Sunday, August 9, 2009

Working Smarter Instead of Harder at Dieting

It always makes me laugh when I turn down a donut or some other sweet and I get a dirty look and the usual smart remark ‘it is not like it is going to do anything to your little body.” From puberty to now I have been any where from a size eleven to a size four. I have been physically active since birth and I am walking proof of that nutrition is just as important as exercise. My senior year of high school when I was competing in both cross country and track, running any where from thirty to fifty miles a week I was a size eleven. During that time in my life I did think I could just eat anything I wanted and if I had continued that practice I would not be a size four like I am today.

I have tried just about every diet. I have done the Atkins diet, the low-fat diet, the ecology diet, the body type diet, the French diet, the skinny bitch diet and many more. You name it and I have tried it. The problem with dieting is that you are following someone else’s suggestions instead of really understanding how every choice you make has an effect on your body and your well being. Now one of my hobbies is nutrition. I find the science of food fascinating.

I have five years of information that guides me with my food choices. I take the bits and pieces of every book or article in read that I agree with and use them as part of my custom made diet and wellness plan. I do not expect myself to be perfect and I do not even eat five fruits and vegetables every day. I am still happy with my choices. You have to feel empowered when you eat. You cannot simply avoid your favorite foods or your favorite tastes. How you eat today should be how you want to eat for the next ten years from now. If you are on a diet that you are simply trying to survive through you are just setting yourself up for years of diets you are going to hate and years of guilt as you continue to fail at your wellness goals. My suggestion is to work smarter not harder. If you love sweets find the ones that are good for you too. Fruit bar freezer pops are sweet and full of vitamin C. I love Natural Choice Full of Fruit strawberry bars for my sweet cravings. If you love chocolate, ice cream sandwiches or chocolate protein bars have calcium as well as nutrients. I love so delcious minis and luna bars for my chocolate cravings. There is always something that tastes great and is still good for you. You have to choose to know what those foods are so your body and your mind get what they want.

Nutrition Fact Labels Jill Style

Everything we put in our mouth has a product label. There is no easier way to decode whether or not something is healthy for you if you know what you are looking for on that label. When I was in ninth grade I had a teacher that showed me a simpler version of the method I use today to decide what is worth putting in my mouth. I warn you before you continue down this road you might discover your trips to the grocery store take a little longer until you get the hang of it. You might also be surprised most of your favorite foods are not as healthy as you thought they were or even worst they are slowly killing your health and wellness goals.

1. Step one check for the ingredients of doom high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils and aspartame. This step is going to be the toughest step because it puts most of the grocery store on the do not buy list. High fructose corn syrup is a cheap imitation for sugar. This deliciously addicting substance spikes your blood sugar and creeps its way on your waistline. If you do not cut this out of your life you might as well up that 401K so you can afford all those medical bills and prescription costs when you are over weight with diabetes. Its partner in crime partially hydrogenated oils clog your arteries and expand and pad your buttocks. Once again this lovely trans fat is going to be your ticket to a heart attack, obesity or both. Then we have the fallen angel of ingredients aspartame. You will find this ingredient in all the insanely sweet zero calorie foods and drinks. Do not be fooled by that pretty face, chemical versions of sugar turn into toxins that make you fat.

2. Step two find the worthwhile nutrients your body needs and add up the worth eating points. Everything under the bold line is a vitamin and is measured by percentages. Count up every 10% per vitamin and put that in the worth eating pile. So if a food has 40% of that vitamin that is 4 points of awesome. If three different vitamins have 10% to 19% that would be 3 points of worth eating goodness. Orange juice usually has 100% of vitamin C so that would be 10 points from the start!

3. Step three find the protein content and add those points to the vitamin points. Every 5 grams of protein is a point in the worth eating pile. If label showed 20 grams of protein that is 4 points.

4. Step four check the fiber content and add those points to the vitamin and protein points. Every 5 grams of fiber is a point in the worth eating pile.

5. Step five subtract points from worthwhile points for sugar and fat content. Every 5 grams of fat and 10 grams of sugars is -1 points. So if a food had 20 grams of fat and 10 grams of sugar that would be -5 points.

6. Step six do the math. Obviously if a food does not have any vitamins, protein or fiber it is not worth eating and starts at zero even before you check for negative points. If a food has fat and sugar and no vitamins, protein and fiber you are an idiot of you eat it. Classic examples are candy bars, potato chips or soda. They have nothing good in them and the fat content and/or sugar content equals out to a negative score. Most soda has at least thirty or more grams of sugar. Zero minus three equals negative three. Most potato chips have at least ten or more grams of fat. Zero minus two equals negative two. On the other hand you have raw foods such at fruits and vegetables. They have no fat and only natural sugars. The good points far out do the negative points. Baby spinach, carrots, and strawberries all have 40% or more of vitamin A or C and fiber as an added bonus. Four minus zero equals four. Skinless turkey and chicken are packed with fifteen or more grams of protein and virtually fat-free. Three minus zero equals three. Now the tricky part are the foods that have both good and bad in them. Let’s take the example of fat-free yogurt vs regular yogurt with 0% vitamin A, 35% calcium, 25% vitamin D, 0% vitamin C, 0% iron, 9 grams of protein, 0 grams of fiber and 33 grams of sugar. The good points equal six minus the three negative points for sugar content. Now if the yogurt was not fat-free the negative and positive just about equal out. Any foods that equal zero or less then zero or not worth eating. The only exception is water.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Peppermint tasting lip stick

Most lipsticks taste horrible. They are made with tons of cheap chemicals. After you put them on you just hope you do not forget and lick your lips. Chap stick and lip gloss have evolved into many tasty options, but do not have any color. Origins liquid lip shimmers have a fair amount of color and taste yummy! The whole origins product line is environmentally friendly and made with naturals ingredients.

What to eat when you want a candy bar

Food temptation at the office is one of the easiest way to kill your health and wellness goals. One day Andy brings in donuts and the next day Jackie has her world famous chips and salsa. If you do not have something ready and raring to compete with such yummy food you are sure to fall in with the crowd and start chowing down on something that is loaded with fat.

If you are a major sweet tooth like me then you have probably given in to the cakes, cookies and donuts more times then you can count. Now I make sure to have an assortment of snacks at my desk that taste delicious and are quite nutritious. One of my new favorites are Luna bars. They are made for chicks but good for you food should be for all genders. My personal favorites include peanut butter cookie and the caramel brownie. My office friend likes the fruitier options. They are much lower in sugar then many other nutrition bars and have lots of protein, fiber and nutrients. Some days I even eat two of them when I am busy and multiple snacks are needed. They are now sold at Wal-marts and most groceries stores. I have seen them sold separately like a candy bar or in boxes of five for a bargain price. The boxes only come in certain flavors though.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fake chicken fat-free quesadilla

Cheese is one of the most delicious and wonderful foods on this planet. Cheese also is one of those foods, much like chocolate, that just makes us feel happy! Many years ago I read an article that suggested cheese as one of those foods that was directly linked to mood and brain chemicals that make you feel happiness.

Of course cheese is also one of those foods that is pretty high in fat. All of the yummy foods are just so bad for us right and the fat-free version leaves so much to be desired. Finally though I have found the most tasty fat-free cheese ever and have recipe for a delicious and nutritious fat-free quesadilla for vegetarians.

Recipe for 4 quesadillas
4 whole grain tortillas (no high fructose corn syrup and the more fiber the healthier they are)
2 cups (or more) self shredded Lifetime Fat-Free Cheddar (it comes in blocks)
2 Quorn (or more) naked chik'n cutlets (meatless and soy free)
1 cup (or more) chopped onions
1 packet of your favorite taco or fajita seasoning

You might have a hard time finding the cheese or chicken at your local grocery store. I get mine at our local co-op. If you do not have a co-op you might have to settle for Morningstar Farms chicken and a low-fat shredded cheese. I have yet to find a great tasting fat-free cheese from Wal-Mart or Kroger. Quorn cutlet is a much tastier option then morningstar farms, but covered in cheese you might not be able to tell the difference.


First get the chik-n cutlets cooking on medium heat in frying pan. Spray a lot of extra virgin oil on the pan and cutlets. Meatless substitutes usually burn much easier because they have no grease. You have to keep them moist with cooking spray or water or they will not cook right.

Shred the cheese

Flip cutlets and cook other side

Chop the onions

When the chik-n cutlets are cooked chop or dice them to your preferred size

Follow the directions of your taco or fajita seasoning packet and put mixture, chopped onions and chopped chik-n cutlets back in frying pan and reduce heat to low

Get a large frying pan and heat on medium heat

Spray tortilla with cooking spray and put in empty large frying pan

Immediately add 1/4 of your shredded cheese on one side (one half) of the tortilla

Add 1/4 of taco seasoned cutlet and onion mixture on top of cheese still only covering half of your tortilla

Sprinkle small amount of shredded cheese over covered quesadilla side

Fold over not covered side of tortilla over covered side

Should be like a half moon now

Brown bottom side 1 minute

Flip quesadilla and brown other side 30 seconds

Slide finished quesadilla on plate and let cool shortly before cutting into four pieces horizontally

Finish your next three quesadillas separately just the same as you did the first

Serve with salsa!

The book that got me to stop eating chicken

I still remember that fateful day. I was eating my healthy choice grilled chicken microwave meal as I drank in the quick witted words of two dietitians during my lunch break. I had stopped eating red meat many years ago so I assumed the chapter on meat would not be too informative. It was not long until I was tossing my meal into the garbage and calling myself a pesce vegetarian. That was a year and a half ago. Since then a few of my co-workers have borrowed my copy of the New York Bestseller Skinny Bitch. One of those readers has not drank pop since finishing the book and the other is now a vegan. It is a life changing read!

Healthiest Milk Shake Ever

This milkshake is super low-fat and packed with 18 grams of protein, vitamins and of course calcium! It is an excellent dessert and a much better choice then dairy queen or steak n' shake.

Most regular milk products use hormones to ensure cows produce more milk. I suggest using soy milk or organic milk instead!

1/2 cup Silk Soy milk Vanilla
(Use light Soy Milk if you want even less fat 2g vs .75g)

4 scoops of Stonyfield Farm Organic Gotta Have Vanilla non-fat frozen yogurt
Add more scoops of you want your milk shake thicker

1 Chocolate sandwich cookie (optional adds 2.5 grams of fat)
I suggest Country Choice Organic chocolate sandwich cookies

Add the 1/2 cup of soy milk in blender. My blender has the measurement lines noted.
Add 4 scoops of non-fat frozen yogurt to blender
(optional) Add 1 chocolate sandwich cookie
Blend until smooth.