I have a confession to make. I LOVE CEREAL! Anyone else with me on this?
I was once told by a personal trainer that I should NEVER eat cereal. I’m sorry, but that just won’t happen. I was brought up on Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, and Smacks. I was once told by older brother that I was the only person on the planet to like Smacks. Maybe true, but at least I always knew who was getting the Smacks when it came time to divvy up the travel-size cereal boxes on vacation. Never got that box side-swiped.
I get that cereal is not the most nutritious thing on the block. But to completely rid myself of cereal is like telling a kid he won’t ever be able to ride his bike without training wheels. WHAT?! Total let down.
Even though most cereals have loads of ingredients, I do have a few favorite healthier options. The cereals I used to eat as a kid are now what I call “treat cereals”.. meaning, they are not for every day consumption. Every once in a long while I will have a craving for one and I just buy the single serving packet. Does the trick!
My favorite healthier cereal option award of the moment goes to Barbara’s Puffins. Specifically, the Cinnamon flavor. I love a bowl of Puffins with a side of grapefruit. Yum!
Keep in mind, there are still plenty of ingredients in Puffins (I like most of my food to have less than 5 ingredients), but I do know what all of the ingredients are, can pronounce them, and the cereal tastes good. Some healthier cereals taste like cardboard and I just can’t stomach cardboard in the morning. I like how light Puffins are and they do not have too much sugar (only 6 grams per serving). Sometimes I will mix these into plain Greek yogurt too with extra cinnamon stirred in. Also a delicious option!
You want to know the BEST news? I got a box at Central Market for $2.22. Say what?! Budget friendly, waist line friendly, taste bud friendly… heck YES!
Not sure you are ready to try Puffins? No worries. Find your own favorite “healthier” cereal option. Here’s how:
- Look for the least amount of ingredients (if possible). If it has more than 5 or so but you are dying to try it, at least make sure you recognize the ingredients.
- Look for as little sugar as possible. I look for less than 8 grams per serving. Just a number I picked, but obviously the lesser the better.
- Want an added bonus? Look for some fiber. Puffins has 6 grams per serving. That is a GREAT number. I get stomach cramps on really high fiber cereals so 6 grams is plenty for me.
- Pay attention to the serving size. If it is really high in calories, you will want to stick with the serving size or close to it.
I just looked at the calendar and guess what?! It is exactly 1 month until Valentine’s Day. Since Valentine’s Day is all about hearts and chocolates, I can’t stop thinking about our real hearts. I mean, our hearts tick for us EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF EVERY SINGLE DAY. Did I emphasize that enough?!? Our hearts allow us to enjoy each moments with our loved ones.
In honor of your heart and mine, let’s kick off the next 30 days with a little challenge. I love a good challenge, especially one that is good for me! This challenge is not hard at all. Anyone can do it. And it will get you to focus on that heart of yours. It will bring awareness to just how important your heart is.
Did you know?
- Heart disease is THE leading cause of death for both men and women (about 1 in every 4 deaths)
- Every year, about 715,000 people have a heart attack
Ouch! And most are preventable through an overall healthy lifestyle and/or changing bad habits like quitting smoking, reducing sodium/salt intake, etc. So that is what the Heart to Health challenge I created is focusing on. Over the next 30 days, create a specific goal for yourself. Take a look at how you are going to achieve this goal and even break it down if you need to. Focus on how happy and healthy your heart can and will be.
Invite others to do the same! Share on your favorite social media platform with your goal! Show your heart some love and then celebrate it on Valentine’s Day by cherishing each moment.
My personal goal for the next 30 days will be to practice 1 healthy habit daily to reduce stress. I will be choosing from the following each day: 20 mins meditation/yoga/stretching, bubble bath, reading a magazine, going for a quick walk, or watching a girly show on TV.
From my heart to yours!
Have you ever created a dream or vision board? I created one in college, but that was about it. Until this past weekend. And I am left with the question… why do I not create one of these EVERY year? They are a fun and creative way to get you thinking about the year ahead.
There are no rules to creating a dream board. I have seen some extremely artistic boards with original drawings and pictures. I am not quite that talented (yet!) so my art comes from cutting up magazines and strategically placing them on the board. It works! I am also a woman of words. Words motivate me even more than pictures do I think. So, I definitely put key words on my vision board.
Let’s dig in a little…
The left side of my dream board is geared towards my personal life, while the right side is geared more towards Simple Delights. Here are a few key dreams:
- Personal: get yoga back into my life, dance in a musical or other performance, travel regularly (on my list for 2014: St. Lucia, Hawaii, & Colorado for sure), save more money (hopefully at least $500 per month this year), and focus attention on love, family, and the little things.
- Simple Delights: grow Simple Delights into a must-read blog, get published in a magazine, improve my social media presence, add nutrition counseling to services offered through Simple Delights, provide motivation and inspiration to others through Simple Delights.
So there you have it.. my dream board. I will keep it placed in my office all year-round and then hopefully make a new one next January.
Here’s to a good year!
Every Sunday, I do a link up with A Complete Waste of Makeup called Sunday Social. It’s super fun and gets us all SOCIAL! Feel free to join in on the fun…
This week’s questions:
What is the name of your blog? How long have you been blogging? Simple Delights is the name of my blog. I have been blogging here for about 2 months. I blogged once per week (What to Eat Wednesday) for Pure Barre Dallas in 2013 and towards the end of the year decided to blog more. And that’s when I created Simple Delights.
Why do you blog? I am a nutrition professional who loves to write so the combo is perfect for blogging. I love to help others find simple ways to live healthy! Blogging also keeps me accountable- to practice what I preach, so to speak.
What is the first blog you ever followed? This is a tough one because I know I followed blogs years ago, but I do not remember any of the names. So, I will have to go with Lauren Conrad’s blog. I wanted to be more stylish in 2011 or 2012 so started following her blog.
What is your favorite post you wrote in 2013? Since I have not been blogging long at Simple Delights, I will say my first post. It symbolizes the start of my blogging journey and I could not be more excited about it. I am thrilled to finally be writing regularly and connecting with others through nutrition, fitness, healthy living, and writing.
What are your blogging goals for 2014? In addition to blogging, I would like to expand into writing for online publications. I just wrote for an online newsletter for dietitians and hope to contribute to a few others this year. My specific goal is to get published at least 5 times this year. Another goal of mine is to grow Simple Delights and learn innovative ways to reach other readers. My specific goal in this realm is to reach 100 followers by the end of the year.
Top 3 favorite blogs to follow. I still really like following Lauren Conrad’s blog so that is on my list. Neely at A Complete Waste of Makeup has been influential in helping me start my blog so I still follow her and enjoy reading her posts. Lastly, a recent and fun blog I have found is Oh Mrs. Tucker. I love her goofiness!
Below are a few things I have found delightful this week… Happy Friday!
Electric Blanket: Oh my goodness, how had I never heard of these before December? Electric blankets are greatness! If you do not have one, I would highly recommend it. The heat evokes instant relaxation. Every night I have been looking forward to using my electric blanket, drinking my hot tea, and watching a good show with my loves. Priceless!
Massage Therapy: Part of health and wellness is treating your body right. Massage therapy helps relieve tension and promotes relaxation. I do not get massages enough! It has been several months (maybe even half a year) since I have gotten a massage. I needed one. And lucky for me, I had a gift certificate to Evanesque in Dallas. BEST. MASSAGE. EVER. If you do not have a massage therapist and live in Dallas, check out Katina Chapa. And if you already have your own massage therapist, consider scheduling one for yourself over the next month or two. You will love it!
Peppermint Straw: I love my peppermint straw! It gives my drink a little Christmas cheer (even when it isn’t Christmas). I think everyone should have a fun straw to drink with. It really does make your drink that much more exciting… or maybe it’s just me (I also have a red glitter one). And side note: drinking any dark colored beverage with a straw will help keep your drink from staining your teeth. Love your pearly whites!
Morning Workouts: In recent history, I have not been one to do a morning workout. However, this past week I have been waking up and working out right away for 30 minutes. Working out first thing can help boost your metabolism and give you energy. I have definitely been feeling the energy and LOVE IT! I will keep this up. My favorite girls at Tone It Up call morning workouts your “booty call.” So, I have been doing my booty call regularly this week.
What simple things have been delightful to you this week?
I haven’t ran a single mile in over a week and half. But, yet I am “training for a half marathon.” Feeling kinda guilty, I decided today was the day to get back with the program.
My excuse was the flu and cold weather. I let the flu run its course and then only did indoor workouts with this nappy weather, leaving running by the wayside. And I NEVER run on treadmill… can’t stand it. My number 1 rule to physical activity is don’t do something you hate. If you hate it, you won’t keep it up. Find activities you actually like.
Today was the day to get back on my training program. My training program consists of running 3 times per week. This week’s schedule is 2 days of 5 milers and 1 day of a 7 miler. THAT alone was frightening me. I feared the pavement this morning, thinking that there was no way I was going to be able to do 5 miles after not running for a week and half. Isn’t it funny how crazy our minds can blow things out of proportion? I mean, some people rarely run and can go for 10 miles. But, not this girl.
I needed to get my motivation up. I needed to start turning my fear around and think positively. I decided I would give my run 30 minutes. If I wanted to keep going after 30 minutes, I could. If I didn’t, no worries. And I got a kick-butt playlist. I am all about good music! And of course, “good” is subjective. You may or may not like my taste, but some of the songs that got me moving today are in the picture up top.
I left for my run and went 43 minutes. Look at me go! I did 4 miles.. and you know what? I feel great about it. The fear of starting up again is gone. This weekend I can tackle a longer run with no qualms and GREAT music. Whenever you fear the unknown or just need extra motivation, let the music move you. And turn any negative feelings around. Stay positive. It works!
What the kale! Had to.. cause you know what it rhymes with.
Anyway, this What to Eat Wednesday is dedicated to kale because this deep green vegetable has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all vegetables! I used to hate kale and have only recently become a convert. You know what it took? Baking it for 10 minutes and making it crispy! Crispy textures get me every time. Love the crunch!
Antioxidants fight cancer. I hate cancer. I want it to go to kale. Had to again. This is too fun!
If you are like what I used to be- hater of the kale- try it baked. Take out that cookie sheet, place the kale on the sheet (I do not like spines so I remove them & only keep leaves), drizzle with olive oil (make sure oil gets on a good amount of pieces), and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. The pieces may start to turn brown and if so, you want to take the kale out right then. It will already be good and crispy! I like the kale chips alone, but I have heard to dip them in hummus or guacamole too.
You can also saute kale like you would spinach. It shrinks a lot during cooking so you would want to add plenty to the pan.
Kale is not only full of antioxidants, but is also calcium rich for healthy bones, high in carotenes for healthy eyes, and a single portion provides twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. Eat up!
I leave for St. Lucia in less than 3 weeks now. EEEEEK! That is the sound of excitement. Do you ever get so excited about future trips that you can’t help but dream what its going to look like, feel like, and be like? I think that’s healthy. Vacations promote positive thinking. Vacations also allow you to take a break from your real life and let go. I think we should all take more vacations. Can I get an Amen?
What I am looking forward to in St. Lucia:
- Clear water you can see through
- First time scuba diving
- Hiking up a volcano
- Sand between my toes
- Palm trees
- Beachy drinks
- Ziplining through the rainforest
- Meeting locals
And I get to do all of the above with my main squeeze. We are good travel partners so I know we will have a blast.
I am still doing a lot of the planning so if you have ever been to St. Lucia, please send me your faves or must do’s. And tell me, what vacation are you excited about this year?
With every New Year comes millions of dieters and gym goers with GREAT intentions. I teach at a local Pure Barre studio and it never fails, the classes are PACKED this time of year. The regulars are forced to waiting lists and sniffing others armpits. Okay, not really, but you get the picture. Room is tighttttt!
Lately, I have been seeing many social media posts about diets. I even saw one where a lady posted she has been fruit-free for 2 years. Admitting it like she deserves a prize. Others are ridding themselves of the bread basket or other bad habits. I can dig that. Another post was praising the Atkins diet. Gross! And finally tons of posts about Paleo diet and how it is the only way to go. (Rolls eyes). What is up with this crazy anti-carb talk?
Carbs are not evil. And here is why…
- The definition of evil is: profoundly immoral and malevolent. Food itself isn’t immoral.. now, the person eating it could be, but that’s a different story.
- Carb is short for carbohydrate. The definition of a carbohydrate is: any of a group of organic compounds that includes sugars, starches, celluloses, and gums, and serves as a major energy source in the diet of animals. Energy.. what it takes to move, sleep, play with your kids, walk your dog, and you get the idea.
- Carbs include a whole range of foods. Even some foods you can plant yourself would be classified as a carb (like many fruits and vegetables). Cereal, cookies, crackers, bread, and chips would also be classified as a carb. To go completely carb-free is to rid yourself of extremely valuable nutrients.
- The difference between a marathon completer and one that can’t even finish mile 10 is often carbs (among other things). Those GU (or any other brand) packets you see runners with have carbohydrates to keep one’s energy level up. Carbohydrates are FUEL for workouts. How cool is that?
- The word is fun to say, is it not? Carbohydrate sounds pretty positive to me. The word devil or axe murderer? That’s a different story. You can put those in the “evil” basket.
So if you are like the lady going “fruit-free”, please reevaluate. Fruits are full of vitamins and nutrients. And if it is your calling to follow the Atkins or Paleo diet, by all means go ahead. But, educate yourself. Be the boss of your body and treat it right. Any diet that takes out a whole nutrient source is just silly.. and quite frankly restrictive, boring, and unnecessary.
I leave you with this… carbs are not evil. Carbs are fuel.
Every Sunday, I do a link up with A Complete Waste of Makeup called Sunday Social. It’s super fun and gets us all SOCIAL! Feel free to join in on the fun…
Do you plan to change any of your eating habits in the New Year? Absolutely. I am an overall healthy eater, but love to learn more about nutrition daily. I am going to eat more green good stuff this year, whether it is through juice, smoothies, or as side dishes. I used to hate kale, but am now actually digging it in small doses and mixed with other things. It’s a start!
Many fruits, vegetables, and herbs have healing properties and can really do a body good so I also hope to explore more of that this year.
Any workout tips to get us back in shape over the holidays? Get that cardio in! Even 10 minutes here and there counts, but get that heart pumping each day. I started a January jump challenge to emphasize how important cardio is. Consider this a kick start to another workout or a back up plan if you do not have time for another workout.
What is your favorite thing you did over the holidays? I have quite a lot, but many are things that happen every year like Christmas movies, family outings, gift giving, etc. So, my new “favorite” thing we did over the holidays was play farkle on Christmas Eve. Have you ever played farkle? Funny name, but fun game!
What is something that you hope to accomplish in 2014 that you didn’t in 2013? I want to perform again, whether it be in a musical or a dance show. I had planned to audition for a musical in 2013, but didn’t. This is my year to just go for it. If I don’t get a part, I will try again. I love to dance and want more opportunities to do so.
Name 3 things happening this year that you are excited about and why.
- My trip to St. Lucia is happening VERY soon and I am excited because of all the adventures we have planned. I am also excited about being on the beach. I am a beach bum at heart (even though I live nowhere near a beach currently).
- I turn 30. I know, I should be shaking in my boots, afraid of turning 30, but I am going to embrace it. I think my 30s will be thriving, adventurous, and FUN!
- My mom retires. I am thrilled for her and know that she will have a blast in retirement. I am also excited about my mom staying in Colorado longer this summer. I will definitely make a visit to that little place of heaven. Colorado is BEAUTIFUL in the summer time if you have never been!