Tricks of the Trade…or shall I say TREATS!!!

Hi All,
If you are human, then there is no stopping those cravings for sweets! Don’t deprive yourself of what the good lord gave us, alter the ingredients a bit so that your treats have more nutritional benefits

As a lady, I of course love chocolate and crave some from time to time (every day, LOL!). So I make sure to include it in some of my meals. But, it must be high quality and “healthy” chocolate. RAW CACAO powder is absolutely fabulous to add to my protein shakes or fruit smoothies that I make daily. I get my chocolate fix without feeling guilty and my body reaps the benefits of this wonderful ingredient. Click Here to learn benefits of Raw Cacao Powder. I also drink Shakeology (Chocolate) for post workout or as a meal replacement when I’m in a rush, you can also blend it with frozen strawberries and ice and make a strawberry chocolate ice cream healthy treat! Check out Shakeology by clicking here! 

Coconut Oil or flour is an amazing ingredient to add to your daily consumption. It does have saturated fat but is a medium chain fatty acid and is metabolized by your liver differently, so it ends up being good for you (similar to how Olive Oil is good for you). You can use coconut for cooking, take a tablespoon for energy, great for your hair and skin, aids in weight loss, etc. Click here for the benefits of Coconut.

My favorite herbs, spices & natural flavors to jazz things up in the kitchen are:

  • Cinnamon – in smoothies, cook in steamed veggies and chicken, in oatmeal/couscous/quinoa, dash on salad
  • Basil & Scallions – chop fresh and sprinkle atop salads, veggies, omelettes
  • Cilantro – great blended in green smoothies and added to chicken
  • Rosemary & Thyme – cook with chicken and salmon
  • Cayenne pepper – use just a dash or two in veggies or scrambled eggs
  • Mint – blend in smoothies
  • Balsamic vinegar – dash on top of salad with spices for home-made dressing
  • Lime & Lemon – squeeze fresh juice on top salads, on cooked chicken and veggies, in water
  • Orange – Fresh squeezed juice and zest on top chicken while grilling/cooking it for a zing

Now for a great recipe I got from the World Wide Web…. Here is a great way to have your cake and eat it too! Pancakes that is!

Protein Pancakes

Ingredients (makes 5 pancakes)

9 medium egg whites
1 tub of natural fat free cottage cheese (8-9 oz.)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey (or unrefined sugar, only if you must)
1 cup of oats

Cooking spray


Instructions

1) Combine egg whites, cottage cheese, sugar/honey, cinnamon and oats in a bowl and blend until smooth.

2) Now use a small omelet pan and spray with a cooking spray. On a medium heat pour in mixture until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.

Wait until small bubbles appear on top and then flip the pancake over and cook for another 2 minutes. Place cooked pancakes on a plate and cover w/another plate to keep heat in and keep cooked cakes warm while you finish cooking all pancakes.

Once you have all the pancakes cooked, you can top with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a side serving of your favorite fruit, apple/banana goes really well.

Women eat 2 of these pancakes as a meal. Men eat 3 as a meal.

Enjoy!
Nat

Cheers to Big Thighs, Butts & Bellies…or the opposite!

Hi Gang!
St.Patty’s day is this weekend and I know that some of you will be engaging in ‘drink fests’, so in hopes of ruining your fun 🙂 I thought I’d post about calories in alcoholic beverages! And for those of us who drink alcoholic beverages, our intake of alcohol usually increases during the holidays! There are more holiday parties and family gatherings and opportunities for drinking when there usually wouldn’t be. Guess what, a few extra drinks here and there adds up! Top o’ da mornin’ to ya!

Just how much extra am I depositing into my caloric bank, Natalie? I hate to tell you but some drinks may pack on an extra 1000 (that’s right, one thousand) calories with as little as 3 drinks….

Now, for my RawFitnessTV readers who are working hard to lose weight, these extra calories can be detrimental to your weight loss efforts. So I wanted to educate you all about the caloric content in popular alcoholic drinks so that you can make the right choices! Below are a few misconceptions people have when it comes to drinking alcoholic beverages.

“Vodka, Rum, Gin (Liquor) drinks are low calorie”. WRONG! Did you know that one measly shot of vodka is on average 85-95 calories, and the flavored vodkas are 100-160 calories per shot! Well, even if you get a diet whatever and vodka…it is probably going to cost you about 170-320 calories…and if you do a cranberry and vodka, add on the caloric content of the cranberry juice, you get the point. Here is a link for caloric content of some popular alcohols: Calories in Alcohols/Liquors

“I’m okay because I’m drinking red wine…it’s healthy for you…only 60 calories or something…” WRONG!
Yes, red wine has good properties, but in MODERATION. Opt for Dry Red or White Wine to hit 75-85 calories per approximately 3.8 ounces (not your average pour, more calories when you have a full glass of wine). The average pour is about 130-150 calories per drink…
Here is a link for caloric content of wines: Calories in Wines

“Margaritas, Martinis, Oh My”
…need I say more. Lots of sugar = lots of calories…your average Margarita costs you about 450 calories….oh so tasty martinis are around 175-200+…not good!

“Beer is no good”…Wrong and Right. Look, I’m not going to tell you that drinking beer is all fine and dandy but when it comes down to it, you can get a light beer for low cal, like 80 calories. This adds up of course, but the good thing about beer is that it comes in a bottle or a can and you can measure exactly how much you have been consuming. When you get a mixed drink or wine, the size/ounces/amount of your drink vary and you never are quite sure the caloric content of your drink. At least with beer you can be, this is the only reason why I give beer some props…so grab a Heineken Light and throw on your beer goggles!

Overall, just watch the number of alcoholic drinks you have. Drink a glass of water in between drinks. Avoid high sugar drinks with lots of different ingredients. Realize that even if you have diet soda (which I never suggest anyone drink) the liquor in your drink adds a hefty number of calories.

Don’t take part in the ‘Irish Yoga’ and work on melting away those excess fat pounds by doing a little Irish Jig and watching what your caloric and sugar content is in your drinks at St.Patty’s day celebrations;).

To Your Health and Happiness!!
St. Patty’s Day Party Pooper Nat 😉

Soy & Estrogen & Weight Gain…Part 2

Please Read These Articles!

Take a few moments of your day to quickly read these short articles. I have been doing some research about estrogen levels and health problems including weight loss and thyroid problems and came across this very important information…it could save your life!

“Environmental Estrogens”:
http://www.energeticnutrition.com/vitalzym/xeno_phyto_estrogens.html

“PhytoEstrogen and Its Food Sources”:
www.dietaryfiberfood.com/phytoestrogen.php
“Estrogen Foods”:
http://www.endo-resolved.com/diet_phytoestrogens.html

Health & Happiness, Nat

The Soy-Craze & It’s Unknown Adverse Health Effects – Please Read!!!

If you don’t know, now you know….this is for all those who drink soy milk, eat tofu, or consume any products that use soy and claim it is a ‘healthy’ option…POP! I am now going to burst your bubble…
I’m not a doctor, biologist, certified nutritionist (although in process of getting that!) BUT this is information gathered that is relevant and true to the best of my (and other certified doctors, nutritionists, etc.) knowledge. Take this information and use it to change or not change your diet, it is up to you (and you may also want to speak with your primary care physician before changing your diet). BUT I care about me, my family, my friends, my readers, and anyone who breathes and I want to spread the warning about soy!

It is unfortunate but true, here in the U.S. and all over the world, there are so many food and beverage options available to us in this modern technologically advanced world which are harmful to our well-being. A LOT of companies and products claim to be ‘health products’. BUT do your homework first before taking their word over what un-biased research tells us.

I used to eat tofu, tempeh, soy milk. I was so happy that I found soy and soy found me…low fat, you can make tofu taste like anything and it isn’t animal protein, soy milk replaced my dairy (after I found out that dairy was not meant for humans and has adverse health effects)…and then one sunny day, my world fell apart…Okay, my world didn’t fall apart BUT I found out that soy is secretly NOT that great for my body! Damnit!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like many others, I wanted to get to and maintain a healthy weight/physique. I wanted my body to operate at optimal well being and capacity. I wanted energy, strength, a long life, yada, yada, yada. No, really, health is SO important to me and should be to you, it affects everything you do and how much you can enjoy your life. Everything you consume should be taken into consideration as to how it will positively or negatively affect your well-being.

Soy…the unfortunate truth. No matter if your soy is organic or GMO, it contains ‘anti-nutrients’, toxins and plant hormones.

  • Protease inhibitors that interfere with protein digestion
  • Phytates which block mineral absorption (zinc, calcium and iron deficiencies)
  • Lectins & Saponins that lead to gastrointestinal and immune disorders
  • Oxalates which can promote kidney stones
  • Oligosaccharides (cause gas)
  • Phytoestrogens or Plant Estrogens – “strong enough in numbers to cause significant endocrine disruption, leading most often to hypothyroidism with its symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, brain fog and depression”. And cause fertility problems!


What the?! POP went my bubble of love for soy. All along I was shopping at the supermarket with a big smile on my face, picking out all these soy products, when little did I know I was harming my body and my ability to achieve my optimal wellness! If you want more in depth information about soy, I have included one of the articles written by a doctor that I read about the adverse affects of soy. SOY IS BAD FOR YOU ARTICLE.

So, if you have been complaining about your inability to lose weight, you think…do I have a thyroid problem?, or are eating soy daily…now you know! Soy is in SO MANY foods on the shelf in your grocery store, so check the ingredient list. Unfortunately, “soy is now an ingredient in more than 60% of the foods sold in supermarkets and natural food stores, with much of it hidden in products where it wouldn’t ordinarily be expected, such as in fast-food burgers, breads and canned tuna” (SOY IS BAD FOR YOUR ARTICLE).

What to eat now? Use whey protein as a protein supplement for shakes and meal replacement. I use unsweetened Almond milk in my coffee and shakes. Whole foods, no more processed crap. Read the ingredient list on everything you eat. And for all of you who are vegetarians…combine nuts, seeds, unprocessed grains, beans to make sure you are getting complete protein.

AND SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY!

Health & Happiness, Nat

Vital Tips & Must-Have’s of Travel for Weight Loss Maintenance!

When I say ‘travel’, I mean anything from being out on the road a majority of the day for work, traveling via train, plane or automobile (I love that movie!), hell…basically anytime you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time. You need to prepare for what you will be feeding your body while out and about, or else….you may end up at some fast-food restaurant toxifying your body and undoing all your hard work!!!
Let’s start with work. Some have a kitchen at work and access to a refrigerator and microwave, which is wonderful. You people have it easy! Bring healthy snacks (nuts/apples) to work and pack a lunch (salad, steamed veggies, cooked chicken) & if you need to warm it up, pop it in the microwave. Prep your meals in tupperware for the week on Sunday or at least the night before. If you’re out on the road a majority of the day, prep meals/cook meals than put it in tupperware and put in a cooler bag if need be. Bring some fruit & nuts for quick snack to keep you fueled and ready to seize the day! And for those that have the ability to stop on home, well…make sure your refrigerator is stocked with all the healthy options so you can pop in for lunch and get back to work!

When we travel, sometimes people trick themselves into thinking… It’s PARTAAAY time! I’m going to eat whatever I want and drink whatever I want. Big mistake!! You can undo all your hard work with exercise and diet in this one trip, all for what? Greasy, high sodium, high sugar, high fat, high calorie, highly processed crap (that will make you feel like crap, physically & mentally)…I’ve got one thing to say, IT’S JUST FOOD PEOPLE!! We eat to live, not live to eat. Ask yourself, why am I traveling to this destination? Usually it’s for work, leisure, adventure, sight-seeing? So keep this in mind when it comes to meal time, feed yourself with healthful options, then get on with your trip & learn to enjoy life for the experiences that it has to offer! Here are my tips for those traveling.

First, prepare for the actual traveling part. Whether you’re hopping on a plane, train, or bus, there will be limited healthful food options unless you bring your own. Fruit (apples, bananas, oranges) & nuts or seeds (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds) are great snacks you can pack that don’t require refrigeration and can hold you over until you arrive at your destination. Or even pack your favorite protein powder drink mix (MY FAVORITE PROTEIN POWDER) and a shaker cup, all you’d have to do is add water to the shaker cup, and voila! And remember if you’re flying out of the country you must eat your fruit before you go through customs at your destination abroad. WATER is a must! Dehydration can make you crave all sorts of silly snacks and staying hydrated can keep you feeling full longer and keep you from getting headaches.

Second, once you arrive at your destination you will need to go into ‘live to eat’ mode. Whether you’re traveling for work or leisure, you will be eating out often. Main entrees and salads will be your go to items on the menus at the restaurants you visit. Pick light salads or steamed veggies and a lean protein. Ask for them to hold off on the butter. Choose light dressings and sauces that aren’t creamy. And always remember to use portion control! Protein should be the size of your palm minus your fingers, veggies should be two cupped handfuls, and ‘starchy carbs’ should be the size of one of your clenched fists.

To sum it up, remember all the hard work you put into exercise & diet and bring that mentality with you on your trip! Remember why you’re traveling, it’s not for the food, it’s to experience what the destination has to offer! Stay active and do some hiking, volleyball, run on the beach, use your hotel gym! I know you can do it, you will feel much better (mentally & physically) when you return if you stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan while traveling!!

Health & Happiness, Nat

Fears – Roadblocks to Achieving Your Weight Loss Goals

Read this if you…overeat, binge eat, for anorexia, hate exercise, can’t keep from eating sweets or salty snacks/treats, ‘live to eat vs. eat to live’…..
Fear’s, we all have them. Some people are afraid of spiders, some of public speaking, and some…of the dark! I’m not here to talk about arachnophobia today though. I’m here to talk about “limiting beliefs” that lead to “limiting behaviors”.

Fear’s and limiting beliefs are similar in that they’re created by imagining some negative outcome in the future. You may be afraid of public speaking because you imagine that you will forget your lines, sound/look silly or uneducated, or be laughed at. Well it’s time to face these fears, feel the fear and do it! Don’t let these limiting beliefs and fears stop you from taking the necessary steps to achieve your dreams.

Usually, when trying to overcome a fear, you will have to TAKE THE RISK OF THE UNCOMFORTABLE…remember, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.

All decisions we make are based on our associations to what actions will produce, PAIN or PLEASURE.
PAIN – linked to a negative outcome, situation, fear, or negative loss.
PLEASURE – linked to a positive outcome, experience, or positive gain.
We link some ideas, images, sounds, and situations to ‘PAIN’ and some to ‘PLEASURE’.
People have differences and similiarities in their linkages to PAIN and PLEASURE.
The MAIN POINT here is this. The FEAR of PAIN and OUR BELIEFS that an action will LEAD TO PLEASURE are driven by our PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY, NOT REALITY!

These ‘Perceptions of Reality’ are created based on past experiences/life events. Over time you’ve developed associations and beliefs based on past experiences. The problem here?…some of these past experiences created ‘limiting beliefs’ within you that now affect your behavior to future situations you deem are similar to this past experience and in turn, this leads to limiting behaviors.

Limiting Behaviors
are those that are holding you back or are ‘disempowering’ you.
Example: An association to public speaking – ‘you will fail, people will laugh’ – leads to limiting behavior…you don’t share your opinion/voice, don’t excel at job or don’t get promoted as a result.
Example: An association to eating sweets – developed as a child, ‘you feel satisfied/happy when indulging in sweets’ – leads to limiting behavior…now when you’re unhappy/stressed, you eat sweets to feel happy, but it keeps you from losing weight and achieving your fitness goals!

So What Do I Do????
1. FACE YOUR FEARS AND QUESTION THEM! Write down a list of all of your fears, disempowering beliefs, and things you associate with pain. Questions their validity. How rediculous is this belief?
2. ASSOCIATE EACH DISEMPOWERING BELIEF TO PAIN. For each disempowering belief say, ‘If I allow this belief to negatively impact me it will cost me or keep me from __________.’
3. For each disempowering belief write down, ‘I want to _______, but I scare myself by imagining ______.’
4. REPLACE THIS ‘IMAGINATION’ or ‘FEARFUL FEELING’ with feelings you associate with positive outcomes.

Example: Indulging in sweets or Overeating – ‘Living to Eat instead of Eating to Live’
=> You Say: “If I don’t eat/snack on this donut, I’ll miss out on the feeling of satisfaction/fullness.'(False!)
=> Rather Realize: “If I keep believing this and eating sweets too much, eating when unnecessary, and ‘living to eat’; I will gain weight, suffer from health problems, and undo all my hard work at the gym!
=> State the Truth: “I want to eat healthy/avoid sweets, BUT I scare myself by imagining that I’ll be missing out on something good, the feeling of satisfaction, and filling of some void.”
=> The Reality & New Associations: “If I stick to a healthy diet, avoid unnecessary sweets and unhealthy foods, and learn to ONLY ‘Eat to Live’; I WILL lose weight, improve my health, feel proud and confident, and see the results materialize from my workouts.”

YOU CAN overcome the roadblocks, YOU CAN face your fears, it may be uncomfortable and challenging, you may experience setbacks, but be determined to achieve your goals and push through day-by-day! You can apply these methods in all aspects of your life. Get out there, achieve the unexpected, be strong, and FACE YOUR FEARS!!

Too Much Tuna – Avoid Mercury Poisoning and the Dangerous Side Effects!

This is so important, please read this and pass this on to ALL of your friends and family, co-workers, everyone you know! You may already know about the link between Tuna and Mercury and you may not, no matter what, it’s important you get your facts straight so that you and everyone you know can avoid the dangerous side effects of high levels of mercury in your body.

PLEASE read these links below.

You may be trying to eat as healthy as possible and say, “oh we can’t do everything right Natalie”….well, THIS IS THE ONE THING YOU SHOULD BE DOING RIGHT! Get canned chicken instead of tuna! Eating tuna more than once every 7-10 days can lead to high levels of mercury in your body, No if’s and’s or but’s. It’s a fact. So….why should you care if you have high levels of mercury???

Well, it can affect fertility, blood pressure regulation, causes memory loss, skin rashes, mood swings, tremors, vision loss and numbness of the fingers and toes, and can lead to heart disease. Once mercury is in the human body, it acts as a neurotoxin, interfering with the brain and nervous system. This link is an article about effects – http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/effects.asp.

Also, high levels of mercury can cause our bodies to become ‘toxic’. When you are in a ‘toxic state’ you are prone to infection, immunity is lowered, prone to cancers, etc. People with immune disorders should especially be aware and avoid eating too much tuna. Also, women who are pregnant or expecting to get pregnant should avoid tuna because mercury greatly and negatively affects the development of fetus, also children should avoid tuna as well because their brains are still developing and mercury can cause serious problems.

According to EPA and FDA, fish that are high in mercury are tuna, shark, swordfish, mackerel, tilefish. Shrimp, salmon, catfish and Pollock are low in mercury. Canned ‘light’ tuna is lower in mercury than albacore ‘white’ tuna, so opt for canned ‘light’ tuna no more than once every 7-10 days. Ahi Tuna or Tuna Steaks are high in mercury as well and should not be eaten more than once every 7-10 days.

Another article – http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/Top-10-Reasons-Not-to-Eat-Tuna.aspx

*THIS LINK IS A MUST READ FROM LIVESTRONG.COM, CALLED ‘NEUROLOGICAL ILLNESSES’: http://www.livestrong.com/article/156914-mercury-in-tuna-side-effects/

One more link – http://heartspring.net/mercury_poison_symptoms.html

So please stop eating so much tuna! There is no reason when you have other options! I’d literally recommend eating fast food over tuna because of the horrible side effects of tuna, but I KNOW you can find better options than fast food or tuna. I mean, who in the world would continue to eat something that causes memory loss which could lead to dementia/alz heimers, cancers, tremors, vision loss, heart disease, neurological illnesses, mood swings, skin rashes and makes your body ‘toxic’? Not me, that’s for sure! And I hope you now have the information to make a better choice next time you reach for that canned tuna, get canned chicken or there is even a vegetarian ‘tuna’ option out there that tastes like tuna and has lots of protein and no mercury.

PLEASE pass this on, it’s so important that everyone is aware of this topic!