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31 Days of Motivation: Feel as Good As You Eat

feel as good as you eatSomething I heard once that stuck with me was when my sister said “I never realized how bad unhealthy felt until I discovered how good it felt to be healthy”. This is something I had never thought of at the time, and her insight opened my eyes. She wasn’t talking about feeling good because she looked good, she was talking about feeling even after only a couple of weeks of eating healthy. She basically immediately started having more energy and feeling as healthy as she was eating – way before the weight started coming off.

Not only does unhealthy food not fuel you properly but it weighs you down – literally. Overweight bodies are tired from the weight alone. Then couple that with being tired from the lack of energy from eating foods that lack nutrition, and you’ve got one tired, sluggish, heavy, unmotivated person. Yet, as soon as you start eating healthy, you immediately start benefiting from the nutrients you are putting into your body. People go from having no energy at all, to having TONS of energy when they begin to FUEL their body instead of just feed it.

Nowadays, when I have a period of time where I’ve been cheating or eating poorly (like over the holidays), I truly crave healthy eating because of how it makes me feel. I miss the way my body feels on a higher quality foods.

I challenge you to not just think of healthy eating as “dieting”, but choosing foods that will energize you, and give you the fuel you need to feel your absolute best! You’ll be SO surprised of the difference good fuel makes!!

Hale the Kale Salad

Thank you Offerdahl’s for the inspiration! Loving this salad!!!!

kale salad1/4 cup cooked quinoa (I cooked with a splash of lemon juice, salt & garlic powder)
2 cups chopped kale
4oz diced chicken breast
1 heaping tablespoon of chick peas
1 tablespoon chopped sweet onion
1/2 tablespoon low-sugar Craisins
1/2 tablespoon goat cheese crumbles
Squirt of lemon
1 tablespoon Honey Roasted Almond Accents

Dressing Options:
Honey Lime or Lemon Vinaigrette
Light Honey Dijon dressing (I used Publix brand, but I also make my own)

Toss all the ingredients together with the dressing and top with the roasted almond slices. YUM!!

CLICK HERE for 10 delicious Kale Recipes!!

Fresh & Tangy Whole Grain Pasta Salad

Sometimes you just want a nice cool crisp pasta salad to munch on that isn’t loaded with calories. Yesterday was one of those days, so I whipped this little creation together and it came out super yummy!

Tangy Healthy PastaBox of Rotini Whole Grain Pasta
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cup Sliced Cherry Tomatoes
1 Cup of Chopped Scallions
1 Chopped Green Pepper
28 Slices of Turkey Pepperoni (14 slices per serving)
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Minced Garlic
Salt & Cracked Pepper (to taste)
Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

Boil the pasta as directed. Drain the pasta and let it cool. Add all the cold ingredients and chill for nibbling later! Drizzle with the balsamic glaze and serve! I added diced grilled chicken (seen here in this pic)! YUM!

Bad Food is Like a Bad Ex, It Will Always Let You Down

sweet toothI got an email today from someone asking me for help. It was such a common question, I wanted to address it publicly. Here was her email:

“I have a MAJOR issue with sugar from cookies, cakes, frosting etc.  It is more of a psychological thing for me, because I used these kinds of food to comfort myself as a kid.  The connection here is food is the only thing that loves me, so when things go bad and I need to feel loved I pig out on these types of food. Can you please give me ideas on how to STOP eating sugar?

bad food is like a bad exMy first thought was “NO! It doesn’t love you!” and I remembered what a contestant from the weight loss show Steve did a few years ago said. Loralie, from ABC’s Fat March said:

“Food is like an ex-lover that is just no good for me. Not just any ex, but a really sexy ex. When I think about him (food) all I remember are the good times. I forget how much pain and guilt he would cause. And after an incredible night together full of passion, he just leaves you crying on the living room floor in the fetal position full of guilt. And yet, late at night… I still want him so, so bad”. 

Could this not be any better of a description of some people’s relationship with food? Loralie nailed it! You don’t have to necessarily be in an abusive relationship to get this.  Any relationship that is not good for you is a great example of a bad relationship with food.

No More Compromises

datingI have to admit I have been pretty lucky over the years. The guys I dated were all pretty great guys, but even good guys can be BAD for you if they aren’t RIGHT for you. For instance, I dated one guy that was really an amazing guy before I met Steve. He was talented, smart, handsome, had a great family who embraced me, and was perfect – for someone, just not me.

I found myself compromising my values and settling for just a little less. Since he really was a super sweet guy, it was easy to think of all the good stuff, and easy to forget the bad. Then, one day, I realized we were both wasting precious time focusing on what was right, but ignoring what was wrong. We could either address the bad stuff right then, or we could deal with it later. Either way we were going to have to deal with it.

Good Doesn’t Mean Right

ex boyfriend

For me, it meant coming to grips with the simple fact that we were both good, but not good for each other. We were not in a healthy relationship. He was going to make a great husband  - to someone else, but not me. And, I realized someone would love me exactly the way I needed to be loved, but he wasn’t going to be that guy.

I broke up with him that day, but it wasn’t easy. I cried and cried and cried – for days and weeks! BUT, I knew it was the right thing to do. It didn’t mean I wasn’t going to miss him and it didn’t mean that I would stop thinking about him. And, knowing I did the right thing was going to make it any easier. Even though I had a tremendous peace about my decision, it still hurt just the same.

I Don’t Need You Anymore

dieting

Food that isn’t good for you, in many ways, is just like a boyfriend that isn’t good for you.  No matter how wonderful it makes you feel at times, it will ALWAYS let you down. Unfortunately though, we make compromises even though we don’t like the way it makes us feel.

Maybe it’s time you treat food like a bad ex. Remember, as much as you may love it, it will never love you back. Not only does it not love you, it will hurt you – leaving you feeling a little worse day by day. The only answer is to say goodbye. The longer you stay away, the stronger you will become. As you lose weight, as you get healthier, you will discover a new confidence – and you will love the new you more than you ever loved food.

It’s Time to Move On – and Move UP!

true loveShortly after breaking up with that guy, I met Steve. He was everything I ever dreamed of. He was romantic, loving, sensitive, funny, passionate, smart, handsome, and loved me completely. I could have NEVER imagined how good it would feel to be loved this way – and I would have never discovered his love if I didn’t first turn away from what I thought I loved at that time.

If you hold on to what just feels good right now, you may never discover just how great things could be. Healthy food loves you back. Fitness loves you back. Unhealthy food will always leave you unhealthy, and in a pit of regret and shame. Don’t let the initial taste of something sweet fool you, and lead you to a bitter end. Maybe today is your day to end your love relationship with food.

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Pork Chops

When you have chicken nearly every single day of your life, you crave change. Since red meat isn’t that healthy to eat too often, I turned to the “other white meat”, pork.

Yesterday I threw some boneless pork chops in my slow roaster to cook up some scrumptious garlic and parm chops – and OMG! They were not only super tasty, they practically fell apart they were so tender.

Garlic Parm Chops

pork chops6 Pork Chops
1/3 a stick of butter or margarine
1 finely sliced onion
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic (or garlic powder)
1 Packet of Instant Soup (onion or cream of chicken, optional)
1 Cup of Water
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt to taste

I mixed the water and the soup mix for the liquid base. Then I placed the pork chops and onion into a slow roaster. Lastly, I added the butter and all the seasonings on top.

I cooked it on 325 for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours. I stopped to taste it, and dusted more salt, onion powder (I would have added garlic powder, but i only had minced garlic) and parmesan on top. Then, I cooked it for a few more minutes allowing the flavors to settle in. The end result was pork chops that not only were tasty, but they practically fell apart when I picked them up. TOTALLY YUM!

It’s not quite as good as garlic and parmesan chicken wings, but it’s pretty darn close! Hmmm, that makes me think! I bet dipping it in blue cheese or ranch dressing would be good!! Forget I said that! Baaaad Bonnie! Baaaad!  :)

Fuel for School: Diet Tips for a Better School Year

Are you giving your kids the right fuel for school, or do their choices consist of PopTarts, Toaster Strudels, Cinnamon Toast Crunch or “leggomyeggo” waffles?

children's cerealsI have to admit, my mom really didn’t know a lot about nutrition when I was young. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted – none of which was healthy. Pop Tarts and sugary cereals with prizes in the box were a staple in our house. I wasn’t a big breakfast eater, and I’m sure my mom was just happen when I ate breakfast period – no matter what it was. However, she had no idea what it was doing to my day at school.

Ironically, my mom must have known a healthy breakfast had it’s advantages because my mom always made me a healthy big breakfast on test day. The problem is, no healthy breakfast in the world could help me get a better grade when I wasn’t paying attention all the other days I ate crap. What a child eats for breakfast greatly determines how they feel at school.

Fuel the Brain

You probably wouldn’t let your kid eat a piece of cake or some brownies for breakfast, but the majority of breakfast foods for kids are as equally unhealthy. They may taste good on the tongue, but they do nothing for the body.

toaster strudelSugary, high-glycemic breakfasts set your child up for failure. They will get your child happily out the door, but in just a couple hours (if that), they will likely lose energy, along with their attention span – unless they are lucky enough to have a stimulating class (like PE) that gets their blood sugar back up mechanically from exercise or activity.

pancake syrup Your child needs healthy low-glycemic foods rich in fiber, with a little healthy fat. Lower glycemic foods deliver an IV drip-like affect of energy throughout the morning. Sugary foods hit the system fast, and also leaves the system fast. Lower glycemic foods and healthy fats take a slower time to break down in our system. The longer it’s in the tummy, the longer the energy will last from the meal. Meals high in fiber keep the tummy full too, as well as regular blood sugar (and a ton of other great stuff too).

looney-tunesAs I look back, I remember eating nice big healthy breakfasts on Saturday mornings or on Holidays because that’s probably when my mom had more time to cook. Yet, that would be a good time to have a “treat” like waffles or french toast, because it’s not like I needed a lot of energy to watch cartoons all morning. But, for school, it’s a different story. Kids need all the help they can get to be alert, feel good and do well in school. A healthy breakfast is a must for your child’s brain – not to mention their waistline!

Eat This, Not That

This info graphic by HowManyCaloriesCounters.com shows what, and what not, to eat before exam day – but I think it’s how all students should eat to perform their best EVERY day.

Eat this, not that

Who’s the Boss?

healthy breakfast

I think back to my school days, and I can’t BELIEVE what I ate. Processed foods and coke were my go-to foods. I didn’t even know what oatmeal was. Whole grains? What is that? Eggs? Yuck! Yogurt? You mean frozen yogurt? Honestly, what kid is going to choose oatmeal over Captain Crunch or Pancakes!? Sure, there are a few kids who like eggs and toast, but most kids would prefer the breakfast that comes in a flashy fun package, complete with a toy.

senior-eating-cerealI remember thinking Special K was for overweight women and Raisin Bran was for old people – I only knew what the commercials taught me. It’s time for parents to be parents. It’s time parents teach their children to eat healthy – and to help them understand why it’s important (other than just being about weight).

You want your child to FEEL good. You want your child to perform their best – and I’m sure you don’t want them to gain weight or struggle with weight related health issues like diabetes. If you wouldn’t let them take drugs in your house, or make other poor choices that are dangerous or unhealthy, don’t let them make poor choices with food. While one poptart won’t hurt here and there, a child who is allowed to eat whatever they want when they are young, could have serious repercussions later in life.

One article in the NY Daily News on this topic said, “Childhood is a critical period in which dietary and lifestyle patterns are initiated, and these habits can have important immediate and long-term implications,” says lead author Dr. Jianghong-Liu, associate professor at Penn Nursing. “Breakfast habits appear to be no exception, and irregular breakfast eating has already been associated with a number of unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, frequent alcohol use, and infrequent exercise.”

Top 10 Sugar-Bomb Cereals

Here are the top 10 sugar-bomb kids’ cereals, ranked by percent weight in sugar by the Environmental Working Group. NOTE: 26% is the recommended MAX.

  1. sugarKellogg’s Honey Smacks: 55.6% sugar
  2. Post Golden Crisp: 51.9% sugar
  3. Kellogg’s Froot Loops Marshmallow:  48.3% sugar
  4. Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s OOPS! All Berries: 46.9% sugar
  5. Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original:  44.4%  sugar
  6. Quaker Oats Oh!s: 44.4% sugar
  7. Kellogg’s Smorz:  43.3%  sugar
  8. Kellogg’s Apple Jacks: 42.9% sugar
  9. Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries: 42.3% sugar
  10. Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original: 41.4% sugar

Click HERE to get healthy cereal ideas and read the rest of the story on Fitbie.com

FOLLOW my blog (located at the top right of my blog) for more healthy back to school tips this week!

Yummy Lower-Cal Honey Lime Dressing

honey-lime dressingLast night I posted a pic of this salad I made on instagram & facebook and you guys asked me for the recipe for the dressing. As always, I threw this recipe together last night without measuring anything – just making it up as I go. If I had to guess, it went a little like this…

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup hellmans 15 calorie light mayo
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of Stevia (instead of honey)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 4-5 dashes of cayenne pepper (optional)

HoneyNote: This morning I went online and looked at other recipes, just to compare what I did with mainstream recipes. Many recipes called for up to a CUP of honey (ouch on the calories) and up to a CUP of olive oil (double ouch!). I admit, 1/2 cup of olive oil would probably taste better, but is too many calories for me. That’s also why I add the mayo – to thicken it up and richen the taste up, which also helps the dressing stick to the salad better, so less waste.

Here’s what Steve said when he was done eating: “Do you know that roller coaster I really love at Sea World? It’s so fun I don’t want it to end and I’ll happily stand back in line to do it over and over. That’s how I feel about this salad.” So, I guess my lower-cal version did just fine! :)

mrs-dash-south-west-chipotle-seasoning-mix-71g-945-p

The Salad:

  • Grilled Southwest Chipotle Chicken
  • Arugula
  • Avocado
  • Vidalia Onion
  • Mango
  • Sliced Almond Accents
  • (and I ended up sprinkling on a few Craisins just for Stevo)

Here’s a pic of Steve’s salad:

chipotle chicken & mango salad

BEET IT! Beet, Goat Cheese & Arugula Salad

GOAT CHEESEYou had me at goat cheese. Seriously, you could put goat cheese on cardboard and it could make it taste good. So, when I saw a goat cheese and arugula salad on a menu, I just had to try it. The beets (in my mind) were my cardboard I thought, but I just had a feeling that this salad was going to surprise me – and it did. So, over the weekend, I picked up some beets and decided I’d repeat this yummy salad I had on vacation. I searched google for something similar to the menu item and this is what I found.

BeetsFirst, I must confess, I’ve never even bought a beet before, much less cooked one. I don’t even know if I had ever had one (that wasn’t pickled or something). This means I actually had to follow directions, which were simple: Peel, chop, boil. I just had to boil them like I would a potato. It was kind of fun getting my hands “dirty” in this new experience – literally! I never thought about the extreme red juice that would come from this vegetable while cutting it up and boiling it. I swear I think I could have dyed clothes with the water I boiled it in. It reminded me of coloring Easter Eggs. What can I say, I am so easily entertained.

Beet JuiceAll in all, this recipe was super simple – and SUPER yummy! I added grilled chicken, which I marinaded in Lemon Pepper marinade and topped with seasonings, to complete my meal. Besides my typical substitutions, like trading sugar for stevia and diluting olive oil with water, I pretty much followed this recipe (for once) to the T!

I don’t think Steve was as excited about my beet salad as I was, but judging by his empty plate and full tummy, I’d say it was a success in his eyes too when it was all said and done! The sweetness of the beets paired with the flavor of the goat cheese complimented each other so well!  This salad will be a regular treat at the Pfiester Pfit Cafe for sure!

Arugula Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese Recipe

Salad Ingredients:

  • Beets – (boiled until a fork easily goes in it, about an hour), peeled, sliced into strips
  • Fresh arugula – rinsed, patted dry with a paper towel
  • Goat cheese – chevre (just a little if you are watching calories!)
  • Walnuts – chopped (don’t use too much)

Dressing ingredients:

  • Olive oil (as always, I cut my olive oil with water)
  • Lemon
  • Dry powdered mustard
  • Sugar (I used Stevia)
  • Salt and pepper

Get the rest of the directions and measurements at Simply Recipes.com

10 Fast Food Diet Tips

10 fast food diet tipsIf you are dieting, or just trying to make healthy choices, ordering a health meal from a fast food chain can be challenging – but not impossible.

Let’s be practical here. In this fast-pace world, sometimes we need a fast-pace lunch. Unfortunately, new dieters panic at the thought of having to eat fast food because they think that means they don’t have a lot of choices. Or worse, they think it means complete failure.

The truth is, fast food chains give us more healthy choices than ever. We just need to order smart. It’s just up to us to do some investigative work so we can make the best choice possible.

Here are 10 tips to help you keep your calories low and your spirits high while dieting on the go.

10 Fast Food Tips for Dieters:

1. Go simple. The fewer ingredients the fewer the calories.

2. Go small. Avoid biggie sizing meals just because it’s a good deal. Believe me, you will eventually pay for it.

3. Avoid bread. Bread can account for 200-300 extra unnecessary calories. Try to get the majority of your calories from whole foods, instead of processed fillers.

4. Know what you’re eating. Don’t play guessing games when making your order. If you want to be sure you get results, be sure about the food you are eating. An average low-calorie meal for a dieter should be between 300-400 calories.

5. Don’t drink your calories. Stick to water, unsweet tea or diet coke. Drinking liquid sugar is just plain silly.

6. Salads aren’t always low-calorie. Just because something looks healthy, doesn’t mean it is healthy. A salad can easily add up to be more calories than a burger if you are not careful.

7. Think with your mind, not your stomach. Don’t let yourself get so hungry you can’t think straight. Many people blow their diet simply because they are starving by the time they face the drive through menu.

8. If you don’t love it, skip it. Removing one slice of cheese, or one condiment, can save you 100 calories or more. Prioritize the toppings you love, and skip the ones you can do without, to save calories.

9. Share your findings. Help others by sharing your healthy discoveries so other people can also benefit too. Education is key to success.

10. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Although you will likely find some foods you are pleasantly surprised with, many times people will continue to order something when their gut is telling them something isn’t adding up. Listen to your gut, not your taste buds.

30 Days of Motivation: Does Your Diet Need More Muscle?

Protein shakeIf you want to tone up, you need to put more muscle in your workouts – and in your kitchen. The problem is, most people don’t know how much protein they eat – or how much they need. Well, after you read today’s blog, you will not only know “your number”, but you’ll know how and when to take it too.

First, I want to hit some key pointers.

1. Budget your protein intake. Before you start gulping down protein, you want to make sure you realize you are also gulping down more calories. Many people who start a fitness program hoping to lose weight and tone up ADD protein to their diet, but forget to SUBTRACT calories from carbs and fat. Another words, they are increasing their protein AND calories. Then they wonder whey they GAINED weight trying to get healthy. If you need to lose weight or lean out, remember that adding protein to your diet is great, but you have to account for the extra calories – and protein shakes and bars can add up fast if you aren’t paying attention.

2. Know when to take it. Protein is not a good source of fuel. That’s why marathoners carb up, not protein up. Protein is best for repair. So, the 2 best times to take protein, besides getting it in whole foods throughout your day, is post workout and before you go to bed. Our body is most receptive to absorbing protein within 30-40 minutes of your workout, and it needs protein to help our body repair muscle while we sleep.

protein shake3. Know how to take it. If you are taking protein post workout, you want to pair it with simple sugars to help speed up absorption so you can use the protein in that 30-40 minute window. For instance, a protein shake with water and honey, or protein with orange juice would be a good post workout shake. Any other time, you want to slow digestion down so you can absorb as much nutrients as possible. The longer it’s in your stomach, the more protein you absorb, and the longer you’ll stay full. In this case, adding milk or peanut butter is helpful.

4. Know your number. GNC put together a cool calculator to help people know how many grams of protein they should take a day. Note that it also gives you a window – minimum to maximum. For example, my number is 95 – but my range is 78-111. For me, the only way I can get that much protein is to supplement. I can get about 60 or so grams of protein in whole foods (I’m not a big meat eater) and then I supplement with a couple of shakes or a shake and a bar to reach my daily goal. CLICK HERE to find YOUR number.

my protein number

Today’s Mantra:

2013 feed for fuel

Fit Food: Eat Like a Cuban!

PlantainsIf you’ve ever done the Paleo diet, you probably had that moment where you were wondering how in the world you would be getting your carbs from. Since there is no rice, pasta, bread, oatmeal, quinoa, beans or cereal – it’s easy to go into a full-on panic attack! I know I did.

Although there are TON of green veggies, I was craving something that would stick to my ribs more. Here are just a few healthy Paleo carbs you can add to your meal plan and stay fit and trim:

Carrots
Plantains
Sweet Potatoes
Spaghetti Squash
Yams
Fruit

Lucky for me I LOOOOVE plantains so I opted to cook the following yummy Cuban recipe!

Easy Shredded Pork over Caramelized Mashed Plantains by http://www.paleOMG.com

pork and plantains
For the crockpot pork
  • 1-2lb pork loin
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cups beef broth (no sugar added) – add 3 cups if you go with a 2lb pork loin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
For the plantain mash
  • 4 brown plantains, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons canned coconut milk

CLICK HERE for the entire recipe

Have a Sweet Tooth?

Try PaleOMG’s Caramelized Plantain Pancakes with Sweet Cinnamon Plantain Maple Syrup

plantain-pancakes3-610x300

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