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

10 Foods that aid in Weight Loss

Cucumbers
Although cucumbers offer only modest nutritional benefits (a bit of vitamin C, A, and some fibre), this vegetable goes a long way in bulking up a salad, and it easily makes you feel full by ingesting little calories. Cucumbers are also great for if you have a craving for a crunchy snack.  Just slice them up with the skin on instead of reaching for those chips!

Grapefruit
Grapefruit is a delicious and nutritious snack, breakfast side or salad topping. But researchers have also discovered that eating a grapefruit daily can help you lose weight.

Lentils
Lentils are packed with fibre, folate and magnesium AND they are fat free.  They can be a great part to your healthy eating routine.  You can prepare them many ways and feel satisfied minus all the calories and saturated fat that comes with eating meat.

Oats
Oats and oatmeal are high in fibre, which helps you feel full – and satisfied – longer. Plus consumption of whole grains has been shown to aid in weight loss. For the best benefits, fill up on oatmeal for breakfast – try steel-cut oats if you’ve got the time, or instant oatmeal if you prefer to eat at work (just try to pick the sugar-free kinds and add your own sweeteners).

Foods with shells
If you LOVE to snack on salty foods, foods with their natural shells on can help you slow down and savour what you’re eating while curbing the craving. For instance, unsalted pistachio nuts, walnuts in the shell, peanuts, and edamame in the pod can help you curb your cravings for saltier, unhealthier junk food. Plus, you’re not as likely to overeat if you have to work for your reward.

Apples
Apples can help you satisfy sugar cravings for less calories. Whether eaten fresh as a mid-afternoon snack in the office or baked for dessert, these nutritional powerhouses will help fill you up and keep you slim.  Try slicing up your apple and sprinkling cinnamon on top – it’s delicious!  Seriously, now I’m here at work craving it.

Eggs
What can I say about eggs?  They are very nutritious and they only have – on average – 70ish calories, 6-7grams of protein and they contain almost every single essential vitamin you need in a day.  They are affordable and part of a healthy weight loss plan.  I recommend boiling up eggs so you have hard-boiled eggs ready to go for a snack or as post workout fuel.

Almonds
All nuts are healthy and loaded with good fats and other nutrients, but almonds are the one to go for when you’re trying to lose weight. They’re lower in calories and the protein and fat content will help keep cravings at ease.

Dark chocolate
Ok, hold on…. now when I see that chocolate is healthy for me I get excited.  But, then I remember… DARK CHOCOLATE. LOL.  Now, they are not low in calories OR low in fat.. however, dark chocolate still has to major things going for it. First, believe it or not – it’s very hard to eat large quantities of real, high-quality dark chocolate as compared to its milky sibling….mmmmmmm milk chocolate; and second, it’s very high in health-promoting antioxidants. It’s no diet food, but eating a few small squares to fight off a craving of a potentially much larger scarfing of, say, a piece of chocolate cake with icing, is well worth the modest calorie intake.

Vegetable soups
One of the biggest trends in weight loss research is the concept of calorie density – the idea is that your body pays more attention to the amount of space your food takes up in your stomach than it does to the amount of calories you’re consuming. So by eating lots of foods with a low calorie density, you’ll be satisfying your hunger for less. Vegetable soups (and we’re not talking cream of broccoli) are one great option – serve them as a starter or a light meal and just watch how quickly you feel full.  However WATCH YOUR SODIUM INTAKE.  If you’re going to eat soups – drink PLENTY of lemon water.. from REAL lemons.. not the concentrated lemon juice you find in the fancy lemon containers.

Source: http://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/10_foods_that_will_help_you_lose_weight.php

Hope you all enjoyed this!

Please feel free to share!

~Danielle

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

How to get started!

How do you get started? It looks like you already have. The simple fact is that you can change your life by changing your mind. Nothing is impossible for the willing mind! We all have the power to gain control of our lives, reach our goals, and live our dreams. The challenge is locating, nurturing, and believing in your ability to do so.

You’ve worked out before, and you have some experience with eating right. But now you’re ready to take things up a notch and get the body you’ve always wanted. Here’s what you should do:

1. Clean the crap out of your cupboards.So you think you know how to eat healthfully? Let’s see…how many boxes of crackers and bags of chips do you have lying around? How often do you cook white rice or refined pasta? Processed foods contain more endocrine disruptors (Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in humans) than you can shake a stick at, and youwant them out of your life.

2. Replace it with whole foods. Fresh, whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains should be the focus of your diet.

3. Get on board with strength training. Let me guess: Whenever you’ve tried to lose weight in the past, you’ve done cardio…and more cardio, and more cardio. Cardio is great (in fact, I encourage it as “extra credit” toward weight loss), but it doesn’t help you maintain metabolism-boosting muscle and it doesn’t burn as many calories as circuit-training.

4. Know your target heart rate. To get the maximum calorie burn in the shortest possible time, I recommend exercising at a high intensity — 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.  To find out your target heart rate just visit this site:

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/healthtool-target-heart-rate-calculator

5. Keep track of what you eat. The formula for weight loss is simple: You need to burn more calories than you eat. That means you need to be aware of how many calories you put into your body so you can stay on track. I personally keep a food diary.  I record everything that goes in my mouth.  Pretty much if you eat it, record it.  I like the old fashion way, just writing it in a food journal, but I know many people who use Apps on their smart phones.  Apps such as “My Fitness Pal” and “Lose It”  Both these apps have thousands of foods that have already been added with their nutrition information.

6. Evaluate your habits. If you’ve tried to lose weight before but weren’t successful, ask yourself what was standing in your way. Are you an emotional eater? Do you take an all-or-nothing approach that sets you up for failure?  What I’ve done in the past is keep record of when you eat when NOT hungry.  I mean, if you get stressed out and find that you’re turning to food, write it down.  Write down the date/time and how you’re currently feeling.  This will help you realize how you’re feeling when you turn to food.  It’ll help evaluate if you’re actually hungry or if you’re hunger is triggered by something else.

The first thing you need to understand is how your emotions and your behaviors affect your weight. You need to commit all your mental resources toward change. Learn how to take control of negative self-image and poor self-esteem through journaling, positive affirmations, visualization, and behavior-modification techniques. It’s also important to build a support system and communicate with your family and friends so they know what you need and how best to support you. Identify temptations and “trigger foods” (foods that you have a hard time controlling) in your life so you can modify your daily routine and behavior. Next, you must learn how and what to eat. Learn how to make healthier choices and find out what the right types of foods are for your individual metabolism. Then educate yourself about calories. How many is your body burning daily? How many are in the foods you are eating? How many do you burn when you exercise? Starting to get the picture? Weight loss is simple math. A pound is 3,500 calories — so to lose a pound you will need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in. It’s “calories in” versus “calories out.”

This is where the exercise comes in. Exercise is the best way to get those “calories out” and burn fat. Get yourself acquainted with exercise. Find out the most effective ways to work out in order to burn the most calories. It’s also important to learn where your heart rate should be when doing resistance training and cardio, the proper form and purpose for each exercise you perform, and how to modify and progress your fitness routine to prevent plateau.

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!