Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thank you!

Thank you for your patience as I took a break from writing on J's Daily Dish, I greatly appreciate it! I am pleased to announce that I will be blogging on my new website:                   Balance By J (you can find that right OVER HERE!) You will find news and information on keeping a healthy body, mind and life in addition to recipes, and services that I offer. Head over, take a look around, and let me know what you think! And as always.... 

Take care of you!

    Xoxo  J

Monday, November 17, 2014

B-I-G Changes A Coming!!


Happy Monday Y'all! I want to apologize for my absence over the past couple months. I have been working on some very big and very exciting changes that I can NOT wait to share with you! Details will be coming your way very soon!

Take care of you,


Monday, November 3, 2014

Meditation Monday


Good morning and happy November! I still can not believe that in a little over 3 weeks it will be Thanksgiving and month later it is Christmas! Where does the time go? The older I get, the faster the time goes and the more I wish it would slow down, just a little.

I am beyond excited to share this post with you and hope you join me for the next 21-days!

Meditation. What does that mean to you? Does it mean 5 minutes of alone time? Time to listen to your breath and allow your thoughts to wander? Allowing time to slow down, just enough to connect with your body, listen to your heart, and refuel your spirit?

I have found meditation and just recently started practicing different forms every.single.day and you know what...I have never felt more alive and empowered. Our thoughts create our reality and if you dont believe me, think back to a time when everything seemed to be going wrong. You woke up late, you spilled coffee all over your shirt, you jammed your toe all while trying to leave for work. You got stuck in horrific traffic and missed every single light and it is only 8:05 am. It's going to be a long day you think. But what we think attracts what happens. Think about the saying "Like attracts Like". When you think about something or someone that fills you with happiness, everything around you tends to be just as warming, beautiful and cheerful. When we dwell on negative thoughts and emotions, it never fails that more negative thoughts occur.


We can thank our subconscious mind for the stories we create in our head, which has been programmed since the moment of our conception. Without going into the technicality of how our subconscious mind is programmed however, what matters is that we make our own reality. We make our own reality by what we think and say to ourselves. I have found it helpful to replace the negative thoughts with positive, associate with positive, uplifting individuals and creating a positive environment in which I spend my time. It is time to stop assuming the worst and create a positive life.

Over the course of the next 21-days, I will start my morning with this amazing meditation program that Oprah and Deepak launched titled  Energy of Attraction: Manifesting your best life. I would love for you to join me and share your experience along the way! I listened to the first lesson this morning and I felt overwhelmed with desire to be my best self. Overwhelmed to clear the negativity from my mind and my life by forgiving parts of my past, limiting fear by focusing on the present and NOT the future and loving every moment of my life in its current state. Of course I am not where I want to be but I know that I have the power within myself to get there!

Take care of you!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloweenie!


Happy Halloween to y'all! We all know what sugar can do to the body and how it affects every cell. We know the addictive properties of sugar work on the same brain center and has been shown to be even more addictive than heroin. If you need a gentle reminder about the effects of sugar, you can read about it right here and more here.

I came across a picture the other day (thank you Pinterest) that put those little candy bars into perspective and thought that it might help visualize the exercise equivalent for different snack size bars.

How much you have to workout to burn off the candy & chocolate you ate - Kinda makes you think twice about eating this stuff!!

Who doesn't love a good piece of chocolate or a Snickers but 50 Burpees for just one? Lol

If you want to taste the rainbow, better lace up and get to jumping :)

In all seriousness, if you are craving a piece of candy and your kiddo happens to get your favorite kind, go for it! Just stick to one and not the whole bag when they have gone to sleep. The serving size is more important than the candy itself. If you want to try a healthier version of your favorite treat.

If you are a chocolate fan like myself, try RAW chocolate sweetened with coconut sugar. It has a lower glycemic index and is made with real cocoa and is a healthier version. I also like to warm up some vanilla almond milk and add a scoop of chocolate brownie protein for a high protein hot cocoa.

If you are more of a fruity sweets kind of person, try to make your own frozen yogurt with a berry greek yogurt and top with fresh berries or have a lollipop. I admit, I sometimes take a sugar-free jello and add a dollop fat-free cool whip. It is pretty delicious!

Tonight the hubs and I are keeping it low key and hoping to hand out some candy to the trick-or-treaters! I have a weakness for cookie dough and instead of making my favorite (ooey gooey chocolate chip) I am opting to make a healthier pumpkin protein cookie and have a glass of red wine.

Have a happy Halloween and take care of you!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

HIIT Incline Treadmill Workout

If you are new to HIIT workouts, I wrote a post (you will find it Right Here!) a while back explaining what exactly HIIT stands for... High-Intensity Interval Training. 


I am frequently asked about cardio... How much should I be doing? What is the best type of cardio? Is X amount too much? Too little? Will I lose weight if I do X amount of cardio? I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there is no definitive answer to these questions. What works for one person may be the exact opposite for another person. There is a general guideline however and according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), "American adults (aged 18-65 years) should accumulate at least 30-minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week OR engage in 20-minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week".  Now does this mean that you need to completely change your routine. No, it sure does not. What you should do however, is get moving and listen to your body.

Do you feel fabulous when you get in 20 minutes of cardio 4 days a week? Great, stick to it! Do you feel like you would feel better by adding in another 10 minutes a couple days during the week? Awesome, add it in after work or during your lunch break. Whatever it is that makes you feel like your best self, stick to it! I used to be a cardio girl and when I mean cardio girl, I mean just that. I did cardio. ALL. DAY. LONG. I would run and run and run (almost as much as Forest Gump) and steered clear of the weights. However, my love for running is not nearly as strong as it is for lifting heavy iron! 

Nowadays, I stick to moderate to intense cardio a couple times a week for 20-30 minutes. I feel like it gives me the energy I need, it keeps my heart healthy, and when I am on track with my diet, I do not feel bad about cutting my date with the treadmill short. :) I love HIIT workouts because 1. They kick my butt every time and 2. They are short, sweet, and too the point. Plus, I love a workout that leaves me nice and sweaty. 

Here is an incline treadmill HIIT workout for y'all to give a shot when you need a change of pace. 

Take care of you!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Produce Guide


The amount of daylight has gotten shorter, the sun takes its sweet time to appear in the crisp mornings, the wind and rain have made their appearance, and all of our favorites (sweaters, cozy boots, fires, comfort food) have been brought back to life after a pleasant summer. However, with Fall, the farmers markets are gone until next year, our favorite summer produce items have cycled out of season, and it is time to get creative with the hearty fruits and vegetables that are in ripe right now!

When buying produce that is "in season" it will help cut down on your grocery bill especially if you shop your local sale ads. The vegetables that are perfect for your Fall menu include some of my favorites such as acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin and spaghetti squash. They are wonderful to roast and create a hearty side dish or puree into a delicious warming soup. Brussel sprouts, turnips, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes are also great to add to salads, stews or roast and eat by themselves. Additional vegetables that are great in the Fall include swiss chard, beets, and celery root. 

Fresh fruits that are perfect for the Fall include pomegranate seeds, figs, and cranberries. Toss them into your salads or bake them into a warm fruit crisp. Apples (think fresh pressed cider or simmered cinnamon apples), pears, and grapes (believe it or not!) are perfect this time of year to create delicious and healthy desserts for the whole family. Asian pears are a delicious crisp treat as well as passion fruit and persimmons. 

Do not fear the produce isle this time of year for there are wonderful options for every occasion. Some of my favorite recipes include several of the items listed above and I look forward to sharing a couple of them with you. Please feel free to share your favorite fall recipes!

Take care of you,


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Super Spirulina!

So have ya ever heard about Spirulina? I know what you are thinking...Spir-u-whata?! So I'm saying it again...Spirulina!


Spirulina is not technically an herb (it's actually a cyanobacteria) that gets its energy from the sun and is rich in chlorophyll. Spirulina is a naturally occurring blue-green algae that thrives in tropical and subtropical fresh water lakes and ponds with the largest crops located in the US, Thailand, China, and India. It got its name from its spiral, spring-like characteristics.

Spirulina is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants and carotenoids that can help protect our cells from damage. Nutrients include iron, magnesium, vitamins A, K, E and B complex, zinc and beta-carotene. This blue-green algae is high in protein (ranging 51-71%) and is considered a complete protein because it contains all the essential amino acids, higher than most other plant proteins. However you would have to take a lot in order to get the same amount you get from animal product, legumes, and nuts.  It is also high in Calcium (25x more than milk) and contains the fatty acid Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) which has been researched for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Common uses for Spirulina include treatment and/or prevention of concerns with aging, ADHD, cancer fatigue, high cholesterol, viral infections, allergies, and is being researched for its use in removing radioactive isotopes related to radiation therapy. There is limited scientific research on human consumption and Spirulina but the test-tube research has shown promising results. Hopefully continued research will prove all the wonderful benefits of this blue-green algae!

Spirulina comes in powder form, capsules, tablets and other products such as juices. When purchasing any of the aforementioned products, make sure to choose one that is organic and of high-quality. I add 2 tsps of powdered Spirulina to my protein shake... I am not going to lie, the taste is not my favorite! It kinda tastes like... well... pond water. If you blend it into your smoothie or fresh juice however, it is not that bad!

This is a recipe my hubby created a while back that I incorporate a couple times a week (when HE has the time to make it lol).

Monday, September 29, 2014

Stress & Eating... How to Stay on Track

Think back to a time when your life felt out of control...When the phone was ringing, the dog was barking, the kids were crying, your house looked like a tornado ripped through it, and your lunch was burning on the stove...ALL-AT-THE-SAME-TIME.

We have all been there, maybe not the exact scenario I just described, but similar to that in which you feel like you can not catch your breath with just how chaotic things happen to be.  Do you A). Turn to food when you are feeling stressed in hopes to feel better or B). Turn away from food because you do not have the time to eat. Do you A). Tend to eat foods that are higher in fat, sugar, calories when stressed or B). Down a shake because it is quick and convenient?
Whether you chose A or B, both are stress related and from my experience, A is more common. Maybe you are feeling sad, anxious, depressed, lonely, stressed to the max, or angry and your go-to antidote is something of edible form. You come home after a long, grueling day and you eat a bowl (or two or the whole dang container) of your favorite Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Eating when you are emotional happens from time to time however, when it happens more often than not, when eating is the first thing you turn to when negative feelings set in, you might have to have a heart-to-heart with yourself.

What is this stress eating that I am talking about? It is just as it sounds...It is when you reach for food to find comfort when facing the situation or emotions at hand. For instance, maybe you are fuming about the jerk that cut you off on the freeway and you are sure that a pizza will calm you down or you are feeling sad and you cant quite figure out way you are so blue but you think that comfort food will do just that, comfort you. This is the type of eating that I hope you become more aware of after reading this article.
Are you hungry or is it emotional hunger? When emotions are the driving force behind your hunger, it is hard to feel full and satisfied. There is a deep hole that needs to be filled yet nothing quite does the job unlike physical hunger, which after eating a meal, our stomach feels full and we usually stop eating. If it is emotional hunger, we tend to want something full of fat and sugar (think the monster slice of chocolate cake at Claim Jumper). When physical hunger is the driving force, we tend to look at several options and pick the one that sounds good and is typically a healthier choice. If it is emotional hunger, you might feel satisfied right after but soon after might feel guilt where as a physical hunger does not typically result in these type of feelings.

What do you do if you are a stressful or emotional eater? First, it is important to realize that this happens to all of us. You are not the only one. Here are a few tips to help you combat the need to eat when your emotions are going crazy.

Keeping track of your food in a journal or in an app like My Fitness Pal, is an excellent way to determine emotional triggers. Keeping notes on your feelings, your hunger level, what type of foods you are craving are all ways to learn more about what is causing those feelings and what type of foods you are reaching for.

Find an alternative. When stress triggers you to reach for the box of cookies, get your walking shoes on and head outside. Get some fresh air and clear your head. If you can't take a walk, call a friend or listen to your favorite CD. Find something that gets your mind off of those cookies and on to an alternative task.

Wait out the urge. This can be tough but when the desire to eat strikes, try and wait it out. Drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. Is the urge still there? If it is, try and eat a small portion of your favorite food and walk away. If it is no longer there, great! You successfully waited out the craving.

Be honest. Be honest with yourself and own up to the emotion. It is absolutely normal to feel down, sad, angry, lonely, or any other feeling sometimes. This is what makes us humans and although it may feel like you are dealing with the same emotions forever, it will get better with time.

If you find that it happens quite frequently, there are health coaches (like myself) that can help you with your emotions, your eating and the combination of the two! Be kind to yourself and please know that it will take time to work on this.

Take care of you!


Friday, September 5, 2014

Fit Friday Spotlight

What a beautiful Friday!  It was a short 4-day week, the sun is shining, and is supposed to be in the high 70's all weekend! If there is one thing I know, it is that people seem much happier when the sun is out. I can't help but notice how kind, pleasant and friendly people are compared to when it is dreary, gray and/or raining out. I love it!

As of late, I have been incorporating several raw meals per day to my diet and have been loving every one. I feel brighter, more energized and to be honest... Less toxic. When I refer to raw foods, I am talking about a meal plan focusing on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweed. If you have never tried adding raw meals in, I highly recommend it!

For 'Fit Friday Spotlight', I want y'all to head over to Oh She Glows and check out Angela's page. It is wonderful to read and full of delicious recipes including several vegan/raw/gluten free/dairy free/soy free options that will make you start drooling! (You have been warned!)

Oh She Glows offers an inspiring before/after story that you can not help but smile about, an inside look into Angela's kitchen where you will find her go to shopping list and her gadgets she can not live with out in addition to information about her cookbook. She does a fabulous job updating her blog and providing all sorts of new tips/tricks for you to use!

One of the recipes that I use (especially because the hubby loves them) are the Almond Cookies! Here is the recipe LINK. I definitely think you should give these a whirl!!

Have a wonderful weekend and most importantly.... Take care of YOU!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Catch-Up and Confidence...

Good Mornin! First, I want to apologize to all you dedicated readers that support this blog. I am sorry for the long break and lack of posts. Life happened and I lost all track of time and with the amount of travel that has consumed my summer, I couldn't keep up with everything as hard as I tried! But I am back and I am so happy to be so! I have A LOT to share with you including new recipes, awesome exercises, wonderful nutrition information and so much more!  

I want to kick off today's post with my thoughts on fear and confidence. Defined by Merriam-Webster, Fear is defined as "to be afraid of (something or someone)" and "to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)". Confidence is defined as "a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something" and "a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances". 

I have many fears and I have posted about them HERE. I have spent countless hours worrying about stuff that never even happens (raise your hand if you have NOT done this!) I have worried what so-and-so might think of this or that. I have been afraid of letting other people down at the expense of my own happiness and I have kept my ideas hidden for fear of ridicule. Fear can debilitate your hopes, dreams and goals if you allow it. 

On the other hand, confidence...in yourself, your actions, in your plans and dreams can overcome those fears and propel you forward as if you just landed on a booster in Mario Kart! You see, confidence is a funny thing. As outlined above, when you feel confident in your own skin, when you believe with all your heart that you will succeed, nothing can deter you from where you are going. You do not listen to the voices that say 'you can't do it' or the people who may try to bring you down. You feel and rely on your own powers to navigate the uncharted waters ahead. 

Are you wondering why am I writing about fear and confidence? Because this blog is all about helping you feel and look your best emotionally, spiritually, and physically! Do not be afraid to put yourself out there and try something new! Go after what you have always wanted! Be the best version of YOU!

Now for a quick yummy recipe that hits the spot when you are feeling like a fiesta! Shrimp, cilantro, and avocado with brown rice.

Take care of you!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recipe Round Up

Happy Early 4th of July! I have no idea what has gotten into me but I cannot wait to decorate our family cabin with Pinterest worthy décor and make delicious dishes that are healthy for the entire group. The domesticated side of me comes out the older I get apparently! lol

I wanted to share some of the great items that I will be making for the holiday weekend… Pinterest has great ideas and it is easy to swap out a not so healthy ingredient with a better for you version (think unsweetened applesauce instead of oil). My mom and I decided to do a ton of red, white and blue themed dishes. Hope y’all enjoy your long weekend and remember… Take care of YOU!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cookout Tips...Staying on Track

Holy Moly!! It is already July! I cannot wrap my head around how fast time passes. When you are young, it seems like time stands still but as we age and life gets busy, time just flies by in the blink of an eye! Hope y’all have fun plans for the 4th and have a chance to spend much needed time with family and friends. Many of you may be hosting a BBQ or heading to a cookout. I wanted to share a few tips to help you stay on track while still enjoying the foods you love!

Most BBQs consist of mayo-ladden potato salads, coleslaws, ribs and hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and dips and tons of sweet treats. They are quite delicious looking but may not be figure friendly. The average potato salad has 20 g of fat and 357 calories per cup. The average medium sized BBQ rib has 11.5 g fat and 124 calories.

1. Head to the party with a full tummy- If you head to a BBQ with an empty stomach, EVERYTHING is going to look ah-mazing and you are more apt to indulge, even if you do not really like something. It’s like grocery shopping on an empty stomach! Suddenly everything looks good even the bag of Doritos that I don’t even like. Plan to eat a balanced breakfast as well as another meal or two, especially if the BBQ is not until the afternoon.

2. Pack a snack! Plan to pack your favorite healthy snack to ensure there is something you will like to munch on. Maybe it is a delicious veggie tray with low-fat Greek yogurt dip or a fruit platter. Pack your other meals along with you if you are worried that you will not find something that works for you.

3. Load your burgers with flavor- Instead of adding cheese, ketchup, mayo, and bacon to your burger, add flavor with fresh garlic, herbs, and jalapenos or grilled onions. Stick with mustard as a condiment or choose a lower fat option for mayo. Better yet, use a couple slices of avocado as your topping.

4. Prepare to be side savy- Now is the best time to take advantage of the beautiful produce available! Trade in the potato salad for a sliced cucumber, tomato, onion salad tossed in fat-free Italian dressing. Have the grill master grill up some fresh zucchini, asparagus, eggplant, tomatoes and onions.


5. Choose leaner meats. Instead of noshing on a pork sausage, choose a chicken or turkey variety. If you can convince the head BBQ man to grill up a piece of fish, choose to use herbs and citrus to add flavor. If sticking with chicken, try to choose skinless breasts instead of thighs, legs and wings.

6. Skip the bun hun. If it appeals to you, try wrapping your chicken or burger in butter lettuce to create a bun-less burger that saves on calories and gets in an extra serving of greens! Try layering it with carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, wrap it up and enjoy.

7. Sip wisely- Deciding on which alcoholic beverage to enjoy can be tough especially if you love to drink beer with the best of them. Most stout beers typically have 2-3x as many calories as “light” beers (200+ calories versus 60). If you enjoy liquor, opt for blueberry vodka mixed with club soda and add a couple blueberries for sweetness.

8. Grill your dessert- Instead of choosing the apple pie with vanilla icecream, have the pit master bbq up a fresh peach and top it with fat-free cool whip or enjoy fresh berries sprinkled with cinnamon and stevia. If you want chocolate, take some berries and drizzle it with a melted dark chocolate square.


9. Moderation is key- If there are some foods that you just have to have, that’s great, go for it! But try to stick to controlled portion sizes or split it with a family member. My sister and I always do this at events. We both love us some sweets, so instead of each getting a piece of cake, we split it. Typically just a bite of something will satisfy your palate.

Most importantly... ENJOY!

Monday, June 30, 2014

How To Start Your Day

What if I told you that you should consider forgoing your morning latte? Would you tell me to get lost or would you beg to keep it? What if I told you to replace it with a warm mug of lemon water first thing in the morning? Would you do it or would you still tell me to get lost? Starting your morning off with a glass of warm lemon water is excellent for your body and here is why…

Lemons are high in vitamin C and potassium. They enhance your immune system, warding off disease and infection in addition to stimulating nerve and brain function.

Lemons aid in digestion. Lemons stimulate the liver to produce bile, the green substance essential to digestion. A healthy digestive system is a very important part to a healthy body!

Lemon water helps flush out toxins and wastes from your body and it aids in the eliminating process. It helps prevent constipation and diarrhea.

Lemons are an alkaline food. Translation, starting your day off with warm lemon water balances out your body’s pH levels. This is especially important if you tend to be more acidic (frequently get heartburn, indigestion, sour stomach). Lemon water can help relieve those symptoms and create a “friendly” environment.

Lemons contain pectin which is a very important fiber component that is valuable to colon health. Pectin also has antibacterial properties which help support immune function and promote healing.

Lemon water helps clear your skin. The vitamin C that is in lemons helps decrease the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes. It can help purge the toxins from your blood in turn clearing the appearance of your skin.

Lemons (and limes) are very high in potassium, an important mineral that works with the body’s sodium to create smooth electrical conductions within the body. Low levels of potassium have been correlated with depression, anxiety, fatigue and fogginess. By increasing the potassium level within the body, these symptoms have been shown to decrease, improving your overall well-being.

Lemon water can help improve lymph function. It helps prevent dehydration and it also can help prevent adrenal fatigue. Your adrenal glands are situated on top of your kidneys (as well as your thyroid) and if they are not functioning properly they can lead to stress, constipation, fatigue, depression, ect.

Okay how about now? Are you still wanting to kick my idea out the door or are you willing to give it a try? Make sure to use fresh lemons (I LOVE the organic Meyers lemons) for bottled lemon juice typically contains sulfates.

Give it a try and take care of YOU!


Friday, June 27, 2014

10 Day YOU Challenge - 7 Wants

I hope you are preparing for the weekend and have something fun planned! To end the week, I need to post my next part of the 10 Day YOU want Challenge... Seven wants. I really had to think about this one because it really could go in several directions. Some wants are day-to-day while others are deep, down to the core wants that you long for.

1. I want to bring back those I have lost in my life...even if it is for just a minute to tell them I love them. I long to see, to hear their laugh, to see their smile. I know that things happen for a reason but I have never understood why some are taken from us WAY too soon.

2. I want to encourage and inspire each and every person I meet. Whether it be motivating them to change their dietary or exercise habits, or encouraging them to try a new challenge or lending an ear to listen. I want someone to say, "because of you, I didn't give up."

3. I want babies! I've always wanted kiddos. I used to think it'd be nice to have a whole football team of them, but now I think I will limit to just a couple. :)  I love working with kids, seeing how they look at the world, and learning to trust and love through their eyes.

4. I want more time. Really, my life could use a few more hours in the day, or a couple more days in the week in order to get everything I want done. Starting my day at 3:30 am and ending it around 9 pm still is not enough time to get EVERYTHING done. I try but my "to-do" list always has something staring back at me.

5. I want to always be able to find happiness, hope, and perspective in every situation, even when bad things happen. I want to live my life in the most positive manner. To live abundantly. To live full of hope and grace. I want a happy life. I just want a happy, long life next to my hubby (and the bullies and some kiddos).

6. I would love to be more crafty. Yes, Pinterest is there and it does help but just because it can be done does not mean I CAN DO IT! I want to redecorate my home with cute interiors and have everything Pinterest worthy... Maybe in my next life!

7. I want to travel. I have never been one to jump on a plane, train, or automobile and take off, exploring the land with a couple bucks in my pocket and a backpack on my back. But there are soo many beautiful places to see in this world and I would love to experience as many different cultures as possible!

Have a wonderful weekend and take care of YOU!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

YOU are sweet enough... Part 2!

Ok so the second that sweet stuff touches your tongue, your brain is jumping for joy and killer cravings subdue.... For just a minute! But then you want more. You have to have sugar. You NEED to have sugar. Your body is craving it like mad and when you deny those cravings maybe you feel anxious? Depressed or sad? Cranky or angry? You are not crazy. Sugar can be an addiction wreaking havoc on your body.

On part one, I mentioned a few things sugar does to your body. Here are a couple more things that occur when you consume too much. 

Did you know that the average American adult consumes the equivalent of 22 sugar cubes every 24 hours?! Translation, the average woman consumes 70 pounds of sugar per year. 70 freaking pounds! (Stats are from WHO) 

Too much sugar, specifically fructose, can cause your HDL (think good cholesterol) to lower putting you at risk for coronary artery disease. When your HDL is lowered it also triggers for the production of triglycerides, a form of fat that moves from the liver to the arteries and can cause a build of plaque within the arterial walls. 

Sound as sweet as it tastes? Too much sugar can cause pre-diabetes or full on type II diabetes because it triggers the pancreas to release insulin, which in small amounts is harmless and necessary. However when large amounts of sugar are consumed and in turn large amounts of insulin are secreted.  Your pancreas has released so much insulin that your cells become resistant to it and leaves the remaining glucose floating around in the bloodstream. 

Still want those cookies? If you think you might be addicted too sugar or if you want to cut down on your intake, I'm not going to lie, it is going to be hard! Just as a smoker trying to quit or a shop-o-holic dicing up their credit card. Sugar can be an addiction and like other addictions, you will have to detox your system. You will have to fight through those urges but it WILL be worth it! 

There are several sugar detoxes out there, ranging from 10 days to 2 months. If you think you need to reset your system and punch sugar straight in the kisser, try these steps! 

Try to eliminate all sugary snacks and junk food. I'm talking cookies, cake, granola bars (yes those bars  you think are healthy can easily contain at least 15 g sugar per serving), and candy! If you know you have a trigger (fro yo anyone?), try to eliminate that FIRST. Get rid of the main player and all the others will seem easy! 

Next try to go sans- sugary drinks. That Caramel macchiato may seem like a great drink since it's nonfat but that syrup probably has upward of 22 g of sugar per serving. Try to sip on water, unsweetened ice team or black coffee. 

Watch out for those tricky sugars found in BBQ sauce (15 g per 2 TBSP), pasta sauce (12 g in 1/2 cup) or ketchup (9 g per 2 TBSP). Opt to make your own sauce with fresh tomatoes and other fresh ingredients or look for low-sugar varieties. Be proactive and read food labels! You will be amazed at what you might find! 

When I have a hunkering for something sweet, I try to stick to fresh fruit! My new favorite is a frozen watermelon-strawberry-orange drink! 


1-1 1/2 cup frozen watermelon chunks 
1/2 cup strawberries 
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice 


Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until desired consistency. Soooo good! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Put Down The Sugar...You are Sweet Enough! Part 1

Raise your hand if you love your sweets. Ok, now raise your hand if after every meal especially dinner all you want is sugar. <My hand is raised, heck, BOTH of my hands are raised!> I love sweets. Give me a good piece of chocolate and I am a happy girl. I love to get frozen yogurt on my treat meals and I am always looking for alternative ideas to create sweet treats that are GOOD and NUTRITIOUS! Remember the post about chronic inflammation? Well sugar is a HUGE contributor to inflammation as well as a contributor to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer and obesity. Sugar is not soo sweet!

There are several health concerns that stem from sugar that are disturbing and downright nasty. I want to first map out sugar (what it is, the different forms, and where it comes from) then discuss just a few ways sugar affects the body. Tomorrow in part two, I will post more concerns caused by sugar and how to kick your sugar cravings in the derrière!

Sugar is a carbohydrate. If there is an ‘ose’ present, it is going to be sugar. Sugar comes in the simple form (called monosaccarides) and includes glucose, fructose, and galactose. Sugar also comes in the form of disaccharides (combination of sugars) such as sucrose, maltose and lactose.

Glucose is naturally occurring in plants, fruits and is burned as energy in our bodies or it is converted into glycogen and is stored for later use.

Fructose is known as the fruit sugar, that occurs naturally in, well….fruit! It also occurs in honey and cane sugar, thus it is very sweet!

Sucrose is found in the roots of sugar beets, in the stems of the sugar cane and is also found in other fruits and plants.

Lactose is milk sugar! It is a disaccharide that is composed of glucose and galactose and makes up about 3-8% of milk depending on the individual or species.

Sugar typically comes from the harvesting of sugar cane or sugar beets. These plants are harvested, processed and refined until you get the white sugar product most of us love. Sugar is very high in calories and contains no nutritional value (termed “empty calories”). Below are just a couple impacts sugar has on the body.

Sugar can overload your liver. Before sugar even enters the blood stream it is important to understand the molecular makeup of sugar. Sugar can be broken down into glucose, which is found in every cell of the body and if we do not consume it in our diet, our body produces it, and fructose, which our body does not produce in significant amounts. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver which typically is not an issue if consumed in small amounts or if we just completed working out (in which the fructose gets converted into glycogen and is stored). Where the problem occurs is when the liver glycogen stores are full and there is an abundance of fructose, the body converts the fructose into fat (diabetesjournal). If one were to consume large quantities of sugar, this can lead to a fatty liver.

Sugar is highly addictive. Have you ever done a sugar detox? The longer you go without sugar, the better you feel and the cravings subdue significantly over time. On the contrary, have you ever noticed that when you eat something sweet such as cake or cookies, you crave more sweets? Sugar can be highly addictive because it can trigger the brain’s reward center to release mass quantities of dopamine, similar to the response that abusive drugs cause.

Sugar (specifically fructose) can trick your metabolism into storing fat by switching off your appetite control center in the body. Fructose does not properly stimulate insulin (a very important hormone in the body that allows glucose into the cells from the blood). When insulin is not properly stimulated, ghrelin (the hunger hormone) is insufficiently suppressed and leptin (the satiety hormone) is not stimulated. The result…Eating more!

Tomorrow’s post will include a few more reasons why to kick the sugar habit, how to do so, and a sweet recipe that is downright delicious!

Take care of you,