Showing posts with label healthy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healthy. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

5 Yoga Workouts For Beginners



We just love yoga! It is so calming and relaxing and really helps us to get centered. We are total beginners and really wanted to get some yoga beginners basics so we reached out to Kelsey Lawrence, Arizona Yoga Instructor and an Alpha Chi Omega Alumnae, to show us the ropes. Kelsey shares just how to do each beginner's yoga workout. Whether it's doing yoga at a studio, on the beach, or in the comfort of your home, you can take yoga just about anywhere with these easy workouts. Thanks for sharing, Kelsey!

Cat Cow (Chakravakasana)

  1. Begin in tabletop position, hands under shoulders and knees under hips. 
  2. Inhale and arch your back. Leading forward with your heart (not your head), shoulders on your back and chin tucked. Press down through your hands and feel your heart opening. Keep your shoulders relaxed, opened, and broadened. 
  3. Exhale and round your back like a cat. Tucking your chin in towards your chest and exhaling all of the air out of your lungs. 
  4. Repeat 5 times on your breath. 

This pose is extremely beneficial for back pain. It moves your hips and spine and squeezes out the kidneys. When leading with your heart, feel the expansiveness and opening of new possibilities!

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  1. Begin in tabletop position. 
  2. It is important in this pose to angle your hands in the right angle in order to protect your shoulders. 
  3. On your mat, widen your arms to where your pinky fingers are touching the edge of the mat. Make sure your pointer fingers are pointing forward. 
  4. On your next exhale tuck your toes and push back, raising your seat into the air with your feet hip distance apart. Push back through your hips while being mindful not to hyper-extend your straight arms. 
  5. Try and turn your shoulders out ward. 
  6. Ground your heals into your mat and if not, bending the knees is a beautiful way to practice this pose, especially if you have tight hamstrings. 
  7. It allows pressure to be taken off the hamstrings and lower back and you are able to sink deeper into the posture. 
  8. Breath here for 5 breath’s. Long inhale and extended exhale. 
This pose relives stiffness in the heels, strengths ankles and legs. The abdominal muscles are drawn towards the spine and the head relaxes and drops down, allowing the heart rate to slow. This is a very exhilarating pose and brings energy to your body. If you are feeling tired or groggy during the day, drop everything and get into down ward dog or some sort of inversion. The energizing benefits from this asana help to sustain energy and is much more valuable to your health compared to sugary energy drinks.

Warrior B (Virabhadrasana B)


  1. Begin by standing on your mat; exhale and step your left leg behind you about 4 feet. Have your right toes facing forward and your left back foot angled about 45 degrees. 
  2. Bend into your right leg; keep your knee over your ankle and breath. 
  3. The outside of your back foot should be pressed into the floor and feel grounded. 
  4. Feel the strength of your legs and the beautiful earth supporting you. 
  5. Engage your abdomen, tuck the sacrum down, and try keeping the right knee over the ankle, not letting it dip inward or outward. 
  6. Breathe here as long as you feel comfortable or for 3 breaths keeping your gaze at your right hand. 
  7. Straighten your right leg; bring your left to meet the right and switch sides! 

This is a very powerful pose. You are toning your quads and hamstrings as well as your core. It also prepares you for other challenging yoga poses. Mentally focus on the path you want to be on. Find strength in grounding in the earth and that energy will guide you. A beautiful mantra for this pose might be: There is no path to peace, peace is the path.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

  1. Begin on your back. Tuck your chin a little into your chest and breath. 
  2. Tuck your pelvis under and bring the insides of your feet together and slowly move your legs closer to your body until you feel a stretch in your hips. 
  3. Rest your arms beside you palms up to receive energy. 
  4. Your legs will look like they are in the shape of a butterfly. If the sensation is too much, you can place a blanket under each of your knees for support. 
  5. Lie here and breathe into your hips for 5 deep breaths. 
Hip openers are so important because we hold so much of our tension in our hips. There are issues in our tissues! When you consciously focus on expanding into that tight area you are not only stretching the fascia you are consciously letting go of anxiety, and who doesn’t want that!! Focus on your breath in this pose and if it hurts you can always back out of it. However, I challenge you to breath through the pain and notice how quickly it subsides and how good it feels.

Childs Pose (Balasana)

  1. Time to rest. Begin in tabletop position. 
  2. Bring feet together and widen your knees open so that you are able to bring your buttocks towards your feet. Exhale and slowly rest your torso over your thighs so your forehead touches the mat. 
  3. Extend your arms forward and breath. Another variation for this pose is to keep your arms bent or relax them next to you on your sides. 
  4. Close your eyes and lengthen your breath for a deeper form of relaxation. 
  5. Breathe here for 5 breaths and enjoy the stretch into the back of the torso 

This pose helps relieve stress and anxiety, as well as helps with dizziness and fatigue. Flexes the body’s internal organs and keeps them supple, and lengthens and stretches the spine. It normalizes circulation throughout the body and calms the body and mind.


Enjoy these poses and I hope they bring you peace, love and beauty to your life.


Namaste


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hungry Girl's Grilled & Chilled Veggie Tuna Salad





We are trying to take in more greens so we were so happy to come across this super quick and tasty recipe from Hungry Girls. Their diet-friendly recipes make it easier to eat clean. Below is one of our favorite super green recipes. Find the step by step below!

Ingredients

1 (2.6 oz.) Pouch - Starkist Tuna Creations® Sweet & Spicy

8 thin (or 6 thick) asparagus stalks, tough ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 cup eggplant cut into 1-inch cubes

One 1⁄2-inch-thick onion slice, rings intact

1⁄2 cup cherry tomatoes

3 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2 Tbsp. light balsamic vinaigrette dressing


Directions

1. Bring a grill pan sprayed with non-stick spray to medium-high heat. Add asparagus, eggplant, and onion. Cook until slightly softened, 6–8 minutes.

2. Flip veggies, and add the cherry tomatoes to the pan. Cook for 4 minutes.

3. Flip tomatoes. Cook until all veggies are soft and slightly blackened, about 2 minutes.

4. Transfer veggies to a medium bowl. Let cool completely.

5. Chop onion. Cover and refrigerate veggies until chilled, at least 30 minutes.

6. Place lettuce on a large plate or in a large bowl and evenly top with chilled vegetables and tuna. Top or serve with dressing. Yum!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

10 Best Snacks For Healthy Weight Loss


Contrary to popular belief, in order to lose weight, you actually have to eat! We are huge advocates for staying fit and in shape, the healthy way. Not eating enough and essentially starving yourself while excessively working out can cause a lot of problems including putting yourself at risk for hypoglycemia. Yahoo! Stories created the perfect article on the '10 Best Snacks For Weight Loss' so we wanted to share them with you so you can make smarter eating choices as you embark on a healthy weight loss journey. Find the ten (10) snacks below as written by Yahoo! Stories!

Hunger Squasher!
WEIGHT LOSS SNACK #10

Wholly Guacamole, 100-calorie pack

100 calories, 9 g fat (1.5 g sat fat), 200 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 1 g protein

Most pre-made guacamole is lacking in one crucial ingredient: guacamole. Avocados, specifically (adios, Ortega). But Wholly Guacamole is what it says it is: real food, with no added oils, starches and artificial colors. Avocados pack in healthy monounsaturated fats that contain oleic acid, which can actually help quiet feelings of hunger. Which means this snack will actually do what afternoon snacks are intended to do: keep you full and focused until dinnertime. And Keep That Waistline Toned and Tight with These Essential 4 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days!

Waistline Melter!
WEIGHT LOSS SNACK #9

MaraNatha Almond Butter, No Salt, Creamy, 2 Tbsp

190 calories, 17 g fat (1.5 g sat fat), 0 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 7 g protein

Sure, peanut butter is cheaper, but when it comes to weight loss, almond butter is like PB on steroids. In fact, a study from the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders compared subjects on a low-fat diet with others who followed a diet richer in fat—but the fat was supplied by almonds. The almond group lost 50 percent more weight off their waistlines than the low-fat dieters, despite the fact that both groups consumed the same amount of total calories. Try smearing some over apple slices for a tasty blend of sweet and savory (bonus points if you choose a red apple over green—red fruits have higher nutrient counts).

Belly Filler!
WEIGHT LOSS SNACK #8

SkinnyPop, 3 ¾ cups

150 calories, 10 g fat (1 g sat fat), 75 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 2 g protein

Eat for size, and win the weight-loss prize. “Volumetrics” is an eating plan championed by researchers at Penn State University, and it’s based on eating foods that take up a lot of space in your gut—without a lot of calories. For example, a huge salad—or in this case, nearly 4 cups of popcorn—will leave you more satisfied than a square of chocolate, and for far fewer calories. We love SkinnyPop because it’s free of additives and tasty without being too salty. Fill up, but don’t fill out: Use These Eat This, Not That!-recommended 10 Daily Habits That Blast Belly Fat.

Fat Blocker!
WEIGHT LOSS SNACK #7

KIND Caramel Almond & Sea Salt, 1 bar

200 calories, 16 g fat (3 g sat fat), 125 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 6 g protein

The sweetness of caramel, the fat of almonds, the added sea salt—wait, this is a diet food?! Yes! KIND keeps the sugar content low while packing this bar with healthy fats, which slow the body’s absorption of sugar and carbs, keeping blood sugar levels stable and focus laser-sharp long after snack time is over. A study published in Nutrition Journal found that consuming low-sugar, high-protein snacks promotes weight loss. The reason: Healthy snacking keeps your blood-sugar from spiking, preventing hunger pangs, cravings and body fat storage.

Metabolism Turbocharger!
WEIGHT LOSS SNACK #6

EPIC Grass-Fed Protein Bar, Bison, 1 bar

200 calories, 12 g fat (5 g sat fat), 220 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 11 g protein

Okay, so maybe when you think “snack,” your first thought isn’t “Where can I get me some bison?” But buffalo is much leaner than other meats, and makes for a better jerky, especially when paired with organic spices and dried fruit. Adding low-sugar, high-protein snacks to your daily diet can help fuel weight loss efforts by boosting metabolism and reducing hunger pangs. Just be sure to choose the right protein—for example, click here to discover the shocking truth about How Tilapia Is Worse Than Bacon!

Vitamin Booster!
WEIGHT LOSS SNACK #5

Fage Total 2%, 7 oz

150 calories, 4 g fat (3 g sat fat), 65 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 20 g protein

Packed with protein, crammed with calcium, popping with probiotics, yogurt has all the makings of the best weight loss foods. But tread ye carefully in the aisle of the fermented milk products; manufacturers have a knack for cramming as much sugar and artificial ingredients into yogurt pots as they do candy bars. The next time you find yourself discombobulated in the dairy section, reach for the Fage (pronounced fa-yeh). Not just creamier and more delicious than most yogurts, the brand’s little bit of milkfat in the 2% variety allows your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the yogurt. Plus, you can’t get a much purer ingredient list than this: milk, cream and cultures.

Belly Fat Fighter!
WEIGHT LOSS SNACK #4

Kashi Original 7 Grain Sea Salt Pita Crisps, 11 crisps

120 calories, 3 g fat (0 g sat fat), 180 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 3 g protein

Pita chips sound more exotic than corn chips, so a lot of us immediately think they must be healthier, too. But step back from that snack: Most brands douse their pita in heavy oils and then roll them in sodium. Kashi’s, on the other hand, have a modest 120 calories and 180 mg sodium per serving. In astudy published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers discovered that obese participants who added whole grains to their diets lost more belly fat than those who did not. One of the key weight-loss benefits of whole grains: their healthy dose of fiber helps slow digestion, keeping you fuller longer. And to enjoy your guilty pleasures, guilt-free,Indulge in These 10 Best Junk Foods for Weight Loss.

Bloat Buster!
WEIGHT LOSS SNACK #3

Eden Organic Pumpkin Seeds, ¼ cup

200 calories, 16 g fat (3 g sat fat), 100 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 10 g protein

Not only are they loaded with protein and fiber, but pumpkin seeds are also one of the world’s best sources of magnesium, a mineral that helps strengthen bones and improve blood circulation. In addition to a generous portion of satiating protein, one ounce of the tiny seeds serves up 75 percent of your day’s magnesium, which can ward off water retention (read: no more bloated belly). The nutrient can also help relax your blood vessels, nixing deadline-induced headaches.

Calorie Burner!
WEIGHT LOSS SNACK #2

Horizon Organic Mozzarella String Cheese, 1 stick

80 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g sat fat), 200 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 8 g protein

Each low-fat stick of this brand has a fifth of your day’s calcium intake, which means a low-fat you as well. Some researchers speculate that dairy calcium helps fight fat because it increases the “thermic effect” of eating—in other words, you burn more calories digesting calcium-rich foods than you would if you ate something with the same number of calories, but no calcium. Try a piece of pre-sliced, low-fat cheese like mozzarella or Monterey Jack with some wheat crackers, recommends Christine M. Palumbo, a Chicago-based dietician. “Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuits work great for this and have a really nice flavor,” she says. She can even help you lose weight at MickeyD’s; check out What 8 Diet Experts Eat at McDonald’s.

Chocolate Belly Melter!
WEIGHT LOSS SNACK #1

Vitalicious VitaBrownie, 1 brownie

100 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g sat fat), 105 mg sodium, 10 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 4 g protein

With VitaBrownies, you can satisfy your craving for something sweet at any time of the day without sabotaging your diet. Each chocolaty square packs 8 grams of whole grains—a dietary staple of people with the littlest middles. A Public Health Nutrition study found that participants who ate three or more servings of whole grains had 10 percent less belly fat than people who ate the same amount of calories from refined carbs (like bad-for-you brownies). When it comes to diet and snacking, being unrefined is a good thing!

Happy healthy eating!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spicy "Cheesy" Kale Chips Recipe





Kale is all the rage! This is the perfect delicious, yet healthy snack filled with tons of flavor without gaining the extra weight! Paulding & Co. has some awesome recipes that we were happy to come across their Spicy "Cheesy" Kale Chips Recipe. It is simple to make and pretty healthy. Check out the full recipe below!

Spicy “Cheesy” Kale Chips
This recipe makes 12 oz. chips (2 one-gallon zip bags)

Ingredients 
▪ 2 ½ cups of raw cashews
▪ 1 large (Holland type) red bell pepper
▪ 2-3 red Fresno peppers
▪ 1-2 tsp lemon juice (to taste)
▪ 2 tsp mineralized sea salt
▪ 2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
▪ 3 bunches curly kale


TIP: Be sure to purchase ultra-fresh organic vegetables for this. Soak the cashews in water for 3-4 hours. Combine with the stemmed and seeded peppers, lemon, salt and yeast in a blender. Puree. Taste the mixture, and if it needs it, add more salt or lemon. Strip the stems from the kale leaves-you can do this easily by holding the end of the stem in one hand, and firmly running the other hand up the sides of it, dislodging the leaf. The tough part of the stem will come off, leaving the tenderer part intact.

In a large bowl, combine the Kale with the blended mixture, using your hands (evenly) as possible distribute the mixture. Lay the leaves onto a dehydrator racks, crowding them but not stacking them. Dehydrate at 105° F for 12-16 hours, until very crisp. Store in sealed zip bags. If you don’t get them dry enough they will soften in the bag.If you don’t have a dehydrator they can be laid out on a rack or over a pan in the oven with the temperature set as low as possible. The time to dehydrate will be greatly reduced, probably to about an hour or even less.

The chips will be a tasty snack!

For more information on Paulding & Co. recipes, please visit http://pauldingandco.com/recipes.
 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Girl's Guide To A Gluten-Free Lifestyle


[Picture Source: Pinterest]
Okay, so we have all heard of the word "gluten" and even Jimmy Kimmel joked around here when he interviewed people and they really didn't know what it meant {haha}. But, in all seriousness, gluten has been something that negatively affects many, including Co-Founder, Karen. The affects can include IBS or extreme bloating that can last days or even weeks. According to WebMD, gluten is a protein found in anything made from wheat, rye, or barley. It can also be found in products less obvious like soy sauce and lunch meat. The best way to avoid gluten is to start by reading the labels of all the food you encounter. Look for trigger ingredients such as barley, wheat flour, rye bread or flour, oatmeal, semolina, malt flavoring and the list goes on. Check out a full list here! "Gluten-free" shouldn't sound daunting and a lot of grocery stores have many gluten-free and tasty selections. Karen reached out to some of her friends to get some tips on great foods to consume that are gluten free so here are some of the suggestions:
  • Corn based pasta from Trader Joe's 
  • Trader Joe's gluten free oatmeal 
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables (especially green and dark green veggies)
  • Lean meats (like grilled chicken, fish, pork tenderloin and beef tenderloin)
  • Ezekiel bread or sprouted grain bread
  • Pure, plain Greek yogurt
Special tip from TSS Reader, Brynn: "Be careful with food labeled "gluten free" because for the gluten they've taken out, they've also added 5 crappy ingredients in it! It's definitely all carb based products too!!"

Stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Udis have great gluten-free products. One suggestion that Karen received is to avoid Maltodextrin and Dextrose. Those are terrible preservatives that are in spices and a lot of foods. Again, LOOK AT THE LABELS.

At the end of the day, cooking at home is the best way to avoid processed food that can contain gluten so that is the best option when trying to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Above all else, consult with your doctor or nutritionist before you adopt any new change in food lifestyle. All of this is new to us so we want to hear from you! What are some of your favorite foods to eat that are gluten-free? Please share them below!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Chia Seed Pudding


Healthy meals can often times come easy for us, but it's the healthy snacks part that has been hard lately. While baby carrots, apples with peanut butter, and strawberries are all tasty snacks, we have been looking for different unique and healthy snacks to try that are easy to make at home. One of our friends introduced us to Chia Seed Pudding and we are now hooked. Chia seeds have been the latest health craze as chia seeds are like super seeds! They stop food cravings as Chia seeds absorb 9 times their weight which creates a gel as they expand. When it is in your stomach, it makes your stomach feel like it has had all the food it needs according to Dr. Oz.

So what do you need: 
  1. Almond Milk or Hazelnut Milk
  2. Two tablespoons of chia seeds (whole or raw)
The directions are pretty simple...

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir them together
 for a couple of seconds . Chill the mixture for about 2 to 4 hours or until the mixture has a tapioca-like pudding consistency. That's it! For a better taste, eat it with some sliced almonds, pistachios, berries, bananas or cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Benefits of Plant Based Diet!


Recently health and wellness has been trending.  And thank goodness, as it is high time that healthy eating habits and exercise replace fast food chains and quick fix diet fads.  Among the trending health topics is the plant based diet.  As a nutritionist, this is how I personally choose to eat.  Instead of cutting certain foods out entirely like the vegetarian or vegan diets, this is simply making the majority of what you eat whole, unprocessed, plant based foods.  The benefits of eating in such a way are numerous, and it is incredibly easy to do.
Research has shown that by simply incorporating more vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds into your diet can help you prevent and even reverse many of the top health issues people are facing today.  Adding in more of these whole natural foods in your diet will mean more nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber.  It also will also mean less room for damaging fat, preservatives, chemicals, and refined sugars, all of which are linked to serious health problems.
Your body needs the nutrients and vitamins found in food to survive, it uses them as fuel for every single function it performs.  Chemicals, preservatives, and damaging fats only serve to bog down your system, and add unnecessary work for your body as it tries to detoxify itself from these foreign substances.  Eliminating these things from your diet will free up much of your body's energy for daily use, rather than detoxifying.  On top of that, every single one of your cells are being replaced over time, and the food you eat is what those new cells are made of.  That Big Mac doesn't sound so good now, does it?
And contrary to common misconception, on a whole, vegans actually have healthier bones, higher blood protein levels, and less nutritional deficiencies than omnivores.  It is possible to get all the protein and calcium you need from a vegan or plant based diet.
In case you need more reasons to consider a plant based diet:
Lose excess fat
Reduce cholesterol
Reduce risk or help treat diabetes
Reduce inflammation
Healthier gut flora
More energy
Improve cognition
Control weight
Slow aging
Gain muscle
Reduce risk for cancer
Natural detoxification
Better sleep
Healthier intestinal transit
Clearer skin
Boost immune system
Reduce risk for heart disease

Just remember that you put into your body directly translates into your health.  You are what you eat, literally.  Food can either be the best form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.  Bon appetite!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spring Break Cleanse with Pressed Juicery! {Giveaway!}




There's nothing better than a juice cleanse before AND after Spring Break!  You want to feel great and cleansed before you slip into that bikini and a cleanse is definitely necessary after Spring Break with all that junk food- cause really, who eats healthy during Spring Break?

Back in November, we tried out our first Pressed Juicery cleanse (read here) and we loved it- but because we were juice cleanse newbies, we did the 1-day cleanse! This time we thought we would step up our game and try out the 3-day cleanse! 

 Check out what we all had to say about it below and don't forget to enter for a chance to win the giveaway! 



"I was really excited to try Pressed Juicery since the cleanse I did before (read here) went so well. The 1 Day Cleanse left me feeling refreshed and the 3 Day Cleanse was no different. I did Cleanse #2 and it had the best flavored juices. My favorite juice was Citrus 2 which combined apple, lemon, pineapple, and mint together. Their flavors are so yummy that it made the Cleanse #2 enjoyable. Tip: To get through a cleanse, go to sleep early! Sleeping earlier at night after taking your last bottle of juice keeps you from being tempted by food!"


"Cleansing for 3 days was a little scary at first, but I was up for the challenge!  Day 1 was the hardest day for me.  After getting over the first day, the last two days were much easier!  I got into the routine of juicing, and I didn't have to think about it as much.  I kept reminding myself to chug that water throughout the day as well!  I did get a little tired on Day 2 in the afternoon, but having my next juice helped to give me energy.  In the mornings when I woke up, I found that I felt especially great!  I felt light and well rested.

I feel lean and fresh for spring break!  Doing the Pressed 3-day cleanse is like a spring cleaning for your body.  Simply put, I feel refreshed.  I also feel very hydrated, and ready to take on the day!  Thank you Pressed Juicery!!"

"I've juiced quite a few times in the past so I thought I'd give Cleanse #3 a try!  I've only done a 2-day juice cleanse so I was excited to do a 3-day cleanse!  Cleanse #3 is more for "experienced cleansers," and contains only one almond milk and more green juices.  I was a bit nervous at first, but it ended up going really well!  I always had a big bottle of water next to me at all times to chug and I think the most important thing to do is to space out your juices throughout the day! I tend to get hungry and want to snack at night, so I made sure that I had plenty of juice to drink in the evening and went to bed early!

By the end of my cleanse, I felt great and energized!  From being so hydrated for 3 days, I felt really detoxed. By far my favorite cleanse I've done and saw the most results!"


How to Enter the Giveaway:
Step 1: Like The Sorority Secrets on Facebook (click here)
Step 2: Like Pressed Juicery on Facebook (click here)
Step 3: Email us at giveaway@thesororitysecrets.com by March 21, 2014 and tell us about a time you've done a juice cleanse before and your experience! If you haven't done a juice cleanse yet, say why you'd like to win this giveaway and try out a juice cleanse!  

A special thank you to Pressed Juicery for an amazing cleanse!  Make sure to visit their website at www.pressedjuicery.com for more information on their juice cleanses!

Live happy & healthy!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Guilt-Free Movie Treats!


Going to the movies and snacking on yummy treats is probably our favorite part about going to the movies!  From the buttery popcorn to all of the sugary candies, they're all so good, but there's actually a healthier way to do it! The list of treats above are all under 75 calories, but the most important part is that you have to portion control! What are some other yummy & healthy snacks that you like to snack on during the movies??

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Yummy & Healthy Banana Nut Muffins!


These cold winter days have me pining for a warm, comforting breakfast… Without tons of added sugar and butter.  Anyone who has met me knows I want it all, in all aspects of my life.  Why can’t I have a warm, filling, and healthy breakfast?  Oh, that’s right, I can!  These muffins prove it.  So bake these up, eat them cold or warm them up, either way they are sure to satisfy your wintery sweet tooth and your grumbling tummy, without adding extra lbs to your waistline.  So enjoy a batch of homemade healthy, without any guilt.  



Ingredients:
½ C quinoa flakes or rolled oats
¾ C protein powder
¼ C gluten free flour or preferred flour
½ Tsp salt
½ Tsp baking soda
2 large bananas
2 Tsp vanilla extract
½ C preferred milk
1/3 C sugar (I used brown)
½ C Chopped walnuts

Optional add ins:
¼ C Chocolate chips
¼ C blueberries

Directions:
1.     Preheat oven to 355 degrees.
2.     Prepare muffin or cupcake pan with preferred oil or butter.
3.     Mix all ingredients together, spoon into prepared pan.
4.     Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are starting to pull from the sides, allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Super easy & super healthy!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Easy & Healthy Shakes


I love having shakes after I work out, as a snack, or even as a healthy dessert. These are my two favorite recipes that were developed by a Whole Foods nutritionist. They are super easy to make, and they taste amazing! You can add protein powder to either of these!

The Berry Vanilla Smoothie is thick enough to be eaten like an acai bowl with granola and bananas, but you can always drink it too! This recipe makes 2 servings, each at 110 calories. Save some for later, or enjoy with a friend!

Recipe: Berry Vanilla Smoothie
1 cup Almond Milk (I use Vanilla flavored)
1 tbsp vanilla (I use organic non-alcohol vanilla)
½ to 1 cup frozen mixed berries (a raspberry+blackberry+blueberry mix tastes best)
½ banana
1-2 cups ice
about 1 tbsp agave nectar to sweeten, but you can always add more!
(I don’t usually do this, but you can add ½ cup of raw dehydrated almonds as well)
Just put them all together and blend! I love the berry-vanilla combo.

Bonus Recipe: Pumpkin Shake
1 cup almond milk
½ teaspoon of vanilla
2 squirts of stevia
½ can pumpkin
1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of cloves
2 cups shaved ice
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Enjoy! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Why You Should "Eat Local"


Eating locally and seasonally has been given a lot of press lately, and for good reason.  There are numerous benefits economically, and for your health when you eat foods that have been grown closer to home.  And who doesn’t like benefits?

Better Nutritional Content and Taste
When food is transported, it has to be harvested early and refrigerated to keep it from going bad before it can get to it’s destination and be sold.  That means that your food hasn’t had the time to fully develop, which means fewer nutrients, and then is chilled, which further depletes the nutritional value.  On top of that, very often produce is irradiated to kill germs, which means it is exposed to radiation.  Top that off with the use of preservatives like wax (to keep in moisture), time on the grocery store shelves, and the nutritional value goes down even further.  Now, don’t get it wrong, eating any fresh fruit or vegetable is good in my book, but nutritionally speaking, locally beats out something that has been flown in any day.  And a bonus: The same reasons that make locally grown produce nutritionally superior, makes them taste better.  Early harvesting, transport, refrigeration, preservatives, and time all deplete the natural flavor of produce.  When fruits and vegetables have a chance to ripen naturally, and are on your plate sooner, you are getting the full potential of flavor!

More Cost Effective
Everyone likes money, and the less you have to spend on groceries, the better!  When you eat locally, you are eating seasonally, which means the fruits and vegetables that are available will be ones that grow in your area abundantly, and in line with the laws of supply and demand, they will always cost less.  Couple that with minimal transportation (which also cuts costs), and your pocketbook will thank you. 

Better for Your Body
Our bodies were designed to eat the food that grows in our immediate environment, season to season.  Imagine an Eskimo moving to Arizona.  In a freezing environment, a diet high in animal protein and fats like whale blubber helps to provide energy and keep body temperatures up.  But if that Eskimo imported food from his homeland instead of adjusting his diet for a warm desert environment like Arizona, what do you think would happen?  If he continued eating the way he had in negative degree weather, his body would most likely become overheated, and the chances of developing heart disease or a range of other health complications sky rocket.  Now, this is obviously an extreme example, but think if you were to only consume fruit, salads, and popsicles all winter, you would probably have a hard time staying warm due to the high water content and the cooling nature of those foods.  On the other hand, those same foods are great in the summer to help you stay hydrated and cool.  A meal or snack that is out of season certainly won’t do you any harm in moderation, but sticking to the foods that grow more locally and that are in season on a consistent basis is definitely ideal for your health.  

Variety in Your Diet
When you eat seasonally, your diet tends to be more diverse.  You are literally changing with the seasons, which means a vast array of nutrients from many different sources throughout the year.  It also helps to keep things fresh in the kitchen, not only with fresher, tastier, more nutritionally dense ingredients, but also with new recipes and meals, which can help make eating healthy a fun, exciting, and easy lifestyle choice.

So grab a friend and go pick your own fruits and vegetables at a local farm, or drop by the local farmers market and stock up on healthy, seasonal, and delicious food choices.  Leave a comment and let us know what seasonal items are your favorites!



Friday, December 6, 2013

Energy Bites Recipe


Every time I make these bad boys I am hounded by everyone who bites into one until I send the recipe over. Every ingredient serves a purpose (besides making them taste amazing) and is uber healthy (would I post anything that wasn’t?). Bonus: They are crazy portable! So next time you need a quick pick me up before a hike, yoga, gym class, or if you just want a little bite (or two or three) of yumminess, whip some of these tasty little balls of health.

Ingredients
1 C dates
1/2 C honey
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of ground flax seeds pinch of sea salt

1 C old fashioned oats
1 C shelled pistachios
1 C dried cranberries
1⁄2 C unsweetened coconut shreds

Optional: Add 1/2 C of chocolate chips, or white chocolate chips... I’m already drooling.

Directions:
1. Combine the dates, honey, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and salt into a food processor. If you don’t have a high powered motor, soak your dates in water for about an hour first to soften them up. Blend until smooth.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, pistachios, coconut, and cranberries, add the blended ingredients and mix until evenly distributed. This might will definitely get sticky. That’s ok. I just ditch the spoon and get in there with clean hands. It is also pretty much a requirement that you eat the portions that are relentlessly sticking to your spoon and hands. For me, this is a pivotal step in creating these tasty little nuggets.





3. Put mixture in the fridge for about 20 minutes to cool (if there is any left). This will make it easier to shape into bars, balls (come on now, grow up), or whatever geometrical or non-geometrical shape you so desire. Another tip: coat hands in coconut oil before shaping.



Whole Grain Oats: Can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. They are full of good dietary fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and are a great source of energy. Whole grain oats are good for regulating blood sugar levels, and have been shown in scientific studies to help enhance athletic performance when ingested 45 minutes to 1 hour before exercise of moderate intensity.
Dates: Dates are chock full of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and are often used for a quick energy boost. Their high potassium content makes them a great addition to this snack, especially when eaten pre or post work out!

Pistachios: Are a great source of healthy fats. They are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that nourish your body. Pistachios are especially great for eye, skin, and immune health.

Honey: Raw honey is a natural way to sweeten your food, and your health. It is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal, has an array of essential vitamins and minerals, and natural probiotics. Bonus: It actually works better to soothe and heal sore throats and coughs than over the counter medicine. Honey is always my sweetener of choice!

Chia Seeds: They don’t call chia seeds a superfood for nothing. These babies are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and protein, while also low in calories. They help to reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive function, improve cholesterol levels, and help regulate blood sugar. Bam.

Ground Flax Seeds: These low calorie seeds are packed with omega- 3’s, fiber, antioxidants, and B vitamins to help boost your immune system and keep you feeling full for hours. You can eat flax seeds in their whole form, but they are not as easily digested and absorbed as when they are ground, so make sure to either buy them ground or grind them up yourself in a coffee grinder!

Coconut Shreds: Besides providing a boost of energy, shredded coconut will provide you with an array of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and healthy fat. While some may worry about it’s fat content, the medium chain fatty acids in coconut are amazing for your health. These fatty acids can actually help you to burn more fat for a whole day after consumption, and help to reduce your appetite, helping you to stay on track more easily, as well as immediately improving cognitive function. 




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