Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FOOD TIPS: What I've Figure Out Along the Way

With me posting these "tips" the day before Thanksgiving, you're probably thinking it has something to do with tips of how to control yourself on the day known for stuffing our faces, and of course being thankful.'s not.  I honestly have no health tips for Thanksgiving except to pray for self-control.  I personally will be wearing pants with elastic in them for tomorrow's Turkey Day food and festivities.  Hey, a girl's got to be comfortable!

Some, if not all, of the tips I am sharing with you are probably things you have already heard.  That's fine.  Just ignore this post.  But here are some things I've picked up along the way thanks to Heather Hagan, my mom and things I've discovered on my own.

1. Vegetables: Add spices for flavor & few calories
-I love to add lemon pepper and cumin to my vegetables when I saute them.  Sometimes I even add goat cheese or Gorgonzola to them for an extra kick!

2. Frozen Fruit & Vegetables: Eat 'em & Cook 'em!
-I know it is usually better to buy fresh, but frozen fruits and vegetables weigh less on your checkbooks and provide most of the same nutrients. The frozen vegetables can be thrown in a steamer or sauteed on the stove to make for a quick side. I am also able to get the berries that I crave so often when they are not in season. 
*I add frozen blueberries to my yogurt for breakfast & use them as a snack by themselves or add a little dry cereal.

3. Plain Greek Yogurt: Replace this with your regular yogurt
-I will admit the consistency and taste of Greek yogurt is hard to get accustomed to--especially for all of us who are so accustomed to regular yogurt.  However, the benefit of this yogurt is you can ADD and CONTROL the amount of calories and sugar you put in.  Fage Total 0% Plain Greek Yogurt contains 90 calories, 7 grams of sugar and 15 grams of protein! This leaves you room to add some things!
*For my Greek yogurt breakfast, I add 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup of Kashi Heart Healthy cereal, 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp. of Agave Nectar.

4. Agave Nectar: Use this in place of sugars and sweeteners
-I was introduced to this thanks to Heather.  I will admit, this one is a bit pricey, but it can be used in place of sugar and sweeteners.  I have only used it to sweeten my yogurt and oatmeal, but I know it can be used for a lot more things when cooking and baking!

5. When you eat a carb, pair it with a protein.
-This is another one I learned thanks to Heather! For example...I was eating a whole wheat "thin slice" (100 calories) only for a snack between breakfast and lunch.  Now I add 2 tbsp. of peanut butter for protein. 
*Some great, natural Peanut Butter I have found is Better N (100 cal./2 grams of fat per 2 tbsp.) and Peanut Butter & Co. (180 cal./14 grams of fat per 2 tbsp.) Peanut Butter & Co. has a variety of flavors as well! I personally like Cinnamon Raisin Swirl and White Chocolate Wonderful.

6. Be creative with your marinades
-I picked this up from my mother, Leigh Anne, who is the queen of creating delicious marinades for chicken and fish.  Sometimes, it is not necessary to go to the store and you can throw together whatever you have in your pantry.
*My marinade for salmon: 1/2 cup of Ken's Walnut Raspberry Vinaigrette, a few dashes of lemon juice, Worcester sauce, lemon pepper and Salmon seasoning.  Stir together, pour over salmon and add Gorgonzola cheese after marinade is poured.  (All of this came from what I had in my pantry)

I hope some of these are useful! Do you have any tips that you have discovered?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food for the Broken Hearted

I have not posted anything in about two weeks, and honestly I haven't felt much like writing--at least writing something for the public to read.  The last two weeks have been incredibly hard for me emotionally. There was an ending to a relationship, which brought a change in my life that I did not want, but knew needed to happen for the both of us.

 A broken heart and the many emotions that comes with it can reveal your addictions and your go-to crutch for handling stress.  My ultimate goal was to give it all to the Lord, however, the first thing I went to was food.  I believe that most girls who have endured heartbreaks feel entitled to binge on break up food: icrecream, chocolate, cookies, etc.  And I was one of those girls!

California Yogurt Kraze was my first stop after it happened.  I filled my cup up with macedamian nut cookie and birthday cake yogurt followed by a mound of Reese's pieces, cookie dough and cheese cake bites.  (This might sound disgusting put all together, but I promise it hit the spot) Knowing that I had an excuse to binge eat, I continued eating not necessarily all bad food, but a lot of semi-healthy food with some junk sprinkled in here and there. 

My tiramisu indulgence at La Madeleine.

At the end of the second day of what I called "eating my feelings," I allowed myself a big hunk of tiramisu from La Madeleine in Atlanta (totally worth the calories) and homemade nachos--like Mama G's does it! :) I then made up my mind that it was time to get a grip, get my will power back and put my energy into working out.  I thought I was such a strong woman who could take control of my emotions and feelings.  HA! I was so wrong...

By the week's end, I had indulged in a lot of red wine, sweets and fast food (I managed to eat Chick-fil-A AND Hardee's all within a 24-hour period). I realized that I just couldn't tell myself "you have two days to get over this" and that this was going to take time. 

I also had to figure out the healthy way to handle all that was going on in my life without going overboard one way or the other.  Believe me, it's still a work in progress! I'm trying to focus more on handing these overwhelming feelings over to God and know what I am doing now is making me a healthier person, mentally and physically.

"Consider if pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything." James 1: 2-4

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Boyfriend Layer Bounce Back

With a weekend of food and fun with my man friend, I must admit that the healthiest thing I consumed the entire weekend was a banana smushed between peanut butter, honey and two pieces of bread (it was at least wheat bread!). In one day, I consumed a Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuits and hash rounds, fried wings, hot wings, beer, potato salad and a late night breakfast of biscuits, grits and sausage links.  My only excuse is that it was a great football watching day, and it was Halloween. Yes, when I do it bad, I go all out. 

Side Note: I did deny a paid offer for a McDonald's McFlurry while in McDonald's.  I opted for fat-free yogurt from California Yogurt Kraze.  That's got to count for something!

After he left Tuesday morning, I was exhausted and bloated.  I knew my lack of exercise and healthy eating was the cause my non-existent energy level.  My initial thoughts brought me back to the place where I've been so many times: experiencing defeat and disappointment. 

That Tuesday afternoon after work, it took all I had to get myself up to the gym.  As I dressed, I could feel the tightness of my tank top around my stomach..or as I like to refer to it at times, my "food baby." I kept looking at my bed thinking about the sleep I needed.  Despite my longing for the coziness of a down comforter and a mattress that feels like heaven, something in my head kept thinking about how I would feel AFTER my work out.  I knew from experience that after a work out that I have much more energy and feel better about myself.  The "after" thought pushed me to the gym.

With my mega indulgences this past weekend, I noticed my self control could not fully recover as the week went on.  I allowed myself to sneak leftover Halloween candy throughout the day and munch around on snacks.  However, slowly but surely, I am regaining my self control, cut back on indulgences and have been working out hard. 

Even though I complained about tighter tanks and a low energy level, I must admit that my indulges with my man friend were totally worth it.  It is NO fun when you are constantly fretting about what you are putting in your body or counting calories --especially for him.  Now, I'm looking ahead and concentrating on eating healthy and working out. Maybe the next time we spend a weekend together, I'll have a little more self control. :)

We had a good time as Charlie & Maverick (Top Gun) for Halloween!
 Does anybody else know what I'm going through with the boyfriend layer?