Food, Lifestyle

I scream for “Ice Cream”!

From a far off distance, you hear the sound of music.  It’s not a song that you hear on the radio.  It’s not live music and you can’t quite recognize the type of instrument that’s being played.  It’s something you’ve heard before.  It’s getting louder and louder, and as it does, you get a rumble in your stomach.  Could it be?  Is that what I think it is?  Oh YEAH!  It’s the ice cream truck!  Rolling down the street to deliver the best treat on the planet – ICE CREAM!  A truck that delivers ice cream to your home, ice cream.  Hallelujah!  You run in the house and grab some cash, because the ICE CREAM MAN IS COMING!  (Here’s the song that I grew up with you tube.)  Kids and adults alike run to the truck for their afternoon treat!  It brings back so many memories for me!  I can see it coming down the street of my house in Florida.

So what is ice cream exactly?  As outlined in wiki pedia:  Ice Cream (derived from earlier iced cream or cream ice) is a frozen food, typically eaten as a snack or dessert, usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavors…The meaning of the phrase “ice cream” varies from one country to another.  Phrases such as “frozen custard”, “frozen yogurt”, “sorbet”, “gelato” and others are used to distinguish different varieties and styles.

Definitions and descriptions aside, you can call it whatever you want.  Doesn’t matter to me, cause I just LOVE ice cream.  I could eat my weight in it.  I love the coldness of it, the texture, the taste, the smell – really everything about it I love.  It’s in milkshakes, atop an apple pie, packed ever so nicely in a cup or perched on a cone.  It’s quite possibly the perfect treat.  So many wonderful memories of eating ice cream poolside while growing.  My mom would put a scoop of chocolate chip from Farm Stores on top of a sugar cone and I’d eat it so it didn’t melt and drip in the pool.  While we were in Italy, I have wonderful memories sitting outside gelato parlors on warm afternoons.  Pistachio is my favorite, in a cup with that square plastic spoon.  I can almost taste them both now!!!

There is nothing wrong with ice cream in my book.  Well…I guess there’s a little something called fat and calories.  Oh that!  Why does all the good stuff have to be so bad for you?  We know the main problem is MODERATION.  If you eat anything in moderation it really isn’t bad for you.  But like so many people out there, we struggle with moderation and overeat our beloved treat.  And so, in comes all the altered ice cream.  Manufacturers now over-process it to get a product that consumers think they want:  Low-Fat, Fat Free, Low-Sugar, Sugar Free, Dairy-Free, and so on.  That just takes the fun out of it.  Plus, think about all of the ingredients in the altered treat that you cannot pronounce.  In a typical low-fat ice cream you can find acacia gum, guar gum, carrageenan and propylene glycol.  That doesn’t sound very tasty to me, how about you???  Here’s a basic rule for healthful eating:  if you cannot pronounce and an ingredient or have no clue what it actually is…don’t eat it!!!

If I really want some ice cream, I go out and get the real stuff.  It’s a treat and it isn’t something that happens very often, maybe once a year.  But how do I satisfy that craving during these hot summer months when I hear that ice cream truck song in the background and all the screaming kids running to it??!!  Homemade Dairy Free, Sugar Free Ice Cream.  That’s right.  You can make your ice cream and eat it too!!!  And without the additives.

It’s so easy to make.  All you need is a high-speed blender.  (I prefer a vitamix.  They last forever and can blend almost everything.)

Today, I’ll share with you two of my favorite recipes.  Both take under 5 minutes to prepare.  They are easy, healthful and DELICIOUS!  Remember MODERATION here.  These two recipes can easily become addictive during the hot summer months.  But having once a week is perfectly fine!  Chunky Monkey Soft Serve Ice Cream and Chocolate Popsicles will soon become house hold staples!!!

Chunky Monkey Soft Serve Ice Cream

Makes 2-3 servings (1 cup per serving)
Ingredients:
3-4 peeled bananas, FROZEN
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp dark chocolate, shaved or chopped into chunks (85% cocoa or higher)
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk

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Procedure:
In high-speed blender, add 1/3 cup almond (or coconut) milk, vanilla and almond butter.  Mix until smooth.

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Add frozen bananas one at a time on a slow speed (if you add all at once it will clump and freeze up your blender).
Blend until a soft serve texture.  You may have to add a little bit more almond milk depending on the size of the bananas.

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Once smooth in texture, like soft serve, take out of blender.  Place in a chilled bowl and add chopped chocolate and walnuts.  Mix with a spatula.

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Now just serve up and ENJOY!

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Chocolate Popsicle

Makes 6 popsicle (1/2 cup liquid each)
Ingredients:
3 large, ripe bananas
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
2 tbsp cocoa powder

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Procedure:
Place all ingredients except cocoa powder into blender (you do not need a high-speed blender for this).  Blend together until smooth.  Now add the cocoa, blend until all ingredients are smooth.

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Place into popsicle mold and place into freezer.  For best results, freeze overnight.  If you do not have molds, you can use dixie cups and wooden popsicle sticks, however I advise picking up some molds.  You can get them at Target for as little as $3.  I splurged and got mine from TJMaxx for $9.99!  It is the Zoku Classic Popsicle Mold.  They are of course on Amazon.

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Once frozen run a little warm water over molds to loosen up popsicle from mold.  Then ENJOY!

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Both recipes super easy and delicious!

So, get out and scream for Ice Cream once again!  This time, Dairy and Sugar Free!

Food, Lifestyle

Top 10 Sugar Substitutions (that don’t include artificial sweeteners)

If you haven’t seen the documentary “Fed Up”, make time and see it.  It’s on Netflix and is worth viewing.  Katie Couric does an excellent job digging into the obesity epidemic in the US.  I was blown away by this documentary, at times just ticked off feeling let down by our society.  It’s a must watch to truly understand just how we’ve been brainwashed all these years about weight and weight loss.

Three things struck me while watching this:

1.  Katie says she has been doing the news for over 30 years and is still talking about weight issues in the US after all this time.  In three decades the obesity epidemic in the US has actually only gotten worse, not better.  As a society continue to get heavier and heavier – even though we have more ways to work out than ever before.  More gyms and more work out studios.  Heck, we even have reality TV show about weight loss.

2.  Sugar could be the core issue of the obesity.  Sugar is in everything that is packaged nowadays.  Pick up and read the label of granola for example.  Sugar is the second ingredient in almost all granola on the shelf.  But wait…isn’t granola healthy??

3.  In order for manufacturers to get on the ‘low fat’ bandwagon and not jeopardize the taste of their overly processed food, they added more sugar to their product and lower the fat content to still stay within the calorie count.  Products on the shelves got worse.  Check out this from webMD on all the sugar hidden in packaged foods that are probably in your pantry right now:   webmd.com/diet/ss/hidden-sugar-slideshow.

My opinion of sugar – it’s evil!  I love it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s something that I’m addicted to, and I have a really difficult time managing if I eat white table sugar or even brown sugar.  Studies have shown that it is more addictive than cocaine.  COCAINE!  And yet, we continue to allow manufactures poison us with their over-sweetened products.  This is why it’s so important to eliminate processed foods from your house.  Read the labels.  You’ll be shocked to find the ways of how they are hiding sugar by simply changing up the name:  Fructose, Sucrose, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Maltose, Glucose and Galactose are just a few.

I do have the occasional cup cake, however.  Cutting out sugar to this degree has done the body good.  I don’t have sugar cravings, nor do I have blood sugar spikes, my skin is so much clearer – less patchy and overall I  just feel better.  So yes, I do have sweet things in my life and have found NATURAL ways of substituting sugar (I have stayed away from artificial sweeteners – it’s just a personal preference) and here they are:

  1. Organic Raw Honey.  This is nature’s candy, right?  Not to mention it’s full of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and carbohydrates.  I consider honey a superfood!  It’s even used in alternative health remedies.  Honey can be used in things like salad dressings, cakes, overnight oaks and even marinades.  My Mom literally buys it for me by the 1/2 gallon because I use it so often.  Use 3/4 cup of honey in place of 1 cup of sugar.
  2. Agave Nectar.  This is made from the agave cactus, and the taste and texture is similar to honey.  I discovered this a few years ago when I decided to give up white table sugar.  This syrup comes in  many levels of from light to dark.  It does have a slightly richer flavor, so use sparingly.  Use 2/3 cup of agave in place of 1 cup of sugar.
  3. Bananas.  The riper they get, the sweeter they get.  This fruit can be used in things like bread and cakes.  I even make popsicles and ice cream out of them.  You can mash them to give breads or muffins not only sweetness but texture or blend in with your wet ingredients to add in the sugar.
  4. Dates in particular make really great sugar substitutions.  They are packed with antioxidants and are low on the glycemic index.  You can blend them into smoothies, mash them into batters of cakes or brownies and add them into overnight oats or even chia pudding.  The flavors are subtle, with just the right amount of sweet.  Try taking the pit out and replacing with an almond for a sweet and healthful snack.
  5. Applesauce.  Apples have a natural sweetness to them just like bananas.  They are full of fiber and the phytonutrients in apples can help you regulate your blood sugar.  If you’re not making your own applesauce, be sure to select one that has NO ADDED SUGAR.  Applesauce can be used to replace sugar in any baked item.  Whole apples are a great substitute for dessert.  An average size apple is only about 95 calories, and with 7,000 varieties worldwide your bound to find one you love.  (My recent favorite is Jonagold).
  6. Maple Syrup.  This comes directly from a plant’s sap and contains over 50 antioxidants.  This is the REAL stuff, no Aunt Jemima here!!!  Maple Syrup can be used as you would honey or agave added to a variety of things from homemade granola to brownies.  Use 3/4 cup in place of 1 cup sugar.
  7. Cinnamon.  I love cinnamon and have been adding it to everything recently.  Its spicy taste helps trick your palate from thinking something isn’t sweet enough.  Add it to coffee or overnight oats.  It has a subtle sweetness and has been known to reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects and fight bacteria webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-cinnamon.  What’s also great about cinnamon?  There are only 6 calories per teaspoon!
  8. Balsamic Glaze.  This is perfect instead of adding frosting or whip cream to fruit or cakes.  Simply boil balsamic vinegar for 15 minutes in a small heavy saucepan; reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened and syrupy.  Remove from heat, add pinch of salt and let cool.  Ta dah!  You can also add this to meat protein for added sweetness.
  9. Coconut Nectar.  Love this stuff.  When a coconut tree is tapped it produces a nutrient-rich “sap” that exudes from the coconut blossoms.  This sap is very low on the glycemic index and is full of minerals, 17 amino acids and vitamins.  Coconut Nectar is similar to maple syrup and honey when cooking.  I use it when making granola or nut bars.
  10. Dried Figs.  These little suckers are full of fiber, low in sugar and are packed with vitamins.  They are so versatile and think about it…we’ve been eating them in Fig Newtons since we were kids!  Try soaking in water to plump up and blending to add into any recipe – including smoothies and cakes.  Slice thinly and add to salads or chia puddings.  They have the perfect amount of sweetness.

There it is.  My favorite TEN sugar substitutions just in time for summer!

Enjoy!

Lifestyle

Are Cheat Meals and Food Rewards Healthful?

Part of a healthful journey is understanding how we’re programmed or wired.  Our brain commands everything.  It serves as the center of our nervous system and controls how positive we are, if we think we can or can’t and the memories of food and how it makes us feel.  All controlled by those neurons.  It is the primary sensory organ that controls all of our senses.  Incredible, right?  One organ that we simply cannot function without can have the biggest impact on the smallest of things.  And the brain has been programming us since day one.  All those memories, sights, smells, tastes and feelings all making us who we are today.

My brain has been wrapped around a certain topic that I just cannot get out of my head.  I’ve been thinking a lot about Cheat Days and Food Rewards recently.  Day in and out I think about what they are and how they disrupt our energy and time while we try to live a healthful life.  They’ve been weighing on me, nipping at me like a gnat that just won’t go away.  Cheat Days and Reward Foods.  Have you given much thought about them?

My definition is probably pretty similar to yours:

A Cheat Day is a day where all bets are off and you eat anything and everything you want.  No limits.  We’ve all been there:   thinking about the cheat day when you’re on a diet.  Thinking about all the food you typically eat but haven’t eaten just to shed a few pounds.  Even Weight Watchers gives Flex Points for such a thing.  It’s been with us a long as we’ve been dieting.

I’ve dieted for 2 weeks straight.  My cheat day is coming.  I’m getting ice cream.  CHEAT!
Let’s go out for tacos.  It’s my cheat night.  CHEAT!

Now to the Food Rewards.  Food Rewards are cause and effect.  You do something positive or good and your get a Reward; in this case it’s good.  It’s something that is rooted in your brain from when you were a small child.  Think about all the times you were rewarded with food when you were a kid.  An even now, today, all the times that food was the center of some type of celebration or reward.

You got straight A’s on your report card.  Congratulations.  Let’s go get pizza as a celebration.  REWARD!
If you clean up your room, we can go out to Yogurt Land.  REWARD!

I remember this when I was a kid.  Going out was special.  We didn’t do it all the time.  It was around celebrations or rewards.  I’m sure our parents didn’t know the long-term effect.  They learned it from their parents.  And who knew that it would turn into a mental issue with food.

So what’s wrong with thinking like this anyway?  Cheat Days and Food Rewards?  You need to live a little right??

Why have I been thinking about Cheat Days and Food Rewards?  That’s the question and why we’re here.  This occurred during the Clean Eating Challenge that my husband and I were doing.  I recall this so vividly because of what my husband did and the true epiphany I had.  I don’t think he knew what he had done at the time.  Let me explain, as this could be a game changer for many of us!

During the entire first two weeks of the challenge,  all I could think about was having a glass of wine.  We’re not big drinkers in our household, but during the weekend, we have our fair share of wine.  I was so excited because for 14 days I had given everything I had to this challenge and my cheat day was coming and I was going to have a cocktail.  My husband and I were invited to a neighborhood party and I knew I could manage the food…but I just wanted a few glasses of wine.  Wine was swimming through my brain – making me feeling happy and excited.  Those neurons were dancing, ready for a nice glass of pinot noir.  All of my thinking was around my cheat:  You deserve a glass of wine because of how dedicated you’ve been on the challenge.  Today is your cheat day!  

My husband came to me a few nights before the neighborhood party and dropped this on me.  He said, “I have a surprise for you.  You’ve done such a fantastic job on the cleanse and have supported us both on this journey so I have scheduled us with an in-home massage on Sunday.  This is your reward for a job well done.”

Wait, what?  Are you telling me that I can’t have a cheat day?  I’ve been working my butt off for this cheat day for two weeks.  I’ll be honest, those were my initial thoughts.  I was excited about the massage, but was that going to be the reward?  A massage.  What about my cheat day?  We did go to the neighborhood gathering and I did have a few glasses of wine, calling it my cheat day.  But the wine didn’t go down as easily as I had hoped.  Something was nagging at me.  My brain just couldn’t turn off.

Sunday came around and I got my massage.  What a treat!  It was 60 minutes of bliss.  It was exactly what I needed.  During the 60 minutes I shut off my brain and just was in Be Here Now mode.  And I walked away feeling enlightened.

My enlightenment?   Living a Healthful Lifestyle.  Your reward is your health.  You look better.  You feel better.  You have energy.  You have a great attitude.  You’re more interested in LIFE!  That’s the reward.  Why cheat on that?

I’m not saying that I won’t go out, or have wine, or have chocolate cake.  I will.  I know I will.  But now I’m choosing to not call them Cheat Meals any longer.  I’m choosing to reward myself with something other than Food.

Different thinking, I know.  I feel free though.  I gotta tell you, after 10 years of the food battle and being on this fight between health and weight loss and gain, I think I’ve figured it out.  80/20 is really the way to go here.  Incorporating that cupcake or glass of wine is key.  It’s moderation.  Taking out of your vocabulary CHEAT DAY or FOOD REWARD will become a game changer.  Mark my words.

Think off all the other things you can reward yourself with other than food…

  • New hairstyle
  • Pedicure
  • New workout clothes
  • New kitchen gadgets
  • New In-Door Plants
  • Facial
  • New tools or gardening equipment
  • New book

Think of other ways you can describe your cheat day or meal.  It’s not a cheat, it’s just a part of my Healthful Lifestyle and my 80/20 living.  You know you can’t live a Healthful Lifestyle by eating processed foods, sugar and flour all the time.  But once and awhile treat is ok.  80/20.

Have I caught your attention?  Are your neurons bouncing around now?  I hope so.  I hope this supports you’re new thinking.

Say Good-Bye to Cheat Days and Hello to 80/20!
Say Good-Bye to Food Rewards and Hello to Non-Food Rewards!

Here’s to a new way of thinking!

Food, Lifestyle

Can Broccoli Leaf Greens be the new Kale?

A few years ago were you on the Kale band wagon??  I was and still am!  Kale starting popping up EVERYWHERE.  In salads, sides, soups.  They even figured out how to make it into chips.  I love Kale,  I could eat it daily (this coming from a girl who grew up eating collard greens!).

The other day, I was in Costco for my weekly run (they are one of the largest suppliers of Organic products-who knew?) and was getting some of the usual items when I passed by a bag of Organic Broccoli Leaf Greens.  Wait, WHAT??  Never heard of it.  Looking at them, they appear as if they are collard greens.  The leaves are a little coarse and have a large rib in them.  What the heck.  Why not?  I’ll give it a try.

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They don’t need a long cook time.  I prep most of my greens with onions, olive oil, garlic powder and red pepper flakes, so I did the same with these.  Surprisingly they’re really tasty.  A little more bitter than kale, more like a collard green.  But would definitely incorporate into my greens mix!

This morning, a healthful breakfast for my husband and I.  Baked Eggs with Broccoli Leaf Greens and Sweet Potatoes.  This breakfast feels like you’re being naughty.  It has a touch of sweetness due to the sweet potatoes, and is luscious due to the runny egg yolk, but at the same time filled with nutrition.  Another added benefit is that greens are filling and keep you full longer.

Ingredients:

  • 4+ cups of Broccoli Leaf Greens
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, split
  • 4-5 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

Combine sweet potatoes with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place onto baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes (or until desired softness) on 375 degrees.

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While sweet potatoes are cooking, warm remaining olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan.  When oil is warm, add sliced onions.  Cook for 5-7 minutes until onions are soft, then add in broccoli greens.  Combine with onions adding in about 2 tbsp of water.  Cover and let steam from 7-10 minutes (or until desired softness).  Once steamed, add in S&P, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.  Set aside until sweet potatoes are done.

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Once sweet potatoes are done, mix in with greens.  Now you’ll add in the eggs.  Make small ‘wells’ or ‘divots’ in the greens and sweet potato mix for the eggs to nestle in to.  Crack each egg into a well.  Put into 350 degree oven and bake for 12-15 minutes (12 minutes for runny egg yolk, 15 for medium yolk).

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Serve up and enjoy!

Food, Lifestyle

Healthful Greek Salad (Quinoa Style!)

Going into the summertime can be stressful when creating and sustaining a healthful lifestyle.  There is party after party.  It all ramps up around Mother’s Day in May and doesn’t stop until Labor Day in September.  My local neighborhood hosts weekend BBQ’s, Street Parties and impromptu parties all the time.  And if you’re like me, it’s hard to say no (especially when you know you’ll have a great time!).

With that, I had to figure out a few things that I could bring that the neighbors would enjoy and I could actually eat!

My HIT!! Greek Salad made with Quinoa.  It’s packed with veggis, can sit out on a hot day and there’s no sugar or gluten.  YEAH!  Try it out over this weekend.  It’s easy and super yummy!

Greek Salad

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

½ cup carrot, diced

½ cup cucumber, diced

½ cup bell pepper, diced

1 cup of cherry tomatoes

½ cup artichoke hearts, chopped

2  cups cooked quinoa

10 kalamata olives, chopped

2 tbs pepperoncini rings

1.5 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 tbs olive oil

1 bs red wine vinegar

¼ tsp garlic powder, heaping

¼ tsp dried oregano, heaping

½ lemon, juiced

Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional:

½ cup chickpeas

½ cup diced cooked chicken breast, salmon or shrimp

Procedure:

Combine olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, oregano and S&P in a small container.  Mix well to create the dressing.

In separate large bowl combine all other ingredients.  Add dressing and toss.

Enjoy!

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Lifestyle

Ginger Water

Right now, cleansing is all the rage.  I’ve even done a 5 day long juice cleanse to try to restart my body (I would not recommend at all!!!).  Juice bars are popping up everywhere.  There’s also tons of replacement meal type cleanses as well.  I understand that the body has to hit the restart button every now and again, but there has to be ways to get the cleanse your body needs without doing something as drastic as a juice cleanse.  My other thought is if you’re living a healthful lifestyle…do you really need to cleanse or detox??

I know for certain, that I won’t detox again, however something I’ve added into my lifestyle is Ginger Water.  I drink it about 2-3 times per week (or after a night of wine!!).  I love how the ginger gives me that rush and the water is the extra hydration my body needs.

Recipe:

  • 3 cups water
  • Juice of half a lemon (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1-2 tsp grated ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne

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TIP:  Peel ginger with a SPOON if you want to take out the outer skin.  It’s up to you.  If find it a little scratchy to drink!
I picked up this microplaner for easy grating, but a regular grater is fine.  Just use FRESH ginger.

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You can’t mess this recipe up.  If I’m feeling a little bloated, I add a little more ginger and lemon.   Today, a double batch to get me through to tomorrow.  This Ginger Water is great for when you’re trying to curb your appetite or are getting rid of the sugar cravings.

I do not recommend anything short-term, like diets or cleanses.  The way to sustain is to continue being healthful, make it a part of who you are.  Adding in something like Ginger Water into your lifestyle is just that.  Adding it in!  This is a way of life, not a diet.  Remember that!

Try it!  I know you’ll like it.

Lifestyle

Top 10 Things to Get out of your Pantry TODAY!

TOP 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF YOUR PANTRY TODAY!

  1. Refined Sugar
  2. Pasta
  3. Rice
  4. Store Bought Salad Dressing
  5. Protein Powder with added sugar
  6. Boxed Meals (mac-n-cheese…)
  7. Chips
  8. Cookies
  9. Jarred Pasta Sauce
  10. Crackers

Take a deep breath.  I know this seems like a lot.  But once you get these processed sugary foods out of your pantry you will be on your way to a more healthful you!  Easily replace any of these items.  For example:  Instead of sugar use organic raw honey OR  Instead of Store Bought Dressings create your own dressing with Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Dijon Mustard and S&P.

Get creative.  Spaghetti Squash is a great replacement for pasta.  I use cucumbers instead of crackers.

The road to health is a long.  These extra steps will make you more healthful

Lifestyle

Got Support?

As I’ve been on this journey, I’ve thought a lot about support.  It can be defined in so many different ways.  Websters definition is:  Verb-  Bear all or part of the weight of; hold up  Noun-  A thing that bears the weight of something or keeps it upright.  

Initially, I thought I could handle my weight loss on my own.  I read weight loss books and turned to the internet.  That didn’t go very well.  I got some results and then got bored or derailed.  Then I turned to places like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, an anonymous type of support.  Millions of people have lost weight on those types of programs.  Well, that didn’t go as planned either.  They gave you the support THEY wanted to give and not the other way around  Their agenda.  How was that going to help ME?  I joined running groups and gyms and again, the support was about THEIR program not individualized to exactly what was going to support me to reach my HEALTH goals.  That may work for some, I’m sure, but wasn’t working for me.  Something had to give!  So, within the last year, I changed my thinking around support.  Becoming more linked into what the true definition is:  A thing that bears the weight of something or keeps it upright.  I’m more humble now.  And a little more aggressive in what support is right for me so I decided to go out and get exactly what I needed!

  • I texted my girlfriend Jen EVERY DAY for my first 30 days of clean eating and exercise.  Sometimes for accountability and sometimes to ask for help when I felt like I was going to stumble (Thank you JEN!).
  • I made my husband Gary do a 30 day plank challenge with me.  We did this every single day for 30 days.  Even got him out of bed when we forgot because I wasn’t going to let one day go by without doing my plank.
  • I found a work out buddy at the gym.  This is big for me because I usually get in and out, with no time to waste.  We challenged each other without even realizing it!
  • I LOVE my reformer Pilates studio.  And found support by just chit chatting with the clients before and after class.

Taking on a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy if you spent half your life becoming unhealthy.  Don’t go at this thinking you can take this on by yourself.  There is tons of support out there for you.  FIND IT and don’t be afraid to make it tailor-made for what’s right for you.

Lifestyle

Spin Away!

Several days a week, I get to spin class.  It’s definitely a love/hate relationship that I have with that spin bike and instructors.

Let me paint the picture if you haven’t had the pleasure of attending one yet:

Walking in, you feel strong and confident.  The room is generally cool.  It’s slow-moving getting your bike adjusted to the right height, getting your shoes on, placing your water bottle in the best spot, laying down your towel on the handle bars…and then to a light spin to get warmed up.  Ahhh.  You start to feel good about yourself for getting up and getting to the spin class on an early weekend day.  You know that this will be a great cardio workout.  A sense of calm is over you.  Then, bam, everyone almost immediately is at attention.  A sudden burst of energy shakes the room.  What just happened you ask?   The instructor walked in and you know you’re in trouble!

The instructors vary and when you find a good one you’ll know!  They’ll deliver 60 minutes of INSANITY.  Love/HATE!  They typically start off slow, the music is at a good level.  The first song is about 3-4 minutes.  And your brain is still not in shock.  Okay, I can do this!  Then, with lights off, all hell breaks loose!  For the next 50 minutes it’s pure CRAZY.  Up downs, in and out of the saddle, push-ups (yep, on a bike) level 20+ on the gear shift, running 100+MPH, drill after drill.  Your entire body is pouring with sweat.  There isn’t one place on you that’s cool.  And most of the time, as you’re enjoying the workout (LOVE) you’re looking at the clock wondering when it’s time to go have breakfast (HATE).  You wonder if it will get any easier…and it won’t!  Just then, another terrifying drill.  WHAT?@!$%&!!  Again, this only happens if you have a good instructor, it’s their job to have a challenging workout in an environment to test you!  Every class should be more and more difficult.

60 minutes.  That’s it.  But the most challenging 60 minutes you’ll encounter during the day.  I feel great now, several hours after the class.  You’d think I’d be out of energy…laying around and that’s not the case at all.  I feel great.  Great that I pushed myself further than I did the last class.  Great that I worked off those Moskow Mules I had last night.  Great that I did something for myself.

Get yourself if you haven’t and get to a spin class.  It will be the best cardio you’ve even had and its low impact.  LOVE IT!

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Lifestyle

The Farmer’s Market

GET ADVENTUROUS!

At least once a week, I go to a local farmer’s market.  Living in Southern California, I am spoiled with getting produce year round and luckily I can get to a farmer’s market almost any day of the week within a 20 mile radius.

Today, one of my close-by and favorites.  Easy to get in and out of.  I know the vendors, where to go to get what to get.  Walking away, I realized that I’m stuck in my routine.

  • Strawberries for overnight oats…check!
  • Stone fruit for hubby…check!
  • Kale for dinner…check!
  • Okra for grilling…check!

That’s it?  REALLY?  What about the new vendor that had something I’d never seen before?  Or the mushroom guy that had a new mushroom?  Or vine-like spinach that I’ve never tasted?

It’s easy to be safe.  Have the same old things.  You know it tastes good, that’s why you go back to them.

But to continue healthful eating, you gotta get adventurous and branch out a little.  Otherwise you can get bored having the same old dish once a week!

My challenge to myself and anyone else who reads this…try a new fruit or veggi from your local farmer’s market this week.  Something you’ve never had and ENJOY!

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