, killed older and damaged immune cells and generated new ones.”

Inside Apple & The Mayo Clinic’s New Partnership– I for one am all about finding ways to make healthy living easier for people. For myself a lot of my weight loss success was tied to being able to use the My Fitness App on my phone which allowed me to instantly look up calories and track what I was eating. I honestly don’t think I would have been as effective in my weight loss plan without it. It will be interesting to see how these two companies collaboration stands out from what consumers currently have available to them and how it will help in individuals not only tracking food and exercise, but incorporating all aspects of their health like tracking their glucose level and heart rate

Europe Installs Raw Milk Vending Machines While U.S. Rules Unpasteurized Dairy Illegal– One of my favorite things about going to Europe is eating their dairy products. European yogurt, milk, and butter in my opinion just tastes more decadent and just better than what we have in the States. Part of this is due to the difference in how our countries regulate the production and sale of dairy. I wonder if we will ever look at adjusting our standards based off of what research is finding with raw milk. “Hundreds of testimonials support the value of raw milk in helping childhood behavioral problems, digestive disorders, failure to thrive in infants, arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer.”

20 foods you should always have in your kitchen– I have to say I agree with everything on this list. I try to keep all almost all of the these items in my home at all times and find you can always make a quick and healthy meal if you have these staples around.

Losing Weight May Require Some Serious Fun- This article talks about how perception can affect behavior. The research looks at how people view exercising and their food intake. Those who viewed their exercise as fun consumed less calories afterwards then those who viewed it as work.  “The same exertion, spun as “fun” instead of “exercise,” prompts less gorging on high-calorie foods.”

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Photo from Huff Post

Vegetable Cornmeal Crust Quiche Recipe

Lately eggs have become a big staple in our home. Every morning when I come back from the gym I walk into a warm apartment filled with the fragrant smell of eggs sizzling and crackling as my boyfriend makes his daily breakfast. This new ritual has now become a very comforting way to start my day and something I look forward to. Since I do not have time during the work week to make eggs for myself for breakfast I decided to make a cornmeal quiche instead so I could also get my egg on during the week. Quiches are great because you can eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

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I had some extra cornmeal round the house so I decided I would make a cornmeal crust for my quiche and then I used the vegetables I had in the fridge so I did not have to go to the grocery store. I love it when you can cook from what you have! First I made the crust. I used my 9″ glass Pyrex pie dish and sprayed the inside with some cooking spray to get started. For the crust I used the below ingredients:

Cornmeal Crust Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
  • 2 Tbs Butter ( I used Harvest Award Canola Oil butter as 1 Tablespoon is about 80 calories vs 100 in regular butter. This also makes it vegan)
  • 1 Tsp Agave Nectar or Honey
  • 4 Tbs Ice Water

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For preparing the crust I first melted the butter and then combined it with the cornmeal in a mixing bowl. After they were fully mixed together I added in the agave and gradually poured in the ice water. Make sure not to actually add the ice in when you do this. Once everything was mixed together fully l I poured the cornmeal into the 9″ pie pan and pressed the dough together creating a crust form. I then put the crust in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes and then removed and set aside.

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Next I prepared the filling for the quiche. Using a whisk I mixed together the below ingredients a separate bowl and then poured into the baked crust. Next I took the whole quiche and put it into the oven at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes. Check on it at about 45 minutes to make sure it is not over cooking, you can always pull it out of the oven if the top is starting to brown too much.

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Eggs substitute ( I used 1 1/2 cups egg whites and 2 full eggs)
  • 1/2 1% Milk ( I used Almond Milk)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Half an Onion
  • Half a head of Broccoli
  • 1 Tsp of Salt
  • 1 Tsp of Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbs Dried Rosemary

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Overall the quiche was really yummy! I used Bob’s Red Mill medium grind cornmeal since that is what I had at home and it ended up being too course. So make sure you use s finer cornmeal grain. You can also you different vegetables then what I used. Next time I want to make this with butternut squash and goat cheese. You can also use this crust for a sweeter pie version and fill with apples, blueberries, or any other fruit in season right now. I would love to hear if anyone try’s this and makes a different, but delicious version!