Donate to a Hunger Fighting Charity!

30 Day Nutrition Challenge

 

Happy Sunday night, dear friends. Today’s challenge is all about awareness. Did you know that 1 in 6 people struggle with hunger. Over 50 million Americans struggle to get enough to eat each night. Ponder on that a bit.

When you are enjoying your meals with your family or friends this week, consider donating time or money to a hunger fighting charity. There are PLENTY out there!

Here are some ideas:

  • Donate canned goods to your local food bank
  • Donate funds to Feeding America online
  • Volunteer with your local chapter of Meals on Wheels
  • Donate to Action Against Hunger online
  • Spread awareness through your twitter or facebook this week with statistics from Feeding America

Let’s fight hunger! No child deserves to go hungry…

Sunday Social: Love

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What is your ideal way to relax? I love yoga when I need to relax my mind here in Texas, but my FAVORITE way to relax is to lay outside by a beach in warm weather. Someday I hope to live a little closer to a beach… that’d be nice.

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Where is your favorite place to be? As much as I love the beach, I also love Colorado. Visiting my parent’s house in Colorado is so serene and beautiful. I love going there. Especially in the summer! Below is a pic from winter though, obviously.

Looking outside their front porch.

Looking outside their front porch.

Who do you consider your biggest role model? This one is so tough because I have a different role model for different things. As corny as it sounds, I will go with my parents. They have taught me so many things and I owe my life to them. I love them with all of my heart and hope to be half the parents that they are someday.

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What does your life look like in 3 years? I will be living in Colorado, Austin, or by a beach with at least 1 child. As for career, I will still have my current job because I LOVE IT and my boss will let me take the job with me. This is all me dreaming, but everything starts with a dream. Now, to make this dream a reality…

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This is me meditating on my dreams. 😉

If you could go back and change one decision what would it be? To not have graduated college early. If you are a college student, stay in and ENJOY it. Those college years go by way too fast. I graduated a semester early and I am not as close with my college friends anymore because of that I think. Eat ’em up cats!

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What is your biggest accomplishment in life thus far? I hate this question because it feels so loaded. There are many things I could say, but they don’t really matter in the end… ya know?! So to be honest, my biggest accomplishment is realizing just that. The things that truly matter are the little things that happen EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am proud to show love on a daily basis to the people and animals in my life, while savoring each moment that I have on this earth and beyond. God is love.

5 on Friday!

Can I get a hell yeah? Hell yeah! Why, you ask? Cause it’s FRIDAY! And who doesn’t love Fridays? I probably like them a little too much, but who cares. Really. “Everybody’s workin’ for the weekends…” kinda, sorta, sometimes. I love my job, but I love my play time more.

Ok, without further ado. It is time for 5 on Friday…

ONE: Dallas and Houston are planning to put in a high speed rail over the next 8 years. Yes, 8 years may be a LONG WAYS AWAY, but if I am still living in Dallas I will take advantage of this. One of my best friends lives in Houston and the mere fact that I could see her and her family in 90 minutes puts a HUGE smile on my face. Like this…

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TWO: I did it. I accomplished a goal I didn’t even have in early 2013. I developed the goal at the end of 2013 and accomplished it on Sunday. I ran a half marathon. Let me say this again with more emphasis, I RAN a half marathon. I didn’t walk. Not that there is anything wrong with walking. I just thought for sure my time was going to suck and I was going to have to walk at least 4 or 5 miles of it. I broke through that negative thinking and rose above it. The mind is powerful, my friends, so stay positive!

THREE: I just saw a commercial for Devious Maids on Lifetime. Do any of y’all watch it? I saw the first season and LOVED it so am really looking forward to this next season. For some reason I thought it wouldn’t start until Fall. I think Eva Longoria produced it. Way to go, girl!

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FOUR: I hate cleaning, but I have to clean like a mad woman today and tomorrow morning. We are having some people over tomorrow night. We don’t live filthy or anything, but it’s events like these where I actually clean more than just “pick up”. I am going to need a motivating playlist and preferably one with Justin Timberlake’s new song, Not a bad thing. Have you heard it yet? So cute!

FIVE: I find this very motivating. Not only the quote itself, but also the yoga pose. I have started doing more yoga at home and hope to one day be able to do this or something similar… (I found this on pinterest).

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Coconut Dream Smoothie

This is a quick post! I made the most delicious smoothie this morning and felt the need to share the recipe.

I call this the Coconut Dream Smoothie. It tastes so good that you MUST be dreaming. Only, if you were to pinch yourself, you would realize that you are not. You are just drinking something so yummy…

And yes, it’s green and it has spinach. But, you don’t taste the spinach since it is loaded with lots of other goodness and superfoods. Very nutritious!  Feel the glow after you drink it.

Coconut Dream Smoothie

What to Eat Wednesday: Say Cheese! crackers

Van's crackers

I have mentioned this before, but I will mention this again: I am all about crunchy foods! I know I am not alone in this either. I love a handful of crackers at lunch or with a snack to satisfy my need for crunch. Not all crackers are created equal though.

I know a lot of Cheez-It fans. I get it, they are tasty. But, I think I have found a contender. A good substitution if you will. One that is made from whole grains instead of enriched grains. They aren’t quite as cheesy, but where they lack in cheesiness they double in crunch.

Behold the Say Cheese! crackers from Van’s natural foods. I have written out their ingredients for you below. Look at the wholesome grains in their whole grain blend. I so dig that! As a whole, these crackers have quite a bit of ingredients… they ARE still processed after all. But the ingredients are ones you can pronounce and have heard of before.

Ingredients: Van’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Blend (Oats, Brown Rice Flour, Millet, Quinoa And Amaranth), non-GMO Expeller Pressed Sunflower and/or Safflower Oil, Potato Starch, Rice Flour, Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Whey, Brown Sugar, Salt, Buttermilk, Yeast Extract, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Lecithin, Spices, Beta Carotene and Annatto Extract (for Color), Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Natural Mixed Tocopherols for Freshness.

What I also like about these crackers is that they are gluten free. Even our celiac and gluten-sensitive friends can have these! I, myself, do not follow a gluten free diet, because I am not celiac or gluten-sensitive (that I know of). However, I still dig the ingredients in their whole grain blend. My favorite whole grains happen to be naturally gluten free.

And with that, eat well my friends. What is your favorite whole grain food?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I was not sent products to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I just simply liked them!

Choose Whole Grains Today!

25 Day Nutrition Challenge

Choose whole grains today. I wrote  an article about whole grains while I was completing my dietetic internship back in 2010. I found it in my archives so thought I’d share…

Have you had any quinoa today?  How about any amaranth?  Bulgur, perhaps?  These items have interesting names to say the least, and they could be tasty additions to the whole grain products in your pantry.

At this point you may be wondering just exactly what a whole grain is.  Whole grains contain all the essential parts of the grain seed (i.e. bran, germ and endosperm).  Whether the grain has been processed or not, it should deliver the same nutrients found in the original seed.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 3 to 5 servings of whole grains a day.  Even children should consume at least 2 to 3 daily servings.  Study after study has shown that eating whole grains, instead of refined grains, can reduce your risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease as well as help you maintain your weight.

Now let’s take a closer look at a few of the less well-known whole grains.  Quinoa (pronounced like keen-wa) is commonly considered a grain, but is actually a seed that was a staple in the Incan diet.  Higher in protein than other grains, it makes a great addition to soups, salads and casseroles and can even be eaten as a breakfast cereal.  Amaranth was a popular food of the Aztecs and just one-fourth cup supplies 60% of the recommended dietary allowance of iron.  Amaranth is gluten-free and can be added to gluten-free flour blends, sauces, soups, and stews.  Bulgur is a cereal made from several different types of wheat, and is most often found in Middle Eastern cuisine.  Bulgur can be used in pilafs, soups, baked goods, stuffing, and tabbouleh salad.  Other whole grains include: barley, buckwheat, millet, oats, brown rice, wild rice, rye, sorghum, teff, triticale and, of course, whole wheat.

If trying a new whole grain isn’t your thing, don’t worry.  There are plenty of other ways to choose whole grains today like the following:

  • Buy whole grain pasta for your weekly spaghetti dish
  • Try a cereal with the Whole Grain stamp*
  • Make your favorite sandwich with a whole wheat bread or bun
  • Serve brown rice as a side dish instead of white rice
  • Try popping your own popcorn to serve as a snack
  • Make your favorite soup recipe with added barley or wild rice

*For recipes and information on the Whole Grain stamp, visit the Whole Grain Council’s website at www.wholegrainscouncil.org

Make a New Breakfast Recipe!

23 Day Nutrition Challenge

 

Today is the day of my first half marathon. My nerves are running rampant so hopefully by the time you read this, I will have FINISHED the half. That’s my goal- to finish. I don’t need to set any records, because quite frankly just finishing it is record enough for me.

So anyway, today’s challenge is Make a New Breakfast Recipe. I will be making mine AFTER the half and here is the recipe I will use:

Fancy Oatmeal

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh or dried pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

Prepare 1 cup of steel-cut oatmeal and then add the toppings above. I found this recipe in Self magazine in February of last year and have been wanting to try it ever since.  Today is the day! Although I may have more than one serving, because I anticipate I will be starving after the race. I cannot run on a full stomach so will be having a very light bite before.

What new breakfast recipe will you try? Don’t feel like you have to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen. Play around with your favorite breakfast recipe and tweak it a tad. Or make a breakfast casserole that you have been eyeing lately. Ever wanted to try a healthier version of cinnamon rolls? Take a look at this recipe from the Nutrition Twins. Yum! I will have to try these someday.

Feel free to share your favorite breakfast recipe! Leave a link to your blog post, share via twitter/facebook, or comment below.

Sunday Social

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I missed Sunday Social last week so am happy to be back this week. Sunday social is my FAVORITE link up and I truly enjoy reading other blogs on Sunday. Sunday is always the perfect day for that!

Today’s questions are…

  1. Top 3 things you can’t go a day without doing: The most obvious thing that comes to my mind is showering. I am a huge fan of hygiene. Plus, I seriously think a warm shower can make me feel better in an instant! Second, is eating too obvious? I have never been interested in fasting and I do not have any religious influences creating the need so I currently do not go a day without eating. I enjoy meal times! Third, I can’t go a day without having some type of human interaction. I am not a dependent person by any means and I actually LOVE & savor my alone time, but I do need human interaction on a regular basis too. I would rather people watch at a Target or Starbucks than spend days without seeing one human soul. 
  2. 3 things that scare you the most: If we are talking numbers here, my younger brother. He has scared me more times than I can even count. It was his “thing” growing up. The other two things that are probably even scarier than my younger brother, but I rarely come in contact with would have to be snakes and spiders. I have NO desire to be on Survivor, Naked and Afraid, or any of those other outdoor reality shows. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
  3. 3 places you want to see before you kick the bucket: I have SO many, but my top 3 are New Zealand, Australia, and Turks and Caicos.                                                                                               
  4. 3 movies you will always love: I can always count on these movies if I am in a downer mood and need a little pick-me-up. I haven’t watched them in awhile, but I LOVED them growing up (and still do). Top is Shag… it is Marcena, Molly, and I’s favorite movie. We were those girls growing up. My favorite was Annabeth Gish (Pudge in the movie). 2nd is Dirty Dancing. Who put’s Baby in a corner? I mean, really! She is kick-ass AND Patrick Swayze is hot and he can dance. Win-win in my book! Third is Grease. I was deciding between Grease, Sandlot, and Newsies, but I think Grease takes the cake. I am a musical fan (I know, I know.. they aren’t for everyone) and the singing/dancing in Grease just lights me up… like Grease Lightning. I hope you are singing now…                                                                                                                         
  5. 3 favorite current songs: Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo.. I can’t help but move my body when this song comes on. I do my own little shoulder dance if restricted in the car. And no, I don’t care who is watching! Second, Fallin’ by Haim. I am in love with that song! I saw them at Austin City Limits this past year and I hope to see them again. Third, I guess I will go with This is My Hometown by Eric Church. That one has been coming on lately and I find myself needing to turn up the volume a bit.

Stop Eating When Satisfied!

21 Day Nutrition Challenge

 

Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way. We, in general, as a nation, eat too much! Diet-related diseases and obesity are a big problem here. That’s no surprise to us… we hear it all the time.

What are we to do? We all know what is healthy and not healthy, for the most part. We know eating less and moving more are keys to preventing some of the diet-related diseases and obesity. Many of us just lack motivation or support. Many of us are just too stressed. Some of us even eat crap BECAUSE we are stressed (think emotional eating).

We need to slow down. We need to savor our food and check in with our bodies. We need to end our memberships to the “clean our plates” club.

Take time this week to check in with your body before and after a meal. Practice putting your fork down after bites to check in with yourself. Are you satisfied? If the answer is yes, be done with your meal. Have no judgment. If you get hungry later, you can have a snack. Don’t feel the need to overeat just because your plate is full. If the answer is no, keep eating. But then check in with yourself again to stop whenever you are satisfied.

Stopping when satisfied is different than stopping when full. Let me explain the difference. Stopping when you are satisfied means you are not hungry, but are also not completely full. As a guide, you are about 80% full- give or take. Stopping when you are full means you cannot put another morsel in your mouth (or don’t want to). You have no room for anything else.

You may be surprised at how less you eat naturally whenever you listen to your body. Savor your meal, the experience, and that meal time with loved ones (or if you are alone, the time to be still with no agenda).

What to Eat Wednesday: Way Better Snacks

Way Better Snacks

New product alert! Or, new product for me alert. I was at Target and was hoping to find a healthy treat that I could dip in guacamole. I love me some guacamole these days and while I do like my carrots dipped in it, I was thinking of something a little more salty.. like tortilla chips, but not.  So, I found a good swap…

Way Better Snacks: Simply Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips. Check out these ingredients…

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And more importantly, they do NOT taste like cardboard. They are an excellent swap for tortilla chips in terms of taste. The serving size is small- 11 chips, but with these wholesome ingredients and possibly the addition of guacamole 11 is plenty!

When I went to the Way Better website I found a whole list of other snacks too. I would love to try some of these! They have other flavors of tortilla chips, crackers, and even pita chips. I will be on the look out the next time I am at Target, Whole Foods, or Central Market.

Why sprouted when it comes to certain grains? The sprouting process can increase the amount and bioavailability of some vitamins and minerals. I LOVE my Ezekial sprouted grains pita bread and prefer it to any type of regular bread. It is often hard to find bread these days without a whole laundry list of ingredients. Sprouted quinoa and chia seed are in these chips. Those two ingredients, even if they weren’t sprouted, are nutritional powerhouses!

Which Way Better Snacks are you excited to try?