Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Would your kids eat Cold Oatmeal as a snack?!

It's amazing to me what my kids will eat if that's all I offer them....

Remove all options of fruit snacks, crackers, cookies, juice boxes, ect. don't even have it in the house: your kids are like bloodhounds, they KNOW you have it and will tear your house down brick by brick till the treats are uncovered. 

Offer to your kids, as a snack, a Tupperwear bowl of cold cooked oatmeal that had been sweetened with honey, shredded apple, and raisins when you cooked it and watch your kids grab a  handful and devour it.  Don't believe me? I don't blame you, I wouldn't have believed it myself unless I saw it with my own eyes,,, which I have.  Not only my kids, but my nieces and nephews, and sisters gobbled it down, the adults with greater reservation than the kids. When the cousins saw my kids grabbing a handful of oatmeal they went for it too, and came back for more.  
My sister-in-law's jaw needed to be re-hinged as she could not believe it and I just told her that it has been impressive how quickly the kids have adapted to my gluten-free snacks.  I haven't forced them to go gluten free with me, I was just doing a 3 month trial for sensitivity for joint pain, but along the way have been so grateful for the many discoveries and knowledge I've gained on my Healthy Lifestyle Path.  I'm excited to share some of these lessons with you in hopes it will give you confidence to take a step in the right direction too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Homemade storebought greek yogurt

Confusing title but let me explain!
           Did you know the way you make greek yogurt is by straining off the whey from regular yogurt? The whey is the liquid that settles in your yogurt when you let it sit for a while  and you usually stir back in before scooping more out of the container. Whey contains most of the carbs of your yogurt and although it does have some protein, the majority of it is found in what's left behind when you drain off the whey.
           So have you tried Fage greek strained yogurt? I've read over and over on health blogs about how amazing it was so I finally broke down and dished out the extra money to try it.   It really was amazing. So rich and creamy and well worth the money, but I didn't want to spend the extra money for the rest of my life so I googled how to make homemade Fage Greek Yogurt and learned homemade yogurt is quite easy but I'll experiment and let you know how it goes, for now I'm doing this:
  • Take store bought regular fat free plain yogurt and dump it in a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel and set that strainer on a bowl the whey can drain into. Let is sit in your fridge over night, perhaps stirring it a time or two before going to bed and when you wake up you've got thick, rich, creamy greek strained yogurt, it will strain to about half the volume of what you put in, so for 4 cups of plain yogurt you strain and end up with 2 cups of greek strained yogurt. For a 1/2 cup serving you have 65 calories, 4.5 carbs, 11.5 grams of protein. 
  • For a small meal/snack I would probably do 1/2 cup of this greek strained yogurt and 1/4 cup cottage cheese mixed together to up the protein (and I really like the texture of them mixed together) and mix 1/8th cup of granola and 1/8th cup of frozen berries and sweeten with agave, honey or truvia depending on your caloric needs.
  • From the label of the Fage Greek Strained Yogurt container: You can use this thick yogurt in cooking pasta dishes or preparing spreads, sauces, smoothies and desserts as an alternative to cream and mayonnaise. Mix it with fruit or honey for a delicious breakfast or dessert.
  • For those learning to make your own bread, the strained off whey is really great to soak your whole wheat flour in overnight before making it into bread. There's many nutritional benefits explained in the website here.... If you're not ready to venture into soaking your flour you can just put the whey in your baked bread and rolls in exchange for part of your liquid, but start off slowly, perhaps just making it 1/4th to 1/2 of your liquid in your recipe, it has acidic qualities to it so don't go overboard, just see how you like it.  Here's a link to explain the nutritional benefits of using your whey in baked foods and many other things. Oh, and here's one more :)  Have fun and let me know how you like it!

Healthy homemade granola bars

 I've been looking for some quick to make, easy to grab, tasty snacks for my kids and here is a favorite one I came across:  I got it off of Pinching Your Pennies Website and that person got it from a Mark Bitman Recipe, here's my take on it:

Chewy Granola Bars
1/2 cup nut butter (almond or peanut) I liked using crunchy peanut butter, and can't wait to experiment making my own nut butter as soon as I get a grinder.
1/2 cup honey or agave syrup (haven't tried it with agave yet, but both are lower on the glycemic index than sugar...more on this later...:)
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1 cup oats (instant, quick, or old fashioned, I also used rolled 6 grain cereal from Kitchen Kneads in Ogden, UT)
1/2  cup chopped unsalted nuts and/or seeds (any combination you like) I've used raw almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and flax seed
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (any that you like) I've used apricot, craisen, raisen, cherry,
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
  •   Place nut butter and honey in a small saucepan over low heat just until melted enough to combine thoroughly with a whisk.
  • Lightly oil a 9x9 or 8x8 cake pan...( when I double this recipe I use my oven's broiler pan)
  • Center a piece of plastic wrap that is about 3 times the size of the pan over the pan and smooth it out to line the pan, allowing the excess plastic to hang over the sides.
  • Put the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the combined nut butter and honey. Stir gently until well combined.
  • Pour mixture into pan and distribute as evenly as possible with the spoon you used to stir with.
  • Now fold the plastic wrap over the mixture and press firmly and evenly into the pan.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour. ( For those kids (and me:) that love a little chocolate I chill for about 20 min. then sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the top re-wrap and press the chips into the top of the bars then finish chilling...Just a little heat helps hold the chips in place, but too much heat melts them.)
  • Lift the plastic wrap and granola mixture from the pan all at once and place on cutting board and cut into 16 equal pieces.
  • At this point I like to wrap each bar in waxed paper and tape closed and put them into the freezer in a ziplock bag. When I'm packing lunches I can just grab one and add it to the lunches. It thaws perfectly for lunch.
  • I've also learned it's important to stay within the total measurement for the dried nuts and fruit, if you add too much they crumble easily.
  • My friend Dana did her own experimenting and added a scoop of protein powder to the honey/nut mixture which would help balance the snack, I was just eating one with a cheese stick, but can't wait to try that out! 
  • I would guess this snack is about 200 calories, and because it's high in fat I wouldn't have this very often when trying to lose weight but I think it's a great snack for the kids instead of Chips Ahoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Understanding 'Why' Can Make the Difference

I found this article that really spells out the science and gives the why behind what I am doing and how it is working, I like understanding the why and telling myself over and over as I make good decisions. I'll highlight the good stuff for you :)  Georgia also has a great blog entry on this topic too: Click here to check it out.

 How Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, & Hormones
Work to Cause Weight-Loss or Weight-Gain

When you eat carbs, the body digests them and converts them into glucose which enters the bloodstream to be burned as energy. Your body converts glucose into glycogen which is stored in the liver and in your muscles. When small amounts of carbs are eaten, the small amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream is immediately used for energy.

The problems begin when you eat a meal that is too high in carbs. (bagels, juice, pasta) This is because too much glucose enters the bloodstream too rapidly. A high-carb meal stimulates a biochemical response that forces your body to burn glucose rather than stored body fat as its main source of fuel. The best advice is to eat carbs that are low in starch and sugar and high in fiber. Some examples are apples, apricots, cherries, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, oatmeal, rye, wild rice, black beans, chick peas, kidney beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, whole grain pasta, yams. Balance of carbs to protein is very important. a 1.3 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein is recommended.

When you eat a high-carb snack prior to bedtime you cause blood sugar and insulin levels to soar. Elevated insulin during sleep not only blocks HGH (human growth hormone) release, inhibiting proper repair and recovery of your tissues, but you will find that you wake up either groggy and in need of more sleep and or very hungry from experiencing low blood sugar.


Protein is called the "building blocks of life" because they body uses protein to rebuild and repair tissue on the muscles and organs. More than half your dry body weight consists of protein. Your immune system requires protein to maintain balance. When you eat high protein foods (chicken breast, tuna, fish, etc) the digestive process breaks down the protein chains into amino acids. The amino acids enter the bloodstream and are transformed into more than 50,000 new body proteins. There are 10 essential amino acids that the body cannot make on its own. The body also cannot store excess amino acids the way it can carbohydrates and fat (remember, stored carbs and fats = body fat) So you must supply your body with adequate amount of protein EVERY time you eat.

If your daily diet is lacking the proper amount of protein, your body's ability to make new body proteins slows down and you actually start to break down existing body protein (muscle) to supply the body with the amino acids that your food is lacking. This is the WORST thing that can happen. Because you sacrifice muscles, your fat burning machines, your metabolism slows way down. This results in your body burning fewer calories and fat. This is why and how you can lose muscle tone on high-carb diets. Protein is the ONLY macronutrient that builds and maintains muscles. Never skip eating protein at breakfast or lunch to save it for dinner. You will be greatly increasing your body's ability to store fat instead of burning it.

Good protein sources not only include chicken, fish, and lean red meats, but soy, eggs and egg whites, tofu, and why protein powder.


Fat has definitely gotten a bad reputation. Not all fat is bad. Without a certain amount of fat in our diets we cannot burn stored bodyfat. Fat in the diet provides you with energy, the release of CCK, a hormone that signals the brain that you're full and to stop eating, essential fatty acids for proper metabolism of foods and vitamins, a control mechanism to slow the rate of carb into the bloodstream and reduce the rate of insulin secretion.

Stored 'body fat' is the body's preferred source of energy. Total fat should not exceed 30% of the total daily calories. 10% saturated, (animal meats, hydrogenated oils) 10% unsaturated (vegetable oils) and 10% monounsaturated (vegetables, avocados,canola oil, olives).

The "good fats" are UNprocessed and occur naturally in foods. (Avocados, salmon, tuna, herring, crab, raw nuts, seeds) The "bad fats" are called trans fats. They contain trans fatty acids and are found in hydrogenated oils. (check your margarine labels, cookie and cracker packages, etc.).


Hormones can be very powerful in determining whether you burn fat or store fat. INSULIN is viewed as the body's fat storage hormone. It is secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels. This is primarily from ingesting excessive carbs in a meal. Increased levels of insulin force your body to burn glucose for energy, and store any excess away as glycogen or fat. You CANNOT effectively burn fat with elevated levels of insulin. Even if you exercise like wild. Besides not burning fat, elevated insulin can cause blood sugar concentrations to drop too low. This can result in a temporary hypoglycemia. Symptoms range from mood swings, to low energy, loss of concentration, muscle cramping, uncontrollable hunger, sugar and carb craving. Now, on the flip side, if you greatly restrict your carb intake your brain gets a little testy. The brain requires a constant steady stream of glucose for fuel. If it does not get an adequate supply of carbs, your body uses its available glucose and glycogen stores. Then it turns to fat and muscle mass to supply energy, producing an abnormal metabolic response called ketosis. Ketosis alters the enzymes in fat cells. Ketosis causes muscle mass to be sacrificed and broken back down into amino acids to be converted directly into glucose for the brain. The loss of muscle mass means the loss of fat burning sites. Thus less fat will be burned. It is easy to understand then why 98% of all low-carb and high-pro diets fail. The followers of those methods usually gain back any weight they may have lost and usually more than they lost to begin with.

Glucagon is considered the fat-burning hormone. It is stimulated by the pancreas in response to intake of protein. It's main job is to maintain stable blood sugar levels in your body. It does this by activating and releasing stored body fat so it can be burned for energy.


A moderate amount of carbs, protein, fat helps keep blood sugar balanced. Fat slows down the absorption and digestion of the carbs, providing a steady, ongoing supply of glucose which keeps the fat storage hormone insulin low. Protein in a meal stimulates the release of the fat-burning hormone, glucagon, thereby maximizing your ability to burn stored body fat for energy.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love and Passion

A title most fitting for the month of February,,, but what does it have to do with health?

Well, I came across a scripture in Alma 38:12 that says "see that ye bridle your passions, that ye may be filled with love..."  I read it almost a month ago, and it keeps coming back to me...I know this to be a true principle but had never related it to food and exercise before.
Passions are like fire and water, good servants but bad masters —Alexander Pope
I feel that before I learned how to eat healthy this year, my passion for food had become my master, and it affected my ability to love food,,, and myself.

Now that I've learned to "bridle my passions" for food, I have felt myself filled with love. I've learned to love taking care of my body by giving it the nutrition it needs, not the sugary junk food to which I had been addicted.  I've learned to love whole foods and taste the junk in junk food. I've learned to control my portions which in turn makes me feel better.  When I feel better I am more apt to do good things, so life overall has improved in my home, in my relationships, in my ability to reach goals in all facets.

I am grateful to my personal coaches Georgia and Luanne for sharing their insight and giving me the tools to learn how to treat my body with love by giving it the food and exercise it needs to perform to it's best ability.  I have shared these tools with my family and hope that by instilling good habits while young it will help them to always keep their passions with food bridled, thus allowing a healthy love of self to develop.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What's that you say?

You're busy, stretched to the limit, stressed, and tired....sounds like a recipe for disaster for many things including staying on track for your healthy lifestyle goals, but as you run out the door you grab a cheese stick, apple and water bottle which means as you drive past McDonalds, you drive past, not in. Sucess! Small but great on many levels:

1. You just saved money.
2. You fed your body good stuff that won't make you feel sick in 20 min.
3. You have saved yourself some time.
4. You set a good example for your kids.

These are all good reasons, and all of them are reasons why I like sticking with it.  I like to remind myself of these reasons on a regular basis. By telling yourself  methodically the reasons for what you're doing, you establish positive self-talk which creates a healthy environment for yourself to continue making changes. 
What would happen if you told yourself:

I have to have fries or I'll die.
I don't have time to learn how to eat healthy.
I can't afford to buy healthy food.
I can't plan ahead my meals it takes too much effort.
My husband and kids will never support me in my changes.

Well,,,what would happen?  Nothing's going to change, that's for sure.  You got to start with changing your thoughts before you can change your behavior.

Here's your challenge:  take note of the internal conversations you're having with yourself, the labels you have given yourself, the unrealistic ultimatums, and negativity that you describe yourself to others. Put a stop to it, but not only put a stop to it, replace it with realistic positive statements. Make it a personal goal, and see the power of positive self talk in your life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Healthy Cooking/Nutrition Class Review

Well I had to write a post in regards to the nutrition/cooking class that was put on by my head personal trainer Luanne Cobb.  She was wonderful and gracious to drive down to help out our little group get a grip on some healthy cooking skills.  She presented over 20 meal ideas!  Luanne showed us how to prepare many meals by taking the time once a week to get your meat ready.  When you have your protein prepared you're more likely to integrate it into your small meals. 

I can get a copy of the meals on the blog, but I need to type them out so give me some time. I thought the most valuable opportunity of the class was to see, taste, and touch the different ingredients. She handed around her favorite spices to smell, reminding us that you can cut back on salt if your food is seasoned properly. 

We had a tasters table with quinoa, basmati rice, diced artichoke hearts in a vinegar solution, sundried tomatoes in an olive oil, dried cranberries, and pomegranates which she uses to flavor her food.  I cooked up her daughter's recipe of dill crusted salmon and for those of us who enjoy fish we couldn't stop snacking on it!

I made up Georgia's healthy muffins for the first time and loved them and more importantly my kids did too! Hopefully I can wean my baby off his cookie addiction ;o) I did cook one batch with Truvia and agave syrup to sweeten and I could taste the truvia, but it wasn't that bad and the batch I cooked with just sugar and agave syrup you couldn't tell at all! I really am liking the agave syrup on my french toast, cottage cheese and plain greek yogurt, just a little bit though, it's not calorie free.

Valeen made a yummy apple chicken salad that was so simple and balanced, Luanne gave the recipe 2 thumbs up! She also made banana bread using blended white beans to replace the fat and it was so moist and tasty you would never guess was made with beans. 

Every shared their favorite balanced small meal which I'll be posting on the meal ideas soon and lastly we got to sample Melaleuca products to see which ones we liked. This was very helpful for me as I was hesitant to try some things for fear I wouldn't like it, even though everything is returnable, just tasting the Ruby red grapefruit Sustain electrolyte drink convinced me to order that next month! I also liked the Access Shake hot, like a hot chocolate drink, first thing in the morning before you exercise, just perfect for winter.

Luanne explained that while some of the ingredients she showed us may seem expensive, you only use a little bit to flavor your food and they'll last for months in your fridge so it really pays off.  This cooking class really helped open our eyes to different things to try to get us out of our cooking ruts.  There will be another class like this in Layton the end of January, so contact me if interested in attending!