Friday, February 17, 2017

Lovin' this go-to, squeaky clean bar....

So this bar is free of lots of allergens (except nuts). There's no soy, gluten or dairy and get this: it is totally clean and the protein in it comes from egg whites-am-az-ing. It has 12 gram of protein, 9 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs (including 6 grams of fiber so it's perfect for a post workout snack or meal and it's great for kids! YAY! My favorite flavor is the Chocolate Sea Salt (shocker) but there are other yummy ones too. The texture takes a bit getting used to-it's a bit chewy and tends to get stuck in the teeth which just makes you eat it slower which is great! :) 


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Happy (and healthy) Heart Month!

February is American Heart Month. Why do you care? Well, in the United States, more people die each year of heart disease than of any other disease, accident or other cause of death. In fact, every 34 seconds, an American suffers from a coronary event such as a heart attack and 60 seconds, someone will die from one. In fact 25% of deaths in America are heart related. That’s scary, right?! And yes, to answer a question that is asked often, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. These statistics are staggering but you don’t have to be a part of the statistics; there are steps every person can take to stay healthy and prevent heart disease.

Heart Healthy Eating:

Eating foods full of saturated fat and cholesterol leads to blockages in the arteries which cause heart disease. So skip the fried foods, full fat dairy, sugary foods and high fat meat and instead protect your heart with whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy and health oils. The fiber found in veggies, fruit and whole grain can help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Protein sources such as salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids which lower blood fats and reduce the risk of cardiac sudden death. Heart healthy oils such as olive oil and canola oil help decrease your cholesterol.

Heart Healthy Food Choices:

Fruits and Vegetables

  • All fresh fruits and vegetables!

Beware: If your veggies are fried, covered in butter or cheese sauce or your fruit is swimming in sugar, you aren’t doing much good for your heart. Use spices like garlic, pepper, rosemary, etc to make your veggies taste great and remember that fruit is already sweet, there is no need to pile on more sugar (that means no canned fruit in syrup!).

Lean and low-fat protein

  • Skinless poultry
  • Salmon and other fish
  • Lean (93%) ground beef
  • Soy products
  • Fat free or reduced fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Beans/legumes
  • Egg whites

Beware: Even lean protein such as chicken turns into a saturated fat feast when fried, so always opt for grilled or baked protein.

Healthy Fats
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish (like salmon)
  • Nuts
  • Coconut Oil

Beware: Be on the lookout for saturated fats such as those found in butter, some margarine and other oils. These fats can clog arteries which may lead to heart disease. Need a bit of a fat-tutorial? Check out this one from the American Heart Association.

Whole Grains
  • Oatmeal
  • 100% whole grain/whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • High fiber cereal
  • Quinoa

Beware: Just because a package says that something contains whole grains doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Make sure it’s 100% whole grain. When a food mostly contains enriched flour or white rice, that means that fiber, vitamins and minerals that make whole grains regulate blood pressure, are stripped out. So read labels!

Heart Healthy Workout

Eating well is only one half of the equation when it comes to protecting yourself from heart disease. Regular exercise helps reduce and sometimes even eliminate many of the risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity/overweight.

The American Heart Association recommends a person do at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardiovascular exercise in your target heart rate (THR) on most days of the week to see the reduced risk of heart disease.

Some examples of exercise can include:
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Biking
  • Taking a group fitness class
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Exercising on an elliptical or other cardiovascular machine at your gym
  • Sports that include continuous running such as basketball and soccer

How do you find your target heart rate? It’s actually fairly simple. To find your target heart rate, start by taking 220 minus your age. This number will be your maximum heart rate. Your THR is between 55% and 85% or your maximum heart rate. Therefore, take your maximum heart rate and multiply it by .55 and .85 and there you go...your very own target heart rate!

You can measure your heart rate on most pieces of aerobic equipment or by using a heart rate monitor (ranging from $20-$150 at Target, Wal-mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, etc).

Do you know how to spot a heart attack? Here are some warning signs to look out for:
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as arms, back neck, stomach or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea or lightheadedness

The most common symptom of heart attack in both men and women is chest pain or discomfort but women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms.

If you or someone else is experiencing these symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Brownie bites for breakfast? Yes, please.

Sometimes I just want a brownie...or, more specifically, a pan of brownies...for breakfast. Helping me resist are these little bites of brownie heaven. It's just a cut up protein bar (this one is from Costco or a Quest bar works too), but it tastes like heaven and kicks those cravings to the curb with 20 grams of protein, 13 grams of fiber and just a few grams of carbs-like 3 net carbs. YAY! Just heat that bar up for 8-10 seconds-no more or it will totally melt/burn-and chop that sucker up. Eat it yummy little piece by piece and feed your craving while you feed your body good clean food :)