Beware of Healthy Labels!

Posted by | Fitness Tips, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Weight Loss Tips | One Comment

Food companies have one job; sell their products.  It is not to guide America to health, if that were the case Twinkies would have gone and actually stayed away a long time ago.

Did you know that food’s packaging is not regulated?  This means the manufacturer can bend any truth to fool you into thinking that what you are buying for your family is healthy just by adding these great “health slogans” to their packages.

What does this mean? If you see these slogans you should beware. Don’t just buy this product blindly,  the only way to know what’s good is to read the label and ingredients!!!

Here are few key things to look for when you see certain “healthy” packaging:

“Made with Whole Grains”

Many companies add in a small amount of whole grains to their product in order to use this label, but that doesn’t mean that is the only type of flour or grain in your food. Turn your attention immediately to the ingredients. The very first ingredient should read “100% Whole grain…” not enriched whole grain, or white flour.

A common item manufacturers are using this label on is bread and cereal.  Just because your Lucky Charms are now made with whole grains does not undue the other unhealthy ingredients in your bowl.  Make sure you read the label after you read the ingredients and check the amount of sugar added to sweeten these whole grains!

“Fat Free”

Items that are fat free, whether it is those that should have fats by definition, think butter, or other processed foods like baked goods and potato chips, are not necessarily better than their fat containing counter part. Turn to the ingredients, see all those big words like xantham gum and sodium benzoate? Those are chemical and artificial additives these products contain to replace the flavor and consistency you still want without the calories.  Even though these are approved by the FDA, studies show that in the long run you are possibly doing damage to your system and organs by introducing these foreign chemicals to your body.  Think about it this way: you can burn calories but you cannot undue damages linked to these “not fat fats” like cancer and insulin resistance(Type II Diabetes).

Fat is not a four letter word. We all need fat, so by cutting out all fats in your diet you may be doing damage too.  Look for Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats in small amounts, these are the good fats that actually help clear out the bad cholesterol in your system.  Do cut out as much saturated fats as possible and all trans fats from your diet.  Main idea: when reading the ingredients of your food you want to be able to pronounce what you are eating.

“Sugar Free”

Just like with “Fat Free” foods read the ingredients! Replacing the sugar in your drinks or food with it’s non-calorie containing counter parts like Sucralose and Aspartame are not good substitutes.  Both of these additives were denied multiple times by the FDA because their unknown and unstudied affects on humans.  No joke, there was very little research done on humans before their approval with the FDA, most was done on lab rats.  Recent studies show they are linked to obesity, Type II diabetes, certain cancers, increased appetite and the list goes on…

Again it is better to eat the calories in moderation than replacing them with these chemicals.

“Gluten Free”

Many people are unaware of what Gluten is.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat.  Some people, not all, are allergic to gluten (celiac disease) or are gluten intolerant meaning their body reacts poorly to gluten and is not able to process it as well as others. Other people who commonly avoid gluten may do it as a remedy for other medical reasons.  For example my lovely mother has Fibromyalgia, after many years of trying to find ways to minimize her pain her doctor suggested she try going gluten free as there has been evidence linked to gluten and Fibromyalgia pain.  It worked and she has been gluten free for almost a year!

Now that you know what gluten is, you can see that “Gluten Free” has nothing to do with the nutritional and caloric value of your food other than saying it does not contain wheat or wheat products.   When you see “gluten free”, and are not on a gluten free diet, read the label and check the ingredients.  If you are getting a high nutritional content (high in fiber, protein and/or vitamins) and have recognizable ingredients then this product is probably a good choice.

“100% natural”

Manufacturers love to bend the truth. When you see 100% natural on a processed food item, like crackers or juice or fruit gummies, it obviously does not mean that product is found in nature.  It only means that the producer started with natural ingredients before processing them.  Processing ingredients strips them of many nutrients they contained originally and probably adds in some not so healthy components to the finished product, so beware.  Again read the label and ingredients.  All natural should be just that.

Being an informed consumer is a very useful weapon against these corporations and manufacturers. Remember your family’s health is of the upmost importance so do your homework and don’t be fooled when you hit the grocery store! 

My Prego Cardio Workout

Posted by | Fitness Tips, How To, pregnancy workouts, prenatal fitness, prenatal workouts, Real Success Stories, Uncategorized, workout, workouts | No Comments

Staying active and healthy is a huge concern of mine, and should be yours, throughout my pregnancy.  Experts suggest at least 30 minutes of physical activity A DAY for expecting moms.  Exercise and staying active can ease pregnancy symptoms, quicken and ease your little one’s delivery, and is actually healthy for you and the babe!

**Please note that I was and have remained very active before and throughout my pregnancy. I work out for health benefits for me and my baby, not to lose weight or burn extra calories!!  You should always consult your OB before starting any sort of exercise program or routines.  I am not a doctor and what is okay for me may not be in you and your baby’s best interest so please please talk to your doctor before you workout. If you are cleared be sure to drink plenty of water and add extra calories, depending on your trimester, to be sure your babe is getting all the nutrients it needs.**

Here in good old Louisiana, it is already 90+ degrees outside with humidity that will make even the straightest hair frizz like Curly Sue. That being said, I try and get my workouts in before 8:30 or hit up the gym to avoid over heating.  Luckily, or sadly depending on your view-point, I am up at 5 working with clients most mornings so I usually am able to get my workout in before it gets too hot out so I can enjoy the buggy  great outdoors.

Many of you have been asking for an example of a workout that I do so here it is, this is actually what I did this morning.

Not Pregnant? Pregnant but not at the same level? No problem, you can mix this workout up by adjusting the intensity of your jog to a run or sprint, adding more or less jogging time and recovery time, and more or different plyos in between jogging/running segments to adjust for your skill level.

25 minute cardio/plyometric workout:

Equipment: Stop watch and a killer play list to jam to.

  • Warm up: Walk/slow jog. I usually go 2-3 minutes to make sure my muscles are nice and warmed up.
  • The Main Event:  Jog 3 minutes.  Keep stop watch running for the rest of the workout without pressing stop, even if you have to rest
  • Complete Front lunge walk, 20 total steps; 10/each leg
  • Walk remaining time until 5 minute mark, make sure you are breathing deep and recovering from jog
  • Jog 3 more minutes
  • Complete 12 tricep dips (I use the curb to do these on) and 10 push ups
  • Walk remaining time until 10 minute mark,  again make sure you are breathing deep and recovering from jog
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Complete 15 squats
  • Walk remaining time until 15 minute mark
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Stop and while walking complete small arm circles 30 seconds one direction, then switch and immediately do the opposite direction with no rest 30 more seconds
  • Walk remaining time until 20 minute mark
  • Cool Down: Walk until you have recovered your breath fully, STRETCH!! (2-3 minutes)

Pregnant or not make sure to drink plenty of water before and after working out! If you are prego make sure you are adjusting your calorie intake to account for the calories you are burning to ensure you are continuing to give your babe the nutrition it needs to keep growing!

Like this workout?? Let me know by liking, sharing or commenting below and I can continue to add more like this on my blog!

Excuses Are Like Baby Bumps…

Posted by | Fitness Tips, Motivation!!, prenatal fitness | No Comments
Excuses are everywhere and everyone has them, even me!

Many of you may have noticed a lack in my posts on my Facebook, twitter, blog and every other social media I use as a way to promote health and happiness.  Don’t think I have forgotten about you all or that I have quit my beloved job of personal training and health advice.  No, I have gone into the dark hole many women call their first trimester of pregnancy! Yes I am happy to announce my husband and I are expecting our first-born!

I am finally into my 2nd trimester and have reclaimed my humanity. I felt like a zombie the last 10 weeks. I literally could fall asleep standing up! But instead of pushing through I used my pregnancy as an excuse to lack on my health and my job, not with my individual clients they still got their butt’s whipped in the gym, no but with all of you. And for that I apologize. I will no longer use this pregnancy as an excuse to get out of things, including eating well!

Seriously, I need to stop the damsel in distress act and realize that this is a reality for the next 5+ months. I will be tired, cranky, and HUNGRY. But I need to keep in mind that this process is not just about me; it’s about my baby, family and career. And staying healthy and at my best for them is what is important.

Now before you all think this is just for all my prego ladies out there lets remember we all face easy outs and excuses 24/7! “My head hurts”, “My house needs to be cleaned”, “I am too tired to cook diner tonight”…the list goes on and on. Making healthy choices both for our bodies and our careers needs to be a daily thing we work on.  We all, especially me, need to recommit to a lifestyle of thinking of the long-term and of others.  So here is my new pledge!!! I will be a normal person the next 5 months, I will eat healthy (obvs I can cheat a little) and I will be productive!  What’s yours???

Throw Back Video: Buns Of Steel

Posted by | Fitness Funny, Fitness Tips, Motivation!!, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Tips | No Comments

Yes people, dust off your VHS player and let’s get down on some Buns Of Steel!

If you are like me and I suppose the rest of modern America, I do not own a VHS player anymore but not to fret just head on over to the dollar bin at Wal-Mart or Best Buy and pick up the new DVD version of this amazing classic! And don’t worry it still has the awesome eighties packaging and is the exact same video.

Great Leg and Hip workout

This baby was actually a gift from one of my clients who said she saw it and couldn’t resist buying it. Too bad for her it KILLED me and I can’t wait to start using some of the moves good old Greg Smithey came up with on her!  So to all my clients please look at this man and thank him for your new fab booty.

Buns of Steel

I am very serious about this workout being a killer! The cardio warmup involves your arms the ENTIRE time and they were definitely feeling the burn by the time we were ready to begin the “real” workout.  The next part of the workout is obviously all buns, mainly focusing on your hips and those abductors and adductors that shape them.  It was killer and Greg was a cheesey  great motivator reminding us that “we are going to impress people coming and going”, and to “keep squeezing all that fat right out of our hips”.

The length of each move was what was really hard about this workout.  Imagine an hour-long Pilates class doing only about 5 moves over and over, it burns deep and in places I never knew existed after a while.  I wanted to give up but instead I decided to just people watch all of the class members in the background to keep me distracted.  The eighties were not the best in the way of exercise gear. Not only are there high cut leotards but they wear spandex under them and then a different color underwear over them.  Add in leg warmers and the occasional fannie pack and the only thing I can say is best people watching I’ve done in a while.  Here is my favorite girl, she had it all and then some!:

Great leg workout

Please notice the belt and the amazeballs headband over the perm mixed with leg warmers and those fresh reebok hightops.  I die.

Moral of the story is trying some of these classics could be a great way to mix up your workouts and give you new old ideas for fashion and exercises.

Fresh Chicken & Dumplings

Posted by | Healthy Eating, How To, Nutrition | No Comments

I am always looking for great, fresh recipes for my slow cooker. This way while I am out at late night training sessions the hubs still has a healthy, hot, and home-made meal when he gets home from work. The problem is many of the great recipes I see on pinterest or other websites all include condensed soups as part of the ingredient list. Canned soups are high in sodium and fats, and are highly processed, so I try and avoid them at all costs.

I was delighted when I found this recipe on redtri.com, all the ingredients were FRESH and it seemed perfect for the stormy night we had here in Louisiana last night. And most important it was all in the crock pot so I could have that hot meal ready for my family even though I was on the run all night!

So here it is Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings:

crockpot C&D

Ingredients:

3 Large Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks

1 Large Onion, diced

6 Carrots ,peeled and sliced

3 Celery Stocks, chopped

1 tbsp Parsley

1 tbsp Minced Garlic

2 cups Dry White Wine

2 cups Chicken Stock

4 tbsp butter

1/2 tbsp Emeril’s Original Essence

1/2 tbsp Red Pepper Flakes

1/4 cup Heavy Cream

1/4 cup Whole Grain Flour

1 can Ready-Made biscuits (sub for your own biscuit dough to make even healthier!)

In a saute pan, warm 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil and add in diced onion.  Heat onion until tender and then add into the crock pot.  In the same pan, brown chicken, aprox. 1-2 min on each side.

Add chicken and all other ingredients into the crock pot except for the biscuits, heavy cream and flour.  Cook on high for 2 hours, or low for 4 hours depending on your timeline.

c&D pot

Once the chicken has cooked for 2-4 hours add in the heavy cream and flour and stir together. Break apart each biscuit into 4 pieces and then drop the pieces into the mixture in the crock pot.  Cover and turn the heat back to high, cook for 45 minutes longer until the biscuits are cooked.  (The biscuits will not be brown, you will know they are down by the consistency it should be flakey not doughy)

Scoop into bowls and serve!

This is such a cozy night type meal and can be made on a tight schedule!

Enjoy!

-Amy

Unhealthy Healthy Food

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There are HUGE misconceptions when it comes to healthy eating, here are my top unhealthy healthy foods you should avoid.

Healthy food alternatives

In my own little bubble as a married person with no children and a good amount of free time, I do my own research on healthy foods and what is best to eat.  As I get further and further into my career as a coach and trainer I am coming to realize that more people than not have no idea the “healthy” food they are buying for their family is not healthy at all.

My lacrosse girls and training clients are always asking me for healthy choices for snacks and meals and I am always surprised at how little they know.  It is so important to read your labels! No matter how healthy you or someone else thinks something is, read the label for yourself.  Remember you want to maximize your nutrient content (good old vitamins and minerals), fiber, and protein when eating. The fiber and protein will make you fuller longer and the nutrients will help your overall well-being; protecting you from illness’ and aid your workouts and recovery, to name a few benefits.

Here are a few unhealthy healthy foods that may be holding you back:

1. Canned Fruit

Many people like the ease and convenience of being able to have fruit ready to pack in their kid’s lunches or to grab and go on the way to practice. What you don’t know is the amount of added sugar inside! Canned fruit can have up to 22 grams of sugar per serving, to give you an idea of how much that is a can of Coke has 39 grams.  You may as well be eating candy…

Substitute: Buy regular fresh fruit.  Wash, cut, and prepare as soon as you get home.  That way it is ready to go and easy to pack.  The extra 15 minutes it takes to prepare is well worth it for your family’s well-being.  I know moms are busy busy but please please remember the health of you and your family is soooo important. Make the time to prepare healthy snack options.

2. Bagels

Even without the cream cheese, bagels are not good for you.  When eating any bread you want to make sure you are eating whole grains.  Many bagels are not whole-grain bagels.  They are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber and have minimal nutrients.  Now add the butter and cream cheese and you are eating a high calorie breakfast that will not keep you full very long at all.

Substitute: Whole grain toast with organic peanut butter.  This new breakfast is high in fiber and protein and will keep you fuller longer than a bagel. And it is delish!!!!

3. Honey

Honey may be natural but natural doesn’t equal healthy.  One tablespoon of honey has 16 grams of sugar in it.  Honey’s sugar complex is half fructose(complex sugar), half glucose(simple sugar).  When adding sugar to your diet you want complex sugars that are harder for your body to break down.  So before you add it to your tea, granola or fruit stop and think if you really need it.  You don’t want to undue they healthy choices you make by adding unnecessary sugar to it.

Substitute: Agave Nectar.  Agave nectar is a natural sweetener as well.  It’s sugar count is similar to honey.  However, Agave nectar is sweeter, meaning you will not have to add as much to get your desired sweetness level, and it’s sugar complex is mostly fructose, making it a better sugar choice.

4. Juice and other sugar drinks

JUICE!!!! Yes I know, juice is healthy right? Wrong.  It is a healthier choice than soda or Kool-Aid but it is not the healthiest option.  Again the sugar content in juice is through the roof! 23+ grams of sugar doesn’t out weigh the nutrients you get from it.  This also goes for drinks like Gatorade and vitamin water.

Substitute: Water and Fruit.  Once again, go for the natural options. Water should be the main drink in your diet.  To be successful in a weight-loss plan or at athletics or to be more focused in life, being hydrated is imperative. Swap out your calorie ridden drinks for water, trust me you won’t miss them once you begin to feel the beneifts of water.   To replace the nutrients you were getting from the juice either eat an orange in the morning instead, or make the juice yourself fresh with a juicer.

Again reading labels can answer so many questions you have about whether or not your food is healthy for you.  When in doubt go for natural, low sugar options.  Don’t believe everything you see on TV, everything can be healthy in relation to a bad option. Take it upon yourself to know what’s best for your family. It should be your #1 priority!

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

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Try this delish side as part of your next dinner and WOW your family!

Veggies are a magical food. No seriously, they are full of anti-carcinogens, antioxidants, protein, fiber and the list goes on and on. They are a great way to add color, flavor and nutrition to your plate.  I am all about them especially squash, asparagus, potatoes, broccoli etc.  However, Cauliflower is a new veggie for me. Of course I have eaten it in the past, however I never used it in anything I made.  The big white bulk with the green leaves around it at the grocery store just seemed a little too intimidating for me.

Eating Healthy

Okay, time for me grow up and overcome my cauli-fear.  So I did what I usually do and when I have food questions and recipe needs, I went to skinnytaste.com.  Just typing “cauliflower” in the site’s search brought up so many tasty looking recipes, I definitely wanted to go back to grocery store and buy 5 more heads of it.  Anyways I came upon a recipe that seemed to fit my novice status and so I decided to try it.  I tweaked it just a little bit and it was a HUGE hit. My husband went back for seconds and thirds!  Click here to see the original recipe.

Ingredients:
1 Head Cauliflower
3 or 4 Cloves of Garlic Minced
2 Tbsp olive Oil
1/3 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Shallot, diced
1/2 Small Onion, diced
2 Tbsp Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 Tsp Thyme

1.Cut and clean the Cauliflower. Start with the green, chopping it all off, and then chop the head into quarters and then into smaller florets.  Make sure the florets are similar size so they cook at the same rate.

2.In a large bowl toss the florets and two cloves of garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Spread out the seasoned florets on a cookie sheet and place in oven.  Bake for 20 minutes or until brown, turning/tossing the florets a few times.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over med-high heat.  Add in the onion and shallot. As soon as they start to sweat and become softer add in the garlic and continue to saute until the onion becomes translucent.

5. Turn the heat down to low and add in the breadcrumbs, stirring constantly toast until golden brown and remove from heat.  Stir in the Thyme and Cheese.

6. Once the florets are done, place in a bowl or casserole dish and sprinkle the top with the breadcrumb mixture.

Yummm…just typing the recipe makes me want to go make this dish again. And at only 130 cals per 1 cup it is a filling and healthy side dish! It was so good I forgot to take a picture of it so I will leave you with the image of the one from skinny taste’s website, it looks as good as it tastes!

Skinny Taste

 

Stick To Your Resolution!

Posted by | Fitness Tips, How To, New Year Weight Loss, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Tips | No Comments

How To Pick A Resolution That You Can STICK TO!

It is the last day of 2012 and I know many of you are now looking ahead to the new year wondering what you can do to improve your life, your relationships, and most importantly yourself! The sad thing is less than 15% of people who make resolutions actually stick to them! Not to worry, you can be that 15%!! You just need to pick your resolution carefully so you can stick it harder than a McKayla Maroney Vault.

Stick to Weight-loss

A huge mistake people make when setting their resolutions is they are not realistic. If you are 100lbs overweight making your resolution to lose the entire 100 lbs is setting yourself up for failure.  Start small and realistic, something that you can accomplish in a shorter amount of time like 30lbs (which is still a HUGE weight-loss).  That way you can start to see your progress towards your end goal faster which will keep you motivated! Once you reach your goal set another, there is no rule that states there can only be one resolution a year!!!

Another way to stick with your resolution is to make a game plan within your resolution.  Instead of saying you are going to lose weight this year try this; I am going to lose weight by working out ___ times a week.  Making your resolution quantitative can be that extra push that can get you to the gym.  If its Friday and you haven’t worked out the amount of times you set as your goal, you can push through and get in those workouts before the week is up!

Now that you have your resolution, set yourself up for success.  Start a log, write your goal out and set up your game plan. You want to make sure you know exactly how you are going to attain your goal.  If your goal has to do with eating healthier, go through your kitchen and toss the junk and replace it with some healthy options.  If you want to start exercising go join a gym or book me a trainer.  Making your lifestyle changes as easy as possible is what you want to do, the fewer excuses you have the more likely you will be able to keep your resolution!

“Believe in yourself and you are halfway there!”

Happy New Year!!! Cheers!!

-Amy