Thursday, January 22, 2015

Why Oatmeal Is The Best For Weight Loss

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I was raving about my oatmeal this morning AND referencing an embarrassing story about my love of it.  Well, here it is:

My mother birthed and breastfed 6 children.  She firmly believed in its benefits and was dutiful in breastfeeding us all.  I know that some people are of the opinion that if you are too old to ask for it than you're probably too old to get it.  Well, I was asking for it.

One morning I went in to her room, looked up at her, and asked, "Eat?".  Mom had decided that it was time to wean me off of breast milk completely, so she turned me down.  Rejected and deflated, I put my little head down and lamented my loss.  Then I looked up and asked, "Oatmeal?".   Even I knew back then that it was my second best option for nutrition.

Studies are showing that eating oatmeal for breakfast will help support weight loss.  Awesome, right? Here are the benefits and reasoning behind it.

It's backed by science:  A small study found that those who ate oatmeal daily for six weeks had a greater decrease in cholesterol levels and waist size than those who ate the same amount of carbs in noodles over the same time period. It's proof that you can have your carbs and eat them, too!

It keeps you satisfied: There's no need to reach for an unhealthy convenience snack in the morning when you've got oatmeal on your side; it offers the calories and fiber you need to stay satisfied all morning long. Unlike sugary breakfast cereals full of refined carbs, the body digests oatmeal at a slower pace, keeping blood sugar levels steady, energy up, and hunger away.

It helps you time carbs right: When it comes to weight loss, celebrity trainers Bob Harper and Gunnar Peterson agree: you should eat carbs for breakfast. According to Manhattan-based nutritionist and registered dietitian Shira Lenchewski, "[carbs] are burned more efficiently in the morning than at night," so they don't go unused and get stored as fat in the body. Shira also recommends that the largest meal (higher in carbohydrates) be breakfast.

It's quick to come together: Rolled oats take well under 10 minutes from prep to bowl. It might be a little more time than that instant packet you're used too, but these varieties don't come with any added sugars often found in those flavored packets. Or there's always the option to go with overnight oats that require just a little prep the night before and are ready to eat from the fridge the next morning.

The possibilities are endless: This warming breakfast should never feel boring or blah. Liven up your oatmeal bowl with these healthy combinations that keep your meal feeling fresh, filling, and satisfying to your taste buds, too.

Eat clean.  Live lean.  Live better.  Live longer.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I Love You

I know that you struggle with accepting some parts of yourself.  I know that you look in the mirror and immediately focus and fixate.  I know that you have the moments where you loathe and despise. I know that you have times where you wish for more of less.  I know you secretly wish to look like someone else.  I know you've cried over this.  I know that you've made yourself feel horrible for your decisions, actions, or behavior.  I know you've felt shame.  I know you've felt embarrassed.  I know that you compare yourself to others.  I know that you don't see the beauty that others do.  I know that you don't often believe the compliments and truths about yourself.

It's time to make peace with the image in the mirror.  Believe me when I tell you that this is the most important step in any sort of mission to self discovery, a journey to self acceptance, and it's crucial en route to self transformation.  Please, learn to love yourself.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

20-Minute NO Running Cardio Blast At Home Workout

Confession:  I have had zero time for the gym lately.  Between an insane work deadline that zapped all of my energy for several weeks and a sometimes crippling and painful lung disorder that keeps me indoors and unable to do much physical activity, I've become incredibly frustrated with my lack of activity.  I'm fortunate that my weight is not going up but staying completely stagnant, but I still miss feeling the rush.  The truth is resonating that the longer I live in this state, the worse my lungs will get and I will probably HAVE to be somewhat dormant during the cold months.  

But that doesn't mean I'm completely inactive!  I do exercises within the confines of my little apartment and I'm so glad that I'm on the ground floor so I don't irritate a downstairs neighbor with my jumping around!  Between yoga, videos on YouTube, meditation, and awesome workouts like this one from POPSUGAR, I'm a happy camper.  

This 20-minute workout is awesome because it requires NO equipment and you can do it at whatever intensity level you're capable of!  If you're a stellar athlete you can go all out.  If you're a struggling lung sufferer like I am, you'll watch yourself.  If you're just starting out...good for you.  Go at whatever pace you can, but don't wimp out!  Believe me, your mind will tell you that you can't go on much sooner than your body will.  Each of these exercises are 1 minute intervals.  You can do 1 minute!  If your mind starts telling you to stop, replace it with my voice.  You don't know what I sound like, but if you did, I'd be telling you to drop the "can't", dig deeper, focus on the finish line, and do it!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Say "No" to "Can't"

Let me guess.  You made a resolution or goal to lose weight in this new year, didn't you?  You made a resolution or goal to eat better, didn't you?  That's AWESOME.  I think that's amazing and I wish you all the success in the world.  But the odds are kind of against you.

According to one report that I read, the number one resolution in 2014 was to lose weight.  Statistically speaking, only 45% of Americans make resolutions, and an even smaller percentage are successful in their resolution.  Guess that percentage.  20%? 15%?  10%?  Nope, none of those.  8%.  Can you believe it?  It shocked me!  I don't want you to be part of the 92% who...well, fail.  So I'm going to teach you something to help you when it comes to losing weight through eating better:  "I DON'T".

When I first started focusing on my own nutrition, I found distractions and temptations everywhere.  Co-workers would bring in treats.  Dinners out with friends.  Holiday treats and goodies.  It was so hard!!!

People would tell me to just have one, have just a bite, to cheat a little because I'd worked so hard, and even that I "deserved" it.  My response was always the same, "I can't eat that."

It hit me, one day, how self-defeating that kind of talk was.  It left me powerless, as if the decision to eat clean had taken away my ability to choose for myself.  And I heard, far too many times from one person, that I could eat it if I wanted to.  So, instead of getting irritated by those offering me foods that weren't good for me and rather than becoming irate at the "Yes, you can eat that." response, I took the power back into my own hands.  Instead of saying "I can't eat that.", I started saying "I don't eat that."  And do you know what happened?  I didn't feel so deprived because I wasn't eating the brownies, caramel corn, doughnuts, or monthly birthday cakes.

Be successful in your new resolutions and goals.  Reinforce the good behavior through positive affirmations instead of restricting and limiting behavior.

Eat clean.  Live lean.  Live better.  Live longer.

Friday, January 2, 2015

It's Friday, I'm In Love: Buddha Teas

My love affair with tea began as a child.  My earliest memory of sipping a warm cup of tea was on a rainy day in Phoenix, Arizona, and it was peppermint tea.  It was like liquid candy sunshine.  Warm. Sweet.  Soothing.  And I felt like such a big kid getting to drink something so seemingly adult.  Next, I tried chamomile.  It wasn't nearly as sweet as I wanted it to be and adding a little honey seemed so naughty and good.  Passion Tea wiggled its way into my lemonades at Starbucks, as did their skinny chai lattes, and I even tried random combinations like vanilla and blueberry, pomegranate black tea, blends to help me sleep, and blends with kava kava to help me chill out and simmer down a bit.  And then I read an article on the kitchn, a few years ago, about what's really in our tea.  My love affair totally changed.

It worried me that I was blindly/possibly drinking something harmful in something that seemed so therapeutic and soothing.  We all know that the FDA allows a certain amount of dirt, bugs, and excrement in our food (one of many reasons why I eat a clean diet as much as possible), so it's only natural that the same screening process is loosely applied to mass produced teas.  So, naturally, I applied my clean eating to my teas and only bought organic teas.

So you can imagine my excitement when I was contacted by the delightful people from Buddha Teas about trying their certified organic teas!

Unlike companies that process even their natural flavors and even disguise them to make them all taste uniformly, Buddha Teas lets nature take its course.  It made complete sense to me when they explained that their natural teas will vary in flavor.  Take a carrot, for example.  Did you know that the longer it stays in a relatively cold ground, the more sugars will develop in it and it will produce a sweeter flavor?  Pull a carrot too soon and it might not taste as great as a carrot that you let linger longer. In all of my years of gardening, I've never known fruits, veggies, and herbs to all taste uniformly alike.  It's the exact same with tea.  A batch of chamomile tea may taste different weekly, monthly, and yearly.  And that's okay!

What I really like about Buddha Teas is that the flavors are so incredibly natural.  They don't taste overly perfumey or fake.  The subtle layers come out the longer it steeps and, I'm confessing, I often continue to add hot water to my mug once it's been emptied because the flavor of the tea doesn't fade as quickly as those other fake teas.

The two flavors I've been sipping on lately are the Calm Buddha Blend and the Skinny Buddha Blend.  As to not give you a biased opinion, I've distributed a bunch of the bags to my fellow tea drinking friends and coworkers.  We are unanimous in our opinion.  They are AWESOME!

Calm Buddha Blend:  Okay, I was a little scared to try this blend, but only because other like it that I've tried have been absolutely horrible and mostly because of the kava kava.  I mean, it felt like I was drinking a tea that had been steeped in a pair of dirty pantyhose.  Seriously.  So I was pleasantly surprised with my first sip, then my second sip, and now my box is almost empty!  Gotta remember to order some more!  It's a really beautiful blend with chamomile, cinnamon, lavender, kava kava, passion flowers, and spearmint, and I sip on it almost constantly at work to stave off the inevitable stress.  A friend that I gave a few bags to said that it worked so well that she wanted to cozy up for a nap because of how soothing it was.

Skinny Buddha Blend:  This one blew my mind.  I honestly can't believe that I love it as much as I do, mostly because it's green tea and I've never, ever, ever liked green tea.  I cannot get enough of this
blend.  The flavors.  Wow.  You can seriously taste the cranberry, lemongrass, and hibiscus.  Distinctly.  At least I can! The pounds aren't melting off me, but there is no one food or drink that
will make that happen.  But did you know that if you were to swap out 1-2 cups of green tea for that daily sugary soda, you'd save over 50,000 calories?  That's over 15 pounds.  Just make sure you're not sweetening your tea with sugar or honey.  But you don't need to sweeten these.  The natural sweetness and crisp flavors and just perfect the way that they are, the way that nature intended them to be.

There are loads of flavors to choose from and I'm incredibly impressed with their selection.  I'm lucky to find a few flavors of USDA certified organic teas at my grocery store and a girl can only drink so much chamomile tea!  With everything from green tea, black tea, root tea, leaf tea, berry tea, bark tea, seed tea, caffeine free tea, and flower teas, there is seriously "something for everyone".

Also, they don't bleach their tea bags!  Why is this important?  I'll let Buddha Teas tell you that.

The Importance of Bleach-Free Tea Bags

Tea bags that have been chlorine-bleached contain harmful chemicals such as dioxin and epichlorohydrin. These chemicals are commonly found in processed tea bags and have been proven to increase the risk of disease. When epichlorohydrin comes in contact with water it can hydrolyze into a carcinogen and further studies have shown us that chemicals like dioxin, which is also a potent cancer causing chemical, can remain in our bodies for as long as 11 years. We believe that good quality teas should improve well-being and detoxify the body, which is why we are very attentive in making certain that no chemicals go into our teas.
We proudly offer bleach-free tea bags so that our customers can taste the purity of beneficial teas without the cost of any additional chemicals or additives. Furthermore, our tea bags are also heat sealed without the use of harmful glues or binding agents.
So go visit Buddha Teas and find out why this beast is all a buzz about these blends!
Eat clean.  Live lean.  Live better.  Live longer.