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 – Smile!

Have you tried and tried to lose weight and just can’t seem to drop any of those extra pesky pounds? Your attitude may have something to do with it!

That’s right! Having a positive attitude is CRITICAL when it comes to weight loss!

Most of the time when we look in the mirror and decide it’s time to lose a few pounds, we are filled with negative thoughts and emotions. “I have to go on a diet.” “I’m fat.” “I’m disgusting.” “I hate the way I look.” and the thoughts go on and on and on. Sound familiar?

We automatically assume that the joy will be sucked out of our lives if we choose to change. We feel like we’ll be deprived of what we want and it feels like it’s an uphill battle. Well, stop right there sweetheart! This couldn’t be further from the truth! Turn that frown upside down and stop that bad, negative attitude in it’s tracks!

Focus on the why. Why do you want to lose weight? What is the main reason behind this goal?

Is it so that you’ll have more energy to run around with your kids? Is it to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight so that you can feel lighter and fit into your favorite outfits? Is it to have more confidence so that you can accomplish your dreams? Is it to get rid of your aches and pains? Is it so that you’ll live to see your grand babies?

Establishing this nitty gritty reason is imperative. Sure, wanting to lose weight just to lose weight is ok, but you’ll be more likely to accomplish your goals when you have a solid reason behind what’s fueling your fire.

Positive thoughts can increase your motivation and your energy levels. They are empowering. They raise you up. Negative thoughts are self deprecating and really drag you down. These thoughts can lead to shame and guilt – this doesn’t make anyone feel good! Getting down on yourself and beating yourself up isn’t our goal. We need to love ourselves up. We need to tell ourselves positive things while looking at ourselves in the mirror. Our bodies are amazing things, no matter how big or small they are!

When we love ourselves, we believe that we deserve the best. We stop trying to sabotage our success, we stop eating chemically laden foods that we know are bad for us, we stop beating ourselves up. We are able to triumph, we are able to raise up and do good, we are able to think more clearly, we have more energy, we’re able to sleep better and handle stressful situations more gracefully.

Pay attention to what you think. Your actions are inspired by your thoughts. Focus on what you think. The average person has between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day. That equals around 35-48 thoughts per minute! When you notice a negative thought creep in, change it to a positive one.

For example: Let’s say you have the thought, “I am fat” pop into that brain of yours. What can you change it to? Try, “I am strong.” “I am fun.” “I am lovable.” Anything positive and uplifting.

Before you know it, you’ll be a glass half full kind of person!

Now, to announce our contest winner! Congratulations to Sarah Longhurst! She submitted this gorgeous photo!

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Thanks to everyone who participated! There were so many lovely pictures, it was difficult to choose one winner. So, we’ll do another giveaway contest soon. Stay tuned!

Just Breathe

Mediation sounds like something only hippies and yogis do right? I mean, really, why would you want to just sit and do…nothing? Don’t write it off just yet.

If there was something that could help you with those pesky allergies, asthma, anxiety disorders, stress, depression, binge eating, fatigue, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain, sleep problems and so much more…wouldn’t you want to give it a shot? Meditation helps with all of these, and more! What?!

The good news is that if sitting, trying to clear your mind and just being aren’t your kind of thing, there are several other ways to meditate. I’ve tried my hand at a few different types. I enjoy visualizations, chanting/mantras and many others, but today I’m going to talk about one of my favorites, deep breathing.

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Deep breathing is one of the most effective forms of relaxation and meditation. I tell my clients who are new to the meditation scene to try this first. It’s quick, effective and simple. This works really well when you do it at the same time every day and anytime in between that you need to de-stress.

This is a deep breathing technique from Dr. Weil. It sounds so wildly simple you may wonder if it really does anything. My clients try it once, and they’re hooked, hopefully you will be too.

Here’s how you do it. Close your eyes and sit up tall. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds and breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this sequence 4 times. If you can, stay where you are for a couple minutes. Continue to focus on your breath. When you’re ready, open your eyes and enjoy your life! Feel more relaxed? Good!

 It’s most effective when you do it every day. Practice makes perfect. Meditating for just 5 minutes every day is better than doing it for 20 minutes twice a week.

 Give this a try. You won’t regret it. And check back next week for info on different types of meditation.

 

I want to hear about your meditation experiences. Have you ever attempted it?

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – The Stress Monster

Hey ya’ll! This weekend, the hubs and I were in a mood to just go. Anywhere. Just go. So, we ended up on Alberta Street. We parked somewhere random and walked til we found a place that had a line and tantalizing smells begging us to come and eat their yummilicous food. That magical place happened to be Bollywood Theatre. Random, I know. I’m an Ayurvedic Chef, so middle eastern/ Indian cuisine intrigues me. We were not disappointed.

After, we ventured down the road a little ways to the infamous Salt n’ Straw for ice cream. The line was hecka long! But it only took a half hour or so til we were able to eat our delectable treats. Way back when, we saw Salt n’ Straw on the Travel Channel. They were featuring a smoked bone marrow and bourbon soaked bing cherry ice cream. Ever since then, Jon has always wanted to try it. Turns out it’s seasonal. He had to wait about a year for it. So needless to say, he was excited! I think he liked it. I never eat anything that can be transplanted, it’s my policy, so I didn’t eat any. Instead, I got an amazing carrot watermelon sorbet. It was fabulous.

The line...you can't even see it all!

The line at Salt n’ Straw…you can’t even see it all!

Now that I told you about our treat splurge, let’s talk about the weight loss tip for this Tuesday. In particular, how stress relates with weight loss.

Stress. It’s a normal part of life. Everyone experiences it, and it’s actually a good thing. Our bodies are always under some form of stress. Even when we sleep, our lungs continue to breath, our brain continues to be active. Stress increases our ability to perform. It’s only a negative thing when it causes damage to the body or mind due to us being revved up neurologically and chemically for too long. Here’s a graph that illustrates this:

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Picture in your mind a football coach. He gets to practice and he says,

”Ok you wonderful gentlemen, I would appreciate it if you would get your drills done. If it’s too hard, that’s ok, you can stop and I’ll still appreciate your effort.”

The players would feel no stress. They won’t reach their potential. They would stop when they started to feel uncomfortable, when things started becoming a little too hard.

Now, picture the opposite. The football coach comes to practice and yells,

“Ok you pansies! Get out there and get your drills done! If you don’t do them we’re going to do bleachers til you throw up and cry for your momma!”

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The players are going to do what the coach says because he’s holding them accountable and making them get things done. Some players will be able to run the fastest and the furthest. They will thrive. Look at the graph. They will be at their optimum performance.

There may be some players that aren’t up for the challenge. They’ve done too much and they’re not ready to do anymore, they have passed their optimum performance and are on their way down. Once they pass that point, they aren’t motivated, they don’t really care anymore and they feel gross.

Have you ever felt like that? Stressed for so long that it’s just too much? It’s not even worth it anymore?

Stress

It’s important for us to find that sweet spot. The spot where we can achieve anything we put our minds to, but not pushed to the edge. Each person is different. We need to find the place where we thrive and be aware not to go over that.

Let’s talk about cortisol. I’m sure most of you have at least heard of it. It’s the stress hormone. It is released by the adrenal glands in response to fear or stress. This is part of our fight or flight mechanism. Once the alarm to release cortisol has sounded, your body becomes mobilized and ready for action. This was super helpful way back in the day when cavemen had to fight lions or wrestle alligators. Not so helpful for every day situations that we face now. If there isn’t a physical release for fight of flight, cortisol levels build up in the blood which wreaks havoc on your body.

If you have a build up of cortisol (which most of us do) it can lead to weight gain, difficulty learning, poor memory, increased blood pressure and cholesterol, increased risk of heart disease and lower your immune function – have you ever gotten a cold after being high stressed for a while?

Clearly, it’s critical for us to learn how to manage stress, because life isn’t going to stop throwing curve balls our way. There are several things you can try:

  1. Regular physical activity

-Get out and move your body! It’s one of the best ways to relieve stress!

  1. Socialness

-Hang out with people that you enjoy being around

  1. Laughter

-Oh yeah, laugh it out! Studies have shown that life is so much better when you laugh! Haha!

  1. Music

-Listen to your favorite songs that fit the mood you’re in

  1. Adaptogenic herbs

– Need more than just laughter and music to combat your stress? There are several herbs

that are phenomenal such as Ginseng, Lemon Balm, Rhodiola and Ashwagandha to name

a few.

6. Meditation and breathing exercises

-I absolutely LOVE meditation! There are so many different types! Check back on Friday for the

scoop on meditation!

My brother's pic from his mission in Africa. Looks like paradise to me!

My brother’s pic from Africa. So serene!

What are some of your favorite ways to de-stress?

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – Magical Beans

This weather has been so gorgeous! We had a blast this weekend hanging out outside in the sunshine. One of my most favorite things to do on Saturdays is to go to farmer’s markets. I love everything about them! The crowds, the beautiful fruits and veggies, the dogs, the smells, the music random people play – it’s just so awesome to me! We want to try to explore different ones each week. So much fun! I just need to get better at taking pictures.

For this Weight Loss Tip Tuesday, let’s talk about beans. Did you ever sing the bean song when you were a kid? It went a little something like…beans, beans, the magical fruit! The more you eat, the more you….ya, you know the rest 😉

Beans are an incredible source of high quality plant based protein. In fact, you can eat these awesome little guys instead of meat! They’re packed with antioxidants, zinc, iron, magnesium, B vitamins, potassium and fiber. Beans are pretty low when it comes to calories – 1 cup is about 100 calories. They help you feel more full for longer. They help us have healthy skin and hair, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, good eye health and an improved memory. Beans also help with weight loss, decrease the risk of diabetes and heart disease. There might be something to that song after all, sound a little like magic to me.

Not to mention, they’re super cheap! Try getting a pound of animal flesh for between $1.50 and $2.00. And when was the last time you heard of farmers putting hormones in their beans to fatten them up so they could make more money…uhh that would just be weird.

Some people have a slightly difficult time digesting beans…hello gas. If you find yourself in this predicament, here’s a few things you can try.

#1. Cook them yourself!

#2. Soak those bad boys. Soaking your dried beans overnight helps soften them up. They bring their guard down and the nutrients are able to unravel.

#3. Add kombu when you cook your dried beans (it’s a type of seaweed loaded with minerals your body is dying to have). Scientists actually tried to replicate the flavor of kombu and MSG was born. (Don’t be alarmed, this is not made in a factory with tons of scientists behind the beakers.)

#4. Chew your food. At least 30 times per mouthful (more on this another day)

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So, you’ve never cooked your own beans before huh? Not to worry, I hadn’t either.

Here’s the skinny on how to get cookin’

1. Rinse your beans thoroughly.

2. Soak for 6-12 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse them.

3. Add to a heavy pot and add 3-4 cups of water and a 1 inch piece of kombu.

4. Bring to a boil (skim off foam if you see any)

5. Cover and let simmer (check 30 minutes before the minimum cooking time)

6. Beans should be tender and easy to squeeze with your fingers when finished.

The cooking time varies depending on the bean you’re cooking. These are a few of my favorites: (1 cup of dried beans)

Black Beans: 60-90 minutes

Cannellini: 90-120 minutes

Chickpeas: 120-180 minutes

Ok, confession. I have an electric pressure cooker and I LOVE it! It cuts the cooking time down by more than half. I use it every time I cook beans. If you don’t have one, it’s cool. This way totally works. And the beans still taste incredible!

Canned beans are good in a pinch, just be sure to get the organic variety to ensure no other nasty chemicals are sneaking into your food.

Now, for this recipe that my amazing mom created! (She’s such a fabulous chef! Like, seriously, when I grow up I want to be just like her)

I just made this last night. It’s a winner! Click here for this super simple, perfectly crunchy, tangy and sweet “Curry Chickpea Salad Sandwich” recipe. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this!

I’m excited to hear what you think! Let me know!