Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giveaway Results

I used Random.org to generate a random winner for this giveaway.  Congratulations to Michelle Christensen who won the Mini Sprouter.  Stay tuned for more sprouting tips and details.  Thanks for entering everyone.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Giveaway reminder

If you haven't already, enter yourself in the drawing for the Life Sprouts Mini Sprouter 2 Seed Pack by leaving a comment on the last post.  I will do the drawing on Thanksgiving Day--giving a lucky person something else to be thankful for. 



In the meantime, here is a great recipe for a yummy pasta salad.  It's our family favorite.  A good friend, Deanna, made it for us when my twins were in the NICU during their two-month stay.  One funny thing about it, we think the leftovers are better than the fresh salad so you can easily make it the night before or make a big batch to have some for lunch the following day.

Pasta Salad
32 oz spiral whole wheat pasta
1 can olives (sliced)
1-2 chicken breasts--cooked and cubed
1-2 appled (chopped)
1/2 lb grapes (halved)
1 cup Newman's Olive Oil and Vinegar salad dressing (you may need to add a little extra if needed)
1 1/2 T Italian seasoning
1 cucumber--diced (optional)
2 cups spinach--sliced (optional)
salt and pepper

Cook pasta.  Chop and combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Refrigerate.  I did my best to estimate the amounts, but you can add a little more seasoning and dressing--to taste.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Win a Free Sprouting Set

I've taken a few classes on sprouting and learned from many friends--but it took me years to attempt it myself.  I even purchased all necessary products and didn't sprout for over a year.  When you read this post, you will see how simple it is, but you just need to START.

WHY SPROUT?*
Health Benefits: A sprout is the beginning of a new plant with stored nutrient potential bursting from the seed.  These little sprouts take a healthy seed and amplify it's nutrition...
     Protein: increases somewhere between 15% to 30%
     Excellent source of antioxidants
     Chlorophyll and fiber increase
     B vitamins increase to give you more energy
     Vitamins A, E, K, and C increase
     Calcium, phosphorus, and iron increase a little as well
     Enzymes are activated for optimal digestion

Low Calorie: Not only are sprouts low-calorie, but they are high nutrient and tend to support improved metabolism.

It's Cheap: Buying sprouts at the store is expensive and once you've seen fresh sprouts, you see that the sprouts in the store are pretty old and don't last as long.  Sprouting is very cheap, easy, and takes only a few minutes.  Literally.

Great Survival Food: Seeds, beans, and grains can be sprouted all year round.

HOW TO GET STARTED
Step one: 
Buy the seeds.  I love Life Sprouts, but I have also purchased the seeds at the store that aren't specifically marketed for sprouting.  The main difference is that Life Sprouts tests their seeds to make sure they will sprout.  If you buy a regular grain/seed/legume, a few of them in a batch won't sprout.  At first this doesn't sound like a big deal, but when you bite into it--it doesn't feel good, as it is hard.  Life Sprouts also makes blends--my favorite is Pro Vita Mix.  I have only sprouted Pro Vita Mix and alfalfa at this point.  They are favorites at my house.

Step two:
Determine which sprouter you want to use.  There are many sprouters you can use.  I have used a few different kinds and find I also like Life Sprout's Sprout Master the best.


Another kind of sprouter (and there are many variations of this) is this one:


You can also use a mason jar and using some new nylons or mesh, create drainage for the water:


HOW TO SPROUT
Soak the seeds: Each seed is soaked for different amounts of time, but a general rule is 12 hours of soaking.  Pour the seeds in a cup, or a jar sprouter and cover the seeds with water (plus about an extra cup because the seeds will expand).  I like to set mine out at night so I remember 12 hours later to remove them from soaking in the morning.  It isn't bad if they soak a little longer. 

Pour into sprouter: Drain the water and spread them into a thin layer of a tray or pour them into the bottom of the jar. 
     Jar:  Cover jar with mesh/nylon lid and place in a cupboard or dark place upside down on an angle.  I leaned mine against the cupboard.  This allows for drainage.  Water will drip out, so make sure you have something under it.
     Tray: Cover tray so no light can get to the sprouts.  What I love about the Life Sprouts tray sprouter is that it has built-in drainage that doesn't leak and has a cover.  You can leave it on your counter--so you don't forget about it!  Also in the jar-type sprouters, a brown film develops on the bottom and it looks like the seeds are souring--yuck.

Rinse. This is so easy.  You just rinse the seeds with water both morning and at night.  You will notice little tails forming on the sprouts.  Most take just a few days of the rinsing.  Really...it's that easy.

GIVEWAY
Life Sprouts has offered to giveaway a Mini Sprouter 2-Seed Pack to a lucky follower of this blog.  It retails for $15.95.  If you already have a sprouter, you can enter to give it away as a gift this holiday season.


Leave a comment and tell us your favorite way to eat sprouts or if you're new to sprouting, why you want to try it.  Become a follower of this blog for an extra entry. Just click "Follow" on the right-hand side.  (This allows us to do more giveaways in the future!) If you're already a follower, I will count it as an extra entry.  Good luck everyone. 

*Source: Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M. Haas, M.D.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Wow.  I am so late posting this.  Our lucky winner of Peter Walsh's book on CD is Inspired Kathy.  Thank you for those who commented.  I have a few other books on CD to giveaway, so keep following the blog.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Eating well on a Budget

It's no secret.  Eating well can be expensive.  It seems odd that you can buy a product that required less 'work' for the manufacturer (less processing) and it is more expensive.  It's a little frustrating, but it's economics.  Good food usually doesn't have a long shelf life.  When I was first married, my husband was shocked at the amount of money I would spend on food.  Over the last 4+ years we've been married, he has felt a difference in his energy level and how he has less sickness or aches and pains since he altered his diet a bit 4 years ago.  (Maybe I'll ask him to do a post on his perspective sometime.)  I learned how to eat well on a budget and thought I'd share some tips.

1. Buy in season and store.  
I love my green smoothie for breakfast, but it requires some frozen fruit. This can be expensive.  In the summer, I look for deals on fruits and then cut them in chunks, place them on a cookie sheet to freeze for a few hours, and then store them in Ziplock gallon freezer bags.  My husband and I found a massive deep freeze in our local classifieds and picked it up for free.  It is worth the room it takes up in our laundry room.  This summer I've snagged some red-tape bananas, peaches from a friend's tree, pears brought in from an Oregon orchard by a friend, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and soon to be added to the list--blackberries.  It's really cheap to do it this way, but you've got to keep your eyes peeled.

2. Buy in bulk.
This one is fairly obvious, but I had to include it or this list wouldn't be complete.  I have a friend, Chirine, down the street who orders from different vendors and has people come from all over the state to pick up bulk grains, pastas, produce, nuts seeds, and lots more.  I just went by last week to pick up 10 lbs of golden raisins for my Super Charge Me Cookies.  If you're close to Utah, her website is www.AlpineFoodStorage.com.  She saves me tons of money.  If you don't live close, you can consider starting a co-op of your own.  Chirine would be more than happy to offer suggestions I am sure.

3. Coupons!
This is a new adventure I've been trying and loving it.  I follow some local blogs and keep track of the deals for me so I don't have to spend a lot of time.  I mostly print coupons online so I don't have to be clipping from a newspaper.  MySLCMommy.com posts a 'healthy food' coupon list about once per month.  It's the best.  I've also visited the websites for my favorite brands of food and subscribe to their email list.  They send coupons and special offers regularly.

4.  Ads.
Every week, I glance at the new ads when they arrive and save them on top of my fridge if I see something I want.  Then, before a shopping trip, I pull them down and see what I will buy.  My husband often stops by a store on his way home from work and I will go to another to get some great sale prices.  On the weeks where that just doesn't happen - we go to Wal-Mart with the ads in tow and they honor the prices of any ad.  It makes for a fast trip.  I will admit, I felt sheepish at first (and a little cheap.) but I got over that really fast.  The clerks usually praise me on getting such a great deal and it's kind of fun.





5. Make it yourself.
It's easy to pick up a spouting mix or some baked goods, but it's not the cheapest way of eating.  After finding a sprouting mix that I love (Pro-Vita Mix by Life Sprouts), I started making my own sprouts to save money.  When I looked into getting a large quantity to save money, I found that a 5-gallon bucket would cost over $100.  A good friend of mine gave me the recipe for the mix and I bought all the ingredients in 50# bags and made it myself.  My husband and I mixed it up and found we had 5 buckets of mix and spent less than $200.  We haven't even used 1 bucket in the last year.  I should get sprouting again!  If you like to buy sprouts, I suggest buying a simple sprouter (or make one) and some seeds and start your own. It's so easy.  If you want more information on sprouting, leave a comment.  If there is enough interest, I'll put a post together on the topic.



How do you eat well on a budget?  Leave a comment for other readers.



Saturday, October 16, 2010

Introducing: Book Giveaway

So far I have posted my top 3 tips in being your best self by feeling your best.
3. Getting healthy fats in your diet

Now, I am going to introduce #4: Emotional Health

I discovered about 5 years ago that I was holding a lot of emotions that translated into 'clutter' in my body.  As I worked through my emotions, I began to lose weight.  I know this may sound silly to some, but I lost the my last 20 pounds without changing anything more in my diet or without amping up my exercise.  Keep in mind, I still was doing those things - just not really increasing.  

Beyond that point, I can honestly say that I don't care how exactly that happened - there are million theories.  What I do care about is keeping myself emotionally healthy.  Here are a few ways that work for me:

1. Talking about my feelings and not 'stuffing' them in the pit of my stomach.  My husband has been great to talk to when something is upsetting me.  It could help that he working on his PhD in Clinical Psychology. 
2. Take some 'me' time.  That is pretty rare right now with two babies, but when I get it - I cherish it.  I love to spend some time with a friend or go to Zumba (a new favorite).  
3. Take responsibility for my emotions.  I can't expect people to know how I am feeling if I don't tell them.  If I don't want to do something, I say 'no'.  It's empowering!

I am sure there are more too. 

I am doing the first of a few giveaways by Peter Walsh.  He personally mailed these to me - I am a big fan and met him when I was sharing a weekly health tip on an internet radio show.  You may recognize him from TLC's Clean Sweep or The Oprah Winfrey Show.  I am giving away this book on CD (much easier to listen to this when you're on the go anyway!).  

Just leave a comment about how you stay emotionally healthy and I'll choose a winner next Friday, October 22nd at noon.


From the book's introduction: "I believe that the secret to successfully losing weight is to forget about calorie counting and weekly weigh-ins. Instead, you need to focus on how, why and where you eat. When it comes to clearing clutter (the fat in our homes) it isn’t about the stuff itself, it’s about the life you want to live. The same is true for losing weight: it’s not about the pounds. It’s about living the life you deserve in the body you want. Using my expert techniques honed from years as a clutter expert and organizational consultant on TLC’s Clean Sweep and, more recently, on The Oprah Winfrey Show, I show you in Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? how to deal with the clutter in your kitchen, your pantry and your home and show how it’s directly related to the clutter on your body that negatively affects your ability to lead a full and healthy life."

I couldn't resist

So, I know I said the last recipe was the conclusion of my recipe posting for the week, but my friend Mandy shared a recipe from her friend Camille's cookbook.  It is so yummy that I couldn't resist sharing one more for the week:



Butternut Squash Soup
6 cups (peeled & cubed) butternut squash (1 medium squash)
5 cups of water or chicken broth
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 tsp dried leaf thyme
4 TBS butter (I used Earth Balance spread)
1/3 cup flour
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used coconut milk and couldn't even taste the coconut flavor)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP Soy Sauce (I know, seems weird, but trust me ... it makes it AMAZING)
optional: 1/2 cup roasted almonds for garnish

Combine squash and water or stock in 4 quart pot. Bring to a boil then lower heat. Cover and cook until tender. (25 minutes). Meanwhile, heat oil in frying pan and saute the onions and thyme until tender and lightly browned. Add to squash. Puree the squash and onions in blender until almost smooth (leave a few chucks). 

Next melt butter in same frying pan over low heat, add flour, and stir 1 - 2 minutes until well mixed and lightly browned. Add cream and mix with a whisk until blended. Add to the soup, then return the soup to a simmer. Add ginger, salt, soy sauce, and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes uncovered and serve. 

So yummy!  I would say it serves 4-6.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Last Recipe of the week

A friend of mine made some amazing granola that I tried when I visited her.  I ate it constantly when I was pregnant and needed some extra calories.  (I should make another batch today since I am still consuming an amazing amount of calories feeding 2 babies!)

Kayla's Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 cup raspberries (mashed--I used frozen ones)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups honey, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a large bowl, stir together the oats, wheat germ, walnuts, almonds, and raspberries.  In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Drizzle over dry ingredients, and stir to coat evenly.  Spread mixture out in a thin layer on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes to toast evenly.  (It is best to use a cookie sheet with edges so you don't make a mess when you need to stir it.)  Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  Granola will become crunchier as it cools.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Healthy Breakfast

Love this for a Saturday morning breakfast.


Whole Grain Pancakes
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flout (I've done all wheat and like it, my husband likes it better with the white)
2 T agave
2 T baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 cups almond milk (or regular milk)
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (optional)

In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, oats, and salt.  Whisk in agave, milk, eggs, and olive oil until smooth.  Gently fold in blueberries.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall recipe

In honor of fall, one of my favorite soups.

Pumpkin Curry Soup
2 T olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onion (1 small onion)
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tso curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1-15 oz can pumpkin
1 can coconut milk
Heaping spoonful of peanut butter

Combine olive oil and onion and garlic in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes until tender.  Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper--cook one minute.

Add broth and pumpkin; bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes.  Stir in coconut milk.  Transfer mixture to food processor or blender (in batches, if necessary); cover.  Blend until smooth.  Add peanut butter to your liking (I love chunky peanut butter).  Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another Healthy Snack for Kids

Although this is for kids, I've given it to adults mostly and it's a hit.

Peanut Butter Balls
Mix together:
1 cup honey
1 cup peanut butter (or almond or cashew butter)

Then add:
2 cups whole grain flours (I use 1 cup wheat germ and 1 cup oats)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
Raisins to your liking
Nuts (optional)

Form into balls and roll in:
Dried, unsweetened coconut.  Refrigerate or freeze--they are great both ways.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Healthy Snack for Kids

This is a favorite at our house that I make before road trips.

Trail Mix
1 cup raw cashews - pieces or whole (pieces are cheaper)
1 cup raw almonds
1 1/2 cups date pieces (they are usually sold coated in oat flour so they don't stick together)
1 cup raisins
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds

Mix together and enjoy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Healthy Treats for Kids


For those of you that are friends of a Wendy's Frosty (or a chocolate milk shake), here's an excellent recipe.  Here's a tip: to freeze your bananas, peel them first and put them on a cookie sheet to freeze.  Once frozen, store them in Ziplock (or similar) bags to use in smoothies or shakes.

"Frosty"
3 cups water
1/4 cup carob or cocoa powder
5-6 frozen bananas
1/4 cup maple syrup, honey, agave, or dates
2 tsp vanilla

In a blender, combine water and bananas.  Add carob, sweetener, and vanilla.  Blend until smooth.  If using carob, you can add a TINY pinch or cayenne pepper to help counteract the bitter aftertaste. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pesto!

This is the first in a series of recipe posts.  I taught a "Healthy Snacks for Kids" class Thursday night and it inspired me to start posting more recipes.  This is a great place to share ideas and recipes, so if you have one that you love--please post it/them in the comments.

Here are two of my favorite pesto recipes.  Here are some uses for pesto:
- throw them on a sandwich in place of a spread
- dip veggies into it
- if I am having a having guests for dinner, I warm some french bread or sourdough and use it as a spread (a big hit)
- I love Ezekiel 4:9 tortillas and I tear them up and dip them into pesto (they are a complete protein and the ingredients are found in Ezekiel 4:9)

Red Pepper Pesto
1 cup cashews (soaked for 4 hours in water and drained--optional)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 red pepper

Combine all ingredients except cashews in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Add cashews and blend again until smooth.

Spinach Pesto
1 T dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cloves garlic

Blend well and add:
2 cups spinach

Blend well and add:
3/4 cup almonds (soaked for 4 hours in water and drained--optional)

Blend until smooth.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New favorite recipe

I tried a new recipe today and thought I'd share.  I've noticed that most of my friends and family want to eat healthy, but need some recipes and ideas.  Doug loved this as well.  It is SO easy - barely any chopping or sauteing...just put it in a food processor.  Love that.


1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
1 medium clove garlic, (put in a garlic press before adding to food processor)
1/2 tsp sea salt 
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp Annie’s Goddess Dressing (or similar brand)
1 ½ tbsp flax meal
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp Dijon mustard (I used regular)
1/3 - 1/2 cup green onions, sliced (using mostly green portion, and less white)
¼ cup fresh basil leaves (see note)
1 cup cooked brown rice (preferably cooled/chilled)
½ cup raw sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1 cup rolled oats or quick oats

In a food processor, add chickpeas, garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, Goddess Dressing, flax meal, vinegar, and mustard. Pulse/puree until well combined. Add green onions, and fresh basil, and pulse through to break up and combine. Then add rice, seeds, and oats and pulse to incorporate and to break up seeds somewhat. Remove blade, shape into patties (can refrigerate mixture for about ½ hour before shaping, but not essential). To cook, add a smidgen of oil to a non-stick skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Cook patties, about 6-8 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Makes 6-8 patties.

Note: If you don’t have fresh basil, you can substitute a small amount of dried basil. About 1 teaspoon works well, and add along with the first ingredients (chickpeas and condiments). 

Note: To make these patties quick to prepare, cook the rice a day or so in advance. I find it helpful to cook larger batches of rice on any given night, so that I have leftover rice that can be refrigerated for another night, or to use in burgers, burritos, etc.

Note: If you want to double the batch, you can do so. Just be sure to stop the food processor several more times to work the mixture up from the bottom of the processor bowl, as it can get heavier on the bottom and need some coaxing to incorporate the ingredients on the top and sides. 


I loved it.  I had some fresh fruit with it and Doug had a whole wheat bun.  I am not a fan of extra bread - so I always eat burgers without the bun.  I put some of the goddess dressing on top with ketchup, spinach leaves, fresh garden tomato, and a small pickle.  Great Saturday afternoon lunch.


Oh, and I had two.

Monday, September 20, 2010

vegan peanut butter cookies

i'm not vegan. although i do have much respect for people that are. but i was looking for a desert to make last night and came upon these lovelies. i am a peanut butter fanatic! so i whipped up a single batch of these. i sent the remaining cookies with tyler to work this morning. i was going to inhale all of them if they weren't out of my sight! see... even i struggle with self control and food... mostly treats. and i have been a BAD girl while pregnant. very BAD!

1 1/4 c. spelt flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 TB unrefined sugar (i used date sugar, but i'm sure you could use honey and just combine it with the wet ingredients)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/3 c. + 1-2 TB all natural peanut butter (i used the adams chunky brand. and no skippy or no other normal peanut butter has a truly "natural" peanut butter. if you don't have to stir in the oil, it almost always means there is added sugar. :) )
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp. blackstrap molasses (i'm pretty sure i accidentally used 1/4 c. oops. but they are super good with that)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 TB canola oil

Preheat oven to 35o degrees. In bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and soda together. Add sugar and salt, stir until well combined. In separate bowl, combine 1/3 c. peanut butter with maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla. Then stir in oil until well combined. Add wet mixture to dry, stir through, and as it's coming together, stir in remaining 1-2 TB peanut butter (not completely; leave bits of peanut butter throughout the batter). Place large spoonfuls on cookie sheet and press with fork. Bake 11 minutes- no longer. Let cool no more than 1 minute and move to cooling rack to prevent drying out. Makes 1 1/2-2 dozen.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

so i'm a day late

it's september 2nd and i'm just getting to announcing the winner of my giveaway. actually, i just did the random number generator and got #7. this girl was really entry #8, but one girl that left a comment didn't actually enter, so this moved kim up to the lucky #7 spot! so even though you are my sister in law, i still need your address because i don't have it. so email me with your address so i can send tyler to the post office to mail your dvd's on saturday! yay! i am pretty sure you already have bootcamp 2. you can let me know if you want the extra copy or not. congrats!!!! it will come in handy over the next little while!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

most expensive giveaway yet!

heather and i have been mia lately. lots going on in our lives! but i'm determined to get back to both this blog and my family blog.

so baby steals had a sweet product a few weeks ago, and i snatched lindsay's complete pregnancy series on there. it includes trimester specific dvd's (which includes one cardio/toning workout and yoga workout on each dvd) AND her bootcamp 2 dvd to help get your body back after having the baby! i have used it during my last two pregnancies and have loved it! so i'm giving it away, as much as i don't really want to! it's a whole $50.00 on her website and you could possibly get it here for free!

to enter to win, leave a comment. for more entries, mention this giveaway on facebook, blog, etc. you know the drill. i'll post the winner on the 1st of september!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

veggie quesadillas

remember those tortillas i told you about? here is another recipe you can use with these yummy tortillas or another tortilla you like. i LOVE this recipe and got it from my older sister a while back. i make it often and think it's delish!

1/2 green pepper (diced)
1 onion (diced)
2 TB olive oil
1/2 c. salsa
2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can corn (drained)
1 tsp. chili powder
mozzarella cheese (although i've never had it with the cheese, i'm sure it's good)

saute the first three ingredients until soft and tender. add rest of ingredients (except cheese) and heat through. top with cheese and avocado or any other toppings you'd like. just keep in mind, they are delicious without the toppings. and the toppings generally add lots of empty calories (except avocado. it's a great fat. just don't use too much). you can do without all the extra toppings!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Does eating fat make you fat?

From ages 13 to 20, I followed most fad diets out there.  One that I stuck with for a while was the 'fat free' craze.  My mom picked up Snackwells fat free cookies, fat free cheese slices, fat free hot dogs...you name it.  In the long run, I think my weight stayed exactly the same.  In hindsight, I realize if I don't eat fat, why would my body let go of the excess it was storing?

Fats are an important component of the diet.  Gram for gram they are highest in calories--9 calories per gram of fat.  Here's a few reasons why you should consider consuming more HEALTHY fats to help you lose weight.  It sounds backward, but hear me out.

Fat that Burns Calories
Udo Erasmus, author of "Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill" is a proponent of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).  He has done a ton of research to back his claims about healthy fats.  He says that "EFAs, in a ratio of two (omega 3) to one (omega 6) and at levels of about twelve to fifteen percent of total caloric intake, increase the rate of metabolic reaction in the body. This increased rate burns more fat into carbon dioxide, water and energy (heat), which results in fat burn-off and a loss of excess weight."

EFAs don't necessarily 'count' as fat calories, because they increase calorie burning. "And, instead of being used as fuel, they play a role in cell membranes, and are converted into hormone-like prostaglandins. And yes, these fats do keep us slim. Fats that help heal your body also help you stay slim, and the "bad" fats, the fats that kill, make and keep you fat."

Fat that Increases Energy
When you eat essential fatty acids in the form of pure, unadulterated fats and oils, your energy levels and stamina increase. This is especially obvious to the overweight, the elderly and athletes.

One of Erasmus' studies involved athletes who added 1 tablespoon per 50 lbs of body weight of essential fatty acids to their diet. It found that these athletes gained increased strength and endurance, could lift heavier weights, do more reps and recovered from fatigue faster. Some also reported weight loss with the increased fat intake! Those who consume fresh EFA's find their energy levels pick up, they feel like being physically active and they stay alert later into the evening. When they stopped taking the EFA's this increased stamina was back down to normal within two weeks.




I took EFA's by the tablespoon in my green smoothie during my pregnancy with my twins to make sure I had enough for their developing brains.  Studies show that lack of EFA's in the diet has been linked to postpartum depression because the mom gives her own to the developing baby.  I felt great and gained weight right on schedule.  I took Udo's Oil because there is no fish oil in it and no fishy taste. Not particular on the brand, just that I get the right amount of healthy fats in my diet.  Udo's oil is a blend of flax, sunflower, sesame, coconut, evening primrose oils, and a few others.


Don't get stuck in the 'avoiding fat' trap.  Monitor your fat intake and look for healthy oils.  The key here is the right kind of fat.

Friday, May 7, 2010

one last winner

yay for marcee!!! she is the winner of lindsay's core fitness dvd. it's an awesome one! email me with your address so i can get this in the mail to you (actually, my kind husband is the one that mails these giveaways out. i refuse to take my 3 kids to the post office). tiffanydansie@gmail.com

stay tuned for more posts. and if you didn't win a lindsay dvd... i'll let you in on a little secret... they aren't expensive and are well worth every penny! you won't be disappointed. i swear! and maybe i'll order some more in the future for more giveaways! :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Amp up your grains

A few weeks ago I posted about water intake. That is the first thing I mention when someone asks me about losing weight or just plain being healthy.  Number two is moving to whole grains.  The main reason to make the switch from white flour to whole wheat and replace white sugar with honey (or something similar) is summarized in this one table...


These calories are 'empty' without much nutrition, even though you are still consuming calories.  The loss of these minerals is one reason flour is 'enriched'.  They remove the nutrition and then try to add it back in again.  Moving to whole grains and unrefined sweeteners allows you to feel more full in part because you are getting minerals from the food.  The first thing you'll notice after making the switch is you can eat less volume and yet feel more full.  I love that.  

So AMP UP YOUR GRAINS...your body (and waistline) will thank you for it.

Friday, April 30, 2010

congrats

mckenna and the spencer family. you are the winners of the core firing sequence dvd's. even if i have gotten your addresses before, email them to me again at tiffanydansie@gmail.com. i'm too lazy to find them. :)



for next week's giveaway, and the last of my lindsay brin stuff for now, i have one copy of her core fitness for moms. this is an awesome workout with yoga and pilates that kicks your trash! i remember trying to do it after i had isaac (and i had already been doing her dvd's for months and months) and i couldn't even make it through the entire thing. it's exhausting and awesome. enter to win... and make sure if you are entering my giveaway, you say so. some people make comments and don't mention the giveaway (they are talking about other stuff), so i'm never positive if they are entering or not. usually, i don't count you. so make sure you actually mention that you want to win!

Friday, April 23, 2010

with only 3 entires...

luke and katie wins again!!!!

yay! i'm so excited for you cause this is seriously my favorite dvd of lindsay's. i love that it has so many different workouts on there! and her 12 week program rocks! if at first, the program isn't enough of a workout, just add more 10 minute cardio/toning segments. (she progresses and does more later on). do as many as you feel you can. i almost always do 3, with 2 core segments added on top of that. i have your address, so i'll get this in the mail to you tomorrow! yippee!

(ash, i didn't know if you were entering this since you already have this dvd and didn't mention wanting another copy, so i didn't include your comment- hope i read your thoughts right).

for next week's giveaway, i have two copies of lindsay's core firing sequence method dvd's. this dvd is awesome... as it really teaches you how to correctly use your core and get it back in shape. there is a 3 week "tummy slimdown plan" to add to your regular exercise routine. so i've got two of these babies.




this is my second to last giveaway. i only have one extra dvd left and it's lindsay's core fitness for moms. it has some killer workouts on it! the yoga and pilates is major strengthening... not a walk in the park at all! and her core sculpting is awesome! so look forward to that giveaway next friday!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Super Charge Me Cookies

Most people don't think I eat sweets because I choose to cut refined, white sugar out of my diet.  Those who've seen me make a healthier option, know that I do really love a good sweet every once in a while.  My friend, Alicia, sent me a link to this recipe and my husband and I made up a batch a few days ago.  They are our new favorite.  It's so nice to have a treat with whole grains and natural sweeteners.



SUPER CHARGE ME COOKIES
Makes 4 dozen cookies
4 cups quick oats
2 2/3 cups spelt flour (I use wheat because I have it)
1 tsp (rounded) sea salt
1 – 2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 –1 1/3 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit
3/4–1 cup carob or chocolate chips (optional; or use more dried fruit, nuts, or seeds--I add more raisins)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cup flax meal (not flax seed--you can grind flax seed to make the meal)
2 cups pure maple syrup *
¾ cup almond butter (may use cashew, peanut, hemp seed butter)
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In a bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, coconut, raisins, and carob or chocolate chips, sift in baking powder, and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flax meal, syrup, almond butter, and vanilla and stir until well combined. Stir in oil. Add wet mixture to dry, and stir until just well combined (do not overmix). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon batter onto baking sheet evenly space apart, and lightly flatten. Bake for 13 minutes (no longer, or they will dry out). Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute (no longer), then transfer to a cooling rack.

*Maple syrup in it's pure form can be pricey.  Doug and I experimented with 1/2 maple syrup and 1/2 agave nectar and it was still tasty (I prefer the maple-only version, but my budget does not).  I've read mixed reviews on agave lately--it's a sweetener from the blue agave cactus.  I'm bummed by the reports of it's high level of fructose because it's a favorite in our house.  I'll post an update once I've read more information.

Friday, April 16, 2010

some people just have good luck

you can enter these giveaways as many times as you want... just because you win a dvd doesn't mean you aren't allowed to enter another giveaway. and one girl has some serious luck. it's a good thing i haven't sent out her last dvd she won yet.

the winners of the dance jam workout dvd are:

Blake and Jenny Jones Family that said:

"I've always wanted to learn to dance. At home without paying tons of money sounds like a great way to do it. Plus the cardio sounds great!"

and

Ashley who said:

"This DVD looks awesome! Am I allowed to enter! ;)"

i do have favorite people in this world. and ashley just happens to be one of them. but i am in no way unfair in these contests. i use random.org, put in the number of entries i have, and it gives me the number of the winner.

so congrats to jenny and to ashley AGAIN! email me with your mailing addresses at tiffanydansie@gmail.com asap so i can get these in the mail to you. hopefully tomorrow!



now for next week, i'm giving away my favorite dvd of lindsay's. i know it's one of her older ones, but i LOVE it. her original post natal bootcamp. i think what i love the most is how many workouts are on it. there are 10 cardio and toning workouts and 6 core workouts. plus the warm up and cool down. she has a 12 week program on there which i did and loved. so much variety in this dvd. this is the original dvd i used to get all my baby weight off after i had isaac. i only have one copy (thanks to my friend, mckenna). if you don't have this one, it's a great one to win. and if you already have it, why not enter anyway and have an extra copy or one to give away to a friend? i actually have an extra copy of every dvd of hers that i keep on hand... because i always have friends that want to tryout the dvd's before buying. and i hate to give away my only copy. :) as usual, i'll announce the winner next friday, april 23rd. good luck! and please, tell your friends about lindsay's dvd's if you love them. she's a wonderful person who only deserves the best. so don't hesitate to share the info on this giveaway too. happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's in your water bottle?

It has taken a few weeks, but I am now learning how to multi-task while taking care of my twins so I can do something else I really enjoy doing--talking about health and wellness!  My twins are nearly 3 months old and are still in newborn clothes, but they are so adorable.  Motherhood is much harder than I thought it would be, but once they learn to eat better, I am sure it will get somewhat easier.

Last post, I shared a little of my 'story' and how I started on my journey to taking care of my body.  One thing that helped me to shed pounds and feel good was becoming aware of my water intake.  I used to think water was 'boring', 'tasteless', and usually opted for milk or juice.  I was constipated and constantly congested from my high dairy intake.  I think I lived on milk and melted cheese sandwiches (two slices of wonder bread with a slice of Kraft american cheese in between--in the microwave for 15 seconds...yep...that was a food group for me).  I had no idea that drinking water could change my body and my health.

Why is water so important for weight loss?  Donald S. Robertston, M.D. author of The Snowbird Diet said, "incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off.  Although most of us take it for granted, water may be the only true 'magic potion for permanent weight loss.'"  Dr. Robertson also suggests that "water suppresses the appetite and helps the body metabolize stored fat, helps maintain proper muscle tone, clears wastes and may help relieve constipation."

Not to get too graphic with you...but most Americans are clinically constipated.  You want to be visiting the restroom 1-2 times per day.  If not, where is it all going?  

The Mayo Clinic's website says:

"Water is your body's principal chemical component, making up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired."

It is pretty tough to work out when you're feeling drained and tired.

So, how much water should you consume?  This can depend on your activity level and if you live in a dry climate vs a humid one.  Personally, I consume a minimum of 8 glasses per day in the form of a 1/2 gallon water bottle and then any water I drink after, I consider it my 'bonus'.  When I work out, I use a separate glass of water so that water isn't counted as my 8 glasses.  I usually end up consuming 12-16 glasses of water per day.

Here is the bottle I use.  I stick out like a sore thumb carrying it to work with me or to a church meeting, but I am like a poster child for water drinking--everyone remembers to drink water when they see a chick with a massive water bottle walking around!
So, find a water bottle that works for you so you can track your water consumption.  If you're not a big water drinker, try it again!  It can be mind over matter at first, but I promise it's worth it.  You can try squeezing a lemon into it or something, but it's high maintenance and you're not as likely to continue doing that long-term.  If you're a soda drinker, ditch one for a glass of water.  You'll love the way you feel.  

I found a cool ad campaigning for water drinking...thought they were pretty powerful.  




Friday, April 9, 2010

congrats to...

ashley who said,

"count me in!"

and to...

elizabeth who said,

"i would love this workout... and i need it!"

email me with your addresses so i can get core metabolic jumpstart in the mail to you asap! (probably tomorrow... if my pregnant brain remembers to do so). tiffanydansie@gmail.com


for next friday's giveaway, i am giving two of lindsay's "dance jam" dvd's away. i was hesitant about this workout because i have never danced. ever. (you know, besides church dances in high school where i thought i was so cool). it's one workout that is about 45 minutes... but has some express versions that aren't as long. it's all cardio and gets your blood pumping. and at first, i felt like a moron, but i actually enjoyed it once i got the hang of "the moves."

i'll announce the winners next friday, april 16th.

*note* one of the copies isn't wrapped... it has never been viewed though. one of my children opened it up :)




Friday, April 2, 2010

a winner and giveaway!

first off, congrats to katie who said:

"AHH!! I would LOVE this! I am going to be getting Boot Camp 2 no matter what bc I think I have diastasis recti...can't wait to flatten the abs a bit more! Thnx for the giveaway!"

she wins my last copy of shed 5 fast! yay for you! email me with your address when you get a chance. tiffanydansie@gmail.com. incase you are wondering, i used the random number generator on random.org.



second, here's another giveaway for you. i have two copies of core metabolic jumpstart. i LOVE this workout! it's quick, but it seriously kicks my bootie!!! so, if you want to enter to win one, leave a comment. a great workout to add to your collection! remember, you have a better chance this time, cause i'll be giving two away! i'll announce the winner next friday, april 9th. good luck! another giveaway next friday too!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

giveaway #2


lindsay brin was so nice to send me extra copies of her dvd's. i have already given a few away, but i want to give away the rest of them. so, i have one more copy of her shed 5 fast dvd. it has two complete workouts on it. this is a great dvd to add to your collection for some variety. all you need is a light and heavy set of weights. that's not asking too much!

if you want to enter, leave a comment! i'll randomly pick a winner on friday, april 2nd... hurry and tell your friends via facebook, your blog, etc for an extra entry for each method you use. hurry. check back to see who the winner is... and to enter another giveaway!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

wraps

these tortillas come in several different packages. this is what mine look like when i get them from costco. at walmart, the packaging is orange.

another regular in our home. my sister (the other author of this blog who is currently extremely busy with 8 1/2 weeks old twins. these little tykes have barely begun life outside of the hospital- one has been home for a week and a half and the other just a few days) started me on these wraps and i fell in love. and hard for these babies. the other plus, everyone in my family loves these in some form or another... even if it's just a plain, raw, cold tortilla.

first off, you HAVE to get these tortillas. this is one of the only things i eat that is white flour and not 100% whole wheat. although heather and i talked about writing the company and asking them to make a whole wheat version. the brand is tortillaland. you can get these at costco, but also at most walmarts. they are usually located by the cream cheese at walmart in the refrigerated section, near the bottom. these are raw, or uncooked tortillas that you throw on the stove for a few minutes to brown them and they are TO DIE FOR! i normally HATE flour tortillas. these are the only ones i'll eat. you can pretty much add any toppings on these babies, but i'll put the basics of what my family loves. i try to keep it light on the toppings... and you should know why if you've read any of my previous posts. extra calories!

wraps

tortillaland tortillas
black beans (warmed on the stove)
salsa
avocado slices
hummus

yum! that's what we put on. infact, most times, we don't even use hummus on them. but hummus makes them extra delish! these are easy, quick, and for people like isaac that think all food looks weird, i put black beans and cheese on his, and he devours it. most of the time.

be creative though. you could add tomatoes, green onions, brown rice, chicken, etc. anything you like on a taco or burrito. but remember, if you are trying to be health conscious, which i'm assuming you are since you are reading this blog, hold the sour cream, cheese, meat, and anything else that really doesn't add a whole lot of nutrition with lots of calories (what i call empty calories). try these. you will LOVE them! guaranteed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

white chicken chili

i stole this picture from www.i.ehow.com (whatever the heck that is). my white chili looks better and i bet it tastes better too!

two posts in one day? better yet, three posts within 24 hours? what has gotten into me! i told you, i wanted to spend more time on this blog. so i'm doing it.

after i had macey, a good friend made this soup for me and i was hooked. it's delicious and seriously my absolute favorite.

white chicken chili

1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/8-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper- depending how much you like spice
28 oz. chicken broth
3 cans great northern beans (drained, 1 can is mashed smooth)
2 tsp. leafy oregano
2 tsp. cumin
4 oz. can green chiles
1 can corn (drained)

saute onion and garlic in olive oil in soup pan until tender. add rest of ingredients. bring to boil and simmer 20-25 minutes.

again, this soup is fantastic vegetarian. i make it that way most of the time. every once in a while, i'm feeling nice and will add chicken for my family. this is probably my favorite soup of all time. i make it almost weekly also. it's good topped with cheese, but even better topped with my famous avocado chunks. oh so good!

new family favorite

when i say family favorite, i usually mean tyler and i. i make what i like for dinner. and my kids are required (2 of the 3 of them) to eat a small amount of it. then i'll make them something different, but simple. i'm not willing to eat the crap they love. call me a bad mom, but although i get sick of them not eating what i make for dinner, i'm not about to make them sit at the table all night long like i had to. :) it's just not worth it, and i can't force them to eat what i like. but here is a new favorite that everyone liked except isaac (he wouldn't even try it. cam said he liked it a little, but he ate it all gone). i got this recipe from my sister in law. she makes the vegetarian version and i've had it several times. i've also more recently had the original recipe which includes chicken. both are super yummo!

tomatillo soup (can you tell i adore soup?)

saute in big stock pot appx. 10-15 minutes

1/2 lg. onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 lb. tomatillos diced (about 5)

add rest of following ingredients and simmer 15-25 minutes

3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1- 49 oz. can chicken broth (i only used 32 oz)
16 oz. fresh salsa from the deli
1- 15 oz can yellow hominy (drained)
1- 15 oz. can white hominy (drained)

Serve with: (this is the part i ignore, or just use the avocado and maybe lime juice)
tortilla strips
avocado chunks
mexican rice
shredded cheese
sour cream
fresh lime juice

love this recipe! obviously, for vegetarian, hold the chicken and use veggie broth. my sister in law sometimes adds the mexican rice to the actual soup... not on the side. yum! and by the way, if you only like soup in the winter, you should branch out and eat it all times during the year. i've never quite understood people's reasoning that it's hot in the summer and you don't want hot food. isn't most of the food we eat warm? what difference does it make? i guess i'm not one that loves salad though. i've had people tell me that they eat salads all summer. the thought makes me want to throw up. but you should try soup in the summer too. it's so good! and if i can make soup all summer long in my house in arizona in 115 degree weather, you can make it too!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

yummy taco soup

this is on my menu weekly. no joke. we love this. and everyone loves it (sometimes... i live with isaac... and he never likes the same thing twice- well, hardly ever). it's super quick, yummy, and healthy. it's great with chicken or made vegetarian without meat and with veggie broth. most days, we go vegetarian, because it's easier and healthier (we eat way too much meat in our society). now, a word about the toppings. these are not included in the "healthy" part of the soup... except the avocado. my kids love the toppings (so does my husband), but 99% of the time, i go without everything except avocado. so if you are looking to lose weight or stay healthier, do NOT add the toppings... they add a gazillion calories that are 100% empty. and don't give me the "cheese has calcium" line. there are many more ways to get calcium than high in calorie and fat cheese.

taco soup

2 cans pinto beans (drained)
1 can corn (drained)
1-2 cans petite diced tomatoes (not drained)
1/2 c. salsa or picante sauce (i use pace picante)
2-3 T. taco seasoning
1 chicken breast if desired (cooked and shredded)
3 c. chicken/vegetable broth
heat together in pot. serve with cheese, sour cream, avocado chunks, fritos or tortilla chips

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

eating and losing weight

first off, congrats to my older sister (and author of this blog) on becoming a mother last week! her twins, sydney and ethan, came 8 weeks early, but are healthy and progressing well. so i will be taking over the blog for a bit i'm assuming since she's going to be ultra busy with two preemies in the NICU.

i've had a few people asking me for some recipe ideas and eating/nutrition tips for weight loss or just maintaining your weight. here are a few of my own and some i've adopted for other people, like lindsay brin. i have found them to be very helpful in my weight loss journey. these are ideas people. i'm not saying you have to do every single one of these things and to the extent that i do (like cutting out treats and sodas). i'm just making suggestions as to some things you can do to make your weight loss more efficient. even though some of you may not want to hear some of these things, i know they help with losing weight or maintaining weight.

*switch to whole wheat- if you haven't already, make the switch. why? first off, white bread (or other forms of white carbs) have zero nutrition pretty much. you won't fill up on them. i could probably eat an entire loaf of white bread and still not be full (sick, but not full). you'll have to eat more of the white stuff to fill up. don't jusk look for wheat or multri-grain. you want 100% whole wheat. food companies are very tricky and can get away with A LOT of dishonesty on food labels.

*speaking of labels, READ THEM! labels are one of the most important things to me. personally, i'm really aware of what KINDS of food i put in my body. not just calorie content (although that does help with weight loss). i'm all about going as natural as possible. general rule of thumb, the less ingredients, the better. i used to get bread in arizona and utah that had like 4 or 5 ingredients in it. very wholesome and pure. i try my best here in washington, but there isn't a brand i've fallen in love with yet. they all have too many ingredients, preservatives, and other crap i can't pronounce. that's a bad sign! do the best you can. but try to find something without high fructose corn syrup, without too much sugar (look for something sweetened with honey instead), etc. and ps. getting something that says, "no sugar," usually means they have replaced the sugar with artificial sweetener. aspartame, nutri-sweet, splenda, etc. not good for you. look for things that say, "no sugar added." this usually means it really doesn't have a form of sugar in it. to be sure, always check your labels.

*eat until you are satisfied. personally am the type of person that eats often, but in small amounts. i try to eat until i'm satisfied, and not "full" or even "over satisfied." this was a HUGE milestone for me. (note: i still struggle with this and have to work EVERY DAY to eat what my body needs and NOT MORE!). you really have to pay close attention... your body actually sends a signal when it's "about done." sometimes i listen. sometimes i don't. but i try to most of the time! :) so not only do i recommend eating small amounts, every 2-4 hours during the day, but i also recommend only eating until you are satisfied. do NOT eat until you are full. and EAT when you are hungry. just not too much.

*no BLT's. BITES, LICKS, OR TASTES. i learned this from lindsay and found that it rang SO TRUE for me! when i do this, i either, don't lose weight or gain weight, depending on how many days i do this, in a row. :) so stop eating your kids leftover peanut butter sandwiches (don't even have a taste of it), quit eating the last of the fruit from the dinner table that no one ate (unless you truly are hungry still... and by hungry, i mean physically hungry. not mentally or emotionally). no more grabbing a handful of cereal on the way out the door. don't eat unless it's "time" to eat and you are hungry. something to help with this is to only eat while you are sitting down. something else i found... don't eat while you are making dinner! i catch myself having BLT's of what i'm making for dinner all the time! if you're trying to lose weight, NOT doing this is a great way to cut out calories. they add up quickly! a good way to avoid having BLT's, is to eat before your kids do. if i'm making my kids lunch and i'm hungry, watch out! i end up eating half of their lunch. and then i'll sit down and have my entire lunch too! feed yourself before you prepare their lunch, so you aren't tempted to eat BLT's off of their plate. and if they have leftovers, save them or just throw them out. don't eat them. i promise, these calories add up and they add up fast!

*try not to eat a lot late at night. we all tend to eat a lot at night. and most of the time, we aren't even hungry. we're just eating, to eat. if you are hungry, have a piece of fruit. an apple or pear goes a long way, especially as a late night snack! but really, try to ask yourself, "am i really hungry? physically hungry? or do i just emotionally want this food?" if the answer is "no. you aren't hungry," have a glass of water or a small piece of fruit instead of a meal, chocolate bar, or piece of cake.

*give yourself limits- don't give into every single craving. you can't lose weight if you are going to have a piece of chocolate every time you want one. personally, i could not find a healthy balance. i tried all the time. i tried "on holidays only." i tried, "once per week." didn't work for me. i still have treats, they just aren't most people's version of a "real treat." but believe me, i love rice dream ice cream, or homemade mango sorbet made with agave nectar, or a clif bar, or a lara bar, or whatever it may be. but i don't have them every day. just because my treats are a little healthier, doesn't mean i can eat them at all times. i'm not saying you have to cut out refined sugars and normal treats. but give yourself a limit. i would say once a week is a good goal. and when you do get that once a week treat, don't eat 10 chocolate bars. have one. even though you are allowing yourself a bowl of ice cream, have two scoops. not four or five. set limitations for yourself so you aren't eating these extra calories every day.

*eat a good breakfast- i'm not saying have a huge breakfast by any means. if you skip breakfast, or don't eat too much during the morning and early afternoon, by evening time, you'll be starving and consume tons of calories and then end up not being able to burn those calories off as well. eat breakfast.

*cut down on the sodas and other drinks besides water- this is one of those things that i cut out completely. i really don't drink anything except water. if you do, a great way to cut calories is to cut down how many calories you are consuming in liquids. sodas have tons of sugar in them and tons of calories that won't fill you up whatsoever. i do not recommend diet sodas. to me, they are worse for you. to me, anything artificially made by man is worse than something somewhat natural. diet sodas have artificial sweetener in them which is worse than sugar itself. argue if you want, but you can't change my mind. juice is also one of those things that's super high in calories (even if it's 100% juice) and won't fill you up. eat the apple rather than drink the apple juice. way more filling for less calories.

*drink water- you've heard this one over and over again. but it really does help. fill up a large glass of water and keep it next to your sink. bring a water bottle with you on errands. when you feel hungry, have a few swallows of water first. or an entire glass. much of the time, we think we are hungry, when in fact, we are thirsty. so drink people. water that is! and i don't want to hear "water doesn't quench my thirst." that's the biggest load of crap i've ever heard. :)

*eat wholesome foods- nutrient dense foods. eat foods like fruits, veggies, whole wheat carbs (no, carbs are NOT bad for you. just empty ones are). be careful on things like crackers, chips, dips, spreads, dressings, butter (these calories add up quickly), CHEESE (did you know 1 c. of cheese has anywhere between 400-500 calories in it?????? HELLO PEOPLE! what an easy way to cut out calories.. either don't use it at all or use a TINY BIT. 1/4 c has about 100 calories in it. ridiculous and that stuff doesn't fill you up whatsoever), and again, sweets. and remember, just because it's "healthy or healthier" doesn't mean you can eat as much as you want to. i love hummus... but i can't go eating 1 c. of hummus. it still has calories. snacky foods are usually extra calories.

*watch your portions- just live i've mentioned, watch how much you are eating. have a little bit of whatever you are eating, whether it be healthy or not. everything has calories (unless you are into the "no calorie this or that thing," which i am not. if it doesn't contain calories, it's not food to me. it's manmade and it's crap. don't take offense, that's just how i roll and my opinion. so be careful of your portions and how much of each thing you are consuming.

and just fyi: i get a lot of crap from people because i don't eat "treats." so i'll say this: one of the main reasons i cut out treats was because i hated that they ruled my world. i could not say no. that bugged me. that something as stupid as a piece of cake controlled me. and then i would turn around and be mad at myself for eating it because i was trying to lose weight. so i cut it out. and i felt so empowered that i was in control of my body. my body no longer controlled me. i didn't have to listen to it's temptations... i could decide for myself that "no. i wasn't going to eat that cookie." it was quite an amazing experience. and the main reason i have stuck with it is because i feel 100 times better without that stuff in my body. i wasn't planning to cut it out for longer than it took me to lose my baby weight after isaac. but i love feeling in control of my food, and that it doesn't control me. so just a side note of why i'm "not balanced," as some people claim.

k that's all i can think of for right now. i'll post some recipes soon. promise. and if you have questions about any of this, leave a comment and let me know!