Monday, December 1, 2008

The "Life list"

Today, my friend and I began discussing our future over lunch—not the scary, finance related kind of stuff, but rather the things we want to do with our lives.

My friend said that she wanted to do plenty of things in her life (such as publishing a book), and that we only have one life to live. So I figured, it's true: we do only have one life to live, so we may as well live it…and I mean live it.

I think we all need to take a break once in a while, pause and just absorb the world around us. Then, you’ll more clearly be able to see what is truly important and what your real priorities are.

When I tried doing this, I realized that life shouldn’t be about all the little things, and the worrying; the weight loss and heart-breaks. Yes, those may be the “problems” in our lives at the time, but it’s important to know that they shall pass.

Rather, life should be exciting, exhilarating rather. Instead of focusing on what we did, should have done, etc. we should focus on the now and the “to-do's.”

Therefore, I came up with a personal list of things I want to do for ME, and only me.

Some of the things on my list were:

Write everyday
Take time to travel in a different country for a while
Never give up on my dream to work at a health/fitness magazine
Worry less (about guys, mostly)

As you can see, my list is simple, and you too can write whatever you want because it’s your personal list—that is, for no one else’s eyes but your own. While it may be short and sweet, writing a simple to-do or goal list felt refreshing. Give it a try and see…

Friday, November 28, 2008

Eat what you love...and move on with it

I’ve always been a healthy eater. Hence, when I do choose to have a treat or something “bad” for me, I naturally feel guilty about it later. I say to myself, “Why did I HAVE to eat that?” or
“Why couldn’t I have just grabbed some fruit instead if I was still hungry?”

But the thing is: the times I did force myself to hold back, I never felt fulfilled. I just knew there was something missing.

Therefore, this Thanksgiving I decided to treat myself, but not overload. Rather, I would treat myself to the dishes I absolutely needed to have, those that I truly love. You know those to-die-for dishes you look forward to each and every year. And of course, I loaded up on my dad’s delicious protein filled turkey as usual.

But, I skipped the fat laden string bean casserole this year ‘cause yes, it’s good and all, but do I truly love it? I decided, no, my taste buds (and stomach) could do without it this Turkey Day. And I also passed on the mashed potatoes, and chose sweet potatoes instead-just as fulfilling with a sweet, healthy touch as well.

And at last, I took a nice reasonable scoop of my aunt’s famous broccoli casserole. While it may be loaded with cheddar cheese and bread crumbs, it’s something I anticipate every year, and there would be no way I’d deprive myself of that joy.

For dessert, I treated myself to two mini chocolate coconut macaroons and the teeniest sliver of pumpkin pie cheese cake (just enough to saver the taste). And that was it: I was finished and satisfied.

The best thing about this year’s Thanksgiving was that I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt. Yes, I felt a little bloated, but I felt pleasantly full and knew I’d get back on the healthy track the next day.
So, the lesson learned is that it’s very well possible to treat yourself to what you love, and still feel good about every bite you take, on every occasion-not just Thanksgiving.
And the funniest part is that I was too busy enjoying my "treats" and being happy, that I was actually 2 pounds less this morning! Funny how things work how when you’re not stressing over food…

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pre Turkey-Day Prep (the healthy way)

Well it’s Thanksgiving eve and you know what that means-cleaning, cooking, shopping, cooking, and did I mention cooking?

While the eve of Thanksgiving may be one of the biggest bar nights of the year and a highly anticipated night for many, I find myself slaving away in the kitchen-and I’m actually proud of it.

Since Thanksgiving is all about eating (and yes, family and giving thanks too), what better to do than spend the night cooking in the kitchen?

And no, I’m not talking about the usual mashed potatoes drenched in 5 sticks of butter or grandma’s famous pumpkin pie. While those dishes are delectable indeed, I decided to make our Thanksgiving feast a tad healthier this year, just a little bit “cleaner.”

Don’t get me wrong: my family will devour the broccoli cheddar casserole within minutes and the homemade cheese cake won’t stand a chance of surviving very long, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be healthier options as well-to go along with the traditional artery clogging favorites.

That’s why I experimented this year with some new recipes, which are both healthy and thoroughly enjoyable, and which I hope my family agrees.

*First of all, I suggested a fruit platter this year, with fresh mangos, pears and cantaloupe to munch on pre-feast. Instead of the usual salty, fatty chips and dips, guest can fill up on healthy fruit, both satisfying and high in good-for-you antioxidants.

*Without saying, I now needed a leaner side-dish, so I chose a sweet potato pie, but not your usual fat packed one. Rather, I made a gluten free, dairy free sweet potato pie with eggs, sweet potatoes, soy milk and half the amount of sugar the original recipe usually calls for. Hopefully people will enjoy it as much as I will!

*Lastly, what’s a dinner without dessert? In addition to the typical cheese cakes, oversized chocolate chip cookies and pies (literally in every type you can think of) I decided to change it up this year with homemade chocolate coconut macaroons. I modified the traditional recipe, using only agave syrup (a great substitute for sugar when baking), shredded coconut, egg whites and Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips(which contains no milk and is much healthier for you than using milk chocolate).

So while Thanksgiving is truly about giving thanks and being with family, what better way to celebrate than adding an extra healthy touch…even if it is just a little modification?

I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What ever happened to pleasing the customer?

The other day, I was venturing off to yet another day at the library to study for my law exam. And, knowing me and the caffeine addict that I am, I stopped to get some coffee before my day in "jail."

However, my morning coffee dose wasn't nearly as pleasant as I would have expected. In fact, it turned in to a complete horror story.

Well, I decided to go to Sheetz, the little gas station/convenience store down the road, and I ordered a standard iced coffee with soy milk-no extra sugar, no extra cream, no extra whip, just plain coffee, or so I thought.

I even mentioned to the girl making it ahead of time, "Please don't add too much milk. I just want plain coffee. Thanks."

I thought I was being polite, at least.

But when I took the ever-so anticipated sip of my morning java, it came as quite a surprise-straight up sugar would be an understatement. In fact, I couldn't even taste a hint of coffee.

So, I asked politely if I could have another one made, explaining my sensitivity to really sweet food, and my dietary needs. Normally, this would be no problem: after all food venues should please the customers, right?

Well, not today. Rather, she was rude to me and told me I should have ordered a plain coffee, and she said that the unnecessary sweetness was "how they make it here."

I guess the lesson learned for all of us is that we can't always trust restaurants/fast food joints/etc. to make it "our way." Best bet: next time save your money and make your food the way you like it at home.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Give Your Breakfast a 'Lil Kick

So, I know a lot of you guys out there aren't huge breakfast fanatics. After all, why spend time and extra cals in the morning when you can easily survive off a Mocha Frappucino, right?

Actually, that is far from the truth. Breakfast actually gets our metabolism going for the day, so you will feel full and satisfied longer while burning even MORE calories than usual. Also, those who skip their morning meal will end up feeling starving later during the day, packing on up to double the original calories.

So, ladies, do me a huge favor: eat your breakfast.

This morning I had a delicious breakfast, and I wanted to share it with you all.


1/2 cup egg substitute or egg white

1/2 cup chopped tomato

1 reduced fat string cheese or 3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheese of your choice

few fresh basil leaves

*Spray a medium pan with cooking spray and add your egg beaters; wait until partially cooked to add the tomato and cheese to one side. Lower the heat, wait 'til the cheese melts and then flip one half over the other to create your perfect omelet. (This part takes practice : ) ) When your finished, sprinkle some basil on top...Mmm!

Pair your omelet with half a grapefruit or some delicious berries for a satisfying quick n' easy breakfast!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Skinny Up Your Summer BBQ

So, yesterday I had my family 21st birthday party at my house. Now, being the health nut that I am, I requested healthy appetizers, entrees, and desserts naturally. However, for the first time, all the food was finished off and EVERYONE seemed to love it. (Reminder: This is extremely rare for my large food-loving family)

So, how do you make a healthy BBQ, yet still manage to keep the taste? Here's some simple, little tricks for your next summer feast:

1. Choose healthy, limited appetizers, so people can save room for the main course.


*shrimp cocktail

*fruit kabobs (layer various fresh fruit with small cheese wedges)

*healthy bean dip (layer low fat sour cream, salsa, cilantro, beans and reduced fat cheese in a dish and serve with baked tortilla chips)

2. Offer various low-cal drinks


*Have a HUGE pitcher of water on hand to keep everyone hydrated 'n' healthy

*Light iced tea

*"Healthy" Margaritas: Use Sprite Zero and Crystal Light Lemonade to reduce the sugar drastically

3. Substitute the typical burgers and dogs for yummy kabobs.


*shrimp and tomato kabobs

*chicken and pineapple kabobs

*onion and peppers kabobs

Tip: Try different seasonings and light marinades on each one, to get new, delicious tastes!

4. Offer a healthy dessert so guests don't overdue it

*sugar free jello layered with fruit and light cool whip

*fruit salad

*itty-bitty brownie wedges

Tip: You don't have to cut out all your guilty pleasures; just keep the serving sizes small.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bloating Remedy

If you're not lucky enough to be blessed with a perfect digestive system, you most likely suffer from the occasional (or quite frequent) case of the bloat, like me.

After every big meal I consume, especially late at night, I become extremely uncomfortable and my stomach puffs up like a balloon. I find myself sprawled out on a couch, helplessly shoving tums in my mouth in hope they will cure my problem.

Wouldn't it be nice if I could just pop my huge gut after every meal, I think to myself.

Well, unfortunately, that's not possible, but there are a few natural remedies for this common problem among women.

First of all, you may want to reconsider some of the foods you eat: you may have a food allergy to lactose, wheat, or maybe even some sorts of fruit. If you're like me, I have to limit my wheat intake.

Secondly, drink tons of water to drain out all those bad toxins. It may seem ironic to drink MORE water, when you are already feeling bloating, but drinking water actually drains out your system and allows food to digest more easily.

Tea with lemon has been a long believed cure of bloating. Sip it slowly, and your tummy should feel relieved quickly.

Lastly, if none of the above seem to be working, I recently found a little recipe online at, which claims to help with stomach bloating.

Ingredients: 1 tsp grated fresh ginger pulp; 1 tsp lime juice

Directions: Combine the ingredients and consume after eating a meal!

Good luck my fellow bloaters!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How To: Slim Down Your Java

You may not realize this, but your morning dose of coffee could be packin' on tons more calories than you think. Just a medium Coffee Coolata from Dunkin Donuts packs on over 400 calories! (yikes)

And it gets worse: A Starbucks medium Frappuccino has over 500 calories and a whopping 170 grams of fat! Many coffee-lovers slurp these drinks down in a jiffy, without realizing the damaging effects they can have on our bods.

So, in order to get your daily caffeine dose without the fatty consequences, follow these simple tips:

1. Order your drink with skim or soy milk, rather than 2%.

2. Skip the cream...milk tastes just as good.

3. Go for sweet n' low or splenda rather than sugar to cut the cals.

4. Order a smaller size, and drink slowly. This way you'll actually get to savor and enjoy your beverage.

My Slim Favorites:

*Medium Dunkin Donuts Flavored Coffee with a little skim milk and sweet n' low (only about 40 cals-and that's with the milk!)

*Medium Dunkin Donuts Iced Latte Lite (70 cals)

*Starbucks tall light coffee frappuccino (only 9o cals and 5 grams of fat compared to the whopping 500 above!)

*Starbucks grande iced skinny vanilla latte (8o cals and 0 grams of fat)

So slurp on you coffee lovin' gals...just do it the healthy way.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Do This Today: Go Blueberry Picking!

It's summertime 'n it's getting hot outside, but that shouldn't stop you from taking the season to its full advantage.

Today I went blueberry picking and had such a blast! Together, with my mom and friend, we picked 10.5 pounds of berries for only $20.00. Now that's what I call a bargain!

Here's some tips for the blueberry-pickers:

1. Wear lots of sunscreen (While there may be many bushes, they are short and definitely don't shield ya from the strong rays)

2. Dress comfy and light...and especially make sure you're wearin' comfy shoes.

3. Go earlier in the morning to beat the mid-day heat wave

4. Bring a bottle of water along with you to stay hydrated

5. Have fun with it! (and eat a few as you go)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How To: Beat a Workout Plateau

You’ve been killing yourself at the gym lately, spending hour’s everyday on the treadmill and weight machines. Yet, the weight won’t budge. It seems like you’ve developed a little case of the weight loss plateau, something that happens when your body gets used to a workout.

Our bodies are very efficient systems in that they burn just enough calories to keep us going. However, the body is very smart as well, and when it becomes accustomed to a workout routine, it no longer works as hard to burn those cals.

But good news for you: you can fix the problem easily! You just have to change up your daily routine, so you’ll work harder and sweat a whole lot more.

For instance, if you’re a treadmill gal, try out the elliptical. Or, if you’ve been doing the same old sprints every day, try doing intervals instead. (Steady pace for 5 minutes; sprint for 1, repeat)

Another idea is to try some of the classes offered at your local gym. Aerobics, kickboxing, spinning, yoga and Pilates are all great, dynamic classes that can get you into shape fast. And, they’ll keep you having fun, so it won’t be such a chore to workout.

Changing up your routines and trying new things will get your heart rate back into action, and you’ll start seeing results before you know it. Good luck!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sushi: A Diet Yes or No-No?

Just this past year, I have become extremely fond of the exotic dish: sushi. Before this year, I envisioned it as some scary, foreign raw "thing" that I would never dare place inside my mouth. However, after having a taste, I've become completely in love.

The only question is: does our diet love this exotic food as well?

The answer is YES: While sushi is high in carbohydrates from the white rice the surrounds the outside, it has many health benefits. The fish in the middle is extremely low in calories, containing fatty acids that help trim our waistlines. Also, since sushi often comes in rolls of 6 or 12 pieces, you don't have to finish the entire roll, and it definitely fills you up fast!

To make this delicacy even more diet-friendly, request your sushi with brown rice, which is now offered at certain restaurants. Also, if you order a more plain roll, such as the California or Tuna Roll (without the sauce), the calorie content will be lower, since it doesn't contain any extra creamy, fatty toppings.

So, go on girl: eat your sushi up and enjoy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

10 Things to Be Happy About Right Now

1. Blueberry-picking season has begun.

2. The ol’ grill is now back in action (from steaks, to pork chops, to kebobs)

3. The fireflies are out again…and yes it’s ok if you still hold onto that inner child and catch a few at night.

4. Tanning season is here…therefore women can finally put self-tanners (yuck, orange looking!) and tanning beds to rest.

5. 4th of July firework shows continue throughout the entire month of July.

6. You can buy watermelon on sale in bulk, even it‘s most likely gone by the next day.

7. Corn on the cob never tasted so damn good.

8 Short dresses and skirts are now acceptable to go out in…and Uggs have been put away for the fall at last. (well, lets hope)

9. The beach…need I even say more?

10. Guys are starting to strut around with their shirts off, in minimal clothing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

5 Healthy Summertime Treat Favorites

It's summertime, and we're all tryin' to stay slim and fit into those bikinis. But, that doesn't mean we also have to give up our fav sweet treats. Here are some yummy summer favorites that won't bust your wasteline!

1. Homemade Frozen Yogurt

-Mix 1 cup Light and Fit Yogurt with 1/2 cup berries and 1/4 banana. Blend together and freeze to create a yummy frozentreat!

2. No Sugar Added Fudgiscle Bars (For only 50 calories, they're both delicious and slimming!)

3. Frozen berries or grapes -perfect for a quick late night bite! ( I love strawberries or raspberries)

4. Skinny Cow Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches (Low cal and oh so filling)

5. Sugar Free Pudding or Jello topped with Light Cool Whip (Mmm...)

*Hint: I LOVE the chocolate flavored sugarfree pudding.

Just Breath

So as I sit here in my bed, doped up on painkillers and looking like a puffed-up chipmunk from my wisdom teeth surgery the other day, I actually for the first time in my life am able to simply relax.

Relaxation has become a foreign activity for me, as I’m one of those girls that always feels the need to go, go go! I hate being lazy, can’t sit in the same place for too long of a time, and get complete anxiety when I have to shut my mouth.

However, these past few days have introduced me to utter relaxation, something that is slowly growing on me. Since the surgery, I have had absolutely no commitments, I can eat pudding and watch Sex and The City all day long, and silence is allowed, even recommended for that matter. (for my jaw can’t open much anyway)

Now, while I know you all aren’t going through surgery or anything extreme this summer, (well, maybe some of you are) these last few days have taught me the importance of just sitting back and taking a few long deep breaths.

Life is far too short to run around all day like a chicken with its head cut off. Sometimes, we all need to just breathe, relax and take in life.

We all deserve a couple hours a day to just simply be. And whether that includes Sex and the City reruns or Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is completely up to you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Healthy Tip of the Day: Keep a Food Journal

Now, I've always been one to be a fan of going with the flow, trying to just live every day as simple as possible.

However, when it comes to food, sometimes it is good to have a little more control.

Starting a "food journal" can help you keep track of all the little itty bitty pieces of food you put into your mouth: the good, the bad and even the ugly.

Many people frivolously eat, not realizing that they are packing on far more calories than needed. For example, an average 150 lb woman only needs about 1,500 calories a day to stay energized. However, many women are "overdosing" on food, eating almost twice as much as that.

Simply jotting down your snacks and meals can help you maintain a healthy weight that's right for YOU. Just carry around a small pad and a pen with you for the day, and you'll be in control of your diet in the snap of a finger!