Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Eat Less…the Easy Way

These are all things we have heard before. But I think they are worth repeating. Plus! There are some new studies that have recently come out, and I think they are worth noting.

1. Downsize Dishes
This applies to dinner plates, glasses, bags of candy, boxes of crackers… anything! People ate more from a 2 lb. bag of M&Ms verses a 1 lb. bag. What about drinking just half of a 44-ounce beverage (not awesome) vs. half of a 12-ounce beverage (better!).

Buy smaller everything when it comes to processes foods, treats and snacks. The extra calories, fat, sugar and sodium are certainly of not a "bonus value" for your health.

Brian Wansick from Cornell University did a study where he gave movie goers some STALE popcorn in large and medium containers. Participants had already eaten dinner, so they were looking at bad food on a full stomach. The group with the large container ate 34% more of STALE popcorn.

Even after a 90-minute educational lecture informing people of the fact they will eat more from a bigger container…. people still ate 50% more when served from larger bowls!

2. Move that food!
Secretaries who had candy on their desk ate 9 pieces per day (~255 cals) But, when placed just 6 feet away…ate only 4 pieces per day (~125 cals) That equals 11 - 12 pound weight gain over a year.

Clear vs. opaque bowl made a difference too; secretaries ate 2 more pieces of candy per day from the clear bowl.

In addition, Wansink's research showed that leaving serving dishes at dinner table can lead to eating 30% MORE! Put the serving dishes by the stove or keep them off the table.


3. Remember Where it Goes
Most people have heard the rumor that your body doesn't create "new" fat cells… the thought has been that fat cells just grow in size. Not so.

When adults overeat: Thigh fat cells grow in number. Waist fat cells grow in size

Mayo Clinic Study:
28 normal weight men/women, about 30 years old
Participants were told to eat until "more than full" plus 1 - 4 "supplement" snacks per day of 350 - 500 calories

After 8 weeks…

* Average weight gain was 10 pounds

* Fat cells in belly got bigger

* Fat cells in thighs grew in number

* Average participant created 2.6 billion new thigh fat cells!!!

So, yes, overeating creates changes in your body that you will have to deal with for the rest of your life. Eating is easy - working it off can take ten times the effort! We know this, but stop and think about it before you eat extra servings.

These are just a few of the ways to eat less…there are so many more. But I thought these studies were great and worth sharing! Try some out!

~What are some ways you try to watch your portions?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Substitution, Please!

Health-ifying (I’m sure it’s a word) recipes can be a bit intimidating. Which I think can then lead to people just not even trying. But really, there are simple and easy switches you can make to recipes to increase their nutrients and decrease their not so good stuff. Here are some tips!


~In making main dishes like pastas, lasagna or stir-fry, add extra veggies! That will always bump up the health factor
~swap the regular pasta for whole wheat

~in a recipe that calls for mayonnaise, half what is says and stick with that, or add in a little plain greek yogurt
~full fat cream cheese? nah…opt for some pureed cottage cheese mixed with a little ricotta cheese
~opt for baking, broiling or grilling instead of frying

~instead of a load of mild flavored cheese, half what is needed and use sharp cheddar!
~if you are making a high fat gravy or sauce, make it and then chill it for a while until some of the fat rises to the top. Skim off some of the fat and then add to your dish
~Nix the top half of a chicken pot pie, and increase the veggies!
~replace iceberg lettuce with romaine, spinach or another leafy green


~replace butter with unsweetened applesauce
~instead of frosting a whole cake with thick frosting, melt the frosting a bit and drizzle over the top
~Use honey in place of sugar…it is almost twice as sweet so you might not even need as much!

~instead of syrup on waffles or pancakes, try some pureed fruit, almond butter or applesauce
~fruit flavored yogurt has too much added stuff, so try some plain yogurt with fresh fruit slices in it
~replace chocolate chips in muffins or breads with berries or other sliced fruit
~try using some rolled oats instead of bread crumbs

~Substitute 3/4 of a cup of fruit juice concentrate for each cup of refined white sugar in the recipe. Also reduce the total liquid in the recipe by 1/8 of a cup (per cup of sugar replaced.)

These are just some suggestions. If you are new to trying to substitute things, try just doing half and half. Then, if you were happy with the outcome, try a little more. Don’t be afraid to mess up sometimes…and know it is worth it when you get it just right! Have fun!

~What are some of your favorite substitutions to use in baking or cooking?

~What’s the best “health-ified” treat you make or have tasted?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Coconut Oil

Since I was given some coconut oil to sample from Swanson Vitamins and shared a recipe with you guys last week with it, I thought I’d touch on some of the health benefits of coconut oil. That way you can see how something that tastes good is also helping you out!


For some time, coconut oil was regarded as something that wasn’t the best for our bodies, simply because of the high concentration of saturated fat. Really though, it isn’t the same kind that is found in vegetable oils and animal products.

Coconut oil helps fight diabetes, cancers, liver and kidney diseases, osteoporosis, dental decay and skin infections. It also relieves symptoms associated with illnesses like pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis and chronic inflammation.


In addition, coconut oil has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. On a more superficial level, meanwhile, coconut oil is thought to help strengthen mineral absorption, which is important for healthy teeth and bones, and can also help improve the condition and appearance of the scalp, hair and skin when ingested or topically applied.

Do try to stick with organic virgin coconut oils, for those are the best for our health. Virgin coconut oil looks crystal clear in liquid form and turns snowy or cloudy at temperature below 76°F (24°C). I've got people asking me about coconut oil turning snowy at cool temperature. They thought the cloudy appearance means it turns bad or rancid. Now you know it's not. When it turns bad, even in crystal clear form, it bears an unpleasant odor which you'll be able to tell.


Coconut oil can be used in baking as a substitute for other oils and butter. It is also great to saute vegetables in or make some scrambled eggs.


~What do you enjoy using coconut oil for?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday’s Favorites

Ready for another round of Friday's Favorites? Yes, yes of course.

~What can beets do for you? A whole lot of goodness.

~What to know how to beat the tired and cranky attitude that keeps you from working hard? Yes, me too.

~How clean is your kitchen sink? This will make you think twice…

~I love zucchini season…and this stuffed zucchini looks delicious!

Have a great weekend!

A little weekend inspiration…



When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.

–Helen Keller

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Banana Muffins (with Coconut Oil!)

Hey, friends!
So, a few weeks ago I was offered a $25 gift certificate to Swanson Vitamins – and online health product store. I was excited and started browsing right away. I ended up ordering three different things: extra virgin coconut oil, sunflower butter, and chia seeds. All things I hadn’t tried! And so far, they are all a hit!
The first thing I wanted to do with the coconut oil was bake! So I decided to whip out some banana muffins with coconut oil.


Just opening the jar was enough to get my taste buds going. I love the smell of coconut. To be honest, it made me think of Samoa girl scout cookies Smile
Let the baking begin!


Banana Muffins
1/3 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. honey
2 eggs
2 bananas mashed
1 3/4 c. wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/4 c. hot water
In one bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. In another, mix the coconut oil, honey, eggs and hot water. Then add the mashed bananas and liquid mix to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. This was actually a recipe for a loaf of bread…but I think everything tastes better in muffin form. So I made mini muffins, and added chocolate chips to one batch. Bake at 325 for 10 to 15 minutes. They were a hit!
I’m excited to keep trying coconut oil in other recipes and cooking. It adds flavor and is very good for you! And I’m glad I got the chance to check out Swanson Vitamins online…you should check it out too!
~Are you interested in getting some free Swanson Health Products goodies to review on your own blog? Then check out the Swanson Health Blog for all the details.
~What do you use coconut oil for?

Monday, July 11, 2011


I think most of us can agree that when we hear detox we think of those week long juice fasts that make you feel light headed and might leave you with a few dropped pounds, but also many dropped nutrients.


That isn’t the only way though.

Our bodies, over the course of our lives, hold toxins. Based on a few studies published in Obesity Reviews, they found that because toxins are stored in body fat, they can make weight loss difficult or impossible. Toxins can also decrease the production of thyroid hormone, which regulates metabolism. This isn’t a good thing when trying to lose weight or live feeling healthy and well.

The way the body removes toxins is by the work of our dear friend, the liver. The liver sifts through the toxins, sending the waste into bile that takes the toxins into the bowel. There, bile binds with fiber and is eliminated. The problem is, if the liver is overloaded from too many processed and sugary foods and not enough fiber, the bile is just stored in the body to be recycled. Not good!

Often with extreme detox programs, your body rids itself of toxins (and other nutrients) so fast that the body reacts with inflammation. The good news is, there are other more natural and safe ways to detox that guide the body to release toxins in a healthy way!

1. Sweat (enough to wipe it off your forehead) for 30 minutes 5 times a week. Sweating is a natural way to get rid of toxins in the body.


2. Eliminate excess sugars and refined foods. These are like white bread and rice, processed foods and snacks. When looking at the ingredient list, you want to see things you can read and understand. That means your body understands it too!

3. Drink a lot of water, especially lemon water. Lemon water helps the liver in ridding toxins in a safe way.


4. Increase fruit and vegetable intake. This can help increase the amount of good fiber in your diet while also increasing the nutrients in your body. That way, your body is keeping the good while getting rid of the bad!

These are all simple, yet effective ways in creating a more healthier you. So start today! A great way to keep yourself on track is to make a chart where you check off the things you need to do, such as exercise, eat a certain number of fruits and vegetables and drink enough water. Then, the best way to avoid sugary and processed foods is to replace them in your home with healthier options.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Take a Hike.

For the past several years, I believe, my family has gone hiking on the 4th of July. And on many other summer holidays as well. This year we opened up our trusty book of hikes in Utah and picked a new one. It was up above the Brighton ski resort. Lets just say all this rain and cold weather we have had left us with a nice surprise of SNOW. Yes, we hiked through snow on the 4th of July.

The best part? Coming down. My family loves to hike weekly near our house, and usually I hate coming down. It just seems to drag on. But this time, because of the snow, we got to SLIDE down the mountain :) It was a blast!

It was a great way to spend the 4th...both because it was with my family and because it was spent outdoors being active!

Hiking is a great alternative to in the gym or at home workouts. It gets you moving in a new place with lots of fresh air and beautiful scenery. It uses completely different muscles than running, biking or playing sports. It is great for conditioning your heart, especially the longer the distance and the more up and down it is. When your heart has to work harder to go up, then slow down and recover, and then go up again, it is conditioning it to increase endurance.

Be sure to wear proper attire, like sturdy shoes and layers. Luckily we were prepared with gloves and jackets so hiking through the snow wasn't a problem. We passed some hikers on the way down that weren't ready for the snow, and that can make for a miserable hike!

So next time you are looking to mix up your workout and get some good cross training in, as well as breathe in some fresh air...take a hike!

~Do you hike for cross training?
~What is your favorite hike?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Road Running Rules

I guess this title could be interpreted two ways, and both are correct. Road running rules, as in it is super cool. But in relation to my previous post on Road ID, I thought it would be more than appropriate to touch on some of the rules of the road when out running. Both for your safety and understanding.These could also be applied to other activities outside on the road as well.

  • assume the cars DON'T see you, so make yourself visable before crossing streets or changing positions. 
  • run against traffic...then both you and the driver can see clearly
  • run with very low music on, or none at all. some people thing this is pretty rough, but it is for your safety and being ably to hear cars
  • go single file in groups runs unless you are on a less traveled path with minimal traffic
  • run with proper ID in case of emergency 
  • look out for people pulling out of their driveways
  • wear bright or reflective clothing when it is dark out
  • avoid roads with little or no shoulder room
  • beware of stopped cars waiting to turn right...just wait for them to turn and then continue on, or get on the sidewalk to continue going
  • run in familiar places that are well enough populated so you feel safe
  • if you are going out alone, tell someone what your route is before you leave and when you plan on being back
~What do you do for safety when out on the road? (running, biking, walking)
~Check out this post on 4th of July many to choose from!

Have a great weekend! 
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