Friday, September 24, 2010

Give your metabolism a boost

Spices aren't only useful for making food taste good. They are a great way to give your metabolism an extra boost! So when cooking try adding one of the following spices:

Cayenne
Cinnamon
Ginger
Garlic
Parsley
Fennel
Cumin

In addition, Fennel is great for digestion, garlic and ginger are great for fighting infections and Cayenne can helps clear out your sinuses. How can you go wrong?!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Healthy versions of childhood favorites

Hello loves,

I hope everyone is enjoying the change of seasons! I definitely am! I have a wedding this weekend and I have been shopping like a mad woman to find a dress to wear to it. Not that I am complaining, I will use any excuse to go shopping! Well I finally found a dress, now I need shoes and a bag, moreee shopping! lol I am very bad with posting pictures, but I will definitely post some after the wedding!

Question: Did anyone ever eat an Eggo waffle topped with ice cream and maple syrup? If you haven't you are missing out! I definitely had this treat when I was little, and I recently thought of it and had to healthify it. So here it is:

Healthy toaster waffles (Van's and Nature's path makes pretty clean ones)
Banana Softserve (Blend frozen bananas with just a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a splash of vanilla extract & cinnamon)
Top with all-natural maple syrup.

It tastes just like my childhood favorite (or just enough like it to satisfy me). Not something I would eat everyday, but it is a yummy treat!

What are some of your favorite childhood foods/treats?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Healthy Swaps

We all know that a bowl of steel cut oats is a better breakfast than a bowl of sugary cereal or a doughnut. But what if you really want the unhealthier option? Do you deprive yourself of what you are craving or give into the craving and eat something unhealthy?

Yes, if you choose the oatmeal you are making a smarter investment, however, because you didn't eat want you really wanted, this can make you feel deprived and may lead to over-eating. Diets = deprivation, but a healthy lifestyle means that nothing is technically off-limits. By removing the taboos of "carbs are evil" or "dessert is the devil, stay away," you won't feel deprived. The goal is to eat clean a majority of the time, and indulge once in a while.

So stop "dieting" and know that no food is off limits! No need to put yourself in your own little prison. Food shouldn't be a reward or a punishment. Food is a way to nourish your body, but of course your food should be tasty and enjoyable. As long as you keep your eating habits clean most of the time, then occasional indulgences will NOT hurt you. I still catch myself freaking out over sugar every once in a while, but I have to regroup and realize that 1 dessert a month [or even a week if you wanna get really wild ;)] will not make all my healthy eating go to waste. 1 cupcake cannot undo all vegetables, whole grains, fruits and healthy fats that I put into my body.
When you get a craving for something really naughty, my best advice is to make a compromise. Pick a treat that will do less damage, but still satisfy your craving. Here are some healthy swaps:

Craving a candy or chocolate bar? For example, a Snickers bar (definitely naughty!) contains artificial flavors, corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soy bean oil in addition 1 bar has 14 grams of fat, 5g of saturated fat,5mg cholesterol, 1g of fiber and 30g sugar! Instead swap a snickers for a Luna Bar (the Nutz over Chocolate flavor is the most similar to a snickers) and you will get only natural flavors, whole grains, added vitamins and minerals, 70% organic ingredients and no hydrogenated oils! You'll also consume less calories, only 6g of fat, 2g saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, more fiber and protein and 10g of sugar. Or, pick an Organic, Dark chocolate (70% cacao content or higher) or Raw chocolate. Definitely better choices!

Want Chips or Crackers? Opt for baked vegetable chips without any hydrogenated oils or Go for Mary's Gone Crackers brand of crackers which are gluten free and made with whole grains and seeds.

Ice cream? Choose Purely decadent or Luna and Larry's brands of Coconut milk ice cream which are Dairy & Lactose Free, Sweetened with Agave, Cholesterol Free, Contain no trans fats and Vegan friendly.

Too pressed for time to cook? Need a quick frozen meal? Choose Amy's brands of frozen meals. They are all natural and cater to different diet and allergy needs.

It's not about deprivation, but making smart investments and choosing the lesser of two evils!

What are you favorite naughty foods?
I have a sweet tooth so mine are chocolate, ice cream and desserts! Which I only have when I really want them.

Do you make compromises?
When I decide to indulge I find the healthiest option of what I am craving or I will bake a dessert at home so I can control the ingredients that are going into it.

Are their certain foods you try to avoid?
I definitely try and avoid sugars and processed foods. But when I do have processed or packaged foods I find ones with all natural ingredients.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Comfort Foods for Fall

There are so many thing I love about the summer: the beach, the "longer days", wearing flip flops! and just the overall excitement in the air. Although I have graduated, I still get the 'schools out for summer' butterflies. However, I also love the change of seasons and I am really looking forward to the fall. I already see Halloween decorations out!

When it comes to eating, summer is a time for lots of veggies, salads and fruits. Its best to eat raw foods to help cool us off. As the weather gets cooler out, our body will start to crave warmer foods. Many people think that gaining winter weight is normal; that like squirrels, we need to store up in the winter to keep warm. This is when people tend to eat a lot of heavy, high calorie foods. Well if your body is cold, put on a sweater, not extra weight! I am all about warm, hearty comfort foods, but I don't need any more calories, fats or carbs than I did in the summer. Just because the weather is changing, doesn't mean your eating habits (or your waistline) should. We just need to shift from raw veggies and fruits, to more cooked foods.

Here are some of my favorite, healthy comfort foods:

Soups are great for your body. I have a tendency towards feeling cold so you will find me having soups even in the dead of summer (I don't recommend this for everyone, but its what my body needs) The great thing about soups is they are very filling, so you don't need to eat a lot and they can be very healthy and nutritious. My favorite soups are split pea, lentil and basically any veggie puree soup. This is the perfect comfort food for me: warm, filling and healthy.

Roasted Veggies In the winter it is recommended to eat foods that are cooked longer, so soups and roasted veggies are perfect! In the winter our body's will have a tendency to crave more starchy foods (grains, legumes, potatoes and other starchy veggies), but to cut the carbs and calories I will combine some starchy veggies with some non-starchy veggies. For example I will roast several different non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and only one starchier vegetable like sweet potatoes. And before roasting them I will use just enough oil to cover the veggies. Less is more!

Hot herbal teas Green tea and Peppermint tea are two of my favorites.

Hot chocolate I love hot cocoa, but it is always FULL of sugar, so I make my own at home with almond milk & stevia, its still yummy, but with a fraction of the calories and sugar of regular hot chocolate