Author: Brenda Sue

Sugar Free Barbecued Bacon Chicken Bake

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Calories 221

Carbs 3.1 grams

Fat 9.2 grams

Protein 31.2

Cooking spray

8 slices bacon

4 (4 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

3/4 cup sugar free barbecue sauce (G.Hughes brand)

Preheat oven to 350 F

Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until the edges begin to crisp, about 5 minutes; drain bacon on paper towels. Wrap each chicken breast with 2 slices of bacon in an x-shaped pattern and place into the prepared baking sheet with bacon ends underneath.

Bake in the preheated oven until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Coat with barbecue sauce and bake about 5-10 more minutes.

 

 

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How to Accomplish Anything

 

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There are some people who finish what they start and there are others  who  give up  way too quickly. Everyone would love a quick fix but victory is not a quick win, and then moving on to something  else. When it comes to your health,  victory is a lifestyle of wise choices. There are ways to “keep on, keeping on” that work.

Make your goals clear.

Make your goals measurable. If you know where you start and measure your progress all along,  you are much more likely to  stay encouraged enough to progress.

Break your goals down into mini-goals. While I know where I want to go as a strength trainer, I also know that I won’t get there quickly. I have smaller goals that I can actually achieve along the way to my ultimate success. When I hit those goals it’s  a wonderful  day and I am renewed to go again.

Never forget  your ultimate goals. Don’t  “settle”. If you’re  not making progress, research and find out why. Staying after your best self will keep you inspired.

Surround  yourself with positive, motivated people. This includes media. Don’t waste time on negative nonsense. Use your online time wisely to research information that will propel you towards your goals.

Use any negative feelings that you may have as indicators of where you need to do the most work. I have  always known that I wanted to redefine aging and I have spent my entire life avoiding the stereotypical pattern of aging that is so prevalent in the U.S. I have avoided cigarettes because they destroy collagen and overall health. I do not drink alcohol because it dries the skin over time. I don’t  eat sugar because it causes inflammation  and glycation in the skin. I avoid the sun because it just ruins your skin period. I work out hard to build muscle rather than lose it with age and continually regroup my entire life and priorities to move closer to my goal of remaining vital. As a result of this lifestyle, at 63 I work full-time, scheduled part-time, work on this website, and then work out like a maniac while caring for a special needs family member. I am the sole supporter in my home. I feared becoming the typical 63 year old woman. I fueled my life with the adrenaline of that fear and became something  completely different.  I am not typical. Use your fear as fuel.

Keep going even when you  fail because if you stop, there’s nowhere to go except down.

Never focus on the negative. Be fully aware of your strengths, resources and capabilities and use them. Celebrate your  victories and thank people who have helped you. They will be more willing to help you again and no matter how far you have come, you may need them again.

Continue to keep meticulous records of your progress. David says that “What gets measured, gets done.” Keep records and don’t cut yourself any slack. With good records, progress is a natural occurrence.

And whatever you  do, DON’T QUIT.

 

State of Mind

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Do you have a running reel of negative thoughts  and possible catastrophic outcomes playing constantly  in  your  head? So many  people  do. When we allow negative thoughts to loop continually we are causing a constant release of cortisol, our major stress hormone to be released. The health implications of this are huge. High cortisol levels cause inflammation which lies at the base of almost all major health problems, including heart disease and even some cancers. Skin problems, gastrointestinal issues and depression are often exacerbated by this one habit that is within our control.

People who display optimism tend to have better immune function which affects all disease processes. Learn to control those inner voices of doom to improve your overall health and enjoy your life so much more.

It’s  necessary  to assess your thoughts. If a large majority  of  your  thoughts tend to be negative then you are probably catastrophizing. Do you focus only on the negative? Do you ignore the possible positive outcomes in a given situation? If so, then it’s necessary  to take action to think in more positive  ways.

Humor is a powerful tool in learning  to  lighten up. I refuse to listen to or watch anything that makes me feel bad. Life can be difficult on the best days so why add negative input from negative people who are bent on creating drama? Avoid those people and control your environment to remove negative input from real life people and media. Seek out funny and enlightening media when you are surfing the net or watching T.V. Leave the sad, violent and scary stuff alone. It won’t do anything good.

Get some exercise, with your doctor’s permission. Vigorous exercise can produce endorphins which not only make you feel  better  in the moment but have a positive impact on the brain that makes you feel more able to cope in the long run. You will develop a better body in the process and that always helps our state of mind.

Negative thoughts can lead to binge eating. Binge eating will almost always  keep you from your weight management goals.

Eat a well balanced, healthy diet with adequate amounts of healthy fats such as those found in salmon or walnuts. Avoid sugar because it is a source of empty, excess calories. Sugar will cause you to crave more sugar and eventually forego healthy foods for junk. Your brain has to have proper nutrition to perform optimally. As you eat more and more sugar, the pounds will pile on which will most likely add to your anxiety and depression. Just say “No!”

If your negative thinking is chronic and debilitating you might consider professional counseling. A licensed  therapist can guide you into a better way of thinking that can benefit both body and mind.

Surround  yourself  with positive people and create a life that you love. With time and deliberation and sometimes professional help, you can pull out of the habit of negativity. Your happiness is worth the work.

Sugar Free Candy Cane Cookies

 

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Nutritional Info

Serving Size 1 cookie

Calories 90

Net Carbs 0 grams

Fat 9 grams

Protein 3 grams

Ingredients

Cookies

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup Swerve Confectioner’s

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring (or flavoring of choice)

1 3/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup whey protein powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon red food coloring

Glaze

1/2 cup Swerve Confectioner’s

2 Tablespoons skim milk

1/4 teaspoon flavoring of choice

Instructions

Combine first 10 ingredients and mix well.

Divide dough in half.

Add red coloring to half of dough and mix well.

Place both balls of dough in fridge for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll a teaspoon of each dough (plain and red) into a four inch rope.

Place side-by-side and gently twist together  and place on an ungreased cookie sheet and curve one end of the cane to form a candy cane- Be careful to not let the dough break.

Bake at 325 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes, just until the edges brown.

Let cookies cool on sheet.

Mix glaze ingredients and gently brush onto each cooled cookie.

Makes about 24 cookies.

Stay Healthy and Fit This Winter!

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I’m always shocked when I  hear someone say that they stay sick all Winter! Why? There are steps that you can take to help yourself  stay healthy this Winter.

Cold temperatures  tend to make us crave carbohydrates due to low light levels affecting our serotonin  levels. Carbohydrates naturally  boost serotonin so when it’s  depleted, strong carb cravings set in, especially if we’re hungry and run down. To offset some of these cravings, eat a good high protein breakfast and have healthy snacks available throughout the day. Cravings are much less intense when we are satiated.

Make sure to get some Omega-3 Fatty Acids in your diet. They tend to help reduce joint pain and stiffness associated with cold weather. If you have less pain you are more likely to continue working out and be more fit. Omega-3’s are also known to help with depression which is more common during Winter months. Depression  can curtail your work out which is a shame because working out is known to decrease depression in some people. That is not to say that any of these will prevent or cure major depression. That is a subject to be taken up with your doctor, but these habits can help with simple Winter doldrums.

Mushrooms and spices help boost immunity. Try different  varieties of mushrooms in recipes and reap the benefits of naturally-occurring antibiotic-like substances found in all types of mushrooms. Liven up your regular  recipes with garlic, ginger, cilantro and other tasty spices that can help you sail through Winter with better health. Eat green and orange veggies to help ensure that you’re  getting  a good variety of nutrients.

Stick to your regular  workout schedule. Don’t  let Holidays and family and friends hinder you. Exercise helps balance your hormones and helps keep your body running more smoothly during stressful times. You might want to investigate ways to work out  at home so that the cold weather doesn’t  keep you from working out. There are videos and all kinds of home gym equipment that can help you keep your fitness commitment.

Get your vehicle inspected for safety and winterize your ride. Don’t  get caught out in freezing  weather in a stalled out car. Your life may depend on the safety of your vehicle during cold Winter months.

Be safe about your decorations during the Holidays. Open flames of candles cause many house fires every year. Decorations with lights get very hot if they are left on. Be sure to unplug all Holiday decorations when they are left unattended. Be sure to mind your fireplace and keep it safe. Keep your chimney clean because creosote fires are common in the Winter and they will burn your house to the ground. Make sure that you have CO detectors  and smoke detectors  installed and working with good hot batteries. Never just remove a battery to make the unit quit beeping.

Install handrails and use ice melt on your frozen sidewalks and other walkways. If you fall you may not only stop your fitness  program, you may be in the hospital until Spring!

Wash your hands frequently  and keep them away from your face. Transferring a microbe to your eyes while shopping could give you a preventable upper respiratory infection. Use some common sense.

Get your rest. Sleep helps support your immune system. During the Holidays stress can take an extra toll on your overall health. Replenish with quality rest. If you are a strength trainer, rest is always imperative.

Always stay hydrated. Staying hydrated helps flush trouble making bacteria out of your body.

With minimal effort you can navigate this time of year safely and in good health. Take care of yourself and enjoy this Season with no down time and great the Spring with an increased level of health and fitness.

 

 

Sugar Free Red Velvet Cake

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Nutritional Info

Calories 194

Carbs 4.5 grams

Fat 17.7 grams

Protein 4.9 grams

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup Swerve Granulated

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup almond flour

1/3 cup coconut flour

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sour cream

Red food coloring

Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese softened

1/4 cup butter softened

3/4 cup Swerve Confectioner’s

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Grease 9 inch cake pan and dust with cocoa.

Beat sweetener into butter til light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time and mix in vanilla.

In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and beat in half the dry ingredients into wet mixture.

Beat in half of the sour cream and the rest of the dry mixture, then the rest of the sour cream.

Mix in red food coloring, 1/4 teaspoon of gel coloring works well.

Pour into pan and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from pan and cool.

For frosting beat cream cheese and butter til well combined.

Beat in sweetener til fluffy and mix in vanilla.

Spread onto cake.

Winter Skin Care

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Winter comes with unique challenges for our skin. The low humidity and indoor heat combine to create challenges where skin care is concerned. Nutrition  aimed at giving us healthy skin can make a difference  in these cool, arid conditions.

1-Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel  and herring are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids which help to maintain skin health. They help keep the skin thicker, more supple and moisturized. Omega-3’s also decrease  inflammation which can cause redness and acne. There is some evidence that they also help protect the skin from UV light and help with psoriasis.

Fish is also a source of good protein which helps increase the strength and integrity  of the skin. The zinc in fish helps with production  of new skin cells and overall skin health.

2-Avocados are also a source of healthy fat that is essential to keep skin flexible and moisturized. This fat is also thought to help with protection  from UV light which can cause wrinkles and other forms of sun damage. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin  E which helps protect  the skin from oxidative  damage.

Vitamin E is believed  to be more effective  when combined with vitamin C and 1 avocado contains about 20% of the RDI for vitamin E and 34% of the RDI for vitamin  C.

3-Walnuts are a good source of essential fatty acids which your body cannot make itself. They are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-6 is thought to produce inflammation, since the ratio of these fats in walnuts is good, walnuts are thought to fight the inflammatory response. Walnuts also contain significant zinc and small amounts  of vitamin  E, vitamin C and selenium.

4-Sunflower seeds  are an excellent source of vitamin E and selenium, zinc and protein. Nuts and seeds are good sources of good-for-your-skin nutrition.

5-Sweet potatoes are an excellent  source of beta-carotene which acts as a natural  sunblock. This is not to say that you can leave off the chemical sunblock but beta-carotene definitely helps it do it’s  job. This may help prevent wrinkles, cell death and sunburn. The beta-carotene also gives your skin a warm glow which adds to a healthy skin appearance.

6-Red and yellow bell peppers have huge amounts  of vitamin  A and are a great source of vitamin C which creates collagen in the skin to help it stay firm and strong. This can help decrease wrinkles and dry skin as we age.

7-Broccoli is a good source  of vitamins A and C and beta-carotene and sulforaphane. Sulphoraphane is a powerful protector from the sun. Winter sun can be intense when it is reflected off of snow and we tend to use less protection in the cold so nutrition  that assists in protection is an excellent  idea for Winter months.

8-Tomatoes contain all of the major carotenoids and vitamin  C along with lutein and lycopene. Lutein and lycopene also help to protect  your skin from the sun. Pair carotenoid foods with a fat like olive oil to boost absorption  of carotenoids.

9-Soy contains isoflavones which have been shown to improve skin elasticity and moisture and help protect from the sun. Since soy has estrogen-like properties it’s  better suited to women’s  needs.

10-Dark cocoa has been shown to decrease scaliness and roughness of the skin after 6-12 weeks of consumption. While we don’t  advocate eating chocolate with sugar in it, we have chocolate recipes that do not contain sugar. Just search for Lava Cake or Brownies on our Home Page!

11-Green tea has been shown to decrease roughness and improve skin thickness and elasticity. A cup of hot tea on a cold Winter day can do more than warm you.

Use a serum for more supple skin on your face and neck and moisturize with a rich body moisturizer immediately  after bathing and again 12 hours later. This will help to keep your skin soft and supple through the dry Winter months. Never go to bed with make-up on your face because it’s  drying and promotes wrinkles. The already dry Winter air will compound this effect so take it off, Ladies!

You are not destined to rough, red scaly Winter skin. With a little foresight and planning you can emerge in the Spring soft and supple.

Sugar Free Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken Bites

Nutritional Info

Servings 8, 4 ounces each

Calories 170

Net Carbs 1 gram

Fat 6 grams

Protein 29 grams

Ingredients

2 pounds chicken tenderloins, boneless, cut into 1 inch cube

16 ounces bacon cut into fourths

1/2 cup Brown Sugar Swerve Sweetener

1 teaspoon chili powder

1-2 teaspoons (according to your taste) coarse ground black pepper

1-2 teaspoons (according to your taste) cayenne pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F

Wrap chicken pieces with bacon.

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil or use a cooling rack over the baking pan.

Whisk spices together and roll each chicken bite into the mixture.

Place chicken bites on pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Vein Health

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Not Just Vanity

Most people never consider vein health as being anything more than a vanity issue. While varicose veins are not pretty, the aesthetics involved here is a lesser issue. Your veins are the way that your blood gets back to your heart after it is pumped throughout your body. When the veins are not healthy you can develop health problems that can be fatal. Deep vein thrombosis is a medical word for blood clot. When the veins fail, blood clots are more likely to occur because the blood pools. A blood clot that travels throughout your body can be a very dangerous situation. Pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot in your lung can cause sudden death.

Overweight and Obese, Again

Overweight and obesity can contribute to your likelihood of developing vein disease. Eat a healthy diet that includes foods rich in vitamin E that helps prevent the platelets from sticking together in your blood. Nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, pumpkin, mangos, dark leafy greens and fish are good vitamin E sources. Include foods that contain significant amounts of vitamin C. It helps keep the collagen in your veins healthy and plentiful. Broccoli, strawberries, cauliflower, pineapple, dark, leafy greens, brussels sprouts, oranges and bell peppers are all high in vitamin C. Count your calories to insure that you are not overeating and shed those extra pounds. You can use the Calorie Counter Pro to determine your caloric needs

Get Active!

Exercise regularly with your doctor’s permission. Mix up your daily activity and divide your time between sitting and standing as much as possible. If you drive long distances, stop as often as possible and walk around. You want to keep the blood flowing. Wear clothing that does not constrict your circulation, especially around your waist and thighs. Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time. Eat plenty of fiber with foods like popcorn, oatmeal, brown rice, leafy greens, broccoli, avocado, chia and lentils. Avoid excess sodium because it will cause fluid retention which will make it harder for your blood to flow through your veins.

Drink Up

Hydrate well to keep your fluid level healthy. An optimum fluid balance will help keep your veins performing properly. Sip on water throughout the day to encourage vein health. Our veins are affected by our capillary exchange, the fluid balancing system in our bodies. Most health authorities advise the 8×8 rule for fluid balance, which is, “Drink 8, 8 ounce glasses of water per day.” There are extenuating circumstances here. You may have different advice from your doctor, follow it. Common sense must also prevail. If you are working out hard in a hot environment, you certainly may require more.

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

With a little planning and minimal effort, you can help keep your veins performing better. If you have signs and symptoms of vein disease, such as varicose veins, swelling or discoloration in your legs, pain in your legs, warmth in your legs or restless leg syndrome, see your physician.The implications of vein disease are serious, possibly life-threatening. At the very least, the pain and discomfort from vein disease can be debilitating. Take care of yourself and enjoy being active for your entire life

Sugar Free Blueberry Pie

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Nutritional Info

Calories 325

Net Carbs 3.4

Fat 36 grams

Protein 6 grams

Crust

1 cup unsalted, melted butter, cooled

4 large  eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon baking  powder

1 Tablespoon water

Filling

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

2 Tablespoons Swerve Granulated

18 oz package room temperature cream  cheese

Instructions

Crust

Mix all ingredients til dough forms.

Divide in half.

Roll out between two sheets parchment  paper.

Put one crust into pie pan.

After filling add top crust.

Pie

Preheat oven to 350F

Put one crust into bottom of pie pan and spread cream cheese into bottom.

Add berries that have been mixed with  sweetener.

Top pie with other crust.

Bake for 25 minutes til top is lightly brown.

Allow to cool before slicing.

Store in refrigerator.