Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jillian's "Go Green" Enchilada Pie!

Jillian's GO GREEN Enchilada Pie
So this is a recipe for an 8x8" pan, but this time I doubled it to send the rest to work for my husband and the guys at our shop. If you are making more, you really only need to double to tortillas and enchilada sauce, maybe a little more cheese. Everything else (including meat) is the same, because the layers fill up very quickly with the raw spinach and other fillings.


-1.5 lbs of ground turkey or shredded chicken [boil, cool, shred, season]*
     *To save time, you can buy a pre-cooked whole chicken and cut it up! (That's what I've been doing recently*
-1C chopped onion
-1 clove garlic (minced)
-6 corn tortillas (more for larger pan)
-Raw Spinach (about 2 cups) (more for larger pan)
-1 (4 oz) can of chopped or whole olives (I used a larger can of whole, because they were on sale)
-1 small can of corn (whole kernel, drained)
-1 can Black Beans, drained (only using half for 8x8" dish, so you may want to cook the rest for the side)
-1 small can of green 'Ortega' chopped chiles
-11 oz green Enchilada Sauce (I use medium by 'Las Palmas')
-2C 'Mexican blend' shredded cheese (more or less based on preference) (a little more for larger pan)
-Salt and Pepper

*I try to go organic on most of the items, but it's not necessary, and it will all depend on what's on sale and what your budget is!

So, I know that seems like a lot, but most of it is ready to go, you just have to open a can for half the ingredients.

1. Brown meat with onion & garlic (or boil and shred chicken breast)- if you use the chicken or pre-cooked chicken from the deli, just sauté it for a few minutes with the onion and garlic. Season with salt & pepper, or other spices (i.e., Mrs. Dash if you have high blood pressure)
2. Heat the sauce in a saucepan until warm
3. Cut the tortillas in halves (again, if you're making a larger portion, you'll need more and can use whole tortillas in the middle after outlining the pan in the halves)
4. Baste a little olive or vegetable oil in the baking dish (so nothing sticks)
5. Dip the tortilla halves in the sauce and layer on bottom of baking pan (straight edges toward the side of baking dish)
6. Add half the spinach, half the corn, 1/3 can black beans, and half the green chiles, 1/2 the meat, 1/3 of the cheese and olives (drizzle 1/3 of the sauce over that layer)
8. Repeat this for one more layer, starting with the dipped tortillas (again, be a judge on how much filling to add, depending on whether you are using an 8x8" pan or larger, may be less)
9. After your last layer, dip the rest of the tortilla halves in sauce and put on top, top with remaining cheese and olives, and whatever sauce you have leftover can be poured on top.
10. Cover and bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes, if using larger pan, make for about 40 minutes, cool and enjoy!

Can serve with rice, beans, or eat by itself, since it technically contains all of the food groups :)

I came up with this recipe on my own after adjusting an old Enchilada pie recipe form my mom and some amazing spinach Enchiladas I had at a restaurant in Nevada.

If you have any suggestions or try anything different, feel free to add in the comments section below! Don't forget to "like" Living Healthy with Jillian on Facebook and share!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

RECIPE: Herb-marinated Steak with Spaghetti Squash and Vegetables

Good morning everyone! So I get quite a few messages every week about posting some of the corresponding recipes with pictures I take of the food I prepare! Unfortunately, about 90% of the recipes I make are usually thrown together with ingredients I have (I love throwing everything in pasta that's about to go bad in the fridge haha) or that look good, and I never really measure anything. BUT, for you guys, I will try to pay closer attention and every week post one healthy, simple and/or affordable recipe that you guys can make at home! So, my husband cannot do without some type of meat at dinner. I don't eat red meat, but I definitely have to cook it a couple times a week. In terms of health, red meat should be consumed less frequently, but once or twice a week as a treat (if you enjoy it), won't hurt! Keep in mind: if you don't eat meat, just the spaghetti squash recipe works. So here's the ingredient lists and recipe instructions for each part.

Herb-marinated Steak: (OPTIONAL)
1-1 1/2 lbs meat of your choice: I usually use top sirloin, New York Steak or Rib Eye (it all depends on what's on sale)
2 tsp- Rosemary
2 tsp- Black pepper
3 Tbsp- Reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp- Olive Oil
2 Tbsp- Balsamic Vinegar
5 cloves of Garlic, minced
Salt  (to taste)

Instructions: (start about 15 minutes prior to completion of meal)
-Combine all ingredients and marinate meat for at least* 2-3 hours.
-Put meat in broiler for 4-5 minutes on each side
-Slice thin and put over spaghetti squash

*The longer the better, sometimes mine will marinate 8-10 hours, I prepare it before I leave in the morning.

Spaghetti Squash with vegetables:
1 Large Spaghetti Squash
3 cups- baby Kale (I'm sure regular Kale would taste just as good, if not better, but again, I go with the deals!)
1 handful- Fresh basil
3 vine-ripe tomates- Chopped, remove seeds (you could also use a can of diced tomatoes to save time)
3 Tbsp- Olive Oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup- Parmesan Cheese
Salt, pepper (to taste)
2 Tbsp butter (I use Country Crock to reduce cholesterol and Saturated Fat for my husband)

Instructions (Spaghetti Squash itself):
-Preheat Oven to 375. Cut Spaghetti squash in half (length-wise), put it seed side down in a baking dish and fill 1/2" with water.
-Cook for 45 minutes
-CAREFULLY, turn over the spaghetti squash (it will be VERY HOT), so the seed-side is up, cover with foil, and cook another 10-15 minutes.
-Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes
-Scrape out center, seed-containing portion
-Use a fork to scrape the squash, and viola! Spaghetti!

Instructions (Sauce):
-Saute 2 Tbsp of the olive oil & the butter in a large skillet
-Add the baby kale and sauté until tender
-Add basil and tomato, sauté until thoroughly heated
-Add spaghetti Squash, drizzle last Tbsp of olive oil on top
- Thoroughly stir all ingredients together
- Salt & pepper to taste, add juice of 1/2 lemon, and sprinkle with cheese (let it melt)

Serve spaghetti squash, topped with meat of your choice, or plain! Enjoy!

I also cooked some Italian squash on the side, but that is just sauteing with a tiny bit of olive oil, garlic salt, and paprika. :)

I'm not the best 'recipe-writer', but hopefully you will find this delicious and healthy recipe of mine a great way to get all the flavor without the guilt!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Avoiding Diabetes- Do Carbohydrates and Sugar play a role?

Thank you to fan Cathey R. for posting a question on how to avoid diabetes and more information on carbohydrates on Living Healthy with Jillian! There are a lot of common misconceptions when it comes to diabetes and carbohydrates (two of my favorite topics), and Cathey, you are not alone in your concern! Type to diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes is becoming more and more common and increasing at an alarming rate. Why? Too much sugar? High fructose corn syrup in food? Too many carbs? All of these sound like they could be the cause, but believe it or not, none of these are, although indirectly they can all contribute. 

First of all, for the record, nobody is exempt from diabetes. It can happen to anyone, any shape, any size, any age, any gender. Diabetes does NOT discriminate. With that being said, the majority of type 2 diabetes occurs in overweight/obese individuals. Genetics, lifestyle, and luck all play a role, but right now, we are going to focus on obesity with diabetes. Diabetes generally occurs because the pancreas cannot secrete enough insulin for the amount of sugar that is in the body. Insulin is needed to move the sugar you consume to the cells in your body to break down into energy to do it's job! That's where I'm ending with my 'lecture' on diabetes. Now, for the real discussion, does eating too much sugar CAUSE diabetes? No. Well, not directly. Eating foods high in sugar, naturally mean their higher in calories, which naturally means you will likely gain weight. Once you gain this weight it gets more and more difficult for your body to produce enough insulin for the excess weight an viola! Diabetes! (That is a very brief summary as to not get too scientific, I want to keep your attention and all).

When I was little, my grandma used to threaten that I would get diabetes because I ate so much junk food and LOVEDDDDD my sweets. My mom (who has been in the medical field for 40 years now) would always say "diabetes is NOT caused by too much sugar".  Now, as someone who is in school to be a registered dietitian, I can fully grasp this and explain, rationally, logically, and scientifically to my grandmother why consuming sugar itself does not cause diabetes. Everyone needs sugar, and sugar comes guys know this, how long have you been with me? CARBOHYDRATES!! So now that you know sugar is only an indirect cause of diabetes, that means carbohydrates do not cause diabetes. Carbohydrates are a vitally essential part to human life. Without carbohydrates our bodies AND our brains cannot work, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Many carbohydrate-rich foods (excluding fruits and other low-calorie foods), are also high in calories, which is why too many carbs can cause you to gain weight, but it is indirect. You can eat more carbs if they come from healthier sources like fruits and veggies, of course. 

How many carbs should you eat? Well, everybody is different, of course! But the AND (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) recommends and the AMDR (Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range) has been set that anywhere between 45-65% of your daily calories come from carbohydrates. SO whatever YOUR specific calorie needs are, which you can figure out doing some calculations, or we can estimate an average female is about 2000 calories (to keep the math easy), so that would be 900-1300 of your calories should come from carbohydrate. Well how do you figure that out? As a standard, 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories. So, dividing those numbers by 4 you will get the number of grams of carbohydrate that would be appropriate for your diet (keep in mind this is for someone who eats a 2000 calorie diet a day, every diet will vary, and some individuals, like vegetarians, will even consume up to 75% of their diet through carbs). CARBS DO NOT MAKE YOU FAT! CALORIES DO! So, for this situation, you would consume about 225-325 grams of carbohydrate a day to be within a healthy, acceptable range. 

EVERY PERSON, regardless of activity level needs a MINIMUM of 130g carbohydrate a day JUST and ONLY to promote adequate brain function, this doesn't even include the work your body does at a cellular level or for your daily energy. Now go eat some carbohydrates, guilt-free, and enjoy! <3
Although your body would prefer getting in more 'good' carbs than 'bad' carbs, so choose good carbs like whole grains, fruits and veggies, versus donuts and chocolate. I may send the wrong message if I didn't get that out there :) In general, eating a well-balanced diet that includes protein, carbohydrates, fats, and plenty of fruits and veggies will keep you satisfied, protein and fiber keep you full, and eating 3 meals a day with small snacks in between with keep you satisfied, your metabolism revved, and your mind and body ready to go!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Phytochemicals! Their fight against Cancer & Heart Disease!


What are phytochemicals? They are non-nutrient compounds found in plan-derived foods that have biological activity in the body. So for the normal person this doesn't exactly answer your questions, does it? Research on phytochemicals is expanding daily, and although we may have many questions, we can only begin to answer them as research is continuously emerging. 

Tens of thousands of phytochemicals exist, but only few have been researched, and only a portion of these will be mentioned in this blog- - enough to illustrate their wide variety of food sources and roles in supporting health.

Many plant-based foods are showing positive health benefits, besides their actual nutrients, and their increasing popularity on the prevention of things like cancer and heart disease. For years, people have been using foods to maintain health and prevent disease, but these foods have finally been given a name,  functional foods. Today I will be spreading awareness on some of these functional foods, the phytochemicals they contain, and their roles in disease prevention. 

In foods, phytochemicals impart tastes, aromas, colors, and other characteristics. They are what give tomatoes their dark red color, hot peppers their burning sensation, and onions their ability to make you tear up. Phytochemicals can have "profound physiological effects --acting as antioxidants, mimicking hormones, stimulating enzymes, interfering with DNA replication, destroying bacteria, and binding physically to cell walls." But did you know these health-promoting and beneficial plant foods may also have adverse effects when consumed in excess? This is why someone who lives on fruits and veggies alone may not be the ideal picture of health after all, because too much of a good thing is not always good, and our bodies are designed for variety, ALL food groups are necessary.

Various phytochemical-containing foods have been researched and much of the research we have shows a significant role in the protection of cancer by protecting DNA from damage and protecting the body from free-radical damage (which is what is primarily responsible in the cause of most cancers). Soybeans and products made from them correlate with low rates of breast and prostrate cancers.            *(There is a common misconception and soy products CAUSE cancer, but the amount needed to cause tumors in rat was the equivalent of a human having to consume about 10 gallons of soy milk a day). Although, soy products should not be consumed in excess for anyone, but for those with cancer, too much soy can be a bad thing*. So back to the foods...soybeans, as well as other legumes, whole grains, flaxseeds, fruits and vegetables are rich sources of an array of phytochemicals, among them the phytoestrogens. They have antioxidant effects that appear to slow the growth of some cancers, however, as I said before, the use of phytoestrogen supplements (and large quantities) is not advised, because they may cause growth of estrogen-dependent cancers, like breast cancer. Soy foods, as most foods, are proven to be most effective when consumed in moderation throughout life. The role of soy foods in those that have survived breast cancer are not as well known and the American Cancer Society says "Breast cancer survivors should consume only moderate amounts of soy foods as part of a healthy plant-based diet and should not intentionally ingest very high levels of soy products". 

It might seem like common sense that a diet based primarily on unprocessed foods is best when it comes to cardiovascular health, but do you know why? Not only is a more natural, plant-based, unprocessed diet lower in saturated fats, which are HUGE when it comes to cardiovascular health, but it is likely because of the abundance of nutrients, fibers, and phytochemicals known as the FLAVANOIDS. Flavanoids are a large group of phytochemicals known for their health benefits and are found in whole grains, soy, legumes, fruits, herbs, spices, teas, CHOCOLATE (looks like I get plenty of flavanoids ;] ), nuts, olive oil, and red wines. Flavanoids are powerful antioxidants that may help to protect LDL cholesterol against oxidation, minimize inflammation, reduce blood platelet stickiness, thereby slowing the progression of atherosclerosis and reducing the chance of blood clots. 
Fruits and veggies are also rich in LUTEIN, which is a carotenoid and is associate with lower risk of heart disease. 

Although there are so many fruits and vegetables that contain tons of phytochemicals, research is just emerging in this area. The wisest choice is to eat your 5 a day (3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit) and make these fruit and vegetable choices a wide array of colors and types. You'll feel a difference, and I guarantee your body will too!

1. Rolves, Pinna, Whitney. 2010. "Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition"
2. American Cancer Society

Tuesday, September 4, 2012



  I'm sorry, but when you see a commercial (and in my profession in REAL LIFE), people say they've tried 'EVERYTHING' to lose weight and it's 'IMPOSSIBLE', I want rip my hair out! Unless you're paying me to train you and tell you the real of weight loss, I have to keep my mouth shut to avoid offending people and stepping on toes..And if you know me, you know I HATE biting my tongue (even I have to have manners :] ).

 "Everything" probably includes every type of diet product, pill, cleanse, and other CRAP on the planet, but have you really given dedication to having a healthy diet and incorporating exercise (A WEEK OR TWO DOES NOT COUNT)! Even if a diet product works for a short period of time, the chance that it will last without proper diet and exercise is slim. Also, if you read the small print on most diet supplements and products out there, you'll see that there is an asterisk *[with diet and exercise.] Why not give eating right and exercise a chance without putting potentially harmful and toxic chemicals into your body. 

  I love how Oprah has even brought up that if a 'Miracle Product' DID work, that she of all people could afford it, but nothing other than sticking to eating healthier foods and exercising is truly effective in breaking the barrier. People notice a HUGE difference with just small changes, it doesn't have to be 'all or nothing', you don't have to give up because you slipped up and gave into a craving or compulsion a few times. Start including more fruits and veggies before cutting out more of the snack foods, limit the number of times you allow yourself to eat outside the home every week, start taking stairs and walking for 15 minutes on your lunch break! So many tiny lifestyle changes will truly put you and your body on a mission to a healthier YOU.

Pick your self up, dust it off, and take control of your body!

**Photo taken from

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bridging with Jillian!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I am so excited about starting up my blog again! (Thanks to a little motivation from my friend Dennisse). I am planning on doing a once weekly blog on nutrition and/or fitness every Friday! But, I will also be posting intermittently on here various exercises, some healthy, quick, and budget-friendly recipes, and exciting news in the world of nutrition and fitness!

Today's exercise is BRIDGING!

Bridging is a great and quick workout that will efficiently work your booty, as well as sculpt your core if the proper muscles are engaged. 

*Don't forget: With ALL pilates and non-pilates exercises, you should be holding in your belly tight, and squeezing your glutes (booty). 

Step 1: Start in a supine position on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Step 2: As you inhale, bring your arms up over your head
Step 3: As you SLOWLY exhale, slowly bring your arms down to your sides while simultaneously lifting your pelvis off the ground.
Step 4: Hold the bridging position (with your abs and booty held tight) for 60 seconds.
Step 5. Inhale and very slowly return to your starting position with allowing only one vertebra to come back on the the floor/mat at a time.
Step 6: Repeat up to 5 times.

When you get to step 4 in the beginning version, you are going to hold your glutes in tight like you have a quarter in there, and are going to lift one leg at a time up to the level of the alternating knee. You will hold this pose for 15-20 seconds, and repeat with the alternate leg, repeating both legs 2-3x depending on your comfort level. 
PLEASE check out and "like" my facebook page for more awesome and healthy tips for your everyday life!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

For All the Ladies: Working Out & Best Foods while on your Menstrual Cycle!

Per request, I have been asked what the best foods/ exercises are best  while on your period. (Sorry guys, this one's not for you!).

  First off, unless you are anemic, there is no reason to skip workouts while on that time of the month. It's proven that staying active through that 2-7 days will help shorten your period, lessen the uncomfortable effects of bloating, cramps, etc., and that is a good thing! When I'm very active mine only lasts 2 days, which is a miracle in itself! Now when it comes to food while working out during your menstrual cycle, the same applies for regular activity. Carbohydrates a couple hours before a workout, and protein along with carbs within an hour after a workout. Lean proteins such as chicken breast and turkey can provide iron to make up for the iron stores you lose during this time of the month, not to mention aid in the repairs of any damaged tissues that may or may not have occurred during a workout.

  However, there are certain foods you can eat while ON your period (non-exercise related) that can improve those nasty symptoms that we all know and hate. If you're on birth control pills, usually those symptoms will be less than someone who is not on the pill. But whether you are or not, here are some foods that can be beneficial while on your period:

High-fiber foods: Whether it be fiber bars, cereal, or more natural sources such as broccoli, beans and peas, all are good sources of fiber. Why would fiber help during your period? Although this may sound gross, high fiber-foods create bulkier stools which will contain a higher water content so that extra bloat won't exist, or be very minimal. I know that's probably everybody's worst symptom, not being able to button up those skinny jeans for a few days!

Foods high in B-vitamins: Foods high in B-vitamins such as legumes, can aid in energy (to help carry out with your workouts), decrease the fatigue, and menstrual cramps.

Dark greens: Things like Spinach, collard greens, and other leafy greens that are high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium lead to the decrease in the body's ability to spasm, preventing excessive cramps. These minerals may also decrease mood swings and help with stress levels.

Foods rich in Vitamin K: Vitamin K assists in blood coagulation, so if you increase dark green veggies or other foods rich in Vitamin K, you will bleed less and be a lot more comfortable.

Water: Although it may seem contradicting to drink a lot of water because of fluid retention, it will in-fact not only keep you hydrated, but help flush out your system of the excess fluid (along with the fiber rule).

Electrolyte-Enhanced drinks: Thinks like gatorade, smart water, Zico coconut water (my new obsession!) are all rich in these vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that will reduce your miserable symptoms.

Omega 3-Fatty acids: Including olive oil and nuts that are rich with your Omega 3s can also reduce muscle spasms and reduce cramping as well.

Magical Period Fruit? PINEAPPLE! Why? Because it is high in Manganese. A study shows that women that do not include a diet rich in Manganese can have up to a 50% heavier menstrual flow than women that do. Pineapple also contains high levels of bromelain, an enzyme thought to help relax muscles and therefore prevent menstrual cramping.

Hope this information can be useful to all the women out there! Please feel free to ask questions or leave feedback!