Healthy Nut Butters!

I love nut butters! Especially almond butter (if you cant tell haha). Nut butters are a great way to get protein too!

When looking for nut butters, look for more natural ones that contain less sugar. Ones that have sugar listed as the 2nd or 3rd ingredient- put it back on the shelf and find a different one! Also try to avoid partially hydrogenated oils – they are high in trans fats!!

*the top two are my personal favorites! *

So which are some good picks?

  • Earth Balance – Most of their stuff is vegan, 100% natural, Gluten-free, Non- GMO.

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  • Justin’s- Most of their stuff is vegan, gluten-free, kosher, Non-GMO, and Organic. (its also made in Colorado ;))

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  • Teddie All- High Protein, low carb, no cholesterol, all natural.

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  • Barney Bare-  Doesn’t use sugar or salt. They have different flavors too. . .

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  • Smuckers Organic Natural- Natural, low sugar, high protein.

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Going Gluten Free! (How to, What to buy)

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So a lot of people are currently already gluten free or going gluten free. Here is a shopping list for all the things you CAN eat when going gluten free so it doesn’t seem so scary and overwhelming! =) Enjoy!

Also here are some things “gluten” is otherwise called on labels. Read them!! So these are the “no-goes”. Also I listed some basics that are a “No” as well. . . . .

  • Wheat, Barley and Rye
  • Brewers yeast
  • Kamut
  • Malted milk (or virtually any thing with the work “malt” in it.)
  • Oats (there are gluten free oats now, just have to find them)
  • Spelt
  • Wheat bran
  • Flour
  • Gravy’s
  • Some crackers

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Here are some things you might want to check out before buying, they or may not contain gluten depending on the product and brand:

  • Oatmeal
  • Beer
  • Bread and Pastas
  • Noodles
  • Cereals, cereal bars
  • protein bars and powders
  • Some flavored coffees and teas
  • Seasonings and sauces
  • Salad dressings.

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So what the hell can I eat, You maybe be asking? …

  1. Produce! Any fruits, veggies and all the above! lol
  2. Herbs and Spices (be sure to look at some marinades and rubs, some contain gluten!)
  3. Meats and Fish (beef, chicken, fish… check the package for additives, and if you can buy grass fed you’re better off)
  4. Oils, Mayo, Mustard, salad dressings (check labels) .
  5. Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurts, sour cream, cottage cheese, butter.. A lot of non-dairy as well like Almond milks and yogurts
  6. Eggs, egg whites, and tofu
  7. Rice cakes, pop chips, rice crackers, jello, chocolates, dried fruits (check labels) .
  8. Quinoa, buckwheat, flax, seeds, almond flour, there are even pre-packages brownies!! Yum
  9. Peanuts and almond butters, nuts
  10. Juice, coffee, teas
  11. Puffed rice cereal, Chex mix cereal, there are special gluten free cereals too.
  12. Look for special “gluten free ” foods too! There are more options now!!

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Here are some Awesome “gluten- free products” that are already out there. Most of them you can find at your local supermarket, Whole foods or farmers market! Shop around, try new stuff and .. in a way have fun with it! Don’t get overwhelmed and be positive! Also Google recipes, get in pinterist or intagram..  find blogs (I have a few recipies on there that are gluten free too) .. get a cook book. Have fun with it!

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  • Breads – I like udis (they have different kinds too)  . But there is also Kinnikinnik Foods Brown Sandwich Bread, Whole Foods Market brand makes a bread, Food for life brown rice bread, EnerG Tapioca bread and Glutino brand.
  • Cereal – Chex rice, Natures path, Enjoy life Brand , Rice Crispies, Barbara’s brand, Arrohead Mills, and I believe Kashi makes a few too!
  • Pasta- I love Quinoa pasta the best, but there also is veggies pasta, brown rice pasta, you can also make pasta out of spaghetti squash!
  • Oats- bobs red mill, udis,
  • Begals- vans naturals, udies, .. they even have waffles!! YES!
  • Pre-made Meals – Amys brand is good, Boars head brand, … this stuff is usually pretty pricey so you learn how to make your own “gluten free” foods pretty fast! ahaha.
  • Brownies and goodies! – Betty Crocker makes brownies and cake mixes, udis, French meadow bakery, bobs red mill..

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You think it’s an easy way to cut calories but……….

So cutting calories for weight loss is an ideal thing to do if your consuming too many (most Americans are), but here are some tricks and tips that may have you thinking your being healthy, when in reality they may be hurting you…. or helping you keep on the weight you want to drop.

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  • Picking poultry instead of beef– So yes, lean chicken and turkey are about as clean as clean eating can be but things like the ground up turkey for turkey burgers and such, often have the skin and darker meat ground in as well (things they don’t tell you- those bitches!). Darker meat has more calories when it comes to poultry by the way, that’s why whenever you read most diets, the often revolve around the breast of the bird since its all white meat. Where in retrospect, beef (LEAN beef), can be only 155 calories with 6 grams of fat, as compared to the ground up turkey at 205 calories and 14 grams of fat. *So how to fix– Look for labels that say lean (90%) on either one, beef or turkey.
  • No fat at all! – I know they have had this on the news but there are still people out there that think all fat is bad, and that just isn’t the case. The way fat works is……… Monounsaturated fats  and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol,  and your overall health.. It’s the trans fats, and saturated fats you have to avoid. Fat helps you stay fuller longer and it takes longer for your body to digest, therefore its a good thing because you wont be wanting food every hour on the hour. *So how to fix – Add good, satisfying fats to your food, think avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil. Plus good fats add loads of yummy flavors! – say no to boring food my lovely’s!
  • Think to yourself if your truly hungry – I have to do this sometimes because we get bored and out of habit, we eat. Its only human and natural to do that I think. But take a minute ( I like to drink a whole glass of water because sometimes your body is honestly just thirsty and wait about 10 minutes to figure out if I’m really hungry or not.) Take a deep breath and decide, if you are ..great eat a small healthy snack, if carrots and hummus or something along those lines doesn’t sound good, then you probably aren’t hungry and your bored. *So how to fix – find something else to take your mind off it. I like to pop some of that Deserts Extra brand gum in my mouth because it craved that sweet taste I’m looking for. They have all kind of flavors from root beer float to strawberry shortcake. I also go for a run, read a book, blog, play fetch with the dogs or even just watch a TV show… anything can help, you just have to find what works for you.

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  • Everything Gluten Free – Don’t get me wrong I personally love gluten free foods. But not all of them are good for you. Just because fruit roll ups say they are gluten free, doesn’t mean you should eat them – don’t, they are full of sugar hhahah. But a lot of gluten free products like take baking with a GF flour for example, its sometimes made with things such as white rice or potatoes.. or both (double whammy). – This kind of flour doesn’t have as much fiber and nutrients as a regular whole wheat flour with the same amount of calories and sometimes even more! *So how to fix- Look for products that are made with quinoa or brown rice, they are a much healthier option and still gluten free. I like Bob’s Red Mill brand personally.
  • Sweet Drinks and Energy Drinks – OK… seriously? Do you really think that double espresso Rockstar is a wise choice for your health? Its full of caffeine (which your probably addicted to if you “need” it or it “helps you wake up and get going” in the mornings), not to mention full of sugar and just plan crap for your body. Do you think our bodies were meant to consume that??? Not so much. Also, most of those sports drinks are virtually calorie free, meaning they are full of fake sugar, even worse, your body doesn’t know how to digest that fake shit.. quit it. *So how to fix- Just stick to water, add fruit to it to make it taste better if you have to.
  • Giving Fruits and Veggies a quick rinse – Yes you should wash them. And yes it does kill off the pesticides, but you have to wash them for long enough. Usually people just lightly dip it under the sink and call it good, and that isn’t enough. Most pesticides have shown to slow metabolism and even mess with your thyroid gland. So yea, you may be getting all your nutrients because you’ve added more produce, but it might be sabotaging your weight loss. *so what’s the fix – Wash for 30 seconds each time. Also you technically can buy organic (another reason why you want try to buy organic when you can…) but not have to worry about washing it because there are no pesticides used in growing it. I wash mine anyways just to be safe…and clean.
  • Store Bought Smoothies- Yes they are healthier, but they may have as many calories as a cheeseburger- depending on which ones you get. They can have as low as 200 to as high as 1000. They add tons of fruit veggies but unfortunately, a shit ton of sugar (which usually fake sugar or syrups.) *So how to fix– Make your own and take it with you. They make serving size smoothie machines that make it super easy as a quick breakfast in the morning.. so you don’t really have an excuse A. not to make breakfast (because so many people don’t eat breakfast) And B. if your trying to loose weight and get healthy.. you need to be eating breakfast. Its just as serious as working out.

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  • Ice cream vs. Frozen yogurt- You’d think so, but it actually have about the same amount of calories and sugars. So how to fix – Make your own yummy healthy “ice cream” I posted a link below about some healthy ice creams on Bodybuilding.com and I also posted an ice cream that’s made out of bananas.

Bodybuilding – http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/5-healthy-versions-of-famous-ice-cream-treats.html

Frozen Banana recipes – http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/1-ingredient-banana-ice-cream-10-flavor-twists/two-ingredient-banana-cookies-cream-ice-cream/

  • Granola – Yeah it may seem so great with the oats and grains, your getting some good carbs right?? Wrong. If they didn’t use so mush sugar for one, but a lot of those little oats have added fats too to make it “granola”. But good news is that all granola isn’t bad and its super easy to make your own “healthier” version too.  This goes for granola bars as well. Most granola bars are bonded together ..to make them a “bar” with all kinds of syrups and sugars. … And then some add chocolate into the mix too and then they almost become worse than some candy bars!! So… I’m sure you can make your own bars… (***OOO Striking a recipe challenge to post in future!) So how to fix –  make your own! I attached a link below on some fun recipes to try. Also, When picking out granolas in the supermarket try to make sure sugar isn’t in the first 3 ingredients.. and I know its hard, but try not to pic the ones with all the candies in it. . . . its supposed to be a healthy choice, not desert.

Make your on granola!- http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipes.asp?food=granola&a=#topresults

  • Anything with the word DIET- Just stop. You know what’s healthy, fruits, veggies and lean meats. Its really not that hard, so stop trying to “wiggle” your way around it and find ways to cheat. You either want to be healthy, or you don’t. Just because something says calorie free does NOT mean its healthy and you should consume it …much less all the time! Whether its soda, a “vitamin-enhanced” water, or even a diet drink (i.e.. Slim fast) if it had fake sugar… its not healthy. Just hear me out…. When fake sugar (sweet n low, aspartame. Just to name a few) enters your body it turns into formaldehyde, Formaldehyde is something scientists use to “preserve and protect”. …..  Ew. Think about it for a minute. Google it. Quit preserving your butt with diet soda ok. So the fix- Drink waters, add fruit to it to make it taste better of your getting boded, I think they do make carbonated waters now a days too if its the carbonation your craving …. but make sure there isn’t fake sugar in it.
  • Bread Galore- Sandwich making has become a “fit” and “healthier option” when your on the go or at work. Well lets take the fact that people love their meat, so you know we either add a bunch of meat (Usually lunch meats, pre-package, and FULL of sodium) Or we get the Meat-iest sandwich we can at Subway. “Cold-cut trio me please!” Then we pile on the mayo, or sugar-laden salad dressings (because you know that don’t buy Organic and Natural brands!) Pile on the smallest amount veggies and a lot of cheese ….on a foot long. So the fix is – So when you do make a sandwhich on some Eziekiel bread, or Udis. … Some OTHER form of Healthy Bread, (how to pick a healthy bread- **coming up in a post soon!) to put your sandwich on.        http://shop.udisglutenfree.com/ppcdo/search/google?gclid=CKuO-IbtlLgCFc1cMgodXUgAzA and please, make veggies the main part of it.

bread diet

My Everyday Grocery List!

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So I get a lot of questions on what to buy at the store. How do I know how to pick out produce, and such. So without further ado.. Here is my “everyday grocery shopping list”.

  • Most of the things like condiments I already have stocked up so you’ll only have to buy things like that every so often.
  • Also when buying produce keep in mind that this stuff goes bad fast, so only buy what you think your going to eat within that week. (Learned that lesion the hard way!)

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VEGGIES – feel free to add other favorites!

  • Spinach
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Any other “salad” Mixes you’d like
  • Baby carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes (baby ones, and big ones)
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Bell Peppers (Red, Yellow, Green, and Orange)
  • Radishes
  • Green Beans
  • Chives and Onions
  • Corn
  • Asparagus

Fruits -Feel free to add other favorites!

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Oranges
  • Lemons (for cooking with and water)

Lean Meats and Protien  ***grass-fed and hormone-free is ideal**

  • Shrimp
  • Tuna (in water)
  • Skin-less Chicken Breasts
  • Ground Turkey
  • Low- Sodium Lunchmeat
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Salmon (wild caught)
  • Lean Beef
  • Eggs and Egg Whites
  • Other fish is good too.
  • *** Any kind of Game meat is awesome for you as well because its in its natural environment and its “grass-fed”. (Antelope, Deer, Bison, Elk, Pheasant etc. )

Carbs

  • Brown Rice
  • Baby red Potatoes
  • Quinoa ( this also comes in a noodle form-by far the best gluten-free choices)
  • Whole-wheat Bread (or Gluten-free)
  • Yams
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • OLD-Fashion Oats
  • Low-Sugar and Low-Carb Cereals

Dairy

  • Skim or Low-Fat Milk
  • Almond or Coconut Milk (Dairy Free)
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Low-Fat Cheese (string cheese options are available in this too)
  • Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

Healthy Fats!

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado
  • Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews and Pistachios

Condiments

  • Stevia (liquid and sugar form )
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Salsa
  • Balsamic Vinegar (almost any “clear” type of dressing is better than the creamy kind)
  • Mustard
  • Agave Nectar
  • Flax-Seed Meal (to put in oatmeal and any baking goods)

Drinks

  • Water (obviously) -try to get a BPA free glass container then your saving the environment too!
  • Coffee
  • Green tea (not pre-made, but the tea bags)

Simple Swaps to Better your health.

So as we all embark in the journey of eating healthier, some people assume that just because they’re having a salad its healthy… (which it is to an extent and until you add about 1 gallon of Ranch on it). So here are some simple swaps you can incorporate  into your daily life or maybe just a meal here and there. Every little bit counts and why not make it count for the good! =)

  • Use avocado, mustard or hummus on your sandwich instead of Mayo. I also like Vegenaise its a vegan mayo substitute and you can bareley taste the difference. Its made with grape seed oil, brown rice syrup, apple cider vinegar, some salt, mustard and a little soy. So not to bad…

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  • The obvious .. eat your whole grains (or gluten free) instead of the refines white breads and flowers.

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  • Low-fat products instead of Fat free. Many manufactures will but extra salt and sugar in them for the taste and it bumps up the calorie count.. sometimes even more than the regular ones.
  • Have fruit for desert

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  • Before I found out I have a hard time digesting dairy… I LOVED ME SOME GREEK YOUGURT! …. I like Chobani brand… but since then I’ve incorporated Silk Almond Milk yogurt and its pretty good too. And they have tons of flavors. BONUS! But swap that for your regular Yoplait yogurt and it will be better.. less sugar.. (no offence to Yoplait)

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  • Love pasta ? Switch with Spaghetti Squash, you’ll barley taste a difference and spaghetti squash only has like 42 calories per cup compared to your pasta at 221.

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  • Water, water, water instead of sugary drinks and soda. Now I know this sounds like a big fat DUH… or OMG boring!!! … But people don’t realize how many calories are in that crap! If you must flavor it up, put some lemon, lime or even cucumber in your water.

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  • Another obvious- fresh food instead of processed. My rule of thumb… if it has more than 6 ingredients and 1/2 of them that you cant even pronounce, it probably isn’t really food, its probably not that nutritious and its not worth it.
  • Instead of chips, crackers or pretzels .. go for almonds or a small serving of nuts it will still have that crunchy feeling your craving.

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  • Instead of Jelly (which usually has a lot of sugar added to it, and if it says sugar free .. it probably has fake sugar in it) – I like to heat up some frozen berries a little bit just so they are soft but not warm and use that for jelly instead.

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