Monthly Archives: February 2012

My New Love for Almond Milk

I’m not a huge milk drinker, but since I’ve been making smoothies and shakes, I decided I need to incorporate milk into the recipe. Plus, I probably could use some of the vitamins. However, instead of buying regular milk from a cow, I decided this time I would buy almond milk, which is literally made from crushed almonds.

I’ve been drinking it for a few weeks, and I figured now would be a good time to look up and write about the benefits of almond milk, besides the fact that it has fewer calories than regular milk. I chose unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk by Almond Breeze, which only has 40 calories per cup. That’s obviously the first benefit, since most of us are trying to maintain or lose weight.

Another benefit is that this milk doesn’t contain any cholesterol, and it also doesn’t contain a lot of sodium. This is a lot lower than let’s say, 1% milk, which has about 12mg of cholesterol and 100 mg of sodium. Besides being low in cholesterol and sodium, this milk also contains calcium and Vitamin D, which most women do not get enough of.

If you care about your skin and eyes, almond milk has plenty of Vitamin E and A as well. Seriously, who doesn’t care about their skin and eyes? And, it is great for any person with diabetes, has diabetes in the family, or anyone who cares about not consuming too much sugar (I care).

Plus, this milk tastes so good, and it doesn’t contain dairy for anyone who may be lactose intolerant or vegan. (I’m guessing you probably already love almond milk). Today I put Ovaltine in it, which made it even better, and provided me with even more vitamins than the milk alone. So you should totally try almond milk. Put it in shakes, or drink it plain. Either way, you will probably thoroughly enjoy it.

If you want to read more, click this link from

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My Newest Shake Obsession

I tweet a lot about how bad I am at cooking, and how I’m not good at being creative in the kitchen, but I actually am really into anything involving food since I love nutrition so much. I mean, I watch tons of shows on Food Network, and that’s about how far my talents extend. But I’m learning, and I’m getting a little better each day. Lately I’ve been making shakes in the morning, and I figured I’d just quickly share with you all my shake “recipe.”

I didn’t totally make this shake up. I saw it on a Stumble Upon site but I made a variation of it.

Anyway, this is the shake:
3/4ths of a banana
3-7 ice cubes depeding on your preferences for ice
about a half cup to a cup of Vanilla Almond Milk (amazing) I use the brand Almond Breeze
TSP of vanilla
Some peanut butter, but not too much. I use about 1 heaping teaspoon. (You can also use a variation like almond butter if you prefer that).

Blend til you feel like it’s ready. Drink it, obviously.

Today, I added ovaltine and skipped out on the peanut butter, and it was even more delicious. Plus, just the Ovaltine powder is only 40 extra calories, compared to peanut butter which is almost 200. And, Ovaltine has tons of vitamins. I’m actually obsessed with Ovaltine. It’s delicious.

Anyway, that’s my shake. It has all you need for the morning. Some carbs, potassium, protein, good fat, and vitamins. One day, I tried adding blueberries and raspberries to it, and it was kind of gross. So don’t do that.

Without the peanut butter, the whole shake is only around 140 calories. With the peanut butter, about 240. Either way, it’s super filling. So it’s up to you if you want the extra calories, but at least you’re getting some protein. I learned this week that protein can help curb your appetite and you end up eating less throughout the day in general.

So, this is as far as my kitchen abilities have come. Send me some other shake/smoothie recipe ideas and I will try them, write about them, and give you credit for the submission.

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Why I Only Drink Water

When I was younger, I was obsessed with the 99 cent cans of Arizona Iced Tea. I mean, who wasn’t? I’d bring them to the beach every day, and I would finish a whole one in about 30 seconds because I was so thirsty from the 9 million degree sun. They were delicious. But now, you can’t even get me to have 2 sips of an Arizona. While they still taste amazing, I can’t get over how much sugar is in one can.
Before I tell you the amount, you should know that 4 grams of sugar are equal to one teaspoon. So if you put a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee, it is the same as 4 grams, or one sugar packet. So when you put 5 sugar packets in your coffee, it’s equal to 20 grams.

Arizona Lemon Iced tea has 90 calories per serving, and 24 grams of sugar, which is the same as 6 teaspoons. Doesn’t seem too bad, except that there’s actually 3 servings per can, so the whole can is actually 270 calories and 72 grams of sugar, or 18 teaspoons. That’s disgusting. And, I just spent forever even trying to find the servings in one can online. They seem to do a pretty good job of hiding this information.

This obviously isn’t the only drink that contains a ridiculous amount of sugar. A bottle of vitamin water is actually 2.5 servings, and it has 39 grams of sugar, or about 10 teaspons of sugar. Once again, not okay.

Here’s a chart of some other drinks with their sugar content.

We all know sugar can be bad, unless it’s natural, like in an apple. Drinking beverages with added sugar immediately spikes your blood sugar levels, and after it is sent to the bloodstream, any excess levels of glucose is turned into fat. We don’t need extra fat. Also, once your blood sugar levels fall, you’re back to being hungry and tired again. Over time, you could even develop diabetes. It’s not a good situation. Plus, drinks are for hydrating, not for enjoyment.

If that wasn’t enough, you should remember that sugary drinks are basically just empty calories. They don’t make you full. They might taste good, but if you’re going to waste your time eating all that sugar, you should at least consume something that’s actually filling.

I stick to water most of the time. Sometimes I will drink Diet Coke, Vitamin Water Zero, and tea. Otherwise, I stay away from the sugar. Get your sugar from natural places, like fruits and vegetables. We don’t need sugar from processed soft drinks that have only been around for a short period of time. Why do you think so many Americans are overweight? A lot of it has to do with what they drink.

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100 Calorie Miracles

One food I don’t think I could ever give up is bread, but since its high in carbs and certain kinds don’t deliver much nutritional value, I had to find an alternative. There is no option to give up bread entirely. I love it way too much, and I don’t know what I would do without a turkey sandwich at least…90 times a week (I’m kidding, sort of).

My life changed when I discovered Arnold Select Sandwich Thins, because each bun is only 100 calories. That’s a drastic decrease in calories compared to other types of bread, which can be almost 100 calories per slice. These 100 calorie buns taste amazing too. I don’t know what it is about them, but they are totally a legitimate substitute for regular bread.

And, there are a variety of kinds, such as whole wheat, whole grain white, multi-grain, and seedless rye. I’m on their site now, and they even have mini rolls at 50 calories each, and Whole Wheat Fill ‘Em rolls that are perfect for subs. I don’t know about any of you, but this makes me really really happy.

The rolls are also only one gram of fat and contain 5 grams of fiber. We need fiber. It keeps us full longer and speeds up our metabolism. White bread doesn’t contain fiber, and although regular whole wheat and multi-grain do, they obviously have more calories. Oh, and the sandwich thins have less carbs. One slice of regular wheat bread has about 18-22 grams of carbs, while this entire 100 calorie bun only has 22. So it’s basically half the amount of carbs. This is a miracle.

As I sit here and write about how much I love food, I should also mention that these buns don’t get as soggy as regular bread, and they toast well. I’m in love with them. And I’m out, so I definitely need to go shopping today and get more. There’s nothing like some mustard and turkey on these buns. Or, for breakfast, you can put egg whites on them. It’s pretty much perfect. You can also use them for turkey and veggie burgers. The possibilities are endless.

These also come in other brands. I just recently saw them from Pepperidge Farm, and also in the store brand form. So far, I’ve only tried Arnold. And I have to say they’re the best, because they were the first to come up with the idea, I think. I’m not being paid or anything to advertise for them. I just really love them.

Also, since I’m terrible at preparing food, I would recommend going to the Arnold Site. They have tons of other recipe ideas.
I will be hopefully posting more today, so stay tuned.

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Dieting Problems: Knowing about BMI

I’m sure most of you have calculated your BMI at least once in your life, or if not, I hope you’ve at least heard of the letters BMI, which stand for Body Mass Index. You might think BMI measures your percentage of body fat, but it doesn’t. Measuring body fat is a lot more complicated, and often not very accurate. Your BMI has to do with the ratio between your height and weight, and there are healthy and unhealthy BMI numbers.

For an adult, a healthy BMI range is between 18.5 and 24.9. Above 25, and you could be considered overweight. However, if you are an athlete, BMI isn’t always an accurate assessment of your health because the BMI number does not take muscle mass into account.

Your BMI can easily be lowered by the obvious: dieting and exercise. So when all of us complain about the need to be skinny, remember that it’s not just because we want to look good in the mirror. We also want to be healthy, and having a BMI in a normal range contributes to overall health.

You can calculate your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703, then dividing that number by your height in inches. Or, you can go to the following site if you don’t feel like doing math. I know I don’t.
 WEebMD BMI Calculator

By the way, my BMI is 20.6.

This is just a quick post I figured I’d write because I had to do a class project on my BMI. I’ll be blogging a lot this week, so if article wasn’t entirely useful to you, I promise something else this week will be.

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Saturday Workout Motivation

I know it’s Saturday, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. Go work out anyway. Or at least take a walk. And maybe you’re going out to dinner tonight and you want to indulge, but make sure breakfast and lunch are healthy anyway. Or maybe you’re going out to drink tonight. At least make up for those calories you will consume tonight by having a productive day. Every bit of effort counts. There’s no need to give up just because it’s the weekend. If you can work out and diet on the weekend, you can do it any day. This is the true test for your success. Here’s a few quotes to help you a little more.







So seriously, get off Twitter and Facebook and my blog for an hour and get yourself to the gym. Or perhaps you can go make a salad. You really can do it. I love you all!

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Quick Calorie Counting Info

There are a variety of different versions of calorie tracking applications that can be added to your smartphone. Among those popular are My Fitness Pal, Lose It!, Calorie Counter, The Daily Burn, and The Daily Plate.
The programs allow you to search for what foods you ate throughout the day, how much of a food you ate, and what meal you had it for. Not only will it track your calorie intake, but it will also monitor fat, carbohydrates, protein, and other nutritional qualities depending on the application. Another perk of most of the applications is that they allow you to track your weight loss progress. This is a useful tool because it can teach users that weight gain or loss directly correlates with the types of foods you eat. And, since it’s on YOUR phone, you should probably not lie to yourself about what you ate. The more honest you are, the more you will learn from your mistakes and see results.

I personally use The Daily Burn, and before that I used I love using these applications for many reasons, but especially because when you do overeat, you feel really guilty inputting it into the calorie counter. So, the next day, you will hopefully be more inclined to eat healthy. Over time, you will see a change in your eating habits because you will learn just how many calories are in certain foods. For instance, I don’t believe I will ever eat short rib or macaroni and cheese again.

Another benefit of calorie tracking applications is the option to input what fitness you accomplish each day. However, this is something that still needs to be improved, because the applications are not completely accurate on the amount of calories burned for each exercise. The counters do not seem to take your current weight into account when calculating the calories. However, the fitness aspect of these applications is a great way to estimate how much you burn throughout the day. Also, the categories are sort of general. You can’t really put “ten situps” in the search and expect something to come up. I actually don’t use the fitness portion of my application. I feel that it’s too inaccurate to rely on.

Here’s an image of my Nutrition intake on The Daily Burn.

This website elaborates further on applications that specifically iPhone users can download. They have way more apps that I didn’t even mention. So, you better be downloading at least one of them right now if you haven’t already.

More posts to come Friday!

Sunday Funday Traditions and Monday Regrets

It’s monday, everyone, as I’m sure you all noticed. I love Mondays. I try my best to be a real person on Monday, because there’s usually a strong chance that I screwed up my diet and exercise on Saturday and Sunday. This is something I need to stop. I’m sure many of you can relate when you diet and exercise all week, but it all goes to hell on the weekend. I mean, it’s not our fault that we just have to go out Friday and Saturday night and drink everything in sight, and then stumble home and storm the kitchen in search for anything edible. My Saturdays can be pretty bad, but it’s my Sundays that I really need to work on.

I believe in treating Sunday as a day of rest. I’m not religious, and I don’t go to church, but I still value the 7th day being a day of rest. We work hard all week, and we certainly deserve a day to kick back, lounge in front of the TV all day, and eat some comfort food. But lately, I’ve been taking it too far.

My friends and I are headed in a downward spiral each Sunday, as we keep feeling the need to bake and cook everything imaginable. This is an all day event, and by the end of the day, there’s not a question that we doubled our usual calorie intake. It’s pretty embarrassing. And not only do we eat our hearts out, but we also make a pretty huge mess. It’s the whole nine yards; dishes piled to the top of the sink, counter tops spilling over with food and utensils, and a coffee table that you can’t see an inch of because it’s covered in shame.

Anyway, my point is that we all have problems. None of us can be perfect when it comes to dieting. We need our cheat days, and Sunday will continue to be mine. However, even on our cheat days, we should still be somewhat conscious of what we eat. A Day of Rest isn’t a ticket to a free-for-all from your diet. I put “Monday Regrets” in the title, but I’m honestly not one to regret anything I do. Make mistakes, and learn from them. Maybe next week I’ll give you a play-by-play of my attempt at treating my Day of Rest with a little more respect.


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Don’t Get Fat From Alcohol

I think it’s safe to say that most of us enjoy drinking a ridiculous amount once in a while, or if you’re like some of us, multiple times a week. At this point in my life, I decided it’s totally acceptable because I’m in college and I’m still skinny. Don’t let drinking bring you down, or let the numbers on the scale go up. If you’re careful about what you drink, it can make a huge difference.

If you’re underage and you’re still hitting up keg parties, you probably shouldn’t be the girl who refuses to leave the keg all night in fear that it will tap. Sure, it’s fine to have beer sometimes, but you can still be smart while you’re on the path to blacking out. One thing I always did when I used to go to parties was bring a water bottle of vodka with water and Crystal Light. It will get you drunker, and you won’t have a beer gut that you can see through that tight dress you’re wearing halfway through the night. Think of this. An average regular beer has about 150 calories, and an average light beer has about 110. However, a vodka Crystal Light Concoction has way less. One ounce of 80 proof vodka is 64 calories, and water and Crystal Light have none. So you can pour in the vodka, maybe two or three shots worth (or five), and your drink will be anywhere from 120-350 calories, depending on the amount of vodka. Either way, it’s way less than drinking beer all night, and you don’t have to worry about spilling your cup because your vodka creation will be safely inside a water bottle. The best part? You can screw the cap on the bottle and dance the night away without spilling.

Stay away from the keg.

If you’re actually over the age of 21 and are allowed in the bar, you need to pay attention to what you order. This can save hundreds of calories if you do it right.

If you’re going for beer, the obvious solution is to choose the light beer. Some of the lightest beers include Budweiser Select 55, MGD 64, Michelob Ultra, Natural Light (gross), Amstel Light, and Miller Light. They may not taste as great, but I’m pretty sure your goal here is to get drunk and save calories, not savor the flavor of beer.

When it comes to cocktails, make sure to choose diet soda over regular soda. Club soda and Diet Coke are my personal favorites. If club soda is too plain for you, ask for a splash of cranberry or orange juice. And don’t forget the limes!
Drinking diet soda over regular soda could save you about 100 calories per drink. Have four drinks, and you pretty much just saved half a days worth of calories. Diet soda is better anyway because it doesn’t leave that disgusting sugary film on your teeth like regular soda does. You don’t want that.

Some of the worst cocktails you can possibly order are Long Island Iced Teas, Margaritas, Pina Coladas, White Russians, and Mudslides. And, just like you should stay away from creamy sauces during the day, stay away from creamy alcohol. You don’t need all that fat and heaviness during a night of drinking.

You can make this an awesome night to remember (or forget) and you will feel less guilty in the morning when you realize you saved hundreds of calories.

Here are some links that will help you further decide what drinks to make or order:

Beer Info-

Calories in Drinks-

More Calories in Drinks-

Low Calorie Cocktails-

And here’s a picture of a mojito just because I love Mojitos.

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Easy Ways to Measure Portion Sizes

If you’re like me, you probably have a calorie tracking app on your phone, and sometimes it can be hard to decide exactly what portion size you had to eat of something. How are we supposed to know if something is one ounce, twenty ounces, a cup, or a gallon? Luckily I was taught an easy way to estimate portion sizes using your hands, thanks to my nutrition teacher last year. The pictures below will explain.

A tablespoon

A half cup

A cup

3 ounces

8 ounces

Okay, so those aren’t the cutest pictures, and the food on those plates make me never want to eat again, but they do a good job of illustrating the concept. I know all of our hands aren’t the same size, (I have baby hands) but it’s still a good way to be a little more accurate when tracking calories. Now, you can’t cheat and say you had three ounces of that steak when you really had 9. Don’t lie to yourself. It will only hurt you more.

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