Healthier thin mint cookies

THIN MINT COOKIES-WITH ALMOND FLOUR

These are a healthier version of a “thin mint” cookie.

INGREDIENTS:

Cookies:

  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder- or 2 tbls cocao powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sweetner- coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp mint extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate coating:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • ¼ cup of dark chocolate
  • ¼  tsp mint or peppermint extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine almond flour, sweetener, butter, protein powder, baking soda, salt, extracts, and egg in a bowl. If the dough is a little crumbly add a little almond milk. Refrigerate dough for about 10-15 minutes.
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into balls and flatten them out with your fingers. Bake for 11-13 minutes.
  1. Melt the coconut oil and chocolate in microwave for a minute. Add mint extract.
  1. Pour or dip the cooled cookies into the chocolate. Store in freezer or in fridge.

Why I don’t “deserve” it

  WHY I DON’T “ DESERVE” IT

I used to tell myself that I needed or deserved “comfort food” it was typically dessert-ice cream, cake or chocolate that I wanted. We experience different emotions or reasons that we crave certain foods,whether it’s a  special occasion, feeling sad, depressed, happy, bored etc. You may have heard some upsetting news or it just might be the weekend. Unfortunately we associate food with social events as well. I however was reluctant to eat around others in fear of being judged.I used to wait until nobody was around so I could eat alone.

Let’s face it It’s mostly an excuse when we think we deserve or give ourselves permission to eat something. I’m not saying we can’t indulge or enjoy things once in a while, however it becomes a problem when we attach our eating to emotions. It happens more than you may think or you might not realize that you even do it yourself. It’s important to acknowledge when you are eating and why.

Some strategies that I use to help control cravings and emotional eating:

  1. RECOGNIZE WHEN & WHY YOU ARE EATING: do you tell yourself that you “deserve it” because you had a long week or the kids stressed you out today? I remind myself that I don’t need to reward myself with food. Replace it with something else you enjoy. Accept that you can allow yourself with a treat but not because you deserve it.
  2. RESEARCH THE NUTRITION FACTS: be aware of what you are about to eat. Check out how much sugar, the amount of carbs, and what kind of ingredients it contains. Most restaurants have nutritional info online. Check out that cookie or mac and cheese label before you make a decision.
  3. I TALK MYSELF OUT OF IT: I know this sounds easier than done. It takes lots of practice and some self control. I have to ask myself do I really need this or want it? I recently had a craving for pizza, I took a few minutes until I literally made myself walk away and resist it.
  4. WILL I REGRET IT & IS IT WORTH IT: I put my goals first, I am maintaining my weight now and do not want to go back to my “heavier” self. This takes motivation and sometimes eating the ice cream isn’t worth the extra calories.
  5. I THINK ABOUT THE LAST TIME I INDULGED: I often remember the last time I gave in or indulged in a specific item. Normally it was not as good as I thought it would be. This deters me from caving again. I also recall how I felt afterwards, physically and/or emotionally.
  6. I STILL AM ACCOUNTABLE: it helps me to reach out or tell someone else that I am considering eating or not eating. Having that person makes me feel better after acknowledging it.
  7. HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT I DON’T EAT LIKE THAT ANYMORE: I have worked way too hard to give into temptations.  

Lemon pudding

LEMON PUDDING

Image result for trader joes ricaotta

This is an easy satisfying snack or dessert, and low in sugar! One container of the lemon ganache is 8 carbs and 5 sugars. Also have a chocolate option, although a little higher in sugars.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1 Lemon ganache
  • Mini chocolate chips- optional

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients together and enjoy! Store in fridge.

HOW EATING FAT HAS WORKED FOR MY LONG TERM SUCCESS

HOW EATING FAT HAS WORKED FOR MY LONG TERM SUCCESS

“Fat free” and “low fat” has been imbedded in our heads since the 1980’s. Most of us have come to the realization that fat is not bad for us. However some diets continue to promote these products, without focusing on the carbs and/or sugar. Of course everything in moderation, we should never eliminate any one food group.

ARE FOODS HIGHER IN CARBS HEALTHIER THAN HIGH FAT FOODS??

Would you choose pasta, rice, bread, and fruit, cereal ,or even candy as a healthy alternative to almonds, avocado, salmon, tuna, peanut butter, or dark chocolate? I wouldn’t, yet some diets still recommend foods because they are low fat.

I understand that many have had success losing weight on certain “diets”. My goal is long term weight loss success as well as eating healthy! I believe we need a better understanding on why we can eat fat and pay attention to how much sugar, carbs, and fiber is in our food. Just because something is low fat and” lo cal” doesn’t make it healthier.

I myself have been very successful as well as the many clients I have counseled by eating fat and limiting sugar and carb intake. I can’t stress enough how important label reading and understanding is for your daily eating plan. With any plan it is so important to pay attention to portion control

!* DID YOU KNOW??Dark chocolate contains cocao butter, which is high in saturated fat, however ⅓ of chocolate’s fat comes from stearic acid which does not raise LDL ( the bad ) cholesterol.

I have shown 2 images of ground turkey vs. ground beef, which seems to be a typical “healthier”substitute. The differences are minimal but the end result is that the lean ground beef is healthier.  Most products that are low fat or fat free contain more sugar or artificial sweeteners which we have learned is NOT a better alternative! These lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, dementia, high cholesterol, etc. Our bodies do not need sugar like we need fat.

Why Fat is ESSENTIAL to our health:

  • Keeps you full-not carbs and sugar
  • Helps absorb vitamins A,D,E, and K- they cannot function without fat
  • Insulates the body and help sustain a normal core temperature
  • Stabilizes cholesterol and lowers your overall risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Helps protect your organs
  • Provides energy- better than carbs
  • Helps regulate your hormones

Of course there is a difference in the types of fats we should be consuming. Always avoid trans fats, consume saturated fats in moderation, and add lots of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.

It has been labeled that fat, especially saturated fat is the cause of heart disease.

*studies also show that almost 40% of Americans saturated fat intake comes from pizza, cookies, cake, processed meat, fries, pasta dishes, candy and chips, all of which contain high count of carbohydrates and sugar!

* Only 23 % of Americans’ saturated fat intake comes from whole foods like eggs, organic beef, cheese, nuts and butter.

CARBOHYDRATES AFFECT YOUR CHOLESTEROL!

In a nutshell…every time carbs are absorbed ( approx every 10 grams), your body secretes insulin. The liver breaks down glycogen molecules into glucose and is used for energy. Glycogen is the prefered storage form of glucose since it is easily accessible, however there is limited space inside the liver.

Therefore, excess glucose ( if we don’t burn it for energy) needs a different storage form. So the liver transforms this glucose into new molecules of triglycerides, also known as body fat. Eating excess carbs can lead to an increase in saturated fat levels in the blood.

After a meal, the body will burn glucose before it burns fat.

HEALTHIER SUMMER DRINK ALTERNATIVES

HEALTHIER SUMMER DRINK ALTERNATIVES

We all love those iced summer beverages!

I wanted to share some of the healthier options to look for. Most of them can contain up to 150 grams of sugar ( about 38 tsp) and 900 calories!

TIM HORTONS:

  • ICED CAPP- 33 sugars( 8 TSP)

BETTER OPTIONS:

  • ICED COFFEE- 12 CARBS AND 8 SUGARS( 2 TSP)
  • MOCHA ICED COFFEE- 21 CARBS & 13 SUGARS( 3 TSP)

STARBUCKS:

  • VENTI CARAMEL FRAPPUCCINO-58 SUGARS (15 TSP)

BETTER OPTIONS:

  • ICED COFFEE LATTE-10 CARBS & 9 SUGARS
  • TALL COFFEE FRAPP- 17 CARBS & 12 SUGARS
  • SHORT MOCHA FRAPP-19 CARBS & 13 SUGARS

          DUNKIN DONUTS:

  • FROZEN CHOCOLATE- 138 CARBS & 125 SUGARS ( 31 TSP)
  • MEDIUM FROZEN COFFEE-MOCHA- 151 CARBS & 140 SUGARS

BETTER OPTIONS:

  • ICED LATTE- 17 CARBS & 15 SUGARS
  • ICED MACCHIATOS- 11 CARBS & 11 SUGARS

What I’m doing with my “winter weight”

WHAT I’M GOING TO DO WITH MY WINTER WEIGHT

I am pretty sure I’m not the only one that has gained a few pounds over the winter. Now spring and summer is quickly approaching and I’m ready to lose these pounds! I am a little disappointed but it does happen, so I first try to identify how and why I have gained. Personally I have been reverting to a couple of old habits and not being as “strict” as I normally would be. Just because I know what to do doesn’t mean I’ll do it.

  1. I’M GOING TO SET AND WRITE DOWN A NEW GOAL: there’s nothing wrong with setting new small goals when you get off track. This helps me stay accountable to myself. One thing I always tell my clients is to MOVE FORWARD! No matter how disappointed you are or how much you might have eaten you have to move on.
  2. I’M GOING BACK TO BASICS: sometimes we all have to revert back to when we started to lose weight or what has worked in the past.
  3. I’M GOING TO PAY ATTENTION TO EVERYTHING I EAT: I guess this kind of fits into the category of #2. I believe this is how these extra pounds came on. All the little bites and snacks add up! I have allowed myself a couple of extra things that I normally wouldn’t. Some chips, crackers or a little more chocolate than normal.
  4. I’M FOCUSING ON LABEL SPECIFICS-AGAIN: another huge habit that has always helped me is watching  the serving size, how many carbs, sugar, and protein it contains. I need to be more cautious of eating more than I need during the day-and at night!

“CHANGE HAPPENS THROUGH HABITS IN  DAILY ROUTINE”

Beef cauliflower soup

BEEF CAULIFLOWER SOUP

This is my take on Beef barley soup. I tried to recreate this for my boyfriend, a healthier version of what his mom used to make.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 bag of riced cauliflower- cooked and drained
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 tsp of garlic powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Brown ground beef until no longer pink. Add in onion and carrots.
  2. Stir in the sauce, garlic powder and broth. Bring to a boil then let it simmer.
  3. I transferred mine to a crockpot on low for 2 hours.

How Pilates has improved my posture & decreased my shoulder pain!

 HOW PILATES HAS IMPROVED MY POSTURE & DECREASED MY                                                           SHOULDER PAIN!

I have been practicing Pilates for years and I can’t explain how my posture has improved over time. I have become much more aware of dropping my shoulders, bringing my head into alignment & sitting correctly at my computer. Through mat & reformer Pilates  I have increased my flexibility and more importantly strengthened my core & muscles around my spine for stabilization. This has significantly decreased my low back pain ( along with Dr.McCrea at Integrative Spine & Rehab). My shoulder pain has also improved from lots of range of motion, stretching, and back extension exercises.

It teaches you:

  • Good spinal alignment
  • Be more aware of your posture
  • Helps improve your flexibility

These in turn work together to prevent back pain and maintain good posture.

IF YOU’RE IMBALANCED IN YOUR BODY, IT MEANS SOME OF YOUR MUSCLES ARE COMPENSATING FOR OTHER MUSCLES, AND EVENTUALLY THE ONES DOING ALL THE WORK ARE GOING TO QUIT, WHICH LEADS TO INJURY.

I have been practicing Pilates for years and I can’t explain how my posture has improved over time. I have become much more aware of dropping my shoulders, bringing my head into alignment & sitting correctly at my computer. Through mat & reformer Pilates  I have increased my flexibility and more importantly strengthened my core & muscles around my spine for stabilization. This has significantly decreased my low back pain ( along with Dr.McCrea at Integrative Spine & Rehab). My shoulder pain has also improved from lots of range of motion, stretching, and back extension exercises.

Weak muscles from poor posture:                            tight muscles:

Upper back and neck muscles                                        hamstrings

Elongated and inactive gluts                                           chest ( pecs)

                                                                                 Internal shoulder rotation

WHAT DOES A STRONG CORE MEAN?

The muscles in your abdominals, back, & hips work together to stabilize and support the spine. It also increases your ability to breathe more deeply, as you draw your shoulders back and down, lengthen your spine, and engage your abs, your diaphragm will move more freely.

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF POOR POSTURE?

  1. Headaches and jaw pain- when leaning forward it is more likely that you will clench your jaw causing facial muscles to tighten and cause headaches.
  2. Back and shoulder pain-causes tension in your shoulders and upper back and can lead to a permanent hump. It also puts a lot of stress on your low back.
  3. Gastrointestinal issues- poor posture can impact the movement of your intestines.
  4. Lung function & poor oxygen flow- when your lungs aren’t functioning to their fullest potential your heart and brain, as well as other vital organs don’t get the oxygen they need. This in turn causes poor cognitive function, shortness of breath, or vascular disease.

How planning & preparing has helped me maintain my weight loss.

HOW PLANNING & PREPPING HAS HELPED ME MAINTAIN MY WEIGHT

You have heard it a million times, plan and prepare your meals. It has worked for me and every one of my clients that have implemented it. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming.

How it can  help?

  • It will prevent you from going through the drive thru or hitting the vending machine
  • It will remove some temptation from snacking when you get home from work,ordering out, or making wrong choices~ for any meal ( whether it’s stopping for pizza on the way home or grabbing a breakfast sandwich on the way!)

How it’s helped me lose & maintain my weight:

  1. CHOOSE ONE MEAL TO START- whatever gives you the most stress or feel you need to change. For me it was breakfast. I start seeing clients early in the morning and need to prepare ahead of time. I typically cook  up some chicken for the week and make chicken salads. I also will make an egg bake in an 8×8 dish with veggies and feta or little cheese. Smoothie bags are great to prep before as well.

2. SCHEDULE IT! – you must schedule a time to prepare. Sundays work best for me but whenever you have an hour or so to commit will work! Put it in your calendar.

3. USE RECIPES YOU KNOW- being a creature of habit, I tend to stick to simple recipes, chicken, beef, casseroles and veggies.

4. GET CONTAINERS- I feel much more prepared when I have specific containers for each item. It also helps when it comes to portion control- no seconds.

5. PORTION OUT, INCLUDING SNACKS-  I love my snack size baggies or mini containers. Portion out nuts and seeds, cut up veggies, hummus, guacamole, dark chocolate, oatmeal, fruit, peanut butter ( or peanut butter to go’s). Mason jar salads are great for lunches and hold up well for the week.

6. MAKE A GROCERY LIST- this may seem obvious but it’s important to sit and plan some meals before you go. If you don’t have it you can’t make it.

7. ASSEMBLE BUT DON’T COOK- you can assemble smoothie mixes, chicken, tacos, and crockpot meals and freeze them in ziploc bags. It saves time to take out a prepared meal out of freezer and cook. The crockpot is a great tool- I take a  couple of minutes in the morning to throw something in. ,

Some items I prep on Sunday’s:

  • Chicken, roasted veggies, cut up veggies and portion into snack bags
  • “Veggie casseroles” I use cauliflower rice and add some veggies ( mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, zucchini) i will add some parmesan, rotel, chicken broth, cream cheese. Be creative! Add beef or chicken
  • spiralize  zucchini with some marinara sauce
  • Cauliflower biscuits
  • Low carb pizzas-to freeze
  • Tuna salad for lunches
  • Soups for the week
  • No bake Peanut butter balls- for dessert!

How my clients have benefited from a grocery store trip

 HOW MY CLIENTS HAVE BENEFITED FROM A GROCERY STORE TRIP

Changing your eating habits means changing your shopping habits!

It could be overwhelming when trying to decide what kind of yogurt or meal bars to buy or what are good protein powders or drinks to have. You might wonder how can a guided nutritional grocery store tour could benefit your healthy habits and weight loss goals. Labels  are the most important thing you can look at when you are trying to lose weight. I have done small group tours and my clients have found it very helpful. I am now offering individual trips to make it more specific to each client.

WHY A GUIDED TOUR:

  1. Know what to look for on a label- how much sugar should you have, how many grams equal a teaspoon. How many carbs, protein, or fiber should you eat in a day. Do you pay attention to serving sizes??
  1. Education on ingredient lists, certain ingredients  such as artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols can sabotage your weight loss goals and affect your digestive tract.
  1. How to choose specific brands of:
  • yogurt
  • breads
  • nut milks
  • protein powders
  • granola bars
  • on the go snacks
  • ready made protein drinks
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta sauces- sugar can vary from 3 grams to 14 grams per serving
  • Low fat, full fat vs fat free?
  • Spices for variety

4. How to include more fiber and probiotics into your diet. These will help support your immune system and keep you full longer.

5. New ideas for recipes and how to add different types of veggies. Incorporating nutritional yeast, chia seeds and flax seeds.