Breakfast of Champs and Time Management Strategies for Living Healthier

Thanks for all of your comments about labels on my last post! I asked for your opinions as to some other changes that may be necessary, and I found that many of you agreed there should be nutrition facts on alcoholic beverages. I couldn’t agree more! I really don’t understand why they aren’t there in the first place, and how those companies get away with it. It’s strange…

I also received this comment on my blog, from an anonymous reader:
Gina, as you seem quite knowledgeable regarding all matter of food-related subjects, I have one rather profound question in my opinion) for you: Considering that over the past 30 years or so the number of professionals who deal in health-oriented professions (such as yourself) has increased exponentially in concert with our exposure to nutrition facts (e.g., witness fast-food chains’ relatively recent reporting of their meals’ nutritional information), why do we, as a nation, continue to live unhealthy lifestyles and gain exorbitant amounts of weight in the process? Wouldn’t you think that an influx of health professionals and an enhanced access to nutrition information would help alleviate some of the impacts associated with our pervasive obesity epidemic?

My thoughts: This is a fantastic question. As I read this question I couldn’t help but think about all of the “health professionals” that I know, many of whom don’t even practice what they preach. Think about it, how many times do you walk or drive by a hospital and see doctors and nurses outside on a smoke break? How many doctors, and even RDs, do you know who are obese, smoke, don’t workout, and/or have poor diets? I can actually think of a few off the top of my head! My point is, yes, there has been an increase in the number of people who are choosing health professions, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are teaching the right stuff (many doctors don’t even know anything about nutrition…they just give you your the lab values and send you on your way). Not only that but many health professionals, including RDs, cost a good amount of money (50-100 dollars per hour for RDs) to see. Where does this put the people who really need the help? Out in the cold because they can’t afford it. It’s the sad truth. I always want to help as much as I can by providing FREE dietary guidance when I am able, but it’s difficult. I wish it was easier. That’s why I created this blog, really. One last comment is that the number of healthy professionals has increased as their need for services have increased. Many people choose a career based on the fact that they know they can get a job, not necessarily based on passion for the field. Thanks for your question.

Breakfast Of Champions
Since I’ve been on this wheat free diet (FODMAPS) I’ve had to give my breakfast, and other meals, quite a makeover. For starters, I bought this wheat-free cereal.Breakfast of Champs and Time Management Strategies for Living Healthier 2Here it is up close. Looks great doesn’t it?? haha, maybe not so much, but it is actually quite delicious.Breakfast of Champs and Time Management Strategies for Living Healthier 3I love how the label highlighted some important facts; wheat free, low sodium, and low fat (although the low fat part wasn’t important to me)Breakfast of Champs and Time Management Strategies for Living Healthier 4And when I’m not eating cold cereal, I’ve been eating steel cut oats. I never thought I would turn into an oats lover, but reading all of your blogs, and dealing with this IBS diet, has caused me to eat oats more often. I can thank Coco for recommending the steel cut oats over regular oats. They are slightly less processed and have more soluble fiber than some rolled oats, and especially the instant oats. They also have a nuttier flavor and keep me full for a good about of time.

I don’t like having to wait 30 minutes every morning while the oats cooked, but thankfully each batch makes 4 servings. I put it in this container, and cut it into four sections after it sits in the fridge for a few hours. This way I have pre-portioned oats for four mornings.Breakfast of Champs and Time Management Strategies for Living Healthier 5 This is where the Breakfast of Champions comes in!

Steel cut oats
Purevia (~1 t)
Pumpkin puree (1/4 cup)
Skippy Extra Crunchy peanut butter (~1 T)

– Keeps me full for almost 3 hours (that’s great for me!)
– Provides 1/2 servings of vegetable, lots of fiber, and some healthy monounsaturated fatsBreakfast of Champs and Time Management Strategies for Living Healthier 6Time Management Strategies for a Healthy “At Home” Living
Source: Mark Forster, author of Do it Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management

1) If you have a tendency to mindlessly snack on not so healthy foods, and it bothers you, set aside some time each week and remove anything form your fridge, cabinets, freezer, etc. that you tend to binge on, in an unhealthy way. Leave a special treat for yourself that is portioned so that you don’t go overboard. If your spouse or child has a special snack that temps your binge reflex, ask them to hide it from you!

2) Set aside some time week to make a plan for what your meals will be for the week. Follow this by making a list of what ingredients you will need. The author suggests that if you don’t do this you will be tempted to eat convenience food (mom, if you’re reading this…..take this advice!!). I’ll add that you should check out Andrea’s blog for some great sample menus and weekly menu plans.

3) Set aside some time each week to pre-cook meat, poultry, etc. Put it in the freezer until you need it. Also pre-cook some vegetables so you and your family always have access to them when you are hungry or when you are looking for a dinner side dish. Preparing some fruit to snack on is also a good idea. I do this each week and it takes me about an hour. It’s very much worth it.

4) Slow down when you are preparing food, and take time to enjoy the process. Same goes for when you are consuming the food. Savor the food and enjoy it, rather than eating it so fast you can’t even appreciate the uniqueness and taste.

Life Update

It’s Tuesday, which means one day closer to Christmas! How are you doing on your Christmas/Hanukkah shopping? I’m about 80% finished, I’ve just got to buy Nick’s mom and sisters some things, and do major wrapping. This weekend my mom and I will be making pepperoni bread and chocolate dipped waffle cones! I have to say, I’m pretty excited about that. Thanks for reading, have a wonderful day!

Health & Food

Label Mania

Did you see this blog post by the New York Times? It made me so happy! Basically, the food label may be getting a makeover soon. If I had to name one thing/person who needed a makeover the most, it would be food labels (and of course a few others that I have in mind, but I won’t mention names….I’m on the top of that list!).

Here is what the article says they are proposing for food labels:

1) Put calorie and serving size information in larger type at the top of the label so it’s immediately clear how much you are eating.Label Mania 8

 My thoughts: This is a grea

t idea. Currently the print is so small, it gets lost with everything else. Take this label (above), for example, the serving size is first, but it’s not highlighted, people may not even notice it! 150 calories doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you knew it was only 7 chips that provided those calories, that may be a whole other story.

2) Make the ingredient list easier to read by printing it in regular type instead of all capital letters. Use bullets to separate ingredients rather than allowing them to all run together.

My thoughts: I had not even really thought about this before, how about you? Now that I think about it this is a great point, they do all run together. Check out the food label below, yikes!

3) List minor ingredients and allergens separately from the main ingredient list. Highlight allergy information in red.

My thoughts: I have often struggle to find if products contain wheat (FODMAPS diet says no wheat). Check out the label above, the allergens blend right in with the ingredients. If the allergens were highlighted in red it would make my life, and many others’, easier. Plus I could tell clients what to look for. I think the label below does a great job of making the allergens easy to find. They are listed separately and in bold, but if they were red it would be even easier to find for those who have to look for this information on EVERY SINGLE LABEL.Label Mania 94) List similar ingredients together and show the percentage by weight. For instance, sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and grape juice concentrate are all forms of sugar and should be listed in parenthesis under the catchall heading “sugars”.

My thoughts: This may confuse people who have already gotten used to seeing the ingredients listed in order of percentage by weight. However, I think it’s a great idea, as many people don’t understand that corn syrup, and many concentrates are just another word for “sugar”. The label below is a great example. Some people might not understand that corn syrup and HFCS are just another way of saying”sugar”, and so “sugar” is actually the second ingredient in this product.

Label Mania 105) Use red labeling and the word “high” when a product has more than 20 percent of the daily recommendation for fats, sugars, sodium or cholesterol.

My Thoughts: This is by far my favorite recommendation. This would even help me! When is 5% good and when is it bad? Which nutrients should I look to see if there is at least 20% DV or less? Does anyone else get confused about the percent daily value (DV)? This would make life so much easier. Why didn’t they think of it before??

6) Make it clear which sugars are added to the product versus those that occur naturally.

My thoughts: For those who really watch their sugar sources this could be helpful. This is also good for dairy products, and juices. Looking at the kefir label below, it may be unclear for some people where the sugar comes from, but in fact it occurs naturally in the milk that is used to make the kefir. It’s in the form of the disaccharide lactose (glucose and galactose). Looking at the ingredient list, however, you really can’t tell where this 8 grams of sugar came from! It’s confusing.Label Mania 116) Display prominently the percentage of whole grains contained in a product.

My thoughts: This is another one that I find incredibly important! They say we should all be making at least half of our grains “whole”, but we never even know what percentage of whole grains our products contain. How are we supposed to make half our grains whole? When I’m buying cereal, or telling clients what to look for when buying cereal, I’d love for them to look for a whole grain percentage, rather than having to decipher all this junk.

7) List caffeine content.

My thoughts: Can I tell you something? They don’t even list the caffeine content on my Maxwell House coffee!! I had to do some research and sort of deduce a guess for the amount of caffeine I have been consuming each day. For all I know, I’m way off! This would be so nice, and about 100 years too late.

Question: Which changes would you make?

I would change the trans fat law, which says if a product contains less than .05 grams of trans fat per serving, it can be listed as 0 grams trans fat! That’s ridiculous. Nick and I were eating that Cool Whip (label above) by the spoon full, until I noticed it had hydrogenated vegetable oils! Bummer.

Five RANDOM Things I’ve Learned This Year
(Continued from previous posts)

Spaghetti squash is the reason I love fall and winter. I can’t believe I never used to buy spaghetti squash on a regular basis.

Taking a moment to just relax and breath really helps when I am starting to get stressed.

Drinking my water threw a straw everyday was not the best idea. It was causing me to take in way too much air, and thus I was uncomfortable.

The lotion in the green bottle from Garnier Fructise causes me to breakout, MAJORLY.


This weekend has gone by just as fast as the week, which means I’m super behind on what I wanted to accomplish! Today I’m doing some baking and tons of errand running (isn’t that what Sundays are for?!). Stay tuned for my next post, which will showcase my new breakfast of champions, and provide some hints for planning ahead and being healthy at home. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Health & Food

Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating

On Monday night Nick and I listened to Christmas music, drank hot cocoa, and put up our fake tree. Yeah, you read that correctly, FAKE! This was our first year doing fake, but our apartment won’t let us have a real tree  We were both pretty disappointed, but we figured fake is better than nothing at all.Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 13Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 14





Here are some of our favorite ornaments…..Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 15Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 16Of course we have OSU Buckeye ornaments, and some other fun ones from vacations and family friends.Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 17Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 18I love this one, it’s Santa on a gondola in Italy. My father and his mother are from the same part of Italy, and her maiden name is Casa, while my last name is Casagrande!Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 19Finished product! This tree is currently packed with tons of gifts, all from me. Nick works a lot more so he does all his shopping at the last minute. Not me!Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 20What is Clean Eating?
Source: Today’s Dietitian Magazine

– Main principles focus on choosing whole fruits and vegetables, in their natural state, and also lean meat, fish, and poultry; beans and legumes; low fat dairy products; and whole grains from a variety of food sources.
My thoughts: This just sounds like a healthy diet plan to me, no? I think most “clean eaters” don’t eat frozen vegetables. I couldn’t live without my frozen veggies. Who says frozen vegetables are any less clean than fresh anyway? They are just boiled, blanched, froze, and put into a bag!Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 21– Meals are high in fiber, low in fat, calories, and sugar
My thoughts: again, isn’t this just eating healthy?

– Some off limit ingredients include high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, margarines, trans fat, artificial colors and flavors, and unnecessary food additives such as salt, sugar and corn syrup.
My thoughts: I hate the words “off limit” when it comes to food. This is when I would get in trouble. When I was anorexic, many foods were “off limit”, but then when I brought them back into my life I couldn’t get enough! Secretly I wanted them so bad. Now I know how to choose those “off limit” foods in moderation, and enjoy them when I want to! Plus, how fun is it to live life knowing that you can’t eat any food with added salt or sugar? No going out to eat for you!

Give up having a piece of this every once in a while? No thanks.Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 22– Clean eating does not permit fried foods or foods that are covered in olive oil, honey, or salt
My thoughts: Same as above, the “off limit” thing just doesn’t appeal to me. If I want to get a side of fries with my sandwich every once in a while, I will.

What’s wrong with eating a salty restaurant meal every once in a while? I gave myself props on this particular night out, for ordering fish and having a vegetable with my meal. It was salty, but a much better choice than some of the other options.Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 23– Clean eaters usually eat frequent meals, dividing them into five or six daily occasions.
My thoughts: I think this is a great strategy. This prevents people from eating too much at one time, which can have a negative effect on hormones, bloating, and mood in my opinion.Christmas Cheer and Clean Eating 24– The clean eating philosophy maintains that regular physical activity, about 5-6 times per week, is necessary.
My thoughts: Obviously I can’t argue with this one

There are many benefits of clean eating, says the article, such as environmental benefits, saving money (buying fresh can be much cheaper than those processed, pre-cooked, packaged foods), focusing on quality rather than quantity, and improvements in health. But I’m not sold on the “Clean Eating” philosophy. I think many of the ideas behind it are great, but personally I don’t want to have to think that much about my food choices. I already read the labels fairly closely and pay a lot of attention to what I put in my mouth, but I think this is somewhat extreme. I like my frozen vegetables and canned soups on occasion! And, who could give up fried food 100%? Who would want to do that? Not me!

What are your thoughts on clean eating? Would you stick to such a strict regimen, or would you rather do what I do and try to eat healthy and “Clean” as much as you can, but not let rules hold you back all the time?

Special thanks to the Foodie over at Fab and Delicious Food for my giveaway prize! I am planning on being nice and stress-free from the spa package I received. Also, thanks to Rebecca of Chow and Chatter for my blog award

Stay tuned for my next post, which of course will be my LAST Biggest Loser review of the season. Did you watch?! Thanks for reading everyone, and have a great day!

Health & Food

Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center

Hey everyone! I hope you are all having a great week. I’ve been super busy, but made time to write this post, and have been trying really hard to read as many blogs as possible. Please bear with me, I promise I’ll catch up sooner or later  Sometimes life just takes over!

Biggest Loser Review

Bob didn’t mention the unpleasant side effects that come from chewing sugar free Extra gum all day. Yeah, diarrhea, flatulence. Good times

Amanda sounded like she had disordered thinking going on. What do you think? She said she struggles just waking up, and thinking about counting calories and watching her weight. She basically said it causes her stress. That makes me sad, and I hope she can talk to someone after the show.

Subway, AGAIN?!

I’m not against the fact that they ran a marathon, but come on, 60 days to prepare? That may be doable for someone who has done a marathon before, but for the contestants on the BL I thought it was a little ridiculous.

Danny lost 59 pounds in 60 days. That’s 1 pound per day. He looks AWESOME, but what the heck is going on in his body biologically, and metabolically? Who knows?! The safe amount of weight loss is 1-2 pounds PER WEEK. This is not good for the public to see, in my opinion.


They went back home for 60 days, to see if they could do this at home. That’s fantastic. I love that they do this. Losing weight on a catered and scheduled ranch, is much different than losing, and maintaining weight in the real world.

Loved how realistic the contestants were. They knew about the “honeymoon stage” and they talked about it, and made peace with it. They talked through their plan, and their goals. I think their goals sounded so real and achievable. I was so proud of them!

The Take Home Chef. That’s all I have to say  I love Curtis Stone. I wish I had “Smell0vision”!

This one deserves a “LOVE”, and it’s Danny! I love him. I hope his wife realizes how much he loves her too. She will.

5 Random Things I Have Learned This Year

I am incredibly lucky, no matter how many times I have a moment of sadness

I LOVE cheese! Especially Swiss

I love my job, but actually having a job and living in the “real world” can really be as difficult as they say.

85% dark chocolate tastes gross when eaten after a piece of milk chocolate, but when eaten alone it’s amazing! Especially Lindt’s.

Many of the foods I eat contain a lot more sodium than I ever imagined. This was a good lesson learned, as I’m making some serious changes now!

Life Update
I’ve been working almost 12 hours the past two days, which I’m not used to at all, but it’s been a lot of fun. Here are some pictures of the Division One Training Center with whom we have partnered:

They train “every day people” who are just looking to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight. They do this in the form of a boot camp. Wednesday was their testing day, where they were weighed, measured, and their sprint times were recorded. They use this data as a base fitness assessment, or to compare with past assessments to see if there have been any positive changes.Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 26Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 27

They also train young athletes in middle school and high school, and of course some college aged athletes. GO BUCKS!Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 28We will be in charge of providing the nutrition consulting, in order for the participants to learn how to balance athletics with a healthy diet. They are both important, obviously, so I think we’ll make a positive difference and people will hopefully notice a change in their strength, energy, and motivation.Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 29Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 30Biggest Loser Review and Division One Training Center 31

Kelly is giving away a 20% off coupon and free bride t-shirt from Cake by Inkbox Design

Stay tuned for my next post, which will include some product reviews, and some of my own tips on how to get kids to eat healthier. I may even throw in a restaurant review, we’ll see. Thanks for reading! Have a great day

Health & Food

Food EEEEEK! Review

Nick and I watched Food Inc. on Thanksgiving (after we ate our meals). Like we expected, the movie was fantastic and it really put things into perspective. Was it a good perspective? Not so much, but boy am I glad we watched it.

What’s scarier?

THISFood EEEEEK! Review 33OR

THIS?Food EEEEEK! Review 34Don’t answer that please.

After watching Food Inc., my vote would have to be for A (the obese man chowing down on a fast food burger). I already knew the crap we buy at Taco Bell, McDonald’s, KFC, etc. was exactly that, CRAP. But what I didn’t know was how the animals were treated and how unsanitary and unethical the farming practices were. It’s so sad, to say the very least. And our government is actually so greedy and pathetic, they are doing nothing about these practices, in fact they are enabling them!

I’m not anti-government, but this movie really made me wonder what really goes on in here…..

Bottom line: This movie taught me that there is more than just health-related reasons to not eat fast food and many of the junk we find at grocery stores, there are also moral and political reasons not to do it, and I don’t want to pump any more money into those companies. I’m not going to promise never to eat some of those products ever again, but I am going to be more cognisant of my decisions.

The information regarding the feeding practices of the cows (Ruminants) was very interesting. I don’t know that we should assume that all grass fed animals are more safe and healthy, but they did provide an excellent argument. I’d like to read more about this. Keep in mind, however, there have been foodborne illness outbreaks in Organic foods as well (Salmonella in organic peanut butter) and also local stores that we’d assume were “safe” (Trader Joe’s beef was recalled just about a month ago).

Bottom Line: I’ll continue to buy the protein products that I buy (non grass fed) but I am not against looking into some grass fed, local protein products. I would be more willing to give it a shot now that I have learned more about the potential benefits of grass fed animal products.

The statistic that literally shocked me the most was that; “Of all the people born after the year 2000, 1 in 3 Americans will have Type II Diabetes, and 1 in 2 minorities will have Type II Diabetes”. We’ve got a serious mission to conquer here. Let’s make sure that statistic turns out to be false. Who’s with me??

One of my favorite segments was with the man who worked for Stonyfield. He said something really fantastic. Basically their initial goals for their business was to sell their products to those who weren’t necessarily interested, simply to get them to like it. After some struggles they realized that in order to “reach the masses” they needed to start marketing towards those who were already sold on the product. Building business by word of mouth is the best way to go. Eventually other people heard about their great product and started trying it for themselves. Same thing with organic products, in general. You can find them now at Walmart! Why? Word of mouth caused people to start buying them and now they are being requested!

Bottom Line: Buy organic when you can. I know it’s expensive, trust me, but if you see a sale on an organic item that you would like to try, buy it! Every purchase helps make organic foods a bigger, and cheaper business. And that’s what I do. I don’t let the high prices hold me back, I just don’t waste my money on other junk so I am able to make those purchases.

I would like to end this little review with a quote from an article in the LA Times. This article, which isn’t available online anymore, focused on how a healthy diet can have a tremendous positive effect on your immune system.

“The human body doesn’t have to be starving to suffer malnutrition. Studies show that obesity, in addition to its other health risks, may also make people more susceptible to infections like the flu. A diet heavy on processed and fast foods may be low in the vitamins and minerals important for health.”

If you didn’t read this post, I am going to be posting 5 random things I learned this year as part of every other post, from now until January. I know I skipped it last time, just pretend I didn’t….

Five Random Things I’ve Learned This Year

– Wierd is spelled Weird

– Becomming is spelled Becoming

– Buying bagged popcorn is a waste of money, the kernels last longer and are much cheaper

– My IBS actually effects my mood and my life in a negative way, therefore I am doing something about it.

– Trader Joe’s is the best grocery store ever (I just started shopping there this year!)

Thanks for reading everyone! Have a fantastic day.

Health & Food

The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review

I know it might sound crazy, but Monday, November 16th, 2009 was my FIRST experience eating a pomegranate. I automatically assumed I wouldn’t like it because it was “seedy”, you know? But just look at it:The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review 36

Not only are they delicious, but they are beautiful. I already knew that, but boy am I glad I discovered their goodness before they went out of season! Why didn’t any of you tell me?! haha, I know, YOU DID!


Recently I was informed of a diet for IBS, called the low FODMAP diet, by a blogger named Kristen over at Simply Savor. This diet is low in many of the things I already knew I needed to be avoiding, such as fructose, oligosaccharides, lactose, and polyols. Click on this link to learn more about the diet, and more specific details about what to avoid if you have IBS. There was a helpful table that was part of the PDF supplied by this site, which listed all of the specific foods that are best to avoid. Reading this list made me cry, as many of the foods were some of my favorites. Some of them weren’t too shocking:

Dried fruit (and dried fruit bars!)
Brussel sprouts
WHEAT (I’ve been avoiding gluten)
Artificial sweeteners

But some of them were very shocking, and actually quite depressing:

Apples (I think cooking will help!)
Artichoke (tear)
Honey (triple tear)

Source: Practical Gastroenterology, August 2007

My plan is to stick to this FODMAPS diet while continuing to monitor my sodium intake. Something else I am doing is cutting out the gas-causing foods from my diet (the foods that cause ME gas, that is). I’ve been doing a little experiment to find out which foods cause me the most gas, in an effort to save money (I spend about 20 dollars a month on Beano!!). From what I have learned this week, aside from the FODMAPS foods, I also need to limit these:

(two of my favorite veggies)

But before you feel bad for me, here are the veggies and fruits I CAN eat!

Blueberry (any berry really)
Spaghetti squash!The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review 37

 Pumpkin!The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review 38Greens (collard, kale, spinach)The Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review 39

Green beans, carrots, zucchini, tomatoesThe Low FODMAPs Diet and Biggest Loser Review 40

This list is still in the works, by the way, as I am finding more and more fruits and veggies that I can eat as the days go by.

Question: Are you sick of my gassy posts yet?! Please, don’t answer that


It’s great that they are trying to get people to donate to Feeding America, however, it’s pathetic that they have to use that as a way to get people to go to their website. Lame.

Who is going to spend their money on these zip lock bags that are made with “wind power”? I mean come on, stop making us poor people feel bad about buying the $.99 baggies that are made with electricity, instead of $5.00 to help save the planet. Let’s be green and good at saving money.

Likes The “surprise” (I won’t say it in case people haven’t see in it) definitely made the speech easier! Great idea to do that, as giving a speech like that even scares ME! And I enjoy giving speeches more than most people, I think.

The speeches were a great way to motivate America. I gotta give it to the Biggest Loser! Heck, they even even motivated me to make a positive change. Although I felt bad for eating a rice cake and peanut butter while listening to Liz say she used to eat ice cream while watching the weigh ins

The person who got kicked off (I won’t name names here) is such an inspiration! I couldn’t even do what he/she was doing in the last 2 minutes of the show, SO IMPRESSIVE!

Next Post
Stay tuned for my next post, which will include some new food products and creations, plus some information about a better way to monitor your health status! Have a great day, and thanks for reading

***Stop by Coco’s blog, Balance, Joy, and Delicias, to enter her PopChip giveaway! And, check out Naomi’s Chocolate and a Coffee giveaway! ***

Health & Food

Probiotics; The Healthy Bacteria

Today I have an blog post agenda. The agenda includes clearing up a few things about my last post, sharing with you my favorite part about the holidays, a little probiotic review session, a giveaway update, and my life update! Alright, here we go…..

Sodium and “Bloating”

It became clear to me, after reading all of your comments, that I did not make myself clear when I said that sodium causes me to be bloated. Here are two definitions of “bloat”:

  1. To cause to swell up or inflate, as with liquid or gas.
    1.A swelling of the rumen or intestinal tract of cattle and domestic animals that is caused by excessive gas formation following fermentation of ingested watery legumes or green forage.

The bloat that I get from consuming too much sodium is the first definition. It just causes me to retain water to the point that I am extremely uncomfortable. It does NOT give me gas and cause me gassy bloat, like many of you believed from my post. I apologize for that confusion. With IBS, many foods can cause gas and bloating, therefore the water retention caused by sodium just adds to the uncomfortable feeling.

Why I Love the Holidays

Although I’m a total Scrooge when it comes to starting to celebrate the holidays early, I became a fan of the early holiday celebration on Monday night when Nick and I walked to Kroger and found THIS:Probiotics; The Healthy Bacteria 42
Great Lake’s Christmas Ale has been a favorite of ours since we worked together at an Irish Pub that used to sell this on tap. It’s the best beer in the world, no joke. If you enjoy a good beer, you’ve got to try this stuff, and grab it while you can, it goes fast! We were tempted to buy an entire case, as we could remember last year when everyone had run out. But instead we only purchased two six packs. We walked home fast, and poured ourselves a cup of holiday cheer.Probiotics; The Healthy Bacteria 43

Beer is one of the worst things for my IBS (the gluten, the carbonation….) but sometimes you just gotta make an exception and live through that uncomfortable feeling.

Dietary Change #2; Probiotics

My diet already includes plenty of prebiotics (the food for the probitoics) so now I include probitics as well. They actually have a synbiotic relationship. The perfect product, which contains both pre- and probiotics, is kefir. I recently decided to start drinking Kefir again.

What is Kefir?
Kefir (alternately kefīrs, kefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros) is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus region. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep‘s milk with kefir grains.

How can kefir help?
(Source: Lifeway Kefir)

Dietary changes are often suggested as a first-line defense against IBS.
Many studies show that adding certain types of yogurt – specifically, those containing the bacteria (genera) lactobacilli and bifidobacteria – to your diet may alleviate the symptoms of IBS. These “good” bacteria, also known as probiotics, are normally found in the large intestine, but adding them to your diet can help with gas, pain and bloating, while reducing the time it takes for food to move through the intestine This, in turn, may be helpful in people with constipation; probiotics may also decrease the frequency of loose stools, improving IBS-related diarrhea.

My Extra Thoughts
** When you purchase a product that claims to provide helpful “probiotics”, make sure it lists the type of probiotic, which is usually written with the genus abbreviated, and the species written out (ex: L. Lactis). If you purchase a probiotic supplement it should also disclose the amount of probiotic in the product, as well as the species. The species will tell you more specifics about the health benefits of the product, and the amount will disclose whether the product is even worth taking, as 1 to 10 billion units is what is necessary for clinical effects. If the product does not say, be sure to call the company to confirm.**

I bought this kefir the other day. Check it out, not only does this provide probiotics, but also more PREbiotics (inulin in this case) to feed the probiotics. Do you notice another important component of this product??Probiotics; The Healthy Bacteria 44

VITAMIN D!! Now vitamin D is more important than ever. Have I mentioned that before ??

Both of my dietary changes have made me a happier girl. I rarely get that uncomfortable bloat, or feeling that my food is stuck half-way through its absorption process, and I rarely have bad gas (Nick likes that part). The reduction in gas may have to do with the fact that probiotics are said to produce some beneficial enzymes for digestion. It’s quite nice. Also, check out the post by Stephanie or “The Skinny Plate”. She reviewed LifeWays probiotic bars, which is another great way to get your daily dose of probiotics.

If you would like more specific information about probiotics and prebiotics, click on this link. It will hopefully answer all of your questions that I could not describe in this post (or it would have been a mile long!)

Giveaway Update
Jessica of How Sweet It Is is giving away a Cusinart Food Processor! Check it out.

Life Update

Well I’m still really busy with the new job. Our company is growing, very slowly, but surely. We’ve decided to create some webinars and maybe even write a book! I will also be including an option for some personal and group dietary consulting within the companies we are working for.
All together, I still love the job and I can tell it’s only going to get better!

Stay tuned for my next post, which will include my Biggest Loser review! Thanks for reading, and have a great day.

Health & Food

Label Lies, Crappy Foods in Disguise


Yeah, I know this is a repeat picture, but I had to post it on Halloween!

Today and tomorrow I will be talking about food labels. They are a big issue right now, and I believe you can never know too much about them.Label Lies, Crappy Foods in Disguise 46Would you feed your child, or yourself for that matter, bagel-fuls for breakfast or a snack, and think to yourself “I’m making a healthy choice, or a “better” choice?” . With 200 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, and very few health benefits (10% calcium and 10% iron among them), these Bagel-fuls are just glorified junk food if you ask me. Yet, they proudly display the “Smart Choices” logo on the front of the box, providing parents, adults, and children a false sense of security. If this is a smart choice, what isn’t smart choice?Label Lies, Crappy Foods in Disguise 47

Another example is Cocoa Puffs. The first ingredient, whole grain corn, does a nice job of providing the consumer with a whopping 1 gram of fiber. The second ingredient, sugar, does an even better job of providing the consumer 12 grams of sugar. Personally I like to look for no more than 10 grams of sugar for my morning meal. Let’s not forget the serving size is 3/4 cup, which is not much. So I’m confused, what makes this a “Smart Choice”?

If you haven’t read about the smart Choices controversy yet, click the link and enjoy. For a review, the Smart Choices program uses “science-based” guidelines and criteria to select the foods on the market that are “smart choices”. This program was designed to help consumers make better choices at the grocery store. While the concept is great, it seems to be a bit misleading.Label Lies, Crappy Foods in Disguise 48

My last example is the new Fruit Loops, with FIBER! Check out the ingredients;



I actually made note of the fact that SUGAR is the first ingredient to the lady at the FNCE conference in Denver. She was flustered, to say the least. And if you go to the website you’ll notice some fun recipes they have provided for you to create with your Fruit Loops. More Smart Choices here; crispy ice cream sandwich sundaes, crunchy pudding squares, fiesta cookies, lovely!

I’m not going to turn into some really strict RD who says no to everything, but the thing that really makes me mad is that these claims are misleading. Most of you are very good at reading labels and understanding what is “healthy” and what is not, but the lay public may not know much about food labels, which is why programs such as Smart Choices were created! Unfortunately when a program is created by a food company, it will be created in a way that will allow it to include many of their own products. Too bad.

Question: What are your thoughts on the Smart Choices program? Do you think there is a better solution? Personally I think cereals and other products should be required to highlight the “good” and the “bad”. This way people could actually learn what to look for. If ALL companies did this, it wouldn’t hurt anyone’s sales. The companies could also provide advice such as, “mix this cereal with a small handful of bran flakes to add more fiber to your breakfast!”, for their products that are lower in fiber, like the Cocoa Puffs. Or, “Add some fruit to your cereal to add more vitamins and minerals!”, etc.

Coming Up: Stay tuned for some foods that may be in YOUR cabinet and which may be tricking YOU (they tricked me!).

Giveaway Update: Check out the blog makeover giveaway over at the Zesty Cook ! I hear he does an amazing job, plus I’ve seen some of his work and it’s very impressive.

Tonight Nick and I are taking his mother out for dinner, as it’s her 35th wedding anniversary (and Nick’s dad passed away a couple years ago). Everyone have a spoooooky GOOD DAY! Thanks for reading.

Health & Food

Do You Weigh Yourself?

Yesterday I spent the entire day re-creating many of my lost files, but I’m very much aware that many of them are gone for good, including all of my statistics from my research (if my adviser ever finds that out….I’m in trouble!!). Anyway, before I get started on my work for the day, I thought I would post the “Top Ten Reasons Not to Weigh Yourself”, as I know many people weigh themselves often and I truly believe it’s not the best idea. Why? I used to weigh myself all the time back when I had an eating disorder, and I really believe it made things worse. This is not to say that anyone who weighs themselves will get an eating disorder, but I do think that it puts the focus on the wrong issue and it causes one to become pre-occupied with a number, rather than an overall sense of health and well-being.

The Top Ten Reasons Not To Weigh Yourself

  1. Weight fluctuates from day to day, which is not a significant indication of overall weight change.
  2. Daily weight changes often are due to water weight, which naturally rises and falls.
  3. Seeing a change we don’t like on the scale may make us feel negative about ourselves and our bodies.
  4. Focusing on weight tends to correlate with other negative behaviors that we want to avoid.
  5. The scale will never say what we want it to say.
  6. How we feel about ourselves is more important than the number on the scale.
  7. The scale does not consider body composition (the ratio of muscle, fat, and other tissues). For example, as we exercise and gain muscle, we might look trimmer and more fit but actually weigh more, as muscle is heavier than fat.
  8. We should not let a machine determine how we feel about ourselves.
  9. Weight is not a measurement of self-worth
  10. YOUR reason

Source: NutriFit, Sport, Therapy Inc.

Bottom Line: I do think it’s ok to weigh yourself every once in a while to keep yourself on track and to prevent gradual weight gains/losses throughout your life. I usually weigh myself about once a month, just to keep myself on track (and also to make sure I have not LOST weight). I encourage you to take this list seriously and really think about how the scale effects your emotions.

Today I leave you with the only mountain view I had while in Colorado. This was the view from the convention center in downtown Denver!Do You Weigh Yourself? 50Do You Weigh Yourself? 51HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Health & Food

FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates

To those of you who commented on my post from today, it WAS a duplicate post  I realized I had not updated the date and it wasn’t showing up when I opened my blog, so I re-posted it. Sorry for the confusion! To update you on my hard drive, it’s officially gone and I have had it replaced now. I am still about 5 days behind since it had all of my documents for the company we are launching next week, therefore I have yet to read anyone’s blogs and I feel so bad. I am just a mess right now, PLEASE forgive me! Again, I am still drawing the winners of the giveaway tonight, and I will post about it tomorrow. Thank goodness I had already uploaded all of my pics from the week/weekend before my computer started to hate me, so this post will take you through FNCE day 2!

Free Breakfast!

For breakfast on the second day my friend Fatinah and I decided to eat some of our freebies, so an apple with Barney Butter was perfect! I had never tried Barney Butter and let me tell you, it’s AWESOME! It tastes like peanut butter, but it’s made with almonds. This is good for me because I know almond butter is a bit healthier, but I like the taste of peanut butter better.

We walked into the expo on day two and I went right to the Smart Balance booth to complain to them about their FISHY peanut butter. Guess what?? This (below) is their new reformulated peanut butter! I tasted it and it was FISH TASTE FREE!! I was so excited, people probably thought I was crazy. Notice what it says on the front, “Rich Roasted”. This is new, so keep your eyes peeled.FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates 53Seminar #3
Omega Fats, The Latest Research

– Research now indicates that an increased intake of omega-6 fatty acids (chicken, dressings, corn oil) DOES NOT lead to more inflammation, and it in fact reduces the risk of heart disease.

– An increased intake of omega-6 fatty acids also decreases IL-6, an inflammatory compound in the body.

– ANOTHER update from one of my posts; Do you choose wild salmon because you think it’s got more omega-3 fats? Well if you do, you should stop! Why? There is actually MORE omega-3 in FARMED salmon! And, it’s cheaper

– For those of you who take a flaxseed supplement or choose to eat walnuts and other sources of ALA (an omega-3 fatty acid) instead of fish or fish oil, you should know that it has been shown to be VERY POORLY converted to DHA and EPA.

Ok, back to the expo. LARABAR!!! Check it out, they were just sitting there on the table for us to grab. They weren’t the full sizes, obviously, but the small sizes are just as good.FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates 54I’ve heard a lot about these VitaTops. I grabbed a few of them and I thought they were Ok. Not what I expected though, sort of dry in my opinion.FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates 55Puffins! Many of you were interested in this cereal. I asked the lady if I could have a coupon and she was so rude, she said; “Do you EAT this cereal?!”. I was like, “umm, yeah, or why else would I want a coupon?”FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates 56Thank goodness for these eggs, as I was on sugar overload with all the juice and bar samples! Eggs on a stick are pretty fun, you should try them sometime.FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates 57And of course sitting in a plastic egg is just as fun. I look like a moron.FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates 58FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates 59Kettle Cuisine had a pot of about 6 different types of soups for us to sample. I tried the carrot and butternut squash soup. It was delicious.FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates 60The Beef Council was there also. This little taste was just what I needed. Healthy, right? An egg and some beef! hahaFNCE Day 2; Omega Updates 61Another favorite in the blog world, Cabot cheese!FNCE Day 2; Omega Updates 62Ok I’ve got to get back to work now. All work, no play. Sorry this post was sort of “to the point and boring”, but I hope you learned some things. I am so excited to get back to regular posting and reading everyone’s blogs. I hope you all understand why I have not been commenting on your blogs lately, I am just so behind. Stay tuned for the announcement of my giveaway tomorrow morning! I would also like to give a special shout out to;

LESLIE AT DREAM DINNERS in Seattle, Washington. She was kind enough to supply me with two awesome bags, one for me and one for my giveaway! One of the lucky winners will receive it one, they are great.

Thanks for reading everyone, and of course, thanks for being patient with me and being loyal to my blog  You are all so great!