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” #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 – Work Those Chompers

It’s that time again! Our favorite day of the week! Weight Loss Tip Tuesday!!

Remember last Weight Loss Tip Tuesday? It was all about beans…anywho, I mentioned I would talk more about how important it is to chew your food. Well, today’s the day my friends.

Have you ever shared a meal with someone who scarfs their food down like it’s the first and last meal they’ll ever have? They inhale it so quickly and it feels like there’s been a whirlwind or a tornado in the room.

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My sister-in-law, Brandi took this epic shot. These were clouds right above her house before a tornado blew through town!

I used to love to see how quickly I could consume my food. Not anymore kimosabe, not anymore. Now I am frequently the last one to finish my food. I attempt to eat consciously and be present in the moment. It is so much more fun to eat now! I can actually look and feel and taste my food .

Ideally, you should shoot for between 30 and 50 chews per bite. Let me tell you, at first, it may feel weird and you may even hate it. But keep it up! I promise, the benefits definitely outweigh the weirdness. It’ll change your life.

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Did you know that digestion actually starts in your mouth? Ya, go figure! As you chew your food, digestive enzymes that are present in your saliva begin breaking it down prepping your body to absorb all the wonderful nutrients.

Chewing this way helps with portion control, which is a huge issue in America especially. Have you ever gone to a restaurant, ordered an entrée and had a dish that could literally feed a family of 4 presented to you? I know I have! Portion sizes are so skewed! It’s hard to actually know how much you should be eating. Chewing your food allows you to listen to your body. It may take some practice, but if you listen, it will tell you when it’s full.  

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Chewing also helps your beautiful pearly whites. Teeth need a workout too! Chewing helps to keep them strong. Bonus: the saliva produced when you chew also helps with plaque buildup and tooth decay.

If you chew your food, your body doesn’t have to work as hard so you’ll encounter less gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, cramping along with other digestive problems.

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Now that you’re not rapidly chowing down on your food, you have more time in between bites to notice things you never have. If you can, surround yourself with instrumental music or silence. Try to be mindful, look at your food, really look at it. Think about everything that went into bringing this food to your plate and into your tummy. Notice the smell. I know your mom probably told you to never play with your food but touch it, take note of how it feels. Now put it in your mouth and notice the movement of your tongue. Pay attention to the taste – describe to yourself what you’re tasting. Is it sour? Sweet? Juicy? Notice the texture. Swallow. Now, pause for a moment and take a breath. You did it! Now repeat! 

This can actually be a meditative experience. It took me a while, but now I don’t have to count every bite. Eventually you’ll be able to do this without having to put a lot of thought into it as well. It takes practice, but don’t stop! Keep it up!

 

Now, for the recipe that will blow your socks off…it’s a kick butt hummus recipe! Check it out!

 

 

What are your thoughts on chewing? Have you ever given it thought?

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/31/chewing-foods.aspx

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!

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – Sexy Sweat!

How did it go this weekend? Did ya’ll move it?! This tip ties into the challenge I gave you.

Welcome to weight loss tip Tuesday! Today’s tip is to SWEAT! Lots of people I know work out, but unless you sweat daily, you’re not getting all the amazing benefits.

This tip is super easy. If you work out and look like you went swimming by the time you’re done, kudos! You’re already doing amazing! Or perhaps you enjoy going on a fast walk, or jog, biking or playing baseball or Frisbee in the park? Perfect! Go outside and work up a sweat! If working out/playing around just aren’t your thing right now, that’s ok! Drink lots of water, find a sauna near you, then bake yourself into a nice hot sweaty mess for a little bit. 

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Our skin is actually our largest organ! When toxins have nowhere to go, they are stored in fat cells. When you sweat you are ridding your body of toxins and making it easier for your body to shed those unwanted pounds.

Remember the old adage…out with the bad and in with the good? This is exactly what happens when we sweat. As you sweat out toxins, nutrients that are stuck below are able to come to the surface of the skin – to help make you feel and look great.

Sweating also helps to detoxify our bodies. In today’s crazy world, there is more need to detox than ever before – from heavy metals like mercury and lead to excess minerals like sodium.

So, pack a water bottle or two and head to the gym, the park, go around your neighborhood or check out a sauna and get your sexy sweat on! 

If you choose the sauna route, stay in for 5-20 minutes. If you begin to feel light headed it’s time to go.

(If you have any medical conditions, high blood pressure, or take medications, consult with your physician first.) 

Cloud Animals

One of my favorite things is to go outside, look up at the sky and watch the clouds drift by. It’s fun to let my imagination run wild and create images of animals that only I can see.

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I think it’s always a good idea for us to get outside, explore, feel the wind on your face, the warmth of the sun, hear the birds chirp, see, touch, feel, hear, taste, experience nature.

I know it sounds kind of hippy of me to say, but it’s important for our souls to connect with nature. It’s summer time! It’s the perfect opportunity to move your body – outside!

Go on a new adventure! Chances are you’ll be too caught up in the excitement of it all, it won’t even feel like it’s hard! Before you know it, your run, jog, walk or crawl will be over!

Your challenge for this weekend is to get your perky little booty outside and move! Afterwards, look up and try to see your own imaginary cloud animals. Good luck! Let me know how it goes!