Spotlight On Peas

Hello beautiful people. Today’s foodie spotlight is on peas. Yeah, peas. Stick with me here ok?

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Eat your peas… they’re good for you

 

 

I haven’t led you astray yet have I ? Don’t answer that…

I recently had a new revelation on the lowly little pea. Over the weekend I had thrown down the usual big meal for the fam. I had made mashed potatoes, a slow roasted brisket and also an amazing carrot recipe that everyone went nuts over. You can find it in my spotlight on carrots post ( hint it’s the one wrapped in bacon)

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/02/spotlight-on-carrots/

In a crazy way I thought peas would go good with all of it. What was I thinking??

Me, trying to pass them to people around table, “here, have some peas”

The response ranged from “ewww gross no!” to looks of horror as if I were attempting to poison them at the table.

Where did I go wrong? How did I fail as a mother? Heck, as the main provider of cooked food, how is it I couldn’t convince them that peas are indeed, tasty little morsels?

What is the pea, exactly?

The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas, which can be green or yellow. Pea pods are botanically fruit, since they contain seeds and developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower.

peas

How’s that for an interesting fact you probably didn’t know?

 Green peas are a very good source of vitamin K, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus and folate. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B2, molybdenum, zinc, protein, magnesium, iron, potassium and choline.

A one cup serving of peas contains 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. Peas are also really high in Vitamins A and C

Peas have many good things in them but it’s also important to remember they are a part of the “starchy” vegetable group ( corn, potatoes, peas, beans) meaning they contain three times the amount of carbs as their non-starchy counterparts.

If you can’t have fresh green peas, the frozen variety retains their color, texture, and flavor better than canned, and it’s great to know that the above characteristics aren’t affected when they’re frozen for one to three months. But neither frozen nor canned peas have an unlimited shelf life. Research on the matter has shown that the nutrient content of frozen peas begins to diminish during storage, so they should be eaten within six to 12 months.

Only about 5% of the peas grown are sold fresh. The rest are frozen or canned.

Canned or frozen peas are also high in sodium due to processing methods, to eliminate a lot of that, wash them first.

When buying frozen the petite types are often more flavorful.

Are there any health benefits to eating peas?

Yes! they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits ( hello anti-aging food) they could help support blood sugar regulation, they promote a healthy heart,  and could protect against stomach cancer.  They also contain 45 percent of the Daily Value in vitamin K for blood coagulation, and nearly a quarter of what’s needed daily in thiamin, vitamin A, and folate.

How about some fun pea trivia?

Green peas are the immature seed of dried peas often called field peas.

Dried peas which have been eaten for over 5000 year and were a stable during the Middle Ages. Field peas were easy to grow and saved many from starving.

Fresh green peas did not become popular till the 16 century.

Peas  have such high quality protein that many commercial protein powders are starting to use it. This avoids the possible side effects of soy, or dairy products.

Canada is the largest producer of peas in the world!

Peas aren’t  just for eating…

ok well, yeah, they are but do you know a frozen bag of peas makes an amazing ice pack? the peas are moldable around areas on your body to direct cold treatments. I’ve often used bags of peas as ice packs.

Have you ever used peas as ice packs ?

Time to eat…

Here’s a few fun recipes to try out if you wanna experiment with peas….

 

 

In summary although peas are often treated like a cheap side “green” veggie in restaurants  to add color to a plate, they are a tasty, healthy and nutritious “fruit” that offers many health benefits to us.

Do you enjoy them? If so do you have ways that you like eating them?

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Sweet Potato Spotlight

Let’s talk about food. Ya’ll seem to really like food posts and I love offering up spotlights on various fruits, veggies and healthy meals.  Today boys and girls, we’re gonna talk about sweet potatoes.

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Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite “go to” foods

 

Now if I mention that and you think “Hey, that’s Thanksgiving food!”

Well just hold on a minute. If your idea of eating them involves a lot of sugar and butter, well.. we need to talk….

Now don’t get your feathers ruffled up. I know it’s tasty and hopefully you eat them like that once a year but let’s be honest. With all the sugar, butter, marshmallows, etc. it might, just might, negate the goodness of the lowly, not really attractive looking potato.

Here’s the low down on them

Although they’re soft and creamy enough to be put in pies and called dessert, sweet potatoes are also a surprisingly nutritious vegetable.

For a one cup serving they come in at only 114 calories. They pack a whopping amount of Vitamin A in the form of beta- carotene  providing 377% of your daily needs.

They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

If you’re wanting to lose weight the sweet potato is a healthy, low calorie, satisfying food to add in your daily nutrition. Just as long as you don’t load them down with sugar, butter and other stuff 😉

Why are sweet potatoes good for you?

Well besides all the good vitamins and minerals mentioned above, consider this,

For as sweet as they are, sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index (which means they release sugar slowly into the bloodstream). … Manganese helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and thus maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and it can even stabilize your appetite. It also helps the body utilize antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber helping the digestive system.

That all sounds like a win, right?

What about some health benefits?

Due to the color-pigmented vitamins, sweet potatoes are high in anti-inflammatory benefits.  One sweet potato contains about half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamins A and E also support a healthy immune system and are powerful disease fighting antioxidants. While orange sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A, purple sweet potatoes are packed with the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is responsible for red, blue and purple colors in fruits and vegetables.

The high level of Vitamin A also contributes to healthy glowing skin and hair and promotes collagen growth.

Ok well sign me up. But how do I cook them?

There are all kinds of healthy and tasty ways to eat sweet potatoes year round. Below is one of my favorite, quick and easy ways to eat them. You seriously can’t go wrong roasting any vegetable in my opinion.

Oh, brussel sprouts are also making an appearance with them, don’t go hatin’ on them ok? Roasted together with olive oil and cracked pepper and sea salt are amazing.

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Cold sweet potatoes are always tasty the next  morning tossed in with my other veggies and eggs.

If you don’t like those options, I’ll toss in a couple recipes here from my Pinterest board for you.

You’re welcome for the last one 😉

You can always turn a potato into a meal by adding healthy proteins like lean chicken or turkey. Black beans are pretty tasty with it too.

Wrapping it up….

Oh. Yeah you can wrap them in foil and just bake them too, nothing fancy required there. Sweet potatoes are a healthy. low calorie, food choice that offer again, lots of good nutritional value to your daily eating plan.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ways to eat them, but be mindful too that various add in’s can move up the calorie count.

Tell me, do you like sweet potatoes? Do you eat them all year, or just occasionally?

Super Size Me

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Full disclosure here. I’ve been camped on this topic for a long time now. Sometimes ideas come to me and they are easy to write off the cuff. Others require a bit of time to brew in my head and yet some I’m just left pondering how to deliver the message. This is usually when a topic is a wee bit controversial or “not politically” correct or whatever term can be applied.

Since I’m one who is fairly comfortable speaking my mind, I won’t hold back.

When I saw the quote above it was one of those things that resonated with me immediately. Mainly because the truth of it in our culture and society today is so true.

Food has become the drug of choice for many and it’s taking a toll on their health and living a energetic lifestyle. This drug also has the ability to end lives with the diseases that obesity brings with it. Food is a socially acceptable way to often medicate things deep inside yet it doesn’t fix the problems a person deals with.

With obesity at an all time high in adults and more disturbingly in children, some are eating their way to the grave. Unfortunately, food is often mindlessly, mechanically consumed and in quantities beyond what is needed to satisfy our hunger.

With restaurants and food establishments offering larger and larger portions or the “super sizing” we are super sizing ourselves into obesity and the joy of carting around extra fat on our bodies. This taxes our heart and lungs, puts excessive work on our joints, causes our organs to work hard to compensate for the excess which then causes our body to develop ( very preventable diseases)

Super-Size-Me

According to the CDC (Centers for disease control) Nearly 4 in 10 adults have a body mass index classifying them as obese. Young Americans as well have been piling on the pounds and obesity rates among the country’s youth ( 2-19) stands at 18.5 percent.  This trend is most worrying as young people are far more likely to stay obese while childhood obesity is linked to a higher chance of early death in adulthood. More troubling yet, 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese making people with normal weight a minority.

But wait… it’s not just an American problem….

Globally there are more people ( children and adults) who are obese than underweight – this occurs in every region except parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight.

Some key facts

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Obesity is preventable

 

So why are people getting so fat?

Being over weight, simplified, is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.

Worldwide there has been an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat; ( think fast foods, overly processed, high calorie, refined sugars etc. ) and an increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization. And sadly let’s not forget an overall laziness or desire to just not physically exert ourselves.

So basically, we’re shoveling in more food, and not the good kinds, and moving our bodies less and less.

It’s the perfect storm for disaster.

Are there common health consequences for obesity and being overweight?

Yes. Our bodies are not designed to handle excessive fat and often develop diseases because of this.

  • cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012;
  • diabetes;
  • musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints);
  • some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon).
  • high blood pressure

And what about our kids?

Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects.

My brother was overweight as a young adult. Children are awful in how they treat others. The psychological effects can be huge for kids.

How do we fix the problem?

First and foremost, someone has to have the desire to change patterns, habits, and behaviors that have led to obesity or being overweight. Without a personal desire nothing will change.

Overweight and obesity, as well as their related diseases, are largely preventable.

Preventable meaning we have control of them. Meaning we can change things if we don’t let it get to far. There are things you might not have control over, but maintaining a healthy weight is something for the most part, we can all have a measure of control over.

Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices, by making the choice of healthier foods and regular physical activity the easiest choice (the choice that is the most accessible, available and affordable), and therefore preventing overweight and obesity.

As adults we are in control of the choices we make, good or bad. If we have children then we are responsible for the foods we buy and provide for them. If high fat, sugary foods are the mainstay of what’s available, they will be consumed. Children cannot go buy their own food so we must be mindful of providing them with the most nutritionally sound foods that we can. Treats aren’t bad, but they should be limited. If certain foods aren’t available in the home they can’t be consumed.

The same goes for us. If we limit/control the amount of non-nutritional foods we bring home, we won’t eat them.

I told hubby when we were shopping recently that I know and  fully understand if I bring home a bag of salt and pepper kettle potato chips, it’s the equivalent to bringing home crack to a druggie.

I just can’t be trusted with them. The best thing then is that I don’t buy them, and if I do, I fully accept the consequences.

Steps to take in losing weight

On an individual level we can:

  • limit energy intake from total fats and sugars;
  • increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and
  • engage in regular physical activity. Find something you enjoy and do it. Do it most days of the week. Children need to be moving and should be encouraged to participate in sports and other activities to keep them healthy and work off excess energy 😉
  • limit the amount of fast foods or overly processed foods eaten.
  • Try to eat more natural foods without things added to them.
  • Develop a balanced and sensible nutrition plan.
  • Plan a 1-2 lb loss a week.

Keep a healthy perspective

Keeping your goals small and realistic will lead to success. Understand building new habits and behaviors will take time but they will be worth having to help you live a permanent lifestyle of health and wellness.

Accept good and bad days on your journey but don’t quit. Keep moving forward every day celebrating all your body can do for you.

Make small consistent changes. Don’t go for the “all or nothing” or drastically cut all things you love from your daily nutrition.

Get friends or family on board to have a support system to help you. Often it is hard to do something like this on our own, having others who can hold you accountable, ask you how you are doing and celebrate your successes with you can help tremendously.

If you and your family need to lose weight, brainstorm on how you can work together as a team to reach goals individually and as a group.

Finally, be patient with yourself and learn to celebrate each step along your journey and before you know it, you will have reached your goals your  set for yourself.

What healthy practices do you use? Do you think the super sizing of foods has contributed to obesity problems? Do you think food is often used to medicate feelings or emotions?

Cauliflower And Breadsticks

Mark Twain once wrote, “Training is everything. A peach was once a bitter almond; a cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.”

I got you with the title, didn’t I? You are wondering what on earth one has to do with the other…..

If you’ve been following along on some of my posts in the last couple weeks you may have seen some of my comments on food “projects” I wanted to try.  Sometimes it’s about a particular veggie or fruit as in my spinach post last week.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/01/19/spinach-benefits-and-great-hair/

One of the things I’ve talked about experimenting with is cauliflower. That plain, ordinary looking vegetable is also rather versatile which is great if you are following any low carb or gluten free eating plan ( which I’m not)

cauliflower

 

I just like food ya know? Eating veggies is really good for me and they also tip the scale fairly low in calories so it’ a win/win.

Fun food and nutrition facts

Let’s start with the fact an entire head with a 6 inch diameter has only 146 calories. Yes, you read that correctly.

146 calories. Impressive.

It is also loaded with calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin B-6. Most impressive, that entire head offers 472% of Vitamin C!  It also contains 50% of our daily need for potassium. C

Bet you didn’t know that 😉

Ok so we now know that cauliflower is crazy low in calories AND contains lots of good vitamins in abundance for our bodies.

Does it offer any health benefits? 

I’m glad you asked. Why yes, yes it does.  Cauliflower includes plenty of vitamins and minerals, but its real power comes from cancer-fighting compounds known as glucosinolates.

Other top benefits include….

  • Reduces Cancer Risk.
  • Fights Inflammation.
  • Provides High Levels of Vitamins and Minerals (especially important Vitamin C and Vitamin K)
  • Improves Digestion and Detoxification.
  • Aids in Weight Loss.
  • Helps Balance Hormones.
  • Preserves Eye Health.

 

You know what kinda, semi-amuses me? That list reads like what some of these snake oil health companies claim with their products, and look at this, you can eat whole, real, natural food and get the same benefits. AND you can buy a whole lot more cauliflower for your money 😉

How to eat it

Cauliflower is essentially a blank canvas. I hope you venture more into cooking with it than just steaming . One of my most favorite, fast and easy ways to cook it is by roasting it.

Sweet heavens, roasting any vegetable adds so much more flavor and overall “deliciousness” to it.

To roast, simply wash and prepare the cauliflower breaking it out into florets. Toss with some olive oil, cracked pepper and sea salt. Roast in a hot oven ( about 400) turn frequently so it browns and crisps all over ( the best part) it usually takes about 40-45 minutes. I have to be careful because I can literally nibble away at it while I’m cooking the rest of the meal and my kids really are into this version of cauliflower and like to find some left to go on table 😉

I should say I’ve got numerous recipes pinned on Pinterest for this vegetable. Some are waiting to be tried and a few others I have tried.

I mentioned in Monday Musings  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/01/22/monday-musings-2/   that I had made the “potato” salad version. Seriously, of my family members that eat potato salad, they all ate it and liked it.

Find it here…. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/ARWljr6ZFFOvYUscYjTe9A7nbrhyjxkPAneCDUxOw3Ivn3gw6Jl8SRY/

 

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The finished product.

 

Another recipe that has been taunting me is using cauliflower as a crust for breadsticks or pizza. I mean… really? I decided tonight was the night to experiment. This is best done when no one is home and has high expectations of me making a meal while I’m in the middle of food experiments.

Tonight it was the breadsticks.

I found it fascinating that after a quick trip through my food processor it did indeed look like fine, fluffy “flour”.

20180124_175414 once you add in the additional ingredients you pat it out onto a baking sheet so it looks kinda like this….

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After baking it’s all golden and pretty

Oops. The final product. I guess I got a bit zealous sampling before I snapped a pic.

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I added a bit of cheddar with the mozzarella because, why not?

My take on it.

Ok, it’s not bread. I had read on several posts the “negatives” to this is the fact the cauliflower contains a lot of water and trying to get enough of the water out so it can bake and not be soggy. I baked longer than recommended time, the outer edges were crispier but the inside was more soft, soft but good. Next time I will try a method I read about that suggested pressing it into paper towels to help pull out more of the water.

It smelled delicious and had good flavor. I can definitely see using it as pizza crust as tomato sauce would enhance flavors.

If you are on gluten/carb free diet this could be a good substitute for bread cravings… but still it isn’t bread… and I guess if I want breadsticks I will most likely have the real thing.

Next up on my “to try list” is Sweet and Sour Cauliflower. I hope that is as good as it sounds.

Now what about you? Have you tried any cauliflower recipes? Have you tried it as crust for bread or pizza?

Tips For A Fit 2018

small changes

It’s hard to believe we are now only less than 1 week out from Christmas and  start of a brand new year. As mentioned in my last post, I love Christmas. ( find it here if you missed it) https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/12/08/the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year/

I try my best to slow the month down so I can just savor everything.

Of course, preparing for a new year means for me, getting my hands on a new planner to start plugging in appts and key things that are already scheduled.

I’m old school. I love getting a new planner with clean unmarked pages and putting pen to new plans, goals, and ideas.

One of the things that top the list for many people in a new year is to lose weight or start an exercise program.

I like not having to plan in “weight loss” for a new year. I spent enough years planning that and I don’t miss it…at all.

I’d much rather be scheduling new athletic adventures or learning new things for myself that I can share with others.

But what if  you need to drop some weight and you’ve decided that this really is gonna be your year? This year will be the year to achieve those goals you’ve had in your mind for a long time.

Maybe you’re tired of feeling sluggish and run down. Perhaps you don’t like looking in the mirror and wish there was less of you to look at. It could be the doctor has told you for your best health you need to start being proactive with your health.  It could be you just want to enjoy shopping for clothes again… nothing wrong with that either.

At the root of it all, the starting point, you have to want it bad enough to make it happen.  No one can force you and no one can make it happen but you. The desire has to be strong to start making changes that will lead to you being successful in your endeavors.

I am ready.  Where do I start?

It’s no big secret gyms see the biggest increase in attendance the first few weeks of January than any other time of year. People sign up with lofty goals and determination that quickly wanes once the novelty starts to wear off. Or they get there and are intimidated and don’t know what to do and their attempt is short lived.

I’ll let you in on a secret. You don’t have to join a gym to lose weight or to exercise. Now if you want to and think this is where you will excel, then by all means, take advantage of many of the programs available to members. If you choose to do so then be proactive and educate yourself so you know what’s available and how to best use your time when you are there. There are often health coaches that can give you direction in the beginning while you are learning.

However, I’ve found personally that there is a lot you can do at home and I personally think I work harder alone than being distracted if eyes are on me in a public place.

I have gathered up enough equipment  over time to have my own little home gym. It’s nothing fancy and I have to share space with lawn equipment but it’s my space and it works just fine.. other than it has no air conditioning or heat it works out pretty well haha

You too can gather some basic items to use at home. Whether it’s a garage space, an empty room, or in the living room you can carve out your own space to get a workout in.

Of course if you decide to make outdoors your gym ( this is my most preferred workout space)  by walking, running, cycling or any other activity you choose, the beauty of that becomes just getting dressed and walking out your door.

No driving, no waiting in traffic or being distracted at the gym. No extra time away from home if time is tight for you.

Make a plan.

What’s that old saying? Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Your improved body won’t happen in a day so it’s good to settle into a plan that will work for you day after day and be sustainable in the long run.

As mentioned above, you need to determine first, what will work best for you to get you active and moving. Would a gym environment be what you need? this could be perfect for someone who initially lacks a bit of motivation and needs that from others around them. A home environment is great but you really have to be motivated and determined in the beginning to get yourself out there and not opt to lounge around drinking more coffee.

Once you have that down you need to look at your new planner and schedule your workout times. Yes. Put it down right there with dr. appts, dinner dates, and meetings with the teacher at school.

Schedule time for you. After awhile, once you’ve built it as a new habit, you won’t necessarily have to pen it out but for now, do. it.

Take small steps.

Where people get off track and discouraged is trying to do to much, to fast. They think if they’ve made the decision to start it should all just happen and happen quickly.

It won’t. Accept that and know it will take slow, steady and determined steps. Maybe your first week will only involve getting some good shoes or some clothes to use. Maybe it will be gathering some tools if you’ve determined being at home will work best for you or if it’s the gym maybe you’ve spent some time investigating your options before you commit.

These are important steps. Then in the second week you are ready to begin what you’ve decided to do. Not only that, you’ve had the time to mentally prepare and plan for it which I believe is super important in taking on anything.

Starting small also means taking it easy with whatever physical endeavor you choose. Doing to much, to fast, can leave you with injuries or burn out.  Pace yourself slowly and allow your body time to make the adaptations to what you are doing. You might feel great after jogging around the block but if you haven’t done that in 15 years, I’m telling you, you will feel it and you certainly don’t want to feel bad before you get started.

Find ways to track your progress.

It’s helpful to take before you start pics or measurements etc. Noting these things does give you a marker of where you started from, especially when some times goes by. I’m used to myself now, but when I look back at photos from a few years ago I’m always surprised at how I’ve changed.

Leave your weighing in to only once a week. Keep it on an app on your phone or in a health journal, whichever you prefer. Do yourself a favor though and stick to a once a week weigh in and do new measurements once a month.

Maybe you have a pair of jeans or a dress you want to work your way back into. I often used that as a marker of my progress. Imagine my delight when one day the jeans I’d been wanting to get back into, were actually to big 😛

Share your activities.

Seriously. Share what you are doing on social media. I am pretty motivated but when I started sharing what I was doing a few years ago (whether it was running, my daily activities, or a new goal I was training for) it made me more aware of the fact I was doing it and I knew others knew I was doing it. From that came so much encouragement from people who lived vicariously through my craziness or better yet, got motivated to start doing something themselves.

When you have a support system that is all over the place, it’s a pretty cool thing. Not only that, if you miss posting or sharing, it’s always interesting to see who wants to know if you’re still being active.

Get a partner.

I’m used to flying solo in all my training sessions but I know some people do better with a partner. If that’s you, find someone to get on board with. You will both benefit from encouraging and challenging each other.

Set reasonable goals.

Once you’ve determined what you want to do, where you are going to do it, and scheduled the time to do it make sure you set  out some reasonable and doable goals to remind you of what you want to achieve.

Whether it’s getting into smaller jeans or working towards running your first 5k, set goals that will motivate you during your workout times. Goals are so important to have. They don’t have to be huge ( they can be) but really, setting small, reasonable ones will give you success and encouragement to keep on with what you are doing.

Be patient.

Yes. Be patient with yourself. Allow for days that don’t go as planned or a weak moment when you cancel on yourself ( you’ll be annoyed by that later, that you did it) allow for unexpected life things that might throw you off but just get right back at it. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses to not meet for your scheduled time.

Don’t allow negative, self defeating talk that will discourage you. Speak in positive ways to yourself and see yourself accomplishing what you’ve set before yourself.

Give yourself time to adjust and change. Remember your mind is a powerful tool and how you use if for yourself and for self improvement is a huge thing.

With a little practice, patience, and determination you will be moving into 2018 getting stronger and healthier as you turn your activities into your new lifestyle.

Are you wanting to make changes in 2018? Do you have goals or plans for yourself to get there? What motivates you to do it?

 

goals

 

 

Simple Nutrition

Yeah, hello, I’m still alive out here.  No, the duathlon didn’t leave me laying on the side of the road 😛  I promise, I am doing a recap but…well… they keep teasing us with all our free race photos and course I wanna toss one or two of those in as well… so hopefully sometime this week you can find it here so stay tuned. I had fun and I did ok so check back. 😉

However a busy Thanksgiving week and all my well intended plans to scratch something out for you seemed to sail out the window.

So much tasty food for Thanksgiving. Some new dishes shared as well as the traditional favorites everyone enjoys.

It goes without saying that eating comes pretty naturally for all of us. Where we differ is how we choose to eat and the foods that we put into our bodies.

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Every time we eat, we have the power to make choices.

Obviously, how I feed my body is important to how well I can potentially do my training sessions and also have energy for the rest of my day. I’ve learned that cutting back on food or not eaingt pre work out is the equivalent of taking off on a long trip with your gas tank sitting on or close to the empty mark.

In todays busy world food sometimes seems complicated and it shouldn’t be. I don’t spend a lot of time obsessing over food .. unless it’s 4:30 and the dinner hour is breathing down my neck, everything is frozen, and I’m completely clueless what to feed the crew.

THEN I might start obsessing a little.

Having healthy snacks or easy balanced and nutritious meals shouldn’t have to stress you out. I’ve personally found if I have healthy foods in my ‘fridge with easy access to them I’m always more likely to grab them.

No, I don’t meal prep or have 50 containers of the exact food waiting for me day after day. There are foods that I can easily grab or assemble as a snack if I feel like I’m famished ( and some days after long training sessions those moments can come on quickly) Maybe you haven’t done a long training session but maybe you’ve put in a long day at work and dinner is still in the process of coming together.

Taking a little time to prepare some things to keep on hand will help you make healthier snacks choices.

Consider things like:

Hard boiled eggs

Cheese sticks or cheese cubes

A variety of precut, prepared veggies you can grab

Ranch dip, made with non-fat Greek yogurt

Fresh fruit

Peanut butter ( in moderation)

Grilled or baked chicken ( works for so many different things)

Greek yogurt ( toss in some berries or raw almonds)

Raw nuts like almonds or walnuts

Homemade smoothies with your choice of fruit, milk etc. (be really mindful of buying smoothies when you’re on the go as they are often high in sugar and loaded with tons of calories. )

I also like to keep whole grain crackers around. I will put together a small plate with some cheese and fruit to carry me over till I can eat my next meal.

Or try this tasty little healthy snack:

Apple slice cookies:

Red delicious apple ( you need a nice firm apple for slicing) , peanut butter, unsweetened coconut, mini chocolate chips, chopped walnuts.

Core apple, slice into 1/4 inch slices. Lay out on cookie sheet and press with a paper towel to absorb excess water ( this will help peanut butter stay in place) spread a  thin layer of peanut butter then add coconut, walnuts and mini chocolate chips.

Enjoy 🙂

The more prepared you are the more likely you are to make good choices.

But back to that dinner thing….

I know I’m not the only one who sometimes bangs their head against the wall thinking of something clever for dinner. Personally, I could eat meat and veggies of some sort all the time but the rest of the crew.. well they have different ideas at times 😉

Mind you.. I have like… 5 thousand cook books so it’s not like I lack a place for ideas.  It’s just that they aren’t always with me if I’m out running around an realize I need food ideas.

Enter Pinterest

Who doesn’t always have their phone with them? And if you haven’t checked out Pinterest, will you should. All I have to do is open that app and search up some dinner recipes. Although now I actually have a board started with all kinds of tasty dinner recipes to choose from so I can be in the store, get the ingredients if I don’t have them and still put something new and delicious together.

( Click on my Pinterest link to follow me there and find a lot of my fav dinner ideas.. oh… and do I have some desserts for you too 😉 )

My favorite  new thing is one sheet dinners. I’m telling you… your life will never be the same again…ever.

All of the tasty goodness is cooked on one pan. Easy clean up. Nutritious. And there is a huge variety of ideas.

Simple nutrition my friends, simple.

Some of my favorites:

https://pin.it/4nqwlidnygrmkg  ( Greek Chicken with Green Beans And Feta Cheese)

https://pin.it/o5yrbbd2v3vx2l  ( Sheet Pan BBQ Dinner)

https://pin.it/mwxp5oounhzkdt  ( Roasted Garlic & Herb Sausage and Potatoes)

https://pin.it/2qaxgmnxitv3k6 ( Asparagus Sweet Potato Chicken)

Sheet-Pan-Shrimp-Fajitas-Pin
I’ve made this too. It was a huge hit, and totally delicious

 

 

Not only are these meals easy to prepare with minimal work and clean up they offer a good variety from many food groups. Some are stand alone meals, some I might add a salad or bread depending on what it is.

Eating healthy with a focus on good food doesn’t need to be complicated. It may take a little time for you to get into the routine and find what works for you but once you adapt you will find it easier than ever to make healthy meals and snacks that will keep you on track with your health and fitness goals.

 

 

 

 

The ABC’s Of Building A Healthy Diet

Healthy eating 2

 

So it’s early afternoon and I’ve finally managed to escape to my fav coffee cave and write. WHY is it so hard to get it done sometimes? Not for lack of ideas or clever creativeness but some days are just hard to make it happen.

I’m making it happen today… doing it before you decide I’ve given up on this idea of writing.

I’m glaringly aware that my computer informs me today is November 2 and there are a few thoughts that accompany that awareness.

First, wow, October sailed by. Of course I ended the month like many playing dress up for Halloween and hanging with my kids getting free candy from people who had nothing better to do than sit in their driveways all evening 😉

Then of course, with the arrival of November there are thoughts of Thanksgiving now dancing in my head. There will be plotting and planning for all of the goodies that go with that day.

BUT before Thanksgiving or anything else…. gulp.. this is the month of my duathlon. Actually 17 days out from this point. It’s hard to not see it staring me down but ready or not… it’s coming.

Ok.. more on that later….

November definitely makes me think about food. It makes me think of the seasonal tasty treats we get to enjoy and the traditions that go with them.

But today I’m thinking about food more along the lines of a healthy diet. What does that mean, exactly? And how do you build one if you don’t know much about it? Maybe you’ve been wanting to eat better but just aren’t sure what goes into a “healthier” daily diet.

Realistically, there’s no one way to eat that’s right for everyone. What works for you, might not work for me.

We’re individual and our likes and needs are varied and different.  Our likes can be based on not just our needs but cultural preferences too.  A person with health issues, like diabetes, may have to eat differently from someone who doesn’t.  So it’s rather broad to say there’s a standard healthy diet that fits everyone.

However, there are some definite building blocks that apply to all of us. With these building blocks you can shape and build your own nutritional plan that works for you.

What is a healthful diet?

it provides the proper combination of energy and nutrients to you each day. It has four characteristics.

It’s adequate, moderate, balanced, and varied.

No matter your age, health, fitness level or weight, if you keep these thoughts in mind you will be able to select foods that give you energy and provide good nutrition to you each day.

A healthy diet is adequate

An adequate diet provides enough of the energy, nutrients, fiber and crucial vitamins and minerals to maintain a persons health. A diet can be inadequate in one area or many areas of a persons daily needs.  For example, many people don’t eat enough vegetables and not consuming enough of the fiber and nutrients vegetables provide. Their intake of protein, carbs and fats may be more than adequate, often to many of these calories are consumed and the person is overweight because they eat more than exceeds their energy needs.

Under nutrition can also occur if there are several nutrients ignored for long periods of time.

Also a diet that is adequate for one person may not be adequate for another. As an athletic woman, my caloric needs on many days during the week are vastly different from a woman my age who is sedentary or lightly active. As individuals we would differ greatly in our activity level and our body fat and lean muscle mass making our requirements for fat, carbs, proteins and other nutrients very different.

A healthy diet is one of moderation

Moderation is one of the keys to a healthful diet and I believe one of the most important. Moderation refers to eating any food in moderate amounts, not to much or to little.  Eating to much or to little of any foods we cannot reach our health goals.

One example would be people who consume soft drinks. Loaded with empty, non-nutritious calories, it’s an easy way to pack on the pounds if many are consumed each day. Often I’ve seen individuals stop drinking soda and easily drop pounds.

Enjoy a variety of foods and treats, in moderation.

A healthy diet is balanced.

A balanced diet contains foods that provide the proper proportions of nutrients.  The body needs many types in varying amounts to maintain health.

A healthy diet is varied

Variety of course refers to eating many foods from all food groups on a regular basis. Often I have people say… “well, I don’t really like to eat….. ( some food)” and I remind them there are lots, and lots of other foods they can choose from that are healthy and provide good nutrients to their body.  When you eat a variety of foods it will increase the chance that you are consuming all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.   Also, when you eat a varied diet it keeps boredom from setting in which often cause many people to give up because they are tired of the same foods.  Enjoy so variety in your daily diet!

In summary…

A healthy daily diet provides adequate nutrients and it includes sweets, fats, salts, and alcohol in moderate amounts only. A healthy diet includes an appropriate balance of nutrients and a wide variety of foods.

Foods to include in your day would be:

Whole grains, a variety of veggies, fruits, dairy products and protein foods. It’s important to remember protein goes a long way in keeping you satisfied and preventing hunger as well as keeping your blood sugar stable through the day. Make sure you get adequate portions at each meal to feel full and avoid those feelings of “crashing”.

When it comes to vegetables, many people do not come close to getting enough in their daily diet. Learn to experiment with a few new ones each week. Learn different ways to cook them and be willing to explore new options for your health.

Filling your meals with whole foods (  foods as close to being real and not processed as possible) you will be able to meet the majority of your nutritional needs.

The extra stuff.

You need to limit the amount of empty calories you consume. empty calories refer to foods that provide few or no nutrients.  You should limit the number of empty calories you consume to a small amount that fits in with your daily requirements. all of which depend on your age, gender and level of activity.

Foods that contain the most empty calories are :

Cakes, cookies, pastries, doughnuts, soft drinks, fruit drinks, pizza, ice cream, hot dogs, fast foods etc. High sugar foods such as candies, desserts, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are all referred to as empty calorie. ( I know, you’re thinking, that’s all the fun stuff!)

These foods don’t have to be banned, they just shouldn’t be what your daily diet mainly consists of.

Building a healthy and nutritious food plan might take a little work and discipline but with time you will find you can not only eat well, but have some cake too 😉

Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl.
This is a great visual on how to structure your meals.