Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Word About Whole Wheat Bread

"Whole Wheat" has become an increasingly popular adjective when it comes to breads, pastas, crackers, etc. 

I encourage everyone to choose whole wheat items whenever possible. So here is some food for thought: If something is in fact whole wheat, it will not contain any bleached, or enriched flour.

The problem is, many breads and bread items can say that they are whole wheat, but really their first (and most prominent) ingredient is enriched flour! 

White Bread Ingredients

It is your job as the consumer to be on the lookout for this! You should be looking for a bread that has whole wheat flour as its first ingredient! Also you want to be on the look out for other ingredients like high fructose corn syrup! It is not necessary to use this to make bread, so why should we have it!?

When it comes down to it, you want to choose a bread that has the lowest amount of ingredients overall, meaning that it will have less unnecessary additives.

Alvarado St. Bakery has great yummy whole wheat breads that a free if additives! Take a look:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Easy Healthy Pasta Night!

I have a great way to whip up a yummy, healthy and fulfilling dinner!

Start with some fresh veggies, tonight I used broccoli and green beans.

Coat a large sauce pan with PAM spray and toss in the broccoli and green beans. I like to add some fresh garlic and some seasonings:

I like to cover the veggies and let them cook up nicely.

At the same time you should have water boiling and be ready to put in the pasta. 

I choose multigrain or whole wheat pasta:

As the veggies start to turn a nice bright green I add the sauce. Choose any sauce you'd like, but stay away from creamy alfredo sauces because it adds in extra fat and calories. 

The sauce will be heating up nicely with the veggies while the pasta finishes cooking up!

Strain the pasta and dish out your (manageable) portions. Then top it off with the veggies and sauce, and voilĂ 

Dinner is served:

Yum! How easy was that!?

Try out different veggies and styles of pasta and sauces to see what you like the best!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Prevention First

I was watching the 5:00 news last night when my ears perked up to the intro line of: "The latest new cure for type 2 diabetes". However, I was soon let down by the information following this. The new 'cure' for type 2 diabetes is now gastric bypass surgery! 

Um, what?!  

The report went on to say that "studies have shown better results than diet and exercise alone". 

Well I'm sorry, but, NO KIDDING! If everyone's stomachs were reduced to the size of a couple of ounces rather than liters I doubt we would ever see a case of obesity again!

Now, I am fully aware that this type of surgery has truly helped many people, and in some cases this drastic measure is necessary to save a life. I am just not keen on the idea of advertising something so serious (and possibly life threatening!) as a way to 'cure' type 2 diabetes. 

It all begins with PREVENTION! 

Type 2 diabetes has also been known as 'adult onset diabetes'. This is because it is primarily found in overweight/obese adults. Sadly, this is no longer the case because with the childhood obesity epidemic on the rise, more and more children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Therefore, we must begin from the ground up and instill the knowledge and skills in our youth about how to eat and cook healthy, how to stay active and how important all of these aspects of life are. If these types of steps were taken in the first place, there would be much less incidence of obesity along with type 2 diabetes and then there would be no need to push the idea of gastric bypass surgery as the 'quick fix' to these problems.

Along with the fact that this type of surgery can have many complications occur, it effects the way a person will eat for the rest of their lives! With a stomach so small, there is no way to absorb as many nutrients as your body needs from the foods we eat. Going out to dinner with friends, or big family dinners will now become a struggle instead of a joyful experience, which is something everyone deserves!

Another point that has me confused is the fact that many people reach a point where they are in fact too overweight to even have the surgery, so what do the doctors tell them they must do before the procedure can be performed? Diet and exercise to reach the appropriate weight! Yes, in these cases people have over 100lbs to lose, but no one said it would be easy! And I am the first to agree that having one surgery vs. years of dedication sounds so much easier, but if you have to begin a diet and exercise plan anyway, just go for it!

I completely understand that every individual and their situation is different, but if you take anything away from this, it is the idea of PREVENTION! Starting out healthy life practices will reduce the incidence of so many different health issues it would take me a whole other blog to write about! 

Instilling healthy behaviors is our way to a healthier future!

Monday, March 26, 2012

No Need for Numbers

When people think about health, they often think about body weight and size. I am here to say stay away from the scale (I don't even own one)! 

Everybody and everyone's body is different!  We can not be expected to fit into categories of certain sizes and weights especially when they may be completely unrealistic. I hate for people to become obsessed with the number on the scale and really lose sight of the big picture. Focusing on a 'number' or a certain 'size' is bound to lead to unhealthy choices that can be detrimental to our bodies.  

We must worship our bodies!

To do so, we must maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Some things work differently for different people, so find your own groove and strive to stick with it. Yes, you are going to give in and have those potato chips or chocolate cake here and there, but do not allow it to define you. Get back on the horse and ride the healthy trail again!

Along with diet comes exercise! Again, different strokes for different folks; some like running, others biking, or maybe just walking! Whatever it is, do it for you! With exercise too, there will always be setbacks, like a full schedule or traveling too much, but you can always get back into your routine no matter what!

It is hard in today's society with many negative body image views and media influences, but you must rise above! Only you can do you, so why not do it the best way possible; healthy and balanced!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Colorful Salads!

With spring in full swing and summer coming around the corner vegetable gardens are going to be flourishing! Take this opportunity to really rev up your salads and make them fun and exciting! 

I always start with some dark leafy mixed greens. 

Then I love adding the basics like; carrots and tomatoes. My favorite tomatoes right now are the yellow sunbursts, they really are like a burst of sunshine in your mouth! I could eat them by the handful!

Lately I have been adding beets to all of my salads! Many stores have pre-cooked and peeled beets which make it easy to add them to anything!

Also, for a little crunch a like to add some sunflower seeds! 

This is an easy, quick way to make a lovely, healthy, colorful lunch! It takes me about 5 minutes to make! 

An old teacher of mine once said "Eat a Rainbow Everyday!", meaning eat a variety of foods and the more colors the better! This is how you can maximize getting all of your vitamins and minerals while mixing it up and eating yummy foods!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Little Perspective...

Ever feel like you are being weighed down?

This is why!

By being active you can lose fat and in turn gain muscle! This is sure to make things a lot more comfortable! 

Looking at the amount of space the grapefruits take up vs. the tangerines, imagine the force being put onto your internal organs!  It is harder for your body to perform the normal everyday tasks it needs to do to keep you alive when they are being pressured externally. So do your precious body a favor, and get active!

Other great things about muscle: it helps you to burn slightly more calories  throughout your day because it is more metabolically active than fat, it helps strengthen your body to improve on functionality, and helps give it shape! 

I am not suggesting that everyone needs to go out there and become the next biggest body builder! However, strength training is very important in staying fit and a great way to be active, get out there and have some fun!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Convenient Healthy Snack

I love finding ways to make being healthy easier!

Here is a great little snack idea that will fit into anyone's busy schedule:

Pre-Sliced Apples!

Apples are delicate and somewhat hard to travel with.  So, with these pre-packaged and sliced apples, there is no excuse not to have an apple a day! These packets are perfect to just throw into a purse or a backpack for complete convenience, and they taste great!

I found these by Earthbound Farm at Costco! I love that they are organic and come in perfect sized packages. I have seen other brands like Chiquita at Safeway and Trader Joe's has some too!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Drink More Water

With all of this rain we have been getting, I have been thinking about water! California desperately needed these rain storms to keep our ecosystem viable, and the same goes for our bodies!

There are many benefits to drinking ample amounts of water throughout the day!

-Water helps aide in digestion! It prevents constipation and helps everything move along the way it should.

-Water helps you stay full, and in turn, eat less! So, if you are trying to lose weight, adding more water into your day may help reduce your calorie intake.

-Water hydrates your skin. No one wants wrinkles!

-Water and hydration is a key component of exercising! It is very important for your body to stay in balance during a strenuous situation like exercising. Also if you are well hydrated it will improve your work out and energy level.

Along with these benefits, water helps to relive headaches, can reduce the risk of some cancers, improve your productivity, focus, mood, and more!

Now if these are not enough reasons to start drinking more water, think about this; if you replaced one can of soda (about 250 calories) with a bottle of water each day, that's a total of 1,750 calories less per week! Along with less calories you would be consuming less sugar and sodium. 

Fruit juices should also be avoided because unfortunately, many of them are packed with the same amount of sugar as soda!

Thinking its too hard to make the switch? 

Sometimes you just want the satisfaction of thirst-quenching bubbles?

-Try a sparkling mineral water! Yes, some brands may have a bit of sodium added due to the carbonation, but not as much as soda also, they have no calories and are very satisfying!

-Many sparkling waters come in flavors now which help curb your craving for a sweet soda drink.
(La Croix is a brand that has zero sodium and tons of flavors!)
-You can even add your own fresh fruit at home; squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange or add some fresh raspberries, strawberries or even mint leaves! Yum!

Make the switch even if it is just once a day and you are sure to notice more energy and feel better!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Good Thoughts to Live By

Always remember: everything in moderation! 

Keeping your life in balance will ensure for a fun, healthy, happy one!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


If you live in Santa Cruz, we are experiencing some major down pours (which we need!) and it looks like they are here to stay! 

Now I don't know about you, but when the weather is like this all I want to do is stay at home and indulge in comfort foods! But being sedentary and eating macaroni and cheese all day can really mess with your healthy eating pattern! 

So, here's a healthy alternative to help warm you up and keep you full: SOUP!

Soup is a yummy convenient way to stay satisfied and sneak in some veggies!!

For those of you who have time to make you our batch of soup, all the power to you! However, in my busy life I have really begun to enjoy some of the vegetable soups from none other than Progresso! I tend not to eat soups that have meat in them because it may not always be the highest quality and its been sitting in a can for who knows how long! Progresso has a whole line of soups (both veggie and meaty) that are 100 calories or less per serving! Each can provides about 2 servings, so you are looking at 200 calories or less for a tasty, warm lunch or dinner!

Most of these soups can also account for a full serving of vegetables - that's a third of the recommended 3 servings/day! Often I will chop up some extra carrots, celery, bell peppers, or whatever is left in the fridge and add them right in! Because lets face it- everyone needs more veggies!

Now do watch out for cream based soups like clam and corn chowder which will ultimately end up providing more calories and fat.

Think soups not enough? Pair it with a small salad or a slice of whole wheat toast and let me know what you think! :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meatless Monday!

For a while now I have been consciously not eating any meat for a day or two each week. A while back, I had been a full-on vegetarian for years, so in some ways this practice just comes naturally to me. 

Sometimes I would realize that my meat free day happened to land on a Monday and I would laugh and say "I had a meatless Monday!". Then recently I found out that there is a non-profit organization pushing this "Meatless Monday" idea nationally and globally! 

It might seem like a funny or pointless campaign, but I think it is really cool! The whole idea behind it is to get people to cut back on eating meat, which can be very high in calories and saturated fat. Along with the health aspects, this campaign takes a look at the carbon footprint that is left behind by the meat industry and the use of resources associated with it. 

Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel (Meatless Mondays site). 

I encourage you to check out their website: 

See if you can get through a meatless Monday and take their pledge! Even if you would not like to commit to this, it should at least get you thinking more about what you are eating and how it effects your health and the environment.

Let me know how you do!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Healthy Snack Idea

Kiwis are a yummy super fruit and even travel well!

I have just been cutting mine in half (like above) and scooping out the healthy yumminess with a spoon! You could do this at home or on the go.

Kiwis are a great source of vitamin C and E. If you choose to eat the skin, it has lots of anti-oxidant properties = super fruit! 

This is a tasty, healthful snack, all for under 50 calories!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pre-work Out Munch!

I am just about to head out to teach my fitness kickboxing class!

To gear up I am munching on some Raw Oats Oatmeal with banana slices!

This is a great way to start your morning, even if you are not going to work out right away! The warm yummy oats will keep you full and help you seize the day!

Not a regular breakfast eater? Try it out a couple days a week and see how it makes you feel! Maybe you'll make it an everyday habit? :)

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Fit Tip

Gearing up for a busy weekend? 

No time to work out? 

Burning calories can be a simple as 10 minutes here and there through out your day! 

Jumping jacks get your heart rate up quick! Do these first thing in the morning to boost your metabolism!

Other easy movements to sneak into your day:

-Calf raises while your making dinner!

-Squats and lunges while taking a phone call!

Every little bit counts!