Saturday, December 31, 2016

Maple Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash


Easy side dish recipe that's delicious and clean! Maple Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash tossed with cranberries and bacon for the BEST combo ever-tangy, salty, sweet, crunchy, crispy! Perfect for Thanksgiving, easy enough for everyday! Can't wait to try this one! 

Prep time 5 mins
Cook time 40 mins
Total time 45 mins
Serves: 6

Ingredients
--1 pound butternut squash, peeled, chopped into 1-inch cubes
--1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, sliced in half through stem
--2 tablespoons olive oil
Dijon Maple Butter Sauce
--1 teaspoon butter, melted1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
--2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
--2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
--1/4 teaspoon salt
--1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
--1/8 teaspoon pepper

Garnish
--1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
--1/4 cup dried cranberries
--1/4 cup Feta cheese or to taste (optional)
--8 slices bacon, crumbled or taste (optional)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix together the Dijon Maple Butter Sauce ingredients.
Set aside.
Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Add Brussels sprouts and squash, drizzle with olive oil and toss to evenly coat.
Evenly spread out vegetables and roast at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes.
Toss vegetables with Dijon Maple Butter Sauce and 1/4 cup pecans (it will seem “wet but will soak in the vegetables) then roast another 10-20 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
Toss Brussels sprouts and squash with cranberries and feta and bacon if desired.
Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

This Scale IS My Friend!

 So, most of you know I'm NOT a big fan of scales but the bottom line is, to keep your goals in check you NEED one. And hello.....New Year's Resolutions are around the corner so I'm sure you're all thinking about those goals too!

I don't weigh myself every day but I do weight myself a few times a week to monitor myself and stay on course.  Up until a few months ago, I've had a regular scale that just read weight.  

Weight is fine and all but it's best to have the big picture! Weight PLUS body fat, muscle mass, bone density, water and BMI truly define your progress and give you an accurate picture of your fitness.  The number on the scale when it comes to weight alone is NOT a good representation of your progress.  That's where the EatSmart scale comes in!


I got this scale, the Eatsmart Precicion Body Fat Scale Bathroom Scale w/ 400 lb Capacity and Step Off Technology, and now I don't even care what the number says when it comes to weight!  I'm  more concerned with muscle mass, fat percentage and my BMI.  And I can see that every time I step on it and every time my husband steps on it as well.



Below are a few shots of the scale and the different screens and information it shares.  The scale can hold up to 8 different user profiles and will recognize users as they step barefoot on the scale.


So, if you're on a weightloss or weightgain journey of your own, this is definitely a good investment.  It retails for over $59 but it's on sale now for $24.95 so jump on it!



















Monday, December 26, 2016

Flax Pumpkin Pancakes


My sis in law, who is quite talented in the kitchen, shared this yummy pancake recipe that I cannot wait to try! She makes some seriously AMAZING desserts so I know these will be yummy. Give them a shot! And if you need a birthday cake, cupcakes, cake pops...any dessert anytime soon, check out her Instagram or ask her (or me) for pics. She's also on Facebook at Sugarbakes! What she can do with her hands is nothing short of incredible! Thanks for this recipe Angelina!  My brother and Lukie are lucky boys! 😋👊👌
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Here is the recipe! She used a 7 grain mix with flax & added a few extra goodies
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Ingredients
1 cup mix
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 t cinnamon (not "pumpkin spice" ðŸ˜’)
2 eggs
4 oz yogurt
4 oz almond milk
2T coconut oil
Hemp hearts

Whisk dry mix and cinnamon. Blend wet ingredients together and whisk into the dry just until combined. Use an ice cream scoop, sprinkled on hemp seeds while cooking, flip! And eat.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese!

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It’s Fall, which in my house means Pumpkin season. I came across this healthy and delicious recipe for Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese in the 21 Day Fixate cookbook!
Ingredients
2 oz. Cream Cheese
1 Tbsp. Pure Maple Sugar
1 Large Egg
1 Cup Canned Pumpkin Puree
1.5 Cups Almond Flour
¾ Tsp. Baking Soda (Gluten Free)
1 Dash Sea Salt (or Himalayan Salt)
2 Tbsp. Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the cream cheese and maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside.
Mix the egg and pumpkin in a small bowl and set aside.
Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl.
Add the almond flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until blended.
Fill the muffin tins about ⅓ full.
Scoop about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin.
Evenly distribute the rest of the batter between the muffins (on top of the cream cheese). In the picture above I didn’t do this and left the cream cheese mixture exposed. You can do it either way.
Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with pumpkin seeds.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Transfer to a muffin rack and let them cool before eating.
If you’re on the 21 Day Fix, each muffin counts as 1 purple and 1 orange container. There is 0 sugar added in this recipe.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Tips to Avoid the Holiday Weight Gain!


Every holiday season, you try the same old drill. Stuffing? Don’t need the extra carbs. Eggnog? No amount of nutmeg can hide all that fat and alcohol. Pumpkin pie? Too many calories… delicious, creamy decadent calories. Nope, this holiday season, you’re going to stick to your nutrition goals!
But have you ever been successful in doing that? How many times have you gazed miserably at the dessert table, avoiding it like the Plague, only to eventually give in? Come January, you’ve eaten everything you said you wouldn’t — and then some.
You’re not alone. The average American ate 32% more over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend alone. Despite your best efforts to keep unhealthy food out of your line of sight, with all of the social events, candy corners at the office, and tasty sabotages (i.e. gifts, from friends), you simply cannot control your environment as well as you can during the rest of the year. Regardless of all the oaths and intentions, most of us still gain weight during the holidays.
So how do you stay 100% committed to your nutrition plan during the holidays? You don’t!Trying to stay completely on track during the holidays may be the exact thing that causes you to gain weight.
There are several possible reasons for this. The first is the Forbidden Fruit Effect (or Theory of Psychological Resistance). You always long for whatever it is you can’t have. The deprivation itself makes holiday food all the more tempting. Your brain also perceives that you’re being punished and you end up in a battle between the side of you that has promised to stay in control and the side that wants no part of the food restriction. Guess which side typically wins?
The second cause is the Law of Dominant Thought, which says the focus of your thoughts will affect your choices, behaviors, and achievements. There is a reason why health experts recommend you clean out your cupboards of unhealthy foods. Out of sight, out of mind right? Unfortunately, during the holidays, indulgences are constantly in your sights — and therefore at the forefront of your mind. When you spend the day obsessing over not snacking on peppermint bark, you can’t be surprised when you go through the whole tin in one sitting. Where your mind goes, energy flows. Constant exposure to unhealthy foods, combined with the alcohol that often flows freely at holiday events, can make you more likely to overeat.
The third culprit that contributes to holiday binge eating is stress. The planning, cooking, decorating, and managing schedules of the holidays may push you to crave comfort foods — anything high in fat, sugar, and/or salt — that temporarily calm your nerves. But, in the end you end up more stressed from the disappointment of not being able to fit into your “skinny” jeans.
So, now you know what’s going on in your head during the holidays. So how can you overcome all of these influences and keep off added holiday pounds?
The solution is the Holiday Hall Pass. This sweet indulgence allows you to make the most of the holidays, with five safeguards to prevent you from getting too crazy. These safeguards — let’s call them holiday helpers — create an environment that evokes positive emotions that calm the negative ones you experience when you attempt to deprive yourself.
Holiday Helper #1: Exercise a little bit every morning.
The first little helper is a pre-performance morning exercise routine. Spend at least 20 minutes doing anything active: FOCUS T25, PiYo, walking the dog, whatever it is that you do. During typical weeks, fitness experts recommend one day of rest, but during the holidays, it’s best to be active every single morning to stay consistent. It can be an all-out workout or a simple physical activity to create a positive tone for the day, helping you keep off the stress.
Holiday Helper #2: Keep a journal.
If you simply write down what you do and feel throughout the day, you’ll become aware of your choices, causing you to continue to make good ones. Through writing, you bring a little logic back into the equation, which helps you overcome your emotional tendencies.
For maximum results, journal immediately before you show up to a holiday event. Write down what you’ve already eaten that day and how your choices have made you feel. If you’ve already chosen to eat unhealthily throughout the day, the awareness you bring through this journaling process will help you to create a plan of action for the upcoming event. It’s not about saying to yourself “Well, I’ve already ruined this day so I’ll start again tomorrow,” but rather asking yourself what one positive thing you can achieve at this event to feel good about yourself and the choices you made.
On the other hand, if you have been eating healthily so far and are energized and proud of yourself, bringing those thoughts and feelings to the present moment will enhance your opportunity to be mindful about what you choose to eat at the holiday event.
Holiday Helper #3: Don’t let yourself get hungry.
You should graze every 2–3 hours. Whether it’s a full meal or just a light snack. Keeping your metabolism up and your stomach satisfied will prevent you from becoming too hungry. You won’t end up with plates of food you have to haul away with a forklift if you aren’t starving when mealtime finally rolls around.
Holiday Helper #4: Set holiday indulging intentions for yourself.
Remember, this isn’t about denying yourself anything delicious; your intentions simply set the scene for an enjoyable-yet-controlled feasting experience. You can choose to allow a small indulgence with each meal, whether it be one piece of cake or a few little cookies. You can also choose to go ‘all out’ for one special night. Also use attentional cues — pre-made questions pre-programmed and scheduled in your smartphone to help you stick to your intentions. Some examples of attentional cues are: Are you proud of your food choices so far today? Would the people who want you to succeed be happy with your choices? Are you giving all the effort you can to following through on your plan? Does this food taste better than how your body looks/feels when you’re healthy?
Holiday Helper #5: Be easy on yourself
Feeling guilty about indulgences only amps up the stress, leading you right back to the second and third serving of turkey and cranberry sauce. Enjoy your holiday and indulge without beating yourself up.
By Dr Haley Perlus via the Beachbody Blog

Monday, December 12, 2016

How Fast Do You Eat?


Here's a question most people don't think about when trying to lose weight. Not how much you eat or what you eat but instead, "How fast do you eat?" Are you a fast eater, a moderate eater, or a slow eater? Most people tend to be fast eaters. We live in a world that wants everything at lightning speed. We want fast restaurant service, fast Internet connections, and fast results when it comes to losing weight.
If you’ve been trying everything to lose weight but without lasting success, then maybe it’s time for some slow. Consider this: if you really love something and thoroughly enjoy it, like eating or sex for example, would you really want to get it over within just a few mere minutes? If something is pleasurable, don’t you want to make it last?
Nutrition experts love to remind us, and rightfully so, that it takes the body approximately 20 minutes to realize that it’s full. The science of Mind Body Nutrition tells us that If we eat fast or while in an anxious rush, which usually means without paying any attention, the brain literally does not have enough time to assess the nutritional profile of our meal. The central nervous system and our digestive tract are short-circuited in their ability to determine if our nutritional needs have been met.
In the absence of this important information, the brain plays it safe and tells the body, “I’m still hungry.” So many people believe they have a willpower problem when it comes to food and appetite. We recognize when we’ve eaten a robust meal, and we can’t understand why we want to keep eating. The good news is that there’s nothing wrong with our willpower. We just eat too fast. Slow eating is a natural appetite regulator and powerful nutritional practice when it comes to losing weight. But please, don’t be afraid that slow eating means chewing each bite 50 times while staring into space. Eating slow means eating sensuously, it means tasting your food, loving it, celebrating it, and feeling warm and fuzzy no matter what you eat.

This blog post is a summary of Emily Rosen's All About Dynamic Eating Psychology video series. For more info go to her video series HERE

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What You Should NOT Eat for Breakfast & Why!

I’m sure you’ve had those days where you wake up and scarf down something that’s convenient so you can get out the door as fast as possible.

Now it should go without saying that starting your day with foods like doughnuts, pastries, or pancakes is a fat storing NIGHTMARE.

But many turn to other so-called healthier alternatives that are nearly just as bad.

Here are 3 of the WORST Foods to Eat in the Morning

1. Muffins

Most store-bought muffins are giant, which means they can sometimes contain over 600-700 calories that have absolutely NO protein or healthy fats to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

2. Bagels

Would you sit down and knowingly eat FOUR slices of bread?

Well, MOST bagels have the equivalent of four servings of bread, which will quickly convert into sugar making you store fat and feel lethargic in no time.

3. Cereals

Over-the-counter cereals are, by far, one of the worst foods for your waistline and your health.

The majority of over-the-counter cereals are empty calories, simple carbs and sugar, cleverly disguised as a “healthy” breakfast.

There are a few rare exceptions, like some of the cereals in the Ezekiel 4:9® line from Food for Life®, but I NEVER eat cereal when I’m trying to get leaner.

If you wake up and eat ANY of the above 3 foods to start your day, you'll feel like you ate a cup of salt!

Seriously, they’ll make you literally swell up, giving you an unplanned and unwanted "Food Baby," making you feel fat and bloated the entire day.  They also FORCE your body to depend on sugar all day—instead
of burning fat.

Instead, opt for lean protein and complex carbs.  A good example would be egg whites or 1-2 eggs paired with whole oats, fresh fruit, yogurt or cottage cheese. All foods you can still eat on the go and won't sabotage your day. My go to every single morning is Shakeology. Has the protein I need, tons of fruits and veggies, only natural forms of sugar in low amounts and I have have it while driving or dropping off the kids at school! 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

6 Signs That Your Diet May Be Lacking in Protein


When protein is appropriately implemented into our diets, it can help us stay healthy, trim and energetic.
Simply put, protein is a very important nutrient that we must get enough of in order for our bodies to remain in good condition. Unfortunately, as with so many other important nutrients, people can neglect getting the necessary amount.

HERE ARE SOME SIGNS THAT YOU MAY HAVE A PROTEIN DEFICIENCY:

1. CRAVING UNHEALTHY FOODS

Without adequate protein, we are much more likely to crave non-nutritional foods. This is because our blood sugar is off kilter, tempting us to reach for carb-heavy and sugar-laden foods such as chocolate, candy, potato chips, pastries, soda and so forth.
If this happens, we should resist the urge to indulge and get a healthy snack with a good amount of protein. Examples of such snacks are nuts, seeds, tempeh,  natural peanut butter, oatmeal, Coconut greek yogurt, and hummus. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but all are foods that are quite easily accessible.

2. JOINT AND/OR MUSCLE PAIN

Since protein serves such an imperative role in sustaining our muscles, this side effect is not surprising in the least. Much of our protein is stored in what is called synovial fluid, located around our joints. Synovial fluid plays an important role in rebuilding muscles and lubricating our joints. When protein levels are low, reserves of protein stored in synovial fluid are often the first to be depleted. When this happens, joint stiffness and muscle pain is likely to result.
If this occurs, one is best served to eat a meal or snack that is rich in protein. If this protocol is followed, within the matter of a few hours, the pain once located in our muscles and/or joints should diminish significantly.

3. LOW ENERGY

As mentioned, low protein levels wreak havoc on our blood sugar levels. Without protein to stabilize blood sugar, our energy levels tank. Further, insufficient protein often leads to episodes of moodiness as well as a decreased ability to manage the stress that we encounter throughout the day. As a result, our bodies are devoid of the necessary elements to calm down.
The takeaway: our bodies need protein in order to be calm and composed, and to get ourselves through the day with efficiently and productively.

4. INABILITY TO SLEEP

As stated in item number one, the body will crave carbs and sugar without sufficient protein. This is true even when body shuts down in anticipation of sleep. When our heads finally do hit the pillow, our bodies will still crave necessary nutrition in the form of protein. Normally, individuals that do not get enough of the nutrient make a bad habit out of it. Unfortunately, this habit carries over to sleep when the body needs fuel in the form of healthy fats (generally derived from protein) in order to remain in a state of sleep.
--School-age children: 19-34 grams
– Teenage girls: up to 46 grams
– Teenage boys: up to 52 grams
– Adult women: about 46 grams (71 grams if pregnant or breastfeeding)
– Adult men: about 56 grams
There are many different ways to get our recommended amount of protein. Some of these sources include: beans, soy products,  greens, tempeh, and lean meat choices.
When this is neglected, the body will naturally seek supplementation; waking us up in order for us to fulfill its needs. This results in a state of wakefulness and an inability to sleep.

5. FREQUENT ILLNESS

Protein is an important nutrient for sustainment of a healthy immune system. This is because our blood requires sufficient protein to perform necessary functions – namely killing off the nasty and unwelcome trespassers that enter our bloodstream. White blood cells, for example, are protein-rich blood types responsible for seeking out and eliminating these unhealthy agents. Antibodies contained in white blood cells need protein in order to perform this function.
Without sufficient protein, our bodies’ ability to seek out and eliminate bacteria or viruses is drastically reduced. Naturally, this development makes the human body more susceptible to various illnesses.

6. INABILITY TO FOCUS

Protein is responsible for the health of various neurotransmitters in the brain. This is unsurprising since our brain’s neurons are made mostly of fat; with protein being the primary source of the healthy fat variety. Further, amino acids – the building blocks of protein – make up the foundation of our brain’s chemical receptors. Simply put, what we eat ultimately determines the nerve chemicals that will dominate these brain pathways, affecting how we feel.
Ingesting a heavy dose of carbohydrates ultimately makes us feel more sluggish because they increase the level of the amino acid tryptophan, which puts the brain in a ‘calm’ state. Lastly, eating protein raises levels of certain amino acids that initiate the production of norepinephrine and dopamine. These two chemical messengers keep us energized and productive, since they play a key role in brain activity and alertness.
So, in closing, if we wish to remain healthy, focused and energetic, we need to ensure that we’re getting a nice dose of protein. 

Via Power of Positivity!