Monday Musings

Happy Monday you crazy kids.

I’m heading into a new week like….

new-week-bring-on-the-beast-mode-motivational-gym-quotes

Well, I wanna get back to beast mode, at least in the realm of my athletic shenanigans.

I shared in a post last week, it’s the Small Things,     https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/16/its-the-small-things/   that I had hurt my hand and it was hindering me from everything but running.

I did get in some runs last week so that felt good. I did try and lift one of my light little weights yesterday (15lbs) and just the weight of it resting in my palm reminded me it might be a little longer till I’m hitting heavy metal again…weights that is…. music is an every day thing 😉

Anyway, it’s healing. Two nights ago I slept without any bandages on it. It’s been a cover of “protection”. I felt so free without it 😛

Today is the first day I haven’t automatically put one on, again, it shields it from those unexpected surprises.

‘Cause like, if you’re gonna hit any part of your body, ever, it will always be the part you may have wounded, right???

So yeah, hitting the week in uh… lurching beast mode… haha

Last week though…

I was a working woman.

Well. Wait. When am I not??

From the time I hit the floor till I pass out at night, I’ve got something going on.

This work though was actually going to a … job.

One where I showed up and worked certain hours and was given some money at the end of the week.

My boss was my son. A real tough cookie haha

He has a small engine repair shop and the lady who handles the front was going to be out and kinda let him know…last minute…

Could I help some? Anything? Please?

Well, me being me and Mom, how could I not get him through the week?

True, some discussion of mechanical parts was over my head but I’m pretty fast on my feet, and I’m good with customers and talking to people. I can talk on the phone and I have no problem dealing with difficult people.

I can take charge and I can see things that need done and do it.

Being strong doesn’t hurt either as I had to use my girl muscles to help him load a generator onto a truck.

Heavy. Those things are stupid heavy.

Grateful I had at least enough muscular strength to help him handle that.

A work horse and secretary all in one.

I may have done my job too well as he’s been broadly hinting he’d love to have me there all the time….

I’ve had part time jobs off and on over the years of being married and having children. I’ve been blessed to be a Mom who could be home and run the roost and all that goes with it. There is always so much to be done!  I’ve also worked the direct sales “business” for awhile ( not for me).

I’m having fun with my furniture flipping and sold enough last month to pay for some car work I needed done ( I felt like such a grown up) I’m actually, finally writing a post on that topic ( not car repairs, my furniture flipping 😉 ) it should be launched tomorrow.

Finally. I know. I’ve only promised for weeks.

All that to say… my work week.

I’d be up early, go for a run, clean up, and get a couple things done before I left.

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They just don’t make a “messy, sweaty” filter. I gotta dial that up myself. haha

 

When I got home in the evening, I’d do whatever was waiting.

I’ve always given a big nod to women who work outside home and have to come in and pick up the household reins again at the end of the day.

I continue to admire you.

This week reminded me of all that goes on at home when I’m not there or what will still be waiting when I do get there.

On topic of cool things that make me smile

I’m trolling the produce dept loading up on veggies and whatnot when I hear…

“Hey girl!” and see one of the women who works back there hurrying over to me.

She said “do you notice anything different?”

I laughed and told her “Yeah you look really thin!”

It should be mentioned here, I’m not uh, socially awkward, hubby frequently asking me if I could get a stump to talk.

I sassily remind him, it’s a gift 😉

Anyway, over months this woman had asked me questions that I get sometimes.

“What do I do?”, “How or what do I eat?” “What kind of exercise do I do?” etc etc.

I’d chat with her, encourage her, as she talked to me about wanting to lose weight and get on a path to a healthier lifestyle.

I asked her what she’d been doing and she said ” all that stuff you told me to do. I’m eating more green veggies and laid off junk food and alcohol. I’m sticking to lean meat and watching my food intake”

I gave her a high five applauding her efforts as she told me she’d dropped over 30 pounds in the last 3 1/2 months.

She said “Now I just need to know what to do to look like you do” ( as she gestures to my arms kinda flexing haha)

I told her.. “You’ve just gotta get faithful about lifting heavy stuff”

I gave her some suggestions and she got ready to scamper back to work looking back laughing she said “Hey, 61 is the new 50 for me!”

You know… some days… I wonder if what I do matters.

I use my voice fearlessly.

I’m to bold for some, and yet resonate with others. I’m at an age that I don’t care if I’m someone’s cup of tea or not.

Then I get a gift like that, someone who I had casually talked with, encouraged, answered questions and applauded her efforts come to me and share and it’s so freaking satisfying to hear stuff like that.

It reminded me again, I need to just be me. Do what I do. Use my voice, be bold, be who I am.

My voice can impact the world.. I tend to forget that.

You.

You are no different. You have a voice and a personal world to touch and interact with.

Our “vehicles” might look different…. I have a health and fitness blog and a talkative mouth and an occasional… um.. attitude.. ha.. but I use of all that and then some.

You might have coffee with a friend at your kitchen table and that is where you excel and make an impact.

Use your voice in whatever way that looks like.

I’ll stop preaching now….

I finally got around to listing some of my furniture pieces I finished off last week. You may remember my fun bright pink chair?

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it was the first piece to go! Now as a creative person I know this and I do what I want to do, but there’s that “what if I have a pink chair for the rest of my life??” thought too.

This piece was so easy and I had such a clear vision for it and honestly I just let my free spirit out all over it.

I also understood that I might have to wait for another fun, free spirited person to come along and embrace it…. however long it might take.

An hour after I posted it a lady messaged me she wanted it. That it was “perfect” for her daughters desk.

And off it went to it’s new home.

Yet, the clean, “safe” neutral one that I absolutely adore and love and “want to maybe keep” that I thought would go first, is still with me.

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I think it’s just so feminine and pretty….

 

Go figure.

 

I told hubby this business will teach me patience in a myriad of ways.  It can be one of my um.. short comings… that patience thing haha

I can’t end this post without talking about food, right?

 

As mentioned, it was a busy week. Crock pots are always a hero for, well just about any time. This hooked me when it said I could “toss chicken in, whip up sauce, pour over it and leave it.”

6 hours later I steamed broccoli and made some rice and dinner was good to go.

Oh. It was super tasty too.

Oh but wait…

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Why yes, yes that’s an old weight on top of my crock pot….

So I decided to make beans last night with a ham bone left from a meal this past week.  I guess I got a bigger bag of beans than usual, and the ham bone was pretty big too. Anyway, the lid wouldn’t entirely sit flat like it needed to so I kinda improvised.  I used one of these old sanded weights that’s probably as old as I am that I had laying around… it neatly smooshed the lid down so the crock pot could do it’s magic.

Ham and beans… I’ve now neatly labeled myself for sure as a southern girl haha

A final thought….

 

Apples have been on my snack list a lot this week. Crunchy, sweet, good for your teeth and your body, I’d say they are up there on the perfect snack list.

Hmmm maybe a food spotlight on them for an upcoming post?

Ok your turn! Top my week. What have you been up to? Do you have a favorite healthy food you’d like to see me spotlight? Let me know!

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Spotlight On Eggs

In todays food spotlight we’re gonna talk about eggs boys and girls.

The incredible, edible egg.

I know… it’s not a fruit or veggie but they are such a wonderful, complete food source I though we’d take a look at these little gems the chickens offer up to us.

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Jumbo eggs are where it’s at 😉

 

They are frequent visitors to my breakfast. The solid punch of protein not only keeps me feeling satisfied, it also keeps my blood sugar levels even and keeps me from having that crash I sometimes can get with more carb type breakfasts like pancakes or cereals. Eating eggs with a healthy dose of veggies also keeps me full and energetic for hours without thinking about food or getting hungry.

Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high quality protein. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white along with vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat and cholesterol than the yolk. The whites are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

One large hard boiled egg contains 78 calories, 6.3 grams of protein, 5.3 grams of fat and 0.6 grams of carbs. It also contains high levels of cholesterol, and other vitamins and minerals like selenium, riboflavin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, and folate.

But aren’t eggs bad for you?

there has been talk in the past that eggs caused cholesterol problems, that they are high in cholesterol and therefore would cause individuals to have raised levels.

But did you know…. eggs consistently raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol?  The cholesterol in eggs actually helps regulate the two cholesterols found in our bodies.

Eggs offer a crazy amount of health benefits

  • Strong muscles: The protein within eggs helps keep muscles working well while slowing the rate at which they are lost.
  • Brain health: Eggs contain vitamins and minerals that are needed for the regular functioning of cells, including the brain, nervous system, memory, and metabolism.
  • Good energy production: Eggs contain all the daily vitamins and minerals that are needed to produce energy in all the cells of the body.
  • A healthy immune system: Vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and seliniumare key to keeping the immune system healthy.
  • Lower risk of heart disease: Choline plays an important part in breaking down the amino acid homocysteine, which is associated with the development of heart disease.
  • Healthful pregnancy: Some nutrients within eggs help to prevent congenital disabilities, such as spina bifida.
  • Eyesight: Lutein and zeaxanthin help to prevent macular degeneration the leading cause of age-related blindness. Other vitamins also promote good vision.
  • Weight loss and maintenance: The high quality of protein within eggs might help keep people energized and feeling fuller for longer. Feeling full prevents snacking, which reduces overall calorie intake.
  • Skin benefits: Some vitamins and minerals within eggs help promote healthy skin and prevent the breakdown of body tissues. A strong immune system also contributes to a healthy look overall.

That’s a pretty long list of reasons to add eggs into your daily nutrition plan!

Eat the whole egg!

Seriously, eat all of the egg. The yolk contains tons of minerals and vitamins that are good for you.

egg-benefits

 

Egg yolks contain more vitamins, and larger quantities of those vitamins than egg whites.  Egg yolks are actually one of a handful of foods in which Vitamin D is naturally found.

Other good stuff in the yolks…

A typical egg contains around 1.3 grams of phospholipids, and most of that is in the yolk. Egg phospholipids have benefits for…

  • Cardiovascular health. Egg phospholipids may affect cholesterol and inflammation levels in beneficial ways.
  • Metabolic health. One study found that phospholipids from egg yolks helped decrease blood pressure and improve vascular function.
  • Memory and cognitive function. Phospholipids may protect against Alzheimer’s Disease, although it’s always worth mentioning that rat studies are not human studies and this is still pretty preliminary.

Ok besides all that healthy stuff, they just taste good! Right?

Of course, we’d all agree they are pretty tasty in cakes and cookies haha Fried, scrambled, poached, sunny side up, in a scramble mix  however you cook them they are good.  But there are so many ways they can be prepared that makes this perfect complete protein a tasty meal or snack.

How about a few tasty egg recipes?

 

So that’s a quick review on the humble egg, the complete protein food.  Eggs should be a part of your healthy daily nutrition plan and eating them only has positive health benefits for you.

Tell me, how do you like to eat them? Do you have any favorite recipes?

Spotlight On Avocados

Todays healthy food spotlight is on the not so beautiful to look at avocado. But hey, don’t judge a book by it’s cover ( uh, you shouldn’t be judging anyway 😉 ) because lurking underneath it’s dark blackish rough exterior is a whole lotta creamy, delicious goodness going on inside.

A long time ago, I used to think they were one of those forbidden type foods I should only eat in a sparse and occasional way.  Then I started getting healthy and got into running and what not… the rest is history… but anyway… somewhere in there…. I got invited to be in a fitness challenge ( and got grief from some people cause I guess I was considered a bit to…uh…fit.. to be in the challenge) it was a 90 day thing that involved Crossfit and the last 30 days we had to commit to doing the whole Paleo gig. I figured I could do anything for 30 days and informed them, I would be going back to my Greek yogurt when it was over. (cause they totally eliminate the dairy food group)

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Guacamole anyone?

 

I’m such a rebel.

It should be noted as well I was training for my second half marathon at the time. It should also be noted there were times I thought I’d die of hunger or fear I didn’t have enough energy to drag my carcass back after a run.  THIS is when I learned about the lovely benefits of the avocado. They encouraged you to eat them as heartily as they encouraged bacon. It should be mentioned, I tried to limit the bacon stuff.

So I pretty much learned to eat avocado like, all the time in that 30 day challenge.  And I learned it’s really, really good for you.

If you wanna read about my (brief) time doing Paleo, find my post here  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/06/08/my-experience-with-the-paleo-movement/

First things first

Do you know an avocado is actually a fruit?  Yes, really. I wouldn’t mess with you and lead you astray. The avocado is a nutrient dense fruit, not a vegetable.  And did you know the avocado is actually a berry! Botanically they are a large berry containing a single large seed.   Learn to think of them as a fruit.

For those of us in the south who enjoy them all smooshed up with spices in the form of a dip called guacamole and a side of crispy corn chips, we might have to stretch our minds more to consider them as food source for sweet things used in smoothies or desserts.

Avocado also goes by an alias…..  alligator pear……. so there’s that.

Nutrition 101

Of course you’re gonna want to know all the healthy benefits of the avocado.  Avocados are nutrient dense! They are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium . They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.

One fifth of an avocado contains 64 calories, almost 6 grams of fat, 3.4 carbs, less than a gram of sugar, and almost 3 grams of fiber. Although most calories come from fat, don’t shy away from that! The fats in avocados are the good healthy kind that keep you full and satiated. When you consume fat, your brain receives a signal to turn off your appetite. Eating fat slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which helps to keep sugar levels in the blood stable.

avocado

Fat is essential for every single cell in the body. Eating healthy fats supports skin health, enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and may even help boost the immune system.

Avocado also promotes a healthy heart by helping to lower cholesterol, it’s good for vision, and it can also support bone health as it’s high in Vitamin K with a half an avocado offering 25% of the daily recommendation. This nutrient is often overlooked but is essential to bone health.

It has also been shown to protect against some types of cancers and protect against miscarriages as folate is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy.

With it’s high fiber content it can also aid in digestion and prevent constipation.

They offer an energy boost.

Adding an avocado to your lunchtime meal may help you avoid the 3pm slump! Of all three macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats), fat is the most concentrated source of energy for our bodies.

Healthy fats provide a slow, steady stream of energy so you can power right through the workday. In addition, when they’re eaten along with a carbohydrate, they slow the digestion of the carbs, meaning you won’t suffer the energy-zapping sugar crash that typically follows simple carbs like white bread.

Of course all those wonderful nutrients are great for making your skin and hair look healthy and the anti oxidants as you know, are the best anti aging tool you can utilize.

Ok got it? The avocado, like all the other fruits and veggies we’ve talked about is awesome for your health.

Can we eat now?

There isn’t much to prepping an avocado. Just slice its firm skin, cut in half and like magic, it’s wonderful green creamy goodness awaits.

A avocado is ripe when you can gently press into the skin. If it’s hard it will need to sit for a few days to ripen. Soft ones are great for dips while firmer ones are good for sandwiches or salads.

I love avocado on toast for a healthy quick breakfast. I’ve also used it as a substitute for mayo in my chicken or tuna salad.

Avocado is almost always present on my breakfast plate. It is rich and satisfying alongside my eggs and other veggies.

How about a couple tasty recipes to experiment on?

 

 

Oh… and something amusing I found in my search… a comment that said “how do I eat avocados if I don’t like them”

Uh… just don’t eat them. Haha 😛

If you want to learn more about foods that are good for you, be sure to check out all my other “spotlight” posts.

Now tell me, do you like this tasty fruit?  If so, how do you eat it?

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?

The Smoothie Lowdown

Strawberry smoothies

 

On my fitness journey the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to see, or should I say, observe a lot of food trends, diets and otherwise various health fads and foods.

There was the era of everything being “fat-free”. Fat was demonized and no one wanted it to cross their lips.  There was no teaching or awareness of “good” fats and how they are essential to your body. Nor, was anyone realizing that in removing the fat lots of extra sugar was put in to keep it from tasting like a piece of… well… your coffee table.

Then there were all the “sugar-free” options. These might serve a small market of people who need a different alternative but again, people jumped on the wagon riding along  munching their sugar free treats while the manufactures happily went to the bank on consumers ignorance and lack of knowledge.

What no one stopped to ponder was the fact these products did say…maybe perhaps in tiny  print somewhere on the bottom …. “not a calorie free food” or “not a low calorie food”

As people happily consumed their fat free cookies, maybe a bit more in excess because they were you know, fat free, they never lost weight. I’m beating up on cookies here but the fat free thing was on almost every product you put your hands on several years back.

And I mean everything. It was the newest marketing food gimmick.

I’ll tell you this… now with what I know.. I’d rather have a little bit of the real honest thing than something manipulated and over processed that doesn’t satisfy me anyway.

Well there’s a new food trend in town and it’s been around for awhile and it seems like all the cool kids are trying it…again there’s a big focus on how healthy it is…

Know what it is?

Smoothies.

Now… hold on… I have no intention of ruffling feathers or stomping toes here… it’s ok if you love smoothies.. really.

My point is to educate. I’m blown away that so many people buy them but are clueless to how calorie laden they are and they genuinely think they are making a good choice.

Now if you’re whipping them up at home you know exactly what you’re tossing in and have control over sugars and contents of your final product.  And there’s nothing wrong with a cool fruity drink you’ve put together with love 😉

We had a new place show up in town that people are excited over that just make smoothies. I hadn’t been in yet and my son asked me to stop one day and grab him one to bring over to work.

A perfect field trip for me to gain some first hand info on topic…so I picked up their drink menu which features sizes and calories per each size.

As I scanned it I was …shocked… that the one I was purchasing for him… in a medium size….which  I think was 32oz. packed a whopping almost 1500 calories… and I coughed up almost 9.00 for it too.

The first ingredient listed… was ice cream 😛

Of course, I shared all this with him and he was horrified…

It should be noted that some smoothies were listed as “meal replacements” although I find 1400-1500 calories or more a pretty hefty meal “replacement”.

Now on the menu there are options that are “lighter” in calories. They offer 25 that are under 300 calories… not bad if you’re wanting a cool, healthy on the go drink.

You just need to have an awareness of what goes into it and know what you’re consuming. If you’re concerned about calories and working to lose weight not knowing what you’re consuming can subtly sabatoge your weight loss efforts.

As I read through menu almost all of them contained “turbinado” which is a fancy word for natural, raw sugar, but sugar none the less.  They give you the option to not have it used which saves you around… 100 calories… in your smoothie.

Of course there are also “add ins” and these are called enhancers which are supposed to give an extra nutritional kick to your smoothie.  The fine print at the bottom lets you know the statements for enhancers have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  The small print also tells you that the  nutritional and caloric info largely depends on the ingredients you choose to put into it.

The bottom line on your bottom line? Know the contents of your smoothies… be educated.

Don’t just assume because it sports the name “smoothie” it’s a low calorie, off the charts healthy drink for you.

Depending on what’s in it…. you could eat a nice meal for the calories.

And keep in mind as well, liquids calories are mentally easy to dismiss, but do add up if a consistent habit.

With an awareness you can enjoy a healthy and flavorful smoothie that won’t destroy your efforts to getting lean.

Do you make smoothies? Buy them? What is your favorite?

Navigating The Grocery Store

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As I have learned to navigate through my own health and fitness journey I’ve obviously figured out for myself what works and what doesn’t work.

One of the things I hear from you is how hard it can be to eat well and nutritionally balanced in todays world.

I hear you.

There’s a lot of crazy ideas out there.

“Eat this, don’t eat that!”

“These foods are “bad” don’t eat them”

“Eat carbs, don’t eat carbs”

“Sugar is really bad don’t eat it”

Ah! The crazy stuff can go on and on.

Often when I’m at the store I’m blown away by the vast amounts of food and the choices that are available to us.

Where does one start? How do you get through things like the bakery, or cookie aisle?

I’ll remind you again, it all comes down to our choices we make.  There are LOTS of things that need never come home.  If you’re trying to make good choices then leave those things at the store if you know it will only tempt you.

If it’s not in your kitchen, you can’t eat it, bottom line.

You might intellectually know buying fruits are better for you than a bag of cookies, but those cookies might have a stronger pull on you. Worse yet, if they come home, you’re gonna eat them.

If you want to shop well I’ve always been told to shop the perimeter of the store since that’s where all the fresh foods are. And it’s true….

Although, you can’t dismiss the canned food aisle which offers good choices like tomatoes, beans,  and fruits ( always buy these in natural juice…read labels to make sure there’s no added sugar)  or the bread aisle where you can pick up whole grain breads or buns. Raw nuts are of all things, on the chip aisle in my store.

If it’s a new idea to you to focus on just healthy shopping, write out a game plan before you head to the store.

Be willing to try a few new things and experiment. You never know what you might find that you like 🙂

Alright, so a plan.

Start with produce. Look for seasonal produce, it’s often cheaper. Buy a variety of bright colors. Be cautious and buy amounts you will realistically eat before it might go bad. Honestly, I’m at the store several times a week for fresh produce.

Meat. Buy lean cuts and obviously, check your local sales. I also love getting frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts. These can be pulled out as needed and used in a variety of ways. Ground beef can be purchased in larger packs and then you can separate into meals portions at home to freeze.

In the dairy section of course would be cheeses, milk, yogurts, eggs etc

After loading up on fresh foods, consider various canned foods like beans, tomatoes, sauce, tuna etc.

Pasta, brown rice, or whole grain pastas.

Shopping the bread aisle look for products that are whole grain or whole wheat as the first ingredients.

When shopping keep in mind you should strive for foods with five ingredients or less ( on a healthy level, the less stuff, the better)

Now… treats…. life is to short to not enjoy some things we love. I’m certainly not against those but be aware more “empty calorie” foods contribute to weight gain

Keep in mind balance and moderation. Know your limits and know what will tempt you and keep you from your health goals.

Making informed and careful decisions as you shop will lead you to nutritional success in the long run.

In summary :

  • Plan Ahead. …
  • Choose Real Foods. …
  • Avoid Processed Foods. …
  • Read Ingredient Lists. …
  • Stay on the Perimeter.

 

Happy shopping!

Do you have a healthy shopping plan when you go to the store? Do you have tricks or tips that help you?

Some Of My Favorite Super Foods

avocado

Food.  Let’s talk about food. I know I’ve been talking a lot lately about understanding your relationship with it and  learning how to eat in balance and moderation but let’s talk now about eating and eating some “super foods”.

I hesitate to use that term since it’s kinda over used but seriously, there are some really awesome super foods out there that pack a ridiculous amount of health benefits and not a ton of calories to boot.

I want to share some of my favorites with you =)

Spinach. I love this stuff! It’s sautéed in with other veggies and eggs for a breakfast meal and has become my “lettuce” for salads.  What other benefits does it offer?

Powerful antioxidants in spinach have been found to combat a variety of cancers, including ovarian, breast, and colon cancers. And it’s good for the noggin: Research indicates that spinach reduces the decline in brain function associated with aging and protects the heart from cardiovascular disease. Although it contains relatively high amounts of iron and calcium, oxalate compounds bind to these minerals and diminish their absorption.

Get creative in how you use it and indulge all you want as it packs minimal calories and tons of nutrients.

Walnuts. Who can resist a handful of nuts? Especially when they offer up the goodness that walnuts do.

One-quarter cup of walnuts supplies 90 percent of the daily recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in everything from maintaining cognitive function, to improving cholesterol and blood pressure.

I love some tossed in my morning cottage cheese with fresh fruit. It makes a fast, protein and nutrient packed breakfast I can eat getting ready. They’re also tasty mixed in with oatmeal and a handful of dried fruit =)

Yogurt. It’s no secret I love Greek yogurt but all yogurt packs lots of good benefits. Greek just contains the highest amount of protein.

Yogurt contains probiotics, which are bacteria that live in the intestine, aid in digestion, boost the immune system, diminish bad breath, and are even associated with longer life spans. A 1-cup serving also supplies one-third of your daily calcium requirement, as well as 14 grams of satisfying protein.

Just be cautious about “fruit” varieties as they can pack a whopping amount of sugar.

Sweet Potatoes.  These tasty little critters have shown up a lot more in my house than just for Thanksgiving 😉 My favorite way to have them is to cube them up, toss them with some olive oil, sliced onion and bake till crisp and tender. The cold ones are delicious to add to breakfast the next morning!

Need a beta-carotene fix? Just one medium sweet potato packs over four times the recommended daily amount. These tasty tubers are also rich in potassium, inflammation-fighting vitamin C, and vitamin B6, which may prevent clogged arteries.

Boiling sweet potatoes may cause some of the water-soluble vitamins to leach out, so try them baked, roasted, or cubed, and added to soups or stews. If you need a boost of fiber, make sure to leave the skins on.

Avocados.

Just one half of a medium-size avocado contains more than 4 grams of fiber and 15% of your recommended daily folate intake. Cholesterol-free and rich in monounsaturated fats and potassium, avocados are also a powerhouse for heart health.

Use avocados as the base for a creamy homemade sandwich spread, or add a few chunks to your favorite salsa for a simple and delicious way to dress up grilled chicken or fish.

I use avocado to mix into tuna to replace the mayo =) Add a little lemon juice, salt and pepper… . yummy!

Seriously. I love avocados.  😉

Apples. Who doesn’t love biting into a perfect, sweet, crunchy apple ?

Apples are the richest fruit source of pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, decrease the risk of colon and breast cancers, and maybe even lessen the severity of diabetes.

Try throwing a few slices on your favorite sandwich or toss with field greens, toasted pecans, and a light vinaigrette for a delicious salad. With so many varieties available, you’ll never get bored finding new ways to incorporate them into your daily diet.

Blackberries. In my area have been so plentiful and inexpensive most of last year I’ve almost always had them in my ‘fridge. I love them in salads, alone, or tossed in my morning cottage cheese. Get creative with how you use them.

Blackberries, which contain only 62 calories and less than 1 gram of fat per cup, are excellent sources of a few key nutrients. As a result, they help keep your tissues healthy and combat chronic disease.

The fiber in blackberries helps aid digestion and may help lower your cholesterol levels, which fights cardiovascular disease. One cup of blackberries provides almost 8 grams of fiber, which is 21 to 32 percent of the daily fiber recommendations for men and and women, respectively. The vitamin A in blackberries also supports your digestive tract by helping maintain healthy mucous membranes, such as the tissues that line the inside of your mouth. Each cup of raw blackberries provide 308 IU of vitamin A. This is 13 percent of the daily vitamin A intake for women and 10 percent for men.

Blackberries owe their rich purple hue to their anthocyanin content, and these anthocyanins also offer cancer-fighting benefits. They act as antioxidants — chemicals that fight genetic mutations and cancer-causing tissue damage — and may have the ability to slow cancer cell growth, according to research.

I’d say there’s lots of reasons to grab some, wouldn’t you ?

And one more favorite pick….

Oranges.

Just one medium orange (think tennis ball) supplies all your daily vitamin C, which is a dynamite immunity booster and cancer fighter. And consuming vitamin C is best done in its natural form: Italian researchers also found that test subjects had greater antioxidant protection after drinking orange juice versus vitamin C–fortified water. Plus, this sweet and tangy fruit is a good source of fiber, potassium, calcium, folate, and other B vitamins.

Now there are lots of awesome foods out there to feed your body… this is just a tiny sampling. Explore on your own and find something new you haven’t tried to add to your own super food list =)

Tell me… do you have a favorite super food ?