Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza

Good morning readers!!  I found a new recipe I’m going to try! It sounds delicious!! Check it out! It’s from the Hungry Girl’s website!  I made some moderations to the recipe so the nutrition information will be a bit skewed, however when you prepare the pizza, you can easily track your calories.

Moderations:
-1oz real Shredded cheese instead of using a cheese string
-Regular dressing instead of calorie/light dressing
-Removed the “parm-style topping”

Ingredients:

1oz Shredded Cheese of your choice

1 high-fiber pita


2 oz. cooked and finely chopped skinless chicken breast

2 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce

2 tbsp. finely chopped red onion

1 tbsp. Caesar dressing

Directions:

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Lay pita on the baking sheet, and sprinkle with shredded cheese and chicken. Bake until hot and lightly browned, 8 – 10 minutes.

Let pita cool, about 10 minutes. To make the salad, mix romaine and onion in a medium-large bowl. Toss with dressing.

Top pita with salad. Grab a fork and knife, and dig in!

Makes 1 serving

 
Entire recipe: 326 calories, 9g fat, 833mg sodium, 37g carbs, 8g fiber, 3.5g sugars, 30.5g protein

Read more: Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza http://caloriecount.about.com/chicken-caesar-salad-pizza-b630472#ixzz3AHgEkJmb

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

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

Why Eating Quick, Cheap food is actually expensive

So… I was in the grocery store the other day picking up some fresh fruits and veggies.  I was next to a mother and daughter (mother older than me, and a daughter around Kyle’s age).. I heard the mother say that she would like some avocados.  Obviously the child laughed and didn’t know what she meant.  So she made her way over to the avocados and immediately said “No way! 3 for $5, not worth it.

She put the avocado back and walked away from the vegetables.  I watched her, she walked toward the aisles full of dead, boxed, canned, packaged goods.  These are the aisles where we are able to buy thousands of calories of poor-quality, nutrient-poor, factory-made, processed foods filled with sugar, fat, and salt for the same five dollars as those healthy avocados. This is the scenario millions of us struggling to feed our families face every single day.

The odd paradox is that food insecurity — not knowing where the next meal is coming from or not having enough money to adequately feed your family — leads to obesity, diabetes, and chronic disease. Examining this paradox may help us advocate for policies that make producing fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole other foods cheaper, while rethinking the almost $300 billion in government subsidies that support the production of cheap, processed food derived from corn and soy.

Anyone see the commercials by Jamie Oliver?  Well he’s a chef who’s trying to show Canadians and Americans that you CAN eat healthy – and afford it too.  He’s showing us that cooking and eating whole fresh foods at home can be cheaper, more fun and simpler than most people think.  Google it, google him, I love him.

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So I want you to ask yourself this: Have you ever made poor food choices because of cost? What is the REAL cost of this cheap food — the cost in dollars, on our health, on our environment, and even on the fraying fabric of our social and family systems?

This is what you need to remember:

  1. The true cost of unhealthy food isn’t just the price tag — in fact, the real costs are hidden.
  2. Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost more.

Sure, I know it seems cheaper to eat a burger, fries, and a pop from McDonald’s than to eat a meal of whole foods.  Especially when there’s all these value menus out there.  Of course we think it’s better to purchase a meal for $3.99, but there are healthier, cheaper options. Lets look at why the true costs of eating unhealthy food are hidden, and lets look at some ways that will help all of us save money and stop suffering by eating well for less. Poverty or financial limitations do not preclude eating well, creating health, and avoiding disease.

Let’s start by looking at how our economy and public policy are geared toward the production of cheap, unhealthy food.  
(I did some research and found this from the net)

Government Policy Supports the Production of Unhealthy Food

Unhealthy food is cheaper because our government’s policies support its production. We’re spending nearly $30 billion a year to subsidize corn and soy production. Where do those foods go? These foods go into our food supply as high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fats), that are the foundation of almost all fast food and processed foods that are “manufactured” by the food industry.

Since the 1970s — when our agricultural policies where changed to support corn and soy farmers — we’re consuming, on average, an extra 500 calories (mostly in the form of cheap, artificial high-fructose corn syrup) per person.

When you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket.

Corn and soy are also used to feed cattle for the production of meat and dairy. In fact I found that 70% of the wheat, corn, and soy farmed in this country is used to feed animals used for our food. The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people — more than the entire human population on Earth!

The Hidden Costs of Eating Poorly

We all know that bad foods are bad for your health.  Actually, when you think about it, bad foods are also bad for your bank accounts. For example, one expert has estimated that healthcare costs related to obesity are $118 billion per year. That’s nearly 12 percent of total healthcare expenditures — and more than twice that caused by smoking! Seventy-two percent of Americans are overweight and over one third are medically obese. One in three children born today will be diabetic in their lifetime and the life expectancy of our population is declining for the first time in human history.

So what’s the REAL costs of obesity?  Think about it, sure, you save $4 by buying an already prepared, processed burger by buying it from McDonalds… but think about what poor dieting can lead too.   It can lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and osteoporosis.  Here’s some facts on obesity:

  • Obese people account for a disproportionate share of health-related absences from work.
  • Obesity accounts for 7 percent of lost productivity due to sick leave and disability.
  • 7 percent of all of North Carolina’s healthcare expenditures are related to obesity.
  • Obese people visit their physicians 40 percent more than normal weight people.
  • Obese people are 2.5 times more likely to require drugs prescribed for cardiovascular and circulation disorders.
  • Liposuction is the Number 1 form of cosmetic surgery in the US, with 400,000 operations a year.
  • Over 100,000 people a year have gastric bypass surgery.

 

As these facts prove, the costs of eating fast, junk, and processed foods are often deferred until later. And that’s the key point: When you go to McDonald’s for a cheap burger and fries, you might immediately compare that lower price to whole organic foods which are more expensive in the short term. But the total cost isn’t reflected in how much you pay for your meal in the immediate moment, it’s the cumulative cost of what those decisions cost you over a lifetime.

For example, when you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket. There are other non-economic costs of eating poorly as well. You reduce your ability to enjoy life in the moment due to increased fatigue, low-grade health complaints, obesity, depression and more.

The biggest advantage of eating well now is not just preventing disease and costs later, but simply enjoying each day to its fullest. You can make that happen. Eating well doesn’t have to cost more.

So, to sum up my blog, it’s just known that eating well is not just good for your body, it’s good for your wallet, too! Here are some ideas to get you started.

Four Tips to Start Eating Healthy for Less Today

  1. Listen to Gandhi. Yes, Gandhi! He said that we should never mistake what is habitual for what is natural. Case in point: Some Chinese are very poor and yet they eat extremely well — small amounts of animal protein, with an abundance of vegetables.
  2. Be willing to learn. We have to learn new ways of shopping and eating, new ways of ordering our priorities around our health and nutrition that supports our well-being, even if it is hard at the beginning.
  3. Do your research. There are ways to find cheaper sources of produce, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean animal protein. You just need to seek them out. It doesn’t all have to be organic. Simply switching from processed foods to whole foods is a HUGE step in the right direction.
  4. Make an effort. Eating healthy does take more planning. It may require you to find new places to hunt and gather for your family. You might have to reorder your priorities regarding where you spend your money and your time so that you can make healthier eating choices.

Remember, eating healthy foods without spending a lot is possible-and you can do it.

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!