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?

IMG_1356

 

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!

IMG_4067

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

Weight Loss Tip Tuesday – Eat the Rainbow

Hola peeps! It’s finally fall! Can you feel it in the air where you are? Here in the Northwest the leaves are changing, there’s a bit of a chill in the air and Halloween can be seen everywhere. Spooky stores are open, they’re playing Hocus Pocus on tv and there are pumpkins everywhere!

IMG_2587

Do ya’ll know what you’ll be for Halloween? I have no clue what I should be! Last year I was a scary skeleton, this year…who knows?! What are some of your favorite fall/Halloween traditions?

IMG_0878

I’ve been a bit MIA, so I’ll tell you what’s been going on in my neck of the woods. Last week we went somewhere I never thought I’d ever be. We went to an Elton John concert. Can you believe that? It wasn’t too bad 😉 He sang some favorites such as Candle in the Wind, Tiny Dancer, and my all time favorite…Benny and the Jets. After this, a nasty cold crept up on me. I am just now starting to get over it…2 weeks later.

IMG_2595 IMG_2594

This was my 4th concert…I’ve also seen Lady Gaga (she kinda freaked me out), Josh Groban (he was hilarious and soooo good, totally not what I was expecting), James Taylor/Carol King (I’m pretty sure we were the youngest people in the crowd) and now I can add Elton John to my list.

Today’s weight loss tip is to eat the rainbow! This is one of my favorite tips, because it’s fun and pretty. Did you know that the colors of fruits and veggies actually have meaning? They tell us which vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals (disease fighters only found in plants) are in the foods we eat.

IMG_2432

Red: tomatoes, red onions, radishes, red cabbage, beets, red peppers, rhubarb, apples, watermelon, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, pomegranates, cherries, grapefruit and red grapes

These are good sources of lycopene and anthocyanins. Lycopene helps prevent cancer and heart disease while anthocyanins boost your brain power and prevent urinary tract infections.

IMG_1960

Orange/Yellow: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, peaches, oranges, apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe, nectarines, orange/yellow tomatoes, orange/yellow peppers, corn, pineapple and lemons

These are notorious for being excellent sources of beta carotene which prevents the risk of heart disease, and cancer. It also helps with your eyesight in dim light, increases your immune system making it possible for your body to fight against any illnesses, infections and even a pesky cold or flu. This group of colors also contains bioflavonoids. These work together with Vitamin C to keep our bodies healthy so our wounds are able to heal, prevent cancer, strengthen our bones, lower the risk of heart attacks and keep our skin healthy and glowing.

IMG_1963

Green: avocado, broccoli, artichokes, asparagus, green peppers, green onions, leeks, peas, green beans, zucchini, cucumber, celery, lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, swiss/rainbow chard, watercress, cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy, green apples, green grapes, kiwi fruit and honeydew melon

This is one of my favorite colors to have on my plate! Eating dark leafy greens every day will give you tons of energy! These babies are loaded with lutein which helps you have healthy eye balls. This phytonutrient helps protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. They are also packed with indoles which fight against breast, colon and prostate cancer.

IMG_1865

Blue/Purple: eggplant, purple cabbage, blackberries, blueberries, figs, plums, raisins and purple grapes

These contain phenolics which help prevent cancer, heart disease, lower blood pressure and may prevent age-related memory loss, such as Alzheimer’s. These are also high in anthocyanins (see red)

IMG_1872

White: garlic, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, shallots, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, bananas, white nectarines, white peaches, white raspberries

I know, it’s not exactly a color in the rainbow, but it’s still important. Think of them as the white fluffy clouds next to the rainbow. These guys have flavonols called quercetin. This helps lower your risk of heart disease and helps block histamines which means they could help with allergies. Plus, these help reduce inflammation. They also contain an antioxidant called allicin. This has been linked to reduced blood pressure and may even act as a natural antibiotic. IMG_1871

If you don’t remember all this, that’s ok! Just remember that having a colorful plate will help you lose weight! 

IMG_1564

All of these fruits and veggies contain nutrients that kick disease out of your body, boost your metabolism, make you feel full and satisfied and help trim down your waist line. The best part is, it’s simple as ever to do. And it’s fun to make your food beautiful and colorful!

IMG_2088

Try to have every color on your plate at every meal.

Now for the Contest Announcement! It’s fun to take pics of your beautiful food! Be proud and show it off. Take  pictures and tag me in them (via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). The winner will receive a Breakthrough Session with mwuah (regular value: $150) which includes a strategy for how to lose weight, a plan to accomplish your health goals, some amazing recipes and so much more! I will announce the winner next Tuesday (10/14/14). I’m so excited about this!

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!

send from PicArt(Free iPhone_iPad App) copy

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.

photo-3

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!

Smoothies 001 copy

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

Kale Salad copy

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.

IMG_1629

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:

Graph

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!”

Bleachers

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)

photo 1-1

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!