Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Surviving the Holidays: 5 Strategies for Success

10 Days Till Christmas! Can you believe that? I'm back from New York- after a wonderful weekend of big fun, birthday celebrations, wonderful people, excessive SHOPPING, and more. Amazingly - I managed to eat decently and walked what felt like 10 miles a day!  Brooke was a wonderful & healthy hostess- she had pre-stocked her fridge with my favorite TJ's options, including a homemade mushroom pizza waiting for me upon my late night arrival! Such a great trip, I can't wait to go back!
I arrived home in the thick of the holiday season... and temptations are everywhere.  Cookies at work, chocolate at home (Chris!!) and social occasions what seems like every night of the week!
Here are my 5 tips to holiday food trap survival:
1. Make a Statement. Tell people you're trying to eat well.  That way it's more embarrassing and you're less likely to grab another cookie at the office or re-load your plate at the party buffet. 
2. Drink Smart. Although there are tons of fun holiday specialty drinks- most are loaded with unnecessary calories.  Stick to your usual, a glass of wine or a vodka soda is going to have a lot less empty calories than egg nog. Drink too much? Try my favorite new miracle cure for hangovers- coconut water. You can find it at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and even some convenience stores. It provides extreme hydration which will leave you hurting less the next day- and hopefully lessen that craving for greasy hangover food! 
3. Stay Positive.  So you indulge and eat too much at a Christmas party. So what? It's not the end of the world.  Holidays have a tendency to derail dieters to the point where they just "give up" and figure they'll mend their ways after the New Year.  Don't give in to that- you are just as able to get right back on track the next day after a slip up and you'll have much less damage to undo with your New Years Resolution.
 4. Cook Smart.  If you're the one hosting the party- or Christmas dinner, you're in control.  There are lots of healthy substitutions you can make to even the most classic of holiday dishes that your friends and family won't even notice. Cooking Light is a great resource. Check out their holiday menus here:
 Cooking Light Apps
 Cooking Light Holiday Dinner Menus
5. Fit it In. Want to workout- but have no time to get to the gym? Try a Workout on the Go- which you can download to your Ipod for free from Women's Health Magazine! Workout Downloads.  Or make do with what you've got.  Fit in a power walk around the neighborhood to look at lights, or do some push ups when you get out of bed in the morning.  It all counts!
Most importantly, take time to enjoy your holidays.  They're not about cookies, candy,or even gifts, the holidays are about spending time with the people you love the most.  Make quality time with your friends and family your priority and thoughts of "sugarplums"will quickly fade to the background. 
PS- keeping this quote in mind won't hurt either :) If hunger is not the problem, then eating is not the solution.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ready or Not- Here I Come!

To NYC that is! Tomorrow morning I take off for a long weekend of fun, festivities and some quality time with my BFF Brooke.  We've got all kinds of Christmasy plans including a visit to Rockefeller Center and of course some sightseeing (code word for shopping! Don't tell Chris :)
I've been working out really hard this week in preparation for the trip and seriously, after only 5 Bar Method workouts- it's starting to come back to me and it feels AMAZING. I can literally feel myself getting stronger. I'm taking a class tomorrow morning before I leave so my muscles will be all nice and tired for my 6 hour flight.
Brooke and I skyped last night to plan our weekend and surprise, surprise, it involves a lot of drinking and eating! I'll be honest with you- I'm looking forward to all of it! I think what I'm going to do is make my goal enjoyment as opposed to bingeing. Basically I'll try to appreciating every delicious thing I eat and drink in reasonable portions but not eat as much crap as I can fit in my mouth just because I'm "on vacay!" (been there done that- came home to tight pants- I have a LBD to fit into!). 
Brooke- I like these ones!
I'm also bringing a pair of running shoes- Brooke has been into running lately (her BF promised her a pair of Louboutins if she runs a 5k- I'd be running too!) Hopefully we can squeeze a run in at some point- she laughed at me when I asked if we'd be running outside- apparently it's pretty cold there!  I'm already signed up for a Bar class the day I get back to help me get back on the working out/eating well path.  
I hope everyone has a fun filled, healthy weekend!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekends- Friend or Foe?

Friday is typically my favorite day of the week, but it's also a dangerous day when I'm being healthy. Looking back through my food journals there is a clear pattern of a work week full of writing down everything I ate- but come Friday afternoon it would suddenly be blank till Monday morning.  And don't think that's because I wasn't eating!
I do believe it's good to have a little flexibility with what you eat on the weekend, but there's a big difference between a little indulgence and complete abandonment of healthy eating. You don't want to undo all the hard work you put in during the week for two days of fun. Here's the plan:

Get a Healthy Start- If I start my day off with a big brunch, (which I LOVE to do, usually including mimosas) it generally doesn't end well.  So, I've signed myself up for Bar Method on both Saturday and Sunday at 8:30am.  That way I get to sleep in a little, get a great workout, and be home and ready for the day by 10.
Avoid Known Food Traps- It's a Sunday home game this weekend, so I'll be cheering on the Chargers.  I've been to enough games at this point to know that healthy options at the stadium are basically zero. So- although I will miss my favorite nachos, I'll eat  lunch before heading to the stadium and pack a few snacks in my bag as well.
Plan Indulgences- Chris and I have a date night tonight, and I'm so ready for a Friday night glass of wine (or three) I'm actually hoping the wine will help with my intense soreness from Bar Method this week. By planning in advance- I don't have to feel guilty about some enjoyment time.
Speaking of Bar- as I was driving there Tuesday for my first workout back I was thinking "this is so great, I can't wait to do this and feel good again" like it was some kind of relaxing yoga. Um I forgot how FREAKING HARD it is.  Yes I do feel good- AFTER the workout, but during it I'm sweating with every muscle in my body literally shaking thinking- why did I do this again?? It's amazing/depressing how far I've regressed in 6 months without it.  I can't wait till it starts to feel good again. I just need to focus on the benefits (detailed on right)... I can't wait! :)
Have a great weekend!
PS. Congratulations favorite new parents, Amy & Doug!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I did something last night I would tell my friends NEVER to do...

I bought a dress that's too small. I don't need to lose 20 lbs to wear it- but it won't look great until I'm at least 5-10 pounds lighter. It was love at first sight. It's a classic LBD with delicate detailing and cut and gorgeous fabric. And it fits- it's just too tight in the hips/butt area. I'm making it my my official goal dress.  AND...  I'm going to post a picture of myself wearing it on the blog by New Years Eve.  Ok. Now that I've typed it- it's official. 
So... considering this is the holiday season of indulgence in food, drinks and excess... how exactly do I plan to do this?
Get My Buff Arms Back.  Once upon a time I used to flex excitedly and make Chris feel my arms after a workout.  Now, I flex and nothing happens... back to Bar Method for me.  Never EVER have I had anything firm up my arms (and rest of body) as much as that workout.  It's an expensive commitment to make, especially during this gifting season- but I'm considering it my gift to myself this year!
Plan Ahead.  For me- the number one thing that determines if I'm eating right or not is how much planning I've done in advance.  If I don't have healthy snack/meal options on hand it's SO much easier and tempting to just stop for takeout on the way home or grab a pack of peanut m&ms to get through the afternoon.  I am going to do a major TJs run and get all my healthy "necessities" and at least 4 healthy meals for the week.
Don't Give in To Stuff I Don't Love. During the holidays sugar is everywhere! Cookies, candy, fudge, cakes- it's all tempting.  But when it comes to desserts- I know what I like.  For this holiday season, I'm NOT going to eat sugary stuff just because it's there.  I'll allow myself a few of my holiday favorites (Russian tea cake cookies- I have not forgotten you) but I'm not going to eat things like gingersnaps, or pecan pie just because they are in front of me.
That's my plan so far.  No crazy diet- just mindful eating and working out.  It always works- it just takes commitment to stick to it. I think having a reason or goal to help you "be good" during this holiday season is important.  Does anyone else have any good holiday diet tips? Am I crazy for buying the dress?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday

This is not health related- but some of you who know me well are aware of my slight shopping addiction. Specifically with a focus on SALES/DEALS. 
Here are the best cyber Monday offers I've seen so far- all of them are valid today ONLY- so get shopping!
The Limited: 40% off entire site and free shipping (great work clothes/jewelry/scarves)
Ann Taylor Loft: 40% off entire site and free shipping. Code: ENJOY (same as above- some cute sweaters!)
The Body Shop: 3 for $30 ANY products on their site and free shipping (amazing body butters/scrubs and I also like their sheer lip colors)
DSW: 25% off entire purchase and free ship over $35.  Promo code is: cyber25 (Riding boots anyone??)
Kate Spade: 25% off their sale items and free shipping. Code is CYBER25 (They have a BIG sale selection and some really affordable bags once you factor in the discount)
New York & Co: 50% off entire purchase and free shipping! I don't normally shop this store- but with a sale like that I checked it out this past weekend.  They had some great basics & accessories and CHEAP prices.
Macys: Buy one get one pair free BOOTS.  Love this. Buy a gift and one for yourself :)
Steve Madden: another shoe deal! 35% off and free shipping. Code is SMCYBER35. They have FUN sparkily shoes for the holidays. $30 off purchase of $100, $60 off $200 or $100 off $300.  They have a great selection of designer handbags, shoes and accessories.
Ok- that's all.  I am actually FINISHED Christmas shopping already.  Which is good- but now I have to resist continuing to shop! I will live vicariously and share my deals with you :) Happy Shopping!
PS. You burn 75 to 100 calories an hour just SHOPPING! Oh wait... online shopping probably doesn't count...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Summer in November

What to cook when it's 96 degrees in November?? Yesterday I was driving home from a work trip in LA in my cool air conditioned car brainstorming the great dinner I wanted to make when I got home. It involved sausage, pasta and homemade sauce deliciousness! As I ran my plan by Chris he said "you realize it's about a hundred degrees in our house right now?" ... all thoughts of winter comfort food were out the window. 
So- I did the next easiest thing- on my blackberry and a trip to Whole Foods.  It's an unbeatable combination.
I went for the Tuna Mango Tacos-and here is the VERY simple and healthy recipe.
  • 1 ripe mango, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 fresh lime, squeezed
  • 3/4 pound yellow fin tuna, uncooked and diced medium (I substituted albacore because they didn't have yellow fin tuna)
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (I used a spicy fish blackening seasoning we brought back from Charleston)
  • corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon oil 
  • (my addition) half of a diced ripe avocado- added to the mango salsa topping.
  • (my addition) 2 tbs of salsa added to the mango. 
Mix first 4 Ingredients and set aside
Heat oil to almost high
In medium pan and add tuna
Saute quickly & when almost done stir in seasoning
Put in a warmed tortilla and add mango salsa
That's all - ok, so it wouldn't kill you to add a little extra squeeze of fresh lime
It was so good! And I paired it with two fun sides from Whole Foods (their deli counter is a trap for me!) I got a cucumber greek salad and a grilled veggie cous cous, both of which we ate cold.  Served with a glass of chilled white wine and an episode of Modern Family...  it was heaven after a long hot day. 
Happy Weekend!
PS- Sam the Cooking Guy is a GREAT local cook who offers the simplest recipes.  Every one I've tried has been delicious (Kate's Mom's Salmon is a favorite) and never excessive ingredient lists. I highly recommend checking them out.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Who Do You Want To Be?

“Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – Anonymous
Isn't that a great quote? Think about it for a minute. Really- why would your "self" just be out there floating around waiting for you to discover it? Doesn't it make more sense to think that you are creating who you are every single day with each choice and action?

If you look at your life this way- it's amazing how many more possiblites open up. Imagine if instead of stressing and searching for fulfillment from external sources- you woke up each day and took steps toward becoming the person you want to be. Imagine the difference you could make. 
How is this food related? Think about it- our bodies are one of the few things that we have 100% control over. You decide everything you put in your mouth, you determine when and how often you exercise. Most of us have a goal in mind when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, whether it's losing 10 lbs or fitting into your skinny jeans. Figure out what your goal is and then make the choices that will help you get there.

Create your own mission statement.  Who do you want to be? The potential is unlimited.  

Friday, October 29, 2010

Surviving Candy Land! Halloween Strategy....

Yikes it has been a month since my last blog! It truly has been a crazy busy month of work, fun, healthy eating, non healthy eating, and just general life getting in the way!
But Halloween is practically here- and I wanted to pass on a few quick tips to help get you through the holiday!
Tip #1 Don't Buy Candy.  UNLESS you get a lot of tricker treaters in which case- buy a candy you DONT LIKE, and buy it THE DAY OF Halloween. Make sense? If it's not there- you can't eat it.  I once had a Halloween where I ate an entire bag of Reece's Peanut Butter Cups in the week prior to the actual holiday.  I had to buy more candy.  Embarrassing to admit- but true story.
Tip #2 Let Your Costume Motivate You.  If you fall in my age range- 20 to early 30 somethings- and you don't have children, chances are you are dressing up as "sexy" something.  "Sexy" nurse, bunny, Chilean Miner- you get the gist.  A cute outfit, minus coverage.  So- buy your outfit in advance and hang it in the front of your closet where every morning you are reminded that you want to make it look good!
Tip #3 Treat Yourself- In Moderation.  Easier said then done, but chances are you aren't going to be eating carrots on Halloween night.  Choose a number of pieces to eat and stick with it.  Enjoy them- don't gulp them down.
Tip #4 Read the Label. There is such a thing as "better for you" candy.  It's not stuff to eat 24/7 but check the nutrition labels of candy before making your pics.  Tootsie Rolls, candy corn, 3 Musketeers Bars, Now N Laters, Gummy Candy are all COMPARATIVELY lower fat and calories than their popular candy counterparts. 
Ok- that's all I've got!  Good luck this weekend and remember- even if for some incomprehensible reason you ignore my tips and give in to a candy binge this weekend- wars were not won or lost in a day.  That goes for healthy eating too. Forget the guilt and start fresh and healthy the next day!
PS. Happy Bday Natty! Love you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mood Swings Got You Down?

Disclaimer- this is an article I wrote for one of the Health & Fitness websites I do content writing for- but they rejected it because they wanted less "natural" ways to prevent more mood swings and more supplements- so their loss = your gain :) Enjoy! 

A common problem for dieters is dealing with mood swings. A change in diet affects more than just your weight, it impacts your entire body including your mental health. Whether you've started a new diet, or simply feel like your emotional ups and downs have become a challenge for you to manage, natural supplements can be a great fix. Below are 5 natural supplements that can help prevent mood swings to keep you happy and healthy.
Before considering supplements, take an evaluation of your current lifestyle.  Are you getting enough sleep? No supplement in the world can fix a mood swing problem if it’s caused by a deficiency of your bodies physical needs.  Sleep is one of them. The average adult needs between 7-9 hours per night.  Mood Swing Fix: Pay attention to how many hours of sleep you are getting and make sleep a priority on your to-do list.
Exercise is a great natural mood booster!  The happy floating feeling of accomplishment you have after a tough workout, you’re not imagining it.  Exercise boosts the body’s natural endorphins which elevate the mood and leave you with a positive feeling that can last for hours. Mood Swing Fix: When you feel a bad mood coming on, lace up your running shoes and hit the gym.  Changes are you’ll feel better and at least more accomplished when you return.
What are you eating? Often times mood swings are actually our brains reaction to a blood sugar crash caused by eating processed, high sugar foods. Whole grain natural foods are less likely to have this effect.  Another dietary suggestion is get your leafy greens! Veggies are good for your body, but your mental state as well due to their folate content which is essential in the production of serotonin, a “feel good” chemical in the brain. Mood Swing Fix: Try cutting sugars and processed foods out of your diet for a week and see if your mood stabilizes.
Ok- so you’re sleeping 8 hours, working out, have your diet in check and are still moody? The following two natural supplements have been shown to have an impact on mood stabilization. 
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is an amino acid with the main purpose of increasing serotonin productivity in the brain. The recommended dosing is 50-300 milligrams per day with effectiveness seen after two to three weeks.  A second herbal alternative is St. Johns Wart, a mood supporting supplement that has been around for decades and has shown great effectiveness in improving general mood and relieving the symptoms of depression.  Both 5-HTP and St Johns Wart are prescribed as prescription drugs in Europe, unlike the US where they are sold as herbal remedies commonly found at a health food store and are not subject to FDA regulation. Be cautious and make sure you are purchasing a high quality product and that if you plan to take either with existing prescription drugs; you run it by your doctor first. Mood Swing Fix: Talk to your doc if you are considering either of these and be sure to give them a few weeks to take full effect.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don't Go it Alone... Host a Healthy Cooking Party!

Having a support system for weight loss is key.  What better way to motivate the people around you and share great diet "best practices" than by hosting a health focused cooking party and recipe exchange? Check out my article on how to plan one of these fun events here:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Heart Kind Bars (and snacking!)

Kind Bars are one of my all time favorite healthy snacks.  So- when I saw that the geniuses behind them had created "mini" versions, I had to share! At only 110 calories, these are perfect, all natural quick snacks to keep in your purse or car for blood sugar crashes/starvation emergencies! They are made with 100% fruit and nuts, no additives. Best of all they're on sale on Amazon! I just bought a 20 pack of minis for $16- at 82 cents a bar- that's a steal.Yay for healthy snacking options!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Seafood Frenzy

Sorry for the blogging break I was on a work trip to Maui! (I know- tough job right??) Although I did end up working most of the time- I was able to catch up on some much needed sleep, relaxation and healthy eating. I only WISH I would have brought my camera as I sampled some of the freshest fish that Maui had to offer at Mama's Fish House. Delish!
This week Chris and I had dinner at The Fish Market, and again the delights of the sea amazed me!  This time it was fresh oysters with shredded fresh horseradish and a heavenly mussel bucket with a creamy dipping sauce.
My recent seafood adventures have inspired me to try my hand tonight at a "Seafood Stew".  The recipe includes making your own fish stock which should be interesting- first I have to find a place to sell me fish bones. (not a joke). It has mussels, fish, clams, and more, all en-captured in a delicious white wine garlic broth that should be delicious to dip crusty bread in to.  Heaven.  I'll post the recipe if it's a success! Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Craving Pasta but on a Diet?

 Check out these three healthy alternatives! Hint- I've tested them all and they are delish and surprisingly easy to make (Zucchini is a personal favorite).  The key is finding or making a great sauce to go on top. I like to use a little ground turkey or sausage and some red pepper to turn up the heat!

Monday, September 6, 2010

2 Simple Snack Ideas

This snack has LITERALLY zero calories.  Ok, 5 tops.  But it's delicious and satisfies a crunchy, spicy craving!
Celery & salsa.  Yep that's it.  Slice up some celery and start dipping!
I bet it would be delish to put one of the Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges (bleu cheese is my personal favorite) in the bottom. Even then it'd be less than 50 calories.
Simple idea  #2. Apple slices with lemon juice and cinnamon  Sounds a little bizarre, but it's tasty and good. Slice up an apple and squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on them and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Low calorie but great for variety when a simple apple sounds boring.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Back To Basics

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I've been doing some "content writing" for health and fitness websites.  Well today my editor sent an article I had written back to me saying that I cannot write in the first person.  Oops! But I LIKE talking about myself and my point of view :). I realized I must be pretty overdue for a blog, where I am free to say "I think" as many times as I want.
Healthy? Not necessarily.
So what have I been thinking? I think I need to focus.  Lately I have been all over the place with my eating without a real plan.  Some days I do great all day, then come home and snack till dinner. Other days, I eat poorly at lunch and then the rest of the day seems like a free for all. Other days, I eat great and wake up feeling good the next morning, but one day of healthy eating does not a flat stomach make!
I knew I was in trouble the other night when I had dinner out with friends and although a french dip sandwich was calling my name, I decided to be "smart" and order the soup and salad.  But then I ordered a tomato bisque and Cesar salad.  I forgot to request the dressing on the side, and when the salad arrived, it was coated in dressing, topped with cheese, and covered in croutons.  The bisque was so rich it was almost oily.  I probably would have been better off with my original sandwich craving! It felt like amateur hour and I realized how out of practice I was at being a conscious eater. A few months ago I would have reacted differently in the same situation and done one or all of the following:
-Ask if the restaurant had nutritional facts for their food (it was a chain, they should)
-Ask for the dressing on the side. (or don't get a Cesar in the first place)
-Hold the cheese/croutons
-Ask if the soup is cream or broth based.
Don't worry I promise to eat more than this!
Maybe the extra questions would have made me annoying to the waiter or even possibly my dining companions.  But it would have been worth  it to not have to feel guilty after eating soup and salad for dinner!
Anyway- my goal for September is to get back to basics.  Conscious eating and portion control.  Know what's in my food and if it's worth eating. For portion control, it's making sure I'm eating a reasonable portion if it's healthy food, and a small portion if it's an indulgence. 
What are your keys to healthy eating? Is focusing on a few things a good idea?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Trader Joe's is my Happy Place

I shop at Trader Joe's when I feel like browsing, cooking, shopping, de-stressing, being inspired, really all the time. And if you've read my blog, you'll know I am constantly talking about the great products TJs features. The only drawback that I've been able to find is sometimes when I'm cooking from a recipe I'm not able to find all the needed ingredients at TJs and have to make an additional stop at a traditional grocery store. So today- when I got an email from a great website, that they were publishing a book full or TJs recipes & creations- with 100% Trader Joe's products, I was thrilled! And amazingly this "Unofficial Guide To Trader Joe's" is only $5.95 with free shipping! (if you use the promo code TRADERJOESFAN- at check out you'll get an additional $1 off). 

Their email stated "We took the collective knowledge and votes of thousands of shoppers and employees to select over 100 of the very best Trader Joe's products and paired them with 50 easy, delicious recipes to create a beautiful, glossy pocket guide and cookbook for Trader Joe's shoppers." UM YUM.  The book also includes fun things like the Best Cheeses list, Kid Friendly foods, Most Addictive Cookies (I don't need that one!) and more. I bought my copy immediately and am counting down till it arrives.
I'll write a review soon.  I think it's also a great potential holiday gift (it's never too early to start shopping) for any Trader Joe's lovers in your life!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My First Published (anonymous) Article!

Obviously writing and blogging is a hobby for me, but someday I'd love to be an author. I'm currently deciding between a cookbook, fiction, non-fiction... obviously I've really narrowed it down :). To keep motivated and gain experience for when I eventually figure it out,  I just started "content writing" for two health/fitness websites.
So... when I write an article for them, I'll provide the links on the blog so you can check them out as well.  Check out my first article!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Broke 30!

From a 10k in March- but you get the idea
Yesterday Chris and I ran America's Finest City 5k.  This is our third year running it and I finally accomplished my goal of coming in under 30 minutes! Last year- I came VERY close- with a time of 30:01 (not a joke) but this year I finished the course in 29:44.  Yay! We celebrated by having a DECADENT breakfast at Hash House a Go Go. This place is no joke, when we arrived post race at the early early time of 8am, there was already a 20 minute wait.  Why? Becuase it's that good. They consider their cusine Twisted Farm Food with Indiana roots, and they do it well! Chris's breakfast was by far the winner- he had a Farm Benedict featuring sage fried chicken w/ fresh spinach, hardwood smoked bacon, market tomato, griddled mozzarella, chipotle cream and scrambled eggs. Um yum. 
Chris's Benedict
My favorite menu item was called O'Hare of the Dog and consisted of a 24 oz Budwiser (served in a brown paper bag) with a side of bacon. Classy :) I went with an egg white scramble that was big enough for about 4 people.  
Overall- it was a great weekend! AND I have an exciting week to look forward to, I'm heading up North for a long weekend at Lake Naciamento with my family and two best friends (Brooke is coming in from NY!) to celebrate my birthday! There will likely be nothing healthy about the trip... but lots of fun and great company.  Next week I plan to get back on track with good eating (food journaling) and Bar Method. Till then, be good without me! :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pizza Time!

Long time no blog! Brooke recently attributed the fact she hadn't been to the gym in a month on my lack of blogging. :) Hmm.... anyway I figured I better get back to the blog before everybody goes off the deep end! 
But in truth- what actually motivated me to blog today was to share a recipe I made last night for a homemade-ish pizza! Notice I'm not claiming this is fully homemade, or healthy- although I'm sure there are some great reduced calorie recipes out there, this was my first gourmet pizza making attempt and my priority was making it taste good!

Not my actual creation- but you get the idea
Quick note- I bought all supplies except the spices at Trader Joe's (shocking I know) Their pre-made pizza dough and sauce were outstanding and would work well with any toppings! 
Asparagus, Pancetta & Sun Dried Tomato Pizza-Let Pizza Dough sit out on a floured surface for 20 min.
While this is happening- do the following:
-Preheat oven to 450.
-Chop 4-5 stalks asparagus into bite size pieces.  (picture it being on top of your pizza- you don't really want big chunks) and then toss it into a pan with a little water and cover until it begins to soften. (at least 5 min) 
-Add 1/2 cup pre-diced pancetta to the pan.  This is SO good and adds so much flavor! Let it cook until slightly crispy, then remove the pan from heat.  
-Chop up 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes and set aside. 
-Roll out the pizza dough.  This is where things got tricky. I bought mine pre-made at TJs, BUT was unhappy with the way it stretched out, uneven and misshapen- so I rolled it all in a ball and tried again. BAD idea.  Just go wtih the first "stretch out" even if it's not perfectly shaped.  Chris found me in the kitchen covered in flour attempting to roll pizza dough with a wine bottle. Since at this point the lumpy creation seemed destined for the garbage, he tried his pizza tossing skills... and amazingly we pulled out some sort of stretched crust creation. Maybe not symmetrical- but it sure tasted great!
-Stretch out the pizza dough on a lightly oiled pan and then top with sauce.  I used a TJ's  pizza sauce that they sell in their premade fresh section, conveniently right next to the pizza dough.  I used the entire container and if you like your pizza saucy (sauce is healthier than cheese- just fyi) I'd even buy two containers.
-I topped the sauce with a blend of regular and light shredded mozzarella cheese. About a cup of each. I sometimes have trouble with getting the "light" version to melt properly, but the combo worked well.
-I then topped the pizza with the prepped asparagus, pancetta & sun dried tomatoes. 
-And then my FAVORITE part- which I will add to any pizza from now on- a spice blend! Mix the following:
2 tbs grated or shredded Asiago cheese
2 tbs sesame seed (I only had black sesame seed, which looked a little odd, but you couldn't taste a difference)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
After sprinkling the spice mix over the pizza I nervously put it in the oven and it cooked for about 12 minutes.  
The pizza came out piping hot, melty, spicy, saucy and DELICIOUS.  I ate two giant pieces and had to restrain myself from more.  Chris had a 3rd piece. It was THAT good.  I'm actually thinking I'll make it again for my upcoming Book Club meeting- so get excited if you're coming!
More health focused blogs to come- I promise.  But in the meantime... go make some pizza!
Ps.  Brooke- go to the gym. (If you want. No pressure. Just now you can't blame me anymore! )

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kill Your Cows. (In a non-violent, vegetarian way)

I just finished reading a FANTASTIC book- Once Upon A Cow: Eliminating Excuses and Settling for Nothing but Success, by  Dr. Camilo Cruz. Since I started the book, I have been walking around the house muttering to myself about killing cows. Chris is probably pretty disturbed.
I'll fill you in on the cow story and then explain how that relates to taking 100% responsibility for your own personal success in any area of your life.  
The author starts the book with the tale of a wise man and his student who are traveling through the countryside looking for a place to stay the night. They come upon a family who takes them in and are shocked at the poverty this family is living in. Tiny living quarters, not enough to eat, basically barely surviving.  The one thing the family has going for them is a single cow.  The cow is the envy of their neighbors, and although it produces barely enough milk for them to survive on, they see it as the best thing in their life.  The family's life revolves around this cow- feeding, protecting and caring for it.
The wise man and student spend the night with the family, grateful for their kindness and wake up early to leave.  As they are passing the barn the student watches in horror as the wise man KILLS the family's cow and they continue on their way.  The student continues to be bothered by this.
The following year- the wise man and the student travel back to the same countryside and they approach same family's home. As they arrive at the spot where their tiny house had been, they see it has been replaced with a larger, nicer home.  The student fears that the family has become homeless or abandoned the area in despair and is shocked to see one of the family members come out of the large house, looking stronger and much healthier than on their previous trip.
The family- unaware that is was the wise man who had killed the cow, welcome them both in to the house warmly.  The family members tell the story of how their life has changed since the death of their cow.  The huge loss of what was the center of their universe shocked them for a while and they feared starvation and further poverty.  But that fear motivated change, and drove them to pursue new farming and business ventures to survive which grew and led to great improvement in their quality of life. 
As they left the family and continued on their way, the wise man explains to the amazed student:  "If I hadn't killed the cow they would still be living exactly as they were, barely surviving,miserable but telling themselves they were lucky to have their cow.  The loss of the cow freed/forced them to seek other opportunities and change their lives."

We develop our excuses (cows) at an early age. We use them, nurture and protect them, and even justify them until they are no longer excuses but have become our own self-created reality. The danger in this is waking up years down the road to realize we've lead a very mediocre existence and fallen short of our hopes for our life. The main point of the book is that life is too short to accept "good enough" or "getting by" and each person is responsible individually for their own success.
The book is not health focused, but can be applied to all aspects of your life. Sounds simple, but if you pay attention to how many excuses, rationalizations or justifications for average behavior you make every single day, the cows standing in your path start to be more and more apparent.  Think about what you could do- the changes and results that could be made by eliminating all excuses from your life?

Obviously- the author and the book explain this concept more eloquently I do. I encourage everyone to read the book- no matter what your individual struggles or areas of your life you wish you could improve, you will be inspired to "kill your cows" by facing your challenges head-on and taking responsibility for your own reality.
Quote of the day: "Balance. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So is exercise. So is mental clarity. And health is the consummate ideal at the intersection of these components." Jessica Brookman, blogger.
PPS- Book is on sale at, see below for less than $8! 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Win The War on Temptation

Happy Friday! Today's post was inspired by an article by Jill Waldbieser on Women's that caught my eye with the title "4 Ways to Resist Food Temptations".  Who couldn't learn something from that? I'm constantly looking for ways to prevent/resist & recover from the deadly pull of junk food.
Here's what the article had to say- and of course, my take on her suggestions :)
Strategy: Eat Smaller More Frequent Meals
What it Targets? Out of control hunger.
Why it works: Going too long without eating makes your blood sugar plummet. That leaves you with a raging appetite that can overpower your best intentions to eat well. If you have small meals every three to five hours, your blood sugar stays stable, preventing the wallop of a sugar low that will leave you vulnerable to overeating, says Lisa Jones, R.D., of LaSalle University. I COULD NOT agree with this one more.  I have noticed repeatedly through my food journaling that often my bad choices are caused directly by hunger, lack of snack planning, or the blood sugar crash following something sweet. Have a healthy snack with you at ALL times. Right now, I have a fruit leather in my purse, protein bar in my desk and crackers in my car. Seriously- these are my saviors.
Strategy: Eat With Your Other Hand
What it targets: Distraction
Why it works: Picking up a fork with the hand you don't usually use automatically slows you down and makes you focus on your meal, two things that have been proven to aid weight loss. Studies have shown that with regular practice, this kind of switcheroo can also increase your overall willpower. Hmm... ok... don't really think I'll be trying this one anytime soon (I'm laughing just picturing myself trying to do this in a restaurant! Chris would probably stop taking me out in public :) But I do agree with the underlying principle of focusing on what you are eating and slowing down the meal process. Rather than eating with the other hand, I'd suggest working on chewing your food more, not eating in front of the TV or in the car, or other strategies that help you concentrate on what you are eating.
Strategy: Weigh Yourself Regularly
What it targets: Losing sight of your goal
Why it works: Few things keep your weight-loss goal front and center better than seeing those big glowing numbers on the scale. Regular weigh-ins also make it easier to notice extra pounds creeping on, so you can slash and burn immediately. In fact, when researchers at the University of Minnesota analyzed more than 1,800 people who successfully shed pounds in weight-loss programs, they found that about 40 percent weighed themselves daily or weekly. And the more frequently they stepped on the scale, the more they lost: 12 pounds on average for daily weighers, compared with six for weekly weighers. (Scale shunners, meanwhile, gained an average of five pounds.)  Interesting study! And I agree that weighing yourself keeps you accountable.  I know for myself, when I'm "being bad" I just stop weighing myself, which never leads to anything good.  Then I'll go 6 weeks without weighing myself and it's torture to step back on the scale.  There's definitely a healthy balance between obsessive weighing and scale avoidance, find what works for you. For me- I do best if I weigh myself once a week, same day & same time.
Strategy: Lift Your Spirits
What it targets: Emotional eating
Why it works: It's estimated that when people overeat, nearly 75 percent of the time it's because they're feeling blue.
Even small doses of pleasant emotions can quickly renew your ability to say no. So the next time you're facing down temptation, surf over to or buy yourself that going-out top you've been eyeing. The good feelings might be temporary, but they will last long enough to get you safely past that hot-fudge sundae. I do think this works.  However (and I know from experience) it can get expensive if you shop every time you feel like eating :).  Another great way to lift spirits is by getting outside, or really getting your serotonin flowing with some exercise.  Obviously easier said than done when you are feeling down, but nothing lifts my spirits more than a run or taking Riley to dog beach. 
Now you've got the tools, so get out there and resist some temptation this weekend!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Breakfast: Quick and Easy with Egg Whites!

I think by now most people know you NEED to eat breakfast if you want to lose weight, be healthy, balance your blood sugar, ETC.  It's Key.  Don't believe me? Google it and thousands of official people/studies will confirm my point. With that as a premise- I felt the need to talk about my favorite breakfast food today following a happy hour discussion last night. A girlfriend mentioned how hard it was on her current diet to find breakfast foods. I brought up egg whites and she was pretty hesitant (meaning she called them totally gross :)) but I seriously think they are one of the most diet friendly foods around.  Not only are they low calorie, you can honestly put nearly ANYTHING in them for a warm and nutritious meal. The key is figuring out what to add, which takes a little experimenting.
What seems to challenge even more people than finding what to eat in the morning is finding the time to prepare and eat breakfast.  After making a delicious Basil & Swiss egg white omelet on English muffin in LESS THAN 6 MINUTES this morning, I know it can be done. 
Here are my tips (and recipe) that will speed things up in the a.m. 
Step 1: Pop English muffin in toaster.  Turn heat on pan and spray it with PAM.  Time saving tip- use the right size skillet.  If you are making a one person omelet, this should be a small preferably stainless steel pan. 
Step 2: Get egg whites out of fridge, cheese, and any other ingredients you want to add. Time saving tips- use egg whites that are in a carton, already separated from the yolks and cheese that is pre-shredded or pre-sliced.
Step 3: Pour 1/3 cup egg whites (about the amount of two eggs) into pan.  Grind pepper or other spices onto egg mixture in pan.  Time saving tip- make sure the pan is already heated to speed up cook time.
Step 4: As the egg starts to firm up, add in additional ingredients.  This morning I used fresh basil, simply tore up a few leaves and put them in.  Then add cheese and let it melt. Once the cheese has started melting (cook time about 3.5 min), fold the egg mixture in half and it magically becomes an omelet!
Step 5: Get English muffin out of toaster, place on plate.  Remove omelet from pan and cut in half.  Put one half on each English muffin and you have a delicious, balanced, nutritious breakfast in UNDER 6 min. 
1/3 cup egg whites: 50
Slice light cheese (today I used Swiss): 50
Thomas Brand Whole wheat light English muffin: 100
Basil: I'll give it 5- it was just a few leaves for flavor. 
Basil & Swiss Egg White Omelet. Total calories: 205Total Time: 6 min. Enjoyment level: So good! Eggs stick with you and don't leave you starving (and prone to sweets/carb cravings) at 10a.m.
Other quick and easy omelet additions that you might already have in your fridge:
Cilantro & salsa, chives, lunch meat turkey, spinach, tomatoes, avocado, bell peppers & onions, Morningstar Farms brand products (the fake sausage patty is my favorite)- really anything goes!
Don't love English muffins? Substitute for a piece of ezekial bread toast (80 cal) or make an egg burrito by making the omelet a scramble and putting it in a low carb tortilla (120 cal).

Here's my challenge- try an egg white omelet this week. I PROMISE you won't regret it and you may just find a new breakfast staple.
PS.  The people who make Laughing Cow Light Cheeses have heard and answered my prayers! They created a spreadable light BLUE CHEESE version that is SO good and still only 35 calories a wedge! It might actually be a worthy substitute for my cheese cravings...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Make Monday a Comeback Day!

Happy Monday! I had the LEAST healthy weekend ever. Seriously.  A very fun weekend, but about ZERO healthy choices. Team USA obviously needed me to drink about a beer and indulge in all American bar food to support them (wait... they still didn't win!). I was catching on blogs last night and on A Prior Fat Girl (click here for link) Jennifer mentions an inspirational bracelet she purchased- livestrong style, that had the words on it : "One Bite, One Decision".  I love that saying and I like the idea of having a constant reminder of it on my wrist to help prevent me from bad decision making. I should probably get it tattooed on my forehead... :)
Making a comeback from a rough weekend of eating/drinking can be REALLY hard to do. I think one of the key ways to "save yourself" and not let a weekend of bad eating turn into a week long binge on junk food and 5 lb weight gain- is to always jump back on the wagon first thing Monday morning. Don't let your bad weekend carry into the week.
For me, this means two things.  One- having a plan, and Two- sticking to it.
My plan for the week is cutting out my favorite "extras".  These are foods that I should be eating as splurges,  but when I'm not paying attention I find myself eating them more and more regularly and appreciating them less.  For this week (Mon-Thur) wine & frozen yogurt are OUT.  I'm also food journaling... and trying to stay in my calorie range of >1400.
In terms of sticking to it, I honestly think Monday is the HARDEST day to get through and if you can be successful on Monday, it leads to a much better week. So far today I'm on track.  I made a 200 cal egg white McMuffin for breakfast, packed a homemade turkey sandwich for lunch and am thinking salad for dinner...  If I can go to bed a little hungry tonight, it will make healthy eating so much easier tomorrow.  And then the next day, and then next.
One bite, one decision at a time....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Camping- Foodie Style :)

Even when camping- I want to dine in style.  Or at least in deliciousness.
When Chris and I started planning our trip to Dinkey Creek a great camping spot in the Sierras, my responsibility was food planning. (Chris was busy purchasing tents, fishing rods, and pretty much anything Amazon had to offer in their "outdoor" section).
Keep in mind, camping = limited cooking options. Camping food typically includes hot dogs on sticks, smores and cereal for breakfast. Not bad- but not very fun either. So I took on this camp eating as a challenge, a` la Top Chef style. 
By no means were our meals "fancy" but they were SO good.  Below are my recipes for my favorite camping Dinner, Side & Dessert, enjoy!
Sausage Potato Hot Pockets
-1 cup chopped potatoes
-1 tbs butter
-1 tbs minced garlic
-1/4 cup chopped onion
-1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
-Handful sliced mushrooms
-Seasonings to taste (I used Bacon salt.  No joke. Talk about best invention ever)
Basically you combine all these ingredients and then double wrap them in Heavy Duty tinfoil and place them on the fire pit.  Cook for about 30-45 min depending on the heat and then open them up for steamy deliciousness that hits the spot on a cold mountain night.
Top them with a slice of cheese (we did pepper jack) and chopped slices of grilled kielbasa sausages and enjoy! Side note- we actually made two versions of this dish which you'll see on the right- both were good but the sausage one was the winner, which is why I shared that recipe.

Corn & Black Bean Salad
This is an ideal camping recipe because I actually prepared it before the trip and packed it in Tupperware in a cooler. The great thing about this salad is the longer it marinates in the dressing, the better it tastes. 

-1 Can black beans
-1 Can Corn
-1/2 Cup finely chopped red onion
-3/4 Cup chopped red bell pepper
-1/2 Cup chopped cilantro
-1/2 Cup Balsamic Dressing
-2tbs Lime juice
-2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional- for added kick)
Just mix it all together, making sure that the dressing is stirred in and then refrigerate and marinate.  A great summer BBQ salad.  I've seen other versions that add avocado, which might be fun to try.
Roasted Banana Heaven
My best desert of the trip was totally a random creation, but I think I will probably attempt to replicate it in our fireplace at home one night when I'm craving dessert and our shelves are bare...  1 banana
1/2 tbs butter
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
Mix the butter, sugar and Cinnamon together.  Mixture should be crumbly. Take the banana and split it down the middle without cutting it in half. Put the sugar mixture in the slit in the banana.  Sprinkle any extra sugar on the top and sides of the banana. Wrap in Heavy Duty tinfoil and put on the fire for about 15 min.
Unwrap for a cinnamony, gooey goodness. It'd be AMAZING on ice cream.  (I mean frozen yogurt. What is happening to me- didn't this used to be a healthy eating blog?!!) Unfortunately I didn't capture any photos- we ate them too fast!  
So- use these recipes and you can impress people while camping.  Chris and I pretty much just impressed ourselves (also fun to do).
Such a great trip! We river rafted, hiked, attempted fishing, played countless card games and just relaxed.  I'd love to come up with a recipe to cook fish over the open flame- but I guess that means we'd have to catch some first... I guess we'll have to go back!
PS. I made my first ever Indian Curry last night, and it came out REALLY good and was easy to make! I'm working on figuring a way to modify it to make it a little healthier and then I'll share the recipe soon!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Week Off The Wagon in South Carolina!

And it was worth every minute! I don't know where to start except to tell you that I came back from an AMAZING relaxing, wonderful week at the beach to a dreary June gloom that has been oh so un-motivating to eat right and get outside...but I'm trying.  But first- the trip! And the FOOD....
Here's where it all started, Hominy Grill in Charleston.  After a red eye flight arriving in the beautiful Southern city at 8am... drinks were definitely in order! Check out the Bloody Mary complete with Pickled Okra. At this breakfast we sampled my first of many fried items of the week- Fried Green Tomatoes! First, let me start by saying, I don't like tomatoes.  At all. In salads, on sandwiches, no thanks.  But once you fry it up and serve it with ranch= Chel's new favorite food.
I loved how Southern and cute this place was, with the chalkboard menu, outdoor eating with picnic style table and checkered tablecloths.  A great first Charleston meal! From there- we moved on and actually took a historical carriage tour of the city, which was fun.  Compared to California the South has such a rich history (when they say a house was built in the 80's they sure aren't talking about 1980) 
After our educational and delicious morning in Charleston we headed out to the Isle of Palm, a resort community Island about 30 minutes off the coast where Chris's family had a beach house for the week.
Meeting us at the house were Chris's parents as well as his sister, her husband and their two adorable girls Molly & Ellie.  This was our second annual trip and in order to be prepared Chris's mom Deb organized a meal schedule where each couple was responsible for cooking dinner one night. OBVIOUSLY Chris and I put a lot of thought into what our meal would be. We went with a Farm Fresh Tri Tip Roast that we flew across the country in a cooler. Not kidding here- it was Chris's carry on luggage.  We found a great local butcher at a farmers market a few weeks ago, so we brought it specially for our meal. That is what true foodies do, right? :) I made a non-modified mac and cheese (it was vacation...) and a great corn and green salads as sides. I will share the recipe for the corn salad next week- it was healthy, delicious and perfect for a summer BBQ.
Next up for dinner was Chris's sister Beth & her husband John who is Italian.  He made the most delicious red sauce and meatballs I have every had in my entire life. The sauce literally cooked all day. They served it over pasta & cheese ravioli. No exaggeration- I may have had thirds that night!

Chris's parents did a traditional Southern Shrimp Boil, which is something I was introduced to last year and quickly found its way to my heart.... Basically it's a seasoned boil with potatoes, fresh shrimp, kielbasa polish sausage & corn on the cob. Then you drain it and serve each separately. Another near comatose food night, I could have used a wheelchair to get me to bed!
The entire week was filled with nothing but fun, sun, reading, playing with the girls, relaxing, game playing and good company.  It was a much needed break and I enjoyed every minute of it! (even charade night was fun- usually my worst nightmare)
On our final day in town, Chris and I along with his parents enjoyed our final Southern meal- and we did it right! We headed to Jestines's a place we had tried the previous year after seeing it on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.  Again- Jestine did not disappoint.  Continuing with my love affair of Fried Green Tomatoes- I had a BLFGT sandwich. I'll let you figure that out, or you can just drool over the picture...
The four of us shared three desserts - a Coca Cola Cake which Jestine's is famous for, a coconut cream pie and a lemon custard deliciousness. As you can see by the plates at the end and the smiles on the faces... we obviously hated them :)
I am pretty sure that my undying devotion to all things fried, BBQ and Coca Cola cake are strong signs that I should have been born a Southerner. That and my weakness for hoop skirts and large brim hats...  Luckily for my waist size, I was not. I returned sadly to the tofu eating, organic grown state of my birth, California.  Till next year South Carolina!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Vacation Time! Southern Cooking Here I come....

In 6 hours I will be boarding a plane for a week long vacation on the beautiful Isle Of Palms off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina with Chris's family.  It cannot come soon enough and I am looking forward to a great week of beach, books and good food! The pic is a view from our room- ahhhhh.....  I'm already relaxing just looking at it! I will probably not be blogging, the plan is to disconnect from ALL work and technology but will give a full disclosure report when I get back! I did pack some running gear (good) and although I'm planning on sampling some delish southern cooking (be careful)- I'll do my best to take it easy on the fried food! (hopefully good) Last year I had a hard time turning down anything offered to me in a southern accent....
Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blogs I LOVE!

Since I can't blog every day (until I figure out a way to make it profitable!) I thought I'd share a few of my favorite blogs. They are RANDOM and different from each other, but for the most part health/fitness/weight loss/foodie oriented. For me, reading a good blog is like a novel combined with a reality tv show. Ongoing glimpses into other peoples lives help to motivate me and make me realize that no matter what challenge I'm facing- someone else has already been through it and I can learn from their experience. The world we live in today is so interlinked in ways it never has been before- take advantage of this free resource! Below are some links and snippets from each blog so you can get an idea of what it's all about. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! The name says it all- this is the story of a girl who has kept off a weight loss of nearly 100lbs and even better than that- she's funny.  She shares what she eats, workout, etc. Her before and after pic is on the right. Below she shares a story from a guest blogger, Cindy:
"I have spent a lot of my life being “the fat girl.” I honestly wish I had photos of my progression through high school and college; going from “fat girl” to “what did you do to yourself?” girl as I got even fatter. But I had excuses, right? I only had time to grab a muffin or bagel on the go. Or to get fried food for dinner because it’s “fast” and “easier” to eat while I study. I just have to have the bag of chips as I run through the student commons or I will just DIE during my next class.
You know what these are? These are EXCUSES I used to justify eating my way through college" Chris found this one for me- the story of an LA foodie who cooks, dines out and ENJOYS her food, while still keeping healthy. Checkout her scallops!
"I only had eyes for dates. And I only had visions of them snuggly wrapped up in bacon – like cute little edible babies in swaddling clothes." An entertaining personal blog by a magazine editor & photographer in New Jersey.  This one has great photos and recipes.
"Here's a picture of the cheese I talked about in yesterday's post. It was enjoyed during an impromptu cocktail party on the veranda outside my friend Stephanie's hotel room. Is there anything better than an impromptu cheese and wine party?" Obviously- who wouldn't love a hot blond in the kitchen?? :)  She doesn't post very often (she just had her first child- see how much you learn about people??) but she's hilarious & has some great recipes, her White Bean Soup was one of my favorites!
"For those of you wondering why my posts had become less frequent during the latter part of 2009, its because I was pregnant. Besides when I had an occasional stomach flu, it was the first time in my life that food did not interest me. Fast forward to New Years Eve, when I gave birth to my beautiful son, and my appetite returned with a vengeance. No joke. To answer your question, YES I DID order take out from the Cheesecake Factory and YES I DID finish my chicken salad sandwich AND Godiva Cheesecake. The long and short of it is, that since my appetite is back, so are my posts. Now I need to work on bringing back the "hotness." These Tony Soprano sweatsuits I'm wearing have got to go." This is a blog written by the main trainer of my bootcamp class.  She is fairly extreme in regards to what she eats (follows the Paleo diet, no dairy or carbs) but often has great snack, recipe ideas.  A very educational read. 
"I was really excited when I saw this ad for Crystal Light with No Artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.  I was crossing my fingers to read the ingredients and find it sweetened with stevia and vegetable glycerine, but no they just used real sugar instead.
Ladies, please don't fall for this.  Clever idea and good marketing, it appears to be healthy, but really is not.  Bummer :("  Just for fun... but check out some of the crazy foods on here!
Hope you enjoy!