Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Latte: Seasonal Favorite or Foe?

We all look forward to this time of year for the cool crisp air, the beautiful leaves, the Halloween spooks, and of course, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte is back. :)

Who doesn't love to sip this delicious treat while going for a stroll in the chilly weather, or while cozying up in your favorite bookstore on a lazy weekend morning? However, as with many drinks, some of us don't realize the incredible amount of calories this little treat contains. With the season of goodies from Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas fast approaching, it's good to be mindful of what you indulge in.

Nutrition Facts per serving:
Grande (16oz) made with 2% milk and topped with whipped cream
Espresso, pumpkin, spices, steamed milk and sweetened whipped cream.
Calories 380
Calories from Fat 120
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 220mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 18%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 49g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A 15% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 50% Iron 0%
Caffeine 150mg
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Now, I'm not trying to be a downer on this fall favorite, because trust me, I'm a fan as well. There's nothing wrong with indulging a special treat that is only here once a year. :) But check out the facts if you swap a Grande for a Tall, 2% milk for nonfat, and skip the whipped cream.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Tall (12oz) made with nonfat milk and no whip
Calories 200
Calories from Fat 5
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol <5mg 2%
Sodium 170mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 13%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 37g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A 1000% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 4000% Iron 0%
Caffeine 75mg
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Wow! Just by ordering the smaller size (by 4oz, reallllllly not that much) you can save 180 calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, and 11 grams of sugar. & if you just can't imagine this treat without the whipped cream, it'll only cost you 60 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 1 gram of sugar more.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I got an invite on my Facebook page to join in on END FAT TALK week. So I clicked and found a page dedicated to trying to change the conversation women are having about their body image. Too often when we look in the mirror or see someone else & what do we say?

"Ugh this looks awful."
"I need to lose weight."
"Ew, look how fat I look."
"What is that girl thinking? She's way too fat to wear that."

On a recent trip to Polaris mall with my best friend, I was standing in the dressing room at Forever 21 and saw a girl, probably about 13 or 14 years old come out of one of the rooms in a cute summer dress. She stepped in front of the mirror with a look of disgust, sucked in, and turned to the side. Now this girl was by no means overweight. She was tall and slender, but not a stick figure. She had long beautiful hair and a pretty face. She looked perfectly healthy.
"Oh my god, ew, look!"
& she pinched her sides and sucked in some more before rushing back into her room to change.

On the way out of the store, Rach and I talked about all the negativity in the dressing rooms. Girls judging themselves and their bodies, not feeling good enough or skinny enough or maybe their butts too big or their boobs are too small. It's ridiculous. We've all fallen victim to it at one time or another.

So this is what END FAT TALK week is about. Stop putting yourself down. Don't put others down to be mean or petty. Or maybe you're not even realizing that you're doing it. Stop and think before you open your mouth. Before you glare down at your belly or glare at your frame, remember that it's with you everyday. Be thankful for your health. Be thankful for a healthy body that works and supports you and functions properly. Be thankful for your strong legs that carry you throughout your day. Your arms that hug the people you love. Your face that lights up someone else's day.
When you look in the mirror, name 5 things about the way you look that you like. Leave a post it note in a public bathroom that simply says "You look BEAUTIFUL" <3 We must spread the word.

Let's change the conversation about body image ladies. END FAT TALK week is October 18th - October 22nd, 2010.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!

Something we have all suffered from at one point or another is dehydration. You may not have even known you were dehydrated, but studies show that the vast majority of us don't consume enough water daily, so chances are you've experienced dehydration of some level, at some point.

Water is our main facilitator of digestion. It is composed of two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule (H20), its composition makes it a universal solvent, which means it can dissolve practically anything! This action as a solvent is why it is so useful in our digestion, water helps to dissolve the food we eat so every nutrient we eat can be available to our body. Water is also a taxi of sorts, delivering nutrients to our tissues, removing waste and toxins from our bodies. Our cells are contained in material called extracelluar fluid, and filled with intracelluar fluid, both composed largely of water. These fluids lubricate our joints, cushion our organs, bathe our tissues, and give our brain a nice bath to float around in. Water is also important for maintaining body temperature, think of sweating when you get too hot. This our body's way of releasing heat and keeping your from overheating. You can paint the picture for yourself of how our body shuts down without water, and why extreme dehydration can lead to death.

Now, this blog is titled 'hydrate!', but really the bigger issue is dehydration. Chances are you might be dehydrated right now as you're reading this! Are you thirsty? Are your lips dry? Headache? Fatigue? ALL symptoms of dehydration. We've all experience that mid-afternoon crash when you feel like you can't possibly do anything except take a nice long nap. This always happened to me around 7th period in high school. Geometry? Forget it. I'm focusing on staying awake and that's not even a for sure at this point. (Sorry Ms. Sheffield!) People often try to remedy this with a candy bar, a pop, a coffee, or a 5 hour energy (according to the commercials!) But what you're probably experiencing is thirst! Before you try anything else, get some water. You might be surprised at how much it helps.

Think about this: Decreasing your total body water by 1% can decrease your ability to work effectively by 10%!! A 3% decrease in body water means you're only functioning at 70%! When you actually FEEL thirsty, you're already down 2%! More motivation to stay hydrated and productive during the day.

So how much water is enough?
This is a question where the answer is dependent on who you ask. Answers could range from 1 liter to 7 liters a day. I try to drink 2-3 liters a day, depending on what I'm doing. So I have a liter waterbottle & make sure to fill it up. Just listen to your body, if you're feeling thirsty or groggy, drink up! The thrist reflex can be weak at times and many people confuse it with feeling hungry. Try to really listen to your body and figure out what it needs before heading straight to the fridge. A good way to avoid this is to stay hydrated throughout the day, and drink water with your meals!

Here's a couple tips I've heard:
Take your weight in lbs and divide it in half. This is how many ounces of water you should drink per day at the minimum. So if you weigh 150, you need at least 75 ounces of water a day.

I've also heard you need one liter per 50 lbs of weight. So a 150 lbs person needs 3 liters of water per day.

If you eat a balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits, veggies, & lean protein, you will get about 20% of your daily water intake from food. The remaining 80% needs to be attained from fluids. Make sure it's the right kind of fluids!

Water is obviously the best choice for hydration, but we drink other stuff too, so lets not rule that out.
Coffee and tea can be good, but usually contain a lot of caffeine, which is a diuretic (makes you have to pee) and counterproductive for hydration. If you can't skip your coffee, balance it out by drinking water after, or try a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea!

Pop, diet or regular, is overconsumed and loaded with sugar, caffeine, empty calories, and harmful chemicals. Steer clear.

Gatorade and other sports drinks can also be high in sugar, while the packaging is trying to convince you they're healthy & you're fueling up! GR! They're talked up for their hydrating effects, but really usually unncessary unless you're working out hard for an extended period of time. You don't want to add the calories back on that you just burned off!

Alcohol also has a diuretic effect, so if you're going to enjoy a cocktail, balance it out with a glass of water!

So go buy a stainless steel liter water bottle (people that know me know I always have my purple or green bottle nearby somewhere!) fill it up, and take it with you everywhere! If plain water bores you to tears, add lemon or limes slices, or some frozen berries for a boost of flavor! Proper hydration will give you glowing skin, a clear head, and boosts your metabolism by as much as 3%..What a simple way to lose weight & feel great! Drink up & enjoy!! :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Master your Metabolism!

So we all have that friend that can eat everything in sight and never gain a pound, or the friend that swears everything she eats goes straight to her hips. Some people have a fast metabolism, making it easier for them to lose weight and difficult to gain, while some people's metabolism is slower, making losing difficult. The good thing is, we can change our metabolism, no matter if it's high or low. 

Let's start with basics: 

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is a balancing act of sorts that starts at birth and ends at death. The balancing act is between the act of building up and breaking down of energy stores and body tissues. In other words, your metabolism is what breaks down the energy you get from food and turns it into fuel for regular body functions (breathing, moving our arms & legs, staying warm, working out). Your metabolic rate (speed of your metabolism) sets the bar for how much food you need to eat to maintain a stable weight. If you seem to be gaining weight, you're consuming more energy than your metabolism can process and the excess is being stored as unused energy in fat. The body does this so that in times of famine it can hold onto your fat as a protective reserve of energy to guarantee survival. 

Your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the rate at which your body uses energy at rest. If you wake up, look out the window, see its rainy & decide to spend all day on the couch doing nothing, this is the amount of calories your body will burn to stay functioning. At last check mine was about 1,500. BMR depends on factors such as height & weight as well as normal activity level. A body builder will have a much higher BMR than a couch potato. 

Your metabolism depends on how you treat your body now and how you have treated it in the past. If you've followed a consistent weight-training program for any period of time, it's likely you will have an efficient fat-burning metabolism. Metabolism can be thought of as a bank account earning interest. It works for you all the time, when you aren't working out, and even when you're sleeping. On the flip side, if you've dieted for years, gaining and losing weight over and over again, it's more likely you've interfered with your metabolism, meaning you burn fuel from food more slowly, making it difficult to lose weight. 

Here is the reason yo-yo dieting is so bad for the body. Our bodies are designed to withstand a lot, including feast & famine. They are trained to take it easy or work overtime, depending on available food sources. When you skip meals or starve yourself, your metabolism slows down in response to your reduced caloric intake, the bodies way of protecting itself from starvation - making it hard to shed fat in case you need it for future fuel. This is why when you try to "diet" and cut calories way back or skip meals, it often doesn't work for long. 
The same holds true for eliminating whole food groups from your diet, such as carbs or fats. When you remove certain foods from your diet, your body will react in a negative way. Removing entire food groups makes you miss out on essential nutrients, and while you may lose weight in the short term, as you reintroduce those foods into your diet, the body clings on to those lost nutrients, often resulting in rapid weight gain. 

Speed up your Metabolism!

Weight training 
 One pound of muscle burns approximately 25 times more calories than one pound of fat. If you're not overweight, there is more muscle tissue in your body than any other type. Muscle tissue demands the most energy, therefore it is your muscle tissue that determines the rate at which your body burns energy. Building a layer of muscle by weight training will increase your metabolic rate. 
* I have seen this in action. I took a weight lifting class in school during winter and incorporated a consistent weight training routine into my usual workouts. By the end of the class, I had lowered my body fat % from 24 to 19% and it has been key in helping me to lose weight this past year and keep it off. Before I took the class I did mostly cardio with a little weights here and there. Now it's much more balanced and the results are there! 

When you increase your physical activity, a couple things happen in your body immediately. When you start moving your muscles, your fat cells become smaller in a process called lipolysis. Exercise and weight training encourages & quickens muscle growth. Weight training stimulates your muscles while you're working out definitely, but also for hours afterwards. Exercise triggers the release of testosterone in the body, this reaction works to destroy fat. 

To get the most out of your weight training sessions, work large muscle groups such as the quads, glutes, chest and back. When you perform exercises that work major body parts (squats, lunges, & leg presses) hundreds of muscles contact at once, increasing your metabolic rate by as much as 2,000 percent!! 

Feel the burn - Intense activity is another factor in maintaining a fast burning metabolism. When you're working out (lifting weights, going on a run, hiking) really focus on what you're doing. Don't think about the days stresses or next weeks schedule. Clear your mind and really focus on what you're doing, this maximizes your results. Aerobic workouts (cardio) don't need to be hours long to get results. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the best way to speed up your metabolism in the shortest amount of time. HIIT involves doing any cardio exercise at high intensity for a short period then dropping the level to recover for the same amount of time. Ex. Run as hard as you can for 2 minutes, then back it down to a jog for 2 minutes. These quick changing sessions fire up your metabolism by surprising your muscles. Studies show that people who incorporate interval training into their workouts lose twice as much weight as those who don't! 

Food is FUEL
To maintain a healthy weight you must eat regularly and eat high quality foods. Waiting too long between meals or skipping triggers the starvation response and causes your metabolism to slow. Eating a small healthy meal every 3 hours will ensure your metabolism stays burning all day long. 

The next question is what should you eat?  Try to combine lean protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal. This combo will prolong digestion and encourages your blood sugar to remain stable between meals.  Protein is great for metabolism because it speeds it up as a result of the chemical reactions required to digest protein. The amino acids in protein stimulate cellular activity, thereby increasing BMR. Eating carbs alone increases BMR slightly for a short period of time, leaving you feeling tired. Eating lean protein along with carbs causes your BMR to begin to rise within an hour and remain at the elevated level from three to twelve hours! 
Try to stay away from simple carbs. Foods that are refined and processed cause a spike in insulin levels which makes your metabolism slow down. 

What to eat:
Buy yourself a water bottle, keep it filled and in sight at all times. Drinking water helps keep your body lean by helping nutrients flow through it, and washing away waste and free radicals. 

Eating protein raises your metabolism. Lean protein found in poultry, fish, bison, and eggs keeps you satisfied while helping your body burn through energy faster, resulting in high calorie burn. There is also less of a chance that protein will be stored in your body as excess fat, so make sure to eat a portion with every meal. 

Fiber provides steady, long-lasting energy without the crashes that can accompany simple carbs. Fiber keeps you feeling satiated between meals. 

Research suggests that drinking a cup of black coffee raises your metabolism, increases your concentration and improves heart health. Drinking green tea packs even more of a punch (between these two, I choose green tea!). It's packed with antioxidants and raises your metabolism better than coffee. 

Spices that contain the chemical capsaicin, such as jalapeno, habanero and cayenne, have thermogenic properties that speed up your heart and heat up your body. Your body has to burn calories to cool itself down. 

Believe it or not, there actually are fats that help you burn fat. Monosaturated fats such as those found in cashews, chicken fat, hazelnuts, peanuts, olive oil, and canola oil help reduce cholesterol , triglycerides and blood pressure, and work to control diabetes. Polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 fats) found in canola oil, walnuts, flaxseeds, hempseeds, salmon, mackeral, trout, tuna, sardines and herring reduce triglycerides, inflammations and tumor growth. They also improve immune function and protect against sudden death from heart disease. 

Tomatoes contain Vitamin C, citric, malic and oxalic acids that accelerate your metabolism. These natural acids flush more water through your kidneys and prompt them to filter out large amounts of fatty deposits, which can then be eliminated from your body. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, a cancer fighting antioxidant that stimulates your body's metabolic rate by up to one third!

Yogurt contains health fats, protein, and probiotic cultures that are important for a healthy digestive tract. Probiotics are dietary supplements that contain beneficial bacteria or yeasts that play a role in your metabolism. 

May not be the best for your breath, but great for your metabolism! Garlic is a natural diuretic because contains mustard oil which acts like a cleanser in your body. It encourages muscular contractions that loosen fat and help to wash it out. It also breaks down clumps of fat in your body. Onions, like garlic, also contain minerals and oils that break down fatty deposits in your body and speed up your metabolism!

Asparagus contains the chemical asparagines, an alkaloid that stimulates the kidneys, improves the circulatory process & breaks down fat. Asparagus also contains a chemical that breaks up oxalic acid which tends to glue fat to cells, so when this acid is broken up it helps reduce fat levels. 

Cabbage is especially helpful if you have that spare tire around your waist. Cabbage, a natural diuretic, contains sulfur and iodine, which helps cleanse the mucous membrane of your stomach and intestines, breaking up fat in and around that area! 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Veggin Out

Time to update!

Well.. I hate to say it buttttttt I failed. Haha, after all that determination in my last post & here I am again. I made it a full week after my last update with no meat. All together I took meat off the table for two weeks. I felt like that was enough for me. I was craving meat, but the temptation wasn't too much to bear. What I was unhappy with was that I felt like I wound up eating a lot of carbs to replace the usual meat at meals. I was getting protein from other sources like cottage cheese, peanut butter, milk, nuts, eggs, beans, etc. but it simply didn't FEEL the same to me. I went into this little experiment expecting to feel much healthier, but the opposite was true really. It made me preoccupied with food, always thinking about it, being slightly annoyed that I couldn't eat meat. I felt like I was eating too many carbs, and was even craving sweets more than usual! That, coupled with the fact that I did not plan on continuing to exclude meat from my diet after the 30 days was up, made me stop early. It simply wasn't working out for me in the way I hoped and I was unhappy with it so why prolong it? I already eat a very healthy/balanced diet usually.

I am a little disappointed that I didn't go the full month, but it simply wasn't for me. I tried. I did get some great recipes though, which I'll post below. (Thanks Liz!!)

1 cup garbanzo beans (about 1/4 cup dry will make this 1 cup after you soak it over night) - if they are dry before use..cook them until soft.

2 cups spinach
1/4 purple onion
1 red pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
1 clove garlic
red pepper flakes
balsalmic vinegar

cook chick peas, set aside. roast red pepper. peel. cut into strips.
saute onion and garlic together in olive oil. (doesnt count in the 1/4 cup listed..thats for later). when almost done sautee-ing throw in chick peas and red pepper strips, stir around until its all hot, pour mixture over cold spinach. this melts the spinach kind of..makes it delicious.
pour the 1/4 c. olive oil and a VERY SMALL DASH of balsalmic, add red pepper flakes. eat. enjoy. be full and still be healthy.

fun snack- take cooked chick peas, roll in olive oil, roll in chili powder, put on baking pan and cook until crunchy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Watermelon Salad

With cook out after cook out all summer long, the usual potato & macaroni salad get to be rather old (not to mention unhealthy) by mid July. Why not spice things up and bring a new dish that I bet many of the guests have never tried? Summer can be a great time to try new recipes since so many fresh fruits & veggies are in season.  A friend of mine took her boyfriend to a cooking class as a gift (what an original gift!), they had a great time & learned a few new recipes, which she passed on to me with high recomendations! :)

Watermelon Salad

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon harissa or other hot sauce
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds seedless watermelon, rind removed, fruit sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup pitted black olives coarsely chopped
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil with the lemon juice and harissa and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the watermelon slices on a plate and sprinkle with the onion, parsley, olives, and feta. Drizzle dressing on top and serve! :)

Serves 4

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Progress? Eh....

So almost a week ago now, I declared myself a vegetarian for a month. I didn't think it would be easy, but I wasn't too worried that it would be really hard for me. Substituting meat for something else isn't hard and I like that it really makes me even more aware of what I'm eating.
Welllllll. The first day went really well, minus some potato salad that had bacon in it that I wasn't aware of! Haha
Next day was fine. No meat! :)
Friday I'm at my twin sister's apartment, getting ready to go out for the evening. I had gone for a run before so I hopped in the shower while she went & grabbed dinner. I was in going-out mode, & we were hanging out with our best friend from high school who I hadn't seen in a while, so I was excited & happily chatting away & getting ready.  Half way through my usual from Buffalo Wild Wings (Honey BBQ grilled chicken salad) I slammed down my fork & said "OSHUN!!!! YOU LET ME EAT MEAT!!!!!!" hahahaha she looked perplexed then remembered too. I had just completely forgotten that I wasn't eating meat!
Then on Saturday my boyfriend and I were at a family cookout. This one in particular hosted plenty of down home favorites. In fact, there was hardly a dish that didn't have meat. So I gave in. I shouldn't have, butttt I did.
Today has gone much better.

Yogurt with grapes & watermelon
Whole wheat toast with natural pb
1/2 cup cottage cheese
Cauliflower, green peppers, asparagus, carrot & tomato medley with light italian
terakyi noodles with fresh veggies
Corn on the cob
Some chips & pretzels
more watermelon & grapes
anddddd a S'more :) (what's a cookout w/o a s'more?!)

Plus 3 20 oz bottles of water, I'll probably finish off another before bed.

So I declare a do-over. I grocery shopped today and am prepared. I'll wear a white silly band to remind myself that I'm a vegetarian for the next 30 days, and stick to it.

This is proof that I'm human, just like everyone else. I could have just pretended that this week went perfectly without one little bite of meat. But I want to give you the real deal. So, I'll do better tomorrow :)

I've had a couple recipes given to me that I'll try out & will post later. If you have any that you like email them to me @ & I'll post them up! :)

WISH ME LUCK!!!! (&& a better memory, & more self restraint ;) )

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

30 days & 30 nights.... of being a Vegetarian

Perhaps the result of a zillion cookouts over the lovely fourth of July weekend (which were all delicious), and the piles of hamburgers, hotdogs, brats, & chicken, I've found myself wondering what it would be like to be a vegetarian. Just stop eating meat, cold turkey (haha).
It seems like many vegetarians have solid reason for their lifestyle. Animal rights and/or health lead the pack. Of course I am for animal rights, but I've never been put off eating meat from the cruelties that some animals face (that sounds sort of horrible of me, maybe I'm saying it wrong but I hope you understand what I mean there..) and have never viewed meat as a threat to my health. I've just always been vege-curious. This does NOT mean that I will be attempting to survive the next 30 days on all vegetables. I love my veggies, but a diet consisting of only them? No, thank you.
I'll have to be careful to get protein into my diet throught other sources like eggs, beans, milk, fortified cereals... etc etc. I'm still training for another 5k and am curious to see how taking meat off the table will affect me while trainig.
A coworker (and fellow vegetarian) has kindly offered to lend me some of her vegetarian cookbooks, so hopefully I will have some recipes to share. I'll keep you all posted on how things are going, how I'm feeling, if I break down and eat a whole cow within the week ;)

Check back & leave your feedback! Recipes, tips, any and all are welcome! :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

8 ways to Work out for (almost) Free!

Save some dough & lose those rolls ;)

1. Get outside & play!
A no brainer with the hot summer months! :) Just like when we were kids on summer break from school, just itching to get outside & play. We just weren't as worried as burning calories back then! Recreational sports like softball, volleyball & basketball are great exercise. Grab a group of friends & join your local rec league! (this is also a great way to meet new people & insure yourself a fun summer!)

2. Buy used equipment:
With summer comes yard sales. Hit up your local sales, the goodwill, or check out I got my eliptical on Craigslist (the seller was asking $200, but knocked off $50 since I came & picked it up & am a poor college student - haha) same story with my stepper ($35!)  --> this bike I salvaged just the other day from a lday that didn't want it anymore!

3. Check it out:
Borrow fitness DVDs from friends or the library. That way you can keep changing up your weekly workout & keep those muscles guessing!

4. Be a stair master:
Scope out local highschool or college stadiums & ask about public access hours. Step to it!

5. Team up:
If personal training is something you really want to try, but can't front the cost, pair up with a friend and split the cost.

6. Move with the tube:
FitTV offers around the clock workout and health programming. Don't have cable or satellite? Check out to watch fitness vid's online!

7. Cut Coupons:
Gyms offer free passes or intro personal training passes. If you find a location you love, haggle for a good membership rate.

8. Put it on your 'Pod:
Many fitness websites have free podcasts that offer exercises, workout tips, and recipes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Before you hit the gym, sip this!

Shake of the Month! From Oxygen Magazine... seemed like an easy recipe so I tried it out & love it! :)

Lemon Plum Blast
ready in 5 minutes; makes 1 serving
2 small pitted plums
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup water
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder 
                                                    ice cubes

Place ingredients in a blender & blend thouroughly! :)

Yogurt can help prevent cramping during exercise
Whey protein powder increases your changes of building more calorie-scorching lean muscle because it contains essential amino acids leucine, which is key to muscle recovery, growth & repair.
Plums are in their peak season right now, & they deliver energy boosting carbs and vitamin C to help stop muscle soreness.

For best results drink this shake 45 minutes before an hour-long workout. :)


Have a recipe you love? Email it to me at & it coule be featured on the blog!! :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

HFCS: to blame for the obesity epidemic?

Lately, high-fructose corn syrup has been under high scrutiny for its role in the obesity epidemic.  HFCS has taken so much flack that organizations such as Corn Refiners Association and The Corn Farmers Coalition are running commercials and campaigns to ward off this negative stigma.

The Corn Farmers Coalition is launched a major media blitz this spring, taking their message directly to capitol hill. “It’s an education-oriented campaign for decision makers in D.C., congressional staffers, folks from environmental groups, think tanks—anybody that’s part of the discussion that’s affecting policy,” Mark Lambert, coaltion director, says. “We’re not discussing any particular policy. We’re just trying to put positive messages out there to reinforce what modern agriculture is like, who is farming, how they’re farming and the improvements in the industry.” The campaign features advertising throughout the Washington Metro rail system, inside Union Station, Capitol Hill media outlet Web sites and even in the Washington Nationals baseball team’s home game programs. The program is estimated to cost $1 million.

As consumers, we want to know the real deal. Cut out all the profit-conscience busniessmen and advertisements. Should we eat it, or not? HFCS is found on the majority of nutrition labels in your kitchen I bet. Why the sudden attention now? 
You decide what you put in your body, here's a little info to help you make those decisions.

What is High-Fructose Corn Syrup?

HFCS comes down to everyone's favorite subject; chemistry. Sugar and HFCS have the same biochemistry. The main difference is that HFCS is manufactured from corn syrup (primarily glucose), which undergoes enzymatic processing to increase the fructose content and is then mixed with glucose. Pure sugar is also composed of glucose and fructose but in marginally different concentrations. Both are calorie dense, about 16 calories per teaspoon, with no nutritional value.

Thanks to corn subsidies, HFCS has become a cheap alternative to sugar and is often added to pop and processed foods - foods that offer little nutritional value and, when consumed too much, as is often the case, contribute to weight gain. But is this due to the HFCS?

The Charges?

Critics have said HFCS plays a direct role in obesity by disrupting the normal functions of metabolism. According to a recently published Princeton study, rats fed a diet rich in HFCS accumulated more belly fat and had higher levels of circulating triglycerides (i.e., fat)  both factors in metabolic syndrome, a precursor to heart disease - than their sugar-fed peers.

The Defense?

A number of nutrition experts dispute these findings, suggesting that the data produced inconsistent results. Previous studies have shown that fructose is metabolized differently than glucose and excessive amounts of fructose interfere with appetite-regulating hormones and lead to increased fat accumulation. But HFCS is not any higher in fructose than the standard table sugar - both are about a 50/50 mix of glucose and fructose. An excess of either is unhealthy.

How HFCS (and table sugar) can hurt your health -

What we do know for sure is that when excessive sugar intake (in any form) increases, so does risk of diabetes and heart disease. We also know that liquids do not register in the body the same way as solid food, and people hardly ever compensate for those extra calories in drinks by eating less throughout the day. As people drink more sugar-sweetened beverages, they gain more weight and, as a result, are at a greater risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. This is, of course, regarding the fact that most soda companies sweeten their drinks with HFCS.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the main source of added sugar and the leading source of calories in our diet. When added to drinks, all sweeteners, including natural ones like brown sugar, sugar in the raw, agave syrup and honey, contribute empty calories. Since 1980, calorie intake has increased by an average of 150 to 300 calories per day with about half of those calories coming from liquids - sugar-sweetened beverages in particular. At the same time, there has been no increase in physical activity levels. Americans are eating more and exercising the same, and wondering where the pounds are coming from.

The Verdict?

Is a single ingredient soley to blame? If we eliminate HFCS from the ingredients list will the rise in obesity head toward a decline? No, and to suggest so is confusing and not helpful to consumers. People seem to want someone to blame... (McDonalds and the fast food industry in general, vending machines in schools, HFCS...) but really, when you consume foods carelessly and uninformed, the blame really belongs to the consumer. We need to know what we're putting in our bodies and what our body will do with it. Eliminate HFCS? Try eating less sugar and processed foods in general. That will help you drop pounds. I'm not saying that HFCS is a good thing or that all the media attention is unwarranted, I'm just saying we need to be responsible for our bodies. Calories in, calories out. That's what it has always been about.

For example:

One 12-ounce can of Pepsi contains 150 calories and about eight teaspoons of added sugar, or HFCS (The American Heart Association recommends Americans limit their sugar intake to about 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men (about 5 and 9 tsp). With one can of pop, a woman has gone over and a man has used up almost all his allowance.
At the same time, the same amount of orange juice has 165 calories and more than eight teaspoons of sugar, just in its natural form.
If you're looking to add vitamins and minerals, the OJ is the smarter choice, but if weight maintenance is your goal, you should steer clear of both. When it comes to energy, it's unlikely that your body registers natural sugar any differently than table sugar or HFCS.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I first saw P.R. Cole on SpikeTV, while Spike was doing a segment on her company - Fuel the Figher LLC. As someone who loves MMA and knows many fighters personally, I've seen the results of fighters trying to cut too much weight too fast in preperation for a fight. It can be a very unhealthy process to the fighter and doesn't leave the fighter in top form for the big night. That's why companies like Cole's are so important.
Her story is proof to us all that through hard work and determination, you can make you dreams come true. Which is exactly what I plan on doing.  THANKS COLE!!

Here's her story:

I feel incredibly fortunate to be among those who wake up every morning excited to get to work. I’m a sports nutritionist for professional and amateur combat athletes. My clients range from casual athletes to elite mixed martial arts (MMA) competitors in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). My company Fuel the Fighter LLC was established in 2009 with the goal of providing the most scientifically accurate nutrition information for combat athletes. My approach is customized for each client to take into account food preferences, training schedule, long term goals and cooking ability.

People often ask me how I became interested in this unique niche. As a kid I really enjoyed being physically active and athletic. I competed in gymnastics, took ice skating lessons and played lacrosse in high school. Besides being active, I grew up with a love of science and nutrition and decided to devote my academic studies to the field. As an undergraduate at Barnard College of Columbia University I took on pre-med requirements and earned a bachelors in biochemistry.

After graduation I spent 2 years as the senior research technician in the auto-immunity and inflammation laboratory within the rheumatology research division of Manhattan’s Hospital for Special Surgery. Around that same time I delved into the practice of Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai kickboxing. As a martial artist I couldn’t help but fall in love with the sport of MMA.

When it was time to continue my graduate education, I decided to take the necessary steps to turn my personal passion for health into a career. I chose to return to Columbia for my degree because of the dual masters program that they offer in nutrition & exercise physiology. It seemed natural to begin the process of merging my two greatest interests, sports nutrition and MMA. As a devoted MMA fan I noticed there was a lack of quality nutrition education for athletes and I made it my life’s goal to fill that gap.

In 2008 I started work as the sports nutrition columnist for FIGHT! Magazine, the top selling national MMA publication. As athletes began to approach me for customized meal plans and consultations, I decided to officially launch Fuel the Fighter LLC. I’ve traveled across the country to give seminars at training centers and I’ve contributed an article for the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s website. My most recent publication is the sports nutrition section of acclaimed MMA trainer Greg Jackson’s latest book The Ground Game, which will be published in the summer of 2010.

This summer I will complete my graduate studies and will take the exam to obtain my registered dietitian (RD) credentials with the American Dietetic Association. At the end of the summer I will be moving my consulting practice to Las Vegas, the heart of the mixed martial arts community. I’m delighted to share that I’m hosting the first MMA centric cooking show this summer on the TapouT Virtual Training website Each episode will feature guest MMA athletes who will learn to cook healthy versions of their favorite meals.

Ultimately I want to showcase that delicious healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. A focus on real food, not food products is the ideal way to promote athletic potential, efficient recovery and long-term health.

Check out Fuel the Fighter @
as well as on Facebook (Fuel the Fighter)

Check out this month's issue of FIGHT! magazine, on sale now. Inside you'll find P.R. Cole, as well as my fellow Ohio State Buckeye & MMA fan - Stacie Askins - pg. 46 Hard to miss this Buckeye Hottie!

Change in Plans

Hey Healthy is HOT!-ers ;) Sorry to say I won't be able to share Kelsey Webb, of the WNCI Morning Zoo, story. Her work felt it was too personal of a story to share. However I found great inspiration in her story and hope to keep working with Kelsey to find another way she can contribute to Healthy is HOT! As a public figure, I can understand that public image is something that is a great consideration. Kelsey's passion for fitness and healthy lifestyle is often evident on the morning show and I would like to thank her for her time and correspondance, hope to work with you in the future Kelsey! She was also recently voted in the top 10 hottest radio personalities in the nation. You can check out the Morning Zoo's website at or find them on Facebook (Dave and Jimmy Morning Show)

However, summer is on the horizon, only 3 finals away! Can't wait! :) Then I'll get to spend much more time on the blog. I would love to hear suggestions on topics you're interested in or features you'd like to see on Healthy is HOT! Email me suggestions at

I'm also excited to say I'm working on another story of motivation featuring a rising star in the MMA community. She's fueling the fighters, and the sports nutrition columnist in a popular MMA magazine. Her story is great and a huge inspiration (to me especially- this woman has my dream job!)

Watch for her story later today! :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sprint Triathlon!

So you've been working out hard these last couple months to get ready for bikini season right?
If you're doing cardio for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week or more you're ready for a sprint triathlon! Yep I'm talking to YOU!! If you've met goals with your weight, getting bored with your workout, or just looking for something new, it's time to set new goals. You can swim, bike, and run your way to a healthier body. I thouroughly enjoyed running the 5k event in May, but a little variety would be fun too. While I really love to run now, running every day can get tedious and boring.  Training for a specific day and event was fun as well as motivating because the goal was a circled date on my calendar. I knew that if I didn't do what I needed to do, the race was going to come anyway. Ready or not! All the more motivation to train hard for the big day.

Here's a couple things to keep in mind if you're a tri newbie:

Train Right!
To get ready for the tri is going to take 5-6 workouts/week for 12 weeks. (So find the race you'll be competing in now & stick to your schedule!)

A sprint triathlon is:
0.25 mi swim

12 mile bike

2 mile run

So obviously these are the areas of concentration for your training!


Hit the pool twice a week and swim your race distance. If you're new to swimming (like me!) get some instruction on correct form and breathing & break the distance into smaller pieces to start with. Make sure to cover the distance continuously before the race!


Go for an hour long ride 1-2 times a week, being sure to practice your pedaling technique (keeping constant force throughout the cycle) as well as how to smoothly change gears through hilly and flat terrain.


Lace up & work up to running 3 milers 1-2 times a week.

Also once a week do a bike-to-run "brick" - cycle for 20-30 minutes and follow immediately with a 1-2 mile run. These bricks will improve your endurance and get you used to running on tired legs!
So google a race near you and sign up today! :) Grab a friend who's motivated as well and sign up together. You can help each other through the workouts and help keep you going. Tell your friends and family about your plans to race, so you're less likely to back out.
Good luck! You're well on your way to becoming healthy & hot ;)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One year in Recovery - a Bowling Green University sophomore's story of struggle and success

Eating disorders are something covered in high school health classes, or seen on posters during a prevention week... It's whispered and gossiped about, usually behind backs and closed doors. Growing up, I didn't think about it too often. I didn't have one, no one I knew had one... I thought.
During my sophomore year of college, just last year, I was messing around on facebook between classes. Clicking around on my friend's pages, just seeing what everyone's been up to. I always love to look at my underclassmen friends from high school's prom pictures. It was May, the season of tans, dresses, updos, makeup, uncomfortable shoes, and hundreds of pictures. So when I came across my friend Kelli's page, I was concerned to see all the comments with well wishes and prayers for her. I was afraid she'd been in some sort of accident, so I texted another girl I knew that was still in school there. She told me Kelli had been diagnosed with an eating disorder and was in the hospital. I was shocked. Kelli?? But she's ALWAYS been so skinny! She's just a naturally small girl. She was always happy and laughing and everyone loved to be around her. She wasn't sad or depressed or a loner that I ever saw, the way I figured someone with an eating disorder would be. Kelli was friends with everyone and had a great relationship with her family. She was a varsity cheerleader, homecoming queen, miss popular, her life seems fairytale-esque. But, in the famous words of Taylor Swift - I'm not a Princess, This ain't a fairytale...

I approached Kelli about writing her story for my blog not because it was a sad story and we seem to be drawn to the fairytale gone wrong sort of headlines... but because I KNOW her story will touch everyone that reads it. There may be a person that reads it and is struggling themself, this might be what they need to reach out, get help. Or maybe for another person to recognize the signs in someone they love, the way so many people didn't in Kelli. Anyone that knows Kelli knows what an amazing and beautful person she truly is, inside and out. So from the bottom of my heart Kel, thanks for sharing this.

Above are pictures from Kelli's Senior year in High School, while she was struggling with anorexia

At 5'2 and 115 pounds I am proud to say im in recovery from an eating disorder. I went to Buckeye Valley High School and cheered throughout high school. My friends meant the world to me and so did my family. I'm an only child, so I'm very close to my parents. My dad is a business man, his work keeps him away from home a lot, and my mom stays at home. Overall, I was happy.
It was my senior year in 2008-2009 and it was going amazing. I got fall homecoming queen, got accepted into colleges, and was on my way to graduation. Until body image came into play. It all started in the fall. I would look into a mirror and hate what I saw. I hated how 'fat' I was. So I started starving myself and working out intensely. I was also taking a work out class at school which got in extra workouts, not helping my situation. Starving myself wasn't good enough for me, I was losing the weight but I wanted to lose it more quickly. So I started purging. I always wore baggy clothes or loose fits tops so people couldn't tell I was losing weight so drastically.
It wasn't until spring time, as I was getting ready for my senior prom, when I tried on my prom dress I was 000. They didn't even makes that size in prom dresses. Then at prom, all my friends' moms saw me and came to my mom and said I needed help. Thats when my parents took action and basically did an intervention with me and a few friends at my house. I was in denial. I still thought I was 'fat'. I did not think I had an eating disorder. My parents took me to the doctor and I was diagnosed as anorexic. I was rushed to Children's Hospital where I spent a week recieving treatment. It was the worse experience of my life. After leaving the hospital, I went directly into a rehab program in Columbus called 'The Center for Balanced Living'. I loved my rehab program, the girls in it, and my couselors there. I was in the rehab center for four months. After rehab I went straight from rehab center to Bowling Green State Univeristy. I gained back 20 pounds throughout the program and had a horrible time dealing with the weight gain, even though I was at a healthy weight.
Still to this day I struggle with my eating disorder. I struggle with it every single day. I just wish people would understand that eating disorders are a DISORDER. People looked at me differently after they heard about what had happened, like I was starving myself on purpose or for attention. It's a mental illness that is with me forever,  and I struggle so I can succeed. I will continue you fight, so I can succeed and overcome. I may have an eating disorder, but I am not my eating disorder.

This is Kelli today. Happy, Healthy, HOT ;)


Here's a couple facts for you:

1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating.

Eating Disorders affect up to 24 million Americans and 70 million individuals worldwide.

90 % of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25.

At least 50,000 individuals will die as a direct result of an eating disorder.

It is estimated that currently 11% of high school students have been diagnosed with an eating disorder.
Thankfully for Kelli, she's is on the road to recovery. As a matter of fact, today May 19, 2010 is her one year anniversary for being in recovery from her eating disorder. CONGRATULATIONS GIRL!!! <3 :)
If you or someone you know is struggling, please, GET HELP. Life is too short, and you too beautiful to spend one more day suffering. Reach out, tell someone. Having an eating disorder does not make you a weak person, getting help makes you a strong person. Strong enough to beat the odds. :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

God Bless America, God Bless Boobies!

Well today was the day! The day I started training for in March. As I said then, running has never been my favorite. So imagine my surprise at the slight love affair running and I have developed. Yea, it's hard, but it feels so good. The miles start to get easier and pass more quickly. My legs got stronger, and my determination greater.  No equipment or gym pass required. Just lace up and head out (iPod pretty necessary though I'd say ;))

It was an early morning for us, we live 40 minutes from the city, and had to get there early to park and get squared away before the race. After a week of training everyday, I took the day off yesterday, relaxed, ate a good dinner, drank plenty of water and got to bed at a decent hour. Even more shocking than my love affair with running was my actual excitement when my alarm went off at 5:30a.m. I was EXCITED to get down there and run! Who is this crazy person??

When my sister and I got down to Columbus, I knew there would be lots of people, a projeced 50,000 people had registered for the race (50,286 ran today - a new record). It was definitely crowded, but in a strange way. Everyone seemed a little nicer, a little more patient, not shoving and irritated like usual crowds.  We were all there for the same reason. To race. To find a CURE. And that's when it hit me. I had been looking at this race as a stepping stone to better fitness and an introduction to race running. But that's hardly what this race was about. It was about the women that have been affected by breast cancer. Our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, best friends... The love and support resonating in the crowd was a tangible feeling. People lined the sidewalks to cheer us on as we ran, slapping high fives and running out into the runners with water or a supportive hug & words of encouragement. All our lives have been touched by breast cancer. On a table in a booth there were simple pink slips of paper to pin to your shirt to display who you are running in celebration of. I stopped to fill one out and was struck with sadness at the list of names I had when I finished. All these women in my life, have been forced into a sorority they never wanted to join. So then I realized, I'm not running for me. I'm running for them.
Connie Curry
Sara Paulin Casto (rest in peace<3)
Dee Dee James
Kim Byerly
My highschool soccer teamate (and best friend)'s mother, a dear family friend who lost her battle late last year, my high school attendance secretary, and another family friend, who babysits my dear baby nephew. These are some of the most loving and sweet women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

I ran for them today.

pink wigs galore!
My sister Oshun, and I at the end of the race!

Finishline. We will walk and we will run until we find a cure.

Another thing that touched my heart was an article I saw in the Columbus Dispatch today (which, by the way, was printed on pink paper to heighten breast cancer awareness). The story was about a "shadow run" that took place at Camp Liberty in Baghdad today. Over 1,000 National Guard servicemen and women ran a 5k in honor of the Race for Cure going on today in their hometown, that they couldn't be present for. Half a world away, and we're still connected, running together for a singular cause. God Bless America. God Bless healthy boobies.