Monthly Archives: September 2015

4 Ingredient Diet Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Collage-2

Last night I looked at my kitchen counter and found several really ripe bananas that I wasn’t sure what to do with. I looked through my recipe book for something to make and found this tiny piece of paper tucked away that listed this very simple recipe. Only four ingredients were needed: oats, ripe bananas, peanut butter and chocolate chips. Since I had all of these on hand, I decided to give it a try. What I didn’t expect was how delicious they were!

I shared these Chocolate Banana Cookies with my 9 year old daughter and husband, and they were an instant hit! With no added, sugar, eggs or butter, these are vegan, packed with protein and fiber, and very filling. I wouldn’t feel bad even using them as a breakfast item.

 

If you have some ripe bananas lying around and love the taste of chocolate and peanut butter, you should definitely give these a try!

 

5 Surprising Weight Loss Shortcuts

shortcutIf you are on a mission to lose weight, it’s hard to know where to start. Is it more important to focus on your diet, or finding a new exercise regimen? The answer can vary from one person to the next, but overall, it’s important to look at both. Some techniques work better than others, and there are definitely some shortcuts that can help you find more success. Here are 5 surprising weight loss shortcuts that can help you get started.

 

 

Drink Coffee: This is especially helpful when you work out regularly. Caffeine has been shown to increase the release of fatty acids that float around in your bloodstream, and can suppress your appetite. Just be sure to drink basic coffee with just a little sugar and cream.

Walk, Don’t Jog: Although it may seem that running will burn more calories than walking, fast walking can actually help you burn more calories than slow jogging. If you run slower than a 10 minute mile, give fast walking a try.

Sleep In: Sleep has a direct impact on the hormones that control our hunger, and how satisfied we feel when eating. Getting enough sleep can keep these hormones balanced.

Start Jumping: Jumping is one of the quickest and easiest ways to lose weight. Grab a jump rope, or do jumping jacks in place for one minute at a time and you will give your body a great workout.

Soak Up Some Sun: Although we don’t exactly know why, people who get a good daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun generally have a lower BMI than those who don’t. Start your day with a little sunshine and you just might lose some weight.

 

Don’t Wait to Pick Up those Weights!

Strong BoneWhen you think of bones, do you envision them as static objects, or living organisms? Are they things you can alter with certain behavior, or do they just grow at their own constant rate? Most people don’t realize that you can change the density of your bones by what you eat, and the type of exercise you choose to engage in. Your choices can either help strengthen your bones, or cause them to become more weak and brittle. Let’s talk about what you can do to make your bones as strong as possible today and in the future.

One of the best ways to increase bone density is through regular strength training exercises. Because your bones are alive, they get stimulated through resistance training exercises, which causes them to increase in density. Weight training exercises stimulate the cells in your bones to create new bone cells. The more you perform these exercises, the more dense your bones will become.

This is especially helpful for women, who face the problem of osteoporosis. Women who have strong muscles and bones have better balance, which helps prevents them from falling. Women who fall down less can avoid more fractures and bone breaks.

What does all of this mean for you?

If you are a woman, strength training will help you stay in shape, and have strong bones. Even just a little bit each day will go a long way. For your upper body, start off with bicep curls, tricep extensions and dead lifts. For your lower body, do some lunges, squats and jumping jacks. Spend 10 minutes a day doing these exercises and your bones will become stronger in no time!

 

Why Women Need to Weight Lift

Young female at the gym working on her triceps and back

There are a lot of women out there who worry about “bulking up” if they were to add weight lifting to their exercise regimen. They stick to cardio workouts hoping that all the energy they are using will help them burn calories. In reality, if you want to lose the fat and sculpt that body to be lean, lifting weights is probably your ticket.

In order to bulk up from lifting weights, you would have to lift a lot. What most women are going to be doing is the kind of weight lifting that will help you to burn more fat rather than get muscles like Popeye’s. In a study done by Penn State, those who added weight lifting to their exercise lost almost only fat. Those who just dieted or only did cardio lost both fat and muscle. Women need to remember that if we really want to lose fat off our body, we need to lift weights.

Weight lifting also helps to tone and sculpt our bodies better than cardio exercise alone. Over time, the building of muscles will help clothing to fit better.

So, don’t avoid the weights just because you are afraid of bulking up. Start lifting weights and burn more fat than you have in the past.

Top Ten Healthy Drinks For Fall

autumn still lifeWhen fall is just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a delicious beverage first thing in the morning, or in the evening before bed. Chai tea and iced coffee are great breakfast items, while apple cider and milk shakes can end your day off with a nice sweet taste. If you want something more substantial in the middle, veggie detox juices or greek yogurt smoothies will do the trick. No matter what time of day it is, having a nice beverage to drink can make your day just a little better. Here are my top 10 healthy drinks that will keep you happy during the fall.

 

1. Orange Apple Cider

2. Beet and Vegetable Detox Juice

3. Green Fruit and Veggie Smoothie

4. Cran-Orange Punch

5. Berry Protein Smoothie

6. Chai Mocha Latte

7. Apple Pie Milk Shake

8. Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Smoothie

9. Vanilla Iced Coffee

10. Cranberry Yogurt Smoothie

I Need A New Workout Buddy!

Two sporty women running outdoors in a natural setting.Did you know that, on average, women who workout with a girlfriend lose 10 more pounds than those who workout alone? Having a friend to sweat with, complain with, and give encouragement to can make a huge difference when it comes to weight loss. Not only do you have more success, you also have more fun and strengthen your relationship with that person. I can tell you from first hand experience that this is true.

 

Last year I worked out three days a week with a girlfriend of mine, and it was so much more fun than working out alone. One day a week we would meet in her garage to do a Thai boxing working. The other two days we would do an Insanity workout in my living room, or run to the park and do a circuit with strength training exercises. A few times we even did a workout in the pool. Through all of these workouts, our kids played in the background, and occasionally participated.

A year later I moved and we could no longer meet up for workouts, but the year we spent working out regularly has made us really great friends. Since then, it has been much more difficult to motivate myself to exercise. I still go, but it’s not as much fun. I am currently in the market for a new workout buddy, but haven’t had any luck yet. If you know of someone who would make a great workout buddy, call her up and set up a plan. Schedule out the days and times you want to exercise, then get going. Feel free to change things up as time goes on. The important things are to be consistent, supportive, and have fun!

Grab Your Girlfriends!

Group of three women stretching after sport

Getting into a habit of exercising can be tough. Life is busy and it can be difficult to fit in a workout. In my life there has been one sure fire trick to keep me active: being accountable to my workout partner. Knowing that someone is going to be meeting me for a workout helps me keep my exercise schedule. I’ve had many different friends that I have worked out with over the years. I’ve had seasons with no one to work out with, and I know I am not as dedicated during these times.  As a young mother I used to run with my friend in the park while we pushed our strollers. My husband and I challenged another couple to a workout challenge that lasted a month long. We would meet together a couple times a week to work out. As my life got busier, I found that working out with a friend is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. It lets me take care of my social needs as well as get in a workout. Instead of meeting a friend for lunch, we’ll meet for a walk around the park or a Pilates session.

This week, try to find a workout partner if you don’t have one and see if you don’t workout more consistently.

Calcium: For More Than Just Bones

Raw Organic Green Collard Greens

Calcium is a mineral that most of us associate as a necessity to build strong bones. Calcium is essential for bone strength and about 99% of the calcium in our bodies is in our bones and teeth. However, calcium is used also for helping our blood clot, assisting in our nerves sending messages and helping our muscles contract. It is very important Having a calcium rich diet is essential for our bodies to perform well and to stay strong.

When I was 15 years old I became lactose intolerant. The symptoms were severe, and I had to remove dairy products from my diet. One of my greatest concerns was getting enough calcium in my diet to keep my body functioning properly now and preventing my bones from becoming weak in the future.  Cheese, milk and and yogurt are all great sources of calcium, but if you have to avoid dairy, here are some excellent alternative calcium rich foods.

Collard Greens have 268 milligrams per one cup cooked. Try this Quick Feijoada Salad.

Broccoli has 86 milligrams in 2 cups raw. Try this Broccoli with Thai Cashew Dip.

Kale has 101 milligrams in 1 cup raw. Try this Kale Smoothie.

Edamame has 98 milligrams in 1 cup cooked. Try Fresh Edamame Salad.

Oranges have 74 milligrams in one large orange. Try Orange Blueberry Bran Muffins.

Tofu has 434 milligrams per 1/2 cup. Try these Tofu Stuffed Shells.

Almonds have about 75 milligrams per ounce. Try these Sauteed Green Beans, Peppers and Almonds.

Beat your Afternoon Slump with 5 Protein Rich Snacks

coloured seed mixtureWhen the clocks hits around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s hard not to feel sleepy. You’ve been going all day, working hard, taking care of kids, studying for school, or a little bit of everything, and all you want to do is lie down for a quick nap. Since most of us don’t have this luxury, the next best thing is to get some healthy energy from a protein rich snack. Protein in particular will give you the burst of energy you need to get you through the afternoon. I know it’s tempting to go for an energy drink or cup of coffee, but coffee will wear off too soon, and energy drinks can be full of harmful chemicals, additives and preservatives that are not good for your body. Here are 5 healthy, protein rich snacks that are also extremely delicious.

 

1. Great Outdoor Trail Mix – This delicious trail mix contains 4 different kinds of nuts, plus seeds, raisins and sesame sticks for a little salty and sweet mix.

2. Gluten Free Energy Balls – These energy balls combine creamy peanut butter with crunchy oats, sweet honey, almonds and pumpkin seeds.

3. Yummy Protein Popcorn – Flavored by sweet honey and creamy peanut butter, this popcorn treat is crunchy, sweet and packed with protein.

4. Fiery Chickpeas - Roasting chickpeas with great seasonings leaves them crunchy, tasty and very satisfying for an afternoon snack.

5. Homemade Cocoa Protein Bars – These cocoa protein bars are easy to make ahead of time and enjoy anytime during your day.

Healthy Daytime Dishes

DaytimeDishes

For years it seemed like getting in healthy snacks and lunches was near impossible. As a mom who works part-time, my needs often come last. When I would finally get around to grabbing something for lunch it was usually a thrown together pb&j or the leftover chicken nuggets from my kid’s plates. As time has gone by, I’ve gotten better at setting aside time to eat lunch with my children. Here are some of the ways I get in a healthy lunch.

Heat Up Leftovers - I usually make healthy meals for dinner. If you are one who already cooks dinner, then just make a little extra to eat for lunch the next day.

Make a Colorful Plate- My kids LOVE colorful plate lunches. The first time I made one for them, I was worried. I thought, “There is no way they are going to eat this plate of fruit and vegetables.” I was wrong.The foods on the plate are typically “grown-up” foods, but when I cut it up into finger foods and tell them to find all the colors they magically become kid friendly. I just try to find as many different colored fruits and veggies for my lunch and add a protein. My kids BEG for this lunch and love to give me suggestions of what foods we could use for different colors. These are also a great way to use up food in the fridge. Have just a little bit of rice left over from dinner? Add it to your plate.

Veggie Sandwich- Make a sandwich that is loaded with veggies. So often, we make sandwiches and load them up with meat and cheese. A veggie sandwich with hummus and cracked black pepper is always so filling!

Healthy Snacks – When I buy produce I like to make it as accessible as possible. I have a fruit bowl on my counter where I can just grab an apple or banana for snack. Pairing up your fruits and vegetables with a protein is a great way to boost your energy. We’ll talk more about that later this week!