Monday, April 22, 2013

Fat doesn't make you fat, sugar does.

So I recently watched the documentary Hungry for Change, which is on Netflix by the way (I recommend that you watch it), and it preaches what I feel about diets and dieting.  Plus, I learned quite a bit myself. I want to share with you what I learned and the truth about dieting, sugar, diet pills, and eating artificial foods. 

Diets set you up for failure.  Up to two-thirds of people gain more weight after they're off the diet than when they started the diet.  The weight loss is always temporary

You can consume tons of calories in a day and still be starving your cell.  Ironic huh?  Well that's because many foods we eat today have a high caloric weight that provide immediate fats and calories, but lack nutritional value.

Not supplying your body with proper nutrition will create health problems later on. While it's true many Americans are overfed, they are starving inside for nutrients.  Breads and sugars for example, trick your body into thinking that it's full and getting enough nutrients, when in actuality it is not. 

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is in most cereals, tomato-based sauce, ketchups, applesauce, spaghetti sauces, barbeque sauce, soft drinks, fruit drinks, breads, & yogurts (even organic).  Fructose corn syrup is highly addictive and will make you crave more sugar and fructose.  It can change your brain chemistry and attract you to foods that will lead you down a path to obesity. 

Eating corn is fine because it is in its natural state for consumption.  Natural fructose found in fruits, sugars, vegetables, and honey is very different from HFCS.  While these are natural sugars, HFCS is a highly concentrated form of corn syrup.  HFCS adds to glucose levels in the body and increase cholesterol levels.  While both corn syrup and HFCS are both harmful to the body, corn syrup is definitely the lesser of the two. 

I took the liberty to give you some examples of cereal that do not contain high fructose corn syrup in them because I am all about my cereal in the morning.

These do not contain high fructose corn syrup:

  • Cheerios 
  • most Kashi brand cereals 
  • regular Life Cereal and Cinnamon Life cereal
  • most Nature's Pride Organic
  • Shredded Wheat
  •  Dare Vinta Crackers
  • Milton's (most)
  • Nabisco Original Triscuits
  • Pepperidge Farm Goldfish
  • Amana Multi Grain Bread
  • Aunt Millie's Old Fashioned Butter-Top Wheat
  • Brownberry's Arnold Natural Health Nut Bread
  • Country Hearth 12-Grain Bread
  • Dave's Killer Breads
  • Earth Grains 100% Natural 7-Grain Bread
  • Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat bread (other varieties do contain HFCS, but not this kind)
  • Nature's Pride
  • Open Nature Bread (also contains no trans fat) 
  • Pepperidge Farms 100% Natural Blend
  • Pepperidge Farms Whole Grain Wheat Bread
  • Rudi's Organic Bakery Buns
  • Sara Lee Soft and Smooth 100% Whole Wheat
  • Tandoori Roti/Naan breads
  • Vermont Bread Company breads
  • Wheat Montana bread/rolls
  • Motts All Natural Applesauce
  • Jiff peanut butter
  • Hellman's Mayonnaise 
  • Annie's Natural Organic Honey Mustard
  • Trader Joe's Organic Maple Syrup 
  • Breyer's yogurt
See more varieties of food that does not contain high fructose corn syrup--> Click here.

Another dangerous combination is caffeine and aspartame.  This combo kills brain cells.  Diet Cola is a product that utilizes this chemical combination that causes an immediate feeling of fulfillment and that it's the most fulfilling thing you've ever had.

Foods that contain aspartame:
  • breath mints
  • diet Soda
  • most yogurts
  • many cereals
  • flavored water
  • powdered drinks
  • sweeteners
  • chewing gum
Artificial sweeteners are not as good as you think they are.  These unnatural sweeteners cause carbohydrate cravings and weight gain. "Fluffy" carbohydrates turn into sugar and everyone needs to expand their definition of what is a sugar.  Examples of these fluffy carbohydrates: rice, pasta, waffles, pancakes, breads.  Again, check the labels.

Yes, I know all of the above foods are very hard to avoid, but eating less of them and more of the good stuff will make all the difference! One main thing that Hungry for Change harps on is adding more of the good stuff into your diet versus avoiding all of these foods.  One reason for this is so when you reintroduce some of these foods, your body will gain weight back, but by eating healthy and in moderation while adding more of the good stuff, you'll begin to crave more and more of the healthy stuff.  It will become a lifestyle that you are willing to make.

The take-away advice: 

So don't treat creating a healthy lifestyle like a diet where you only eat certain foods, eat less, and cut out main food groups completely.  Instead, add more fresh vegetables (filled with tons of chlorophyll that helps cleanse your body) and eat more fruits, lean meats, and watch out for eating too many foods containing HFCS and artificial sweeteners.   

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Squat challenge... Anyone up for doing it with me?

Starting today or whichever day you read this will be day 1 for you.

Here's the plan.  Do sets of squats for three days then take a day of rest.  For the first day, do 50 and each day after that add 5 more squats.  Make sure to not let your knees pass your toes when squatting and keep hydrated!

The breakdown:

Day 1-50 squats
Day 2-55 squats
Day 3-60 squats
Day 4-Rest
Day 5-70 squats
Day 6-75 squats
Day 7-80 squats
Day 8-Rest
Day 9-100 squats
Day 10-105 squats
Day 11-110 squats
Day 12-Rest
Day 13-130 squats
Day 14-135 squats
Day 15- 140 squats
Day 16-Rest
Day 17-150 squats
Day 18- 155 squats
Day 19- 160 squats
Day 20-Rest
Day 21- 180 squats
Day 22- 185 squats
Day 23- 190 squats
Day 24-Rest
Day 25- 220 squats
Day 26- 225 squats
Day 27- 230 squats
Day 28-Rest
Day 29- 240 squats
Day 30- 250 squats

Let's get our booty's in shape for bikini weather! Who's with me?? Feel free to comment below!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

All-fruit smoothies

Smoothies are a great snack to make that is filling, delicious, and gives you that extra boost of energy! For my smoothies, I use all fruit and that's it! Adding a bit of plain yogurt will give it a creamier texture if you prefer and will still make for a healthy smoothie.


Strawberry Banana

You can use 1 banana and 5-6 regular sized strawberries.

Strawberry, Banana, Pineapple

  • Use 2 bananas
  • 4-5 strawberries
  • 3-4 square cuts of the pineapple (they're strong so be careful not to put too many in there)
This will make about a cup (:
+ Mangoes


Mango Strawberry or Mango Banana are other combinations that are awesome as well!
  • Use fairly equal amounts of mangoes and strawberries, and mangoes and bananas.
+ Raspberries 

Try Strawberry, Banana, Raspberry also!
  • Use 1 banana, 4-5 strawberries, and a handful of raspberries.

The "low down" about different types of fats

Everything is okay in moderation, but keep this in mind:
Saturated Fats: These fats clog arteries, increase cholesterol, and tend to lead to health problems.  What types of foods contain saturated fats?
  • animal products: meat, dairy, poultry, etc.
  • cheeseburgers
  • onion rings
  • french fries
  • corn dogs
  • hot dogs
Eating more foods with monounsaturated fats can actually reverse the damage of foods high in saturated fats.  

Foods that contain monounsaturated fats that you should eat more of: 
  • olives, Olive oil
  • avocados
  • peanuts, peanut butter
  • almonds
  • macadamia nuts
  • dark chocolate
These foods, especially nuts are great fitness foods to eat before working out!

Try adding some nuts to your salads or pasta and use avocado in your sandwiches.  They add extra flavor and will help your body to not store as much of the saturated fats from the other foods.

Of course I'm not saying never eat onion rings or french fries, but do so in moderation and not in excess.  Make sure you eat plenty of the other foods to counteract and reverse the fried foods/saturated fat foods' effects.  

Some of the recipes I've already put on here in the "Creating healthy and filling meals..." tab on the March history include avocados and other super healthy foods you should eat more of!  Stay tuned for more recipes that include these types of foods, as well as great smoothies to make that are easy, filling, and fairly cheap to make!

Any questions, concerns, or requests on future post, don't hesitate to comment! I love hearing from you guys and your successes/struggles/suggestions. (=

Monday, April 8, 2013

*Natural* skin care that's cheap (great tips for dry/sensitive skin types)

Over the years, my skin has become much more dry on a day to day basis so it requires different methods of upkeep.

  • wash your face twice a day: morning and night
  • moisturize
  • occasionally exfoliate
  • take your make up off before passing out 
  • be careful of certain products for certain skin types 
Natural, cheap skin care tips that work great! My skin has never looked so dewy and fresh!


Aveeno Soap Bars: It's a great moisturizing cleanser that actually isn't soap! It's hypoallergenic, dye-free, and fragrance-free, made with natural oatmeal for a soft cleanse.  It's all natural and great for dry or sensitive skin! I have both skin types and also deal with rosacea and this has worked great for me.  It's only $2.99 and is worth the money to keep your skin happy.  I suggest also getting a soap holder/container to keep it clean.  (shown in the pic)

Lemon: Instead of using a harsh salicylic acid topical acne treatment, try squeezing a bit of fresh lemon on the pimple region.  Also cut the lemon in half and glide it along your entire face to use as a toner.  Leave on for a few minutes then gently rinse off.  It's amazing how well it works and again, it's all natural and cheap! I'd rather buy a lemon than spend a fortune on topical acne med's that eventually stop working and are not the best for your skin. 

 Moisturizing Skin Cream: this one is an off brand that works great for me! Look for these specific things on the label: moisturizing, hypoallergenic, and vitamin E.  It really makes the difference and my skin has never felt so dewy and soft.

Apply the cream after washing your face or after you've rinsed off the lemon toner.

If you used the lemon as a spot treatment for pimples that night before going to bed, just moisturize around those areas.  Wash your face again like normal the following morning. 

& try these other natural skin care ideas that work great!
Especially good for dry/sensitive skin types (below)

Greek Yogurt Mask: Use plain Greek yogurt as a facial mask.  It's natural, cheap, and doesn't dry out your skin.  Great for when you are at college.

Avocado or Olive Oil: both of these can be used to help with dryness overnight.  Apply some to the face before going to bed.  


Wash your face twice a day: This helps to keep your pores clean and reduces your likelihood to get pimples.  Avoid cleansers that make your skin feel tight after washing or sulfates.  Use an oil free/oil control to wash. 

Exfoliate: 2 times per week.  Salicyclic acid is an ingredient you want to keep your eyes open for.  This active ingredient helps control acne. 
 Great natural exfoliates:  Sugar, sand. 

Use a toner:  Use the toner all across your face after cleansing. This helps restore your face's natural pH balance. 

Use serum not a moisturizer: Too much moisture will actually make your skin produce more oil.  If you are really oily, use once a day and if you are sorta oily, use serum twice a day.  This will give your skin a nice natural glow. 

Use sunscreen: Things like heat and UV rays especially irritate oily skin.  Speaking of heat, if you have oily skin, never wash with hot hot water.  Try instead a lukewarm temperature. 

Steam:  Steaming your face can be beneficial if done once every to every other week.  It opens up  your pores and cleanses deep into the pores, also releasing excess oil. 

Clay masks: These are really good for people with oily skin.  I've seen and used one that uses clay from the dead sea and it works really well.  My skin used to be really oily and a mask once a week or every other week makes the difference. 

Banana Mask: Mash up one banana, combine with 1 tablespoon of honey, and add a few drops of lemon juice.  Apply to face for 15 minutes and gently take off with a warm or cool washcloth. 

Tomato Mask: Use 2 ripe tomatoes, blend them together and apply to face. (avoid the eyes!) Leave on your face for 15 minutes then rinse with warm water.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Stretching, it really does wonders

Stretching has many benefits.  It reduces stress, helps with the natural flow of your internal systems, helps lengthen your muscles and keep the tissues healthy, helps with flexibility, circulation, balance, as well as helps with lower back pain.

Taking ten to fifteen minutes to stretch every day really helps your body and joints stay limber.  It is also a great way to prevent injury.  In addition, I've found that stretching before and after my workouts has actually helped me not to bulk up from certain exercises.

So take the time to stretch after your workouts, it really pays off and leaves you feeling less sore! There are also stretches that are exercises as well and tone your body like you would not believe! My mom teaches a stretch class where she incorporates ballet floor workouts which both stretch your muscles and create long and lean muscle tone.  I'll post some of these later!

Great stretches to do everyday
  • (on the floor) 
    • reach your arms up and over while reaching for your toes
    • straddle your legs, reach your arms up and over your center keeping your back as straight as possible
      • next, reach up and over to one side aiming your nose to your knee then do the other side
    • lie on your back, hug your knees to your chest and rock side to side
    • on your back again, take one knee, pull it up towards your chest.  Then while keeping your torso facing forward, use your opposing hand to pull your knee over your body and try and get it as close to the ground as possible.  Do the next side the same way
    • Do all of these and you'll be feeling ready for the day!
Also, I used to have fairly bad lower back problems and honestly, between stretching on a daily basis and strengthening both my core and back, I am pain free to this day (that is unless I re-injure it or forgot to stretch after a strenuous workout).  I'll share some of these strengthening exercises that are helpful to cope with lower back pain and problems. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Go for a run!

Start your day by going for a run or a jog!  It is one of the best exercises to stay fit and is great for burning calories!  Did you know that running burns more calories than swimming or rowing?

Even at a lower intensity, one hour of running/jogging can burn between 450-600 calories.  It's different depending on weight- there are calculators for that online.

Benefits of running/jogging:
  • great for the cardiovascular system
  • maintains an overall toned body
  • builds stamina and endurance
  • great exercise for weight loss
  • burns tons of calories
  • reduces stress

Things to keep in mind before/while going for a jog or a run:
  • wear good supportive shoes when running on concrete
    • running along the beach in sand is great too and that can be done barefoot if you prefer
  •  keep hydrated! 
    • if you feel your mouth beginning to dry up, stop and take a few sips of water
  • music always helps pump me up
    • make a playlist and pick a fun, scenic neighborhood to jog through-it's more enjoyable
It was 72 degrees today and slightly overcast so it was the perfect weather to run in, but on colder days, I'll hit up the rec and will use the track.  I get bored with running sometimes so I prefer to go outside somewhere rather than running around a monotonous track with no destination.  On those days, music or a running buddy is a must!

When you're working out at the gym, try and incorporate running or jogging around the track for 20-30 minutes as a warm up.  Don't forget to stretch!

If you are doing an at home workout, try going for a run a few times a week around your neighborhood to switch it up from the track.  

One more thing for the ladies-

Don't be afraid to sweat! It's great for your skin, so wash off the makeup and break a sweat when running or working out!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Some general fitness tips

In this post, I will share with you all tips about how to maintain a healthy physique.  There is a way to stay fit in college and still go out and have a fun time.
  • Drink a lot of water everyday!! 
  • Aim to work out at least 4-5 times a week for about an hour
    • weight-bearing exercises are great for building healthy muscles, weight loss, and keeping that metabolism up 
      • weights with ab exercises
      • weights with arm reps
        • ladies- you don't need to use more than 10-15 lb weights 
        • it's more about the reps, rather than the lbs
        • the more weight you use may bulk up areas that you wish to keep slim
    • cardio is great for your heart as well as keeping your metabolism going
  • Diet is key! Keep in mind all of the tips and meal ideas I've been posting about
    • I can't stress how important eating a well balanced, healthy diet is for keeping a slim, toned body
  • Eating your meal after you work out is the best because your metabolism is up from the exercise and will begin to burn the food as you eat it 
I will post specific exercises targeting different areas that have worked for both me and my friends so keep checking back with me! Any questions, concerns, comments, or request a topic for me to post about let me know!  

Monday, April 1, 2013

For those of you who are lactose intolerant

I would first like to say,  I feel your pain.  After drinking a bit of the water in Mexico on a spring break trip my junior year of high school, I became lactose intolerant for three years.  I still to this day, struggle with certain pure dairy products.

In this post, I will share with you some alternatives to dairy products and the truth about how much dairy we really should be consuming anyway. 

As far as milk goes, I still cannot drink a glass of 2% milk without minimally getting an upset stomach.  I stick to skim and that seems to work fine after all these years. 

I am a big fan of cheese and I always wondered why sometimes cheese made me sick, while other times I'd be perfectly fine.  This is because certain cheeses are actually naturally lactose-free.  Most hard or aged cheeses like cheddar, swiss, or moneterey jack are lactose free.  Check the labels on these because some contain small amounts of lactose, but there are manufacturers that make lactose-free versions. 

Lactose intolerance can be a funny thing.  It can last for years, months, or a lifetime.  You can pick it up later in life and then grow out of it. 

Good alternatives for milk: where you are still receiving nutrients and vitamins
  • Lactaid brand lactose-free milk 
    • check the labels for vitamin D and other nutritious values
  • Almond milk
    • good option for baking
  • Coconut milk
  • Soy milk
Solution to eating ice cream, cheeses, etc: 

Lactaid pills: allow you to eat dairy after taking one.  Click the link *Lactaid* to see what this stuff looks like.  You can find it over the counter at most local pharmacies, Walgreen's, Wal-mart. 

Check cheese labels.

There are also non-dairy, lactose-free cheeses made from soy that mimic mozzarella, cheddar, and monterey jack cheeses.  You can find these substitutes at organic food stores and places that sell almond and coconut products.