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!