Friday, January 30, 2015

Power of Oats Breakfast

Breakfast is the #1 meal that people likely skip due to lack of time or not feeling hungry. It sometimes takes a few days up to weeks for our bodies to start feeling hungry..but in order to get hungry, we need to train our body by eating something at breakfast. I am going to show you a delicious pancake recipe (Yes, Pancakes!) that you can whip up in no time and it is super healthy and filling....the main ingredient is oats. Oats is one of my favorite foods because it is inexpensive and packed with nutrition! It is very versatile too... 

A new study suggests that your breakfast cereal choice may affect how full you feel and how much you eat at lunchtime,especially if you're overweight. According to new research published in the most recent issue of the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, scientists found that having oatmeal (instant or original) for breakfast resulted in greater fullness, lower hunger ratings and less calories eaten at the next meal compared to a similar calorie breakfast of ready-to-eat traditional cereal that is refined (AAS, 2015). Refined cereal is highly processed and lower in fiber and B vitamins. 

Here is a tasty, and very quick recipe you can have ready in no time.... it is high in fiber and protein to get you through the morning.

1/2 c. oats
1/2 packet stevia or liquid stevia drops to sweeten, optional
1 tsp vanilla (I like pure vanilla, not imitation)
1-2 tsp flaxseed
1 egg
dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Simply whisk together and add to a hot skillet with melted butter or trans-fat free margarine. I used Smart Balance Omega-3.
Here it is! I topped it with natural peanut butter and a drizzle of maple syrup but you can certainly add fresh berries or bananas on top (I am in need of groceries!)

Leonardis, K. (2015). AAS: Oatmeal for breakfast results in greater fullness and lower calorie intake at lunch. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Throw out the diet...Eat whole food

You may be tempted to start a new diet for the New Year, to lose weight fast....but let's go back to reality. Will you likely follow this new diet for the rest of your life and feel satisfied? You will hear about the juicing diet, no carb diet, high fat keto diet, gluten-free and so on....but these diets have no balance and are lacking in different nutrients which are necessary to support long-term healthy habits. It is exciting to think about numbers lost quickly but more than likely, it does not represent "true" weight loss.....and at the same time, your mood and energy could suffer for it. 

MyPlate imageAlthough it is great to have the mindset to lose weight, think about what you "really" want for yourself. Now is a time to develop a wellness you want to feel less stress throughout the day? Do you want to feel more confident that you can have a healthier relationship with food and avoid temptations more often? Do you want long-lasting energy rather than relying on caffeine or other quick fixes? Then make a shift to adopt long-lasting healthy habits and simply focus on eating whole calorie counting, just balance. 

Prepare your meals by using 3 food groups to start from the image above and and choose 2 food groups at snack time to keep appetite under control and a healthy metabolism. On average, people need about 3 meals, 2 snacks daily. Focus on your hunger to guide you towards your total intake throughout the day. For a list of food choices for each group, visit I always encourage people to build their plate and start with veggies. Non-starchy veggies should take up half of your plate at lunch and dinner. Then it is smooth sailing from there.

Snack Ideas
Hard boiled egg with hummus
Celery and PB
Fruit and yogurt
Goat cheese spread on whole grain crackers
Kind Bar 

Quick Dinner Ideas
Roast a whole chicken and use for various meals:
Pizza - Add shredded chicken to whole grain pizza crust, add desired toppings and sauce
Quick chicken salad - add in plain yogurt, drizzle of lemon juice, cumin, 1/4 c dried fruit, 1/2 c walnuts, pepper      and salt to taste -- add into lettuce wrap or high fiber Flat out wrap

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Breakfast-to-go that Lasts

Many of my upcoming posts are going to be focused on New Year New You - Healthy Habits. One of the best healthy habits you can do this year is eating a satisfying breakfast that has color, lean protein and healthy fats. Per my previous post on eliminating sugar cravings, one of the steps to combating those is eating breakfast and following the plate method. For breakfast, choose a fruit high in fiber, a protein source that is lean and healthy fats to keep you full longer. Fats take a longer time to digest which helps keep your tummy happy until lunch :-)

Let's face it though...many mornings we don't have time to sit down, watch the news and eat breakfast - I am sure at one point or more (me!!) you eat on the road. Today, I am heading to Toledo to do my weekly consulting job at a nursing home and am gearing up for the cold weather with a breakfast-to-go and LOTS of blankets.

Have you heard of Black Bean Brownies or ever tried them? Sounds not so good, but you don't even know they are there. The same goes for this breakfast to go below...however, this recipe has chick peas!

Why am I emphasizing beans so much? Well, two things - they are rich in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is useful for filing you up, aiding in blood sugar and cholesterol health and supporting weight loss. Chick peas or Garbanzo beans are quite bland so they are versatile in many recipes.
One 1/2 cup serving gives you a hefty dose of protein (6 g- high amount) and fiber (6 g - high amount). Although there are 18 g of carbohydrates, there are less net carbs due to the fiber. All you do is take half of the fiber (if fiber exceeds 5 grams) and subtract it from the total carbs --> 18 - 3 = 15 grams. Therefore, the more fiber you take in, the less net carbs you take in - nice, right? :-)

Here is the finished recipe 
I used 3/4 c. frozen blueberries
1/2 c. garbanzo beans
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp dark chocolate chips  (optional) - healthy alternative - one serving of cacao powder - rich in antioxidants
1/2 c. Almond Breeze Unsweetened, vanilla or if you just exercised, use low fat chocolate milk
Easy add-ons: Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds, Prebiotic powder

Blend, enjoy! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year Sugar Detox - Are you addicted?

With a new year ahead of us, you are probably asking yourself, What is in store for me this year? What do I need to give up? What do I need to change? It is common for people to give up pop or start exercising, but maybe it is more than just pop. It is sugar..which lurks everywhere and hides in many foods we would not expect. I recently wrote a Sugar Detox book and the message really hit home about why it is so important to eat whole, clean un-processed foods... Here are some small pieces from my book and I hope you consider eating whole foods and trying a sugar detox to feel like a new person. 

Can you live without sugar? I mean the sugar that is added to foods, such as cakes, cookies, yogurts, sweet rolls, candy, and soda? If you have ever tried to diet and cut out everything with sugar, I am sure the diet was unpleasant to say the least, especially for your energy and mood.

When you see the ads for “Just Say No,” they have not hit the message home for a drug-free America. The same goes for giving up sugar. Eliminating added sugars is not an overnight fix. There are so many complex processes that occur when we eat sugar and after we eat sugar. I am sure many of us would love to end our sugar addiction and feel at our best. If you or someone else has said, “I am going to start eating clean tomorrow and cut everything out that is unnatural,” ask yourself, how long did it last? As easy as we think it can be to cut out all the bad stuff overnight, it is not that simple.

The main point I want to make known is that you are not alone...sugar can be hard to cut out right away due to its high palatability. Something is preventing us from eating healthy and pursuing healthy lifestyle behaviors. What is the culprit? The environment and highly processed foods. Added or processed sugar is not necessary for us to survive as it only provides “empty” calories, thus no nutritional value. However, many Americans are easily exceeding the limit of added sugar intake daily. Why? It is sweet, delicious and potentially addictive. Think about the ancestral times...they hunted for food and didn't know when their next meal would be so they would "stock" up. Same with today, we have that same type of zest for food; however, with all the unhealthy food around us, it is no wonder that it is more than tempting.

American is turning into (or already is) a sugarholic country, with sugar intake amounting to 22 tsp of added sugar per day, which is equivalent to an extra 350 calories day and over 8,000 teaspoons of sugar per year. Women are recommended to have no more than 6 tsp daily and men no more than 9 tsp daily. Therefore, we are taking in too much sugar, which is not benefiting our waistline or our health. Over 65 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese which means the majority of people are eating little nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats and healthy fats.

Is Sugar Truly Addictive and if so, How and Why?
Added sugar, not naturally occurring sugar, can become literally addictive. Sugar can make for a vicious cycle of events – the more you eat the more you want it. Sugar can elevate blood sugar levels, release insulin and lead to fat storage in our important vital organs. This type of fat stored is highly metabolically active, meaning that is can affect metabolism, hormones and organ function, such as the liver. It is not just willpower but ultimately you can become dependent on it like drugs. After you eat sugar, a message is sent to your brain and activates the rewards system. Your rewards system includes a series of electrical and chemical path systems that are located across various parts of your brain. The key chemical in your reward system is called dopamine, also known as the happy hormone.  Dopamine receptors can start to work overtime when you become dependent on sugar as they continually seek a “high” effect.  More and more sugar is needed to reach this effect, which makes sugar dependence turn into a true addiction. Interestingly, sugar causes a similar reaction in the brain just like drugs.

Where is surprisingly found? Look at grams of sugar on the back of labels...if you see hidden ingredients such as syrup, HFCS, corn syrup, brown sugar, fruit juice concentrates, etc., and towards the top of the list, chances are it is highly processed. Simply divide grams of sugar divided by 4 to get total tsp. Unfortunately, it will not disclose how much sugar is natural (lactose in milk and yogurt and fructose in fruit) and how much is unnatural so checking the ingredient list for added sugars is important.

Here are some steps to get rid of those cravings...ask me about a Sugar Detox program that is perfect for you!

1. Use the MyPlate System (Go to for personalized information)
2. Eat every three hours and no longer than 4-5 to keep your blood sugars balanced.
3. Try to avoid eating carbohydrates alone. Pair it with other food groups such as protein and healthy fats.
4. Consume less sugar and processed foods..
5. Have a bed time snack, such as veggies and hummus, bowl of oatmeal (original with fruits and nuts); plain Greek yogurt with berries
6. Consume prebiotic fiber which will improve your digestive health and support a strong immune system in addition to helping balance your blood sugar levels.