Apple Nachos

Autumn is upon us and it’s my FAVOURITE time of the year.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE apple picking with my family.
I was browsing the internet to find some delicious snack recipes for my clients, and I found this one that I thought maybe you all would enjoy.

It’s a healthy spin on Nachos.  It’s perfect as well if you’re following a Paleo lifestyle.
Check it out below!
I’m definitely going to try it out.  I found this on the Paleo Grubs website.

nachos

Ingredients

• Apples
• Fresh lemon juice
• Almond butter
• Chocolate chips
• Unsweetened shredded coconut
• Sliced almonds

Instructions

1. Slice apples and toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl
2. Arrange the apples in a plate and drizzle with almond butter. You can use a pastry/piping bag or a ziploc bag to drizzle the almond butter.
3. Sprinkle with shredded coconut, chocolate chips and sliced almonds

Enjoy!! I know I will!

Danielle

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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

What exactly are processed foods?

Processed foods are a major contributor to weight gain, and they can harm your health in many ways, which is why it is imperative that you know how to spot them and avoid them.

Processed food is anything that has been altered from its natural state. It can be fruit that has been canned and blasted with chemical preservatives to make it last longer; it can be dehydrated fruits or vegetables, canned soda, or oils that have been chemically altered (hydrogenated) to increase their shelf life and enhance their flavor. It’s also those pesky refined grains. Regardless of how they are used, most of the time these processed foods have been stripped of a large part of their true nutritional content. Some processed foods, however — like frozen or prechopped veggies — can be a godsend, saving us time when cooking. They may not be as ideal as food bought in season from a local farmers’ market, but I’m a realist, and whole processed foods help us walk the right path to healthier lives.

The bad processed foods are those that are made with refined grains, vegetable oils, and added sugar. The thing about processed foods is that they can be harmful in many different ways. For example, you might think you’re eating healthy by having a salad with bottled fat-free ranch dressing, and you’d never even think about the fact that the dressing contains chemical flavor enhancers, such as MSG. Nonorganic processed meats often contain sodium nitrate and nitrite, which may contribute to colon cancer and metabolic syndrome. But you probably don’t think about that as you patiently wait for your number to be called at the deli counter. Are you starting to see the big picture?

The reality is, it’s a lot easier to talk about avoiding processed foods than to actually avoid them! Look at it positively: Eating more whole foods means eating the things we were meant to eat in the first place — things that have a real life and have a “mother.” We should be eating fresh fruits, vegetables, organic lean meats, organic dairy, and whole grains. All that other stuff is full of empty calories that will do nothing but hinder our ability to reach a state of maximum health and wellness.

If you shop at an all-organic market or food co-op, you’re already taking a step in the right direction; however, you still need to look out for processed foods. Check the labels on all the foods you buy. If you see any ingredients that look questionable, don’t buy the food! If you see an unpronounceable list of ingredients that look like gibberish, put the item back on the shelf! Go with foods that are truly natural and contain minimal ingredients. More specifically, don’t buy anything containing:

  • Anything not 100 percent whole wheat
  • Trans fats or hydrogenated oils
  • Corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup
  • A chemical
  • MSG
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Sodium nitrate or nitrite
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Potassium benzoate

Tips to Survive the Cold & Flu Season

Yesterday unfortunately, I spent the majority of my day in bed.  I must have come down with something because I had the sweats and the chills.  I was vomiting and had horrible stomach pains and an absolute horrible migraine.  It was not fun at all.

I knew something was going on Friday because I barely ate – and I love food,  Says a previous fat girl. LOL.
Man oh man.  No, I have never gotten a flu shot and never had the flu.  That was the closest to the flu I’ve gotten in years.  But man did I feel horrible.

So I feel this is the perfect time to talk about different ways you can help prevent colds and flu in our transition from Fall to Wintertime.

The influenza virus causes a crazy 32 million missed school days and 100 million missed days of work. Symptoms of the flu are often hard to distinguish from those of a common cold; coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fatigue, general aches, fever and stomach complaints like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are all typical of the flu. And while the flu shot and antiviral drugs may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of influenza, their abilities are limited.

Here are five different ways I have for you to survive this winter’s cold and flu season!!

1. Take Your Vitamins

Both vitamin D3 and vitamin A are powerful players against infections like viruses and bacteria. A Vitamin D3 supplement in children decreased the rate of influenza infection by 50% which is far better than the effects of vaccines or antiviral drugs. Research released in 2011 showed that vitamin A is necessary for many different immune responses to both bacteria and viruses. Vitamin A was shown to inhibit the replication of the measles virus, demonstrating its powerful anti-viral ability.

Winter is the perfect time to add more vitamin A to our diets.  You can easily add more Vitamin A to your diet by eating these foods: sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens and butternut squash. As for vitamin D3, it’s a fat soluble vitamin that can accumulate over time, so you want to be sure to have the right age appropriate dose for you.

2. Consider Supplements

Recent studies demonstrate that elderberry extract has immune-modulating and antioxidant properties that offset the activity of viruses so they can no longer enter the cell and replicate. The berries also contain vitamins A and C, and the flavonoids quercetin, anthocyanin and rutin, all of which boost immune function. Elderberry comes in a great tasting liquid syrup form.  This helps people like me who HATES taking cough syrup because of it’s nasty taste LOL.

Probiotics have also been repeatedly shown to help prevent infection and decrease the duration and severity of symptoms during the cold or flu.  I personally take probiotics each day.  Because of working in Health and Wellness, I’ve personally seen a difference in those clients who took a probiotic and those who didn’t.  I seen those clients who were taking a probiotic maintain a healthier immune system over those clients who weren’t taking a probiotic supplement.  So I truly believe that every one should insure they include Probiotics into their daily lives.

Another great product to take is a Siberian Ginseng supplement.  I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE taking this product.  This type of ginseng is also very beneficial to the circulatory system. It helps maintain healthy blood circulation, distributing oxygen and other important nutrients efficiently to the body and brain.

This herb is a powerful immune system booster. Many people who take it regularly seldom get sick. It can help the body fight off illnesses like the common cold, flu and others. Without a strong immune system, there is little chance for good health. That’s why taking Siberian Ginseng does such a great job at keeping people healthy. It would be worth taking it for this benefit alone.

Siberian Ginseng is also very popular with people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other forms of exhaustion. It has the ability to relieve tiredness of the mind and body. This isn’t something that happens overnight. This herb should be taken every day, as the effects will increase over time.  So go to your local drug store and pick some up!! It’s not that expensive at all!

3. Get Enough Rest

We all know.  We have all heard this before.  Ensure you get the proper amount of sleep that your body needs.  I know we’re all busy, I know we have reasons we need to stay up late at nights.  But when it boils down to it… get your REST!  Stress is a part of our every day lifestyles.  Unfortunately, excessive stress can decrease our immune function, and make it easier for us to come down with an infection.  Adults need an average of 7 to 10 hours of sleep nightly while children, depending on their age, need anywhere from 9 to 14 hours of sleep each night to rejuvenate for the next day. Not getting enough sleep lowers the body’s defenses needed for fighting infections.

4. Eat Healthy

Our bodies require many essential nutrients to function properly. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps ensure you and your little one are getting all the vitamins and minerals that are essential to a healthy immune system.

Studies have shown that eating a sugary snack or meal can depress the immune system for several hours, creating a window of time during which it is easier to get the flu. Avoiding excessive sugar can keep the immune system working at the level needed to fend off infections.

5. Wash Up!!!

Washing your hands is one of the best ways for you to limit exposure to the germs that spread colds and flu.  Frequent hand washing is recommended. Remember, antibacterial soaps are no more effective at killing germs than soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer. In fact, antibacterial soaps may contribute to the bacteria’s resistance to antimicrobial agents in the soap, making it harder to treat the germs in the future.

Here’s to a healthy, happy wintertime!
Snuggle up and be warm!

15 of the WORST “Diet Tips”

Came across this article on the MSN website.  Found it pretty interesting, thought I’d share.

Here are 15 of the worst diet tips you can believe:

1. Fat makes you fat!!: Fats in chips, cookies, and greasy foods can increase cholesterol and your risk for certain diseases. But good fats, like nuts, avocados, and salmon, protect your heart and support your overall health

2. Stop snacking to lose weight. Eating in small, frequent amounts is a great way to curb hunger, control portion sizes, and make better nutritional choices, says Mike Clancy, CDN, a personal trainer at David Barton’s Gym in New York City. ‘Smarter snacks like nuts, fruits, and yogurt will keep your energy levels high throughout the day.’

3. A calorie is a calorie—and you should count them. ‘Not all calories are the same,’ says Clancy. ‘The type of calories, the timing of the calories, and the quality of the calories can significantly alter the effect of the calories on the body,’ he says. ‘Food creates reactions within our bodies and the type of food you eat is an important component in diets.’

For example, 50 calories of an apple will cause a different internal reaction than 50 calories of cheesecake, says Clancy. ‘The quality of the calories is also important because the chemicals, hormones, and general byproducts that are found within processed food effects the absorption of real nutrients.’ Quality calories are nutrient dense, like spinach. Calories that don’t contain any nutrients—also known as ’empty’ calories—are like the ones found in French fries.

Bottom line: Calories are important for understanding portion control, but they’re not the only factor in good nutrition, says Clancy.

4. Load up on protein.

Why that’s BS: Sorry, caveman lovers: eating lots of protein is not the key to healthy weight loss. Why? The body needs three macronutrients: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat, says Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and author of the forthcoming The One One One Diet (published by Rodale, which also publishes Prevention), and focusing exclusively on protein for weight loss makes no sense. ‘You not only deprive your body of fibre and other antioxidants found in healthy carbohydrates—whole grains, fruits, and veggies—but you also run the risk of eating too much fat in your diet which can lead to high cholesterol and triglycerides.”

5. You burn more calories working out on an empty stomach.

Why that’s BS: Working out with or without food in your stomach doesn’t affect calorie burn—but skipping meals before sweat sessions may result in muscle loss, finds a study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal. And before you settle for a sports drink, know this: While a quick sip of sugar energizes your muscles, the drink’s other artificial additives can be harmful to your health, says Sanda Moldovan, DDS, MS, CNS, a diplomat of the American Academy of Periodontology.

Instead, go for naturally sweet fruit, like bananas, peaches, and mangos before your sweat session. Or try an ounce of dark chocolate for the same caffeine fix you get from a half cup of coffee. ‘Chocolate also contains feel-good substances, called neurotransmitters, which are the same release during a ‘runner’s high,’ ‘ says Moldova

6. Eat every 2 hours to rev your metabolism.

Why that’s BS: Going four or five (or even eight!) hours between normally-sized meals will not make your metabolism slow down, says Monica Reinagel, MS, a nutritionist based in Baltimore. ‘Eating more frequently may help stave off hunger, which can help you fight temptation. But if you want to do this, you have to be careful to keep your meals and snacks really small,’ she says. ‘Otherwise, eating every 2 hours can simply lead to taking in too many calories over the course of the day.’

7. Swear off forbidden foods.

Why that’s BS: ‘We tend to be in ‘all or nothing’ mode when we diet and never seem to find a middle ground,’ says Batayneh. ‘You have to realize that you can’t have pizza, French fries, and chocolate cake all in the same day, but—with careful planning—you can enjoy these foods when they are presented to you. Just don’t go for seconds and share if you can.’ In fact, research shows that moderately indulging in ‘forbidden foods’ is what keeps people from bingeing on the stuff.

8. Drink your fruits and veggies.

Why that’s BS: While shoving five servings of fruits and vegetables into a juicer seems like a simple and efficient way to get the daily recommended amounts, it comes at a cost, says Batayneh. ‘Unfortunately, juicing fruits and vegetables removes one of their most valuable components: fibre. Found in the pulp, skin and seeds, fibre’s list of benefits ranges from filling you up to maintaining stable blood sugar levels.’ If you’re juicing more sweet stuff (fruit and carrots) than green stuff you’re also going to seriously spike your sugar. (Some juicers allow you to keep in the pulp, so that’s another option.)

9. Eat as few calories as possible.

Why that’s BS: ‘Ugh, awful tip,’ says Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD, founder of Inspired Wellness Solutions, LLC. ‘When you cut your calories too low, your body acts as if it’s going into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down.’ But a reasonable goal, adds Carroll, is to cut approximately 500 calories each day through diet and exercise, which will lead to a healthy rate of weight loss of one pound per week

10. Say no to nuts.

Why that’s BS: Yes, nuts are calorie dense, but that doesn’t mean they can’t—or shouldn’t—easily be incorporated into a healthy diet when eaten in proper portions, says Carroll. A 2011 study in the Journal of The American College of Nutrition backs this up, with researchers finding that nut consumers, especially tree-nut consumers (think almonds, pecans and pistachios) had a lower BMI and smaller waist circumference compared to non-consumers.

Your move: remove a less nutrient-dense food from your meal plan and incorporate heart-healthy nuts instead.

11. Schedule regular detoxes.

Why that’s BS: ‘Your digestive system, kidneys, and liver are all actually fairly amazing at ‘detoxing’ your body on a regular basis,’ says Carroll. ‘There’s no need for special cleanses or juices.”

12. Eschew fatty egg yolks.

Why that’s BS: Let’s crack this case for good: A study from the University of Connecticut found that eating dietary cholesterol through egg yolks can actually boost a person’s HDL, or ‘good,’ cholesterol. ‘Compared to egg whites, which offer nothing more than protein, the egg yolk contains 100% of the carotenoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, E, D, and K,’ says Batayneh. ‘They also contain choline, which boosts brain and liver health, as well as reduces inflammation.’

In a way, eggs are the perfect food, says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, manager of wellness nutrition services for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. ‘Enjoying them in moderation—less than 4 to 6 per week—is a perfectly healthy option.’

13. Your burn more calories eating your food raw.

Why that’s BS: ‘Many studies show that cooking method—heating, grilling, and microwaving, etc—makes a nutritional difference,’ says Kirkpatrick. ‘So while some food may be best eaten raw, that’s not the case for all foods.’

Oh, and if the whole myth about ‘negative calories’ (you know, the dubious idea that just the act of eating certain foods burns more calories then you actually take in from those foods) draws you to raw foods, think again. ‘Some foods do require more energy to digest than others, but to live on these so called ‘negative calorie foods’ results in unsustainable weight loss and can also slow your metabolism down, as well as break down muscle,’ says Batayneh

14. Too much sugary fruit makes you fat.

Why that’s BS: The sugar in fruit is not what makes you fat, since it’s unprocessed sugar found in its most natural state, says Psota. ‘Also, cutting fruit out of your diet is a poor choice because of all the fibre that you would be missing. Fibre keeps you full and the nutrients in the fruit nourish your body, which far outweighs the concern of natural sugar that you are consuming when eating, say, an apple.’

15. Chew mint gum to eat less.

Why that’s BS: Not to burst your bubble, but the lingering taste of mint can actually reduce the palatability of healthy food, finds researchers from the University of Buffalo. That means that when you spit the gum out and go for a snack, that candy bar’s likely to look—and taste—a lot more appealing than a carrot.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!!
What a beautiful morning it is!

Woke up this morning feeling grateful and inspired.  Hit up the gym and had a great cardio workout.
Felt amazing at the gym this morning.  I’m not too sure if it’s “The Mondays” or what…. What I mean by “The Mondays” is that sometimes people find it easier to begin new things on a Monday.

That’s what I did.  I’ve started from scratch again.  Back to planning my meals, staying positive, counting my calories in and out.  Making sure I get all my veggies.  Cutting back on the starches and fruit — personal choice.  ALL food groups are important to incorporate into your daily diets.

Did a great cardio workout today.  30 minutes on the Ellipitcal followed by a 5 minute cool down on the treadmill.  Tomorrow going to incorporate weights.  I have a book that has strength training exercises from Bob Harper.  So excited to get to my goals and help my friends/family reach their goals on the way!!

The last couple of months have been quite rough on me.  I suffered from major depression and was not myself at all.  Not going to go into details.. but I was in a really dark period of time.  Nothing seemed to help.  Got placed on medications.. which I’m trying to ween myself off of — at doctors discretion of course.  Going to be visiting a Psychiatrist to help.  I’m getting myself through this.

The worlds most natural remedy for depression is healthy food choices and exercise and creating a positive day for yourself.
I wake up now and say a little prayer and plan on going to bed doing the same thing.  I have two guardian angels up there for me.. both rooting me on to my goals.  Both know how great I can do (AND DID).. 

So like I said, its time to get back at it.  
I’m hoping this positive change inspires others to do so as well.

I want to be healthy to be around for my son and family for as long as I can be.  

So here’s to the first day of the rest of my healthy life.
Lets do this altogether.

This blog will include inspiration, motivation, recipes and sometimes even my venting..lol.

Stay tuned for daily updates and articles!
Thank you all.  Better get busy on these meal plans!