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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To be, or not to be.. Gluten Free

Did you know that only about 1% of us need to be on a gluten free diet? The main reason is because of an autoimmune disorder called Celiac Disease.

Most people do not have to worry about gluten and SHOULD eat whole grains as part of a balanced diet.

Now I personally know many people will argue with me on this point and have many things to say about cutting out gluten. But I got my research about this topic from an article from Jillian Michaels. And I’m sorry, but she’s pretty much my Role Model and I look to her for advice (Not personally.. .ahahah I wish!!)

She states that in recent reports the gluten free market in North America was $4.2 billion!!! There are other reports out there that indicate that healthy people are spending their money on gluten free products that they don’t need.

I know when I go grocery shopping I see all these products everywhere I go. What’s gluten? Why do people try and stay away from it? Read below.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and it’s a common protein source and processed food filler. In fact, you’ll find it in many foods, medications, and everyday items — not just your bread and cookies. Other foods like cereal, soy sauce, whey products, alcoholic beverages, such as beer, and even beauty products, such as lip balms, may also have gluten in them too.

There are some people — about 1 in 100 — who suffer from an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease whose small intestines cannot process gluten properly and it causes a serious response in their digestive system. Unless you have celiac disease or are allergic to gluten, going gluten-free will not give you no additional health benefits.
 
I know there are many people out there that experience bloating, cramping, headaches or some sort of other discomfort after ingesting foods that contain gluten. 

This would be a matter of having a gluten allergy or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In this case, talk to your doctor!! This would be a case where you may want to avoid products with gluten in them!

HOWEVER, guess what? The average person will not get any additional health benefits by going Gluten Free. These products may even be less healthy unfortunately. There was a study that was done here in Canada regarding gluten free and regular grocery items. They compared 56 ordinary grocery items and gluten free products. What was the outcome? It’s crazy. The gluten free products were a whopping 242% pricier than the gluten containing versions!!

Believe it or not, gluten is NOT harmful to your health and guess what? It is not making you gain weight. I know it’s easier to think that Gluten Free products are a better alternative, but you’re wrong. (I KNOW, how dare I tell you you’re wrong..lol) Gluten is found in many whole grain foods that have a wide range of vitamins, minerals and fibre that are very important to a health diet.

People who eat 3 servings of whole grains a day are 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The best way to control your body sugar levels throughout the day and to avoid diabetes, you need to have the right mix of healthy carbs!!

Whole grains are also the vehicle for many of nature’s disease fighters, like phytochemicals (Wth is that? Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. Some are responsible for color and other organoleptic properties, such as the deep purple of blueberries and the smell of garlic.) Without these foods, we’d be prone to cancer, heart disease, and more. So when you’re cutting out gluten for no real reason, you’re losing all of the nutritional benefits found in foods with gluten.

Gluten-free foods aren’t better for your health. Don’t be fooled — gluten-free doesn’t automatically mean “low calorie” or “healthy.” In fact, gluten-free foods are not only more expensive, but full of extra calories and sugars to make up for taste and texture when alternative products are swapped. They also tend to have less fibre than their gluten-containing counterparts. Unless people are careful, a gluten-free diet can lack essential nutrients since a lot of the gluten-free products tend to be low in B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Another rule of thumb, don’t confuse “gluten free” with “low carbohydrate,” some gluten-free pastas are actually higher in carbohydrates than regular pasta.

Weight loss comes from balanced, healthy diets — gluten free or not. When you’re trying to lose weight, the key is to make conscious choices about eating whole, real foods and getting produce without pesticides, and meat without hormones and antibiotics. If you need to go gluten-free, consult your doctor or a nutritionist to determine the best eating plan for your lifestyle, but in general, select more fruits, vegetables, lean meat and more naturally gluten-free grains, like brown rice or quinoa. Also, keep in mind that some gluten-free foods can be processed in factories that also process gluten foods leading to cross contamination.

If you want to lose weight, you shouldn’t cut out an entire nutrient in your diet, such as gluten. Save money and focus on creating a calorie deficit while eating a variety of organic, nutritious foods and exercising regularly in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Hope this helped you if you have been back and forth whether or not to go gluten free!
Have a wonderful Monday!

-Danielle

Green Tea & Lemon Powerade Recipe!

Green Tea & Lemon Powerade

Green Tea is loaded with benefits for health and weight loss or weight maintenance, but to many, the taste of Green Tea is just plain terrible. So here is a recipe that will have you thinking you are drinking lemonade, yet it will provide all the extra health benefits.
Green Tea’s health benefits are largely due to the high content of flavonoids or antioxidants it contains, and it is the best food source of a group called catechins. Catechins are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and even have other disease-fighting properties. Studies have found that consuming green tea provides a reduced risk of many cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder.

If you consume Green Or Black Tea regularly, you will also benefit from a reduced risk of heart disease, because the antioxidants (in green, black, and oolong teas) help block the oxidation of LDL (Bad) cholesterol, increase HDL (Good) cholesterol while improving artery function. Researchers have also found that green tea antioxidants help increase metabolism. Drinking a cup of tea a few times a day helps our bodies to absorb antioxidants and the other healthful plant compounds, the usual amount is three cups per day. Allow tea to steep for three to five minutes because this bring out the catechins. Freshly brewed Tea is the BEST way best way to get the catechins and other flavonoids. Decaffeinated, bottled ready-to-drink tea, and instant teas have less of these compounds. Tea can prevent the absorption of iron from fruits and vegetables, so if you add lemon or drink tea between meals you can counteract this problem.

The health benefits of lemon are due to many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B, phosphorous, and antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. It helps to prevent diabetes, constipation and high blood pressure while it benefits skin care, hair care, dental care, indigestion, and is a fever reducer, along with many other health problems. Studies have even shown the fact that lemonade or lemon juice can cure kidney stones by preventing formation of crystals.

(Makes 3, 32oz Bottles)
Ingredients:
12 Organic Green Tea Bags
12 Cups Filtered Water
3/4 Cup Organic Lemon Juice
6 Tbsp. Stevia In The Raw

Directions:

Pour the filtered water into a large pot on the stove.
Tie the tea bags to the handles on the pot and bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
Once the tea is brewed, allow to cool.
Take 3 recycled 32oz Powerade bottles (or other 32oz sports bottles that have been cleaned, and place a funnel in one of them.
Pour 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice, 2 Tbsp Stevia In The Raw, and 3 3/4 Cup Brewed Green Tea into the funnel to fill the 32oz bottle.
Place the cap on the bottle and shake to mix. Repeat with the other two bottles and refrigerate to chill.
When needed, grab a bottle and go! You will be hydrated, energized and lavished with antioxidants.

Nutritional Facts: (Makes 3, 32oz Powerade Bottles)
13 Calories
0g Fat
4g Carbs
0g Protein

Merry Christmas! Try this healthy dish!

A New Twist on a Hearty Winter Dish

With the mercury dropping outside (and, in some cases, the snow piling up), a hearty meal might just be in store. This hearty dish combines lean protein with sweet (and a little tart) Granny Smith apple to make your taste buds happy without messing with your hunger-hormone ghrelin. Add some simple puréed winter squash on the side to round out this delicious dish!

 

 

Pork Chops With Apples and Thyme

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 16 ounces boneless pork loin chops, (4 4-ounce chops), 1/2 inch thick, trimmed of fat
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple (or any tart apple), peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup organic apple cider, or organic apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Preparation

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons broth and cornstarch in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chops and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add onion to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until it starts to soften and brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add apple and cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining broth, cider (or juice), mustard, thyme and the cornstarch mixture.
  5. Bring to a boil, stirring, until thickened and glossy, about 1 minute. Return the chops to the pan and heat through. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

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!