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 – The 80/20 Rule

Hey friends!

This weeks tip is going to be a quick one. It’s simple, it’s easy to implement and it’s amazingly effective.

Want to know one of the easiest tricks you can do to lose weight? It’s not about deprivation or feeling guilty that you ate one too many chocolate chip cookies, or working out and shaking that thang, it’s not even about using self control. It’s about freedom, happiness and loving yourself. Who doesn’t want that?!

This is a rule that I follow and that I LOVE. It’s called the 80/20 rule. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to eat healthy 80% of the time. The other 20%? You can eat whatever you want!

For me, this is kind of a relief. It means that I don’t have to be perfect. I can go out with friends and enjoy life! I never have to fall off the wagon again. I don’t believe in feeling guilty and beating myself up. What a miserable way to live. I like to be happy and have fun and love myself!

You don’t have to be perfect either 🙂

Never forget, you’re all awesome!

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – A Whole Lot of Whole Grains

This weekend was fabulous! We went out on the town! We actually went across the river to Vancouver – our old stomping grounds. It was so fun! I love going to our old favorite places. We ate dinner at one of my all time favorite restaurants. They have Thai/Laotian cuisine and it is heavenly! It’s called Wild Tiger. They were so sweet and more than willing to accommodate me and my healthy, crunchy people ways 🙂

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It’s also hatch chili pepper season…finally! I LOVE these things! They are basically amazing. I love adding them into almost everything. My newest snack obsession is hatch chili chips with hatch chili salsa. Overkill on the hatch? Umm…I think no. If you tried this, you would understand. 

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So, now for the scoop of the day. What is gluten? I love this clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Don’t be like these poor people. Know your stuff. Now, let’s explore why gluten is such a hot topic these days. 

As Jimmy mentioned, gluten is a protein found in wheat. The problem with this is that a lot of people are sensitive and some are even allergic to it. The wheat we eat now isn’t the same as the wheat our ancestors ate. It has been modified in labs which has made it difficult for our bodies to process and digest. Symptoms of gluten issues (sensitivities, intolerance, or celiac) range from: gas, bloating, constipation, fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, migraines, inflammation, mood swings, depression, even ADD to Fibromyalgia, hormone imbalances and infertility. 

There are some people who are sensitive to it and some are straight up allergic to it (Celiac Disease). A person with Celiac Disease has to be sure to avoid gluten at all costs. Their body attacks itself every time they eat gluten. Ouch! This damages their small intestine so they can’t absorb nutrients which brings about a whole host of other issues. 

We know that things like bread and pastries have gluten in them, but what else? Some of the common grains that contain gluten are: wheat (obviously), barley, bulgur, couscous, kamut, rye and spelt. Oats should be avoided. They don’t have gluten, but often are processed in a factory where they can be cross contaminated.

How do you know if you have an issue with gluten? It’s simple really. Go on an elimination diet. Remove gluten completely (like 100%) from your diet for 3 weeks, then re-introduce it. If you feel amazing without it, or if you feel worse when you re-introduce it, chances are gluten isn’t for you. 

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Now that we’ve talked about that, I must say that I am a HUGE fan of whole grains. There are a ton of whole grains that are gluten-free and are full of amazing nutrients that our bodies will love. These include: brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, cornmeal, millet, quinoa and farro (low gluten, avoid if Celiac).

These whole grains are full of complex carbs that help keep our blood sugar stable, our tummies full, our energy up and our willpower as strong as ever. They are packed with B vitamins, fiber, iron and other nutrients. They all have protein (quinoa is a protein power-house with 8g per cup!)

Whole grains are simple to make, cheap and most don’t have a lot of flavor which means you get to be creative and can pretty much add anything that looks good to you. Curried quinoa…why not? BBQ brown rice…sure! South of the border amaranth…go for it! 

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I  love looking in my fridge and whipping up some random creation with anything I can find. This recipe was born out of randomness and has been a huge hit! You can definitely use regular whole wheat spaghetti noodles if you don’t have an issue with gluten, but if you’re giving the elimination diet a shot, try this using buckwheat soba noodles. They’re delicious! Click here for this incredibly simple, nutrient packed, drool worthy, delicious recipe. 

 

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – Dark Leafys

One of the first homework assignments I give to my clients is to eat more dark leafy greens. Why? I could tell you that greens are the #1 food missing in the standard American diet or that they are loaded with essential nutrients that we need to survive and thrive, but they are so much more than that!

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Dark leafy greens are vital to our health! Calorie for calorie, dark leafys are one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, micronutrients and phytochemicals that help filter out pollutants, strengthen our immune system, help with blood purification, clear congestion, promote a healthy gut, prevent cancer and strengthen our respiratory system. Not to mention, they are brimming with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc – along with vitamins A, Bs, C, E and K, folic acid, protein and chlorophyll.

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They are also full of fiber. This is so important, I’m giving it it’s own paragraph! It keeps your systems flowing – goodbye constipation/ diarrhea. Fiber helps make and keep you fuller for longer. This makes it so much easier to resist those mid day or late night munchies. If you’re full, you’re more likely to avoid the temptations that result in impulsive choices. Hello weight loss!

Dark leafys include bok choy, cabbage, watercress, endive, swiss chard, romaine, mustard greens, radish/turnip greens, beet greens, escarole, broccoli rabe, and brussel sprouts. A few of my favorites are broccoli, kale, spinach, arugula and lettuce – all varieties.

I would say that the majority of my clients have never tried more than a couple of these, let alone incorporated them daily. But once they do and recognize how good they feel, they’re hooked!

It’s amazing how they’re so versatile! You can steam them, sauté them with water, boil them, or enjoy them raw. You can throw them in soup, a smoothie, casserole, lasagna, or even as a wrap instead of a tortilla – you can pretty much sneak them in anywhere!

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Here are a couple of my all time favorite recipes to help you include dark leafys into your life.

 Massaged Kale Salad: http://www.laciegibson.com/massaged-kale-salad-13

Steamed Greens: http://www.laciegibson.com/steamed-greens

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How do you get your dose of daily greens?

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?