Nutrition Vs. Exercise For Weight Loss

Hello world! Oh my gosh it’s been a crazy week. If you saw my last post you know I took the plunge and dived into “officially” starting a little baby business. Find my post here on that topic…..  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/25/the-journey-of-opening-a-vintage-business/

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Doors in old buildings are really short! I’m like Alice in Wonderland 😉

Anyway, besides trying to make that all good and lovely, I’ve been trying to work on those old relic furniture pieces that I love bringing back to life to go in my little cozy room at the Vintage store.

In the mix of  all that you know I’m training for a duathlon. It’s official “official” as I actually paid the MONEY today to torture myself… I mean….. participate….. mostly in a field of athletes that are my kids age….

Yeah, I’m out there reppin’ the old people, cheer me on 😉

I’m pushing more on my training, but gosh, the weather is pushing back pretty hard too as in… heat and humidity.

I knocked out 24.5 on the bike Sat and followed it with a 2 mile run.  Sunday I took off on the duathlon course and ran the first and last leg of the race course.

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After my Sunday run…It’s just me in the parking lot so I can make my own sweat angel, right ? 😛

No matter how early I get out there, that sun is already waiting. But here’s what I’ve learned from past training in the heat. Come cooler weather, there are happy payoffs as my body now finds it wayyyyy easier to work, which typically means my speeds increase too.

Let’s see how that all plays out this year.

In other horrifying news…..

My Garmin bit the dust. As in… it’s not working for me anymore. Literally the face plate came off and I guess, weirdly, it likes that securely in place to make sure it all works well. This is my second one in 2 years.

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I’m pretty sure my Garmin isn’t gonna work this way.

Am I just hard on the poor things or do they have a short life?

I got the Garmin Vivoactive HR when it first hit the market. I love that it tracked all of my activities and even some I knew I’d never use….hello…golf?

It also tracked my heart rate which was a feature I really wanted. As my training increased, I watched my resting heart rate drop lower and lower ( remember your heart is a super important muscle that gets worked and strengthened too. A lower resting rate means it has to work less hard)  and in other non-athletic things it was synced to my phone which gave me at a glance info on everything from incoming calls to my socials and a bunch of other nifty things.

I feel crippled without the thing right now. My arm bears obvious signs of our relationship….

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I’ll keep you posted on how this plays out….. meanwhile… no stats to track which bothers me ’cause it’s a constant carrot in front of me working for better times and not to mention, tracking my distance…

( as this post goes live this morning, I spoke with Garmin and they are gonna hook me up with the newest Vivoactive Garmin… yay! I promise a report on the new model )

Onto todays topic….I have one….

it seems lately I’ve caught convos from people who are  riding the ongoing wagon of losing weight and attempting to change the lifestyle they live.  Eating and nutrition now days to me, seem cut and dried. I guess my understanding has grown over the past few years of what good nutrition is and what the  hype and nonsense are that ultimately won’t work.

I remember last year my husband coming home from his yearly check up and discussing his convo with doctor and telling me… “you aren’t going to like what he said” as I gave him a blank look to which he responded… “he said exercise won’t make you lose weight”

My response was… “He’s right”.

It’s a common myth that if you exercise you will easily lose weight and have no worries.

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Don’t misread me here… exercise is great and our bodies are made for movement. We’ve become a lazy, sedentary, “please make it as easy and effortless as possible for us”, world.  All things set aside, we need exercise just for the health of our bodies, not for weight loss.

The first and foremost way to losing weight, keeping it off, and living a healthy lifestyle is to eat a proper amount of calories to support your (personal ) lifestyle. Eat to many calories, you’ll gain. Create a deficit and you’ll slowly lose. Exercise or not.

This is the smart way to go about it.

There are other factors that are invisible calories. Or things we don’t think we get many calories from.

Sugary drinks and alcohol being two big offenders.

When someone mentions they are trying to lose weight but aren’t being successful, but drinking is a part of their lifestyle, I can assess that is a possible link that’s hindering them. Alcohol packs a huge punch of calories and has high levels of sugars and carbs. And let’s not forget all the negatives it has on the body, in general.

And then there are sugary drinks, sodas, juices, fluffy coffee drinks with whipped cream and all that stuff. Do that frequently enough it will hinder your weight loss efforts.

I think these areas people often turn a blind eye to not wanting to see that those beverages contribute to their lack of success.

Your body requires a certain number of calories a day to live and carry out the activities you do.  You must eat and drink within the right perimeter for your needs, and if weight loss is the goal, you must create a small deficit each day to accomplish that goal.

How exercise ties in.

I wrote a post recently called No Exercise Required.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/28/no-exercise-required/

I laughed when someone told my husband they read it thinking I was gonna tell them they didn’t need to exercise.

Exercise is important overall for our health. It is not the magic thing to make us lose weight but it can be a helpful tool as you’ll obviously use more calories in your day which can help contribute to your deficit as mentioned above.

Do enough vigorous exercise all week and you’ll most likely find it easy to not just lose weight but maintain it as well.

Well, I mean, as long as you don’t use your exercise as a reason to justify eating more otherwise, you’re gonna be losing the battle.

Having a good nutrition plan in place alongside strong vigorous exercise (most) days of the week is a good combo to lose weight.

Thankfully, I’ve never fallen into the mindset that I just ran or biked a million miles I can eat all the food. I eat enough to satisfy my appetite and leave it there.

So when I hear someone talking about their weight loss struggles or lack of success in that dept, naturally I inquire as to what purposeful exercise they participate in.

When I get a response of they do “some things” or they walk around the block a couple days a week, this is not the kind of exercise that will be a helpful tool to weight loss goals.

The recommendation here in the U.S. is 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week. I think this is a great starting point but if you want to see changes, you need to work on kicking that time up.

And like it or not, cardio exercise is the thing that drives fat loss. Most people don’t like cardio work because this is when they come to the quick realization of how out of shape they are. Cardio is like brisk, quick walking, running, cycling,  rowing, jump rope or any other activity that makes your heart and lungs really work.

So what’s gonna help me lose weight?

Both. However, your diet needs to be what you are most diligent on. Going for a 2 mile walk then thinking you can go grab a donut pretty well negates anything ( caloric) you just did. Yeah, you’ll feel good for getting out and have your head cleared and maybe come up with a creative solution for a problem but you won’t be helping your weight loss goals.

When it comes to exercise, go ahead and be prepared to get a little uncomfortable. It’s ok to feel that way, and you will till your body starts getting stronger and adjusting to the new demands you put on it.

Eating healthy and sensibly ( at least 85% of the time) ’cause you know.. ice cream or cake… or whatever floats your boat… root beer float? there’s life going on too… eat right and make a diligent effort to workout vigorously ( most days) of the week and in a slow and steady way, you will see weight loss.

If after a month you feel you aren’t seeing results, you may want to track everything you eat and drink to see where the weak areas are. Seeing it in black and white works better than mentally dismissing something as “not that big of a deal.”

Remember most of all, the biggest key to success is to keep moving forward and not giving up.

Tell me what things you’ve found that work best for you? Have you found the right balance of diet and exercise to met your goals?

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Food And Guilty Feelings

Food and guilt. If there’s ever a time I hear people talking about what they ate and feeling guilty over it, it’s after a holiday.

We just wrapped up the big celebratory 4th of July here in the states on Wed.  A summer holiday offering all kinds of tasty food treats… everything from outdoor BBQ, hotdogs, apple pie, salads etc it’s a day built for family and food.

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Now I’m not gonna verbally slap you if you are one of those who take on guilt for eating or eating to much or eating all of your favorite thing ( where DID those brownies go??)  but seriously, guilt and food do not and should not go hand in hand.

However it is a tendency for people to do so, especially after a holiday.

Why do we have those feelings?

Seriously. Why do we food shame? Why do we entertain thoughts of guilt when food is such a huge part of our lives and is enjoyed with family and friends?

If we indulge and we’ve labeled foods as “good” or “bad” and we indulge in the “bad” then we somehow have put ourselves into categories of good or bad, strong or weak, worthy or unworthy.

“I didn’t eat dessert while everyone else did. I am stronger than they are”   or “I ate dessert and I’m  trying to diet. I’m so weak.

As if being strong, good and worthy somehow makes us better for passing on the food or eating that extra brownie makes us weak and unworthy.

Both ways of thinking are not right.

Both ways can lead to dysfunctional thinking with food. If you missed my post on food and dysfunctional thinking, find it here   https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/06/food-and-dysfunctional-thinking/

In some ways we are wired to restrict ourselves and when we let go of that “restriction” those negative feelings can come.

But hey… get this… our inability to resist “forbidden” foods isn’t a moral failing… ok?

It might not be the best for you to go back for a third serving or eat until your stomach is stuffed and tight, but it’s not a moral failing.

I hope in time, if over eating is a problem for you, that you can get balance to that in your life.

But feeling guilty when we are hanging with friends or family and eating food while having a good time, well it’s not right.

I mean at Christmas when I make my famous cut out sugar cookies that I adore ( seriously they are  made with a whole pack of real butter, and a package of cream cheese) I eat them… and I don’t always keep track of them either.

Does anyone really NEED a sugar cookie… or 12… ?  I’m not that bad… but you follow.

It’s all about that balance…..

When we put those foods into “good” or “bad” groups and restrict ourselves, the more prone we are to want to eat what we’ve deemed “bad”. Then when we give in and eat them ( maybe at a holiday ) then we tend to over indulge, over eat, because of the restrictions we’ve placed on ourselves.

I mean, isn’t a holiday the perfect time to take the brakes off and just let it all go? Ugh.. the times I hear this at the approaching “holiday season”

Then enter our friend, Mr. Guilt, who is there to remind you of what a failure you are and how you’ll always be weak to doing this and you might as well give it up and forget about it..

But here’s a novel thought…..

When you have balance to your eating, you don’t have the good food/bad food game going on.

Food is just food.

Some foods definitely do not support an overall healthy lifestyle and shouldn’t be heavily indulged in, for sure.  On a daily basis our eating should reflect good, natural, healthy foods to maintain a balanced weight and health.

A current example in my life I can share is this. The other day I really, and I mean, really, wanted French fries.

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They are hands down at the top of my “favorite non-essential foods” list.  I rarely eat them.  Why? Because I know (overall) a frequent intake of them does not support my health and fitness goals.

I also know, having them occasionally won’t sabotage my fitness level or overall health.

So I went to a place I knew wouldn’t disappoint ’cause if I’m gonna eat them, they better be good.

They were amazing. Hot, crispy, salted just right. Totally worth every useless calorie.

I enjoyed them, no guilt attached.

So how do you make the guilt stop?

Ok let’s be honest, at a point, you know you’ve had more food than what you really need, right?  Unfortunately those feelings just become a vicious circle of feeling bad, then eating again to feel better about feeling bad.

The reason we feel this way is what I mentioned above, the place of restriction so many keep themselves in.

When you don’t restrict yourself it means all the food is available to you. It takes power away because it’s no longer in the “off limits” section.

That may seem scary to some of you… I mean… nothing restricted? what if I just go crazy and eat it all the time?

What if you do? I don’t think you will though.

I tell you,  even if you may be tempted to have your favorite thing for days, the novelty will wear off. You may not want it at all because now you won’t be thinking of it as something you “can’t” have.  In time those foods will have less and less pull on you, meaning when you go to a holiday meal you can enjoy the things you love without going crazy because well, you haven’t long term restricted yourself.

It’s a pretty free place to be.

How to stop food guilt.

My mom used to say “what’s done is done”

If you’ve had a moment and you know you went overboard, nothing is gonna change that.

You CAN however learn from it.

Forget the whole “negate what you ate” nonsense by thinking you’re gonna workout extra hard the next day. You can’t undo what you ate. You can get up and go workout as you always do and that will be fine.

Think about how you feel afterwards. Do you really like the feelings that come with it? Now days, I tend to get annoyed with myself for mindlessly eating something that offers no benefit to me. I know better and therefore, get frustrated that I didn’t do what I know to do, which is walk away.

Stop restrictive thinking and behaviors.  So what if you might have a day or two where you slip or make choices you aren’t happy with?

Welcome to the club, we all do it.  The key is to keep moving forward, learning from the choices we make and growing in positive ways.

Don’t quit. For heavens sake don’t quit.

Stop shaming yourself. Own what you did and move on. Like anything, with repetitive practice, the things we do become new habits. In time you will learn to eat with a healthier balance and check system.

Make a list of five foods you enjoy but feel guilty about eating.  Write down the reason why you feel guilt over it. Is it rational or irrational? Is it scientifically true?  Then for each of those write something positive about it. It’s taste, nutritional value, how it smells, feelings it evokes. There is no right or wrong answer to this.  Then allow yourself to pick one of these at a time, eat it, think about it, enjoy it.  What do you enjoy most about it? If any guilty feelings come up, use your positive statements to push them away. In time you might determine some foods on your list aren’t worth keeping and that’s ok too.

Guilt and eating do not need to go hand in hand, it is another form of how our thinking has become disordered with food.

Remember food guilt at it’s best is emotional baggage. Learn to let go of it.

Your turn. Have you ever struggled with guilty feelings and eating? How did you overcome them? Or do you still struggle with those feelings?

 

Spotlight On Strawberries

I spotted them the other day, the first batch that looked full, big, and naturally deep red as if ripened on the vine.

Strawberries.

So it’s a bit appropriate as we slowly creep into spring, to make todays spotlight shine on them.

I’m pretty sure there isn’t a person on the planet that can’t be convinced to eat these sweet tasty little morsels. If you’re one of those sugar smothering strawberry eaters, stop that. They have an amazing natural sweetness all their own and rarely, I stress that word, need added sugar.

Well, unless you’re making homemade ice cream with them, then well, ok. And yeah, I have a tried and true amazing, and I mean amazing recipe that I’ve used for years.

Be good and I’ll share it at the end with you.

What’s the sweet scoop on them

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Can anyone really resist the sweet goodness of fresh, ripe strawberries?

 

How about one medium one has only like, 4 calories? I find that to be a rather delicious fact.

Today there are over 600 varieties of strawberries. …strawberries are not actually fruits as their seeds are on the outside. Strawberry plants are runners, and are not produced by seeds. They have an average of 200 seeds per fruit and are actually a member of the rose (rosaceae) family

The sweet berries rank among the top 10 of fruits and veggies for a high antioxidant content.

Gosh. There’s that word again. What is an antioxidant and what does it do? Simplified, the human body naturally produces free radicals and the antioxidants to counteract their damaging effects. However, in most cases, free radicals far outnumber the naturally occurring antioxidants. In order to maintain the balance, a continual supply of external sources of antioxidants is necessary in order to obtain the maximum benefits of antioxidants. Antioxidants benefit the body by neutralizing and removing the free radicals from the bloodstream.  And those damaging agents cause things like… aging and other age related damages.  The antioxidants protect our cells and promote health and wellness in the body.

You seriously want to up your antioxidant food intake. But good news, so many fruits and veggies have them you don’t have to look far to get them in. You just need to eat them…..

Ok.. science lesson over… that might be a post unto itself….

They are rich in Vitamin C (providing twice as much as the average fruit) just one serving, about 8 berries, yields more Vitamin C than an orange. Potassium and magnesium are also big hitters in these berries.

Are there health benefits?

Yes, once again there are benefits to making this fruit a part of your nutrition plan.

The vitamins and antioxidants found in strawberries can promote eye health, boost our immunity, treat arthritis and gout, help prevent some cancers, boost brain function and memory, reduce hypertension, improves heart function, and help promote weight loss by stimulating metabolism and reducing appetite. Strawberries can also help reduce inflammation and prevent birth defects as they are high in folic acid, a necessary nutrient during pregnancy.

Strawberries are also not only good for your health, but good for your skin too, in both consumption and topical application.

Strawberries can be used as a made into a cleanser, they can help reduce eye puffiness, and help with oily skin and acne. ( please note, I’ve not tried this personally.)

Well, when can we eat them?

Yeah, ok. Time for the good stuff.  Sometimes, I like to do things like this with strawberries….

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This is one of my most requested birthday cakes

of course a cake isn’t complete without ice cream, right? Actually this strawberry ice cream has been a 4th of July family favorite for a long time…

Strawberry Ice Cream:

2 3/4 c fresh strawberries

2 c granulated sugar

2 3/4 c heavy cream lightly whipped

Press strawberries through a sieve or puree in an electric blender.  Add sugar and lightly whipped cream to strawberry pulp.

Churn freeze according to manufactures directions.

Enjoy 🙂

And then a little healthier option for you too…..

In summary strawberries are a wonderful low calorie, healthy, sweet and tasty fruit that offers numerous health benefits to us when we make them a part of a healthy eating plan.

Tell me, do you have preferred ways you enjoy eating strawberries?

 

 

 

 

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.

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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?

Spotlight On Carrots

In todays veggie spotlight boys and girls, we’re gonna talk about carrots. Stop making faces and wondering when I’m gonna talk about donuts or something like that. I can’t even tell you when I last ate one so I’m not the expert on it now days….

Anyway, carrots. The color alone should clue you in that it’s a food to be eating. Remember bright rainbow colors of food deliver the biggest nutrition and vitamin punch.

Carrots have been around for centuries. Historians believe that carrots were cultivated by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, as they were mentioned by Pliny the Elder and prized by Emperor Tiberius.

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Do these make my eyes look bright and shiny?

 

The basic facts first

Carrots like most veggies are low in calories and high in all the stuff that is good for a healthy body. The carrot is a root vegetable and is most often orange though purple, black, red, white and yellow exists.

Geez. It sounds like I just described a bad bruise.

Where are those? I’ve never seen carrots in those colors, have you?

They are also low in calories AND have a whopping amount of Vitamin A as well as impressive amounts of Vitamin C and B-12.

You’ve heard the saying that carrots are good for your eyes? Well there is some truth to that. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.

Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts. A study found that people who eat large amounts of beta-carotene had a 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed little.

Eat your carrots.

But wait.. there’s a lot of other reasons to eat them….

They could help prevent cancer. Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound. A study showed 1/3 lower cancer risk by carrot-eating rats.

How is that for an interesting factoid??

Chowing down on carrots can also help slow aging. The high level of beta-cartone in carrots acts as an anti-oxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.

Carrots can also promote healthier skin and hair

Do you see a trend here if you’ve been reading my veggie and fruit posts? find one here……https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/02/14/sweet-potato-spotlight/

They can help prevent cancers, promote healthy skin, hair and slow aging. Hmmmm.. could vegetables and fruit be preventive medicine after all ? 😉

Carrots are also associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.  Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein.

Have you ever thought about any of those crazy “cleanses” or “detox” things? ( don’t, please don’t) carrots naturally do this within your body. Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It reduces the bile and fat in the liver. The fiber present in carrots helps clean out the colon and hasten waste movement.

Oh. Your dentist might tell you to eat them too.

All that crunching and stuff….  Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which, being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.  And yeah, that might just make your cleanings go faster, if you’re also good and flossing like you should 😉

Some fun and weird facts…

I don’t wanna bore you to pieces with all the good, healthy and smart reasons about eating this veggie so here’s a few things you may or may not know.

Carrots are the second most popular veggie after potatoes.

The biggest carrot ever recorded is over 19 feet long and over 19 lbs!

There are over 100 specimens of them.

Rabbits love to eat them but shouldn’t eat to many. One for us is like them eating 20 carrots. They would be better off  eating the green tops.

English women in the 1600’s often wore the greenery in their hats in place of flowers… so there’s that…

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Trying to picture this greenery hanging off a ladies hat..

The name carrot actually comes from the word karoton. The beta-carotene that is found in carrots was actually named for the carrot itself.

Wild carrots are often seen in fields and along roadsides, only they’re usually known by a more common name: Queen Anne’s Lace. Pull up the root of a wild carrot, and you’ll find a long, fibrous tuber. Break it and you’ll discover it has the unmistakable aroma of a carrot.

Hey! When do we get to eat?

Carrots are a simple vegetable to cook. In my house they are happily devoured with onions that have been cooked with a roast 😉

I also like steaming them with a little honey and cinnamon that makes the carrots natural flavor pop.

I’ll toss in a couple recipes you can experiment on too

Like this one for you bacon lovers… but seriously… yummy….

 

 

Another vegetable with lots of positive, healthy, life giving benefits. Now run yourself to the store, pick some up, and experiment with a new recipe or two.

Do you like carrots? If so what ways do you enjoy eating them?

 

 

Spotlight On Broccoli

Food day boys and girls. Yeah, that makes me happy too. Todays spotlight is on one of my most favorite veggies that show’s up a whole lot for meals at my house.

Broccoli.

Now stop turning your nose up at it. It’s not my fault your mom used to steam it till it was mush and then make you eat it with threats of withholding dessert if you didn’t suck it down.

Broccoli is good. Trust me. AND it really good for you.

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Broccoli fresh or frozen offers the same benefits

 

So what’s the lowdown on it?

I know you want the 411 on this tasty green stuff so here we go. When it comes to great tasting nutrition broccoli is an all star food with many health benefits. Low in calories ( about 45 calories per stalk) broccoli is rich in essential vitamins and minerals in addition to loads of good fiber.

Broccoli belongs to a family of vegetables called cruciferous vegetables and its close relatives include brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.

A cup of cooked broccoli offers as much vitamin C as an orange, and is a good source of beta-carotene. Broccoli contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc too. It also provides fiber and is low in calories.

Broccoli has some great nutrients….

Vitamin K – essential for the functioning of many proteins involved in blood clotting

Vitamin C – builds collagen, which forms body tissue and bone, and helps cuts and wounds heal. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals.

Fiber – diets high in fiber promote digestive health. A high fiber intake can also help lower cholesterol.

Potassium – a mineral and electrolyte that is essential for the function of nerves and heart contraction.

Folate – is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells in the body

Do you know how you cook it can affect the nutritional quality of broccoli?  Boiling can leach out up to 90% of it’s important nutrients.

So not only did your mom make you eat green mush, she made you eat green mush with no nutrients 😉

Better cooking options are steaming, roasting, stir flying and microwaving.

Roasting it with a little olive oil, sea salt, and parmesan cheese is pretty amazing.

A weird bit of broccoli history….

Broccoli was developed from wild cabbage during Roman times, and was enjoyed immensely by the Romans. Broccoli was introduced to the United States during colonial times, but did not gain popularity until the 1920’s.

Did you know…

Broccoli gets its name from the Italian word “broccolo”, which means “cabbage sprout”.

You think those “detox” things sound cool ? ( for the record… don’t. Just don’t ok??) Phytocheimcals glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin compose a terrific trio in broccoli. Together, they aid all steps of the body’s detoxification process, from activation to neutralization and elimination of contaminants.

You wanna detox? Eat your broccoli.

One hundred grams of broccoli has three grams of protein, which is pretty good for a vegetable.

In fact, the structure of broccoli’s protein is similar to that of animal protein, without the punch of cholesterol.

Apart from its rich amount of vitamins and minerals, you should include broccoli in your everyday diet thanks to its high content of antioxidants and plant compounds, some of which promote good heart health and even prevent cancer

Broccoli has a number of science-proven health benefits, including cancer prevention, lowering cholesterol levels, improving eye and gut health, and many others.

Seriously. Eat your broccoli.

Enough of the science stuff…. how do we make it tasty?

Alright, I’m gonna toss some tasty little recipes at you. Of course you can’t ever go wrong just nibbling on the raw stuff… just stay away from all those creamy dips…. well unless you do what I do.

Make a creamy dip with non fat greek yogurt… protein, no fat and tasty. I get the Ranch dip mix, add yogurt. No one knows.

Win/win

Roasting, I’ve said before, is the bomb for most veggies. I can eat my body weight in roasted veggies, which is a lot 😉

Find a roasted recipe below

 

and one of my favorite things to make…

I love to make a salad with broccoli, apples, craisins, some red onion, some bacon bits ( because well, bacon.) and sometimes some crushed walnuts.

Here’s the deal breaker for me on so many of these types of salad, the dressings are mainly mayo based therefore driving up calories on an otherwise healthy salad. I found a dressing locally by a company called Kens and the flavor was Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s pretty low in calories, so I mix enough of that in to kinda lightly coat stuff. It gives it the sweet, lightly creamy taste and texture of the mayo/sugar dressings but definitely less calories and fat.

Oh my gosh. So good.

Even my pickier veggie eaters ask for it now.

So that’s a wrap on our eat your veggies spotlight.

Tell me about your broccoli adventures. Do you like it? How do you eat it? Any favorite recipes?

The Super Powers Of Blackberries

I thought I might get a little sweet on you today.  No, we’re not talking about candy.

Veggies have been getting exposure on my blog so I wanted to give fruit some advertising time too.

What better fruit to start with than one of my most favorites, blackberries. I’m pretty sure I eat them most days of the week, sometimes multiple times in my day. The past year not only have they been really on the affordable, often crazy cheap side, they’ve been awesomely sweet too.

Cheap,sweet AND ridiculously good for you?? Say what?!

Oh, and you don’t have to peel, slice or prepare them other than wash them.

Now……get over here and get in on the scoop if you don’t know about these wonder berries and I’ll tell you why you should be consuming these tasty morsels.

How about a little history lesson first?

Blackberries belong to the Rubus genus in the Rosaceae family and have been used for their medicinal values for more than 2000 years. The traditional usage of blackberry fruit, leaf, bark and roots by the Romans and Greeks was for healing numerous health conditions that ranged from mild infections to venomous bites. In fact, during the 18th century the Greek cure of using blackberry for treating gout was so influential in Europe that it was famously known as the ‘gout berry’. Recent scientific evidences have contributed extensively in unearthing the therapeutic potential of blackberries and its worldwide consumption.

The berries are known by a variety of names including brambleberries, brambles, dewberry or thimbleberry.

Whatever you wanna call them, I’ll eat them.

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Big and delicious 🙂

 

Are blackberries nutritious?

Yes!

The nutrient list of blackberries is extensive. They are loaded with Vitamin C (a 100g serving has 23 mg or 35 percent of the recommended daily allowance or RDA), but are low in calories (only 43 calories per 100g serving) and sodium. They are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.

One cup of blackberries has over 7.6 grams of fiber, more than a cup of bran flakes! ( and probably a lot more enjoyable) this one cup offers 30% of our daily needs. Who says fiber can’t taste good?

Blackberries are also rich in vitamins A, E, K, and B vitamins, as well as antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which scavenge free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and chronic diseases. They are one of the best high-ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) foods available. Minerals like copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid, are also found in this fruit

The humble blackberry contains impressively high levels of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals, such as ellagic acid, anthocyanins, tannin, gallic acid, pelargonidins, quercetin, cyanidins, kaempferol,catechins, and salicylic acid.

I know there are lots of big words here but they do lots of big things!

These antioxidant compounds protect against aging, inflammation, cancer, and other neurological diseases.

You want products that offer anti-aging? Don’t look for it in lotions or creams.  Eat foods that contain high levels of antioxidants, of which blackberries are extremely rich in. According to a research from the Human Nutrition Research Center, eating a cup of blueberries daily can help to reduce oxidative stress in 2 regions of human brain and protect neurons. In fact, most fruits and vegetables with the dark violet color can work to fight off fee radicals, a key component that damages DNA ( meaning, aging)

There is also growing research suggesting blackberries might be among the most potent cancer fighting fruits.

Blackberries may also be good for your brain health suggesting that the high antioxidant level in blackberries, strawberries and other berries may prevent age-related memory loss.

Do you want glowing skin and beautiful hair?

Every since I learned about the connection between nutrients and the aging process, I’ve kicked up my antioxidant game.

Because of large amounts of vitamin A, C, and K  blackberries have skin rejuvenation properties.  Blackberries are also about 85% water so you are naturally hydrating your skin from the inside out. ( drinking plenty of water is the best way to keep skin hydrated)

There are also several face masks you can make with blackberries to hydrate skin. I’m not actively promoting them as I haven’t tried them (yet) but if you like experimenting, find one and give it a try.

They also consist of collagen-forming vitamin C, and a small amount of vitamin A. Acting as antioxidants, these vitamins can protect their skin cells from the damage resulted by free radicals that contribute to skin aging. Therefore, regular consumption of  blackberries could protect the skin against UVA and UVB damage and aid in skin cell renewal.

The antioxidants found in blackberries are proven to be good for the hair. There are some ways in which they could support healthy, smooth hair. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which is largely responsible for collagen, making hair healthy and strong.

Is it time to eat them yet?

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of course the best way to eat them is crisp and cold right out of the carton. seriously I can nibble them away in an afternoon and wonder why the carton is empty.

Thank goodness they are so low in calories, high in fiber and loaded with all those good antioxidants!

I also use blackberries for a fast healthy protein packed breakfast with non fat Greek yogurt and some raw almonds.

I also enjoy tossing them in a spinach salad with strawberries, feta cheese, some chopped almonds and a few other colorful veggies.

Of course you can always use them to make tasty baked goods like blackberry cobbler 😉

I’m attaching a recipe from my Pinterest collection I haven’t tried yet but it’s happening soon.

Crockpot Blackberry Jam, because you know, homemade biscuits 😉 Ok I’ll add that recipe here for you too. Enjoy!

 

Tell me…do you like blackberries? How do you enjoy eating them?