Iced Tea? Yes Please!

Good afternoon!! The weekend is upon us!!

We all enjoy summer BBQ’s and get togethers… well if you’re thinking of sitting back and relaxing this weekend, why not whip this drink up – it’s quite delicious!!

It’s a drink that Dr. Oz recommends thanks to the many health benefits of green tea.  We all know the benefits, right?  Well, green tea purifies your body and maintains vitality – and it’s GREAT for your metabolism.  Green tea accelerates your metabolism by 12%, it regulates your blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of a heart attack and various forms of cancer. It also strengthens your immunity and improves your mood.

Find the recipe below – enjoy! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre water
  • 5 green tea bags
  • 1 orange
  • A handful of fresh mint

In boiling water add 5 bags of green tea. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and leave the tea to cool. Orange cut into wedges. Put the tea in a large jar and add the orange slices and mint. Close the jar and leave overnight. The next day drink the tea. Dr. Oz recommends one cup of this drink in the mornings on empty stomach, before meals, and rest to drink at night before going to bed.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Danielle

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Baked Zucchini Boats

zucchini_boats2

Hosting a BBQ this weekend? Here is the perfect recipe to serve up! I am going to try it out for myself!  I found this recipe on “The Zucchini Diaries” website. ( http://thezucchinidiaries.blogspot.ca/ )


You’ll need:

4 large zucchinis, washed
About 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated extra fine
About 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs 
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh chopped basil
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
 
 Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make about a 1/2 inch slice vertically down the side of each zucchini, then using a melon baller, scoop out the insides of the zucchini until you’ve created about a 1/4 inch trough. 
  3. Brush the zucchini inside and out with a little olive oil, then place 4 cherry tomato halves inside each zucchini boat, sprinkle with cheese, top with the breadcrumbs, and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for roughly 25 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
  5. Top with fresh chopped basil.

Apple Oatmeal Recipe

In this healthy oatmeal recipe, cook apples into your morning oatmeal and you’ll start the day right with whole grains and a serving of fruit.

Apple Oatmeal Recipe

Makes: 4 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 crisp apples, divided
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

PREPARATION

  1. Shred 2 apples using the large holes of a box grater, leaving the core behind.
  2. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oats and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add water and the shredded apples; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the remaining 2 apples.
  4. After the oats have cooked for 10 minutes, stir in the chopped apples, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, cinnamon and salt; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and the oatmeal is quite thick, 15 to 20 minutes more. Divide the oatmeal among 4 bowls. Top each portion with 2 tablespoons yogurt and 3/4 teaspoon brown sugar.

TIPS & NOTES

  • Shopping Tip: Choose unbruised, firm apples with smooth skin. Store for up to 4 months in the refrigerator.

NUTRITION

Per serving: 207 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 46 g carbohydrates; 10 g added sugars; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 166 mg sodium; 234 mg potassium.

How healthy is your salad?

Salads are healthy right? Of course!

However, what you put in and on top of your salad predicts the out come of if it’s healthy or not.  This morning I read an article about the 7 worst salad offenders out there and thought you – my readers – would enjoy hearing about it.  So I summed up the article for you! 

Check out the worst 7 salad toppings out there:

1) Creamy Dressings
These are probably the worst dressings you can choose. Take ranch dressing, for example, one serving of two tablespoons has 140 calories — and 130 of those calories are coming from FAT. Other dressings like blue cheese, Caesar, parmesan, or chipotle all fall under this category of dressings to avoid. Not only are they loaded with fat, but they also have high levels of sodium and very little nutritional value.

Healthy Alternative: Stick to vinaigrettes — however, you need to be careful because these can also be high in salt content too.  I would recommend using a little olive oil with balsamic vinaigrette for your salads.  Now, are you still wanting, needing, can’t stop thinking about the yummy salad dressing you’re used too?  Have it – but not a lot.  Put some on the side and dip the tip of your fork into the dressing before you put it in the salad. 

2) Glazed Nuts
Nuts are a great addition to your salads – they are a perfect source of healthy fats.  But stay clear of nuts that have been kettle-cooked and glazed with sugar.  So many companies sell glazed walnuts and pecans and so many of you think they’re still okay to eat.  Stores and restaurants prepare salads to go and they include glazed walnuts and pecans sprinkled on top. that is, until they’re kettle-cooked and glazed with sugar. 

Healthy Alternative: Stick to dry-roasted nuts to save on calories. I like to add sliced almonds to my salads, but chopped pistachios, pecans, and walnuts are a good addition too. Remember to not go overboard.  An ounce will do.

3) Crunchy Tortilla Chips or Shells
Wherever Mexican food is sold, people always order something like a “Southwestern Salad” thinking that they’re making the healthier choice by not ordering tacos or other Mexican dishes. They couldn’t be more wrong! These salads are loaded with cheese, creamy dressings, and high-calorie tortilla chips — or worse — served in a tortilla bowl!! So please, just stay far away from these kinds of salads, and especially tortilla chips or shells, from now on.

Healthy Alternative: You can still order a Mexican-inspired salad, just make some modifications. Request balsamic dressing on the side instead of ranch and hold the tortilla chips and cheese, but keep the rest of the healthy goodies like black beans, corn, and tomatoes.

4) Fried Chicken or Shrimp
I always enjoy a serving of protein in my salads, and encourage you to do the same, but steer clear of anything fried. Adding anything fried to your salad just adds unnecessary calories and tons of sodium. It’s not just fried chicken I’m referring to here — this covers fried onions and fried seafood too… well really, anything fried!!  Adding these will turn your salad into one salad that would have the same amount of calories that you should consume in a day – I’m serious. Wouldn’t you rather save your calories for say… dessert? Oh please don’t make me go into healthy desserts! Haha!

Healthy Alternative: If you’re going to add some protein to your salad, choose grilled items only. Consider healthier protein options like shrimp, tuna, eggs, or a veggie burger.

5) Cheese
First let me clarify, cheese isn’t ALL bad. Daily servings of dairy products can boost your body’s fat-burning potential. Studies have shown that dairy-rich diets may help weight loss and the body’s ability to burn fat. Yet when some people add cheese to a salad, they really pile it on — and that’s why it’s on this list. But some cheeses are more nutritional than others, and there are HEALTHY ways to add them to your salad.

Healthy Alternative: Feta is a great choice for salads because it is lower in fat and calories than most cheeses.  If you really need cheese on a salad, buy the “Laughing Cow” cheese triangles and have one.  This helps with portion control.  However, in my opinion, you just don’t need the cheese!!

6) “Craisins”
Craisins, or dried cranberries, are a fruit, so that means they’re good for you, right? Well, not exactly. I know these are a popular item to add onto a salad, and many pre-prepared salads in stores like Walmart and Metro have these ingredients as a topping. But really, they have more sugar than you may realize. Craisins and raisins, are called “nature’s candy” for a reason! Though they are fat-free and relatively low calorie at 130 for a ¼ cup — they’re full of sugar — 29 grams to be exact.

Healthy Alternative: If you can’t give ’em up, I suggest counting them out and only adding 10 or so to your salad. Otherwise, why not add other seasonal fruits to sweeten up your salads? My favourite is adding a mix of diced apple with almonds!! It’s tasty – try it!

7) Croutons
Croutons are an easy way to ruin your salad by adding refined carbohydrates. Croutons from a popular brand are about 30 calories for just six pieces. Do most people put only six croutons on their salad? Not likely. These toppings can also have high sodium levels depending on how they’re prepared.

Healthy Alternative: There is no alternative – you do not need bread put on a salad, simple as that.

Hope you benefited from reading this and I hope you are enjoying your long weekend!!

Danielle

Should you eat before a workout?

MYTH: Never Eat Before a Workout

The Truth: You should always eat something before exercising so your body has enough fuel to power through your workout.

The rationale behind this widely accepted myth is that forgoing food before exercise will force your body to burn more fat during your workout. This is a big, fat lie: Starving yourself before exercising can actually be detrimental to your body. Let’s get to the bottom of this fitness myth once and for all.

You need sugar to exert energy. Your body needs a certain amount of sugar for fuel when training. When that blood sugar is not there, your body will convert your own muscle tissue into energy. A recent study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal looked at cyclists who ate before they trained versus those who fasted before they trained. The amount of fat burn was the same for both groups, but those who had trained without eating first had 10 percent of their calorie burn come from protein — including their own muscle mass. You’re trying to buildmuscle, not eat away at it!

Your body needs energy to perform at a high intensity.You know I’m always saying that I want you to work out as hard as you can for as long as you can. How can you do that if you haven’t properly fueled your body? Think about it this way: Would you drive a car without gas? Use your iPhone without charging it? Nope and nope. If you haven’t eaten anything, your workout won’t be as intense as if you’d fueled up beforehand, not to mention that you’ll likely suffer from low blood sugar, which will make you dizzy and sluggish.

You don’t need to gorge yourself; a healthy snack will do the trick. I suggest you eat something 45 minutes to an hour before training — you’ll have more energy and endurance to work harder, burn more calories, and improve your muscle tone. Aim for something with carbohydrates and protein. Here are a few quick, healthy ideas: a whey shake, low-fat yogurt with berries, or a banana or apple slices with natural almond butter.

The Bottom Line:

You should always eat something before a workout. I’m not suggesting you pig out. A small, healthy snack consisting of carbohydrates and protein will properly fuel your body for a killer workout.

Those days…

Ever have those days where it starts off GREAT and gradually as the day goes by, the greatness starts to fade?

Yeah… today’s one of those days.  I’m still truckin’..I’m unsure if it’s the rainy, cold day… But this sucks!! Ha! Ha!

We all have to get through these kind of days.  I just finished dinner, but I’m still hungry.  I downed a glass of water and I’m still hungry.  I’m not in a vegetable kind of mood today.  I stress how important it is to eat your vegetables… but I’ve only had one serving today.  I believe today is just an off day.  I’m still proud of myself that I got up this morning and went to the gym.  I’ve eaten healthy today – however, I do feel the portions were a bit larger than they should be.  But that usually happens when I workout first thing in the morning.  I prefer to actually workout in the evenings.  On the weekends, I tend to go to the gym first thing in the morning, or else sometimes the workout never happens.

My goal this coming week is to get to the gym every night.
I’m not pressuring myself to spend hours at the gym, but at least work on getting in 30 minutes of physical activity each night.  Physical activity is very important to get in daily.   It doesn’t have to be much, but aim for at least 30 minutes a day.  

I just LOVE when a friend texts me to tell me she’s getting ice cream.. damn you woman!! Now all I’m thinking about are those delicious ginger molasses cookies again. Haha

What I’m trying to get across by this blog entry is that everyone has these kind of days.  Sure, since my Nan passed away these kinda days keep happening unfortunately.  Emotions are something hard to control – however, what we can control is how we cope with these emotions.

I’m far from perfect – hense why the last three months my weight loss has been at a stand still.. BUT.. I chose not to give up!  I still went to the gym, drank my water, took my vitamins and tried to not emotionally eat.  Life is one big challenge, but we’re all going to die one day.  We need to ensure we live the best life.

Now with just saying that, a thought crossed my mind.
“If we are going to die one day … why WORRY so much if we gain a pound or two?”

I don’t have the answer for that.  I believe everyone has their own answer to that question.  I find myself asking that question to myself many days.  I ask myself “Why are you so hard on yourself when really, your opinion of yourself is the only one that matters..”

We live in a society today where appearance is a main factor on how you’re treated.
So all I can say is this, just be the best YOU you can be each day.  This way if you die tomorrow, you know you gave it your best shot.