Coffee or Calorie Fest?

latte-grandeYour morning beverage might be making you fat by adding more calories than you think.  If your morning delight contains 250 calories or more, it could be causing you to gain almost a pound every two weeks.  That’s a whopping 24 L-Bees a year! Yikes!

Does your favorite cup of Jo make the cut?

Grande “Skinny” Vanilla Latte: 130 kcals

Grande Vanilla Latte: 250 kcals

Grande Caramel Frapaccino: 380 kcal

Grande Tazo Chai Tea Latte: 240 kcal

Caramel Macchiato: 240 kcal

Grande White Chocolate Mocha: 470 kcals (Oh my God- Breath)

Grande Coffee of the Day: 5 kcals (adding some skim adds only about 10 kcals for a total of 15 kcals)

Hit up the treat twice a month if you must- but on the daily, better to skip the sugar rush and calorie fest by grabbing a brew of the day.

Quote of The Day

“Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.”

Feel a Cold Coming on? Try a Nugget of Garlic

When you feel a cold coming on, amp up on the Garlic!  The compounds in Garlic promote phagocytosis and stimulate the immune cells to fight back!  garlic-bspAdd a couple cloves to your dinner or hit up the Garlic Capsules (odorless please).  Take action fast enough and you may not have to take a single sick day.

Celebrate Green!


Take St. Patty’s Day to the diet! At the center of each chlorophyll molecule (the molecule that makes fruits and veggies green) is my favorite mineral: Magnesium. Amp up your Magnesium intake today by eating your leafy greens and green fruits!

C

Happy St, Patty’s day!

The Low Cal Tricks You Need For Happy Hour

Many health officials will advise skipping happy hour all together, but Im more realistic. There are many ways to let loose with out waking up tomorrow in a pit of self loathing because you had 5 margaritas, a plate of nachos, and then ordered Pappa Johns when you got home. If you’re going out for Happy Hour tonight, stick to some low-cal rules:

  • Order an unflavored, clear liquor (like vodka or light bacardi) with soda water. Flavor it with your favorite cirtus fruit like lemon, lime or orange. It’ll cut back on the calories and sugar significantly.
  • While everybody else is eating nachos and french fries, order a salad with chicken and maybe a couple slices of bread. You’ll feel less weighed down throughout the night and you’ll wake up ready to have a fun and productive weekend.
  • Order a water everytime you see your server. It’ll ensure that you’re hydrating enough and cut back on the alcoholic beverages.
  • Walk to your car tomorrow morning to burn a few extra calories. If you cab it- have the driver drop you off a few blocks away.
Have a good weekend!

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Salads are Healthy…Right???

A rude awakening about your favorite salads.

read more | digg story

Save Your Money, Not Your Appetite

In these ‘hard times,’ we’re all looking for ways to save a buck. But more and more, people are compromising their diet for this money saving venture. But they don’t have to! There are many ways to make grocery shopping fun, yummy, AND nutritious, without breaking the bank. The key is planning. Buying random grocery items will leave you bored and hungry in just a few days. By setting yourself up to make some hearty meals using versatile ingredients, you’ll make your dollar go farther without depriving yourself of nutrients.

Need Ideas!?

1. Whole Grain Pasta: Boxes are currently 3 for $4 at many grocery stores. There are so many ways to jazz up this grainy noodle. Add some veggie meat and tomato sauce for dinner and save the rest for a pasta salad to take for lunch the next day. You can also serve it with chicken breasts, capers and olive oil, or just toss in some veggies and parmesan. It’s cheap, versatile, and delicious.

2. Take a number!: Sure waiting in the deli is kind of annoying- but it’s worth it. It’s fresh and costs less than the prepackaged deli meats. Use it in a butter free grilled cheese, to make a chef’s salad, or heat it up with some egg and put it on a bagel from the bakery (usually under 70 cents- making your breakfast sandwich $1 and change instead of $4 or more). It’s also great in a pita or just rolled up in a cheese slice for a low carb and easy snack. Your local deli probably has some on sale too so be sure to ask!

3. Get more Cluck for your buck: Tyson’s offers chicken that is already frozen. You get more in the bag and it’s cheaper! Most of us freeze the chicken we buy anyway so we might as well buy the bargain. Just defrost a piece or two when you’re ready and cook it up. It’s great with whole grain pasta, on top of a salad or with a side or two of fresh veggies. Another option: Buy a fresh rotisserie chicken (most grocery stores sell them for under $7) and cut it up right when you get home. By buying, slicing, and storing, this easy purchase will go a long way!

4. Forget the Orgo Buzz: If the high price tag on organic produce is causing you to steer clear- forget it! More often than not people opt to skip the fresh fruits and veggies for fear that the traditional produce isle is poisonous. It’s not! Splurge on a bottle of produce wash and start bagging your goods. Having lots of fruits and veggies in your fridge means more salad, wrap, and snack options. Grab some hummus while you’re at it for the perfect veggie snack dip (or to replace mayo and other fatty condiments in your wraps and sandwiches.)

5. Forgo the pre-packaged foods!: Yes, this means a little extra effort on your end but it can result in HUGE savings, fewer calories, and fresher meals! Cut up and wash your own lettuce and veggies for an ‘on the go’ salad or sandwich stuffer. Chop up a variety of fruit and use it yogurt, granola, or as a finger food snack.

6. Make your own coffee!: Dixie makes coffee cups with lids that are perfect for travel. You can find them by the paper plates in the grocery store. Add a bag of Starbucks beans to your cart and brew a fresh pot every morning. It’ll save you hundreds of dollars and thousands of calories a year!

Where not to Skimp…

1. Don’t skimp milk, meat, and eggs. In the case of products derived from animals, organic is the better option because they’ll be free of antibiotics and hormones.

2. Get quality bread. It’ll provide more nutrients and be more satisfying.

3. Don’t get margarine instead of butter just because it’s cheaper….ew.

Planning your meals may take some creativity and a little extra effort, but putting forth that effort will be totally worth it when you see how much you can save. And it’s an added bonus that you’re getting fresher foods with more nutrients and FEWER calories!

Welcome the new year! And the New YOU!

As you’ve heard from CNN, ABC, and NBC, the number one New Year’s resolution is to diet and get into shape. Unfortunately, too many people fail to follow through with this self improving goal and are left more discouraged than ever. Some of the most common reasons people fall off the weight loss wagon include: not personalizing a resolution and plan, and setting the bar unrealistically high. Here are 6 tips to give you the upper hand and help you achieve your 09 success.

  • Give yourself a goal. Deciding to just “lose weight” or “get into shape” is too general and allows for you to make too many compromises. Whether you choose to lose 5 pounds, 50 pounds, or just an inch around your waist, make a decision. Once you have a goal and a finish line in sight- you’ll be much more likely to see it through.
  • Be realistic! Lofty goals aren’t accomplished over night. Most people forget they even made a New Years resolution by March! Why? Because they expected too much and too quickly! They were way to hard on themselves, became discouraged, went for the cake, and never came back. Accept that this weight loss business takes time and commitment, you’ll be thankful you stuck to it.
  • Personalize your plan. There is no easy way out of this one! What worked for your best friend might not work for you. We all have different metabolisms, different cravings, different weaknesses and different strengths. Accept that. Find what works for you and go with it.
  • Remember your feelings. Rule of thumb: if eating something makes you feel good about yourself, go with it! If you feel like you’re falling into a pit of self loathing crap 20 minutes after you eat it- remember that feeling. Chances are you wont want to feel that way again for a loooooong time.
  • Count! Yeah yeah yeah- counting calories is annoying and tedious. But guess what? It works. You wanna lose a little everyday? Go to this handy calculator. As you’ll see it takes a number of factors into consideration when figuring the appropriate number of calories one should consume daily. Simply aim to consume fewer calories than needed to maintain your current weight. It’s just math. Burn more than you consume- even if slowly- the weight will come off.
  • Create a mantra. I didn’t even really know what a mantra was until I started examining what diet tricks worked for people, and many people have had great success with this one! My favorite thus far “I don’t want to feel like crap anymore!” (This person remembered her feelings!) And when you’ve met your goal you can change that to “I never want to feel that way again!” Another good one: “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Whatever works for you- whatever your motivation is, don’t let yourself forget why you chose this resolution in the first place.
What seems to work for people most frequently is commitment. Its the single more important factor in a health plan. And should you fall off the wagon for a day, or even two, don’t allow it to discourage you so much that you quit! Instead, remember how it makes you feel and make it your motivation.



5 Ways to Beat the Lazies

There is an old Italian saying which says “the appetite comes while eating.”
This simplistically wise old saying could really be applied to so many aspects of life. Around this time of year is when people start to get the ‘lazies.’ Often times it is frowned upon to ‘go through the motions,’ but how bad could it be if in the end you find exactly what you need? It’s like sex, you may not be in the mood, but if you go through the motions, you get in the mood- quickly- then it’s all you can think about wanting. So when the ‘lazies’ strike, it is best to push right through and stop them before it becomes your way of the winter. The truth is this: energy yields more energy. Pushing yourself to do something you don’t want to do will make it easier and easier each time you do it; eventually you’ll just WANT to be active. Forcing yourself to go for a long walk or a run will eventually make you want to do it over and over again. Next thing you know- you have more energy, you sleep better through the night, and the force can be removed; the deign will be replaced with desire. This goes for eating habits as well. Once you go through the motions of eating a healthy diet, it will become routine. You’ll soon look at all the sat fats and sweets and think “ew gross” or “ruin the work out I just forced myself to do?- never!” Before you know it you’ll crave things like veggies and lighter meals. The hardest thing is getting over the hump and forcing yourself to do what you don’t really feel like doing. But you have to trust that, just as the appetite will come while eating, your desire for health will come once you start to try. Here are 5 ways to trick yourself into kicking the ‘lazies’

  • Set yourself up for success: Surround yourself with things that’ll get you in the mood. Fitness magazines are a great way to get motivated. Or try putting your running shoes or yoga mat by the door so that every time you leave the house you’re reminded of the work out that ought to be done once you return.
  • Bag it up!: Hit the produce section when you go to the grocery store. It’s not only less expensive than a lean cuisine, but it’s fresher and healthier. Purchasing the ingredients for fun veggie snack or salad will motivate you to skip the ‘other’ finger foods available at lunch time.
  • If your work-out isn’t quite doing it for you, switch it up a bit. Most people lose interest in their work-out but that doesn’t mean they should just quit it on it. Maybe a yoga class can replace your spinning class. Maybe the stair stepper or a run outside can replace the treadmill. How ever you opt to switch it up and keep things interesting is on you- but the work-out should not be forgone.
  • Move: When all you want to do is lay on the couch and do nothing, DO SOMETHING! Throw on the ipod and slip into your running shoes. Set out to go on a 20-30 walk and take in the crisp fall air. Maybe all you end up doing is walking around the town, but maybe you get a burst of energy and run a few miles. Either one is better than doing nothing.
  • The buddy system! It made sure you didn’t get lost on field trips in 3rd grade and it can make sure you don’t get lost now. If you have a friend that you’re meeting for a run, walk, or gym class, you wont bail on it. Sometimes it’s just not enough to be dedicated to yourself. Having somebody else in the wing who is depending on you will ensure you don’t skip out.

So, though it’s oh so hard to force yourself to do things that you don’t really want to do, once you start things up, they’ll all fall into place and the motivation will surface. The important thing to do is to go through the motions. Afterall , the more health you go for, the more health you’ll desire.

You have my heart

Tonight my boyfriend, always trying to get me to expand my horizons, is attempting to make me watch ‘Legends of the Fall’. If you know me, you know that I am not exactly a movie buff, especially when it comes to movies made before 1999. But this flick that Ryan has forced upon me has led to some thoughts which are now the the foundation for your latest nugget.

In the movie there is a stress placed upon the Native American Indian concept which states that the heart carries the soul. This got me questioning: why the heart? In our society, and in history for that matter, there is much emphasis placed on the literal and the figurative heart. It has been the basis of epic stories of love and war, touching poems, and passionate music. Granted the heart is an organ vital to life, but so are many other organs, enzymes, and glands. And I don’t recall anybody reciting “without you my helicases would cease to function.” Far less romantic sounding I guess, but I think I’ve figured out why. The heart is the only organ which, if destroyed, will take your life in seconds. It is the only organ which feeds the other organs the oxygen needed to survive. It is the only organ of which we are totally aware. We can feel it. We feel it beat faster and harder when we are nervous. We feel it sink into our stomachs when we become frightened. We feel it beat out of our chests when we see the person we love. You can hear and feel the heart of another when you are close to somebody you love. When your soul is impacted and emotions arise, it is the heart that responds. So, it was not unreasonable for those responsible for the great works of our history to use the figurative image of this organ to symbolize all that it vital to passion, love, and life. It is only logical to believe that, just maybe, the heart carries much more than blood. It would only be responsible, then, to ensure that this organ of such vast importance is in pitch perfect shape right? So how are you going to do it??? Luckily, you have me. Here are 10 ways to improve heart health

1) Go for a run: Yeah I know you’re tired of hearing it. Im even tired of trying to force myself to do it. But by revving up your heart rate you strengthen the muscle with which you trust your life.

2) Put a little E in your life!: If you read my previous blog about vitamin E, you know Im a huge advocate. It can act as a natural and mild blood thinner and could contribute to less plaque that will eventually cause clotting. The build up that does accumulate can cause heart disease and contribute to the hardening of the business that needs to stay lubed and elastic: your arteries.

3) Go fish: Eating fish such as cod or salmon 3-4 times a week can supply enough of the essential fatty acids such as omega-3 to balance out your lipoproteins. The objective is to lower LDL and increase HDL. It is thought that HDL can even help remove the unwanted build up from passages in the heart.

4) Throw some A in the mix: The carotenoid family of veggies such as the reds, oranges, and yellows, all contain the precursor needed for your body to make vitamin A. It can bind to LDL and inhibit it’s ability to bind to the walls of your arteries.

5) Magnesium: Magnesium helps regulate your heart’s rhythm. Without it your heart could spasm and just get a little wakky. And guess what? If your heart has a steady rhythm to it, it can better supply you with a nice even flow of the good stuff. It can also help control angina

6) Thicken your plate: Viscous fiber such as okra and oatmeal can reduce cholesterol levels by interfering with absorption. This can lead to a decreased amount of cholesterol available to build up in the heart.

7) Cheers!: While red wine is still advocated for heart health due to its other phytochemicals such as resveratrol, studies are now saying that any alcoholic beverage can have heart benefits. Two a day for men and one a day for women. No that’s not sexist, and it’s not even based on weight! Women have a less active dehydrogenase, the enzyme needed to process alcohol.

8) Weigh your options: You’ve been under a rock if you haven’t heard that heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. How can one prevent it? Well… in addition to efforts to quit smoking, decreasing the amount of dietary saturated fat is a great start. Sat Fats (a little industry lingo for you) will increase levels of LDL and lead to lots of plaque…Ew. With every meal you’re given choice. Ask yourself, ‘is this meal high in grease and grossness?’ If the answer is yes, I’m sure there is a better menu option. And for those of you who think you have time before you have to worry about these things, think again. New studies are finding that plaque build up can start as early as 8 years old. Think back to all of those happy meals… Im sure we all have some making up to do.

9) Mince a little garlic: It has been known to help normalize high blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.

10) B-lieve you can make a difference in your future heart health: Yeah, Im a dork…. but seriously, amp up the B-vitamins. Over doing it on these water soluble vitamins is almost (almost…) impossible. Together they can improve cholesterol levels and prevent atherosclerosis. They are found together in many foods or in a B vitamin complex.

Food sources you ask?

 

  • Eat grain and breads that are dense. They often times contain high amounts of viscous fiber as well as vitamin E.
  • Fish!
  • Oats
  • Nuts. They contain high levels of vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids
  • Veggies, colorful ones! High fiber, high antioxidants- you cant go wrong

All in all, the full spectrum of heart health is only found in the synergistic relationship within lifestyle, diet, exercise. But always remember that this little guy beating away in your chest is working hard to pump 5 quarts of blood with every beat. It’s working hard to deliver much needed oxygen to every nook and cranny of your body. Making sure it’s healthy is the least you can do for the little muscle making sure you have life …and soul.