Kale Chips

kale 3Since spring break I am pretty much out of cheat meals for a long time! The perfect snack that is the only thing that sounds good to me sometimes is chips. Last week I ate a whole bag of Cheetos (healthy ones!) and that was where I drew the line. I am so thankful that found this alternative to these unhealthy snacks. Kale has a ton of health benefits and makes a great side dish for almost anything!

Kale chips are one of the easiest recipes I have ever made and is so fast! The salty crunch satisfies the cravings of chips without the guilt trip. The Simple Dietitian is where I found this super easy and healthy recipe.

Ingredients: 

1/2 a bunch of kale

Olive oil

Sea salt

Directions: kale 1

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Break off kale into bite size pieces and place onto a cookie sheet
  • Drizzle olive oil over each piece
  • Sprinkle sea salt over the whole cookie sheet
  • Put in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until the edges are brown

Comment below and let me know if this crunchy snack satisfied your chip cravings!

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Fail To Plan; Plan To Fail

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The biggest change of transitioning to a healthy lifestyle is meal planning. This is the main thing I struggle with. From my experience, convenience and quickness was always the thing that would make my choice between healthy food and fast food hard. Especially for everyone who is busy (which we all are) the last thing I want to do is stand in the kitchen for hours trying to figure out what I am going to cook, wait for it to cook and try and figure out how to make it! By that point I would just rather go to bed hungry because I am exhausted or just go pick something up! 

Everyone I talk to including myself has said that it is not necessarily eating healthy foods, it is making them! We either struggle with time, not knowing how to cook, or both! I am totally not a cook and am finding that I never have enough time to make meals. I thought about it for a while and thought if I had someone cooking for me and always could come home to a healthy meal I could put in the microwave I would hardly ever cheat and would feel so relieved! 

For the longest time, I wondered how people ate healthy and if I was the only one struggling with this. Then, I heard some of the best advice that gave me confidence and motivation. Fail to plan; plan to fail. Planning is what being healthy is all about. I am slowly realizing this and finding recipes that can be made for the week easily has really helped! The crock pot has become my new best friend. You can throw anything in there and it makes it taste a million times better! I get most of my crock pot recipes from The PaleoPot and they have been a life saver! 

I know that you are not always going to be able to plan because life happens between traveling and figuring out what to make, but just try it for a couple of days and see how well it works for you! The Huffington Post Canada has really helped me figure out what steps to take towards meal planning without being overwhelmed. By planning meals for a week, you can have one less thing to worry about that can have a positive impact on your mood! 

Comment below and please give me your input on how you make meal planning easier! 

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The Glycemic Index

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Knowing how many calories you put in your body is important, but if you are eating cookies all day long you are still not going to accomplish the figure you are looking for. It also is not only about what you eat; if you are eating 3,000 calories a day of healthy food you are still going to gain weight. The glycemic index takes into account exactly which healthy foods you should be eating. Basically, the GI is a carbohydrate scale which ranks different foods based on how much they raise your blood sugar levels. You want to try and stick with low glycemic foods as much as possible. The less fluctuation you have in blood sugar levels the better. When you eat a starchy carbohydrate or sugary food, this stimulates and insulin release which makes your blood sugar spike then fall soon after which is the “crash” feeling.

“Low GI diets have been shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2). They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance” (“University of Sydney”). Paying attention to what foods you put in your body and how it breaks them down is just as important as counting the calories of each one. It actually makes counting the calories less stressful because once you get a good idea of how much you should eat in a day you don’t really have to worry about the calories because you are eating healthy foods!

Having a cheat day/meal is a necessity and if you don’t do it, you will go crazy! When I have a craving for something sweet, especially before bed, half an apple and natural peanut butter usually does the trick! Finding alternatives to sugar is really easy if you look in the right spots. My favorite is Stevia In The Raw that comes in a box, but I have recently discovered it in liquid form with vanilla flavoring! You can put it in anything. I found it at Raleys and Whole Foods.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts on the benefits of the glycemic index!

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It Doesn’t Get Easier; You Only Get Better

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After talking to a good friend of mine last night about getting healthy and where it starts took me back to the beginning of my journey which really wasn’t too long ago. I realized we lacked motivation in the same areas, but wanted so badly to change. Hopefully some of these pointers that changed my life will give you the inspiration and direction you need to get started and most importantly stick with it! After so many failed attempts at this diet fad, pill, workout, etc. I was so sick of trying and failing and the place I desperately needed help was a guideline; some sort of direction that helped me stay on track this time and make those goals I’ve continuously given up on. Each time I always said, “Where would I be now if I had just stuck with those small changes”?

Like I have mentioned before, the South Beach diet has been the only thing that was able to help me understand, stick with and motivate me towards my goals. Going from eating whatever you want and being able to lay around after a busy day at work and school the last thing you want to do is fix dinner and work out! I get it. I was the worst at this. I could always find an excuse not to change and tell myself I wasn’t that bad, but then why did those thoughts always linger about getting shape? This uphill battle of a lifestyle change is a mental one completely. The challenge doesn’t get easier; you only get better. Once you decide you want to change and do it you will. It won’t be easy and you won’t be perfect, but that is step one. After you accomplish this goal, the rest will guide you along the way.

To begin your lifestyle change you will need a realistic diet plan that works for you and a workout plan that works for you. This may be a trial and error, which is why I recommend the South Beach diet. I recommend this mainly because it is steady. You won’t want to kill yourself because you can’t have those cravings and it is fun! Starting out, I would recommend going on phase two instead of phase one because it is a small step. Changing your lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight- it happens one small choice at a time. Then, once you have made some progress with your diet challenge yourself to phase one for two weeks. Check out Diana Mendonca’s blog for some healthy snacks!

If you are like me you will want to make your work out as mentally easy as possible. I have no idea what to do at the gym and if I weren’t doing FAST I probably would have given up. I would recommend taking classes, P90X, or paying for some sort of boot camp/personal training. I know it can get pricey, but do your research and don’t overpay! Be patient and love yourself in the meantime and all of your hard work will pay off!

Comment below and tell me what workouts and diet plan you use to be a better you!

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Best Healthy Brownies Ever!

ImageSo these brownies are a must-have recipe in the kitchen! Clearly I was so excited about them I couldn’t take a picture before eating half of the pan. After spring break, I got back on phase one of the South Beach diet which cuts out starchy carbs and sugars. I was craving something chocolate so bad, but didn’t want to be too bad and binge. I bought coconut flour at Whole Foods not too long ago and while looking in my cabinet I pulled that out to see if it had any recipe suggestions.

This recipe is super easy and for the first time I had all of the ingredients already because there aren’t too many. The most important ingredients that made this recipe healthier than regular brownies are the coconut flour and coconut palm sugar which can be found at either Whole Foods or certain Raleys. They have a little bit of a healthy taste, but they were really good without the guilty feeling after! Also cutting the brownies into smaller bites helps you not eat as much. I put a little bit of fat free/sugar free whipped cream on top and it made the perfect snack that got rid of my cravings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of Healthy butter
  • ½ cup Cocoa powder- no sugar
  • 6 eggs or liquid egg whites
  • 1 cup of Coconut palm sugar
  • ½ tsp of Vanilla
  • ½ cup of Coconut flour
  • 1 cup of Dark chocolate no sugar chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium sauce pan over LOW heat blend the butter and cocoa powder. This step is tricky so make sure you melt the butter over low heat first then add the cocoa powder so it doesn’t clump up. (If it clumps up the recipe still turns out fine!)
  • Remove the butter and cocoa powder and let cool.
  • In a separate bowl add all of the other ingredients except the coconut flour. Then blend the cocoa mixture into the bowl.
  • Add the coconut flour and stir until the batter is not clumpy anymore. Add the chocolate chips in if you want them.
  • Bake in a pre-greased 8×8 pan. Bake for about 30-35 minutes.

Comment below and tell me if you liked these brownies as much as I did!

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Motivation

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Lately I have been feeling out of my routine since spring break and I can’t seem to shake the extra weight I have been wanting to lose. Like I stated in some of my previous blog posts I sometimes get stuck and am not sure where to go from there and this has definitely taken place! The motivation just is not there sometimes when I do not feel like I am seeing results and this is when I need to take a step back and remember why I am doing this; to be HEALTHY and know that it takes time!

I got thrown off track by switching up my diet plans from the South Beach diet to a diet plan I had customized for me through FAST. Mentally I was not there at all for the new diet plan and I was constantly stressed out, did not understand it because I thought there were way too many carbs and calories, and then spring break happened and I gave up. This leads me to my next point: you absolutely have to be there mentally or else this lifestyle change will not happen! This past time, I went to bodybuilding.com for some inspiration and different ways to get back on track.

When I am feeling discouraged like this there are a couple things I do.

  • Take a step back and breathe and remember that being stressed is not healthy and if I am stressed, I am not doing the right thing.
  • Remember it takes time. It did not take a couple of months to put the weight I have on and it will not take the long to get it off.
  • Remember I am doing it to get healthy! Results will come but focusing on the positive and how far I have come by making the right choices day by day in the short run will help me reach the goal in the long run.
  • Stop looking at the scale and pay attention to inches! This is a hard one for me because when I started my lifestyle change and the South Beach diet, pounds dropping was my first motivator and what kept me being positive.
  • Look on Pinterest and find those motivating pictures and quotes that really put me back in check.

I hope this helps some of you who get a little discouraged sometimes and need a little boost! Comment below and tell me what you do to motivate yourself when you are feeling down!

 

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Curry Chicken

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Curry chicken is an awesome chicken recipe with the healthiest ingredients. It keeps well for leftovers when you’re in a hurry too! Personally I like to put it over wild black rice from Trader Joe’s. This way, you get your even balance of protein and carbs while adding a healthy side of fats to go along with it!

I get a little tired of eating chicken the same every day; seasoned, teriyaki, etc. so this recipe is an awesome alternative that is easy to make! I use the big bag of frozen chicken thighs from Costco because it is not fatty (I’m a weirdo about chicken). You can even double the recipe and freeze the leftovers if you’re a busy person like me! I really like this recipe with a blog post I previously wrote, sweet potato hash.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts or I use 4-5 chicken thighs from Costco
  • 1 med onion
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 5 gloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  • Chop the chicken into bite size pieces and brown in pan with olive oil. Set the chicken aside in separate bowl.
  • Combine chopped onion and garlic to the pan that was used to cook the chicken. Let simmer until onion is soft. Add coconut milk, broth, curry powder and chicken and mix well. Cover and let simmer on med low for about 20 – 30 minutes.

I usually make the chicken first so it can be cooking while I make the sweet potato hash. Enjoy!

Comment below and let me know how you liked the two recipes together!

 

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