The Veggie Secret

Hey there good lookin!

Today’s weight loss tip is one that I love and that I live by! It’s a portion control tip that’s sure to not disappoint. You’ll leave the table satisfied, satiated and full. You’ll feel great and have a rush of lasting energy that will help get you through your day. What is the mystical tip that can possibly do all this?

It’s simple. Fill 1/2 your plate with low carb veggies (sorry potatoes). Steamed, raw, sautéed, baked, stir fried, marinated, grilled…you name it, you can have it.

Veggies are oh-so-amazing for a variety of reasons. They:

1. Are chalk full of fiber (helps us feel full so we don’t overeat)

2. Are loaded with vitamins and minerals and other nutrients which our bodies can’t live without.

3. Are low in calories and fat (we can eat lots of them and not feel guilty)

4. Reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.

5. Increase our energy

6. Help us have healthy skin and hair

Talk about nutrition powerhouses! These little beauties are packed full of these and about a million other healthy benefits.

So, really, there’s just no excuse not to eat your veggies!

What are some of your favorite ways to eat your veggies?

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I’m Baaaaaacccckkkkkkk!!!

I’ve been on a little bit of a hiatus since my last post. Things have been just a little cray cray and we’ve had more than a few life changes goin on. But I’m here and I’m super excited to be back! (I’ll write a post in the about me section to give you a look at what’s been happening in my world later).

Let’s dive right back into it shall we?

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday (oh how I have missed you!)

Cook more. Yup, you heard me. Get in that kitchen and cook! It’s as simple as that!

When you do the cooking, you have way more control over what goes in your food. A gallon of oil on my veggies? Umm…no thanks! I’ll just steam them with water. A  truck load of salt on my food? I’ll stick with a pinch instead.

You can decide if you want organic, hormone free, low salt, no oil, gluten free and/or unprocessed food. Plus, you get to decide how you want to cook it! Some restaurants use microwaves for a lot of their food. This is a big no no! If I’m going out and spending the money to pay ppl to make my food, they better make it! Not just nuke it!

And here’s a bonus, cooking is fun! I used to think that I had to follow a recipe EXACTLY as it was written. I wouldn’t deviate at all. Like never.

Now I realize how boring that is! I look at recipes all the time and tweak them like crazy. Before you know it, they’re unrecognizable from the original recipe. And no one dies. The world doesn’t stop turning and most of the time I end up loving my creative revisions.

So, get in that kitchen and cook!

You didn’t think I’d tell you to cook and then leave you hanging did you? Here’s a simple, delicious recipe for ya:

Pears with Balsamic

1 pear – thinly sliced

1/2-1 tsp balsamic vinegar (any kind)

-Arrange the pears on a plate and drizzle the balsamic vinegar over them. Enjoy at room temp or put in the fridge to make them cold.

Feel free to add things to this recipe. Maybe add some fresh basil chopped and sprinkled on top, or a pinch of red pepper flakes to spice things up. Like honestly, anything goes!

Let your inner creativity out to play, you just may like what you find!

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P.S. Here’s a selfie just for you! It has been a while after all 😉

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – The Big “O” #2

Hey friends!

I hope ya’ll had a fabulous Thanksgiving! We sure did! The hubs and I tried our hand at karaoke…I was kind of a hot mess, but we still rocked it! Is there anything better than hanging out with the family during holidays? Not for me 🙂

Can you feel Christmas in the air?! The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is here and it’s in full swing! Everyone is so busy, malls are crowded and parties are raging!

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This weight loss tip goes hand in hand with the one I gave ya’ll last time. Welcome to part 2 of 3!

This week, it’s all about dairy (milk, cheese, cottage cheese, butter, cream cheese, yogurt, even greek yogurt…you get the idea). We’re going to talk about why it’s so important to get organic dairy. What’s the big deal? Is it really necessary or is it just a waste of money? Does it have more nutrients than regular dairy? And more…

Let’s paint a picture of the factory farmed dairy industry. In general, a factory farm is “a large industrial operation that raises large numbers of animals for food”. The cows are crowded into a building where they spend pretty much their entire lives. Here, their poor udders are harnessed to a machine several times a day where they are milked. They are given hormones to amp up their milk production (about 100 pounds/day), and antibiotics when they get infections from being milked all the dang time. You try having your nipples hooked up to a machine that’s constantly sucking several times a day and see how long it takes you to hurt. Just sayin. -3

Do you realize that in order for a cow to produce milk, it has to be pregnant? These poor factory farmed cows are forced to get pregnant, over and over and over. Their calves are repeatedly ripped away from them, and the torture continues. When they can no longer produce milk, or they collapse from exhaustion, they are killed and sold as meat that people eat. All this, and most of them are barely 5 years old! If the calf is female, they are thrown into this cycle. If they are male they will never produce milk and are sold for meat. Bet you didn’t know that’s where veal comes from. -2

I have to remind you. I’m not talking about all conventional dairy here, only the factory farmed variety. There are many dairy farms that have good standards, but unless you know the farm your dairy comes from, I would choose the safe route and buy organic.

Now let’s talk about how different organic dairy is. The conditions are drastically different. They are actually humane. The cows are able to go outside, walk around and graze, as regular cows do in nature.

Remember when we talked about those pesky pesticides, herbicides and fungicides last post? Well, you are what you eat, and you are what your food eats too.

In order to be termed “organic” dairy cows are free from hormones and antibiotics. They can’t eat any food that has a lick of pesticides (or other “cides”) on them and they can’t be given anything with GMOs. -1

Not to mention, organic dairy actually has more anti-oxidants, omega 3s and other nutrients than conventional milk does. -1

Let’s not forget that milk is the perfect food for baby cows. Baby cows have to grow at an alarming rate compared to humans. There are hormones that naturally occur in cow’s milk to help their babies grow quickly. If it helps cows gain weight rapidly, imagine what it could do to you! So, if you want to avoid gaining weight, slow your roll with the dairy. And when you do consume it, make sure you get it from happy cows.

So, back to the questions above, yes! It’s a HUGE deal! It’s totally worth it!!!

I didn’t want to talk about all this dairy and leave ya hangin! So, here’s a recipe that’s fast, easy and delish. Best of all, it’s dairy-free but no one will know it. It’s creamy and smoky, it’s fantastic on vegetables, sandwiches, oh heck, I slather it on just about anything. It’s Better Than Cheddar Sauce, and it’s amazing!

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Sources:

1- Organic Valley Farms

2- Dairy Cows

3- Factory Farms and Cows on Factory Farms

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – The Big “O” #1

Ok peeps, let’s get real. This is a major issue that’s important to talk about.

You may realize that this post in on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. I was so excited to post yesterday, but the topic I chose was WAY too big for one post. So, I decided to give you bite-sized nuggets in a three part series vs one ginormous post.

Part 1: Fruits and Veggies

I’m sure that somewhere along the line, you’ve heard the term “organic”. But, what does that really mean? And is it even that important? Is it simply a marketing ploy? Is it worth spending the extra money? Does it help you lose weight? Let’s find out.

Definition: Organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms [GMOs], or ionizing radiation…[It] is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. -1

There’s a branch of the government called the USDA (I’m sure you’ve heard of them) and they have a National Organic Program (NOP). They send out certified inspectors to ensure the farmers meet the national requirements of the organic label. Processed goods also undergo a rigorous process to ensure quality.

Do you hear that? This is awesome news! I LOVE that there are strict, rigorous guidelines in place that make sure that the food we’re eating is actually clean and good for us.

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It’s the conventional (aka non-organic) stuff that bothers me. You know, the stuff filled with pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, chemicals, etc. Well, what’s the big deal? How harmful can this stuff be?

The answer is simple, it’s a HUGE deal! These things are all toxins. That means they are poisonous (like, as-in-poison!) and VERY harmful to humans.

The United States uses 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides per year, but only .01 percent of that actually reaches it’s intended target – the bugs. The rest winds up polluting our food, air and water.

Pesticide exposure can lead to skin, eye and lung irritation, brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, blood and nerve disorders, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, Autism, hormone disruption, reproduction effects and even birth defects. -2

Some fruits and veggies have a ridiculous amount of pesticides sprayed on them. For example, hot peppers top the charts with a whopping 97 different pesticides sprayed on them to keep the bugs away. Apparently, some bugs really do like it hot! Cucumbers are high on the list at 68 and leafy greens are a close third at 66. -3

Think you or your child are allergic to a certain fruit or vegetable? Does your mouth get itchy and tingly? You could actually have an allergy to the pesticides on that apple vs the apple itself.

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Washing your fruits and veggies doesn’t work all the time. Even after a good washing, pesticides were still there on 63% of samples (according to the Environmental Working Group or EWG for short).

There are some fruits and veggies that have more exposure than others. The EWG tests samples of produce each year to determine their rating. The fruits and veggies on the Dirty Dozen Plus list include produce that you should try your hardest to get organic no matter what. They have above average pesticide exposure. The produce on the Clean Fifteen List include fruits and veggies that you can get away with. Get them organic if you can, but if it isn’t available, you can still get conventional and be ok.

Dirty Dozen (Plus):

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet Bell Peppers
  8. Nectarines – Imported
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas – Imported
  12. Potatoes
  13. Hot Peppers
  14. Kale/ Collard Greens

Clean Fifteen:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet Peas – Frozen
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet Potatoes

There’s no way I would be able to memorize all these, especially since they change every year. Thankfully, the EWG came out with a free app called “Dirty Dozen”. So, next time you’re in the grocery store and can’t remember, don’t despair! There’s an app for that.

If you can, always opt for organic. Keep in mind that this list doesn’t take GMOs into consideration. If it’s conventional it may have GMOs present. Eating organic eliminates this risk all together.

Plus, because organic foods are more pure, they taste better. When things taste good, you want to eat them. When you want to eat healthy foods because they taste good, you’ll lose weight, feel amazing and love your life!  How is this a bad plan?

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Let’s talk cost. Organic food is a little more pricey. But, look at it this way. Pay your organic farmer now, or pay your doctor later.

Every time you buy something, you’re voting with your dollars. You are either supporting pesticides or helping the organic movement.

But don’t take my word for it. Do your own research. Find this stuff out for yourself. It makes it so much easier to eat clean (which helps you drop those unwanted pounds) when you truly understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

Sources:

1- organic.org

2-The Problem With Pesticide

3-Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – Anti-inflammatories!

Are y’all staying warm? I know some places have had the first blanket of snow grace their presence and others have significantly dropped in temperature. In my neck of the woods it’s super-duper windy! I feel like a little piggy hiding inside my house while the big bad wolf tries to blow my house down! It’s insane! Winter has arrived folks!

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This weight loss tip is excellent for weight loss (duh) and it will help keep you warm. I thought it was fitting for this time of year. I know I need a little extra help staying warm!

Let’s talk about inflammation for a sec. It is a necessary function that our body performs to keep us going. Inflammation creates a healing response – to help fight infection (think of how your skin swells up after a mosquito bite or after a paper cut). The problem that most of us face is that our body is too inflamed and our immune system is a little overwhelmed because of stress, environmental factors, diet and poor lifestyle choices. The bells are constantly going off and alerting your immune system that there’s a problem. This can lead to a variety of illnesses including obesity, cardiovascular issues and possibly even cancer!

Clearly we need to be proactive in our response to inflammation. We can do this by limiting inflammatory foods (like sugar, processed foods, and saturated fat), limiting our stress and eating more anti-inflammatory foods.

These include: omega 3s (found in wild salmon, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, etc), whole grains (like brown rice, amaranth, oats, quinoa), fruits and vegetables (beets, dark leafy greens, broccoli, turmeric) – basically eat the rainbow and you’ll be well on your way.

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Now, this is the cool part. Remember last week we talked about eating seasonally? There are different fruits and veggies in season at different times and there’s a purpose for this. There are some anti-inflammatories that will warm you up when you eat them. These are things we mostly eat in the winter. Like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg…remind you of something? This combo always brings up memories of happy holidays for me.

To stay warm this season and fight inflammation (double bonus) stock up on root veggies, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and garlic.

You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging without a new delicious, warming, smoky, sweet recipe did you?!

I have basically been obsessed with these babies…just thinking about them is making me drool!

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Smokey Sweet Potato Fries with a Killer Sauce

1 medium sweet potato
1 tsp chipotle olive oil*
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

Killer Sauce:
2 Tbs veganaise
6 drops chipotle tobasco sauce
1/4 tsp smoked paprika

– Slice the sweet potato into fry size pieces. Put in a bowl
– Add the oil. Toss to evenly coat all the fries.
– Add the remaining ingredients and toss to coat.
– Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes. Flip the fries. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown and delicious.
– Mix all the sauce ingredients together and dig in!

*If you don’t have chipotle olive oil, don’t fret…regular olive oil can be substituted.

Enjoy!

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Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – Eat Seasonally

Did you know that food can play with your internal temperature?

Think of the foods you gravitate towards in the summer. These probably include things like pineapple, watermelon, salads, tomatoes, berries, cilantro, fennel, mint, sprouts, etc. We tend to eat them raw. These are all cooling.

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Other foods heat us up. Think of root vegetables (beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc), spicy peppers, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, cooked foods.

photo 4Nature is so cool. If we eat seasonally (according to our geographic location), we will get everything we need, all the nutrients we require are available to us. We’ll be cool as a cucumber in the summer and warm and toasty in the winter.

It’s harder to eat seasonally now and days because everything we could ever want is in the grocery store pretty much year round. Pineapple in the middle of winter? No problem. Pumpkin in the summer? They’ve got you covered. This is super convenient, and I absolutely love that things are always available, however, we should be mindful of the season and plan accordingly.

We know it’s important, but why?

For starters, it’s much less expensive to eat what’s in season. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a killer deal on anything…food is no exception! Have you ever felt like eating healthy is too expensive? This is easy on the wallet and yummy in your tummy.

Second, it tastes better. Eating what’s in season and what’s local tastes better because it grew to perfection on the farm rather than on a truck trying to make a deadline. I would take vine/tree ripened any day!

Third, it helps your local farmers and your community. It’s kind of like giving back and helping out. So really, you’re doing a service.

Fourth, it helps you be creative and get a variety of nutrients into your body. If you eat the same things all the time, chances are you’re not getting all the nutrients you should. Remember the post about eating the rainbow? Combine these two principles and you’re well on your way to being healthy.

There are a couple things you can do to help with this and support your community and local farmers in the process.

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First, go to farmer’s markets in your area. These are so much fun! If you’re not sure where to look, google it!

Second, find a CSA to join (Consumer Supported Agriculture). These are awesome because most of the time, you don’t know what you’re going to get, so it’s like a cooking adventure! There are tons of different set ups: some deliver right to your home, others you have to pick up. Some are every week, some are every other week. With some you get to choose what you want, others surprise you based on what’s ripe and ready from their farm. Some let you pay weekly, others charge up front for the season.

You can google this too, find one that fits your needs and preferences. Usually it ends up being cheaper that buying produce from the store because it eliminates the middle man. Last year I went to a farm and traded labor for a basket of veggies. It was totally worth it, plus it’s therapeutic to see where your food comes from and work for it.

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What’s in season right now? (Fall/Winter)

Apples                                   Brussels sprouts                           Parsnips                               Pears

Rutabagas                             Cauliflower                                    Winter Squash                     Pumpkin

Sweet potatoes                      Turnips                                         Pomegranates                      Dates

Kiwis                                       Grapefruit                                     Tangerines                            Persimmons

Shallots                                  Mushrooms                                   Artichokes                            Arugula

Beets                                      Broccoli                                        Carrots                                  Cranberries

Speaking of foods that are in season, I have an amazing recipe for ya’ll!

It’s called Beets n’ Sweets. It’s one of my favorites! This is the perfect side dish for just about anything.

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Click here for this delicious recipe. 

It’s all about goals

This will be another quick little post. I wanted to connect with my awesome readers and tell you what’s been going on in my neck of the woods.

Guess who had a birthday this weekend? Yours truly! Bdays are bittersweet. I love looking back on the past and recognizing all the things I’ve accomplished and I love looking to the future, setting goals and committing to a wonderful year ahead. I remember an old man once said, “let’s face it, I have more past than I have future.” For some reason that has really stuck with me. I don’t want to regret a minute of life. I want to live life to its fullest! I want to focus on the good in the world and hopefully add to it. I need to be the best me that I can be! Isn’t that what life is all about? Becoming better and helping others along the way? I like to think so.

Today while I was running errands this tip came to me. Have you ever known someone who constantly says they want to lose weight and yet nothing ever changes? You may think that you want to lose weight but it’s not worth giving up brownies, cakes, cookies, chips, soda pop, fast food or whatever your vice is. Sound familiar? You may think that it will be too hard, or that you are too far gone to ever change anything now.

I am here to tell you that it’s NEVER too late! You’re never too heavy or too old or even too busy to make your life better. We only get one life. One. We need to make it count, we need to make it matter. We need to have energy to get through our days, we need to be able to live and love and enjoy life!

So, today’s tip is to decide what you want and commit. If you don’t change, nothing will. Take charge of your precious life. It’s a gift.

The next step is taking action. Sit down and make an action plan. Write at least 3 specific goals that you want to achieve and do them.

If you’re interested in getting serious and need some help I’m here for you! I would love to meet with you (we can even chat over the phone)! We can figure out your health goals and put an action plan in place together…for free 99.

I want you to succeed. I want to support you. I want to answer your questions. So, email me: hc@laciegibson.com or leave a comment below. 😘