Does Junk Food Fit Into Your Diet?

Sometimes what we don’t want to hear is what we need to hear the most. Not surprisingly, the topic of junk food elicits strong reactions from people.

Many of us tiptoe around overeating and obesity, not wanting to offend anyone. Being overweight is no party – losing weight can be a major struggle and most people know it’s bad for your health. It’s important to be supportive and positive for people who are trying to turn it around and need encouragement. So tiptoeing serves a purpose.

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 Yet the consequences of overeating and an unhealthy diet are a crisis that begs for an in-your-face wake-up call. Over 35 percent of U.S. adults and approximately 17% of children and adolescents are obese. And the numbers are growing. The scariest statistic? This may be the first generation in which most parents of obese children outlive their children.

That’s why I’m not a believer in tiptoeing around unhealthy eating habits and overeating. Giving kids Doritos, chips, candy, and donuts as “snacks” sets up a challenging future – bad eating habits, weight gain, possible health problems, and even premature death. We have become too comfortable giving our kids junk food: soda, juices, sugary cereals, ice cream, cookies, French fries, nachos, pizza, fast-food hamburgers, or any food or drink that is high in fat and/or salt. And we model the junk food habit further by eating these things ourselves.

It’s easy to rationalize eating this way – it’s just a snack, not a whole meal. It’s only a small bag! It’s tiding them over, alleviating low blood sugar, giving them energy. It’s fast, convenient, easy, and cheap. Plus it has “real cheese” and is “gluten free.” It’s really ok, so get off my back!

But a two-ounce bag of Cheetos has 320 calories and 20 grams of fat. Considering that the recommended daily allowance of fat is 44 to 78 grams based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, eating two ounces of Cheetos would equal at least half a day’s allowance of fat grams. And chances are that you eat junk food for snacks, your other meals are also high in fat.

Is this to say you should never eat junk food and sweets? Who am I to say? It’s your body and your children; you are the one making choices about your health and that of your kids. One serving here and there won’t negatively impact your health, especially if you eat healthy food and exercise most of the time. But for many Americans, it’s not just occasional junk-food eating – it’s a way of life. Obesity is not caused solely by junk food, but reducing empty calories can help prevent weight gain.

The effects of eating unhealthy foods regularly do accumulate in your body. Fat accumulates as extra pounds, making it harder for blood to flow through your arteries and increasing your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Excessive sodium chloride (salt) found in junk food causes strain on your kidneys and a rising blood pressure. Junk food is processed with harmful, synthetic chemicals – every time you eat junk food, you’re missing out on fiber, vitamins, and minerals your body needs. The processed ingredients that prolong shelf life and make junk food cheap to manufacture are all at your expense.

How do you break the junk food habit? First learn what constitutes a healthy diet. Once you are familiar with healthier choices, you can change what foods you buy at the store. Planning ahead just a little means no more buying food on the go from convenience stores and fast-food drive-throughs. You’ll understand that a breakfast with protein and complex carbs will keep you full and give you long-lasting energy. You’ll be sure to have healthy snacks on hand, such as a baggie of roasted almonds and a banana, especially when you leave the house. You’ll bring your lunch to work with foods you cooked the weekend before and froze, such as chicken, vegetables, and pasta. And when you’re eating healthier, you won’t have the common “afternoon crash” – you’ll be eating satiating foods regularly so this won’t happen. Dinner will become a smaller meal because you’ve been eating consistently throughout the day and aren’t starving.

Now it’s your turn to speak up: Are you one of the few who eats junk food with no weight gain or ill effects? Have you ever had trouble reining in the junk food habit?

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Paleo Seasoned Cauliflower Rice

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My husband and I try to eat healthfully most of the time.  We always choose whole grains over processed and/or refined grains and completely avoid white rice, white breads and white pastas all of the time. 
Unfortunately, when you cut out a lot of the foods that you are used to eating (we are both from the mid-west and we both grew up on Minute Rice, Wonder Bread and Spaghetti O’s), you have to come up with creative ways to re-create some of your favorite foods. One night, while searching for creative ways to spruce up cauliflower, I came across a Paleo recipe for cauliflower rice.  I had a new head of cauliflower on hand, so we decided to give it a try. And to our surprise, it was actually good! It has a texture very similar to rice, has a very mellow flavor, and mixes well in dishes that typically use rice. I assume some folks like it plain – just riced cauliflower and that is it, but I choose to add some fresh squeezed lime and cilantro. I think adding onion, garlic and seasonings to give it some extra flavor would also be delicious!
 

Paleo Seasoned Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp. garlic, pressed
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 4 Tbsp. chicken broth
- Dash sea salt
- Dash ground pepper
- Chopped parsley (optional)

Equipment:
- Chopping knife
- Cutting board
- Garlic press
- Cheese grater or food processor
- Large sauté pan
- Stirring spoon

Directions:
1. Grate the cauliflower or pulse in food processor until it is rice shaped.
2. Heat coconut oil in sauté pan over medium high heat. Sauté onion and garlic for about 3 minutes.
3. Add cauliflower, stir well.
4. Add chicken broth, sea salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes until cauliflower is slightly tender.
5. Place cauliflower in serving bowl and top with chopped parsley (optional). Serve.

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Interesting Food Facts

Did you know?

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Cucumber seeds give you heartburn and cucumbers give you gas.

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If you are only going to use half of a pepper, cut it in half and save the top portion with the stem for later. The stem will keep the leftover pepper fresh 3-4x longer.

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Baskin Robbins once made ketchup-flavored ice cream.

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Honey is the only food edible to humans that will never go bad. They have found edible forms of honey in ancient Egyptian tombs.

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Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.

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Fast food restaurants use yellow, red, and orange because those are the colors that stimulate hunger.

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:D id you know that in Japan, the most popular topping for pizza at Domino’s Pizza is Squid?

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They grow square watermelons in Japan so that  they will stack better.

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Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite.

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Five Jell-O flavors that flopped: celery, coffee, cola, apple, and chocolate.

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Most ice cream is eaten between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m. In 1904, the ice cream cone was invented.
Alaskans eat twice as much ice cream per capita than the rest of the nation.

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Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously. How do they find this stuff out?!

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Flourless Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

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Every now and then I get a seriously craving for cookies. Ha, who am I kidding, that happens all the time. I decided to make these last weekend when I was in search for something sweet but wanted to make something with ingredients I had on hand already. Obviously, I always have peanut butter and oatmeal so I thought I would see how these turned out.

I have to admit, these were pretty darn good. If I had chocolate chips I would have added them as well, so don’t be afraid to add some to the mix. And for you gluten-free folks, this recipe doesn’t contain flour so enjoy! I rarely bake with dairy because I enjoy the challenge of making a healthier recipe, so these are also dairy-free.

These cookies are sweet, chewy, and downright heavenly. Craving satisfied.

 

Flourless Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes Approximately 16 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats (I used rolled oats)
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla and mix

3. Next, add the oats, salt, and baking powder and stir

4. Roll the dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

5. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove from the tray and let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

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Strong is the New Skinny

When I was growing up it was rare that you would see or hear of women in gyms lifting weights. If women wanted to get fit or keep fit they would have walked/ran or cycled a bike.  Now we have crossfit, boot camps, step classes, yoga classes etc….. there’s so many different ways for women to get fit or keep fit, which is great and it just shows you how the fitness industry has changed. Gym’s are now 60-70% females but a lot of them still use machines instead of using free weights. I’ll explain further down the article how using free weights is much better than using machines.

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Times have changed so much in the last 20-30 years. Years ago a lot of women wanted to be skinny because they thought it was a sign of good health and it was sexy. This was down to the rich and famous women being on mtv,  in magazines and movies looking stick thin but what we don’t see is how they got to that weight and the struggle to keep it. A lot of these woman had very bad nutrition and some even picked up serious life treating diseases like anorexia and bulimia just to look so thin. This wasn’t just effecting there lives, we had teens all around the world growing up wanting to look like them so bad they would starve themselves to achieve this goal and end up with serious problems. This happened to some women in my area when I was growing up and it’s only now I can look back and spot what was going on. Being skinny doesn’t mean you are healthy!!!

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(Does this look healthy to you???)

Thank god this has all changed and now and women realize looking so skinny isn’t  attractive or healthy. Strong is the new skinny!!!! Women have now realised that being stronger is not only healthier for you body and bones but it looks sexier and feels a lot better than being skinny and frail. When you feel and look stronger on the outside it helps you feel and act stronger on the inside. I see more and more woman in the gym lifting weights because now they know that you burn way more calories pumping iron than you do running on treadmills or cycling on stationary bikes. Using free weights also helps with core strength, agility and co-ordination which will help you in everyday situations. Using machines doesn’t help you too much and you lose a lot of those benefits I mentioned above.

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A lot of woman out there have a fear of lifting weights because they think by lifting weights they will end up with loads of muscles and look like a man. This will not happen because men produce 10 times more testosterone than woman, so get off them machines and get into the weights area.

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The weights area of a gym can be very intimidating for woman because there’s usually a lot of men in there moaning, groaning, doing bicep curls and dropping light weights like they’ve just been shot. Don’t worry about this, it’s just a competition to see who’s the biggest douche bag. A lot of the time these guys do this to try to impress passing women like a mating call, some might call it peacocking. They usually hang around an area with full view of the mirrors, so my advise is to have your mind made up with what you want to get done in there before you go in and at least then you wont be blinded by the clouds of testosterone and you can just work away with your program. A lot of woman walk into the weights area with no game plan, panic then leave again,  please don’t do this, you have just as much right being there than anyone else. I’m not a fan of men and woman having separate areas in the gym, that’s going backwards.

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I’m a huge fan of crossfit, boot camps and strength and conditioning classes, I believe working out in a group environment can be more motivating and fun which in return will help you train harder and burn more calories.

So please get off them treadmills and bikes and pick up some weights and for the rest of you out there lifting weights please keep it up because……

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I’ll just leave you with a picture and a few words on my outlook on life, I hope it helps.

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Usually I finish an article with a motivational video or a speech by some one else but today I’m going to leave you with my words. Be who you want to be, not who others around you want you to be. For years I lived my life being some one people around me wanted me to be and it’s only when I woke up and realised what I was doing I changed and I started to be who I wanted to be. From then on everything changed, my moods became better, my fitness improved, my overall health improved, it’s all linked.

The way we act, dress, cut our hair, workout, is usually influenced by some one elses image and style, so ask yourself is that who you want to be?  A lot of people will think i’m talking crazy and this wont effect them but to others i’m hoping a switch will go off and I hope from here on in you’ll live your life as you and not what other people created. Be happy with who you are and be the best you can be, if you do that I promise you’ll look at life through different eyes.

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