Dark Chocolate

Original Blogspot Post: Friday, July 17, 2009

Dark Chocolate

Although my consistency with posting has been questionable, my consistency with consuming dark chocolate has not.

I’ve always been someone that worships sweets. In fact, when I was younger I would eat as little as possible so I would have room for dessert. I was so addicted to sweets that in junior high and high school, my breakfast usually consisted of Smore Poptarts or a bowl of Reese’s Puffs cereal. These facts alone can be attributed to the bulk of my weight gain in my early teen years. So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to accept the fact that I could no longer eat such sugary meals. That was before I discovered dark chocolate.

According to an article on http://www.naturalnews.com/, dark chocolate contains flavonoids that may lower the risk of heart disease. This article also points out that even though dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate, it is still high in calories and must be consumed in moderation. I recommend Hershey Dark Chocolate Kisses that are about 20 calories per piece. I like to have no more than three about 4 times a week. They’re so rich in flavor that I usually can’t eat anymore than that anyway.

So opt for dark chocolate whenever you have a sweet craving and know you’re not only assisting that sweet tooth, but your heart too!

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Beans: They Don’t Just Make You Toot

Original Blogspot Post: Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Beans: They Don’t Just Make You Toot

Last night I met up with some girlfriends I went to high school with. They are really the only people I went to high school with that I really try to stay in touch with. It’s so difficult for us to see each other these days because of our busy lives, but we always try. We had dinner and decided to watch a movie after so we could utilize as much of our time together as possible. We decided to see Julie and Julia, which was an excellent choice. Not only did it motivate me to start posting more, but it also motivated me to start experimenting more with my diet.

I’ve tried for several years to maintain healthy eating habits, but it wasn’t until recently that I really started exploring my dietary options. For instance, I’ve started straying as far away from red meat as possible and substituting beans, mushrooms, and other “meaty” vegetables in it’s place. I’ve also made it a habit to order fish at almost every meal. I reserve chicken for salads, and try to even go vegetarian at least one day a week.

Since I’ve started eating beans more, I’ve noticed that I feel fuller longer and I don’t feel weighed down, like when I eat breads and pastas. Not only are they good, but they are relatively easy to prepare. Most beans that come in a bag can just be added to water and simmered for an hour or two. Plus, they’re cheap! Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are also another great option that don’t even have to be cooked if bought in a can. They are also a nice crouton substitute for salads. Now let’s not forget the really great part about garbanzo beans…hummus. Throw a few handfuls of these little beauties in a food processor, add your favorite flavors, and voilà! You have a great batch of hummus that is perfect for dipping.

So why make an entire entry about beans? Well according to whfoods.com, black beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber and when combined with whole grains, like brown rice, they provide a tasty meal that is high in protein and extremely low in fat. This is ideal for someone like me who is trying to blast fat and build lean, long muscles. Check out the link below for more details.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=2

In closing, I’d like to leave you all with this simple concoction I just discovered today when I was trying to spice up my lunch. It left me full, satisfied and didn’t blow my diet.

Hispanic Mediterranean Salad

2 handfuls of spinach leaves (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups)
2 1/2 tbs of black and red bean/brown rice mix, cooked
1/4 cup of garbanzo beans or “chickpeas”
2 tbs of red pepper hummus (see additional recipe)
3-5 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken strips, cooked
salt and pepper

Combine the rice, beans, chicken, and hummus on top of the bed of spinach leaves for a tasty mediterranean/hispanic inspired twist on chicken salad.

Red Pepper Hummus Recipe

1 (16 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 fresh lime, juiced
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Beer Guts

Original Blogspot Post: Monday, September 14, 2009

As any college student living in these Facebook times, I’ve found myself spending too much time online browsing photos of my fellow peers. One disturbing thing I’ve found is the overwhelming number of young girls with beer guts and double chins. Now I’m no pre-med student, but I don’t think it takes a total braniac to figure out whats making these girls fat. Alcohol. Whats even more upsetting is that they truly feel they can hit the gym a few times a week and lose the weight they’ve put on. The missing element to their brilliant plan is a healthy diet plan. They continue to be photographed bonging beer and pounding cheeseburgers at tailgates, but still think they’re taking the necessary steps to getting those six-pack abs. Think again, ladies.

Alcohol, like anything that your body won’t break down easily, should be consumed minimally when trying to lose weight. This is a common fact that you will find in almost every diet book. Although some would dispute that alcohol consumption is directly related to weight gain, it cannot be denied that overeating is associated with the actual consumption itself.

So what can girls do? Stop binge drinking.

Okay, so chances are most of these girls will not stop drinking, but they can take a few steps to help the binge eating when they feel the need to drink excessively.

1. Do away with the temptation. At most of these functions where heavy drinking takes place, there is sure to be not-so-good-for-you food. Take a tailgate for instance. At most of these you can easily find hotdogs, hamburgers, cookies, etc. Now these don’t seem TOO horrible, however when these party go-ers drink a lot, they stop thinking about how many hours at the gym those 3 hotdogs and cookies are going to cost them. They start thinking about how good the food smells, and how much they would enjoy grabbing just one more fistfull of chips. So if you know you’re going to be at an event like this, take your own healthy food that you know you can afford to munch on. For instance, trade in the homemade chocolate chip cookies for oatmeal with dark chocolate chips or swap your greasy potato chips for veggies and lowfat dip or hummus. These switches are a sure fired way to help you from popping a button on your cutoff jeans.
2. Only allow yourself a certain amount to drink. If you know you won’t be able to resist the snack table, cut back on the drinking or switch to a drink that will satisfy whatever you are craving.
3. The final tip would be to keep yourself active. If you are in a social situation where heavy drinking will be involved, keep yourself moving around. You’ll be more tempted to snack if you’re sitting around with a drink in one hand and a free hand just dying to clutch a cheesburger.

Also, something else to keep in mind, ladies. With every passing year it gets harder and harder for the pounds to come off. So keep that in the back of your mind whenever you’re planning to attend your neighbors keg party. You will regret it later. Promise.

Special K

Original Blogspot Post: Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I am a chocolate lover, as I’ve previously mentioned. I also love cereal. These two foods are obviously not the best things to be addicted to when you’re trying to watch your weight, but thanks to Special K’s Chocolatey Delight cereal I can enjoy both without the guilt.

I love this cereal. Not only is it yummy, but it isn’t overwhelmingly filling. The flakes are lightly sweetened, and in my opinion would be fine just by themselves. There are also little chocolate bits that make each bite a little better. I usually enjoy a small bowl of it after dinner or for a snack when I get home from class.

I’m also a big fan of the blueberry cereal they offer. It has blueberry flavored clusters and wheat flakes with blueberry flavoring as well. This is my healthy version of Muffin Tops cereal, which is just about the best stuff around.

If cereal isn’t your thing, Special K also offers a variety of shakes, protein and snack bars, and crackers. In my opinion, they offer the best figure-friendly snacks, as far as flavor goes.

New Snack

Original Blogspot Post: Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This post will be short, but I wanted to let everyone in on a new snack I just discovered a few days ago. Blue Diamond, the brand famous for their almonds, is making 100 calorie packs of chocolate covered almonds! They are delicious and have only 1 gram of sugar in them. I had a pack yesterday and they kept me tied over for nearly 3 hours. They are technically covered in cocoa powder, and its supposed to be a dark chocolate flavor, but they are seriously one of the best snacks I’ve ever had.

I love candy and this a great alternative to the fun size Butterfinger bars I bought for my boyfriend to munch on. In fact, I’ll probably sneak a packet of my almonds into the movies tonight so I won’t snack on buttery popcorn.

I’m very sorry I haven’t been posting regularly, but then again I’m sure my list of readers is microscopic. I’m actually balancing this blog and another blog for school, so I have a lot of updating. Well, hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday and remember to snack throughout the day to keep blood sugar regulated to avoid a chocolate binge in the evening!

Fall Photos

Original Blogspot Post: Friday, October 16, 2009

While doing a story at the student rec center a few days ago, I noticed how beautiful the landscape was outside of the building. I decided to snap a few photos, which inevitably led to me taking even more photos the next day. I realize this isn’t a blog post about diet or fitness, but the blog is about “Living Well” and that includes doing things that I enjoy.

So here they are.

Running Season

Original Post: Sunday, October 18, 2009

Even though most people would argue that summer time is the best time to run outside, I would have to disagree. I think that fall takes the cake in this category. The scenery is better, the temperature is ideal and the overall atmosphere is just better for trail running.
According to a running guide site, running in colder weather is actually easier on the body than running in warmer weather. This is because the body produces the heat to keep you warm, whereas running in the heat can overwhelm the body.
Sometimes running in the cold can be hard though. For instance, anyone who has ever run in the colder weather has probably experienced that tightness in the chest you get from breathing in cold air. Also it is important to dress properly and this includes wearing a hat. According to about.com, about 40% of your body heat is lost through your head. Wearing a hat will help prevent heat loss, so your circulatory system will have more heat to distribute to the rest of the body. When it’s really cold, wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth to warm the air you breathe and protect your face.
From personal experience, I’ve also noticed that when I run outside in the cold my muscles seem to work overtime. Although the temperature of the run is enjoyable, my leg muscles are usually struggling to keep my usual pace.
So don’t let the colder weather discourage you from continuing your outside running routines. Just make sure you are dressed properly and listen to what your body tells you.