Friday, March 23, 2012

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Join a FREE Blogger Event for a prize of $100 PayPal Cash!
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quinoa Side Dish

Quinoa is a great alternative to rice - it's lighter, and cooks in about half the time.

Preparation time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 dash fresh lemon juice (optional)

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa, and toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender.
  2. In a bowl, toss quinoa together with garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, and onion. Sprinkle with lemon juice, and serve. 

This recipe is from

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Raw Mint-Chip Shamrock Shake

  • 1-2 Tbs cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 frozen large banana (the more ripe, the better)  
  • 1-2 drops peppermint extract (or handful of fresh mint leaves)  
  • 1/4 cup frozen spinach (or opt for all-natural green food coloring, or just make a white mint shake)
  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk of choice (coconut, almond, hemp, etc.  Use more or less, depending on desired thickness.)
Optional Ideas & Add-ins
  • cocoa powder 
  • chocolate protein powder
  • garnish with fresh mint leaves 
  • 2-4 drops liquid stevia (Try the peppermint liquid stevia from Sweet Leaf)  
  • a pinch of guar gum and xantham to make pudding (or just reduce milk)
Blend everything together and enjoy! 

I got this recipe from Rose Cole.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's VEGAN!!! Shakeology Tropical Strawberry

Introducing you to the newest member of the Shakeology family: Shakeology Tropical Strawberry. And guess what? It's vegan!

Just take one sip, and its sweet, luscious strawberry flavor along with notes of tropical fruits such as pineapple, banana, and papaya will whisk you away to paradise. You'll quickly discover that the delicate flavor is easy to customize with your favorite fruits. For instance, it combines deliciously with bananas, blueberries, and coconut water. Wouldn't that flavor combination be a great way to start your day?

This refreshing vegan shake is also the first addition to our new Beachbody Ultimate™ line—products that help nurture the body's natural ability to heal itself and enhance the body's own organic processes. Tropical Strawberry's powerful protein punch comes from a proprietary vegan protein blend crafted from whole, plant-based proteins including sprouted brown rice, sacha inchi, chia, flax, quinoa, amaranth, and spirulina, and delivers all 9 essential amino acids. And it's 100% dairy-free and lactose-free.

And, like our Chocolate and Greenberry flavors, Shakeology Tropical Strawberry is packed with vitamins and minerals that continue to make Shakeology the Healthiest Meal of the Day®. With 160 calories, 20 grams of carbs, and 15 grams of protein, it's the ideal breakfast choice that can help you achieve the body you've always wanted.

New Superfoods in Vegan Tropical Strawberry Shakeology

Coconut Flower Nectar
You’re familiar with the fruit of the coconut palm, but did you know that the flowers of the coco nucifera produce a naturally sweet, delicious nectar packed with vitamin C, B vitamins, and 17 of the 20 amino acids? It also has a low score on the glycemic index, so although it’s sweet, it releases its energy slowly so you don’t get a sugar high or the resulting crash.

Luo Han Guo
Pronounced “law hawn gwah,” this fruit was discovered by Chinese monks in the 13th century. At first, they used this low-calorie, low-glycemic fruit as a sweetener for their tea. After all, it’s 300 times sweeter than sugar! But, they soon discovered that it could have a positive impact on coughs and other respiratory ailments. And recent research has revealed that it may work as an antioxidant to help eliminate the free radicals that can cause serious health concerns.

Himalayan Salt
A touch of salt can go a long way in bringing out flavor, but this salt goes a step further . . . it’s even healthy for you! This raw, untouched, unprocessed salt contains more than 70 trace minerals which help detoxify the blood and maintain a stable pH balance in cells. And all that for less than 5% of the recommended daily intake for someone on a low-sodium diet!

Konjac Root
This yam-like root has been used as a part of a healthy diet in India, China, Japan, and Korea for centuries, and for good reason: It’s recently been found that Konjac Root may be able to promote healthy blood sugar and ideal cholesterol levels, and help with regularity for optimal digestive health. Plus, if you’ve been having trouble with fighting off your not-so-healthy cravings, the fiber in this wonder food can help you out, thanks to its ability to absorb up to 200 times its weight in water, making you feel fuller for longer.


I originally posted this 2/16/12 on my other blog.

Homemade Glass Cleaner

I really try to stay away from chemical-laden household cleaners. There are now many different “Green” household cleaning products on the market. You can also make your own household cleansers for a lot less money than you would spend on commercial cleansers. There is really no reason to subject you and your family to harmful chemicals.
I’m allergic to commercial glass cleaner. The ammonia in it will immediately irritate my lungs and can cause me to have an asthma attack. So, I just make my own glass cleaner. I tried using plain vinegar and plain rubbing alcohol. Neither was sufficient on their own. But I have found that a combination of two parts vinegar and one part rubbing alcohol does the trick for my glass cleaning needs.
There are lots of recipes you can find on the Internet. If you find one that works great for you, feel free to share in a comment below.

I originally posted this 12/26/11 on my other blog.

BPM of Exercise Music

I previously wrote a post about Music and Exercise. I’ve done a little more research on the subject and found that music with a BPM (Beats Per Minute) of 120 to 160 is the best for exercising. Generally, dance music and a lot of rock music are in this range. Play music with a tempo about 120 BPM for walking around 3 MPH, 140 BPM for power walking around 4.5 MPH, and up to about 160 BPM for running.

There is a free program you can download from MixMeister that will measure the BPM of your music. It’s called the BPM Analyzer. There are downloads for PC and Mac. I downloaded the PC version. It is a really fast download and is only 664 KB.

I am currently running the BPM Analyzer and scanning my music. I will then choose songs with a BPM of 120 or more and make playlists from there to correspond with the different exercise routines I engage in. I’ll make one playlist for my cardio sessions on the elliptical, stationary bike, and treadmill, one for my outside power walks, and one for my strength training sessions. I’m not going to rely exclusively on the BPM Analyzer results though. Just because a song may have 150 BPM doesn’t mean it’s a song that will motivate me while I’m exercising.

Please feel free to share any other ideas about exercise music or apps or programs that you know about by leaving a comment.

I originally posted this 12/21/11 on my other blog.

Your Thoughts and Weight Loss

The most important factors to successful and permanent weight loss are your thoughts. You must change your mind set.  If you don’t change the way you think about food, you will not be successful in the long term.

Food used to be on my mind all the time. I was always thinking ahead to the next meal. Even worse, I was always thinking ahead to my next sugar fix. We live in a society that is food-centered. We’re blasted with TV and radio commercials selling fast food and junk food. Food is a focal point of all important occasions and holidays.

You have to knock food down to the bottom of the totem pole. Yes, we need food to survive, but it’s just not that important compared to other things in life. I used to live to eat. Now I eat to live.

Think of food simply as fuel for your body. Carbohydrates like brown rice, steel cut oats, whole wheat pasta and Quinoa are energy boosters to get you through the day. Essential fats like olive oil, safflower oil, salmon, tuna and other high-oil fish are the lubricants to keep your body and brain running smoothly. Protein like chicken breast, egg whites, lean beef, low-fat cheese and protein powder is the power behind your muscles. Fresh fruits and vegetables supply you with vital nutrients to keep you healthy and prevent illness. And even though it isn’t food, water, at least 64 ounces a day, is vital to maintaining our bodies.

When I think about what foods to prepare, I think of what of the above mentioned fuel types I need most for the time of day it is and what activities I will be doing. I think about the nutritional value of my food before I think of the pleasure value. It is totally different from the way I used to think. 

Do I enjoy good food? Of course I do. On my free day, usually Sunday, I pretty much eat whatever I want, even a decadent dessert. I also may enjoy a cocktail. My favorite is to go out for sushi and have a glass of plum wine. 

You can try every diet in the book but you will not have lasting results unless you change the way you think about food. It’s not hard to do but it can take a little time. Be gentle with yourself.

I originally posted this 10/30/11 on my other blog.

Music and Exercise

For me, stimulating, upbeat music is as important to my workouts as good shoes and comfortable workout attire. I don’t leave for the gym without my MP3 player and Bluetooth stereo headset packed in my gym bag. Not only do I get the pleasure of listening to my favorite tunes but, it puts me in a better frame of mind and dramatically increases my physical performance.

I am very grumpy and less than happy about getting up at 5:50 in the morning to go to the gym before work. A morning person I am not. But once I have my music playing, I feel more awake and alive and ready to get the day going. It really helps improve my mood and put me in a much better frame of mind.

Music helps keep me focused on what I’m doing. When I’m doing my strength training sets, I’m not distracted by what’s on the TV or other peoples’ conversations. The greatest benefit from the music comes when I’m on the elliptical. Then I do turn on the TV with the volume off and the Closed Caption on. That way I have something to look at instead of staring at the amount of time lapsing on the display. When I first started out on the elliptical eight weeks ago, I couldn’t last 3 minutes at 43 MPH. I gradually increased my time each day by 15 to 60 seconds. The music really helps me keep pushing on to each day’s goal. Not only does it help me in the amount of time I can last, but helps me increase my pace. I am now up to 20 minutes and my average speed is 50 MPH, topping out at the end of my workouts at about 62 MPH. And it seems I always have perfect timing with the music, too. Just when I need that extra push to make my goal, a really great song comes on and I just go with it to the finish line.

I figured there had to be some research out there on the benefits of using music while exercising and I was right. Research from Ohio State University suggests that listening to music during a workout helps people with chronic lung disease boost their fitness level. This article was of particular interest to me because I am an asthmatic. In the study, subjects with serious lung disease who listened to music while walking covered an average of 19 miles over the course of an eight-week exercise intervention study. In comparison, the group that didn’t listen to music only walked an average of 15 total miles – 21 percent less - by the end of the study. It suggests that participants in the music group may have felt less hindered by shortness of breath.

In a British study, 12 male college students rode stationary bikes while listening to a set of six songs for 30 minutes. They each rode in three separate trials. During one of the rides, the six songs were played at their normal tempos. During the other rides, the tempo of the tracks was slowed by 10 percent or increased by 10 percent. The riders were not informed about the tempo manipulations. When the tempo slowed, so did the riders response – heart rates fell, mileage dropped, and they didn’t like the music much. When the music tempo was upped 10 percent, the riders covered more miles, produced more power with each pedal stroke and increased their pedal cadences. Their heart rates rose. They reported enjoying the music, the same music, about 36 percent more than when it was slowed. They didn’t find the workout easier. Their sense of how hard they worked actually rose 2.4 percent but it seemed to motivate them to push themselves. With the tempo faster, the riders chose to accept, even prefer, a greater degree of effort.

So, the next time you take that walk or go to the gym, don’t leave without you’re music player and headphones. The music might just make that little bit of difference you need to stay motivated and make your goals. It certainly works for me.

My resources: 

I originally posted this 9/29/11 on my other blog.

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin C?

Humans, guinea pigs, monkeys, bats, some fish and many birds, do not produce their own vitamin C. Humans used to produce their own Vitamin C through the liver. A gene mutation in our evolution eventually ceased the production of Vitamin C in our bodies. I did not know this and found it very interesting.

The FDA’s Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin C is only 60mg. That is the minimal amount our bodies need to ensure we do not end up developing Scurvy, a disease resulting from a deficiency of Vitamin C. 60mg of this vitamin is not enough to achieve optimal health and longevity. When taken in much greater amounts, Vitamin Chelps to support immune function, neutralize free radicals, restore energy, relieve every day stress, reduce muscle soreness, aid wound healing, and support vital systems. It also encourages collagen formation, thus fighting the signs of aging. There is also new research that suggests Vitamin C may be able to increase lung capacity, enhance mental clarity, and help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

You might wonder how much Vitamin C is too much. It is actually very difficult to overdose on Vitamin C. It is very safe to use in much higher doses than the RDA. Humans can benefit from consuming as much as 2000-20,000 mg per day. The only common side effect of high Vitamin C doses is a transient diarrhea-like buildup of water in the lower bowel.

How do we consume enough Vitamin C? The first place to start is by eating these fruits and vegetables that have the highest Vitamin C content: parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice, papaya, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts. Then use supplementation. To ensure your body absorbs the most Vitamin C possible, it is recommended to use a powder form that you mix in water. A lot of the pill forms of supplements are mostly fillers and a lot of the actual nutrients end up being excreted without being fully absorbed in our system.

Here are two of many brands of the powder form of Vitamin C. One brand is Emergen-C that you can purchase at your local drugstore or supercenter. I’ve used this in the past and it tastes great! It comes in individual packets that you can easily keep in your purse or briefcase. Here is a link to request a free sample: The other brand is Super C22. You can order it online at: I heard a radio infomercial on this brand that prompted me to do a little research on Vitamin C. I will definitely be upping my intake of Vitamin C now that I know more about the many benefits that can be reaped.

I originally posted this 9/25/11 on my other blog.

Ginger Bread Man Protein Shake

1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 graham cracker
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 capful vanilla extract
12oz water
4 ice cubes

Blend for 45 seconds.

I found this recipe on

Lemon & Dill Chicken

Fresh lemon and dill create a quick Greek-inspired pan sauce for simple sautéed chicken breasts. Make it a meal: Serve with roasted broccoli and whole-wheat orzo.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (1-1 1/4 pounds)
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


1. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until well browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth, flour, 1 tablespoon dill and lemon juice in a measuring cup and add to pan. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

3. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan; reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over the chicken. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill.

This recipe is from

Sweet Potato & Apple Casserole


4 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into chunks
1 apple, unpeeled and cut into chunks
½ tsp ground allspice
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup 100% maple syrup
¼ cup grassfed raw butter
¾ cup chopped pecans


Place sweet potatoes in large saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender.

Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the apples, spices, maple syrup and butter and mix well.

Spread the mixture evenly into an 11X7 glass baking dish. Top with the chopped pecans and bake uncovered at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

This recipe is from the November 2011 issue of Natural Muscle Magazine.

Strawberry Cheesecake

Sliced strawberries over protein-enriched cheesecake in a graham cracker crust

Servings: 8

Preparation Time: 3 hours


1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp Splenda granular
12 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 cup egg substitute
1 Ready Crust reduced-fat graham cracker crust
½ cup fat-free sour cream
2 tsp sugar substitute
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.       Spoon cottage cheese into blender and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add vanilla extract and Splenda; blend for about 15 more seconds.
3.       Add the softened cream cheese and blend for about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed. While blending, gradually add the egg substitute and continue to blend until smooth, about 45 seconds.
4.       Pour cheese filling into Ready Crust and bake until set, about 35 minutes.
5.       Remove cheesecake from oven and cool for about 15 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
6.       Prior to serving, in a small mixing bowl, combine sour cream and sugar substitute.
Slice cheesecake into 8 portions, top with sliced strawberries and sour cream. Serve and enjoy!

From Bill Phillips' Eating for Life.

Homestyle Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Comfort Food Done Right - The Healthy Way

Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 90 minutes


1-1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
4 egg whites
1 cup salsa
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 pkg. Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
6 portions red potatoes
2 lbs. green beans
3/4 cup skim milk
2 T Butter Buds


1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.     In a large mixing bowl combine ground turkey, onion, egg whites, salsa, oats, soup mix and black pepper. Press mixture into a 9 x 5 loaf pan and spread ketchup over the top. Bake in a pre-heated oven until meatloaf is no longer pink in the center and juice is clear, about 60 minutes.

3.     Approximately 25 minutes after putting the meatloaf in the oven, cut potatoes into 1" chunks. Place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

4.     Cut stems off green beans and place in a large saucepan with 1" of water in the bottom. Heat to boiling over high heat; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 6-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.

5.     Remove meatloaf from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
 6.     Drain potatoes, mash with 3/4 cup skim milk and add Butter Buds. Mash vigorously until  potatoes are light and fluffy. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

 7. Place a portion of meatloaf and mashed potatoes along with about a cup of green beans on each plate. Serve and enjoy!

This recipe is from Bill Phillip' Eating for Life.

Fortified French Toast

Protein-enriched French toast with vanilla, cinnamon, and warm maple syrup.

Servings: 1
Preparation Time: 10 minutes


3 Tbsp vanilla Right® Light or vanilla protein powder (whey or soy)
½ cup egg substitute
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 slices whole-wheat bread
¼ cup sugar-free maple syrup


1.     Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter-flavored cooking spray and place over medium heat.
2.     Place Right® Light or vanilla protein powder in a pie plate and slowly pour in egg substitute while stirring with a fork until smooth. (The batter will be thick.) Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the batter.
3.     Dip one piece of bread in the batter and let it soak up the egg mixture for 10 seconds. Carefully turn the bread over to coat the other side. Repeat with second piece of bread.
4.     Place batter-soaked bread in the skillet and spoon any remaining batter on top. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Then place on a small plate.
5.     While French toast is cooking, microwave maple syrup until warm, about 20 seconds.
6.     Pour warm maple syrup over French toast, serve and enjoy!

This recipe is from Bill Phillips' Eating for Life.

Chicken Pita Pizza

Homemade pizza for one topped with chicken, bell peppers, zucchini and melted mozzarella

Servings: 1
Preparation Time: 15 minutes


1 whole-wheat pita
¼ cup low-fat pizza sauce
1 portion cooked chicken breast, sliced
¼ red bell pepper, sliced
¼ yellow bell pepper, sliced
¼ small zucchini sliced
1/4 reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place the pita on a baking sheet. Spoon pizza sauce evenly over the pita. Top with the sliced cooked chicken, bell peppers, zucchini and mozzarella cheese.

3. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pizza is heated through.

4. Slice, serve and enjoy!