Nov 28

Complex Carb-Loading + WIAW

New year, new plan.


Nevermind that we still have a month left in this year.

I need to be more careful what I wish more.  The week before last I mentioned that my trainer hadn’t sent my new nutrition plan… but I was headed to vacation and didn’t feel like reminding him.  Yesterday I got the plan.  I’m aiming for another figure competition in March, and the bulking has officially begun!

My 7 meals a day are still in place.  The basics are the same: at least 25g protein at each meal,  a fruit (in the morning) or a veggie.  The big difference is the complex carb portions.  I was getting them 4x a day… now I have a serving at EVERY meal.  I am going to be so stuffed!


What are complex carbs?

They have a chemical structure that is made up of three or more sugars, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  These carbs will keep you full longer because they take a little longer to digest, and they don’t raise the sugar levels in the blood as quickly as simple carbs do.

Complex carbohydrates are fuel; they contribute significantly to energy production and have a higher nutritional content that simple carbs.

Some examples:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal (the “healthy,” low-sugar varieties)
  • Wild or brown rice
  • Ezekial bread
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Winter squash
  • Sweet potato
  • Bananas


My new plan and re-focus in eating clean fits perfectly with this month’s What I Ate Wednesday theme: good habits.  Yesterday I asked you all to join me in a Kitchen Workout challenge.  Below is how my first challenge day went.

After checking out my crazy-clean bulking day, click here to head over to Jenn Peas and Crayons to get to see how everyone else is sticking to their good habits.


Meal 1:

After the usual morning cocktail (mix of Apple Cider Vinegar, Glutamine, and Fitmixer Aminos) I went for a healthified version of a comfort meal.  A cold, rainy morning can only mean one thing: Grilled PB&J with tofu peanut butter (recipe here).  I love how gooey and warm the inside gets!  Served with a side of raspberries. 



Meal 2:

After perusing Whole Foods, I decided to make my own Mediterranean Salmon Burgers this week rather than buying the frozen stuff.  I’ll post the recipe later, but let me assure you these are very good!


For my complex carb, I made a festive salad of edamame with pomegranate and Marcona almonds.  I dressed with with a quick nooch mix:

  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 T coconut vineagar
  • 1/2 T water
  • 1/4 tsp Mediterranean spice blend
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne



Meal 3:

I’m kind of embarrassed.  I’m turning into a creature of habit.  Lunch was swordfish.  Again.  But I really, really like it! I cook it in a grill pan with Italian herbs, pepper, and lemon juice.  Easy and delicious!  Next week I’m making Heather’s Mexican creation to shake things up.  Today I ate my grilled steak of the sea with an Ezekial pita and a salad of arugula, cauliflower, and radish sprouts.



Meal 4:

Something dangerous happened.  I discovered that I can handle de-boning a rotisserie chicken much better than touching a raw chicken breast (creeps. me. out.).  The dangerous part is that whole chickens are more expensive.  Whatever.  My sanity is worth it.

I ate my de-boned chicken mixed with red pepper, zucchini, and spinach hummus.  My carb was a pretzels.  Not a good low sodium choice.  I don’t have enough complex carb choices on hand this week as I didn’t get my new plan until after my weekly grocery run.  So for now I’ll enjoy my salty treat. :)



Meal 5:

This dinner was fantastic.  I will be sharing the whole recipe later (when I have enough light to take better pics), but for now I’ll just say that it’s a Mexican-Sweet Potato Pie layered with spinach and chicken (I also discovered ground chicken is easier to deal with than chicken breasts).  It could easily be made vegan with tempeh or TVP… which I may try next time around!


The pie was shared with my friend, Kenny, who came by to say hello and talk clean eating.  Kenny has some specific goals for fitness and nutrition, so we strategized a bit.  His “homework” is to write his own guidelines.  I also roped him into doing a few quest posts about it.  *evil grin*

He calls me his “food sponsor.”  I kind of like it.



Meal 6:

Before vacation I made Alexandra’s Spunky Monkey Pumpkin Pie into muffins and left before I could eat them all.  Good thing they freeze really well!  I enjoyed one tonight atop an old favorite: Carrot Cake Batter.  Made with whipped cottage cheese instead of Greek yogurt.  I almost forgot how good it is!

Meal 7:

I failed.  I ate dinner late and skipped meal 7.  All those carbs and I think I’m getting a cold… I couldn’t bring ,myself to eat another bite.  Like when I first started with the 7 meals a day, this is going to take some adjusting!


The protein count for the day: 170.2g.  I’m back at it!

Are you on board with the #KitchenWorkout?  How did you keep it clean today?

What is your favorite complex carb?



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  1. Kris

    woof, on a day like today I feel like I could have had all of that AND the seventh meal… ever have those days when you are so so hungry, you want to eat ALL the foods?? that’s me, today.

    I love marcona almonds.

    1. Bonnie

      Yes! Me too, Kris! I.ate.it.all today – and finally realized why (time of the month! Just today!) and at least understood why my body was going nuts. ;) Great new plan! As always, curious to follow along, Laura! Just saw this article but bookmarked it to read later – thought you’d like it in light of this post! http://jillfit.com/2012/11/27/carbs/

      1. Kris

        yep, Bonnie, that was MY reason too! ;)

        I’m reading this article now also – GOOD read and totally relates to Laura’s post!

        1. Laura

          That was such a good explanation! I need to find the patience to write that much. LOL :)

  2. Khushboo

    Sorry if you posted about it already but what are your new goals now…interested to see how it ties in with the new eating plan! Either way, any reason to eat more carbs sounds good to me ;)! Looking forward to seeing the recipe for Mexican-Sweet Potato Pie- looks great! That bit about needing better photos made me laugh- I’ve been putting up a recipe for a vegan burger for the longest time purely because I didn’t have any pics which did enough justice #bloggerproblems!

    1. Laura

      I’m planning to keep doing more figure competitions. Thinking the next one will be March!

      Good news: I did take pics yesterday and it will be posted next week. :)

  3. Holly

    I think lentils and beans are my favorite complex carb.

    The whole chicken might be more expensive, but you’re probably getting more meals out of it, so it all works out in the end. Also, I’m jealous about the swordfish. mmmmmmmmm.

    Hope that cold doesn’t actually develop into a cold!

    1. Laura

      I need to see how much it is pound for pound… I did end up with 4 or 5 servings!

      Can you guys not get swordfish over there?

  4. Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    That Mexican pie looks awesome!! Can’t wait for the recipe, provided it’s Paleo-friendly haha ;)

    I used to have a thing about handling raw chicken breasts as well. Even now, it grosses me out! I usually try to think of something else as I’m preparing the meat. I would try buying whole roast chickens, but given that Rob and I go through at least 10lbs of chicken per week that could get expensive fast!

    1. Laura

      Totally paleo and gluten-free!

  5. Lot O Choc

    Mmm cannot wait to see the mexican sweet potato pie recipe..at my gym they do a fish pie with salmon + cod in a tomato sauce topped with slices of sweet potato..sounds amazing!! only problem is its on the kids menu haha! definitely still gonna have to order it though!
    reallyneed to try that pb & tofu & jam sandwich as well mm!

    1. Laura

      I can’t imagine kids here eating that… but it sounds amazing to me. :)

  6. Jessie

    I seriously can’t stop eating Alexandra’s Spunky Monkey Pumpkin Pie either! It’s amazing.

  7. Sue

    I’m also looking forward to that Mexican sweet potato pie! I’ve been enjoying plenty of sweet potatoes since I’ve discovered that our local grocery store has them in stock. Yeah! Sweet potatoes are actually very hard to find around here. Germans prefer white potatoes, I guess.
    My other fav carb at the moment are black lentils. They are easy to prepare, keep well in the fridge for a few days, and look very pretty. I like to mix them into my salads, with lamb’s lettuce, chopped carrots for crunch and color, tomatoes or apple chunks, and a tangy dressing.

    1. Laura

      Love the black lentils. They are great for burgers, too!

  8. Miz

    I SO need to get more creative in the kitchen.

  9. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    Lovin’ the festive salad! Pomegranates add flavor and pretty to anything. Meal #5 looks outstanding!

  10. Meg

    Oh sweetie pie, this makes me SO happy. I have an increased plan since the weekend now too. A whole lot of carbs and I have been feeling more full than EVER before. Do you think we could chat? I would REALLY love that Laura <3

  11. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

    Yay for fish steak!!! Lol! Seriously, I think it’s my favorite fish now! I can’t believe how buttery-tasting it is! Totally bummed that I’m all out now! :(

    That sweet potato pie looks soooooo good! Can’t wait to hear the deets on that one!

    Favorite complex carb: a good hearty whole wheat bread…preferably with LOTS of things to dip it in! :D

    1. Laura

      I’m making those tacos next week for real.

      Thought of you yesterday – I cooked bacon. :)

  12. Eating 4 Balance

    I think we all are turning into creatures of habit this time of year :) At least for me, I eat what works and sometimes don’t want to bother finding out about anything else. Call it lazy… I call it satisfied. :)

    I would have to say that bananas or butternut squash are my favorite complex carbs.

    1. Laura

      Satisfied – I like that. :)

  13. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets

    Sweet day of eats even if you only managed to get down 6 meals. Your protein consumption is off the charts (in a good way). I didn’t each enough yesterday, but I did keep it clean. Banana, homemade granola with Greek yogurt, scalloped potatoes (I refuse to give up cheese), an apple, low sugar Kind bar, and then Nature’s Path cereal with whole wheat toast for dinner. Not exciting and not enough (especially when you factor in the spin class I taught), but a step in the right direction.

  14. Lisa @ RunWiki

    I am really trying to focus on what eat these days, I have a big race in few weeks and through experience I have found my diet plays a huge part in how I preform… duh… I know, I know, it took me several marathons to see the connection between eating garbage and poor results; I’m a slow learner. The Mexican Sweet Potato pie looks gorgeous!

    1. Laura

      Good luck! Diet is definitely a HUGE factor. Easier said than done though. :)

  15. Alexandra

    I literally want to eat everything in this post– the salmon, the grilled PB&J (which is freaking genius btw), the swordfish mmmmmm It’s all so nomtastic!
    And meal 6….lord have mercy don’t even get me started on that droolfest haha! ;)
    My favorite complex carb is either sweet potato, bananas, or ezekiel bread when my stomach decides to play nice :D

    1. Laura

      Thank you!!! I love you muffins. Can’t believe how perfectly they freeze!!

  16. Danielle

    Sounds like a great new plan! I love my complex carbs especially the squashes and sweet potatoes! Couldn’t do without them!

  17. janet @ the taste space

    As always, I love your WIAW posts… More complex carbs FTW! You know my favourite: BEANS!! :) i was actually thinking of trying out a white bean scramble for breakfast but need some time in the morning to get set up. Maybe tomorrow, if not this weekend. :)

    1. Laura

      White bean scramble sounds so awesome! With some tempeh bacon… mmmm!

  18. Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count

    Boy, that is a lot of eating, Laura! Of course, you’re burning off a lot with your training! The Mexican pie sounds good. Did you post a recipe?

    1. Laura

      thank you – I’ll post it next week!

  19. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    I love my oatmeal in the mornings. I’m a huge fan of sweet potatoes pretty much any time or any way ;-)

    1. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)

      I’m with Heather on the oatmeal! It happens everyday!!! Also, have you two tried hubbard or buttercup squash? Both absolutely amazing! Dare I say I like them more than pumpkin and sweet potato…I think I just did, but they are really incredible!

      1. Heather (Where's the Beach)

        I’ve tried buttercup. My fave is probably kabocha though. Not nearly as sweet as some of the fall squashes.

        1. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)

          I haver had kabocha…I can’t find it anywhere here. The hubbard was really amazing! It was kind of velvety and smooth like pudding. Mixed with vanilla protein powder it was an amazing after workout treat!

          1. Laura

            The Dekalb Farmer’s Market has Kabocha! My favorite is banana squash, but it’s really hard to find. I love to make smoothies with butternut squash and cherries.

  20. Parita @ myinnershakti

    I love all carbs of all kind. :) But as far as complex are concerned, I would have to say oats and sweet potatoes are my favorite! And you’re right, they keep you fuller longer, especially when eaten together. Some of my favorite quick meals invovle sweet potatos and beans or oats and a banana.

  21. Allie

    Duuude, you better share that Mexican sweet potato pie recipe SOON, that looks amazing. And Ezekiel bread makes pitas? Time to go shopping. And here’s to hoping I don’t have to go carbo crazy any time soon–Protein crazy is bad enough. There may or may not be protein in my purse right now, since there’s a work lunch today, and I know there won’t be good protein available (Read: We’re going to a deep-fried-seafood restaurant. Hellloooo plate of iceberg lettuce.). Yup, purse full o’ tempeh.

    1. Laura

      Oh, you’ll be getting changes… but you didn’t hear that from me. ;)

      1. Allie

        Ohhh no, now I’m scared. Of food.

  22. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More

    I’m not sure how to feel about my mouth watering at the sight of all that edamame. Mmm.. :)

  23. Laura

    Mmm, sweet potato mexican pie sounds delish. I could not last long without complex carbs… glad you have some more options now, even if it is a lot! That is still such an impressive amount of protein, nice work!

    1. Laura

      Thanks Laura! It would be a good family recipe, actually!

  24. Alex @ therunwithin

    mexican sweet potato pie? how do you continue to blow me away with these recipes

  25. Devon @ Health in Equilibrium

    Yum, I love good complex carbs :) My ED said no, but I say yes yes! I could probably drown in winter squash and be happy forever :)

  26. Amanda @ .running with spoons.

    Mmm carbs… most definitely my favorite of the macros :D And I think I’d have to say that bananas are pretty much my favorite thing ever. They’re so versatile and taste great in everything, especially when almond butter and chocolate are involved.

  27. Kierston

    Festive salad looks amazing!

    I couldn’t imagine a 7th meal lol (is there enough hours in the day?! lol)

    Love my oatmeal!

    1. Laura

      I literally eat all day. Good thing I like food! :)

  28. Alysha @ Shesontherun

    I love sweet potatoes. I have been on such a kick lately that I need to think of new ways to prepare them.

    1. Laura

      Have you blended them into yogurt? Sweet Potato Pie yogurt. It rocks.

  29. Carol @ Lucky Zucca

    Ohhh I can’t WAIT for the Mexican Sweet Potato Pie recipe!!!!!!!!! I’ve gotta get myself to whole foods and stock up on some of your essentials that I dont currently keep on hand like nooch and tvp (must try, havent tried…) PS can we hang out soon? luring you with fluffballll

    1. Laura

      Yes, please!!! You are KILLING me with pics of that sweet puppy. :)

  30. Grace @ Practicing Grace

    I’m stuffed too just looking at that! ha. Can’t wait for that sweet potato reicipe

  31. Nadiya

    Mexican-Sweet Potato Pie- that’s sounds absolutely amazing. If I’m ever going to find swordfish in my vacation in Mexico (we’re going to a fish place for my b-day) I’m giving it a try ^^ I don’t think you’ve had any protein powders in any of your meals today- just proves to show that it’s really not that hard to get 150+ grams of protein a day. :D

    1. Laura

      I NEVER said you have to have protein powder! It is a great option of people trying to gain, for quick post-workout refuels, and for those who don’t have enough protein in their diet. Also, I just like it. Protein microwave cakes rock as a late night snack .:)

  32. Allie

    I think adjust to your new diet will just take time, just like last time! I think hearing I had to eat more carbs would be music to my ears vs. hearing that I had to cut back, you know? At least you don’t have to eat 234324 pounds of asparagus, right?!

    1. Laura

      You are so right! Anything but asparagus. :)

  33. Haley

    Sweet potatoes are my all time fave.. a little cinnamon goes a long way!!

    Also, I know you have said it a million times before, but where do you order your peanut flour from? Thank you!! =)

    1. Laura

      I get it from iherb.com. You can use discount code USO924 for $5-10 off your first order!

  34. Brittany @ Delights and Delectables

    I want that sweet potato pie!!! YUM! I love all my complex carbs… I eat too many! lol

  35. Jody - Fit at 55

    Well, I eat simple but decent! :) I am all into the complex carbs! I am not a low carb person I i eat protein, the complex & healthy fat! :) Wish my gingerbread men were complex carbs!!! Got a healthy recipe?? :)

    You recipes rock!

    PS: Will be MIA for 7-10 days starting Saturday for sis visit – don’t think I got sick again! ;)

    1. Laura

      Haha – Maybe I need to work on the gingerbread thing… a protein gingerbread muffin maybe?

      Have fun with your sister!!!

  36. Sara Grambusch

    Kabocha! There’s this other winter squash called Red Kuri that’s awesome too. Although I always have sweet potato PWO. If it ain’t broke. Looking forward to hear how bulking goes! I’m getting serious with it the next several weeks too.

    1. Laura

      I love kuri! I posted a recipe where I stuffed it with my TVP oatmeal. Perfect bowl. :)

  37. Laura @ LauraLivesLife

    That sweet potato dish looks delicious – and sounds like something I would love. Recipe soon, please! :)

    My favorite complex carb is gluten-free oats, followed by brown rice. Yum!

    1. Laura

      Yes, ma’am! It will be up next week. I took pics (finally). :)

  38. Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate

    I seriously have to get my hands on some swordfish, yours looks so good!

    1. Laura

      It’s amazing stuff! I don’t think I could ever get tired of it.

  39. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

    That Mexican pie situation looks A-MA-ZING.

    And honestly, there is nothing wrong with just deboning the rotisserie. Sometimes, sanity trumps cost. Seriously. [And the pre-roasted ones are always perfectly done. No near-death-from-eating-not-quite-cooked-but-you-think-it-is-probably-OK experiences. :)]

  40. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi)

    You certainly make eating on a plan look amazing! I have no problem with raw chicken but I have to rinse it…It just skeeves me out when it’s all slimy. eck.

  41. Jed Gray (sportsglutton)

    When Carbs Go Bad…too funny.

    Are oatmeal cookies with hazelnuts and nutella considered a complex carb?

  42. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    I am so impressed with your ability to keep track of all this – holy moley!!! I’m intruiged by that Mexican-Sweet Potato Pie, looking forward to see that recipe! :)

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