Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wholesome Media

There is a lot of misleading information regarding proper nutrition within the media, and major media journalists are using proper nutrition as their go to topic. It is great to see major media outlets, like the New York Times, have a blog dedicated to wellness. Their wellness blog focuses on the many things we can do to improve our overall health. Their blog offers up a decent amount of healthy recipes containing many nutritional ingredients. The New York Times and other major health-focused media outlets are great sources when trying to find good-clean recipes. These types of media outlets are typically focused on overall health which makes them a wonderful go-to health and nutrition source. These major media outlets do not look at nutrition as the forefront of media but they do recognize proper nutrition as an important and somewhat popular topic. When looking for proper guidance with nutrition make sure to research and read up on the foods that benefit our bodies.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Moderate Media

The media outlets that do encourage proper nutrition refers to healthy eating as a "diet". Major media outlets need to start referring to these "diets" as lifestyles. That is the only way people will see any change with their weight or health, when they quit the diets and begin the lifestyle. Most of the big media outlets provide decent and adequate nutrition information and tips but they have yet to fully embrace nutrition as a major topic. Fox News has a good amount of nutrition focused articles. Their posts are great and provide wonderful diet and nutrition information, but they tend to be vague when more details can be provided. In their The Perfect Diet article, they focus on the proper balance of carbs, fats and proteins. While this article is great it could have held more water. Fox News, being one of the major-media outlets, is slowly beginning to draw attention to proper nutrition. They just need to start promoting the lifestyle rather-than the "diet".

Mistaken Media

Our lives revolve around social-media. Majority of people read and browse the local news-station websites as their go-to source of up-to-date and helpful information. It is sad to see journalists writing generic content that they do not even fully understand, and most of the time the content they are covering is nutrition. In recent years health and fitness has become somewhat of a trend, and finding accurate information through the internet is the hardest part. Many people do not even know where to begin so they turn to their local news station for health and diet tips. This can lead to mistaken health and diet tips because media has yet to turn the focus to proper nutrition segments. Even the Tampa Bay Times is guilty. In their 25 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work they provide 25 "healthy" lunch ideas. This sounds great for that person on a budget or the busy business man that is trying to slim down, but there are far and few proper health and nutrition tips in this article. The article mentions juice or soda for some of the "healthy" drink choices. The article mentions chips, mayonnaise, baked potatoes and the list goes on. Plus there are no recipes provided so potion control is out the window. Sooner or later, proper nutrition is going to become a major forefront in people's lives. If the media does not change and improve their articles and segments focusing on nutrition they risk losing their audience.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Healthy Donuts?!

Everyone loves a donut, even if they do not go out of their way for one everyday, but when presented with a box of fresh donuts anyone would oblige. I personally love donuts but I cannot tell you the last time I had one. I cut donuts out of my everyday diet way before I began trying to loose weight, I knew donuts were one of the worst things to put into our body's so it was best to cut them out completely. The other day I was at Target and I stumbled across a donut-baking tray, almost like a cupcake tray but for donuts. I did not even hesitate, once I saw it I knew I had to have it. Of course I had to make donuts as soon as I got the chance because I was curious to see if this tray would even work.

1 tbp of coconut oil
1 tbs of cinnamon
3 tbs of truvia
3/4 tsp of baking powder
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tub of Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 cup of perfect fit (any protein powder will work)

You should get a fluffy constancy once you mixed all ingredients together.

1 tbs of honey
1/2 tbs of truvia
1/2 tbs of cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla extract

These donuts are great for breakfast or a sweet afternoon pick-me-up. They have a bonus healthy factor by not being fried, so you do not have to feel guilty when reaching for seconds!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Healthy Fall Cocktails

Holiday cocktails are a must but healthy festive cocktails are always the better alternative. It's great to indulge in meals or drinks every now and then, but holidays seem to be the time of the year where people over-indulge with the meals and drinks. I like to maintain a happy medium-sized indulgence around the holidays. Here are some healthy holiday drink recipes that will warm any old scrooge up.

Whiskey Autumn Delight: *SERVED WARM OR CHILLED*
2 oz. of whiskey
6 oz. of organic apple cider (or apple juice if you're not a fan of cider)
A dash of cinnamon
Garnish with an apple slice or a cinnamon stick

Autumn Apple-tini: *SERVED CHILLED*
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. whiskey
1/2 oz. of grade A maple syrup
2 oz. organic apple juice (freshly juiced if you have a juicer)
Garnish with a dash on cinnamon on top

Sizzling Sangria: *SERVE CHILLED*
1 cup of brandy
1/3 cup of triple sec
1 cup of grand marnier
1 bottle of red wine
2 apples and 2 pears diced
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
*OPTIONAL* you can add club soda if you want the sangria to have a spritzer feel to it

Thanksgiving Cider: *SERVE OVER ICE*
2 oz. vodka
3 oz. apple cider
1/2 oz. of grade A maple syrup
Splash of club soda
Garnish with cinnamon or an apple slice

Pumpkin Delight: *SERVE CHILLED*
2 oz. of pumpkin puree
2 oz. of spiced rum
1/4 cup of milk
1/3 cup of half and half
Garnish with a dash of cinnamon
*If served in a martini glass, rim with brown sugar*

I hope some of these festive drink options will make the holidays more warm and enjoyable. Let me know if you will be giving any of these fall drink recipes a shot.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Healthy Thanksgiving Soup

I thought I would share some of my healthy thanksgiving recipes throughout this week just incase anyone wanted some healthy meal alternatives. Since the fall is here and winter is right around the corner, comfort food becomes essential during the cold months. A great comfort food for when it's cold is sweet potato and pumpkin soup. This soup is perfect because it is a blended soup, it is made with only vegetables and spices, and it's very nutritious. 

What you will need
  • 1 Pie Pumpkin
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tbs of minced garlic
  • 3 tsp of red pepper
  • 2 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tbs of ground coriander
  • 3 tsp of oregano
  • 1 pinch of salt
Start by setting your oven to 400 F degrees and begin washing and chopping up your pumpkin and sweet potato. 

Then you want to wrap the chunks in foil and drizzle on some olive oil and close the foil wrapping. Then place them in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, once they are tender you can remove them. While their baking start buy adding 1 table spoon of olive oil, 1 table spoon of minced garlic, 3 teaspoons of red pepper, 2 teaspoons of pepper, 1 table spoon of ground coriander, 3 teaspoons of oregano, and 1 pinch of salt to a medium sized soup pot. Let the spices simmer on low heat while you wait for the pumpkin and sweet potato.

You will then add your chopped green pepper and the chucks of pumpkin and sweet potatoes to a blender or food processor, blend till smooth. 

Once you have the soup pureed to your liking, you then want to add the puree to your soup pot that has been set to simmer.

Once you have added the puree you then want to mix the soup on low heat. If you prefer a creamier texture you can add in 1/2 cup of almond milk.

This is what the finished product should look like. It is a very tasty soup and it only took me a little over an hour to make. Be on the look out for more recipes this week!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Being a girl, I am prone to spontaneous food cravings. When these cravings hit they are usually for something specific. I have a massive sweet tooth so if I get a craving it's typically for some type of dessert. This week I had a craving for carrot cake. I don't know why I had such a craving for it, because whenever I'm at a party and there is carrot cake for dessert I snub my nose to it. I found it quite odd that I had this craving, I thought maybe I was low on my vitamines A, E and K so I decided to get creative. Instead of buying an actual carrot cake I opted for the homemade protein pancake version. I talked about how I make my protein pancakes in an older post of mine. This recipe is basically the same but with carrot puree and carrot juice added.

The Recipe:
  • 2 cups of egg whites
  • 3 carrots (juiced or pureed) *you can use a blender for pureeing*
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 3/4 cup of muesli
  • 1 scoop of protein powder of choice
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of truvia sweetener
After your carrots are pureed, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. I did not want to blend-up any of the ingredients because I like that carrot cake has a texture to it and I wanted these pancakes to have a simular texture. I then took a tablespoon of coconut oil and pan-fried the batter into pancakes. You do not have to use coconut oil and you also do not have to pan-fry like me, because these recipes are just here to encourage all the possibilities when it comes to healthy cooking. I also made so copy-cat healthy "frosting" for the pancakes because I just could not see syrup going well with these. I made the frosting with some plain greek yogurt and mixed in some cinnamon, truvia and almond extract. It was delicious and guilt-free so of course it made the meal exceptional.

These pancakes were great and took care on my unwanted craving for carrot cake. Like I have said before, all of these recipes can be tweaked. These recipes are here to show the ratio of proper ingredients and how to incorporate the beneficial food and ingredients into our daily meals. This coming week I will be share some deliciously healthy thanksgiving dishes so be on the lookout.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Turkey, not just a holiday meal.

Any time I see turkey being prepared it is always around the fall holidays. I find that somewhat odd because turkey is a great meat source of protein. Just like chicken, turkey serves an import part in diet as well. I typically buy the ground turkey breast meat because the meat from the breast is white meat and we all know white meat is the best meat to put into our bodies. I buy the ground meat because I find it easier to cook and integrate into other recipes other than a whole turkey breast. Like I said, turkey is very simple so I encourage everyone of you to try a non-holiday dish incorporating some turkey.

The turkey dish I decided to make was a sautéed ground turkey with veggies. It was very filling and the recipe made enough for two plates. I thought it turned out delicious and now turkey is my meat of choice.

The recipe:

1/2 lb of ground turkey breast
1/2 of a small pumpkin (skinned and cubed)
1 cup of kale leaves
1 cup of mushrooms
1/2 cup of broccoli and cauliflower
1/2 cup of celery
Onion powder (to taste)
Cayenne peper (to taste)
Topped with pine nuts

Hope you all enjoy this recipe and try incorporating some turkey in your non-festive meals till the holidays.

Pros and Cons: When cooking without oil.

Cooking without using any oils sounds nearly impossible, but using no oil tends to be much easier than your standard cooking methods with oil. Using other ingredients that will substitute for the oil opens numerous healthy-cuisine possibilities.

First let's cover the pros when cooking without oil. There are numerous cooking oils out there, but not all are good for our bodies. Oils can clog our arteries, can cause cravings, usually leads to feeling sluggish, and it can pack on some serious pounds. So an advantage for cooking without oil is an providing overall health change for your body. Like I said above; cooking without oils opens your eyes to the numerous recipes when using oil-free ingredients. Let's move on to the cons. First con is for anyone trying oil-free recipes for the first time, more than likely it is not going to be what you expect. Anyone switching from 100% oil usage to no oil is going to experience a bitter taste and the food won't taste or feel as smooth. This happens because our bodies get accustomed to what you put into them daily. Greasy foods alter your taste buds to like sugars and fats, thus leading you to ungodly cravings throughout the day. The best way to ease into oil-free cooking is by using vegetable or chicken broth, the food will be rich with flavor so it would be hard to taste a significant difference without the oil. The next con of cooking without oil is not getting enough healthy fats. Yes oil is terrible but there are a few oils that are very beneficial to our bodies. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthy oils to use while cooking because it is a healthy fat. Now a little goes a long way, so don't over do it. Try sticking to 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, but do not exceed a tablespoon. The is one of those health topics where people can lean towards either side because both sides are good and bad. The trick to maintaining healthy oil consumption is balancing by balancing out your usage and learning what your body needs verses what it wants.

Now onto the interesting part of this post, the oil substitutes. These food items can be used in various way when cooking oil free dishes. These ingredients are typically very moist which is what makes oil-free cooking possible.

  • Bananas
  • Tofu
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Pumpkin Puree (basically any fruit or vegetable puree)
  • Applesauce
  • Vegetable/Chicken Broth
  • Coconut Oil
  • Water
  • Olive Oil (in moderation)
  • Milk (of any kind)
These are the typical ingredients used for oil-free cooking, let me know if you try a recipe with any of these substitutes or if you know of any other substitutes for oil-free recipes.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cheating Made Easy.

This may be a little odd but during my challenge I did not step on the scale at all, mainly because I did not want to psych myself out by just seeing a number change, I wanted this challenge to mainly focus on the progress picture because then you are seeing results first hand. A few people were curious to know how much weight I lost during the challenge, even after the challenge was completed I refused to step on the scale because weight in my mind it is just a number and we should never let it control our healthy habits. Even with a couple people still hounding me about weighing myself I could not escape the scale at my doctors office. As I sit in the lobby I think of what the scale will say my weight is, I know I have nothing to worry about because I have lost weight and majority of my clothes are baggy now, but it's the fact that I am stepping on the exact scale that read my highest weight to me back in 2010. I was 179.6 pounds back then; that is the time where I ran into a few health problems and those being combined with my horrible eating habits just became a recipe for tremendous weight gain. The doctor calls me to the back room to take my weight, I stand with angst as I wait for the scale to calculate my current number that defines my bodys current state and just when I felt like it was not going to be a drastic change the scale read 142.3 pounds. I was ecstatic, I could not believe I lost almost 14 pounds during this challenge, since I weighed myself a few weeks before this challenge and I was at 156 pounds. I thought that was a great way to end the 30 Day Challenge with, I know this challenge was the best decision I have made for my health and body in awhile and now it's not only a challenge but a lifestyle.

The 30 Day Challenge is completed, and now I just want to eat any cheat meal I can get my hands on. For the last 3 days I have found myself wanting to eat something bad but when it's right in front of me is when I now no longer want it, I just can't seem to even stomach the idea of eating something that is unhealthy for my body, yet I still wanted a super sweet treat. Just this week I came across an email from the Tone It Up girls, it was about a 3 ingredient cookie. I didn't open the email because of course it was going to be a healthy recipe and at that time I was really wanting a normal dessert and not a healthy dessert. After a couple days spent having no sweet treats I decided to open the email and try their cookie recipe. Boy was I missing out, these cookies hit the sweet tooth spot and I felt awesome while eating them because I know that they are 100% good for you. The 3 ingredient cookie recipe can be found here.

I followed their recipe when I made them and it made 11 huge cookies, I might make the cookies a little smaller next time and I plan to use pumpkin purée instead of bananas. You can also add in some other fruit to the original recipe, just remember to always play around with healthy clean-eating recipes because you will always end up with a better version (your healthy rendition) of the original. I'm glad this 30 Day Challenge altered my previous eating habits because a lot of people were warning me about if I binge right after the challenge then I will gain everything back plus some more. Ironically I think by making myself stay committed to this challenge for 30 days change my habits and now I can't even stomach the idea of processed and unhealthy foods.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The end is always a begining.

The 30 Day Challenge has come to an end, I cannot believe that it's already November! The challenge is completed and I feel like a new person. Although, since the challenge is over this does not grant me the privilege of going back to my old eating habits. Typically it takes around 20 to 30 days to make or break a habit, this challenge has not only helped me get into shape it also changed my eating habits for the better. The only difference is now I will allow myself one treat day out of the week, this "treat day" will consist mostly of healthy treats and of course the normal holiday treats coming up because everyone should enjoy food on the holidays. Anyways I figure it's time to put my month where my mouth is, so here's my before and after picture for the 30 Day Challenge.

I feel great and 90% of my clothes are a bit baggy now so I decided I would treat myself with shopping trip for some new fall clothes. I encourage anyone who wants a jump start with getting in shape to challenge yourself by cutting one thing or a few things out of your diet for one month, your whole outlook on food will change (As well as your eating habits). Stay focused, believe in yourself, and don't give up after one week or a small slip up.