Saturday, February 20, 2010

Feb. 20: No Bake Cookies

3 tbsp skim milk
1/3 cup sucanat or rapiduro sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/8 cup wheat germ
1 cup oatmeal
1.) In a saucepan, bring milk, sucanat, cocoa and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly.
2.) Once mixture is boiling, stir in peanut butter. Continue stirring until peanut butter is melted.
3.) Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.
4.) Once all the ingredients are combined, drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.
5.) Let cool until firm, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
6.) Use spatula to remove the mixture from the sides of the saucepan and lick spatula. :D
Makes 12
Each cookie contains
97 calories
4.2g fat
12.8g carbs
1.5g fiber
3.3g protein
It doesn't get much easier than these cookies. Although not for every day, they are a fairly clean treat, and something you can feel good about feeding your kids in lieu of Oreos!
I hope you like them!

Feb. 20: All or Nothing

Too many of us have an all or nothing mentality. If we can't do something perfectly we won't do it at all. I believe this is the number one cause of failure in a weight loss program.

Why? Because none of us is perfect and none of us live in a world of perfect circumstances. So many things crop up to get in our way that it's impossible to always avoid those issues. This is life, and the key to success is to work around it when you can, and move past it when you can't.

Sometimes we have a bad day and say, "Oh, I deserve this little treat, - my day has been terrible." Well, that is not really going to make your day better, but if you do give in to that thinking, don't throw the whole day out the window. Get back on track with your very next meal!

Sometimes we don't plan well enough and we don't have enough food with us. We are so hungry that we cave and hit the drive thru. Should that ruin the rest of your day or the rest of your weekend? One meal is probably not going to do a lot of damage, but a weekend of bad meals can undo two weeks of hard, steady work!

Sometimes there is a special event. We've planned for it, eaten ahead of time, and then for some reason our resolve just flies out the window. We eat everything in sight and hover over the buffet like a like a starved vulture. It happens. Move on.

Let's say you got a ticket for running through a red light, so you said to yourself, "Well, I already got a speeding ticket today, so I might as well not stop at red lights for the rest of the day." Does that really seem logical or sensible? Not if you want to keep a driver's license! Apply this concept to food.

All or nothing thinking doesn't work. I can't tell you how many diets I have quit in the past because of this way of thinking. Forgive yourself your imperfections. Start again your very next meal. Move forward and treat yourself kindly.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Feb. 19: Starting on Monday

I'm on a few different health and nutrition forums. Often new people write in regarding their plan to start on Monday, to start on the first of the month, or to start after some obstacle is out of their way.

When you decide that Clean Eating, or any lifestyle is the way for you, why wait to start? Embrace this change you have decided to make. Strike while the motivation is high! Waiting to start is often just the continuation of the excuses that made you out of shape to begin with.

I want to make a list of reasons that people use for starting "later".

1.) I don't have the right foods in my house. Somewhat valid but still a cop out. You may not have everything you need but you can make the best choices possible until you get to the grocery store. Nearly everyone has some tuna, some produce or some frozen vegetables. Instantly begin to improve your choices and it will be that much easier to make good decisions at the grocery store.

2.) I don't want to do it until I have time to do it right. News Flash. You're never going to do things perfectly. None of us do. We do the best we can with the options available to us. Sometimes we don't pack enough food and end up in line at the dreaded drive thru. Starting right this minute, learn to forgive yourself and move on. Expecting perfection is the most certain way to fail.

3.) I want to eat **** one last time. I've been guilty of this myself. A lot of people give themselves a last hurrah and eat every horrible unhealthy thing in sight before the embark on a weight loss journey. Isn't that setting yourself up to feel deprived? Food is not off limits for the rest of your life! You can, from time to time, go off your plan and enjoy something you wouldn't normally eat. Gorging yourself like this is setting up the mentality that you will be banned from all things tasty. If you gain three pounds on your "last weekend" that's just three more pounds you have to lose. And trust me, they take way longer to take off than they do to put on!

4.) We have a big family Christmas party coming up in two weeks. Or a vacation. Or a dinner at a nice restaurant. Or a birthday party. The list goes on because life is full of special occasions. Why not be well on your way to a healthier you and plan for that special evening as a treat? Again, you are setting up an all or nothing mentality. If you know that you have a family function full of all sorts of dietary hurdles, plan to bring some healthy items and plan some select treats that you will thoroughly savour.

There are as many excuses to wait as there are people that want to get started and change their lives. By gritting your teeth and just moving forward, you have conquered the first obstacle. That sets you up for success because you can see that you were able to do something completely against the odds. Forgive yourself right now for not being perfect and love yourself enough to make a change.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feb. 17 ~ Short Cuts and Quick Fixes

Today I want to write about quick fixes. Don't you want to drop 10 pounds in two weeks, or lose 50 by bikini time? What is the best way to really get that weight off FAST????


There isn't one!

Here are the things that come to mind when I think of quick fixes:

Fat Burners
Most of the fat burners on the market are herbal supplements that claim to increase your metabolism. One common ingredients is Ephedra , which is now banned in Canada Ephedra has been banned because of effects like cardiac arrests, strokes, seizures, or just plain old irregular heartbeats. Anything that is supposed to increase your metabolism is very likely to cause similar effects.

Diet Pills
The pharmaceutical industry keeps coming out with diet pills. They have to because the previous diet pills all get taken off the shelves after people die from taking them. Previously, many of them contained Ephedrine ( a chemical related to the herbal supplement above) There were may deaths from heart failure reported. The drug was simply legalized amphetamines.

Most recently the drug companies are providing patients with fat blockers, which gives delightful side effects like explosive, uncontrollable diarrhea. These diarrhea pills are now available over the counter in the US and may spawn a brand new generation of eating disorders. This medication also inhibits the absorption of fat soluble vitamins.

Fad Diets
The Cabbage Soup Diet, the Banana Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Celebrity of the Week Diet. There is not room on this website to debunk all the crazy diets that get published in magazines and on the Internet. If you stick to them you will lose weight - definitely. But you will also lose nutrients, bone mass, and energy. you run the risk of permanently impairing your metabolism. They simply aren't worthwhile.

There are NO SHORTCUTS. There isn't a QUICK FIX. You have to discover a lifestyle that you can maintain and enjoy or learn to embrace yourself the way you are.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Feb: 16: Can Faith Help Weight Loss Efforts?

Today I want to look at a different approach to weight loss. FAITH. Whatever your belief system, there is strong evidence linking weight loss success to a dieter's religious beliefs.

Most religions recommend moderation in all things. The Bible preaches against gluttony and sloth, two of the Deadly Sins, and two big contributors to the Deadly State of Obesity. In the Koran, the prophet Mohamed recommends "Eat if the good things we have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest my wrath should justly descend on you." The Koran also recommends that one stops eating when their stomach is 2/3 full. Buddhism refers to the "Middle Way" a life free of excess and extremes, as well as mindfulness in all you do. The Talmud, the religious book of Judaism, teaches that food should be eaten slowly and savored. The Kabbalah teaches that God loves the person who overcomes their limitations.

Another thing the teachings have in common is eating food as close to nature as possible. All the beliefs see our bounty of food as a gift from God, to be celebrated and enjoyed with some degree of mindfulness and reverence. God created apples, not Twinkies.

It all sums up to this one fact: For thousands of years, major religions have all taught their followers to be moderate and to treat their bodies like a gift from God.

My new-found Christian faith has definitely helped me along my weight loss journey. It helps me to focus when I am getting off track. It seems somehow sacrilegious to pray for strength and help on my weight loss journey and then eat a King-sized Snickers.

Many organized religions now have weight loss programs for their followers. If you Google any of these names, you will be able to find some valuable information. Take what you can from it and apply it to your own efforts.

Christianity ~ Weighdown, Light Weigh
Buddhism ~ The Buddhist Diet
Paganism ~ Wiccan Weight loss
Judaism ~ Kosher Diet
Hinduism ~ The Sattvic Diet
Muslim ~ At Home!
If you're finding yourself stuck, whether it is just getting started, sticking with it, or you've hit a seemingly unbreakable plateau, consider looking towards your personal faith for some guidance. We need all the help we can get on our quest for a happier, healthier life!
NOTE: If I have provided any religious information that is incorrect, or used a term that is not politically correct when describing a religion or one of its followers, please forgive my ignorance and let me know about it so I can provide better information in the future!

Have a great, squeaky clean day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feb. 15: Fast Food, the Clean Way

Sometimes you just have to have food and you need it NOW. Maybe you forgot about piano lessons and you have 15 minutes to eat dinner and get the kids out the door. Maybe you worked late and came home to find a hungry family staring at you expectantly. Whatever the reason, it's important to have meals you can put together ASAP. Make sure you always have the ingredients for some of these items on hand and you will never get stuck going to McNasty's and getting food-like substances in the drive thru again.

Bean Burritos
Whole wheat tortillas or Ezekiel wraps,
a can of vegetarian refried beans (read the ingredients carefully - up here in Canada PC has a delicious fat free one that is clean)
clean salsa and/or chopped pepper, onions, and tomatoes.
Optional: low fat cheese
Plain yogurt
whatever fruit is kicking around
This is our to-go meal for the car if we are in a pinch
Pita Pizzas
I have a big variety of these based on what I have on hand
Whole wheat organic pitas
shredded low fat cheese
~tomato sauce, steamed broccoli, grilled chicken
~clean bbq sauce, grilled chicken, red onion, hot peppers, red peppers
~refried beans, salsa, peppers, onions, cooked ground turkey (optional)
~tomato sauce, cooked chicken sausage, mushrooms, finely chopped spinach
~tomato sauce, ham w/out nitrates, pineapple, peppers
Breakfast for Dinner
Pretty self-explanatory
Nut butter and banana sandwich, glass of milk
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Once you start thinking this way, you will come up with your own fail-safes for "that kind of day". I nearly always have leftovers on hand and it is a simple matter of popping them in the microwave. It's very important to make your fast food substitutes tasty and appealing,though, or you run the risk of "There's nothing GOOD" being the refrain.
Clean Eating - staying on plan is all about prep and creativity!