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,


Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Musings

Hope you enjoyed a beautiful weekend and are ready to have a killer week! This past weekend was eye-opening and I cannot wait to share with y’all just how changing it was….but not yet! I was able to reconnect with old friends, learn about very exciting opportunities and spent some much needed time in the sunshine.

The purpose behind this morning’s post is to share with y’all that our negative untrue thoughts block our positive and sustainable changes. Think about the past week; how many times did you think negative, hurtful thoughts towards yourself? If you answered 0, you deserve a gold freaking star!! If you answered under 5, you are well on your way to becoming your best self! But if you are like me, there are times when the negativity comes out and no matter how hard you try, you cannot shut that little voice up!

The mind-body connection is extremely important when you are working at making positive changes in your life, whether it is for your health, fitness, career or family. Our physical condition and mental outlook are mutually dependent on one another and it is up to YOU to nurture and provide a positive environment for success!

How many times have you or someone you know said, “I ate terrible today so it is too late to get on track” It’s never too late. My body and mind are constantly changing. Life is full of second chances. “I do not have the time or money to be healthy”  You don’t have the time or money not to be.You can choose to invest now in good quality foods and exercise or, pay later with sick days and hospital fees.  “It is very selfish to take time for myself” you can only give to others what you yourself posses'. 

Thoughts such as these are not only untrue, but they hinder our progress towards our goals. Health and happiness are inextricably linked… The better you feed yourself (mind, body and soul), the better you feel and the bigger impact you will have not only in your life but the lives of those around you.

Your life is happening right now! Now is the time to take action towards your dreams and aspirations!

I just have to share this recipe with you... it is amazing! I wanted to change up traditional kabobs with a yummy marinade that would pack a lot of flavor with not a lot of sugar and stuff. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fit-Spiration Friday!

Hope y'all have had a wonderful week and are geared up for the weekend! Its been a little while since the last Fit-Spiration post and I thought today is the perfect time to share with whats been really inspiring me lately!

If I eliminated self doubt from my thoughts, life would be much simpler

I want to inspire so many people to believe in their abilities!

Stay Hungry!
Food is fuel for our bodies. You must nourish your body from the inside out

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tasty Thursday

Today is going to be tasty Thursday. I have had several requests for dessert recipes and breakfast recipes so I have been working on some great items that are delicious and steer you away from the same ol’ same.

I have a hanging strawberry plant that is popping out strawberries all over the place. I am quite surprised to be honest because I do NOT have a green thumb! The other night I picked a few and came up with a scrumptious treat that is awesome when served right out of the freezer.

6-8 Strawberries (more if you would like)
3 TBSP Greek Yogurt (I used vanilla)
¼ Old fashioned Oats
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Water


Spray a heated pan with non-stick cooking spray and add oats. Spray to coat the oats and cook for about 2 minutes. Mix cinnamon, vanilla and water in a bowl then pour over the oats. Stirring frequently, cook for another 2-3 minutes, until crispy. Dip strawberries in the yogurt and then roll in the oats. Enjoy or place in the freezer for 15 minutes and then enjoy!

The next recipe that I tried was last night for dinner and I am in L-O-V-E! I could eat this for every meal (well I had it for lunch AND dinner yesterday!) 


1 cup Zoodles (zucchini noodles)
5 spears Asparagus
4 oz ground extra lean ground turkey (cooked)
4 oz baked sweet potato
4 grape tomatoes
1 tsp fresh garlic


Spray a skillet with non-stick spray. Add garlic and asparagus and sauté until tender. Add zoodles, ground turkey, sweet potatoes and cook until warmed through. Add tomatoes and heat for 2-3 minutes. Enjoy!

Now this is my hubby’s new favorite! The pesto is quite delicious and much lower in fat than normal pesto.

2 cups Spinach, fresh
2 TBSP Almond butter, crunchy
1 TBSP Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt to taste


Combine all the ingredients in a food processor (I use our nutribullet) and process until smooth. Serve over noodles, rice, zoodles or whatever you would like! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Injured...Should I train?

Whoa where did this week go? We are already staring Wednesday in the face and some of you have already conquered half of your tasks by 7 am! I started my day with a killer booty workout at 4 am and focused on exercises that I NEVER do. I performed kettle bell swings, overhead squats, jump back lunges, band walks, single leg dead-lifts and single leg vertical hamstring curls. OUCH. I have a hip that causes grief and I have been rehabbing for a long time now. During one of my lifts, it was barking at me and instead of pushing through the pain, at that moment I decided it wasn't worth finishing the last 3 reps. Instead I spent time with mobility and flexibility training, which to me is more important when it comes to an injury.

A common question I receive as a trainer is, “I hurt <insert body part here>, but I want to keep training. What can I do?” Well the answer to that is “It depends.” First, we must examine what the individual was doing at the time the injury occurred and the second item to analyze is movements that cause the pain. It is very important to understand the current state of the injury in order to determine where to go/ what to do with a plan of action.

Start with where you are. If a client tells me that they hurt themselves yesterday and they hurt so bad they can barely move that body part, you bet your butt I am sending you home! Now they may huff and puff and be frustrated that they cannot train today but it is NOT about missing one training session, it is about long term. When dealing with an injury, the goal is dealing with it and recovering, definitely not making the dang thing worse! If there is any question in your mind about whether you should be training or not because of an injury, the answer is do not train. **This is simply MY advice.

You’re injured so what now? Focus on recovery! I am not saying that recovery is sitting and doing nothing. Recovery could be working with a foam roller on mobility work or working with a physical or massage therapist. It could be icing the injury for 10 minutes on every hour or two or maybe you incorporate active recovery like yoga a few times a week until you feel better. Maybe it is visiting a doctor to determine what is really going on with your body and listening to their advice.

If you are still training with an injury, be very conscious of the injury and avoid any exercises that will make it worse. If you feel pain while doing something, do not try and work through the pain for if you are hurting it you are not healing it. If one side of your body is hurt, do not solely train the non-injured side for this can create imbalances and problems in the future, especially if you are looking at a long recovery period.

Lastly (and most importantly), there are no quick fixes. Injuries suck, this I know but if you cut corners just to get back to training, you may set yourself up for an even longer recovery period when the injury worsens. I once had a doctor tell me that a cortisone shot would lessen the degree of pain with a meniscus injury; however he failed to mention what it would really do over time! Temporary relief may seem like a good idea at the time but over time, it could only make things much worse.

The goal for all of us is to be healthier, stronger and fitter for the course of our lifetime. Take time to heal and recover, it is the best thing you can do for yourself!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

10 Day YOU Challenge- 8 Fears

Holy smokes! Can you believe that we are already into the third week of June?! Where in the world does time go? I forgot to post number eight in the 10 day YOU challenge last week so here it is! Thank you for the kind words and the feedback about this particular challenge. I hope you are trying it out for yourself! Some of them are kinda hard to come up with!

1. Failure… I am a bit of an overachiever and I expect only 110% of myself in everything I do! This has been a blessing and a curse my whole life. I love a challenge and I love accomplishing anything I put my mind too but there are times it takes me 387 times to do so. Realizing that failure is part of life but also realizing it is not permanent and knowing that you can finish something even if you have failed at it the past will be a life saver.

2. Rats! I absolutely can not stand rats (or mice for that matter). When we were little, our neighbor told a story about rats coming up through the plumbing and were seen in toilets in nearby areas. Ever since then, my biggest fear is that a rat will come out of the toilet or be seen swimming in a port-a-potty! I can't even write this without cringing!

3.  Not being able to have children of my own. When I was in 2nd grade, the assignment was to write down your dream job and draw a picture of what it looked like. Mine was to be a mommy. I love kids and have always wanted to have my own. Plus these hips have to be good for something!

4. The world ending… I know that sounds nuts but they make all of these movies that show the world ending and it makes me paranoid. I have actually avoided watching those movies as much as possible. I’m such a worry wart! I spend my time worrying about crap that never ever happens! lol

5. Cotton. Not cotton like cotton balls but the cotton that comes stuffed in pill/vitamin bottles. I absolutely can NOT stand that stuff. The texture of it grosses me out and every time I open a new bottle, my hubby has to come get that crap outta there and quick!

6. Not having a purpose. I want to feel important and make a huge difference in the lives of those around me. I want to help others achieve goals, feel wonderful about themselves and realize that everyone has a purpose! Some teach, some do, some build or create. Whatever it may be, I never want to feel like I do not have a purpose or that I am not living a purposeful life.

7. Deep Water. I love to wake board and have spent several summers doing so BUT the second I crash, I want that damn boat turned around and at my side immediately! My mind creates all sorts of scenarios about what is about to bite my leg off when I am floating in the lake. I will not swim in a pool by myself especially if it has a deep end for the same fear EVEN THOUGH I can see the bottom.

8.  Losing my loved ones (or anyone). I am extremely lucky and blessed to have all of you amazing people in my life and my biggest fear would be to lose one. I love and I love hard. My family and friends mean the world to me and the thought of one no longer being there devastates me. I am going to stop before I start getting too emotional!

There ya have it... Eight of my fears! But now for a favorite! Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Protein!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Vacation tips & tricks

Hello Monday (and what a Monday it has been!) Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and spoiled the dads in your life! We spent the day cleaning our family barn followed by a delicious halibut and prawn dinner :) 

Many of you are busy planning fun vacations now that summer is here and kids are out of school. Maybe you are headed to a warm, sunny beach where you will spend most of your hours outside or maybe you are headed camping in the great outdoors. Where ever your vacation takes you, you can still stay on track with your fitness goals and I've compiled a list to help you! 

1.  Research your hotel. Looking into the hotel/resort/area you are staying will allow you to discover what is in the area. Does the hotel offer a fitness center? Is there a local gym close to where you are staying? How about a studio that offers classes or an activity center with a climbing wall? Knowing what is in the area ahead of time will help you map out workouts and take a lot of the guesswork out of it. 

2.  Plan to get your workout in first thing. If you rise up and attack your workout first thing in the morning, you are more likely to stick to your routine! Get up, get it done and move on to enjoying your vacation. Waiting until later in the day may cause you to lose motivation and fun activities may arise plus who wants to miss out on beach time? 

3.  Be effective! You don’t need to spend 2 hours working out. Plan for a short interval workout one day and if you feel up to it, a longer session on another day. Do something effectively so you don’t waste your time. If you plan to be in a lawn chair with your book by 10 am, work out from 9:00-930 and get to lounging :) 

4.  Check out local activities. Most resorts and hotels have an activities desk that offer several options such as water activities, hikes, biking excursions and much more. Challenge yourself by signing up for a surfing lesson or a half-day hike. Get out and explore the fabulous area you are visiting! Live it up as a tourist. Plan on walking the beach or streets to get your exercise in. 

5.  Pack a plan. Plan on packing a jump rope and a resistance band in your suitcase. You can get a killer cardio and strength workout with these two pieces of equipment. You will be able to work upper and lower body as well as sneak a HIIT workout in! 

6.  Download fitness apps. There are some pretty cool fitness apps that you can download right on your phone or tablet that will give you ideas to create your own workout. Some offer strength training while others offer short circuits. Whether you are in your room, on the beach or in the woods (provided you have cell coverage lol) you will be able to get tour workout done. 

Now to offer the recipe to the delicious halibut we had yesterday (courtesy of my hubby)! 


Fresh halibut fillet
3 tbsp capers 
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (Meyers lemons are the best) 
3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make sure the fillet has been skinned before placing on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle lemon juice over fillet and top with capers and basil. Bake for 20-30 minutes until fish is tender and flakes apart. Serve with steamed asparagus and brown rice. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Tribute to Fathers

Top of the Mornin' to ya and happy Friday! I am so excited to see this week come to an end and look forward to an eventful weekend with it being Fathers Day!  I have a post devoted to my papa and all those other amazing daddy's out there! Whether you have been a dad for many years, are about to be a papa for the first time or are a proud daddy of a four-legged furry kid, you all deserve to be loved and appreciated for all that you do! This post is dedicated to my hero... My dad!

He is the most amazing man in the world. He is my confidant, my friend, my crutch, my everything and I do not know where I would be with out him by my side. He is and always will be the number one man in my life (except for my hubby!) and I know with out a doubt that if ever I fall, he will be there to pick me up, skinned knees and all. From the earliest days he has been encouraging me to become anything I want to be as long as it makes me happy.

One of my favorite stories with my dad is from the Christmas of Third grade. I opened a few presents of brushes and horse books among other "horse things." The last present he handed me was a wrapped shoe box and I still remember the smirk that spread across his mustached face! I unwrapped the box and opened it only to find horse poop! Yep ya heard me...Horse poop for Christmas. I had no idea why I was getting poo for a present until the next morning when he brought me Maggie Mae, the greatest pony on earth, and all his scheming made sense!

He put me high on my 1st pony when I was too little to climb up on my own, he hauled me to every dang 4-H or Pony Club show in the Northwest with a smile on his face and sat there watching patiently. Little does he know I have been watching him in admiration for years and I will never be able to tell him how much he means to me nor will I ever be able to describe how much I love him. My dad has picked up the pieces when everything shattered at once, he has been there, no questions asked, when I needed help out of a sticky situation, and he has pushed me when I felt like giving up and throwing in the towel.

I have watched my dad work his butt off for his family and never complain about it nor give up when times got a little rocky. I am proud to say I am like my dad for I have his drive and determination and his Type-A personality (never thought I would say I'm proud of this but...). I love the way my dad will call out of the blue because he is driving somewhere and just wants to check in and even though my mom and sister will agree, my dad will never ever let you go hungry! Especially if you are at the house and he is making Spaghetti and meatballs! :)

I remember baking my dad something when I was about 14 and it was taking FOREVER and he looked at me and said, "Great things take time Jamey. You took 9 months." Every time I think about this, my eyes begin to well up with tears. Thank you dad for everything! Thank you for being my rock when I needed to be strong. Thank you for being my leader when I needed guidance. Thank you for my friend when everyone else walked out on me. Thank you for funding my many expensive hobbies :) Thank you for giving me everything I have and making me into what I am today. I am a strong healthy independent woman wishing for the world and chasing her dreams because of you. You have allowed me to spread my wings and fly.

Thank you.

I love you!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Full of Flavor!

Something that is brought to my attention over and over when it comes to preparing food, eating healthy, and sticking to a consistent meal plan is the lack of flavor or the “boring” flavor of food especially when following a regimented plan day in and day out. A woman once told me that she would rather band her head against the wall than eat another chicken and rice meal lol. Let me tell you it doesn’t have to be boring, you just have to be creative with how you flavor your food. Now that does not mean you have to use sauces, marinades, and seasonings that are loaded with fat, sugar, salt and other not so pleasant ingredients, it means using staple items that maybe you forgot about. Here is a list of 10 ways to add flavor to your food (and please your taste buds) for 10 calories or less!

Orange Juice- Adding 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice to olive oil for salad dressing or drizzling over a piece of fresh salmon (even bake with a couple orange slices on top) is absolutely delish! Plus orange juice is loaded with vitamin C and helps your immune system fight over the funk. There are 5 calories per tablespoon for orange juice.

Fresh herbs- One of the best ways to add flavor without adding calories is to use fresh herbs when roasting, baking, and grilling. Try fresh chopped cilantro mixed with lime juice served on your chicken or add fresh basil to your salad mix. Try oregano in your farro grain or sweet mint mixed in your ice water. They are easy to add to any dish for no calories. Plus they are easy to grow!

Instant Coffee and Espresso Powder- These products are great low-calorie ways to add flavor to your smoothies or protein shakes (think chocolate mixed with coffee YUM). You can also mix them into your yogurt, sprinkled on top of your almonds or even added to your morning oatmeal pancake!
Calories per teaspoon for instant coffee powder are 4 while there are 0 per teaspoon of espresso powder.

Cocoa Powder- Satisfy chocolate cravings and add some sweetness to your meals with cocoa powder! Try adding cocoa powder to raw almonds, cashews and walnuts, or add a dash to oatmeal, rice, and sweet potatoes. Cocoa contains flavonoids (antioxidants that help prevent inflammation and promote blood flow). There are about 4 calories per teaspoon.

Cinnamon- I LOVE CINNAMON! It is perfect when you need something on the sweeter side. Add cinnamon to your oatmeal, Greek yogurt, sweet potatoes or sprinkle it over nuts. Studies have shown cinnamon to have anti-inflammatory benefits, cardiovascular benefits and possible cholesterol-lowering benefits. Plus there are only 2 calories per teaspoon.

Turmeric- This spice has potent anti-inflammatory properties, has been shown to aide in digestion and also relieve pain. Add one teaspoon turmeric and saute with diced zucchini or eggplant. Mix in with your quinoa or rice or rub your chicken with turmeric for a succulent flavor. There is one calorie per teaspoon.

Sautéed Onions and Garlic- To add flavor to plain veggies, proteins or grains, sauté two tablespoons of finely diced onions and two teaspoons garlic with cooking spray. Then add fresh chopped veggies (think broccoli, green beans, sugar snap peas, peppers, spinach and kale). These flavor-packed vegetables are delicious as a side dish or can be mixed with 1 cup of whole quinoa. There are 9 calories for the two combined.

Fresh Ginger- If your only experience with fresh ginger is when it accompanies your sushi dinner, it’s time get acquainted with this fabulous root. Ginger is delicious when grated and added to salads, or add chunks with olive oil as a marinade for tofu or chicken. Ginger has been shown to treat issues like upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and other digestive issues. There are 2 calories per teaspoon.

Flavored Vinegar- Flavored vinegar's are a great way to add sweetness (or savory) without calories. Most people stock white, balsamic, cider and/or red wine vinegar in their cabinets, but why not try a port or champagne (or even a blueberry) vinegar as a base for pasta salads, marinades, coleslaw and regular salad greens. There are about 5 calories per tablespoon.

Cumin- Cumin powder (or seeds) have a nutty, almost peppery flavor and can be added to dishes as seeds or ground up. This iron-packed spice is an awesome addition to chicken and can be tossed on popcorn for a savory snack! There are 7 calories per teaspoon.

Now go out and give it a try!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Protein Please

When it comes to eating a solid diet, most of us know to incorporate fruits, veggies and lean proteins in addition to plenty of water and whole grain carbohydrates but do you know just how important those proteins are for achieving your health and fitness goals?? Protein is very important for building muscle and toning your physique but it is also very important for your long-term health! Here are 5 reasons (not that you need any more lol) why protein should be included in every meal, especially for my active females out there!

  • Protein helps control hunger and keeps you full longer throughout the day. Research has shown that eating a meal packed with protein triggers a reduction in the hormone Ghrelin (a hunger-inducing hormone) and increases the amount of peptide tyrosine tyrosine, PYY (a satiety-stimulating gut hormone). Your body is slower at digesting proteins, which is one of the reasons why proteins keep you fuller longer compared to carbohydrates. Starting your day with a high-protein breakfast may prevent you from raiding the fridge later in the day.

  • Protein helps create a lean, mean physique. Diets high in amino acids aka the building blocks of protein help build a strong foundation compared to diets high in carbohydrates. You must have the essential amino acids to rebuild your muscles when you break them down with strength training. Studies have shown (especially in women) that a diet high in protein can contribute to a reduction in fat tissue. If you want to build those sculpted muscles, ya gotta feed them with delicious proteins!

  • Eating protein is also important for immune function. Antibodies are specialized proteins that help your body ward off antigens (the pesky invaders that make you sick). These antibodies travel through your blood stream, protecting you from viruses and bacteria. In addition, your red blood cells contain hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein that carries oxygen to exercising muscles via the bloodstream. 

  • Protein helps repair and maintain tissues. Every single cell in the body utilizes protein for one process or another. Your skin, hair, nails, muscles and bones all need protein to grow and maintain structure and strength. Proteins help reduce the effects of aging and sarcopenia as well as reduce the risk of bone degeneration. 

  • Protein is a fuel source! After long bouts of training (think endurance events lasting longer than 90 minutes), your muscle glycogen stores become depleted and your body must use fuel from another source. Your muscle tissue becomes a sufficient source through a process called gluconeogenesis (when glucose is synthesized from fatty acids and amino acids of lean muscle). 

There are many other reasons why protein is VITAL to maintaining health, short- and long-term, as well as helping you achieve your goals…plus protein is delicious!

One of my favorite protein packed snacks that I make for my hubby (I ALWAYS have to make the big daddy size lol) is a pumpkin protein shake. It is delicious for breakfast, a post-workout meal or dessert!