Shari Duncan

Archive for January, 2012

Good Morning Power Muffins – With Blueberries, Oats, Flax and Pecans
Shari

by on Jan.29, 2012, under General Nutrition, Healthy Snacks, Recipes, Whey Protein Recipes

Good for you food with wholesome ingredients in  30 minutes.

These muffins use fresh, simple ingredients and pack a huge nutritional punch.   They are high in protein,  and contain a hearty blend of grains, fiber and healthy fats (from flax and nuts). Bake ahead for a terrific on-the-go  weekday breakfast or anytime healthy snack that provides lasting energy and satisfies.  Now you’re baking!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease muffin tins with non-stick spray (or coconut oil).   In large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder,

    Power Packed with fresh, hearty ingredients that satisfy.

  • 4 Tbsp Ground FlaxSeed
  • ½ cup chopped Pecans (or walnuts)
  • 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tbsp baking soda
  • 4-5 packets of Truvia, or ~1-2 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend

In separate bowl combine wet ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or diced up fresh apple)
  • 1 Tbsp Flax seed oil
  • ~ ½ – ¾ cup of Almond or Coconut milk (or lowfat milk)
  • Honey (to taste)

Combine wet with dry ingredients. Don’t over mix.  Fold in 1-1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries and spoon into muffin tins.

Bake for 15-19 minutes or until center is cooked (toothpick comes out clean).  12 muffins.

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WANTED: Healthy Food Fast.
Shari

by on Jan.15, 2012, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Healthy Snacks, Weight Loss

Healthy eating doesn’t really take any more time than unhealthy eating; it just requires a little more foresight.

Everybody has a story about when or why they gained weight, or why they have no time to eat right. When you’re constantly on the go, it can be hard to find time to eat, let alone eat healthy. So you turn to quick-fix foods that are high in fat, sugar, sodium, or calories, and low in essential nutrients.  But eating is what gives us the energy to do everything on our to-do list.  And when we are busy and “forget” to eat, or hurriedly rush into the nearest convenience store or hit up a vending machine for chips and a coke, we are not fueling bodies.  So how do you find balance?

The solution isn’t to find more time, but to work with the schedule you do have. Instead of  waiting in the fast food drive in line,  use this time to visit the grocery store, and pick up prepared salads, sandwiches, and meats, pre-washed and cut fruits and vegetables, canned soups, low-calorie and low-fat frozen meals, yogurt, string cheese, and cereals.

To lose weight, and keep it off  you must eliminate foods that aren’t healthy and eat foods that are good for your body. There is a strong correlation between how and what we eat and being well.  People hold on to the illusion that there is no time to cook, no time to shop, and no healthy options for “fast food” meals.  But just because there is no time to always sit down and eat, does not mean you have to eat poorly. What it boils down to is being prepared and carrying healthy snacks with you.

Healthy Fast Food...or is it Healthy Food Fast?

Here are some healthy tips to try:

  • Cook a bigger batch of food on the weekends, and refrigerate or freeze for weekday lunches or dinners.
  • Set an alarm for mealtimes. Even if you’re buried in work, don’t skip meals; designate a time to eat.
  • Try not to do anything else while eating. Mindless consumption prevents the enjoyment of food. When that happens, people tend to eat more and eat unhealthy alternatives.
  • Put fresh or dried fruit where you can see it to remind yourself of your goal to eat healthy. Bananas, grapes, and apples make handy and nutritious snack items.
  • If at a restaurant, turn down the supersize option, and choose baked and broiled instead of fried.
  • Order the lunch portion at dinnertime, and hold off on fatty condiments.
  • Keep handy snacks around, such as fruits, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, trail mix, yogurt, cottage cheese, carrot or celery sticks, low sugar cereals,  and wraps

Eggs are by far the fastest cooking protein you can get. Scrambling 2-3 eggs takes about 2 minutes. Sauté some spinach with a little garlic, or add some diced ham and cheese, and you have a healthy homemade meal in less than 10 minutes. This works for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Hard boil eggs take about 10 minutes. Boil extra, peel and place in Ziplocs and carry

Protein Smoothies...Quick, Versatile and Portable Meal in a Minute

with you for a quick protein snack or for breakfast on the run the next day.

Fresh fruit protein smoothies are also quick, nutritious and satisfying. They are so versatile… almost anything goes. And they travel well. 1 scoop of  Whey adds approximately 25-30grms of muscle building protein for satiability.  I recommend buying one of the many personal blenders on the market like the Ninja or Magic Bullet.  Mix and go, in under 2 minutes.

Planning healthy meals and snacks ahead of time is especially crucial for people with junk food cravings.  If you must have junk food, give the healthier alternatives, such as baked chips, dried fruit, or sugar-free Popsicles a try. Look for low-calorie, low-sugar, and low-fat options.

In place of chips, try light popcorn, whole grain crackers, carrot sticks, red peppers, and rice cakes.

For the sweet tooth, sugar-free pudding, sugar-free Jell-O, fruit bars, baked apple, fresh fruits, and dried fruits are options.

If you put your mind to it, you can come up with your own ideas for eating well with little cooking. It’s just a matter of wanting to find solutions.

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ORANGE: It’s So Much More than a Pretty Color
Shari

by on Jan.14, 2012, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition

Eat more Orange if you want to Live Longer… and I don’t mean Cheese Puffs.

Have you ever noticed that people with poor diets, eat foods that are mostly beige in color?  Breads, pasta, french fries…   If you are trying to improve your diet, adding color is where it’s at. Orange pigment in foods, for one, provides a significant nutritional kick and should be incorporated daily into your meal plans.  Some of the healthiest  foods to be found are sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and other squash, mango, papaya, apricots, cantaloupe and oranges/tangerines.

These foods are usually colored by natural plant pigments called “carotenoids.” Beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain

Add ORANGE Everyday for Optimal HEALTH.

healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Scientists consistently report that carotenoid-rich foods can help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and improve immune system function. Recent studies have also shown that people who have large quantities of the antioxidant alpha-carotene in their blood (found chiefly in pumpkins and carrots) have a 61% lower risk of disease-related death. And carotenoid consumption protects against the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Citrus fruits like oranges are not rich in carotenoids; however they are an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, a B vitamin that helps reduce risk of birth defects.

Sweet potatoes are one of the best orange foods.  They contain huge amounts of beta-carotene, manganese, copper, fiber, B-6, potassium, iron…. that’s a lot of nutritional power packed into a small potato case!

Adding more orange to your diet is easy.  The produce department carries a variety of orange foods year round.  Fruits like pumpkin are not just for Halloween. Like the sweet potato, pumpkin is one of the most nutritionally dense foods you can get and is inexpensive and convenient in its canned form. High in fiber and low in calories, pumpkin is simple to incorporate into recipes, like muffins, pancakes, and breads.

Incorporating orange fruits and vegetables everyday is not difficult to do and will improve your overall health while keeping illness and disease at bay.

EASY ORANGE ADD-INS:

ü  Sliced orange peppers to a sandwich or wrap

ü  Baby carrots to a salad

ü  Apricots with mixed nuts for a healthy snack mix.

ü  Fresh Orange, Peach, and/or Mango, Vanilla protein and almond/soy milk for a delicious “Orange Dream” Smoothie.

ü  Thinly slice or dice sweet potatoes, lightly toss in olive oil, and roast in 375 oven for a simple side dish.

Cut up cantaloupe, mix with cottage cheese or yogurt for breakfast, or snack.


On your next trip to the grocery, be sure to fill you cart with plenty of color; and don’t neglect the ORANGE.

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Is it Stew?, Chowder?, Bisque?… SHARI’s CRAB SOUP.
Shari

by on Jan.08, 2012, under Fish and Seafood, High Protein dishes, Recipes

Call it what you please…  A true treat your body (and taste buds) will love.

I just call it delicious.

I was in the mood for some crab bisque but traditional crab chowders and soups are loaded with saturated fats and calories from a combination of whole milk, canned creamed soups, butter and then more heavy cream.  With some very easy substitutions, I was able to prepare and enjoy a hearty, satisfying soup, without the excess calories.

The secret:  thicken the soup with a little corn and whole wheat flour!  And the best part: IT’S EASY TO DO and ready to eat in about 20 minutes.

I promise you will not miss all those calories and fat.

SHARI’S Tasty Crab Soup

  • 1 cup diced red potatoes (cooked), skin on.  (Use up leftovers or to save time, try Simply Potatoes)
  • 2 green onions, diced

    What?... a healthy "cream" based soup . You won't miss the calories and fat.

  • ½-3/4  cup creamed corn
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 2-2 ½ cups reduced fat milk
  • 1 cup chicken  broth
  • 1 tablespoon cooking sherry
  • Salt,  generous pepper (white and black), thyme
  • 16 oz lump crab meat
  • Hot Sauce (Optional)

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan.  Sauté diced potatoes and green onions until slightly browned over a med heat.  Add the flour, creamed corn and 1 tbsp of butter stirring constantly.  This will thicken and make a nice roux.  Reduce heat and gradually stir in the milk (1/2 cup at a time), the chicken broth, and spices.   Heat and stir,  to just before the point of boiling. Use a whisk if you prefer to prevent clumping and better blend the sauce.

Once all liquids have been added, stir in the crab meat and continue to stir.   Heat all the way through until hot, but not bubbly, stirring frequently.  Add sherry and hot sauce (if desired) just before serving.

I prefer my soup on the peppery side but adjust seasonings to your personal taste.

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Feed your Metabolism with Food.
Shari

by on Jan.01, 2012, under General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

All Calories are not created equal.

Contrary to what you may have been told, the body does not burn and store 500 calories of fruit and veggies the way it does 500 calories of refined, processed or fatty foods. Some foods take more work to eat–and therefore burn more calories while you’re digesting them.  Just the act of chewing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat can increase your calorie burn by up to 30%! On the contrary, many other foods lack certain nutrients and minerals that have been proven to stimulate the metabolism.  The higher your metabolism level, the faster you will lose weight, provided you eat healthy food and pursue an active lifestyle.

Depriving your body of fuel is a surefire way to slow it down.

When you slash calories, the calories burned by eating are greatly diminished and so is your metabolic rate. Restricting calories also signals the body that there is no food available, so it tries to conserve stores of carbohydrate and fat by slowing down its metabolism. The best way to keep your metabolism revved is to eat regular meals with snacks when necessary to give your body a constant supply of healthy fuel.

Nutritional Superstars that Burn Calories

There are proven nutritional superstars that can fuel your metabolic fire and help you to burn more calories as you kick your diet into high gear. These foods/beverages act similar to the way a thermogenic or a cardio session in how they affect the body. They can ramp up your metabolism, and in essence, assist you in burning fat.   When you wake up in the morning it is especially important to “break the fast” (and a sleepy metabolism) by eating breakfast. When you eat breakfast you start burning calories earlier, thereby burning more total calories through the day. And keep your metabolism pumping all day long, by eating several small meals through the day.  You will tend to eat less at one sitting, which puts less burden on your digestive system and lets it work more efficiently.

So what are you waiting for?   Let’s get your metabolism moving!

Food does some amazing things for our bodies, including fight disease.  Try adding some of these metabolism friendly foods to your diet each day:

1. Oatmeal If you’re looking to jumpstart your metabolism, start your morning off with a bowl of oatmeal. This super food is rich in fat soluble fiber, which requires a lot of calories to break down. Eating oatmeal can also help decrease your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.

2. Grapefruit Studies indicate that eating grapefruit can reduce insulin levels. Lower insulin levels after meals can help your body process food more quickly and efficiently. This means that you burn more calories and store less fat.

3. Hot Peppers Adding some spice to your food can speed up your weight loss. Hot peppers, like jalapenos, contain a chemical called capsaicin, which gives these veggies their heat and causes a spike in your metabolism. This chemical also keeps the calorie burn going hours after you’ve finished your meal.

4. Lean Proteins The protein found in chicken, turkey and other lean meats takes a great deal of energy to break down. Therefore, your body burns a lot of calories during the digestive process. Protein is also an essential ingredient in building lean muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat.

5. Salmon and Tuna High levels of the hormone leptin have been linked to slower metabolisms and weight gain. A good way to lower leptin levels is to increase your intake of fish. The oil found in fish like salmon and tuna has been shown to cut leptin levels and help your body process foods more effectively.

Burn more calories with Green Tea

6. Low-fat Yogurt Low-fat yogurt is one of the best foods to eat if you’re trying to lose weight and boost your metabolism. Yogurt is full of calcium and protein. It gives you the energy your body needs to keep going all day and helps you build lean muscle mass. Yogurt can also help regulate your digestive tract.

7. Green Tea The caffeine found in green tea accelerates your heart rate and speeds up your metabolism. The tea also contains a chemical, known as EGCG, that stimulates the nervous system and helps you to burn calories at a faster rate.

8. Broccoli Broccoli is rich in both calcium and vitamin C. These two vitamins work together to help you burn calories faster and more effectively. Calcium activates your metabolism, while vitamin C helps you absorb more calcium.

9. Almonds Almonds may be high in calories, but they are also jam packed with essential fatty acids which are great metabolism boosters. And the healthy fat in almonds has been proven to help in lowering cholesterol.

10.  Apples,Pears, Berries:  These fruits are low calorie, high fiber, and rich in vitamins and antioxidants.  Your body must burn calories to break down. Since they help you stay full for longer, you‘ll eat less.  And they are naturally sweet!

Spices can fire up your metabolism too!

In addition to some of the suggestions listed, certain spices such as chiles, cinnamon, curry and ginger fire up your central nervous system and can boost your metabolism by as much as 12%.

Metabolism-Slowing Pitfalls

Just as there are natural ways to boost your metabolism, there are also natural ways you slow  your metabolism — Here are a few:

  • Skipping meals–always eat breakfast!
  • Sleeping less than 6 hours a night.
  • Eating empty calorie foods–exchange them for low carb, low-fat, high nutrition foods.
  • Choosing processed foods–exchange them for whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

And don’t overlook the power of water!

Researchers in Germany found that subjects increased their metabolic rates (the rate at which calories are burned) by up to 30 percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant that banishes bloat as it flushes out sodium and toxins. Drinking enough water will also help keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. It is necessary to drink water at frequent intervals, because it is water that helps in digestion of food. So drink up! Make sure that you are starting your day with a big big glass of water and drink all day long.  It’s hard to get too much water.

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