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Friday, April 19, 2013

Grocery Shopping List

I get tons of questions regarding what to eat and lots of comments from followers stating "I eat clean but can't lose weight". Since everyone's definition of "clean eating" is different, I thought I'd create a list of some basic food items you should include in your weekly shopping trip. There is also a list of "foods to avoid". I hope you find this helpful in your quest to improve your health and nutrition!

Protein Sources:
99% Extra lean ground turkey breast
Boneless / skinless chicken breast
Lean cuts of beef (consume sparingly)
Non-fat plain greek yogurt
Low-Fat cottage cheese
Eggs
100% Liquid egg whites (read the ingredients)
Light tuna in water
White fish such as tilapia

Carbohydrate Sources:
Brown Rice (either dry or frozen, do not buy the pre-cooked packaged rice. Read the ingredients)
Quinoa
Beans
Plain rice cakes
Old fashioned rolled oats (oatmeal, not instant or quick oats and no added sugar/flavors)
Millet
Amaranth

Fat Sources:
Nuts (preferably raw or lightly salted, no added oils)
Natural peanut butter (only ingredients should be peanuts and salt, or just peanuts)
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Avocado

Fruits & Veggies:
Go crazy with these :-)
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Asparagus
Green beans
Snow Peas
Spinach
Arugula
Peppers
Cucumbers
Apples
Berries
Pears
Some fruits are higher in sugar, they are fine to consume but should be done in moderation.
Fruits and Veggies should be purchased fresh or frozen and should not have any added sauce or sugar.

Miscellaneous items:
Stevia (if you're going to use a sugar substitute, this is the best option)
Ms Dash seasonings
Hot sauce (check the nutrition facts, should only contain sodium)
Vinegar (to use on salads)
Cooking Spray (use this when making eggs, etc to limit calories vs. oil)
Shiritaki noodles (these can help fill the void of pasta cravings)
Quest nutrition bars or think thin bars (if you need snacks to go)
Sugar free jello (optional, to be used to help with cravings) use sparingly

Foods to avoid:
Frozen meals that claim to be healthy
packaged foods
Foods labeled "low fat or fat free"
Sugar
Soda
Diet Soda
Juice (most are very high in sugar)
Granola bars or other "diet bars" (most are high in sugar and chemicals)

This list is by no means "all inclusive". It represents the good majority of healthy foods that should be incorporated into a balanced diet.  There are many other healthy options out there. I hope you find this information useful. Feel free to share any other items you include in your healthy eating in the comments below. Thanks for reading!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Quest Nutrition Bar Review

I was fortunate enough to receive a 12 flavor sample box of Quest Nutrition Bars to review. Much to my surprise, I liked every flavor in the box!! Cinnamon Roll and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough are probably my 2 favorites. There were certain flavors I didn't expect to like (coconut cashew) because I don't like coconut and I actually liked that one too. These bars are made with all natural ingredients, they are high in protein, high in fiber, low carb, gluten free and taste amazing. Many protein bars are basically just candy bars in disguise, Quest bars are actually good for you.  They are perfect as a snack or to take with you when traveling so you don't miss a meal. My favorite way to eat them is to microwave them for 15 seconds first, it turns them into a warm yummy dessert!! I challenge you to compare the ingredient label of your favorite bar to a quest bar. I then challenge you to eat a quest bar and put it to the taste test. I promise, you won't be disappointed!! I actually have 2 boxes of chocolate chip cookie dough to giveaway this week so 2 lucky FMFOP fans will have the pleasure of receiving a whole box of one of my favorite flavors!!

For more information or to order Quest bars go to:
www.questproteinbar.com

Be sure to follow them on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/QuestNutrition


Friday, April 5, 2013

Goal Setting - How to Stay Motivated

Do you remember the New Year's Resolution you set in January? If you're like most, you may remember what it was but have probably "abandoned" it with some intent of focusing on the goal later. The problem is that we set goals that are too big or too broad or we try to set too many goals at once. Effective goal setting is starting with small goals and building on them. If the goals you set are not achievable or realistic, you will begin to feel discouraged and ultimately give up on them.

For the past 2 years, I've been working on one goal, health and fitness. Now, I know that sounds broad but I started with small goals and built upon them. I started by working out 5 days a week, once I mastered that, I went on to the next piece. For me, that was clean eating. I ate what I perceived to be "healthy" before but really wanted to take it to the next level. Once that became a habit for me, I started working on other aspects, I created my Facebook page, started training harder and now really want fitness to be my path. Have I slipped up? Of course... I started training to compete in a bikini competition and when the diet took an emotional toll on me, I went into a binging mode for a few months over the holidays. BUT, I did not let that discourage me, I just got right back to it and refocused myself.

We all have our off days. But, if you find yourself constantly getting off track, here are some tips to keep you focused:
  1. Concentrate on a few small goals
    If you constantly have trouble keeping to your goals, maybe you're spreading yourself too thin. Pick 1-3 goals that are most important to you, and stick to them. Don't get distracted with other goals, trying to do too many things at once will often lead to frustration and ultimately failure.
  2. Learn to say no

    Do you often put your goals aside for other people? It's okay to do that once or twice, but if you keep doing the whole time, something is seriously wrong. You can't always take a backseat for others! I often hear people say that they cannot focus on their own goals because they have children and their children come first. I totally understand that concept but what kind of role model will you be for your kids if don't show them that setting goals and following through is important. This doesn't just have to be about health or weight loss. This can be related to your budget, buying a home, a promotion at work... whatever it is. The point is, if you are not doing things for you, to make you happy; how are you making others around you happy??
  3. Create milestones
    Don't set one big huge goal like "I want to lose 50 lbs". This can be very overwhelming and discouraging if you don't lose the 50 lbs by X date. Instead, set small achievable goals. I want to lose 5 lbs in the month of April is much easier to comprehend. Once you lose those 5 lbs, set a new goal for May. Before you know it, you will have lost 50 lbs :)
  4. Have a plan
    Creating your plan when your motivation is the highest is usually best. So, right when you set the goal is usually when you should plan out how you will achieve that goal. When it's a weight loss goal, you will typically be mapping out your food and exercise for that give time period. You should use a calculator to determine your caloric needs and then keep track of your food and workouts. If you find you are not losing weight as quickly as you'd like, you may need to adjust your calories or increase your activity levels.
  5. Track your results
    This is more than just tracking your food intake and exercise. Each week, track how you're doing, did you lose any weight, how do you feel... this will all help you in the end.
  6. Join a group and have a goal buddy
    Teaming up with others that have similar goals is a great way to be accountable and stay motivated. This can be done in many ways. One way is to set a "weight loss contest" at work where everyone contributes $5 and at the end of the month, the person with the highest % of weight loss gets the pot. This keeps you focused and you can also do activities (such as walking) with others at the office.
  7. Be clear on why you have this goal
    When it comes to weight loss, it can be one of the hardest goals to achieve because everyone "has to eat". It's not like other goals of quitting smoking or drinking, paying off debt or things like that where it's a "choice". We have to eat, right? What makes it hard is deciding WHAT we are going to eat and HOW MUCH of it we are going to eat. Eating doesn't make us overweight, over eating and eating the wrong food does. Most American's don't really know what the right way to eat is so it becomes difficult to achieve these goals. We center our whole lives around food. We use food and drink to celebrate, morn and everything in between. Stay focused on why you have your goal. Do you want to be fit and healthy so you can play with your kids? Do you want to be proud when you look in the mirror? Do you want to get rid of a health problem such as high cholesterol or diabetes? Whatever the reason, keep it at the forefront. It's very easy to lose focus and forget why we are doing something. If you need to create a vision board to help with this, do that. JUST DON'T GIVE UP!!
 I hope this helps you with your goals and staying motivated. Have you recently set goals and achieved them? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chia Seeds - The Ancient Food of the Future





When you think of the word "chia" you probably think of chia pets, for good reason - chia pets are grown with chia seeds, but for centuries before, these tiny little seeds were used as a staple food by the Indians of the southwest and Mexico. Its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as back as 3500 B.C. Once valued so much that they were used as currency, this unique little seed has exceptional nutritive and structural benefits. Little is known, however, of the seeds tremendous nutritional value and medicinal properties making them a true super food.
  One of the exceptional qualities of the Chia seed is its hydrophilic properties, “absorbability” having the ability to absorb more than 12 times its weigh in water. Its ability to hold on to water offers the ability to prolong hydration. With Chia seeds, you retain moisture; regulate more efficiently the body’s absorption of nutrients and body fluids. Because there is a greater efficiency in the utilization of body fluids, the electrolyte balance is maintained. In addition to these benefits, when soaked in water for 30 minutes, chia seeds form a thick gel. This gel also forms in the stomach when chia seeds are consumed. Researchers believe this actually slows down the rate at which digestive enzymes turn carbs into sugar, making it especially beneficial for diabetics and others with blood sugar issues.  The slowing in the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar offers the ability for creating endurance. Carbohydrates are the fuel for energy in our bodies. Prolonging their conversion into sugar stabilizes metabolic changes, diminishing the surges of highs and lows creating a longer duration in their fueling effects.
Chia seeds are about 20% protein. They are digested and absorbed very easily.  This results in rapid transport to the tissue and utilization by the cells.  This efficient assimilation makes the Chia very effective when rapid development of tissue takes place, primarily during periods of growth. This would also include regeneration of muscle tissue for conditioning, athletes, weight lifters, etc.
The word chia is derived from the Aztec word chian, which means "oily." Another unique quality of the Chia seed is its high oil content. Chia seeds are the richest plant source of Omega-3; they have more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other plant food,  (the vital fats that protect against inflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon. It has approximately three to ten times the oil concentrations of most grains and one and a half to two times the protein concentrations of other grains.   These oils, unsaturated fatty acids, are the essential oils your body needs to help emulsify and absorb the fat soluble vitamins: A, D, E, & K.         

There are practically unlimited ways to incorporate the Chia seed into your diet. Chia, as an ingredient, is a dieter’s dream food. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.  Chia seeds must be prepared with pure water before using recipes.  They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 12 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel which fills you up faster. Chia seeds are so high in antioxidants that they do not spoil easily and can be stored for long periods, unlike flax seeds, so they are a great addition in cooking, baking, or adding to your favorite beverage.
Uses of Chia Seeds:
Use ground chia seeds mixed with water to replace eggs in baked goods such as cakes, cookies, or cupcakes. Place 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in a cup and add 3 tablespoons of water.  Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes.  1/4 cup of hydrated chia seeds equals approximately 1 egg. By substituting chia seeds, you'll still get the binding action of the eggs but without the dietary cholesterol or risk of food-borne illness. And, for a fresh take on classic lemon poppy seed breakfast muffins, fold chia seeds into your cake batter in place of poppy seeds
Ground chia seeds can be added to your favorite smoothies to thicken and add creaminess to the drink while also giving a punch of slowly digestible protein. More good news for athletes is the seeds' ability to help the body retain electrolytes -- great for endurance athletes like marathoners or climbers.
-sprinkle them on cereal, oatmeal, salad or soup
-add them to any muffin, cookie, or cake recipe
-add them to pancake batter before you cook the cakes
They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don't need to be ground up.
Those are just a few because you can literally add them to just about any food because their flavor is very mild and will not interfere with the taste of the food you add them to.


















By: Guest Writer, Brandan Fokken