Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pure Bar Review

Happy Sunday Friends! I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Eating healthy on the go can be difficult at times, but with a little planning, it can be done! Packaged granola bars and "health food bars" are usually filled with sugars, artificial ingredients and additives. When l look for a bar I always look at the ingredients first. I check for the following things:

1. Can I pronounce all the ingredients?
2. Are these ingredients things I can find in my pantry?
3. Does this product contain sugar, and how much?

Buyer beware: Be very weary when a product makes a health claim like "low fat," "low sugar," "whole grains," etc. These claims are are used as a marketing tool do catch the consumer's eye. If a product is low fat that usually just means they added more sugar or chemicals to compensate.

Pure Bars are one of my favorite snacks to go. I have to say, I actually prefer them to every one's beloved Larabars.

My favorite flavor is their Chocolate Brownie (of course):

Yes, I need a manicure. Yes, I have the world's tiniest hands. (ring size 4).

Pieces of walnuts? Yes please!!

Ingredients: Organic dates, organic walnuts, organic agave nectar, organic almonds, organic cashews, organic brown rice protein, organic cocoa.
I love this bar because not only does it taste delicious, but it is made from all organic, all natural ingredients. All of these ingredients are items I have in my pantry and I could make a home-made version of this if I wanted to.

I don't eat these bars daily, but they are great for busy days when I need to keep a snack in my purse.

Have you tried Pure bars before?

Do you prefer Pure bars or Lara Bars?

xoxo Tina

Friday, January 28, 2011

Breakfast Quinoa

Happy Friday!

So this morning I wanted to have something different for breakfast. I had an unopened box of Quinoa Flakes in my pantry that I have been meaning to try.

Quinoa is a gluten free grain and is also a complete protein.

The nutrition stats are similar to rolled oats.

Breakfast Quinoa:
  • 1/3 cup Quinoa Flakes cooked in 1 cup water
  • Cinnamon & Pumpkin Pie Spice to taste
  • splash Vanilla extract
  • 1tsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • Cacao Nibs

It tastes like regular Quinoa, but with the texture of light and fluffy rolled oats. While I prefer my oats and oat bran, this was definitely a tasty breakfast and a nice change. I will definitely be making it again. Quinoa Flakes would also be great to use in a savory dish!

My Quinoa breakfast was paired with a cup of Yogi Tea advising me to speak the truth.

What is your all-time favorite breakfast?
What are your plans for the weekend?
xoxo Tina

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow & Smoothies

Hello loves! I am snowed in yet again!

This is the view from our backyard. My poor boyfriend spent almost an hour trying to shovel his car out so he could drive to work. I was not happy about him driving because of how dangerous the roads are, but he said once he hit the main roads/highway it was clear.

I however am stuck home! I had to cancel a few appointments and will be coaching the rest of my clients via skype today. Days like today makes me appreciate the fact that the majority of the work I do is out of our apartment.

Here was my yummy breakfast:

Snowed in Smoothie:
-Sun warrior Protein (chocolate)
-Pro greens superfood powder
-1/2 cup unsweetened Hemp Milk
-1 tsp ground Flax seeds
-1 tsp raw cacao powder
-Ice, ice baby

Health Tip: GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is an omega-6 fatty acid which is found in evening primose, borage and black currant seed oils. According to research, GLA is said to activate the metabolism of brown fat, which naturally increases your body's ability to burn fat. In addition, GLA can help prevent dry skin and help with PMS.

My skin tends to get very dry in the winter and since I've started taking GLA I've noticed a big difference!

How do you protect your skin in the winter?

Is anyone else secretly excited for Jersey Shore tonight? ;)

xoxo Tina

Monday, January 24, 2011

Movie Munchies

Hello Friends! Can someone please tell me where the weekend went!?

Tonight my boyfriend & I went to see the movie No Strings Attached with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman.

I was a little worried that the movie would be too cheesy and that the funniest parts would be the parts they already showed in the trailers. However, this movie exceeded my expectations! It was adorable, funny and kept me entertained the entire time (which says a lot considering I get bored quite easily!). I really loved the movie and would recommend it to anyone looking for a laugh!

I realize that eating popcorn, chocolate, candy and soda has become part of the whole movie experience. I don't think ANYONE in the theater didn't have an item from the concession stand in their hand. While I don't recommend eating while watching a movie, or eating with any distractions for that matter (check out my post on Intuitive Eating), I can understand how it can be hard for someone to resist the temptation when they smell buttery popcorn and see everyone else munching away. That is why I think its so important to bring your own snacks to the movies!

So, here are some of my suggestions for healthier movie munchies:
-Trail mix with raw nuts, dried fruit and even dark chocolate chips
-Veggie sticks like celery and baby carrots (they have the perfect crunch!)
-Fruit salad
-Fat-free/low-fat air-popped pop corn
-Whole wheat or sour dough pretzels
-Baked pita chips or whole grain crackers
-All-natural granola bars, lara bars, kind bars, etc.
-Dark chocolate (Green & Blacks organic dark chocolate is my favorite)

What is your favorite movie snack?

Have you seen any good movies lately? I still haven't seen Black Swan!!

xoxo Tina

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow & Salads

Happy Friday!

Has anyone else got hit with MORE snow? Luckily the roads are relatively clear now, but it is absolutely freezing so I am walking around like a weirdo to avoid slipping on ice. I actually have a unusual fear of falling on ice. Walking on ice makes me SO nervous, does anyone else feel the same?

I had a delicious, nutrient-packed salad for lunch:

In the mix:
-Mixed greens
-Chopped fresh basil
-Cucumber (my fav)
-Baby Tomatoes
-Red Quinoa
-Balsamic drizzle
In an adorable bamboo bowl that I love.

I also tried a new tea today,

It was surpisingly delicious. Anytime I feel a cold coming on I take Echinacea drops in water 2-3 times a day and I usually feel better almost instantly. Since the drops aren't the best tasting, I assumed the tea would taste similar, but it was very smooth and comforting. Supporting your immune system is especially important with weather like this!

What are you favorite salad toppings? Cucumbers are a must for me!

Any plans for the weekend?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Intuitive Eating

Thursday already?! We are almost at the weekend!

I’m so glad you all agreed with my last post about weight loss myths! In fact, many of you could truly relate and have dealt with the negative effects of dieting and not consuming enough calories. If you missed the post, click here. I think its such an important message for all the people who are constantly dieting and exercising, but aren’t seeing any results!

Another very important topic that I want to talk about is Intuitive Eating. Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, are two Registered Dietitians who have wrote a book about this topic. According to them, Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind, and body--where you ultimately become the expert of your own body.

One of the most important aspects of Intuitive Eating is listening to your body and the signals it is sending you. We spend far too much time paying attention to the latest diet trends or following a ridged diet plan, that we overlook what our body needs or wants. In addition, we have become so disconnected from our bodies that we can no longer distinguish from physical hunger and emotional hunger, often leading to emotional eating or mindless eating.

Here are the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating:

1. Reject the Diet Mentality: Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.

2. Honor Your Hunger Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full.

3. Make Peace with Food End your negative relationship with food, it is not the enemy! If you tell yourself that a particular food is off limits, it can lead to feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and often results in bingeing and overwhelming guilt. Instead know that no food is off-limits and give yourself permission to eat!

4. Challenge the Food Police: The food police, which can also be called “food noise,” are the thoughts in your head that declare you're "good" for eating under 1000 calories or "bad" because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. We need to end these thoughts to return back to our intuition.

5. Respect Your Fullness: Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you're comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Make eating a pleasurable experience. Eat what you truly want and in a pleasant environment. Turn off the TV and other distractions and simply focus on the meal in front of you. This will help you to pay more attention to your body’s fullness.

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food: Food should not be used as a source of comfort, as a distraction from your emotions or as a cure for your boredom. Food is simply the source of nourishment and energy for our bodies. Using food to numb you of your emotions is not only a temporary fix, but will only result in guilt and discomfort from overeating. Recognize the unhealed issues you are trying to hide with food, and find healthier ways to deal with them.

8. Respect Your Body: Instead of staring into a mirror and picking out all of the things you dislike, focus on what you love about yourself. Your body works so hard to keep you healthy, so thank it by fueling it properly and having realistic expectations.

9. Exercise: The endorphins released during a workout will leave you feeling energized and in a better mood. Even if some days you feel like you have to drag yourself to workout, you will usually be happy you did once it is over. Try and find things you love to do, like swimming, biking, yoga, etc, so it won’t feel like a forced task.

10 Honor Your Health: Instead of listing the food you can have and cannot have (this is the diet mentality you want to end altogether), focus on foods that you know will fuel and nourish your body. Eat plenty of veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean protein. Eat organic when possible. As long as you are eating healthy, nutrient packed foods most of the time, it will not negatively impact your health if you treat yourself every so often. “It's what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.”

By taking the time and practicing these basic principles, you can relieve yourself of all the “food worry,” or stressful thought surrounded around your eating habits. You can start slow and pick just one principle you want to focus on for this week or this month.

Do you sometimes use food for reasons other than hunger? (stress, boredom, etc)

Which one of the principles listed above do you feel you can improve upon?

xoxo Tina

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Weight loss Myth

Eat less + exercise more = weight loss, right? Not necessarily.

I cannot tell you how many people come to me, completely frustrated, because they feel that no matter how much they diet, or how hard they workout, they can’t loose weight.

When you start cutting calories by eating less and then burn even more calories by working out, at some point you will be burning more calories that you are taking in. This causes your body tp panic and go into starvation mode. You actually slow down your metabolism and instead of burning fat, you are actually storing fat!

So eating less and working out more can actually be counter productive.

In addition, many people will skip meals in order to “save calories.” However, having smaller meals throughout the day is the best way to keep your metabolism burning all day long. Starting with a healthy breakfast is great way to rev up your metabolism, “break the fast,” and set the tone for your whole day!

When I was younger I got caught up in all the popular diet fads (Fat free, Low carb, etc). Not only was my body starving for both calories and nutrients from real food, but I also wrecked havoc on my metabolism. I use to cut my calories, avoid all the foods I loved, and was a cardio junkie. Now, I eat whatever I want (90% of the time, I truly want healthy foods), I exercise because I enjoy it and don't consider any food "off limits," and I weigh less than I ever have and have been able to keep it all off effortlessly.

If I only knew then what I know now, I would have saved myself a lot of trouble!

Have you ever fallen victim to this weight loss myth?

What lessons have you had to learn the hard way?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Trader Joe's Exposed!

I recently found an article on that compares Trader Joe's products with similar products made by other brands. There have been numerous times I recognized a Trader Joe's product that is identical to a product made by another company (just cheaper!). These two articles gives some examples of this:

Part One

One new Trader Joe product I noticed recently is their Baked Lentil Chips which are also made by the Mediterranean Snack Food Co.


I also buy Trader Joe's Brown Rice Wraps which are identical to the ones made by Food for Life brand.
What some of your favorite Trader Joe's "copy-cat" products?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chocolate Superfood

While I consider any food that is natural and provided by nature to be a super food, some foods have been given dubbed to be "power foods" or "foods of the Gods". These super foods have high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants as well as other health benefits.

Raw cacao is an example of a super food. It is a great source of antioxidants and fiber. It is very high in magnesium, iron and other essential minerals! Brands like Navitas Naturals sell raw cacao powder, nibs and other forms of this raw chocolate.

I especially love raw cacao nibs. I use them to top my oatmeal or add a tablespoon in my smoothies before blending for a little extra crunch. You can use the powder in place of regular cocoa powder.

Chocolate + health benefits is always a win in my book.

Have you tried raw cacao or any other "super foods?"

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Impulse Buy + Workout Schedule

How is every one's weekend going so far?

Yesterday I made an impulse buy at the local health food store:

a $13 impulse buy to be exact.

I added a little to my oat bran this morning, but wasn't too impressed. Any suggestions?

Moving on to my workouts! Ideally, I workout 5-6 days a week. I like to do weight training 3 times a week and cardio 3 times a week.

Here is what my workouts looked like this week: Jan 2nd- Jan 8th:
Sunday: Off
Monday: Total Body Class
Tuesday: 45min Cardio + some Abs
Wednesday: Spin Class
Thursday: Total Body Class
Friday: Off
Saturday 8th: Total Body Class

The Total Body Class (Hard Core Total Body Class, to be exact) is pretty intense. It is similar to the Body Pump class that many of you love. There is actually a disclaimer in the description of the class stating that it is "not for the faint of heart." I can definitely attest to that! It is military-style, so you will get yelled at if you are out of sync with the rest of the class or for giving up before a set is over. This class pushes me to my limits both mentally and physically, which I love! The days that I weight train on my own I don't feel like I push myself as hard as this class does. When it comes to workouts, it's important to find workouts that you enjoy as well as workouts that will push your body and keep it guessing.

Have you tried coconut butter? What are your favorite ways to use it?

What is your favorite form of exercise? Do you like cardio more or weight training?

Any plans for this weekend?

Have a good Saturday!! xoxo

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Living Harvest Tempt Product Review

Happy Hump Day!! How is every one's week so far?

Today I wanted to share a product that I recently tried. As most of you know I say away from diary for several reasons. However ice cream was, and still is, one of my favorite treats. So how do I get my fix? With non-dairy ice creams! There are plenty to choose from, such as Soy, Rice, Coconut, Almond and Hemp-based ice creams. So for those who are lactose intolerant or avoid dairy, you don't have to miss out.

Hemp seeds are high in protein and are a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. You can add the hemp seeds to your salads, smoothies or oatmeal. They also make Hemp Protein powders, however, I find the taste to be too gritty for my taste.

My favorite hemp products are made by the brand Living Harvest. I've tried other brands of hemp milk before and they did not taste NEARLY as good as Living Harvest's Tempt Hemp Milk.

I also buy the Unsweetened Vanilla flavor when I find it. This is the only non-dairy milk that I actually enjoy drinking on its own.

I also tried Living Harvest's hemp milk based ice creams in two flavors:

Coffee Biscotti, which I of course picked the biscotti pieces out of.

And Mint Chip (I forgot to snap my own photo)

Both flavors are great! Hemp milk ice cream was way creamy than I anticipated. I think I even like it better than coconut milk ice cream! Choosing desserts like these are a much healthier way to indulge.

Have you tried any hemp products before?

What are some healthier ways that you satisfy your sweet tooth?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Nature's Gatorade

Happy 2011!!! I hope everyone enjoyed their New Year's Eve! I spent the night dancing with my boyfriend and friends. It was a good time, but pretty tame considering we still managed to be in bed by 2am.

Don't let my "height" fool you. I was wearing 6 inch heels., and it is a miracle that I managed to dance, let alone stand, in them.

Don't let my outfit fool you either. It was a dress with a skirt over it. I had to put this outfit together because I didn't have time to buy a dress. Somehow, with a closet full of clothes (literally, overflowing), I still felt like I had nothing to wear.

And don't let that drink in my hand fool you. It was the only one I had the whole night, and I was quite impressed that I even finished it. I rarely drink and that 1 drink was all it took to make me "giddy."

Let's hope 2011 will bring better hair days for me. After 40 min of curling my hair, burning myself with the curler and using as much hair spray as the cast of Jersey Shore put together, my hair still managed to fall flat before we even left the house.

Anyone suffering from a post-NYE hangover? Try Coconut Water, it is nature's Gatorade. It has all the electrolytes you need to replenish your body. If the taste isn't for you and you can't drink it straight, use it as a base for your smoothies.

Hangover Cure Smoothie:
1 cup Strawberries
1 Banana
1 cup Coconut Water
Blend with Ice

other optional add-ins:
-all-natural Protein powder
-1T ground Flax seeds (for Omega 3 fatty acids and additional fiber)
-handful of Spinach or 1T of greens superfood powder (for a nutritional boost!)

I wish you all health and happiness in 2011!!

How do you deal with a hang-over?

How often do you drink? What is your alcoholic beverage of choice?