Spotlight on Blueberries

Mid-March is upon us and spring is attempting to “spring” here in south Texas. We never got much of a winter, but I think I’m not alone in saying we’re all ready for some sun and blue sky kinda days and leaving the grey foggy ones behind.

Of course with spring arriving it also heralds “berry” season and I can’t wait. I mean, not that I’ve taken a break from eating them, it just means they are crazy cheap and I can indulge even more freely 🙂

I love all kinds of berries. They make appearances in all my breakfast meals and are a healthy, nutrient laden, low cal snack.

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I wrote some other berry posts, find them here……https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/13/spotlight-on-strawberries/  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/01/30/the-super-powers-of-blackberries/

Ok first things first.

I found it amusing getting my healthy facts, that the things that kept coming up first in my searches were for muffins, pancakes, breads, etc like hold on with the recipes Susan, we’ll get there 😉

Like other berries, blueberries pack a powerful nutritional and healthy punch. Blueberries are an Antioxidant Superfood. Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are  also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.

Blueberries are among the most nutrient dense  berries. A 1-cup (148-gram) serving of blueberries contains :

  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 25% of the RDI
  • Small amounts of various other nutrients

They are also about 85% water, and an entire cup contains only 84 calories, with 15 grams of carbohydrates.

Blueberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables.

The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants called flavonoids.

One group of flavonoids in particular — anthocyanins — is thought to be responsible for much of these berries’ beneficial health effects.

Blueberries have been shown to directly increase antioxidant levels in your body.

Blueberries may also lower blood pressure, prevent heart attacks, help maintain brain function and improve memory.

With the high Vitamin C content in blueberries, they are also considered an anti aging food. Anthocyanin in blueberries is responsible for preventing oxidative DNA damage, while the abundance of vitamin C is a big factor in building collagen.

Wanna stay looking younger? Add plenty of berries into your daily diet.

Other ways to incorporate them into your diet…

of course berries are a stand alone kinda thing and you can eat them “as is” but they also make great additions mixed in with yogurt or oatmeal.  Add them to smoothies or other drinks. I sometimes like them in salads.

But I’d say many people enjoy them wrapped up in tasty baked goods as well. And since life also deserves treats, I’ll leave you with a few tasty recipes for our friend, the blueberry 🙂

 

Your turn. Do you like blueberries? Do you have a favorite way to eat them?

Single Ingredient Diet

Raise your hand if you’re on a diet. I really don’t like that word because it often implies restrictions, deprivation, and doing without things that we love.

It’s a short lived cycle for many before they revert back to what feels “normal” or “comfortable” to them.

I know with the start of the year many people are looking for diet plans to help them get started on weight loss.

I’ve recently done one comparing two low carb diets since that is what many people seem to view as the magic potion right now.

Find it here.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2019/01/09/low-carb-diet-vs-keto-diet/

Like each one of us are unique, so will be the vehicle or ways that will help us live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

Personally, I don’t endorse anything that excludes food groups unless it is for health reasons, or if it overall makes you feel better by abstaining.

What I want to talk about today is learning to think about how/what you eat in the form of single ingredients.

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There is a term spun around the fitness community referred to as “clean eating ”

Personally I’ve never liked this term as it seems somehow a bit elitist. Simplified, it really means trying to eat food closest to it’s original form without lots of other stuff added to it.

Just real food.

Mostly I try and eat foods that fall in this category.

Then I read an article recently that made me realize I’m not alone in the idea of wanting to eat this way.

I love the idea of just making the focus on your “diet” single ingredient foods, while still being able to incorporate and enjoy those other things in life that are “extra”. For me, it is having dessert with the fam. For the guy writing the article, it was occasional beer and pizza haha.

You get it though, right? Focus on healthy, real, “clean” foods majority of the time, eat in moderation, listen to your body’s natural hunger and full signals, and allow for some fun stuff in there too. And when I say “single” foods, I don’t mean just eating one at a time.

You can certainly mix up a variety of “single” foods. I make lots of one pan dinners ( these are the cat’s meow by the way….) and they contain assortments of veggies ( sometimes some fruit!) and lean protein. The idea is to build meals/snacks with a single idea in mind keeping you closer to eating just real food.

 

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How about a summery pic since it’s winter time right now 😛 Did you miss my “Spotlight on Apples” post? Find it below.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/01/spotlight-on-apples/

For instance, my breakfast may be eggs, sauteed veggies ( whatever is hanging in my fridge) usually spinach is the base of it, berries of some kind, and milk. Some times a slice of multi grain bread if I had a longer training session. That isn’t a single ingredient, but it usually falls under 5 or less. Most of the time the eggs, veggies and fruit adequately fill me up.

Or it could be a bowl of non-fat Greek yogurt with a variety of berries and raw almonds.

Steel oats with craisins and walnuts is a fav before longer endurance workouts

Lunch is usually a salad crafted up depending on my mood. It contains lots of colorful veggies, sometimes some fruit, and of course adequate protein. A few whole grain crackers can go with it if I’m feeling like a need them.

Snacks, I usually try and keep it with fruit or add some cheese cubes with it as well.

Hardboiled eggs, raw nuts, cheese sticks, fruit and veggies are other single ingredient snacks.

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A lunch made of single ingredient foods…..

And chocolate. Sometimes, I may just want something chocolate. And yes, it is totally off single or less than 5 ingredients and that’s ok too.

You see where I’m going right?

Balance and moderation lead to a sustainable lifestyle.

This approach really gives you not only great flexibility in what you can eat, it will ensure you gather plenty of good, healthy nutritious, from all food groups in your day.

How complicated is this?

Simply put, anything that grows from ground and isn’t tampered with will make it easy. Also sources like dairy, meat, eggs, grains, beans etc

Are you a label reader? Learn to be. The ingredient list will quickly tell you what’s in your food.

Does the box just say “brown rice”?  Or is it rice with other added things you can’t pronounce?

Focus and learn about new fruits and vegetables. Learn how to make new recipes with them and incorporate them into your meals. Be willing to experiment and explore new things.

I’m  not talking crazy or restrictive here…..

listen there are some things I happen to like occasionally and don’t plan on giving up because they will leave the minimal ingredient list…

Chocolate, French fries, pizza, a fun meal out with hubby….

I don’t eat these foods often, but when I want it, I’m not gonna feel bad about it or think I’m “cheating” on my diet.

I really honestly, just want that stuff less and less as time goes on.

My point is, if people overall made an effort to eat more natural, as close to real food as they could, they’d easily lose or maintain weight, look good, and their bodies would reflect the healthier foods they took in.

Remember that old “you are what you eat” saying?

Don’t think for a moment your body won’t appreciate those healthy foods you offer it.

Start simple

At least focusing on single ingredient foods is fairly easy, right? I say single, but really even 5 or less is good too. I know some people way more extreme who say 3 or less. The idea is to do what works for you, with a focus on healthy, balanced and sensible eating that allows you to feel energetic, not be hungry, and helps maintain a reasonable healthy weight.

Perhaps, initially, just focus on what you eat, the types of foods. How do they line up with the idea of being just five or less ingredients? Basically, take inventory of your eating habits.

Then challenge yourself to do it at one meal. From there it could be how or what you snack on. Each step will help you to make better choices for yourself in the long run.

Awareness is the key to getting started and becoming more successful at incorporating healthier foods into your daily nutrition plan, this in the long run, will help you live a healthy lifestyle and not the world of yo-yo dieting.

Tell me, have you considered single ingredient foods as a way of eating and a part of a healthy nutrition plan in your life?

Spotlight On Mushrooms

Mushrooms. Edible mushrooms are the fleshy and edible fruit bodies of several species of macrofungi. They can appear either below ground or above ground where they may be picked by hand.

I know, you already saw the title to this post and have thought about  checking out and not reading past this sentence. Maybe my sass and humor might keep you around for at least the next paragraph or two 😉

Maybe you’re wondering of ALL the foods on the planet why I’d make fungus the subject of my food spotlight post. Why not something tastier and prettier to look at?

mushroom

I know… I hear you.. but miss out on telling you cool things about mushrooms you may not even know?

Like get this… do you know their DNA is more closely related to a human level than plant?

Really.

They are more closely related to humans than plants.

Ahhhh… now I’ve got you!

Bet you didn’t know that, right?

So are mushrooms vegetables?

The simple answer is no, it’s not a vegetable although it’s in the vegetable family due to it’s nutritional make up.

Ok so hold on for a little science here…..

mushrooms are fruiting bodies of macroscopic filamentous fungi.  Earlier when mycology ( the study of fungi) arose it was a part of botany.  This happened because fungi were considered to be primitive plants. The biggest difference in a (plant) vegetable and a mushroom is how they get their food. Plants if you remember from middle school science, possess chlorophyll and make their own food via photosynthesis.

How handy is that?

Fungi on the other hand exist on decaying material in nature.

There are also the obvious structural differences, such as a lack of roots, leaves, and seeds.

Fungi basically have their own kingdom on the basis of cellular organization.

So the bottom line?

We share similar DNA’s.. have you ever thought much about how good mushrooms are almost like meat?

I will mention hubby strongly argues this point 😛

I won’t bog us down in anymore science stuff, go look if you don’t believe me.

Have you ever wondered why mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin D? And one of the few sources that naturally contain it?

Because like us, they can absorb it from the sunlight.

Their cellular structure allows them to absorb it just like our skin does.

Eat your mushrooms for natural Vitamin D 🙂

I hate mushrooms.

Well, not anymore.  I have to confess I haven’t started eating them till later in life. They started becoming more of a staple in my diet a few years ago, once I got past their ugly factor and bland appearance.

I can’t imagine now not tossing them in my basket with all the other produce.

They  show up in my breakfast veggie blend, salads, stir fry, and oven roasted veggie mixes.

Heck, I even grind them up and toss them in with hamburger for spaghetti or taco meat but don’t tell my family that cause they will say I’m trying to poison them.

Seriously, ground mushrooms are great add in’s to hamburger dishes. I tell you, no one will know. 😉

What’s the nutritional low down

One medium mushroom has 4 calories… 4 measly little calories… which means you can eat a whole lot of them for not much impact.

Low in calories and fat and cholesterol-free, mushrooms contain a modest amount of fiber and over a dozen minerals and vitamins, including copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc and a number of B vitamins such as folate. Mushrooms are also high in antioxidants like selenium and glutathione, or GSH, substances believed to protect cells from damage and reduce chronic disease and inflammation.

One cup of mushrooms provides 1-2 grams of protein, have no fat or cholesterol and are very low in sodium.

So let’s eat.

If you haven’t been a mushroom fan, you might have to work through your issues 😉

Mushrooms are wonderful sautéed, especially with onions. They work great in casseroles, roasted veggie dishes and more.

Try these recipes….

https://www.plainchicken.com/2016/05/marinated-grilled-vegetables.html#more

If you haven’t tried them or have reserved opinions on them, why not attempt them mingled in with other foods?

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Do I look like I’ve just harvested these out of the woods?

Don’t be fooled with the pic above, I’m no gardener. Plants come to my house to die 😛 I thought you might just appreciate all my “back yard” behind me 😉 and it made a nice drop for mushrooms….

Oh. And don’t eat those mushrooms in the woods, they can mess with your head.

Your turn… you tell me… did my post make you shudder thinking you’ll never eat fungus? Or do they find their way to your plate? Do you have ways you enjoying eating them? 

 

 

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.

diet-

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?

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.

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?