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Two Good Greek Yogurt Review

“Two” Good to Be True?!?

I have eaten Greek yogurt for many years. At one time, I ate the non-fat variety because I thought that was the best thing that I could do to manage my weight. A popular weight loss group advocated eating fat-free and told their members that they didn’t even have to count those calories. It must have been the ideal, right?

New Two Good Item

Soon after coming to David’s Way to Health and Fitness, David tried the full fat version of Greek yogurt and liked it much better. After giving it a try, I abandoned the fat free stuff for the full flavor profile of full fat yogurt. The watery sour taste that’s associated with yogurt was not a part of the flavor of the whole milk variety. Whatever flavors that you add to the full fat yogurt are all you taste. I was leery of even trying a low fat yogurt, but this is the first flavored Greek yogurt with NO ADDED SUGAR that I have ever seen so I just had to give it a try.

Not All Two Goods are Equal

The Two Good vanilla flavor definitely had the watery tart flavor that I was trying to avoid. The texture was creamy but the taste of sour milk was obvious. While vanilla is not my favorite, I thought that the vanilla would showcase the real quality of this yogurt and it did.

The Two Good strawberry was a different story. It had a sweet, creamy strawberry flavor that hid the tartness pretty well. The texture seemed creamier and it even seemed a bit thicker. At only 80 calories, 3 grams of carbs and a whopping 12 grams of protein, it’s a nutrition bargain.

While I will not abandon my whole milk yogurt for this product, I can see how some people might do that to save calories. Compared to a good whole milk product that I add in my favorite berries and other flavors, it pales in comparison, but I give Two Good yogurt a commendation for making a good, flavored, Greek yogurt with NO ADDED SUGAR! Give it a try, you just might really like it!

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Greek Yogurt For a Flat Tummy

Health Benefits of a Grocery List

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Family Tradition

Weight management and health were a central theme in my home as a child. One of the key components to keeping our weight under control was home cooking. We ate out once a week as a treat. My mother was very frugal and made a detailed grocery list so that she would have what she needed to make good, healthy meals at home. By having a core grocery list that you can build your meals around, you will always have healthy food on hand.

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Eggs

I eat eggs every day. Many years ago, “science” produced a study that vilified eggs as a dangerous food that would raise your cholesterol and give you a heart attack. I never quit eating eggs and every time that my cholesterol is checked, it’s in a very healthy range. Newer research says that eating an egg every day is fine. “Eggs were previously associated with heart disease risk as a result of their high cholesterol content. However, a solid body of research shows that for most people, cholesterol in food has a smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol than does the mix of fats in the diet.” (1) 

Eggs have been called “Nature’s Multivitamin” because they are so nutritious. They contain Vitamins B12, B2, B5, A and selenium. They are also a rich source of minerals. At only 77 calories, with 6 grams of protein they are a true superfood. Eggs are an inexpensive source of high-quality protein.

 

 

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Oats

Nothing fills you up much better than oats, partially because they are about 11% fiber. They are one of the most nutritionally dense foods in the world and are quite inexpensive. They contain beta glucans that lower bad cholesterol. Combine the fiber and cholesterol-lowering components and the 11-17% protein that is higher than other grains for a true superfood. The health benefits of oats are incredible when you consider how cheap and common this food is.

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Sweet Potatoes for Health

Growing up in the South, my introduction to sweet potatoes was sugar-coated, sticky and sickeningly sweet. I couldn’t stand them. As an adult, I have learned to love them for their complex carbs and naturally sweet flavor. They power me through work-outs like nothing else!  Packed with Vitamin A that is good for vision and antioxidants that may fight cancer, you can’t go wrong with these. They are a standard in my pursuit of health.

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Meat, Fish and Poultry

I eat about 8 ounces of meat, fish and poultry every day. Combined with eggs, soy and other protein sources, I get a significant amount of high quality protein in my diet. Beef is high in glutathione, the “Master Antioxidant”, and minerals, including iron. It’s known to improve muscle mass and since I am a strength trainer, beef is a regular part of my menus for muscle health. I add in fish and poultry for low calorie protein options, but my favorite is beef.

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Greek Yogurt for Metabolic Health

One of my favorite things is Full-fat, plain, Greek yogurt with partially thawed, frozen raspberries. This makes a delectable dessert or snack. Add your 0 calorie sweetener of choice or maybe some Raspberry Crystal Light Water Enhancer to the mix for a truly sweet treat. Greek yogurt is high in calcium and protein that keep your metabolism stoked.

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Pumpkin Seeds

These little powerhouses are wonderful eaten alone or in oats or yogurt. I only buy the shelled ones, no husks for me! They are high in antioxidants and magnesium to name just two of their benefits. The magnesium is good for heart health and the antioxidants may help reduce your chance of cancer.

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Health Benefits of Romaine Lettuce

The standard Iceberg Lettuce salad is devoid of significant nutrition. Romaine lettuce is full of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and folate. Folate converts carbs into energy which is very important for a strength trainer. Romaine helps me get the most out of the carbohydrates that I eat.

The Money Myth

Something that I want you to note about these foods is that all of them, except the meat, are inexpensive. Beans are a very healthy food that I don’t eat very often. They are also cheap. The myth that healthy food is expensive is a lie. You can buy some specialty items that are expensive but it’s not necessary. Regardless of what you buy, it’s always cheaper to eat at home.

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Practical Application for Health

While these foods are the core of my menus, I add in other foods for variety. You have to build your grocery list around foods that you will eat. There’s no need in buying sweet potatoes if you won’t eat them.

People ask me what I eat. You can see here that I eat relatively plain food. I do add in protein shakes and sometimes a protein cookie. None of my foods contain any added sugars and I prefer the lowest amount of processing possible in my nutrition. I may have a tortilla to carry my protein with me to work. By tracking every bite that goes into my mouth, I know exactly what I can eat at any time to reach my nutrition and fitness goals.

Cabot Greek Yogurt Whole Milk Plain Yogurt Review

 

Eggs | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

 

 

Summer Body

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Body Image In Summer

The very sound of the phrase, “Summer Fun” brings back salty memories of carefree childhood summer vacations at Panama City Beach, Florida. It was a magical time and place. Before the age of 4 years when my mom told me I was fat, it was nirvana. After that, everything changed. I began to plan my vacation centered around the way that I looked in a swimsuit at the age of 4. The real kicker was that I was not fat. I’m sure that my mother could be diagnosed as anorexic today. She was beautiful but obsessed with body image, hers and mine.

Downward Spiral

Summer fun can bring many obstacles to your weight loss program. If you have struggled to feel comfortable in a swimsuit, but did not achieve all of the goals that you set, you may approach the beach with dread. The stress of feeling self-conscious nearly naked can set you up for disaster. As cortisol levels rise from stress, insulin dumps into your bloodstream and you get hungry. The freshly churned ice cream doesn’t help, so you just keep eating. Of course, someone brings an alcohol based, fruity drink into the mix and the situation deteriorates even farther. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and by the time you get home you’re bloated, miserable and depressed. That’s just Saturday. Sunday’s coming, and then the rude awakening of Monday morning when your clothes are just too tight.

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Take Control This Summer!

As the summer progresses, odds are that the swimsuit will disappear and jeans and t-shirts will take it’s place. While others are splashing in the surf, you are sweltering on the beach. Summer can be navigated to help you with your weight loss program. The key is to treat summer just like every other season. Count your calories, exercise (with your doctor’s permission), rest and make your world small. David’s Way works year round.

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Summer Food

My best weight and fitness levels seem to be achieved easier when I start the day with a protein shake. I have my own formula which works well for me. Since I am a strength trainer, my shake might not be exactly what you want or need. The only criteria for a good protein shake is 0 grams added sugars and good protein sources.

Whatever milk you use is a source of protein. Add a no sugar added protein powder, 0 calorie sweetener and maybe some powdered peanut powder if you like. If you choose to have a protein shake, remember, THEY ARE NOT SUBSTITUTES FOR WHOLE FOODS. They are only meant to supplement a healthy diet. I also have oats and eggs most days. A cold shake on a hot summer morning is uber-refreshing! Protein gets your metabolism revved to burn hot all day. I like to add oats for healthy, complex carbs and eggs. Eggs are a staple in my diet.

Danger!

Mid-morning can be a treacherous time at work. Quite often there are doughnuts, cupcakes and all kinds of abominations waiting to ambush you. Carry unsweetened, Greek yogurt with your choice of sugar-free add-ins. Crystal Lite, Tang Liquid Drink Mix and Lemonade Mio are some of my favorites. You can add raspberries to the yogurt that has Raspberry-Lemonade Crystal Light and have a scrumptious dessert that is better than the toxic pastries and baked goods around you. Cheese sticks, turkey sticks, nuts and apples also make excellent mid-morning choices whether you are home, traveling or working.

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Brown Bag It

Lunch can be a wrap made in a high-fiber, low carb tortilla such as Ole Extreme Wellness Tortillas, brought from home. Stuff it with lean protein of your choice and veggies. If you like mayo, choose a sugar-free variety. I particularly like Duke’s. It has never had sugar so it is an original recipe, not a “diet mayo”. Canned red beans with browned ground beef seasoned with sugar-free catsup and Brown Swerve is a quick alternative to a wrap or a sandwich. Both of these can be easily prepared at home and carried anywhere. One of the best sugar-free catsups that I have found is Heinz. It is reasonably priced, some are not.

Be Choosy

If you are at a cook-out at lunch time, stick with the burgers, with or without the bun. You can choose to eat a bun, but  stop at one. If you are still hungry, opt for another hamburger patty with toppings, just no bun. Coleslaw that is dressed with vinegar and a 0 calorie sweetener instead of mayo is a good side.

Forego the chips unless you carry some home made chips. The recipe is here. I suggest that you try this recipe ahead of time and learn how to use your microwave to do it. David’s oven crisps them up nicely in 4 minutes. Mine is different. I cook them about 2 1/2 minutes and move them around on the plate and then cook them in 30 second intervals until they are perfect. Seasoned with the popcorn salt of your choice, they are a really good kettle chip type potato chip.

ALWAYS skip the alcohol. It’s just liquid sugar that has little to no nutritive value. No, you won’t get enough resveratrol in wine to warrant the excess calories and cravings that come with it. If you want resveratrol, talk to your doctor about taking a supplement.

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Quick and Easy

Quick summer dinners are best. Nobody wants to spend a long time in the kitchen when it’s hot. Quickly prepared food is best whether you are at home alone or at a party. Grilled foods are a summer delight! We grilled meats when I was growing up but nothing else. Nowadays your entire meal can be cooked on the grill. Meats, poultry, seafood, fruits and veggies can be served up quickly from the grill without heating up your house.

Move It!

Exercise is mandatory for good health. I was an avid swimmer for years. Five to seven days were spent in the pool every week. In the Winter, it was difficult. Summer time was wonderful, however! The cool water of the pool was pure joy! You can go to a local YMCA for affordable swimming year round. Sometimes people say that it’s too expensive to join a gym. If you want to swim year round, you almost have to.

The YMCA is affordable, but not cheap. When you consider that they have the great pools along with everything that all other gyms have, it’s a bargain. The expense of not getting good exercise is much greater than any amount that you spend to work out. Inactivity results in dysfunction and ultimately sickness. You decide what your health is worth.

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ZZZ’s

Get your rest this summer! Endless parties and trips that are centered around food are landmines for your weight management program. If you don’t get enough rest, your cortisol levels will soar and you will be ravenously hungry. Good sleep helps to regulate all of your hormones including those that are involved in fat storage. Sometimes it’s best to say “No.” to some invitations if they will keep you from getting the rest that you need. Summer is filled with parties, family reunions, church socials, weddings and more. So, pick and choose the events that are really important and stay home otherwise. Then, not only will you get some rest, you will be able to control your meals better. Your waistline will thank you.

Diet Soda Causes Weight Gain?

diet soda and hot dog

Diet soda causes weight gain is an absurd statement I have heard several times over the years. Of course, the individuals who have stated this to me preceded by telling me they might as well drink regular soda instead. This line of thought is not well thought out, but maybe it should be addressed anyhow.

Could there be a glimmer of truth about this?

Is it possible that diet soda causes weight gain?

research laboratory

Where did this information even come from? Research from George Washington University is one place that has promulgated this theory. Their research does suggest that artificial sweeteners may actually increase a person’s risk of becoming obese.  Studies  of artificial sweeteners reveal that they could increase the chance of us accumulating fat in our bodies. But this is in a “dose-dependent” fashion. In other words, you have to eat a very large quantity of artificial sweeteners to increase your body fat.

What is the basis of this theory?

It is factual that weight management is a matter of calories consumed versus calories burned. So how exactly could a zero calorie sweetener in a diet soda cause you to gain weight?

 Sweet substances bind to sensors in our mouth called “sweet-taste receptors.” These receptors send a message to our brain to tell us that we are eating something sweet. In the last decade, these sensors have been found in other parts of our body, such as the bladder, the lungs and even in bones. This has raised questions about what effect sweeteners, and these sweet taste receptors, could be having inside our bodies.

 Results of research presented recently at the 100th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago, addressed the effect that artificial sweeteners have on the cells that make up our fat stores. These cells have a glucose transporter (a protein that helps glucose get into a cell) called GLUT4 on their surface. When we eat more sugar, the cells take up more glucose, accumulate more fat and become larger.

 Studies have found that the artificial sweetener sucralose increases GLUT4 in these cells and promotes the accumulation of fat. These changes are associated with an increased risk of becoming obese. But what you need to know is that only a small number of obese people who consume artificial sweeteners have been involved with this research.

Artificial Sweeteners Effect on Insulin and Blood Sugar

Now for the rest of the story.

This same research displayed that when consumed in low quantities, artificial sweeteners have been shown to aid weight loss. They have also been shown to improve metabolic conditions. There is little support for the notion that no-calorie sweeteners stimulate appetite or contribute to obesity.

Still think diet soda causes weight gain?

People who regularly consume diet drinks are more likely to have poor diet quality and eat fewer fruits and vegetables than those who don’t drink them. It is common that people switch to diet soda when they begin gaining weight without addressing other aspects of their diet that are causing the weight gain.

Weight management will always be about calories consumed versus calories burned. With zero calories, it is a bit absurd to believe diet soda causes weight gain.

You can’t believe everything you read. All the news stories and blog postings on this topic cite the same few studies: research in rats conducted by two investigators at Purdue University and two studies that followed soda drinkers over time.

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Healthy, Homemade Potato Chips

Another easy recipe from Loraine’s Kitchen.

Many of us who have, or have had weight control problems usually love our potato chips. They are a palatable treat that are difficult for most to give up. Unfortunately, most commercially available chips are not a healthy choice to make. Now, if you love potato chips, you do not need to feel as if you are sacrificing a food that you love. you can prepare these in less time than it takes to run to the store to buy a bag, and for a fraction of the cost. The best part is that you control the flavor and fat content. You can rest assured that you know what each and every ingredient will be.

  1. Wash your potatoes and then slice very thinly. This is where a mandolin type food slicer comes in handy. A mandolin will ensure an even thickness which helps with even cooking.
  2. Spray a microwave safe plate with a light spray type olive or canola oil. It does not need much, which is great for keeping the calories down.
  3. Place the potato slices evenly spaced on the plate, and top with a seasoning of your choice. You have complete control over the flavor and the sodium content of your chips.
  4. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes until done to your desired doneness.
  5. Once done, enjoy these healthy potato chips with absolutely no guilt.

The calorie content is 110 calories per one medium size potato. The calories from the oil will be minimum considering it takes very little to keep the chips from sticking to the plate during cooking. Loraine did not use more than a teaspoon of olive oil for a whole potato, therefore the total calories for this batch was about 150 calories and was enough for the both of us.

Eat the Damn Tater

Obesity and Low Testosterone

Obese man pondering his Low Testosterone

Low testosterone has become a more common health issue today than in years past. The prevalence has skyrocketed in the last twenty years, along with obesity. Fellows, can you see the connection?

Guy’s, is your low testosterone levels the cause of your obesity?

Or, is it actually a result of your obesity?

The fact of the matter is, the answer to both questions could be a resounding “YES”. Correlation does not always equal causation fellows. The important take away is to do something about the condition, either way low testosterone levels have a negative impact on our lives. Those negative impacts affect more than your prowess in the sexual arena, so get over yourself. Your libido might be the least of your problems if you do not take care to maintain healthy levels of testosterone in your body.

Unhappy couple in bed. Erectile dysfunction.

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone found in humans, as well as in other animals. In men, the testicles primarily make testosterone. Women’s ovaries also make testosterone, though in much smaller amounts.

The production of testosterone starts to increase significantly during puberty and begins to dip after age 30 or so.

Testosterone is most often associated with sex drive and plays a vital role in sperm production. It also affects bone and muscle mass, the way men store fat in the body, and even red blood cell production.

A man’s testosterone levels can also affect his mood. (1)

Low levels of testosterone, also called low T levels, can produce a variety of symptoms in men, including:

decreased sex drive

less energy

weight gain

feelings of depression

moodiness

low self-esteem

less body hair

thinner bones

Guy’s, as you can see, low testosterone has a negative effect on our overall health.  A sedentary lifestyle, sleep deprivation, insulin resistance, and nutrient deficiencies are common causes for low teste levels in men. It is important that we take care of our health, and we can help this through good nutrition and regular exercise. Low testosterone levels is a natural part of aging. But we do not have to just let it plummet because we want to sit on the couch to watch a game while eating chips and drinking beer on a regular basis.

Cream puffs to represent obese men

As a male, if you care anything in the world about manliness, there is nothing manly about being lazy and obese. There is nothing at all manly about not caring for your body enough to not properly nourish it through healthy foods and exercise. Trust me, if you are weak and lack stamina, everyone can tell. If bravado is your attitude, you are fooling no one with your charade. Being intellectually honest, we all know at least a few, or a good many who fit this profile. When you sit on your butt all the time eating cream puffs, a cream puff you become.

Do not waste your money on Testosterone Boosters

Today, we can find a huge plethora of testosterone boosters online, or at any retail outlets that sells nutritional supplements. If you have low teste, you need to consult your physician instead of trying to treat it yourself with supplements. Your physician can order blood labs to see if you actually need hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or not. The truth is, most of you can raise your levels with good nutrition and exercise instead of getting expensive, regular treatments.

Testosterone “boosting” supplements don’t contain actual testosterone or other hormones. Instead, they contain herbs and other substances that are supposed to increase your natural production of testosterone.

But the evidence that these products are effective is extremely limited. Just because you might experience an increase in your libido, it does not mean that you actually increased your testosterone level. Over the counter testosterone boosting products make extraordinary promises to restore your muscle mass, sexual function, and overall vitality. But proceed with caution if you’re thinking of using one. Most of the ingredients don’t actually increase testosterone levels, and some carry serious health risks.

If you are going to do anything at all that can affect your testosterone, do not be a fool and think you can do it on your own. Always consult with your physician and only do what they prescribe for you.

Weight loss and regular exercise will increase your testosterone!

Obese man after exercising

You might want a quick and simple fix to your testosterone levels, but what you need is a change of lifestyle. Good nutrition and exercise are what you need my friends. Creams, pills, and injections might do the trick for you, but so will moving your butt and good food choices. There is no quick fix, but there is a slow fix. The fix involves adjusting your diet to take in fewer calories and ramp up your exercise to burn off more calories. It’s the manly thing to do, and the time to start is now.

Foods That Kill Your Testosterone

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(1) https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-testosterone

Diet Culture vs: Nutrition Culture

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Dangerous Trend 

“Diet Culture” is a phrase that intends to discredit anyone who is trying to improve their health or change their looks. As a result, rants against the “Diet Culture” are rampant. The self-acceptance movement has gone overboard with this. Criticizing someone for trying to lose weight or work out is bullying. I don’t know why this type of bullying seems to be acceptable. Imagine the uproar if anyone made hateful remarks about those who choose to remain at a high weight. There would be a huge public backlash. So, let’s examine the Diet Culture vs: Nutrition Culture issue.

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Diet Culture

   Eating drastically low numbers of calories is an unhealthy practice. Those who eat too little in an effort to lose weight quickly create a negative impression of what being healthy looks like. Choosing to eat from only narrow categories of foods will cause nutritional imbalances. Therefore this type of chronic dieter looks unhealthy and has little to no energy. They are usually chronically depressed. They frequently border on anorexia, alternating with weight gain.

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Adhering to such stringent dietary practices is almost never motivated by a concern for health. Since appearance is the motivation behind this type of fad diet seeking behavior, yo-yo dieting is the norm. They never maintain a healthy weight.  They can be painfully thin. At other times they may  be carrying too much body fat to be healthy.

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Nutrition Culture, NOT a Diet

We advocate a “Nutrition Culture”. Removing empty calories from your diet leaves room for more calories from whole, healthy foods. “Empty calories” are the energy that you get from foods with little nutrition. They are devoid of adequate vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. These nutrients, and others, are needed for good health, energy and a healthy appearance.

 

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Carbohydrates

Carbs are the main source of energy for the body and brain. They are severely restricted in many of the popular fad diets. We advocate a diet that is lower in carbohydrates than most people eat but we stress that there must be enough complex carbs in your diet for good health. Avoiding carbohydrates is not sustainable. Healthy carbs come from vegetables, milk, nuts, grains, seeds legumes and fruit. (1) We believe in avoiding ADDED sugars, but there are naturally occurring sugars in foods that are okay to eat. They are found in fruits,  milk and some vegetables.

Photo by Dimitry Zub on Unsplash

Starch is a complex carbohydrate. Many fad diets avoid starches but a baked potato is an incredibly healthy food. Potatoes are rich in nutrition, including Vitamin C!

If we avoid carbohydrates, we will miss out on fiber which is necessary for good health. Fiber is necessary for a healthy gut, regulation of cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels and to help maintain a healthy weight.

Healthy Fats and Diet

Strict dieting can rob you of healthy fats. They are higher in calories than carbs and protein per serving, so dieters might avoid them. They help us to stay warm and are necessary for absorption of fat soluble vitamins, A, D. E and K. Skimping on healthy fats can deplete your stores of these vitamins.

Protein

Protein repairs and builds tissues in our bodies along with other functions.  Inadequate protein intake causes weakness. thinning hair, brittle nails and dry skin. Kwashiorkor, the disease caused from protein deficiency,  causes the swollen belly that is so obvious in malnutrition documentaries. It is caused by a fluid imbalance in the gut. Without treatment, this deficiency can be fatal.

A great irony in the center of this discussion is that the “Diet Culture” is focused on appearances, but you look your best when you are properly nourished. Dry skin, thinning hair and nails and the poor body structure of protein deficiency are not attractive. Obesity caused by constant cravings is not attractive. Lack of proper nutrition can cause cravings that tempt you to eat whatever you can find rather than what you need.

How to Keep Losing Weight

The next time that someone faults you for “buying into the diet culture”, tell them that you are a part of the “Nutrition Culture”…

and we DON’T diet.

(1) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/basics/nutrition-basics/hlv-20049477

 

Chicken Caprese

My sweet Loraine’s Chicken Caprese recipe is most excellent and easy to follow. The final results are quite delectable to say the least. I believe it is one of my new favorite meals. And to sweeten the deal, it is not superhigh in calories, nor unhealthy ingredients.

I am sure you will enjoy it!

Nutrition per Serving

Calories: 514  Carbs: 14.1 grams, Fat: 32.8 grams, Protein: 43.7 grams

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 4 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 – cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 – half pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp – dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp – black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 ounce balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup – mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Brown chicken breasts in 1 tbsp. olive oil. Remove from skillet and place in baking dish.
  3. Sauté garlic in same pan with remaining olive oil.
  4. Place remaining ingredients with sautéed garlic evenly on top of chicken in the baking dish, then top with mozzarella cheese.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 18 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until cheese has slightly browned.

This tasty meal is quick and easy and packed full of satiating protein.

Enjoy?

 

 

Motivation/Learned Behavior

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Destructive Thinking

There is a lot of discussion about motivation in the health/wellness community.  This is particularly apparent in the conversations about diet and exercise.  We have been led to believe by popular culture that we must be properly motivated in order to be healthy.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Health is a lifetime commitment.  It is a choice, not a flash in the pan, glittering elusively, available for only a moment.  Success is not dependent on our state of mind.  or circumstances.  It is a conscious decision on our part, to do the right thing.  Agreeably, illness befalls some who have done everything right.  I have no answer for that unless we venture into the spiritual realm, but in almost every case, our health is in our hands.

Science

A study on motivation was undertaken at Valdosta State University in 2011.¹  There was a question of how important motivation is in the role of learning and learned behavior.  The argument of external versus internal motivation was studied.  External being acquisition of positive, pleasant consequences and avoiding negative consequences.  Internal being the desire to feel good, to solve a problem, to acquire balance, to take control of one’s life or to meet an individually selected goal among other internal prompts to problem solve.  At first glance these seem similar, but they’re not.

Accountability

The external cue of merely acquiring positive consequences is far removed from the desire to take control of our lives.  We can have the external cue to want to look hot in a swimsuit, (acquisition of positive, pleasant circumstances) all we want, but until we make up our minds that we want to take control of our lives, (internal), we will flounder.  Like Nike says, “Just Do It.”  David Yochim says “I’ve never done easy in my life.” and that is so true.  We have to decide what we want and do what it takes to get it.  Excuses to avoid healthy behaviors are not reasons to fail.

So often we wait until we “feel like it”.   We may get motivation by external cues and start that race with vigor.  Sometimes we are successful for a season and then have an overly emotional moment…day…Oh, okay, decade, and we just give up.  This is the problem with depending on “being able” to do it.  We aren’t.  We are programmed to take the easy path of least resistance.  Everything in nature is.  There is nothing in the natural world that voluntarily does the hard thing.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Use Your Mind!

That’s where our mind comes in.  We make a decision and we do the hard things, every day until those hard things are routine. Read about Perseverance here.  One day, we look in the mirror and barely recognize ourselves.  We go to the doctor and he is jealous of our blood work.  We realize that we are passing along what we have learned in the hard times, hoping that maybe, just maybe, others will learn to do what’s hard in order to achieve the ultimate goal, good health. Because we never did easy or depended on motivation, we become the person on the outside that we have always been on the inside.

Get inside your own head.

Do hard.

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¹www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/motivation/motivate.html

Maintaining Weight Loss

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Maintaining the weight loss that you have worked so hard to accomplish is only possible by living a healthy lifestyle, not by dieting. Sometimes when we start adding calories into our daily menus to stop losing, we choose foods that got us fat in the first place. David has said, “If you couldn’t control those foods before, what makes you think that you can control them now?” Don’t undo all your hard work by thinking that you can go back to your old way of living.

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Choices That Help With Maintaining Weight Loss

We advise giving up sugar to reduce calories and inflammation in your body. When you remove the foods that contain added sugars, you naturally reduce your caloric intake. Most people “reward” themselves with sugar-laden desserts as soon as they reach their weight loss goal. Since sugar has an addictive quality, just a few days of eating it will start that addictive behavior again. It causes chemical imbalances in the brain similar to cocaine. The reward system of the brain is activated by sugar and soon you want to repeat that behavior. In no time at all, the pounds return with a vengeance.

A key factor in maintaining weight loss is to improve your food choices. Everyone likes the sweet taste. In studies in newborns, the babies were given plain water and then sugar water. After the babies got the sugar water, they no longer wanted the plain water. There’s no shame in liking sweetness in foods. What we fail to realize is we don’t have to eat added sugars to get that craving satisfied. Instead of eating empty calories, choose healthy foods with natural sweetness. When you read food labels, watch for the phrase, “Added Sugars”. That’s what you want to avoid to help maintain your weight loss. There is natural sugar in many foods that is unavoidable. Some of those foods will satisfy a sweet tooth.

A favorite snack, full-fat Greek yogurt with lemon Mio Water Enhancer, Splenda and frozen raspberries.

My Favorite Things

Full-fat Greek yogurt that is made from whole milk, has about 4 grams of naturally occurring sugar per serving. Greek yogurt is a powerhouse of nutrition. The milk sugar in the yogurt is fine to eat. With 16 grams of protein and probiotics for gut health, it’s great for maintaining weight loss. Add fruit or berries and the 0 calorie sweetener of your choice and you have the equivalent of a sundae. Sometimes I add 0 calorie, sugar-free drink mixes to make all kinds of delicious flavors. A favorite is full-fat Greek yogurt with Tang sugar-free liquid drink mix and a little vanilla extract. This makes Orange “Dreamsicle” Yogurt. It’s wonderful!

Oats are a power food that fill you up and provide some of the best nutrition. Almost all athletes eat oats. Add a sugar-free sweetener, butter or coconut oil and some nuts, seeds, berries or fruit for a sweet treat that will do your body good. I like Swerve Brown that substitutes for brown sugar for 0 calories. It’s wonderful in oatmeal. I have eaten oats for years to assist me with weight loss and maintenance. Make sure that all of your food is nutritionally dense. Don’t waste calories on junk food that won’t benefit your body.

There are protein cookies, bars and shakes that will satisfy your sweet cravings. Avoid those that contain added sugars and experiment until you find some that you like. If you eat sugary snacks, you will get blood sugar swings that will make you hungrier. To get adequate nutrition and satisfy that hunger, you will have to eat too many calories and your weight will increase. There are many no sugar added options for all of these products.

Look at our recipe section on our menu on the Home Page here for healthy recipes that will satisfy cravings and help you in maintaining weight.

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Activity

Most people accept the fact that exercise will help you lose weight. Unfortunately, most people either decrease the amount of exercise, or stop it altogether, when they reach their goal. Maintaining weight loss requires at least 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise at least 3 to 4 times per week. This is not strolling leisurely through the mall or cleaning your house. Weight loss and maintenance programs that lead you to think that are probably trying to keep you coming to them to collect fees. Moderate exercise is when you can talk but not sing and vigorous exercise is when you can only say a few words without pausing for a breath. Maintaining weight loss is more work than losing weight and requires a changed lifestyle. Trying to maintain weight loss while playing around with unhealthy habits will fail.

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Weight Loss Maintenance “Influencers”

When you create a new lifestyle you need to consider the people in your life. We are strongly influenced by those closest to us. You must remember that if someone tries to sabotage your efforts to be healthy, they don’t have your best interest at heart. Why would you continue to appease anyone who is working against all your hard work that you put in to get to goal? If you over ate when you were with them before you got to goal, you probably will again. Seek out friends who support your new health incentives. I had a “friend” who told me that she didn’t like me being smaller than her. We are no longer in touch. I associate only with those who will help me along my way towards ultimate health.

Learn To Cook!

Something has happened in the U.S. in the last 20 years that is appalling. People have quit cooking. While I have had times in my life when I frequented restaurants, before long, I would always go back to the kitchen. After a little while, I would develop cravings that I could not satisfy at the drive-through window. Fast food is nutritionally poor and you will keep eating it in large amounts trying to get satisfied. It’s designed to make you buy and eat MORE. That’s how they make money. It’s way too easy to order whatever sounds appealing if you don’t have to cook it.

Basic cooking is simple. You learn by doing. You will spend a fraction of the  money that you now spend on food. Eggs, oats, beans, chicken, Greek yogurt, apples and milk are staples that are highly nutritious and cheap. Look online for instructions to cook anything.  I can buy a pound of coffee on sale for the price of one Mocha Frappuccino at a fancy coffee shop. A pound of ground coffee will make about 80 cups of coffee. Save money, calories and time by learning to cook at home. Use low calorie, sugar-free ingredients and tweak the taste to your liking while improving your health.

Notice that all of these tips will improve your life in many ways other than just maintaining your weight loss. They will finally, give you the life that you want and deserve. Get your priorities in order today for a brighter tomorrow.

Always play the long game.