Monday, October 31, 2011

Size Matters

Remember this post on some scary facts about today’s health? Or I guess lack of health? And this sweet website on portion distortion? Well, I was flipping through a magazine last week and whatdayaknow…more info on this big problem of portion mix-ups.They recruited two dozen volunteers and asked them to help themselves to five foods that are linked with some great health benefits. Check out what happened:


1. Whole Grain Cereal: people who eat breakfast tend to have healthier body weights and eat more fiber

Recommended serving size: 3/4 c (120 calories)

Testers’ Average Serving: 1 1/2 c (240 calories)

Tips? Buy a bowl that tells you your portion size, or always use a measuring cup. Sometimes you are really hungry and a couple servings is okay…but you need to KNOW you are eating more than one serving.


2. Peanuts: Nuts are high in calories and healthy fats, and studies show that people who eat them regularly tend to be leaner than those who don’t.

Recommended serving size: 1 oz (170 calories)

Testers’ Average Serving: 1.42 oz (240 calories)

Tips? Count them out. There are about 28 peanuts in a 1-ounce serving.


3. Dark Chocolate: nutrition experts say a small daily treat will keep dieters from feeling deprived…dark chocolate is a good choice since it delivers far more heart healthy flavonoids and is more satisfying

Recommended Serving Size: 1.45 oz (250 calories)

Testers’ Average Serving: 1.45 oz (250 calories) – right on!

Tips? Buy singly wrapped chocolates and stop at one. If you have a full bar, it is harder to stop at one bite. Also, most servings of chocolate are about 250 calories. If you’re really trying to lose weight, just take a taste so you aren’t loading up on the calories.


4. Whole Grain Pasta: research has shown that people who eat more whole grains, like whole wheat pasta, are less likely to be overweight and tend to have less body fat.

Recommended Serving Size: 1 cup cooked (200 calories)

Testers’ Average Serving: 2 cups cooked (400 calories)

Testers’ BIGGEST Serving: 3 cups cooked (600 calories!)

Tips? Add vegetables to pump up the volume of your meal and make you feel fuller. You can even puree vegetables to make your own healthy sauce for the pasta. Also, select a satisfying shape – tiny shells or spaghetti noodles pack down in your bowl so you want more. Try bigger shapes like ziti or penne.

So maybe it’s time we start measuring a bit more!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Love

More pumpkin love comin’ at ya! Here is a twist on my granola bars that I make frequently. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Granola Bars

1/2 c. wheat flour
2 c. oats
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t. salt
2/3 c. pumpkin
1/3 c. honey
1 t. vanilla
1/3 c. sunflower seeds and/or almonds
1/4 c. chia seeds

Mix those ingredients together in a bowl, then pour into a greased or lined baking dish. Be sure to spread out the mix evenly and press it down firmly into the dish. Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes. Then let cool for 30-60 minutes. You can usually get 10-12 bars out of this recipe.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Active Vacation

Like I said on Monday, my mom and I took a trip to Las Vegas while I had a few days break from school. We definitely aren’t city girls, but it was fun to spend time together, see a few shows and experience a new city.

Often times people say it is difficult to exercise on vacation…or they just don’t want to. The thing is, people also often eat more on vacation than normal. So really, exercise is sort of really important. My mom and I made time each day to do something active. Between taking an hour long yoga class offered where we stayed and spending two days hiking different places and walking around the city, we got our bodies moving!

So here is my best advice for those heading on a vacation:

1. pack for it – just like you pack clothes for a nice night out to dinner or a show, pack clothes and gym shoes for the exercise room or some walking around town.

2. plan for it – most people make a plan of what they will do on vacation…so when planning out your day or week, plug in time for activity. that could be going to the gym, going to a local park for a jog, finding a place near by to hike or just walking around

3. enjoy it – make exercise a FUN part of the trip. explore the city and go to various “hot spots” that the destination is famous for that incorporate lots of movement.

So, as promised, here are some pictures from my active vacation:


(these are from hiking in Red Rock Canyon – absolutely beautiful!)




(in this case we were watching people be very active…Mystere was amazing!)


(seen during one of our many walks around the city)






(these are from hiking in Kolob Canyon…can you believe the colors?!)

Obviously, it was a great time! We definitely prefer the clean mountain air from the smoke filled air on the strip. Both were a fun time though!

~When’s your next vacation?

~How so YOU stay active on vacations?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Linked Up

My mom and I just got back from a quick trip to Las Vegas for some hiking, yoga, Cirque du Soleil and some very nice weather. With a pleasant stop at The Red Barn on the way home! While I gather pictures from that (the hikes were unreal) I will leave you with some fabulous links!

Pumpkin Seeds...3 WAYS! Goodness those all sound delicious. And make me want to carve a pumpkin just to get to the seeds.

Long Run Obstacles – Pretty sure we all have those days that we just don’t want to do our long run, or any type of exercise for that matter. Here are some ways to get past those exercising blues.

Apple Peanut Butter Cookie Bites – substitute in some almond butter and we are good to go! These look great!

White Chicken Chili – I’m not sure anything says fall like some good chili. This sure looks like some good chili.

Sweet Potato Muffins – Yum! With some pumpkin and banana variations, these muffins are delicious and good for you!

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds - Almond and pumpkin...I'm in!

Happy Monday!

~Got a link to share? Go for it.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I think we all know that one of the main reasons we are encouraged to get adequate intake of veggies and fruits each day is because of what they offer us: nourishment. They are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that we can often not get anywhere else. The thing is, those vitamins and minerals can be destroyed if our food isn’t prepared or stored the right way. So here are some tips for preserving the vitamin content of foods!

1. keep fruits and vegetables cool: Enzymes in food begin to degrade vitamins once the fruit or vegetable is picked, and chilling reduces this process. Other than potatoes, tomatoes, onions and bananas, it is best to refrigerate fresh produce until it is consumed.

Refrigerator Crisper_4

2. moisture proof & air tight containers: Nutrients keep best at temperatures near freezing, at high humidity and away from air

3. trim, peel & cut minimally: Oxygen breaks down vitamins faster when more surface is exposed. Outer leaves of lettuce and other greens have higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals than the inner, tender leaves or stems. Potato skins and apple skins are higher in vitamins and minerals than the inner parts.

4. steam with little fat: More nutrients are retained when there is less contact with water and shorter cooking time. Whenever possible, cook fruits or vegetables in their skins.


5. minimize reheating food: Prolonged reheating reduces vitamin content. Reheat leftovers, just not too many times.

6. don’t add fats to vegetables while cooking: Fat-soluble vitamins will be lost in the liquid discarded after cooking. Add fats to vegetables after they are fully cooked and drained.

7. store canned foods in cool places: canned foods vary in the amount of nutrients lost, largely because of differences in storage time and temperatures. Also, much of the nutrients can be lost when draining canned foods. That is why fresh is usually the best option.


~Favorite fruit or veggie?
**Broccoli and apples, all the way!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

It is pumpkin season! The leaves are changing colors…the air is crisp…I have to wear gloves on my early morning runs…and pumpkin is in almost every recipe. So here is one to add to your list!

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 c. wheat flour
1/4 c. white flour
1/2 T. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 can pumpkin
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/3 c. water
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs

In one bowl mix your dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder & salt). In another bowl, mix the wet ones! (honey, syrup, pumpkin, oil, water, vanilla and eggs) Combine both mixtures well. Add to sprayed bread pan and top with a healthy serving of chocolate chips. Bake in the over at 350 for about 55 minutes.


Mine turned out a bit gooey. The taste was great and the edges nicely done, but the middle had a hard time getting completely done…so I’m not sure what to do about that? Either way, try it out and let me know what you think!



~What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe in the fall?

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Facts.

In two of the five classes I am taking right now, the last few weeks we have been focusing on health & weight management…and the serious problems that are increasing in America with weight and chronic disease.

There is so much to say on this issue, but I thought I’d just share some startling facts with you. Hold on to your seats, it might get a little bumpy.

- globally, there are more than 1.6 billion overweight adults with at least 400 million of them obese
- The U.S. has the glorious distinction of being among the fattest nations on Earth
- 66% of U.S. adults are considered to be overweight or obese = 72 million people
- researchers predict that if nothing changes, by 2015 41% of all Americans will be obese and 34% will be overweight
- 19% of children under the age of 4 are obese
- experts predict that the number of American’s diagnosed with diabetes, a major obesity associated problem, will increase by 165% from 15 million in 2005 to well over 30 million in 2030.
- potential negative health effects of overweight and obesity consist of: increased rates of anxiety and depression, high blood pressure leading to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, increased risk of almost all types of cancer, risk of arthritis, heart disease, tendency toward more infectious diseases and heart disease.

Why share these facts? Because obesity is one of the top underlying PREVENTABLE causes of death in the United States.

How can we reverse this trend? It will definitely take some time and some serious effort. But being aware of how environment, lifestyle, and economic factors effect our life would be a good place to start.


Over the past 20 years, portion sizes have almost doubled. Think that could have anything to do with our epidemic? Check out this Portion Distortion website where you can test your knowledge on how portions have changed over the years. Pretty crazy!

The best way to change something is start small and start today. We can all do our part to change the future of America and the kids growing up, so instead of having a SHORTER life expectancy than their parents, they can out live us all. Deal? Deal.


The good news is, some food manufacturers are listening! My sister sent me a link to this Cereal Stunt showing what we are really eating when we eat those sugary cereals. I loved the pictures and the names of these cereals…but what I loved more is that General Mills is listening and trying to reduce sugar in these cereals. They aren’t sure how yet, but at least the effort is there!

~What can you do today to start making the changes necessary for a better future?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Going Nuts!

It probably isn’t news to anyone that I love nuts. Particularly of the almond variety, in the form of almond butter. But what’s even better is that they are kind of healthy for you! I say kind of because they should be eaten in moderation, like most things. Let’s just say I could work on the moderation thing a bit…


Is there anything better than the fresh almond butter machines? Seriously. Sign me up for Christmas, please.

Anyway, here are some facts about 4 “nuts” that we consume pretty dang regularly. I say “nuts” because the first one, in fact, is not a nut.

1. Peanuts – Despite the word nut in the name, it is actually a legume. Pretty tricky, eh? It is because they are grown underground. They were discovered by conquistadors in South America years ago.

Serving: 32 peanuts
Nutrition Facts: 159 calories – 14 g. fat – 7 g protein

P.S. did you know it take 540 nuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter? I sure didn’t.


2. Walnuts – These buddies are the oldest tree fruit – yes, fruit – known to man. They were initially traded along the Silk Road until they arrived in the U.S. in the late 1700s. Just ONE handful of these boasts more antioxidants than other shelled snacks. Boo-ya!

Serving: 14 walnut halves
Nutrition Facts: 183 calories – 18 g fat – 4 g protein


3. Pistachios – Legend has it that pistachio trees were planted in Nebuchadnezzar’s famed gardens around 600 BC. Although that in and of itself is pretty stellar, these seeds are loaded with vitamin B-6.

Serving: 49 pistachios
Nutrition Facts: 158 calories – 13 g fat – 6 g protein


4. Almonds – Botanically speaking, almonds are also a fruit, which explains how yummy they are in desserts and sweets. In addition to flavor, one ounce supplies the same amount of polyphenols (health-promoting compounds) as a cup of green tea. Fancy that.

Serving: 22 almonds
Nutrition Facts: 161 calories – 14 g fat – 6 g protein



~What’s your favorite nut?

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