Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting Back on Your Feet!


I hope every one had a wonderful Christmas!!

As I'm sitting here thinking "how in the world am I going to get motivated again", I can't help but feel we're all in the same boat! Christmas and New Years is the hardest time of year to stay motivated and maintain your weight in my opinion. With all the treats being brought to your house by friends, all the desserts being offered at parties, and all the sweets being made in your own kitchen it leaves it almost impossible to resist. And good for you for not resisting! That's such a huge part of the Holiday that makes it so wonderful.

So what do you after the Holiday is over and your left feeling large and lazy? We start again...

The first step to starting fresh and getting motivated is to forgive yourself! Forgive yourself right now for eating everything and anything you wanted. Forgive yourself for giving in when the homemade fudge was right at your finger tips. Forgive yourself for eating an extra plate of cookies, and forgive yourself for getting 3 servings of pie instead of just one. You need to realize it's 100% normal and perfectly human to enjoy such good foods in life!

Step 2 is realizing your body will forgive you too! The second you change your eating, or just stop eating all the sugar you've been inhaling for the past month, your body will immediately start working with you, and not against you. Your body wants to feel healthy just as bad as you do. So remember your body isn't out to get you when those numbers are getting higher on the scale...it's working with you. The second you decide to change your eating and exercise more, your body is right along with you and wants the change just as bad......and it will change, if you make changes too.

Step 3, start small. Rid the thought right now of, "I'm going to lose X amount of weight starting January 1st!". Never leave it to January 1st to start. Start right now. I don't mean go to the gym right now, I mean your next meal decide you're going to eat a little healthier. Not the rest of the day, just your next meal. Once you get this pattern down, you'll start to notice your thinking WILL be for every meal and before you know it, you're going an entire day without treats, or your portions are getting smaller. When it comes to exercising, start small by taking a morning walk half an hour after you wake up. Or an evening walk right after dinner. Just 20 minutes is all you need. Or start small by stretching your body for 15 minutes before you go to bed, and after you wake up. These small and simple steps are key to helping you get back on your feet. 20 minutes a day is all you need. It doesn't have to be 20 minutes of strenuous, bullet sweat, aching workouts. It can be a simple walk around the neighborhood, or deep breathing for 15 minutes while stretching.

And last but certainly not least, step 4 is always remember...YOU'RE NOT ALONE! No matter how fat, or unmotivated you feel you are, you're not the only one who feels this fat and lazy. We all need to start over in different parts of the year, or life for that matter. So don't think for a second you're the only one without will power. It's human. We are human. We can't do everything. Or maybe we can do everything. We can eat sugar, and still be motivated. We can enjoy the Holidays without beating ourselves up, and we can give ourselves a break and get back on our feet!

So from one "feeling fat and lazy" to another, let's all get our bodies feeling healthy and energetic again, and starting this New Year with a different mind set! And just like the picture, this is me saying, "WE CAN DO IT!"

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Your Friend,
Melissa Elder

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Did You Know??


Did you know that drinking 2 glasses of water before a meal can actually help you lose weight? In a study of 48 middle aged men and woman, researchers assigned half to a low-fat, low calorie diet. The other group stuck to the same diet but also drank two 8 ounce glasses of water before each meal. Those who took the water before meals lost more weight than their peers.

Something to help out with this holiday season:).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mexican Lasagna


To be honest, I can count on one hand how many times I've had lasagna since I've been diagnosed, and usually when I do eat it my sugars hate me. So it's never my first desire to want to make lasagna...until I was sent this recipe!

This recipe had me drooling, and even though there is a list of ingredients
(I'm always intidimated with long lists) it was surprisingly fast to make.
And always and most important-my blood sugars were satisfied after
and I got quite the dose of my daily veggies with this recipe:). Enjoy!

Mexican Lasagna

2 tsp olive oil
11⁄2 cups chopped onion
1 lb zucchini, diced (about 3 cups)
21⁄2 tsp ground cumin
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with chiles
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
1 can (11 oz) corn niblets, drained
1 can (10 oz) mild enchilada sauce
1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro
5 (8-in.) whole-wheat flour tortillas
11⁄4 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar
Garnish: reduced-fat sour cream


Recipe Preparation
1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 3-qt round baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cumin, and sauté 5 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes, beans, corn and enchilada sauce; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

3. Put 1 tortilla in baking dish. Top with 11⁄2 cups zucchini mixture; sprinkle with 1⁄4 cup cheese. Repeat layers 4 times.

4. Cover with foil and bake 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly around edges and cheese is melted. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream, if desired.

(Thanks Liz, this was a hit at our humble abode.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

If you're like me and love the traditional Thanksgiving meal, than I'm sure you haven't been eating too healthy with this season. But in all honesty, I personally think not being a stickler around the holidays is more healthy than not. Healthy for the soul:). I'm a firm believer that being around the family table with the foods that you love is all part of the wonderful experience.

These pumpkin pancakes were one of the many things I was able to enjoy for Thanksgiving. My mother in law perfected them to taste like a gift from heaven. Not only does it make the house smell like a dream, but they taste just as good! They didn't spike my blood sugars (which is an extra treat) and pumpkin is actually quite healthy for you. ENJOY my friends!

Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups flour
3 Tlb brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt


1 1/2-2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 Tlb vegetable oil
2 Tlb vinegar

Directions:
In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine. (You may need to add more milk to make the batter pourable. Start with 1 1/2 cups and go from there.)

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

For an extra treat, sprinkle on some dark chocolate chips. You won't regret it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quinoa: The Magical Grain

Quinoa is not only Gluten free, but it's extremely high in protein (famous with the vegans), significantly high in Magnesium (helps with high blood pressure, headeaches/migraines, and heart conditions) and is, my favorite, high in Fiber!
Also, another random health benefit, Quinoa has been known to help mothers who are lactating. It has shown it's helped with enhancing the mothers milk. Very interesting.

Quinoa gets forgotten because oatmeal has proudly taken it's place with the low cost it offers. Which is understandable, because Oats are just as good for you. But for those of you who want that extra boost of health in the morning, I highly recommend getting in the habit of buying a bag of Quinoa!
I've fallen in love with it all over again after trying my cousins (thanks tracie!) recipe of this delicous side dish. My sugars didn't spike and it actually left me more fuller faster so I could barely finish the rest of my meal...which I loved!

Quinoa with Toasted Almonds and Cranberries
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 vegan vegetable bouilon cube (I used chicken)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick (I just sprinkled some cinnamon in)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dried cranberries



Directions:
Soak the quinoa 15 minutes in cold water. Stir the quinoa with your hand, pour off most of the water and drain through a fine mesh strainer.
Shake dry in the stainer. Heat a wide bottomed pan on medium heat and add the oil, stir and toast the sliced almonds until golden, then remove from pan.



Add the quinoa. Stir and toast until dry and turning color. Add boiling water, oxo, salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick, and dried cranberries.Bring back to boi, cover, turn the heat to simmer, cook for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed, about another 10 minutesRemove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on.Fluff gently with a fork, sprinkle nuts on top and serve.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Penne with Treviso and Goat Cheese

When my mother in law sent me this recipe, it had me DROOLING! We absolutely loved it! I made extra's on purpose to have enough for lunch the next day, and it was just as delish the next day for leftovers! No spiking of the sugars, and the flavour was incredible! Thank you so much Lisa!
Highly recommend it!

Penne with Treviso and Goat Cheese
Ingredients
1 pound penne pasta (whole wheat)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, halved
1 pound treviso or radicchio, chopped (about 4 cups) (I didn't use this ingredient, just spinach)
3 packed cups (3 ounces) baby spinach
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups (11 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn (I was out of basil, so I actually used Parsley and it was just as good)

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Remove the garlic and discard.

Add the treviso, spinach, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the treviso and spinach until wilted, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the pasta and Parmesan. Toss well and thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed. Season with salt, to taste.

Transfer the penne to serving bowls. Top each portion with the crumbled goat cheese and garnish with basil before serving.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Strictly for Cereal Lovers

When I was diagnosed, one of the first things I had to get rid of was cereal. Mmmmm, cereal! My second love. It wasn't for about 2 years after I was diagnosed that I dared to eat my first bowl of cereal, which by the way tasted like heaven on earth. But even the taste couldn't convince me that it was good for me, from what the nutritionist had said. The doctor and my dietitian had said cereal was empty calories with not a lot nutrients, therefore leaving it a bad choice for breakfast.

Thank goodness for research! And even more grateful for the companies trying to keep up to the "healthy" world. If you haven't noticed, everyone is trying to make their product healthier. Cereal companies are one of those manufacturers who are trying to keep up to the health and doing a great job at it.

According to researches it's better than most breakfasts!!! (I'm not lying when I say this was the best thing I've read in a long time!)

In a study of nearly 10,000 kids and teens, researchers learned that those who ate any type of cereal every morning got more fiber and nutrients than breakfast skippers or those who at other types of breakfasts. kids who didn't have breakfast, on the other hand, ate more sugar daily and were more likely to be obese. Though the study looked at cereal eaters in general, it's smarter to always stick to varieties that are low in sugar and high fiber.

After looking strictly at cereal labels and paying close attention to my sugars after eating certain brand's, I compiled this list of cereals I trust with my health and Diabetes. I'd recommend these to anyone, and so would my nutritionist:


  1. Kashi GoLean
  2. All-Bran Raisin Bran
  3. Fiber One
  4. Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls
  5. Cheerios
  6. Kellogg’s Complete Oat Bran Flakes
  7. Grape Nuts
  8. Quaker Oatmeal Squares
  9. Shredded Wheat ‘n Bran 100% Natural Whole Wheat MiniWheats
  10. Total Whole Grain

If none of these cereal suit your fancy, always look at the nutrition label and make sure they have more than 3 grams of fiber, less than 45 grams of carbs, and around 2.5 grams of fat. If there's any protein, that's wonderful-but fiber is better for mornings.

(Source: Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 2010)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fighting A Cold The Old Fashioned Way


When we think of catching a cold, most of us would think back to the days when we would spend the entire day cuddled up in bed while our mother would so kindly bring us a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup.

Well, your mom wasn't too far fetched when she was bringing you a cup of chicken noodle soup. She was dead on actually on how to help your sickness. There's key ingredients that are found in a good batch of chicken noodle soup that are helpful when fighting a cold.

With flu/cold season right around the corner, I have some information on the foods and why they are in the soup to begin with that would be good to know for next time your craving something warm and soothing.


Chicken
It's a great source of zinc, which is shown to reduce the symptoms and duration of a cold.

Carrots
They're great immune system enhancers because beta-carotene helps hold off infection.

Garlic and Onions
Are both unbelievably strong antivirals, which have compounds that speedily get to the lungs and respiratory tract to effectively attack cold viruses.

Egg Noodles
Help boost selenium intake, which makes it harder for the cold virus to multiply and mutate.

Red Bell Peppers
Are a strong source of salicylates, (f.y.i.-salicylates are chemicals that occur naturally in many plants. They usually act as a preservative to prevent rotting and also act as a defendant against harmful bacteria) aspirin's active ingredient.

Cayenne Peppers
Have more salicylates and are an effective natural decongestant.


Here's a recipe to get this season started for you!


Chicken Soup for the Cold...and soul.

Ingredients:
2 cups of chicken, cooked and diced

1/2 cups of carrots, chopped

2 (2.72 oz.)store-bought packets of chicken-noodle soup mix

2 medium onions, diced (I used white, they are sweeter)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of enriched egg noodles (you can buy whole wheat as well)

1 red bell peppers, chopped

2 tsp. cayenne pepper


Directions:
1. Pour 8 cups of water into a large pot and bring to a boil.

2. Add the chicken, carrots, onions, and garlic, and boil for half an hour or until the carrots are tender.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Makes 8 1-cup servings.


Nutrients:
167 calories
15 grams of protein
20 grams of carbs
1 gram of fat
2.5 grams of fiber
28 milligrams of sodium

(Source: citihealth.com)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Spinach That Won't Make You Cringe

Growing up, I'm sure most of us cringed at the thought of eating spinach for dinner. Well, guess what-mom was right when she said spinach was good for you!
Turns out, calorie for calorie, this vegetable is an incredible power food. In fact, the nutritional benefits are so great, you can eat as much of this awesomeness as you like and still look fabulous. "Packed with folic acid, vitamins A, C, and E and a huge mix of antioxidants, it also contains flavonoids, which are thought to slow the cognitivie decline that accompanies aging", says cityhealth staff of the Healthy Utah Magazine.
Other health benefits include lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, anemia, and cancer risks.
Here are some recipes of some great smoothie's, that include spinach, next time you're wanting something sweet, and something incredibly healthy.

(Sources: Healthy Utah, Citihealth Staff, and UThealth.com.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recipes From You: Black Bean Salad

My sister in laws and mom in law have been swapping recipes, and I thought I would throw this one in that my sister in law gave me. Which by the way, is raising one of the healthiest families I know. She is always giving her kids incredible dishes that are fresh and healthy-and if that doesn't convince you how healthy she is-her kids LOVE and crave vegetables...I've honestly never heard of it, but she's done it:)


Black Bean Salad Recipe
Ingredients:
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, thoroughly rinsed, and drained (or 1 1/2 cup of freshly cooked black beans)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, defrosted (or fresh corn, parboiled, drained and cooled)
1/2 cup chopped green onions or shallots
2 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced, or 1 whole pickled jalapeño pepper, minced (not seeded)
3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
2 Tbsp lime juice (about the amount of juice from one lime)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar (to taste)-(i used splenda and it tasted just as great)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Make sure to rinse and drain the beans, if you are using canned beans.
In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, onions, jalapeno chile peppers, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, basil, lime juice and olive oil. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste. (The sugar will help balance the acidity from the tomatoes and lime juice.) Chill before serving.
Serves 6 to 8.

(Thanks so much Liz! I LOVED this salad!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recipes From You: Roasted Asparagus and Roasted Mushrooms

I got a few recipes from you via email, but not a whole bunch, so I'll post all the ones that I recieved through time. Thank you by the way for sending me these, it's so exciting and refreshing to try new things that are simple and delish!
Starting with 2 sides that are extremely easy, healthy and really good! I've posted similar side recipes, but of course new and improved are always better:)
Roasted Asparagus
preheat oven to 350
place washed and trimed asparagus on a baking sheet
drizzle olive oil and black pepper on top
cook for 10 minutes
Roasted Mushrooms
Heat olive oil in frying pan
put in washed and quartered (if big, halved if small) mushrooms
drizzle with balsamic vinegar and italian dressing
let cook for a five minutes or so, until soft
can top with feta or parmesan cheese, but still delish without.
Thanks so much Leslie!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Benefits of Sex

(WARNING: IF YOU'RE UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT SEX TALK, DON'T READ ANY FURTHER!)
Now, when I think of health, I think of every aspect of anything we do in our daily lives and how it affects it. Whether it be what we eat, how we spend our energy, what kind of vitamins we take...all of which amount to our overall health.
Well, these things aren't the only options we should be considering to be healthy or to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sex is HUGE when it comes to keeping healthy and benefiting us in more ways than the obvious:).
Here are 10 ways that sex are beneficial to your health:
1. Sex Relieves Stress
A big health benefit of sex is lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction, according to researchers from Scotland who reported their findings in the journal Biological Psychology. They studied 24 women and 22 men who kept records of their sexual activity. Then the researchers subjected them to stressful situations -- such as speaking in public and doing verbal arithmetic -- and noted their blood pressure response to stress.
Those who had intercourse had better responses to stress than those who engaged in other sexual behaviors or abstained.
Another study published in the same journal found that frequent intercourse was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure in cohabiting participants. Yet other research found a link between partner hugs and lower blood pressure in women.

2. Sex Boosts Immunity
Good sexual health may mean better physical health. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. Scientists at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., took samples of saliva, which contain IgA, from 112 college students who reported the frequency of sex they had.
Those in the "frequent" group -- once or twice a week -- had higher levels of IgA than those in the other three groups -- who reported being abstinent, having sex less than once a week, or having it very often, three or more times weekly.

3. Sex Burns Calories
Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. Doubling up, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions.
"Sex is a great mode of exercise," says Patti Britton, PhD, a Los Angeles sexologist and president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators and Therapists. It takes work, from both a physical and psychological perspective, to do it well, she says.
4. Sex Improves Cardiovascular Health
While some older folks may worry that the efforts expended during sex could cause a stroke, that's not so, according to researchers from England. In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, scientists found frequency of sex was not associated with stroke in the 914 men they followed for 20 years.
And the heart health benefits of sex don't end there. The researchers also found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half for the men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month.

5. Sex Boosts Self-Esteem
Boosting self-esteem was one of 237 reasons people have sex, collected by University of Texas researchers and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
That finding makes sense to Gina Ogden, PhD, a sex therapist and marriage and family therapist in Cambridge, Mass., although she finds that those who already have self-esteem say they sometimes have sex to feel even better. "One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves," she tells WebMD. "Great sex begins with self-esteem, and it raises it. If the sex is loving, connected, and what you want, it raises it."

6. Sex Improves Intimacy
Having sex and orgasms increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which helps us bond and build trust. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina evaluated 59 premenopausal women before and after warm contact with their husbands and partners ending with hugs. They found that the more contact, the higher the oxytocin levels.
"Oxytocin allows us to feel the urge to nurture and to bond," Britton says.
Higher oxytocin has also been linked with a feeling of generosity. So if you're feeling suddenly more generous toward your partner than usual, credit the love hormone.

7. Sex Reduces Pain
As the hormone oxytocin surges, endorphins increase, and pain declines. So if your headache, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex, you can thank those higher oxytocin levels.
In a study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 48 volunteers who inhaled oxytocin vapor and then had their fingers pricked lowered their pain threshold by more than half.

8. Sex Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk
Frequent ejaculations, especially in 20-something men, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer later in life, Australian researchers reported in the British Journal of Urology International. When they followed men diagnosed with prostate cancer and those without, they found no association of prostate cancer with the number of sexual partners as the men reached their 30s, 40s, and 50s.
But they found men who had five or more ejaculations weekly while in their 20s reduced their risk of getting prostate cancer later by a third.
Another study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that frequent ejaculations, 21 or more a month, were linked to lower prostate cancer risk in older men, as well, compared with less frequent ejaculations of four to seven monthly.
9. Sex Strengthens Pelvic Floor Muscles
For women, doing a few pelvic floor muscle exercises known as Kegels during sex offers a couple of benefits. You will enjoy more pleasure, and you'll also strengthen the area and help to minimize the risk of incontinence later in life.
To do a basic Kegel exercise, tighten the muscles of your pelvic floor, as if you're trying to stop the flow of urine. Count to three, then release.

10. Sex Helps You Sleep Better
The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep, according to research.
And getting enough sleep has been linked with a host of other good things, such as maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure. Something to think about, especially if you've been wondering why your guy can be active one minute and snoring the next.
(Source: article by Kathleen Doheney, WebMd)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Recipes From You!

I've done this before, but I absolutely loved it so much that I want to do it again!
For those of you who have wonderful and delish recipes that they use daily,
but don't get a chance to share it with others, now is your chance!
Send me one...or 10 of your favorite recipes and
I'll be happy to post them so we all can indulge:)
Either leave a comment, or email me at melermie@msn.com

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Power of Stretching

picture by my sister, Stacie Murdock


Stretching has always been a big part of my routines from the second I start my aerobic classes to the second we are ready to cool down. Who doesn't love a good stretch? I absolutely loved this article I came across to help me understand more fully just how important it is to stretch our bodies.....everyday!


Click here to read the great article.



P.s. Another thing I love? Real Simple magazine, I highly recommend subscribing!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Did You Know??


Did you know.......... that
suppressing your anger might harm your heart?

A study of 644 heart disease patients found that
those who felt angry but were unable to express it tripled their risk for heart attack and cardiovascular death over an average of 6 years.
But, the researchers say, angry outbursts aren't the solution either.Instead, people should talk with afriend, seek therapy, or try to change whatever upsets them.

Something to think about next time you feel like you want to explode...
I guess communication helps every aspect of your overall health.

On that note, hope you have a wonderful day:)

Source: American Journal of Cardiology

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pepper Jack, Chicken and Peach Quesadillas


Hands down, one of the best meals I've had!
Thanks to my sister Stace who always finds these fresh, delish recipes-I'm always happy at meal time.
I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!
And for those of you who have kids,
I can only imagine how fast they would devour them!
Because we did....

Ingredients
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
1 cup chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup thinly sliced peeled firm ripe peaches
4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cooking spray


Directions:
1. Combine honey and lime juice in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir sour cream into honey mixture; cover and chill until ready to serve.
2. Place tortillas flat on a work surface. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons cheese over half of each tortilla; top each tortilla with 1/4 cup chicken, 1/4 cup peaches, and 1 teaspoon cilantro. Fold tortillas in half.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in the pan, and top quesadillas with a cast-iron or other heavy skillet. Cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until tortillas are crisp and lightly browned (leave cast-iron skillet on quesadillas as they cook). Remove quesadillas from pan; set aside, and keep warm. Repeat procedure with the remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into wedges. Serve with sauce.
Thank you Stace for the recommendation,
and thanks to Cooking Light Magazine.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Feeling Down?

(Again, I'm so sorry I've been missing again. We just got back from the most wonderful trip to Europe! So, once again, I have to get back on the ban wagon. Because I think I actually went an entire week without having one vegetable.)

I'm going to start back up with this little tid bit of news I came across and LOVED.
I noticed that although we were walking 24/7 and I felt exhausted it seemed in Europe,
my moods were still up.
And after reading this, I realized it's because I was outside every day.
Something I take for grantid almost daily.

Have you been feeling down lately?
The answer is to go outside!
Researchers analyzed 10 studies involving 1,252 people and learned
that 5 minutes of light exercise outdoors can boost self-esteem and brighten mood.

The effects were even greater if the time was spent near water.
All participants-but especially kids and the mentally ill-
benefited from walking, gardening, biking
or other outdoor activities.

I say let's take advantage of those beautiful mountains we live right next too:).
Especially now that fall is right around the corner!

Source: Environmental Science and Technology-Diabetic Forecast

Monday, August 2, 2010

5 Fantastic Health Magazines

For those of you who aren't blog hoppers and don't have the time to go through the web looking for new recipes, I have some highly recommended magazines that offer some fantastic (and healthy of course) recipes and great tips on how to stay healthy and active.
These are the top 5 I would suggest to anyone!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

We are always looking for more things to grill in the summertime.
I was handed this fantastic recipe and loved it with our
miniature grill that we've been obsessed with this summer.
If you're a mushroom lover, this recipe is for you!
It's a perfect side dish for a BBQ and more importantly-
how we like our recipes-fast and healthy!

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms:
6 portobello mushrooms
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup low fat Italian dressing
fresh chopped basil
fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
sprinkled on feta or Parmesan cheese

Directions: Trim stem on portobella mushrooms. Use pastry brush to brush marinade on 6 portabella mushrooms. Grill about 3 minutes each side on the barbecue. Slice into strips and sprinkle with feta cheese or fresh Parmesan.
(I actually marinated the mushrooms for a couple of hours before grilling, which I think made the flavor extra delish.)

(Thank you Leslie!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Tomato

Has it actually been a month???!! I can't tell you how sorry I am! Summer has flown by and has kept me unbelievably busy. Not stress busy, but "doing things" busy. It's been great, but the down side of course has been that my food intake has been a bust. Which has left me not wanting to post, due to me sounding like a hypocrite. I would never want to tell you guys to eat healthy while I'm eating horribly. BUT, however-like I've said before, our bodies are extremely forgiving, and I'm ready to get back in the game of being on track, feeling good and getting my sugars regulated again!

I'm going to start off my long m.i.a. by posting about a vegetable that, although I've been eating uncontrollably, I still manage to fit into my everyday.

The Tomato.
An absolute miraculous vegetable that we all take for granted I'm sure.
Here is a list of 10 reasons why we should love the
tomato all over again

1. Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene. These carotenoids may have individual benefits, but also have synergy as a group (that is, they interact to provide health benefits).

2. In particular, tomatoes contain awesome amounts of lycopene, thought to have the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids.

3. Tomatoes and broccoli have synergy that may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. One study showed that prostate tumors grew much more slowly in rats that were fed both tomato and broccoli powder than in rats given lycopene as a supplement or fed just the broccoli or tomato powder alone.

4. A diet rich in tomato-based products may help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study from The University of Montreal. The researchers found that lycopene (provided mainly by tomatoes) was linked to a 31% reduction in pancreatic cancer risk between men with the highest and lowest intakes of this carotenoid.

5. Tomatoes contain all three high-powered antioxidants: beta-carotene (which has vitamin A activity in the body), vitamin E, and vitamin C. A U.S. Department of Agriculture report, What We Eat in America, noted that a third of us get too little vitamin C and almost half get too little vitamin A.

6. Tomatoes are rich in potassium, a mineral most of us don't get enough of. A cup of tomato juice contains 534 milligrams of potassium, and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce has 454 milligrams.

7. When tomatoes are eaten along with healthier fats, like avocado or olive oil, the body's absorption of the carotenoid phytochemicals in tomatoes can increase by two to 15 times, according to a study from Ohio State University.

8. Tomatoes are a big part of the famously healthy Mediterranean diet. Many Mediterranean dishes and recipes call for tomatoes or tomato paste or sauce. Some recent studies, including one from The University of Athens Medical School, have found that people who most closely follow the Mediterranean diet have lower death rates from heart disease and cancer. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, who followed more than 39,000 women for seven years, found that consumption of oil- and tomato-based products -- particularly tomato and pizza sauce -- was associated with cardiovascular benefits.

9. When breastfeeding if moms eat tomato products, it increases the concentration of lycopenein their breast milk. In this case, cooked is best. The researchers also found that eating tomato products like tomato sauce increased concentrations of lycopene in breast milk more than eating fresh tomatoes did.

10. Tomato peels contribute a high concentration of the carotenoids found in tomatoes. The amount of carotenoids absorbed by human intestinal cells was much greater with tomato paste enriched with tomato peels compared to tomato paste without peels, according to a study from Marseille, France. The tomato skin also holds most of the flavonols (another family of phytochemicals that includes quercetin and kaempferol) as well. So to maximize the health propertiesof tomatoes, don't peel them if you can help it!

(10 reasons to eat the tomato came from Elaine Magge, MPh from the Weight Loss Clinic)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Spice Up Your Chicken/Tuna Sandwich

I'm pretty sure we have all had lunch on-the-go that consisted of canned Tuna mixed with Mayonnaise on white bread.
Well, I'm here to save you from your Tuna Sandwich funk!

We took a road trip awhile back with some good friends and she made a quick lunch (very quick may I remind you) of what I thought to be your basic Tuna sandwich. I was just grateful she took the time to make us these sandwiches. I took my first bite expecting it to have Tuna on my breathe for the rest of the trip. But to my surprise, not only was it Chicken instead of Tuna, but it literally might have been one of the best sandwiches I've ever had.

She told me what she had made the sandwich with, and I can't explain how happy I was that it was right up my alley when it comes to health, but even more happy that it was absolutely delicious!
I can't tell you how many times me and Brad have made this mix again and again, and love it every time.

Incredibly fast, incredibly delicious, and most of all, healthy!



Chicken/Tuna with Cranberries
1 can of canned Chicken/Tuna (lean protein)
1/3 cup of Cranberries
1/4 cup sliced WHITE Onion (white onions have a sweeter taste to them)
1/3 cup of chopped Almonds
1-3 tblsp. of Smart Balance Mayonnaise (best thing to happen to food in my opinion, Mayonnaise made natural and healthy-switch out your Mayonnaise immediately with this. Made with natural olive oil, no hydrogenated oils, and no trans-fatty acids)
Salt and Pepper to taste
and of course Whole Wheat Bread!:)


Directions:
Drain out the canned chicken and mix with all ingredients! Serve on Whole Wheat and you're good to go! You have a deluxe and delicious, new and improved Chicken/Tuna Sandwich.





Thanks so much Kristin! Now everyone will be able to enjoy your fantastic recipe!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Best Workouts for the Butt

Commercials have become something that all of us hate so bad that they actually invented a machine (Tivo) so that you can skip through them entirely.
Well, for those of us who still have to endure the commercial breaks with our favorite TV shows, I've found the cure that not only will make you want a little extra time with those breaks, but will help you feel productive while watching your shows.

After watching TV, I always felt this guilt thinking I should/could have been doing something else. And in most cases, I watched my favorite show rather than exercising. So-I combined my two favorite things together to master my workout and still be able to watch my show without sweating like a dog or feeling like I have to run throughout the entire hour.

Thanks to Jonathon Ross (fitness specialist) and Siri Dharma Galliano (Pilate's guru), both well known fitness trainers for Hollywood, speakers and consultants-they put together the best and most scientifically proven workouts to sculpt your butt to the finest, that we can do all within a commercial break.

Commercial breaks, by law, are supposed to be an average of 3-5 minutes combined. Which, by the end of the hour (your favorite TV show) has given you a perfect 20-25 minutes to do your butt sculpting. I've come to LOVE this strategy, and have made it a habit to do these workouts during each and every commercial break, and to be honest, I haven't felt guilty since.

1. The Squat. One of the best exercises you can do for your butt, hips, and thighs is the squat, say the experts. Stand with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your hips, making sure not to let your knees go out past your toes. 20 reps, and for a little extra use some hand weights in both hands. 5-10 lbs.

2. Lunges. Beginning with your feet parallel and hip-distance apart, take a giant step forward or backward. Slowly lower your body, bending both knees. Bend your knees no farther than 90 degrees, keeping your front knee aligned over your front ankle. Step together and repeat.
Alternate legs or do all sets on one leg and then switch for a greater challenge, says Olson: “You’re cutting the rest time by half, and even though you do the same amount, your legs will be working harder.” 1 minute at a time for the "jump lunge".

3. Bridges. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Slowly peel your spine off the floor from the bottom, one vertebra at a time, tightening the glutes and hamstrings (backs of the thighs) until you've created a diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees. Return to the floor slowly, one vertebra at a time.
Olson likes the one-legged bridge: Hold the knees tightly together and extend one leg at knee level while in the bridge position. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch. Hold for 30 seconds, 3 sets on each leg.

4. Step-ups. Using a weights bench (a step would work too-but I usually just use a chair), step one foot on top, then push through the top leg and glute to lift the bottom leg up and tap the bench. Lower and repeat using the same leg.
Add hand weights or a knee lift with the tapping leg for a greater challenge, suggests Olson. Try do do it continually for 1 minute on each leg.

5. Leg/hip extensions. Reaching a leg behind your body is a great way to work the glutes. In Pilate's, it’s done while lying on your side, but you can also do it while lying over a stability ball or standing. Using a slow, controlled motion, extend the leg behind the body while squeezing the glutes and keeping the torso stable. Do three sets of 15 repetitions, then switch legs.

6. Skater plyos. Feeling like a professional skater? Try this plyometric side step. Standing with feet under hips, take a lateral (sideways) hop to the left on your left foot while coming down to touch your right hand to the floor. Alternate sides and try to complete three sets of 20. "This is great for strength, power, agility and toning up," says Durkin, the Pilate's master.

What I'll do is usually switch them daily. Either doing lunges, squats, and plyos for one day, and then switch it up the next. Sometimes I'll focus on just one exercise (ex. lunges) for each break all the way through, then focus on another exercise (ex. bridges) the next break. You can do whichever you want, mix them up, stick to one, or do as many as you can within the break.

Good Luck, and I hope you start enjoying your commercial breaks that much more!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu Update

My Fellow Readers,
I wanted to get an update on the menu if any of you have tried it.
Let me know what you think, how you've enjoyed it, if you haven't enjoyed it, if it's been helping?
I just wanted to get the scoop to see how it's been for ya.
Or if you have any questions regarding the menu, always feel free to ask!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Did You Know??


Children are munching on more snacks today than they were 30 years ago, according to researchers who studied data on more than 31,300 young people between 2 and 18 years old.
In 2006, kids took in an average of 113 more calories per day than they did in 1977-the equivalent of about 12 pounds per year. What's more, kids are getting 27 percent of their calories from snacks like sweets and salty chips, not whole grains and fruit.


Source: Health Affairs, march 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Simple, Delicious and Low-Caloric Marinades

Chicken Marinade (Skinless, boneless)

Zesty "Light" Italian Dressing (use depending on how much chicken you are preparing)
Oregano
Basil
1/3 c. Sprite Zero
-Mix dressing with herbs in a bag and place chicken in mixture. You can marinate up to 3-4 hours, or over night. Depending on how much time you have. The longer you marinate, the more tender the chicken is.

Fish Marinade (Salmon)
3 Tbls. of Soy Sauce
1 Tbls. of Honey
Salt and Pepper to taste
-Mix together in a bowl. Broil the fish (Salmon) for 3 minutes in a foiled pan, then poor the mixture over the fish and broil for another 3-5 minutes.

Steak Marinade (new york sirloin)
1/4 tbls. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Soy Sauce (LOW SODIUM!)
3 tbls. of Montreal Steak Seasoning
-Mix the olive oil and soy sauce together, and place steak on sauce. Shake on the Montreal Seasoning and refrigerate for half an hour. Turn over steak and shake on Montreal on the other side as well. Marinate for another half an hour then turn. Only shake on seasoning once on each side, but turn every half hour for 2 hours. It comes out perfectly tender and marinated.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Love Your Body

Sometimes our worst enemy isn't the girl with the perfect body next door, or your spouse that pressures you into exercising, it's our own self. I know, it sounds a little cheesy but it really is true. We beat ourselves up more than anyone around us. It's not about the numbers on the scale, or the size of jeans we manage to squeeze into, it's all about how we feel. There is nothing more refreshing than feeling good and confident no matter how you look on the outside.

I came across a must read article that yes, might be a little on the cheesy side (i can't help but use that word again) but absolutely worth reading and thinking about.

Click HERE to read more about how to feel great about our bodies with swim suit season just around the corner!
Thanks to webmd and Pamela Peeke for the article.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Perfect Breakfast

Thank goodness for those people who are so disciplined with their eating, and know how to take good care of themselves. They always have such incredible recipes....and bodies for that matter:).


Organic, Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw, and all Natural are not just fads. To some people these ways of eating are a way of life. The only way they get by. I'm sure if everyone was capable (or disciplined) of eating these ways, we would all be a lot healthier. But, since we lose control sometimes like the average human does, it is still nice to get recipes from these ways of eating and throw them in our menu once in awhile.
I have a friend (woman from my old neighborhood) that might be one of the healthiest eaters I've come across. She passed along a breakfast cereal recipe that literally might be one of the healthiest things I've put into my body. Although she has another name for this home-made cereal, I'm calling it the perfect breakfast, because to me it just might be.

I wanted everyone in on this hearty delight so we can all jump-start our day with a great feeling knowing we are eating healthy, and a good taste in our mouths!


Wheat Bran Cereal (The Perfect Breakfast)
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 c. Oatmeal
2 c. Wheat Brad
2 tbls. Ground Flax Seed
1 tbls. Whole Flax Seed (for texture)
1 scoop of Protein Powder (optional-i never use protein powder)
3 Egg Whites
-Bring 2 1/2 cups of water with cinnamon to a boil. Add Oats and Wheat Bran, reduce to simmer. Cover and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Add Egg Whites and stir to mix. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Add Flax and Protein Powder if used.

*TIP: If you grind your own flax seed, it's good to eat it as soon as possible. Flaxseed is pretty delicate and starts losing it's nutrients pretty fast after grinding it.
P.s. How have the menu's been treating everyone? I would love to know!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Underestimated Powerhouse Foods

What makes a food "super"? If you believe what you see in the grocery story, superfoods are everywhere these days-goji berries, acai juice, wheatgrass, seaweed-many of them exotic ingredients pitched with promises of weightloss, smoother skin, an energy boost, or even a healthier heart. But despite the marketing, there's little to no proof that the food fad of the moment will improve your health. Most people will do best with a diet that derives nutrients from a variety of whole food sources.

Still, there are some foods that deserve the superlative treatment because they have been scientifically show to contain high amounts of the good stuff-like vitamins, minerals, and proteins. The following 5 are all proven sources of nutrients your body needs, no gimmicky mumbo jumbo required:).

BEETS
why they're worth it-
Beets are high in vitamin C and folate. Plus, they're a great source of the antioxident lipoic acid. "Recent research shows it can be helpful in healing nerve damage in people with diabetes, " says Salge-Blake.

SALMON/FISH
why they're worth it-
Salmon contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. "You want to be having 2 fish meals per week because that's going to lower your risk for heart disease, " says Salge-blake. Salmon is also high in protein, so they're great add-on to veggie-heavy dishes. (Tuna and Sardines have the same benefits and are both just as healthy for the times salmon is too high in cost.)

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
why they're worth it-
Brussels sprouts are low in sodium and cholesterol free. "They are a good source of fiber, " says Salge-blake. "And we also have some studies to show vegetables in the cruciferous family have phytochemicals [plat compounds that have protective health benefits] in them."

PUMPKIN SEEDS
why they're worth it-
Pumpkin seeds are a good souce of fiber, vitamin K, and iron. Plus, they're loaded with protein, so they're perfect addition to vegetarian dishes. "This could be a good way to having a meatless meal", says Salge-Blake.

KALE
why it's worth it-
Like it's cousin broccoli, kale is packed with vitamin C. (2 cups have twice as much vitamin C as a medium sized orange.) It's also a good source of vitamin A (beta carotene), calcium, and potassium, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure.

Recipes that include the super foods

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Pinenuts
serves 4
1 pound Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey (reduced sugar honey)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 apples (see list), cored, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
Directions:
1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
2. Peel outer leaves from Brussels sprouts, cut off the ends, and quarter each sprout. Place sprouts in the dish and sprinkle with oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
3. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes. Stir well.
4. Add the apples and nuts. Stir again. Continue roasting for 10 minutes or until the sprouts are tender.

Roasted Beets and Sauteed Beet Greens
serves 4
1 bunch beets with greens
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.
Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.
When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.


(Information source-DiabeticForecast, Dr. Tracy Neithercott, and Boston.com)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Soothing Smoothie

Being Type 1 Diabetic, I'm always trying to think of ways to fix my sugar cravings when I get them. I figured this isn't just something diabetics have to work at, I'm sure every woman deals with his daily as well.

For me, it's taken about 2 years to think of something that is not only extremely healthy, but fix's my sugar cravings perfectly! Not to mention it's outrageously easy. I'm not a fan of those intense recipes that call for everything you don't buy on a regular basis because of the price. After drinking this smoothie nightly, I literally have not had any sugar cravings. I can't tell you how thrilled I am about it.

So, I've put together a quick smoothie, that suprised me with the benefits. And, fortunately my blood sugars are always regulated after. I'm sure it's because of the fiber from all the fruits and flaxseed. Flaxseed is loaded with Omega 3's, antioxidents, and fiber-it's very very healthy for you. So you'll find me and Brad sipping down a good smoothie at nights before bed.

The best time I would recommend drinking this smoothie is right after a good workout!

Soothing Smoothie
4 Strawberries (don't cut off the stems, extra fiber and nutrients-you never taste them)
1 Banana
1 cup of mix berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1 1/2 cup of Spinach
4 tablespoons of Flaxseed Meal (always make sure to buy the grinded)
1/4 cup of either 1% milk or water
1 spoonful of Splenda (optional)

(Flaxseed at Winco is ridiculously cheap, and we usually buy a small bag of frozen mixed berries at Smith's-it's the closest grocery store to us. The mixed berries are usually expensive, so if you can find them cheap that's fantastic.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Healthy Stir-Fry

Stir-Fried Chicken with Yellow Peppers and Snow Peas
Serves 6

Chicken:
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1 inch strips
1 Tbsp. light soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. arrowroot or cornstarch
1 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil

Add ins:
1 tsp. peanut or vegetable oil
1 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves

Vegetables:
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced
4 mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups of trimmed snow peas
1/4 cup of low-fat, reduced sodium chicken broth

Toppings:
1/4 cup of toasted almond slivers or cashews

Directions:
1. Prepare the chicken: Mix the chicken strips, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and arrowroot or cornstarch in a medium bowl. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
2. Heat a wok/skillet/pan over high heat. Add 1 tbsp. of peanut or vegetable oil, and stir fry the chicken for about 4-5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the wok and set aside.
3. Prepare the Add-ins: Add the 1 tsp. of peanut or vegetable oil to the wok. Add in the ginger and garlic, and stir-try for 30 seconds.
4. Add the yellow pepper strips and sliced mushrooms. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add in the snow peas, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add in chicken broth, cover, and steam for 3 minutes or until snow peas turn bright green and are crisp.
5. Add in the desired sauce (see below for ideas), and cook for 1 minute until sauce thickens. Return the chicken to the wok, coating with sauce. Sprinkle with either almonds or cashews.


Sauce Suggestions
Orange Hoisin Sauce:
1/2 cup low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
2 tbsp. prepared hoisin sauce
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. grated fresh orange zest
1 tbsp. arrowroot or cornstarch

Combine all ingredients except the arrowroot or cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. Add in the arrowroot or cornstarch, and whisk again.

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1/2 cup of unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. light soy sauce
1 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. arrowroot or cornstarch

Mix together all the ingredients until smooth.



Me and Brad put it over Brown Rice.
Absolutely delicious!
(we also added in bean sprouts,
feel free to add in any other vegetables you prefer)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cutting Back on the Tube

First of all, I just wanted to say how excited I was about the menu's. I got a lot of responses via comments, but mostly email. I hope it works out for all of you! You will definitely have to tell me how it goes.


So we all have heard that TV is not the best thing we could do for hours on end.
Well, studies are coming out that TV is not only dwindling the brain cells, but also keep some of that weight on that you may be wanting to shed.

The average American sits in front of the TV 5 hours a day. So what would happen if we all turned off the tube? Turns out, we'd be moving around and burning calories, (go figure) a study found out. The televisions of 36 overweight adults were outfitted with a gadget that monitored how long a TV had been on-and which could also switch it off. After 3 weeks, the researches limited some participants to just 50 percent of their normal TV time. Over the next 3 weeks, people forced to turn away from the TV burned an average of 119 more calories a day than viewers left glued to the tube.

This could come to about 12 pounds less body weight over the course of a year. A different study found that watching 4 or more hours of TV a day was associated with a 46 percent greater risk of death than watching less than 2 hours. It's a result that might unnerve even the most dedicated couch potato.

Just something to think about next time you're debating to sit and watch some good TV, or go for a walk outside.

(information source Diabetic Forecast)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dear Readers....

My fellow readers,

My husband's family is doing The Biggest Loser challenge and they asked me to put together a healthy menu for the week. I did a lot of research of what foods are best at certain times of the day, and what fruits and vegetables are low-caloric and high in fiber.
I've put together the menu, including a grocery list and recipes of what to eat at exactly what time of the day to make it as easy for you as possible.
I wanted to include you in on this menu!! So if you're interested at all, let me know and I would be more than happy to send you this menu so you can enjoy the benefits as well. You can either leave your email address in the "comments" or email me at melermie@msn.com to recieve the menu.
For any questions at all, feel free to ask at any time!
Your Friend and Fellow Blogger,
Melissa


(I did a menu previous to this awhile back similar to this one, and the people that received the menu lost an average of 7 pounds and for those who did it longer than a month lost more. I'm not saying this will happen with you, but I can guarantee you will start to feel better and healthier if you go by the menu to the best of your ability.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Tricep Tease

A lot of us woman have the same problem when it comes to our triceps. If you don't know what the tricep is, most likely it's the flab of skin dangling under neath the arm. If yours is not dangling, I give you my highest respect for taking such good care of your arms. For the rest of us average humans, I put together a workout awhile ago and the people that have been doing this little routine have been happy with their results. So of course I wanted to share it with you. (and of course I felt motivated to share it after talking with some good friends at aerobics last night.)


I've put together the top exercises that target specifically the tricep down to the core. If you're not used to working out the tricep, it will feel extremely sore the next day, BUT I promise you, if you keep at it, you will not only be seeing tight results, but you will be wanting to add more weights and go harder before you know it. And of course, always stretch after your workout.

I recommend it either before bed or first thing in the morning. OR if you already have an exercise routine daily (walking, running, swimming) I recommend doing it right after your cardio.


The Tricep Tease
Back-of-chair Up/Downs-20 reps.
(legs out straight, hands on the edge of your chair, back faced towards the chair and bend elbow so your body is lowered down, then push up. repeat 20 times)

Man Pushups-10
(when you get to the point when you can do 10 man pushups without stopping, add 2 more on.)

Weight Pullover-
(get a 10-15 lb. weight and pull it over your head. Straighten elbow by pulling the weight up so your arms are completely straight with weight in the air. repeat by raising and lowering at the elbow.)
Circling Arms-45 circles
(put your arms out to your side, straight out. Make a complete circle by twisting your arms and leading with the palms of your hands, your shoulders shouldn't be moving. Like your shaping a small, invisible basketball. Every circle counts as one. Do 45 individual circles.)

DO THIS ROUTINE TWICE AROUND!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

5 Ways to Quit Caffeine

Caffeine. A drug that our nation depends on entirely.
90% of Americans consume it in one form or another every single day.
84% of those Americans are drinking it in the form of soda or coffee. Why do people think they need it? Easy....they're addicted to it.

Not only does soda cause dehydration (from choosing it over water when thirsty) but it also has been linked to ingestion, heart disease and bone loss. For Diabetics especially, it not only causes diabetes from sugared soda's from the pancreas not being able to support how much sugar is actually being swallowed, but for those that have Type 1, it damages there Kidney's even more than they already are because it sucks the glucose out of the kidney's as well so your body can try and support this awful drink . If Diabetes doesn't scare you enough, soda has been linked to cancer. Soda causes you to burp, and burping from soda brings acid up to into your esophagus, causing lesions, and lesions become cancerous.

So why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it our first option to reach for a coffee or soda to get our day started? It goes beyond it "tasting good". Caffeine alters the brain's natural state, and stimulates it in a manner similar to the amphetamines cocaine and heroin. So you literally have no control and it becomes a need instead of a want.

One of the mechanisms that caffeine addiction, cocaine addiction, and heroin addiction share, is that they block an adenosine's ability to slow the nerve cells' activity in preparation for sleep, and instead increase the speed of their activity and of the neuron firing in the brain. Which of course people can over due if they are drinking it through out the day, leaving you not only wired and unable to think clearly, it keeps you up at night, which we all know how important our sleep is.

So I've found 5 simple strategies to help us rid caffeine from our systems and start over with a fresh new outlook on how to get our lives back on track to health and control. Simple steps that may make a HUGE impact in our every day well-being.

1. Timing is Everything.
Start by choosing a time when you are most relaxed, such as a long weekend.

2. Take Baby Steps.
Make a commitment to try 3 caffeine-free days, and see how you feel afterwards.

3. Be prepared for side-effects.
Be prepared to experience tiredness, irritability and a very back headache, especially after avoiding caffeine for 24 hours. Prepare for these side effects by keeping yourself busy: take walks, spend time in the garden, or do other light, soothing activities.

4. Be aware of your surroundings.
Avoid anything that may aggravate a headache, such as prolonged tv watching or reading in low light. These side-effects will eventually diminish-and are worth it in the long run.

5.Alternative ways to quit.
Or, consider weaning yourself off caffeine by gradually reducing your intake. Substitute Soda, tea or coffee and drink water or fruit juice mixed with sparkling water in lieu of cola. Breathing exercises, physically exercise and a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables may also help reduce the severity of side-effects.

(Sources from Phlant.com, mindconnection.com, and uthealth.com)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Did You Know??

Did you know that if you're actually feeling thirsty, your body is past the point of dehydration?


If you're body gets to the point of feeling thirsty or you have cotton mouth, your body is basically screaming for water by this point.

Avoid your body having to tell you when it needs water and just drink the amounts that's needed to sustain your organs.


Goal for this weekend-1 Liter of water a day!
Do your body a favor and give it all the water it's needing without having to tell you. Your skin will thank you too!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What to Eat Before and After Workouts

I was talking with my sister-in-law, Liz, yesterday and she asked me a really good question. "What kind of foods do I eat while training for a marathon?". I know a lot of people right now that are either training for a marathon or running those kinds of miles daily. Most of them are eating bowls of cereal before runs, or snacking on fast food during the day because they think they are "able" to eat like that since there running. Not thinking of what their bodies are actually needing to sustain such workouts.

Everything I put on this blog is always nutritious and healthy for you and foods that we should always be eating. But the more I thought about this topic, the more I wanted to learn about foods that will help sustain energy for vigorous workouts, and long runs. The type of workouts when your body demands energy the most.

Luckily, I found a perfect article that pretty much nailed everything on this topic! (Thanks to webmd)

Click HERE to read about what types of foods you should be eating before and after workouts, and foods that will help sustain your energy levels during hard, vigorous workouts.

Monday, March 22, 2010

15 Foods That You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen

"You get it by now: Fruits and vegetables are good, potato chips and Oreos are bad. Not exactly rocket science. But are you stocking your fridge and pantry with the right healthy foods—as in, the ones that give you optimum nutrition for your buck (and shelf space)? Here are the foods to put on your grocery list—and keep there—for a healthy diet." By Caitlin Moscatello


Yogurt
Keep your "good" digestive bacteria at a healthy level with yogurts containing live, active cultures. Warning: Some varieties are packed with sugar, so stick with plain or check the labels before tossing it in your grocery cart. Yogurt is one of several super diet foods thanks to the fact that it's both filling and loaded with calcium, potassium and vitamin B.

Wild Salmon
Unlike some other types of fish, studies have shown that mercury levels are relatively low in salmon. This is good news, considering the fish offers optimum nutrition and protein for few calories. It also contains omega-3's, which help maintain heart health. Why go wild? Farm-raised salmon can be more prone to disease and may have been exposed to or treated with antibiotics.

Egg Whites
Even with yolks, eggs have just 70 to 80 calories each—but that yellow center is high in cholesterol. Buy fresh eggs and then take out the yolks for a quick boost of protein in your breakfast. Mix them up with fresh vegetables to add flavor.

Leafy Greens
Healthy greens like broccoli, cabbage and kale have optimum nutrition and are loaded with a plant chemical that may help lower your risk of cancer. Low on vitamins? Add some spinach to your salad. Like other dark, leafy greens, it's loaded with iron and vitamin K, the ladder of which may prevent osteoporosis, diabetes and arthritis.

Blueberries
There’s no way to talk about super diet foods without mentioning blueberries, which contain antioxidants and double as an anti-inflammatory. Aim for about half a cup a day, whether on top of whole wheat, mixed in with yogurt or simply on their own.

Almonds
Not only do almonds help reduce bad cholesterol, they may help you lose weight—according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. Another study, this one out of Harvard's School of Public Health, found that the nut could reduce the risk of a heart attack by 25 percent if eaten at least twice a week.

Black Beans
Did someone say breakfast burrito? Add black beans to your list of healthy foods. They're high in fiber (a major plus) and offer other optimum nutrition components, such as calcium, iron and folic acid. So toss them in an omelet or make a black bean soup as the perfect cold-weather lunch.

Apples
You've heard the expression "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," and it's true. Apples are also packed with fiber and may help reduce your risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the Nutrition Journal. They also contain the mineral boron, which is good for bones.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene, which may help prevent certain cancers. Studies have also shown that tomatoes can lower cholesterol, as well as reduce blood pressure and maintain healthy cellular growth (which is a fancy way of saying it can help you have healthier hair, nails and skin). Your best bet? Eat plenty of tomato sauce. You’ll be able to pack in more nutrients than by just downing slices alone.

Orange Juice
It's also possible to drink super healthy diet foods. Orange juice contains potassium and—you guessed it—vitamin C. Plus, many brands are now fortified with heart healthy omega-3s. It may also help increase your HDL levels, a.k.a. healthy cholesterol. Look for fresh squeezed varieties and brands low in sugar.

Sweet Potatoes
Talk about optimum nutrition: Sweet potatoes have five times the "required" amount of beta carotene your body needs. So what does that mean? For one, healthier skin. Beta carotene can help prevent against sun damage. It may also boost your immune system, preventing you from getting sick from colds and other infections this winter.

Wheat Germ
Wheat germ contains magnesium, which helps keep your bones healthy in addition to reducing stress and maintaining healthy insulin levels. It also has iron, fiber, calcium, potassium and even zinc (which may help boost your immune system). Add wheat germ to your diet by sprinkling it on yogurt or healthy cereal.

Pomegranate
Eat this tangy fruit's juicy seeds or drink it in juice form for a punch of antioxidants, including tannins and anthocyanins. It's a must-have addition for any heart healthy diet since it may help blood flow and reduce levels of bad cholesterol. According to research out of UCLA, it may also help prevent certain types of cancers.

Hot Peppers
Chilies don't just spice up your favorite recipes—they’re also packed with vitamin C and may help reduce pain levels. They may also help you lose weight. Spicy foods have been found to increase the metabolic rate by up to 23 percent for short periods of time.

Oatmeal
Down a healthy dose of fiber for breakfast with a bowl of oatmeal, which may help reduce LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels, as well as provide nutrients, such as vitamin E, iron and magnesium. Tip: Add a scoop of protein powder for an extra healthy kick in the morning.


(Information from ShapeHealth.com)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Parmesan Mushroom Sandwich

One day the only thing we had in our fridge was mushrooms, red peppers, and Parmesan cheese. So I put them together and made literally one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. I didn't take a picture, because honestly I didn't think it was going to taste good, but I can definitely say the recipe turned out awesome. So I'll share the recipe just in case you want to try it for lunch sometime. And it's healthy!

Parmesan Mushroom Sandwich
2 pieces of whole wheat bread
4 sliced up mushrooms
1/3 cup of Parmesan
3 sliced sides of a red pepper

Directions:
Slice the mushrooms and put them in a pan with some butter for about 5 min., or until lightly brown. While mushrooms are cooking make some room to put the slices of pepper on the pan to heat up for a bit. Put a lid on the pan and let it all heat up for about 5 minutes. When all heated, bunch up the mushrooms in the pan and put the Parmesan cheese on top of the mushrooms. let the cheese melt all the way.

Toast the bread, and when done, put the mushrooms and Parmesan cheese on the bread, along with the peppers. You can butter (Smart Balance) the slices or use whatever dressing you want. I also put a couple of leaves of Spinach on it, and a little sliced onion on it as well. You can pretty much put whatever you want on it. Hopefully that made sense and you enjoy it as much as I do!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

3 Diet Resolutions for National Nutrition Month

3 Diet Resolutions for National Nutrition Month -By Julie Upton RD

"March is National Nutrition Month, and March 11 is Registered Dietitian Day. For me, March is a better time than New Year’s to make resolutions to improve your diet and lifestyle for optimal health and well-being. In January and February, it can be hard to be more active when it’s essentially black when you wake up and dark again by the time you get home from work. In March, however, we’re actually seeing signs of spring (at least some of us are), so it’s a great time to renew and recharge your commitment to health.
Below are three steps I’m taking this month—and hopefully once and for all. Maybe my goals will inspire you to try something to improve your health. Be sure to leave your get-healthy tips in the comments so that we can pick up ideas and motivation from each other.

1. Eat more plants. We know fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should be the bulk of our diet, but without really trying to get those in on a daily basis, I’m falling short. Some examples could be to use nut butters in place of butter on my toast and put slices of avocado on my salads and sandwiches and nix the cheese. I will use soy milk in place of cow’s milk in coffee or tea or with cereal. (I like the new Silk Soy because it has 70 calories—20 less per serving than skim milk—but is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and B12.) When you go out to dinner, make it an ethnic excursion; have Indian, Mexican, or Asian food, as there are more vegetarian options at ethnic eateries compared to restaurants with American fare.

2. Eat—don’t drink—my calories. I’ve gotten a bit addicted to skinny lattes, but I’ve decided that the extra 100 calories or so that I’m getting every day could be better spent on a cup of yogurt that has more protein and is more physiologically (not psychologically) satisfying than the latte. Research continues to show that we may not compensate for calories we consume in liquid form, making it harder to control your daily calories if you drink them, rather than eat them.

3. Snack on healthier foods. Like most Americans, I can be a real snackaholic. I snack at least twice a day, but there are days when I’m so busy that I don’t stop for meals and snack all day long. I’m sure I eat more calories snacking all day, compared to when I eat a real breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For healthier snacks, I’m going to keep my kitchen stocked with fruits and vegetables. I like snacking on cut-up veggies with low-fat dip as long as I don’t have to cut up the veggies! So, I’ll spend the extra money to buy them pre-cut to ensure that I eat them. Other options will be nonfat yogurt, trail mix, nuts, and other wholesome foods."

Simple reminders always help us along the way:)
Have a wonderful Tuesday!