Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meal Prep & On The Go

This coming weekend, the NaFOS Transformation Challenge will begin Prep Week. Prep week not only gets the participants programs together and explains them, but we also take them on a journey with food. We show them how to shop for their meal plan in a healthy and budget conscious manner, followed by a quick delicious way to prepare those meals, and hopefully not get too bored with the food offerings. Here are some of what's planned.

Breakfast: (Arguably the Most important meal of the day) Gotta get that Metabolism going!

We have several meal ideas that work great for when you're on the go. (*note: this does take pre-week prep for the rest of the week)

Frittatas: These are quick and easy to bake casseroles that you can prepare, cut into squares, throw in a ziploc bag and freeze until ready to nuke and eat. (The Maestro eats them cold or room temp...yech, but each to his own.)

Egg "Muffins": Again...quick to put together, bake and freeze until ready to eat (take these out of the freezer the night before if you remember...they'll reheat quicker)

Oatmeal: Yes you can have the steel cut oats (Irish Oats) that you so adore and you don't have to slave over 20 minutes every morning to do it. This stuff refrigerates really well...SO make up a big batch on Sunday, and mix in your dried fruit, cinnamon, (not nuts) and then put single servings in little microwavable containers, and refrigerate for future use for the week. Add nuts to it once you've re-heated it for consumption, it adds a nice protein packed crunch (I do like toasted nuts for this) Feel free to add a little water or skim-milk to the oatmeal as you re-heat, for a smoother consistency...yes, stir it in if need be.

Lunch & Dinner: These too can be pre-made for on the go peeps. So many great recipes out there that you can make and put into microwavable dishes (ziploc sales nice reusable/disposable ones that hold up)

Chili is a great meal you can make that can contain lean meat, legumes and veggies to your liking. I'll make mine in the crockpot (brown meat on stove first) and it makes such a huge amount that we can freeze it and eat on in for quite a while...plus, Beans are cheap! (If you like blackbeans, try this one)

Low Fat Italian-Style Chicken & Zucchini:

This is a quick and easy recipe to make, requiring only five main ingredients.
There's no clean-up, either, as the chicken breasts & zucchini are cooked in foil packets.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup no-salt-added marinara sauce (like Trader Joe's organic)
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
1 cup sliced zucchini (I like to do zucchini sticks about a 1/4 to 1/8 in wedge size)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Tear 4 sheets of foil wrap measuring 12" by 18". Place one chicken breast in the center of each foil sheet & then place zucchini wedges over. Spoon one-fourth of the marinara sauce over each chicken & zucchini wedges/slices, followed by cheese and basil.

Bring up the sides of the foil and fold the top edge over twice. Seal the edges, leaving enough room for air to circulate inside. Place each packet on a large cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Unseal foil packets carefully, as the steam will be extremely hot.

Serves 4.
Per Serving: Calories 239,
Calories from Fat 49, Total Fat 5.5g (sat 2.4g), Cholesterol 108mg, Sodium
275mg, Carbohydrate 4.1g, Fiber 0.6g, Protein 43.4g

I also like to do this recipe with Chicken breast & fresh green beans with Italian dressing over it instead of marinara...Or Chicken breast with Salsa, low-fat/fat-free shredded cheddar with black & kidney beans...Skies the limit & it Changes things up a bit.

Low-fat Turkey Kielbasa & Cabbage: Love this one...just saute onions in soy "butter" or a low-fat butter alternative, in a large pot. Once onion begins to wilt and brown, add in head of cabbage that you have cut into fours and pulled apart to wilt in the leaves so that you can fit it all in. Once cabbage is added, add in Turkey Kielbasa (cut into manageable links-I usually cut into 8's) and cook to desired cabbage consistency...I like mine still a bit firm.

Curried Chicken Salad:

What's for lunch? Whip up this flavorful chicken dish for a truly delicious
(and healthy) midday meal.

Makes 4 (1-cup) servings


Serve this sensational salad as is or try it inside half of a large scooped-out tomato or on top of fresh salad greens or use it as a sandwich filling inside a whole-wheat pita.

time: 15 minutes
Ingredients 1 1/2 cups plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (you can also used canned chicken breast, but check sodium levels)
3 celery stalks, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions Whisk together yogurt, curry powder, and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Stir in chicken, celery, onion, and cilantro; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving for more
concentrated flavor.

Nutritional Information: 240 calories, 2.5 total fat (0.5 g sat), 11g carbohydrate, 44g protein, 1g fiber, 270mg sodium


On the go I like to have; Part-Skim String Cheese, Nuts (like 15 raw Almonds or 30 Pistacios), Hummus w/veggies (check labels for hidden sugars and processed crap...go for the organic variety), SoyCrisps (when I want to be a little "bad"), Low-Fat Cottage cheese w/Low-sugar Salsa mixed in & fresh Bell Pepper sticks...and I love beef jerky, but I have to check the sugar levels in it. OH and I LOVE the 0% Greek Yogurt...I throw in a packet of splenda (sans paper) and sometimes even add some chopped almonds and/or ground flaxseed for a granola feel.


That's right, I said it...Dessert! Here are some great, lo-carb, protein packed recipes that I love & have blogged about before, but please consider the serving size!

Again, these are all meals that I put into a ziploc baggie or microwavable dish and have on hand ready to go during the week. Any questions or shares please feel free to comment...I'd love any ideas you may have to share.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NaFOS: The Transformation

Some great news, Not a Fat Opera Singer has become a community effort. It's no longer one opera singer’s endeavor to beat the stereotype and live a healthy & active lifestyle…now we’re a group! My little Opera Company, Opera Manhattan Repertory Theatre that you may have read about in the papers lately, is now setting in motion its Health & Fitness Program. When we originally created the company about a year ago, one of our endeavors was to help our Artists beat the Opera Singer stereotype and become lean, mean, singing machines! And now it's finally here and happening. A huge motivation to do it NOW was the exciting offer from MizFit Magazine to follow along on this journey with a monthly column. Yep, now their will be a special little place in MizFit Magazine where you'll see Not a Fat Opera Singer as we face our own fitness challenges, while continuing the challenge of making it in the opera biz.

We have trainers, nutritionists, yoga instructors, dance instructors, and many more on board to help our singers successfully make the journey. Most importantly, we’ve already had over 20 of our Artists volunteer to make the transformation; they really want to finally take control of their health in order to be the best that they can be. I truly applaud the efforts they have made thus far in the business, and I am proud that they want to be part of something new and so cutting edge for the Opera World.

Now, what does NaFOS: The Transformation entail? We start next Sunday with the pre-journaling stage: This is where we have the participants write down EVERYTHING from what they eat & drink to their regular daily activity, schedules and amount/quality of sleep. Then for the following week, Prep-Week, we’ll gather that data and have our Program Instructors create a Meal & Fitness Plan for them to follow. During Prep-Week, we’ll explain the program for each participant and also take them to the grocery store and show them how to shop on a budget while sticking to a particular meal plan; followed by a cooking/meal preparation class on how to cook truly yummy, satisfying and easy-to-make meals for the week. I like to remember the popular saying “If your fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” This is so true, especially in the matter of achieving a successful healthy lifestyle. After Prep-Week, the Transformation begins and continues for 90 days. In those 90 days, the participants will receive:

-Journals: Each singer will receive a journal to document their progress with their new meal & fitness plan
-Cooking & Meal Preparation Classes
-Weekly yoga class for singers
-Weekly dance classes (w/Undefined Dance Company)
-Weekly training with a personal trainer
-Weekly meetings to check progress, tweak programs, and take measurements
-Emergency hotline for time when they’re about to go off track
-Healthy social mixers, to show that you can have a good time and make healthy choices at the same time

We also have lovely people helping us with the documentation as well, so there will be photos, videos and spotlight articles on the people that are participating and inspiring us along the way.

Hope you’ll check out MizFit Magazine it launches, it promises to be an informative and, if I know MizFit, an entertaining read!

Have a great day!

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Press

I'm in the papers again...this time the newspaper back home in little ol' Alvarado, Texas. It's a lovely article, more about my Opera Company than my performing, but hey, ya take what press you can get:


On the Not Fat part of this Opera Singer's Blog, I've worked out 3 times this week since Monday and I'm going to try to make today the 4th. I have found that using the Elliptical at the gym doesn't leave me feeling as well worked out as the treadmill or my "Shred" DVD at home. Sadly, I don't think my knees can handle the treadmill yet, if ever. I've been looking at getting a knee brace for my right knee to try and keep it aligned. I also hear that strengthening the muscles around the knees will also help me stabilize the knee. My problem happens because I naturally hyper extend at all my joints, and the knees are feeling the trauma of it (especially my right since that leg is a touch longer than the left...yeah, yeah, I'm a gimp, but according to statistics, most peoples appendages are naturally uneven...so it's likely we're all a bit gimpy). I should also go and see a sports medicine doc, seeing as how this injury won't improve and I have daily pain (mostly when taking the stairs) We just have crap knees in my family and it's time to get them looked at. Oh yeah, and my bum right shoulder too...ugh, I'm falling apart. I think I've finally learned my breaking point and this should help me this time around of my endeavor to fitness. I'm taking it slow and staying away from things that I know have caused injury before. I can still "Shred", I just have to make sure to have a chair behind me to help stabilize my squats and light weights until the little muscles in the shoulder strengthen around the joint. And yes, I have to stay off the treadmill until I get a doctor's go ahead or really just avoid running in general :( At least I've discovered the process of getting in shape safely. I can't stress enough that we should take it slow at first...make sure you've got a good balance in all your muscles (big & small) before moving on to the heavier &/or more advanced work-outs. That's how I get injured every time...I push myself beyond, before I'm really physically ready to go there. I'm not saying don't try something new, I'm just saying, Know your limits. Don't get all machismo and do something beyond your physical capabilities. Your brain may know what to do, but your muscles and joints may not be ready to go there. So listen to your body and when it says "move on", or "this is too easy", then go the next step (and do not pass Go or Collect $200)...in other words, don't skip the important process of letting your body learn and grow...You'll be better for it in the long run.

Have a great day,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Alive.

I feel so alive...it really makes a difference when you increase your physical activity. The "30 Day Shred" is back in my life and I feel the better for it...and I've been getting up every morning before work, in order to do it (unthinkable). Today's plan is to get to the gym at lunch time and really make the most of the 30-45minutes I have there. Too bad I can't pop the DVD in at the gym...lol, guess that would defeat the purpose of a gym membership.

On the singing front, I have another Die Fledermaus audition coming up...this one would take me to Florida to sing the role. That would make for a nice working vacation.

Opera Manhattan is now producing Scenes from Tosca in April followed by Scenes from La Traviata in June...all the while we've got the big "One-Act Opera Festival" coming up in late July, early August and that in itself is an undertaking. We're also negotiating with a local dance and fitness group to help structure the physical aspect of our little Opera Company. We want to help our singers get in shape through proper nutrition and exercise, including dance...I think we're going to help create the next generation of Opera Singers and that's very exciting.

Have a great day,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I'm getting back into good habits...sure I have some slips, but overall I'm doing fine. I've lost 10 lbs. so far in my endeavor to get back into a healthy lifestyle and I'm finally "Shredding" again. You remember "The 30 Day Shred" don't you? It's Jillian Michaels kick-butt dvd that whittles away the lbs. and the inches...I LURV this DVD...no really! This time I changed it up though...instead of doing 10 days of lvl 1, 10 days of lvl 2 and 10 days of lvl 3, I decided to do a different lvl everyday to shake things up a bit. I would not recommend doing this if you've never done the DVD before, but its fine if you've done it on & off and the body already responds to it quickly.

Eating wise, I've been pretty good, my worse offenses are a slice of Irish Soda Bread with some butter for breakfast and some baked lays with my grilled chicken wrap for lunch...and yes I already "shredded" this morning, so the body's already burning baby :)

On the show front: My little opera company is producing scenes from Tosca and I've personally got another Die Fledermaus audition coming up on Monday 4/30, so wish me luck (it's ok, I'm not superstitious.)

Hope all is well with you all.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

NY Times

Sorry kids, I know I've been negletful, but perhaps if you read this article you'll understand why:


Oh and yes...tonigh's Opening Night for Die Fledermaus.