Healthy Valentine. What better way to show your love
than healthy living?
Wine & chocolate time of year? When we think about our health and healthy habits, each decision matters.
Alcohol, in and of itself, like any food, or beverage can safely and enjoyably be consumed in “moderation”……. right? Let’s take a look.
Alcohol is a drug. In it’s initial stages of absorption, it is a depressant. It slows down brain activity, fine motor skills, it impedes the neurological system and subjectively speaking, it “relaxes” most people.
Like any drug, when it enters an empty digestive transport system, it quickly makes its way to cross the brain barrier and initiate those depressant or sedative effects. Everyone knows that more or less… regardless of personal experience with alcohol. But what else should we consider?
Alcohol has a half-life stimulant effect on the body. What does that mean?
Half way through the metabolic processing of alcohol, the body is stimulated by the drug – it shifts “purpose” and alerts and awakens the body.
Many people indulge in alcohol even in moderate and conservative quantities to help the “unwind, decompress, or relax” from their stressful day. It helps to get to sleep, so some claim. Truthfully though, it is sedating the brain with a drug that in a few hours is going to awaken the brain and not allow it to shut down and rest, recover nor allow the rebuilding of the body.
But we understand the value of sleeping 6-8 RESTFUL hours. Without QUALITY SLEEP, you can have a perfect nutrition and activity plan yet still have the internal chemistry, blood lipid profile, and health risk indicators of a sedentary, burger and fry eater.
Sleep MATTERS…. A LOT!
Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram; for simplistic explanatory purposes, alcohol is treated by the human body EXACTLY LIKE A FAT.
It is closer in composition to a sugar and is responded to metabolically (for our purposes) almost exactly like a trans fat. It is shuttled into the blood storage form of fat called Triglycerides VERY EASILY by the body….. unless that body is in a state of starvation…. in which case, in a last ditch effort for survival, the body can convert it into a usable energy form.
For MOST OF US, HOWEVER, drinking alcohol is like drinking a glass of Crisco. It is practically guaranteed to have an ill effect on the liver and the caloric content stored as fat.
So what about the “benefits” of alcohol, particularly red wine – here is an interesting fact. The compound(s) in red wine that are touted as “beneficial” is Resveratrol .
Fun fact – Since a glass of wine is approximately 5 and 1/3 ounces, and approximately 2000mg resveratrol is considered possibly beneficial to human health, for a person to ingest the effective “dose”of resveratrol in red wine, he or she would need to consume 41 glasses. Hopefully, that is not anyone’s daily dosage.
Although alcohol is non-nutrient dense it is still enjoyable to many. Take it small, take it slow and avoid EVER taking it IN PLACE OF your daily nutritional needs.
My choice: for a relaxing drink is Oasis
The Advobar is my chocolate fix. All the fun with nutrition (and protein)
A Valentine’s gift for you: (Healthy Valentine)
If you decide that you would like to have an Advocare product discount as a Preferred Customer or Distributor and place an order for any amount by 2/21, as a way of thanking you, I’ll send you a Blender Bottle WITH a sample of Oasis and an Advobar!
Preferred Customer is $19.95 (plus tax). You’ll get an immediate 20% discount and can go up to a 30% discount.
Distributor is $59 (plus tax & shipping). You’ll receive a distributor kit with $48 of product samples. You’ll get an immediate 20% discount and can go up to a 40% discount. With this option you can use just the product discount or you also have an option to earn income if you ever decide to.
How to Claim:
What to do next:
1) Decide if the discount is right for you.
3) Place an order for any amount. (by 2/21 using your new discount!) Not sure what to order? Visit the Product Navigator here.
4) Email or text me where to send your blender bottle, Oasis & AdvoBar.
5) Let me know how I can help you have an exceptional experience with learning about healthy lifestyles.
To Your Health,
*Alcohol commentary written by Nutritionist Pam Giese. She is a Stud! Checkout her fb page here.
Healthy Snacking Makes For a Healthier Lifestyle
Every day we are bombarded with images and advertisements of processed, sugary food items that are ‘within an arms length of desire’ as their makers have intended them to be. This blog includes many healthy snacking ideas.
We can easily make a phone call or go through a drive thru and be served within minutes with the very latest in upsized junk meals that would lead us feeling guilty about losing the perennial
‘battle of the bulge.’
Indeed, the extremely easy availability of processed food has led to an epidemic of obesity that is not only drastically cutting down our collective life spans, but also destroying the quality of life that we already have.
The Number of countries that have reduced obesity in the last 33 years: ZERO.
For our own wellbeing it is imperative that we substitute junk foods with more wholesome food. Some may think wholesome foods are not as palpable as the unhealthy choices but over time we get used to ‘real’ food and it is certainly more nutritious and beneficial for our health in the long run.
The question is what to do when those hunger pangs strike?
Well, here is a list of Healthy Snacking alternatives to the ubiquitous pizza and high calorie or high fat milk shake:
The age old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was not really all that far from the truth. Delicious, crunchy, apples are choked full of natural goodness. Actually they have disease-fighting compounds called ‘antioxidants’ that are believed to help repair damaged cells.
Apples are also excellent appetite suppressants and their high fiber content makes them an ideal choice for people suffering from constipation.
They also stimulate saliva production and that in turns curtails halitosis (foul breath) causing bacteria in the mouth.
Hard Boiled Eggs
They pack a powerful protein punch indeed and are full of vitamins to boot. Adding hard-boiled eggs to any diet plan not only soothes the hunger pangs but also provides calcium to keep the bones strong.
A single large stick contains a miniscule 10 calories making it an integral part of any healthy living program. Moreover, that same single stick can easily deliver around 10% of your daily Vitamin A requirements and that’s definitely good news for your eyes since Vitamin A prevents degeneration of vision.
Carrots contain Beta Carotene: A powerful antioxidant that helps sharpen vision and also maintains healthy skin. They also have low calories and are quite filling in their own right.
Peaches are all but perfect when it comes to weight loss regimes and healthy eating lifestyles. Not only are they quite filling but pack a mere 35 to 50 calories and zero fat. They also fight obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Like apples, peaches also have a strong antioxidant count.
For a truly refreshing healthy snacking idea is fruits and vegetables can be mixed up together and liberally sprinkled with walnuts, pistachios, almonds and other assorted nuts.
I was taught to always include a protein with my fruits or vegetable snack. Ultimately, healthy eating is all about lifestyle changes. Saying no to junk food cravings and making a conscious choice to eat their healthier counterparts. Below are 20 healthy snack ideas:
20 Quick Easy Healthy Snacking:
1. 3-4 slices of turkey/chicken with 10 baby carrots (or get those single serve bags)
2. Low sodium turkey jerky or low/no fat jerky with sliced zucchini and yellow squash slices (or any vegetable or fruit)
3. Whole wheat flatbread or 2 flat whole wheat bagel rounds or 2 sandwich rounds with hummus, thin avacado slices, mushrooms & tomatoes.
4. An Advocare chocolate peanut butter meal bar.
5. Meal Replacement Shake if you didn’t have it for breakfast.
6. 2 Quaker rice cakes with all natural (peanut or almond) nut butter and slices of banana or slices of strawberry or a handful of blueberries.
7. 2 Cheddar cheese rice cakes with tuna, salmon or imitation crab meat. (if mixing with mayo choose fat free mayo, fat free cottage cheese (and no dairy during the cleanse days 1-10).
8. Advocare Pro-20 protein shot and any 1 serving of fruit.
9. A pouch of tuna or salmon on Romaine lettuce leaves with mustard, sliced mushrooms, tomatoes (or stuff all this into a whole wheat pita pocket)
10. A single serving bag of almonds and any fruit.
11. 1 cup of trailmix. (3/4cup of Kashi or wheatchex or frosted mini wheats. 1/4 cup of raw nuts, seeds and a tablespoon of dark chocolate morsels and a tablespoon of raisins or cranberries.)
12. A single serving oatmeal packet cooked in water with a single serving packet of almonds and a single mini box or raisins (or any fruit such as, slice up an apple, or a banana, or 1/2 cup berries or a pear, a peach)
For protein in your oatmeal, Add a Tablespoon of powdered peanut butter or regular natural peanut butter or 1 scoop vanilla protein powder or plain greek yogurt (no dairy during the cleanse though) or 1/4 cup Almond milk.
13. Minute maid brown rice with 1⁄4 can black beans.
14. 2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter or almond butter or cashew butter and an apple or pear or other fruit.
15. 2 Tablespoons of either, peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter and (10-12) baby carrots or (2) celery stalks or several mini celery stalks.
16. A baked sweet potato with cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon either natural peanut butter/almond butter or 1⁄4 cup FAT FREE cottage cheese. (no dairy during the cleanse) Top your baked sweet potato with a source of lean protein, such as cooked lean ground turkey, canned tuna or cooked black beans. Add Mexican flavor by topping your baked sweet potato with cooked, shredded chicken breast seasoned with chili powder and cumin, sliced avocado and/or spinach and salsa.
17. A baked potato with salsa and FAT FREE cottage or cream cheese or with crumbled soy bacon or crumbled turkey bacon. Checkout the many combinations of healthy snacking with potatoes.
1 tablespoon nonfat plain yogurt mixed with 2 teaspoons chopped scallions, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Feta & Olive:
1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs and 1 teaspoon chopped black olives.
1 tablespoon low-fat ranch dressing and 2 teaspoons chopped scallions. (remember no dairy during cleanse phase)
1 tablespoon prepared pesto and 1 chopped small plum tomato.
1 tablespoon reduced-fat sour cream mixed with 1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish.
1-1/2 teaspoon tapenade and 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or parsley
1 tablespoon pureed low-fat cottage cheese and 2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon refried beans, 1 tablespoon prepared tomato salsa and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
18. A garden, boca or turkey burger on whole wheat sandwich round, lettuce, onion and tomatoes. OR a Veggie Pattie (or turkey) on Flat out bread with sautéed Tomato, Onion & red peppers.
veggies or in a salad or in a pocket with vegetables.
20. Protein shake. Of course you can use a high quality protein mix or 1/2c -1 cup eggwhites, 1 apple OR 1 banana, water, ice spark. OR 2 cups instant oats and 1 pint egg whites.
To finish, put both ingredients into a blender and mix it on high for 1 minute, or until oats are liquefied. You can flavor it before blending with cinnamon, a packet or two of Stevia, peanut butter or PB2.
That’s a lot of healthy snacking!
If you’ve heard me say it once you’ve heard me a hundred times;
Don’t Skip Meals.
Turkey Zucchini Slider
1 lb ground turkey
2 cups grated zucchini
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Tablespoon cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
Non-stick Cook spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
In a large bowl, mix together the first 7 ingredients.
The mixture will be wet. Set aside.
Spray a baking pan with Non-stick Cook spray.
Using a spoon, drop about 2oz of mixture onto the pan.
Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Switch oven to broil and brown for an additional 3 minutes.
Serve immediately on a bed of lettuce or top with salsa, avocado or other favorite topping.
Can also be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers
1 1/2 cups cooked sweet potato
15oz can black beans
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 red onion, chopped
5 tbs chili powder
1 TBSP olive oil
Salt & pepper as needed.
Mix all ingredients. Make patties. Cook (5-7 minutes each side).
This is a great recipe for on the go nutrition. Healthy and packed with protein!
Turkey Meatballs with Pine Nuts!
This recipe for Turkey Meatballs with Pine Nuts is great to make on the weekend, to fill your fridge with healthy snacking options for the week. You could also make a batch of hard boiled eggs and slice some cucumbers
while the meatballs bake. These healthy snacks are high in protein. Taking control of your snack foods is key to getting on track with your fitness results.
Here’s what you need:
1 cup blanched almond flour
½ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup coconut cream, or half and half
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
½ cup pine nuts
2 lbs ground turkey
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
In a large bowl combine the almond flour, Parmesan cheese, basil, cream, ketchup, tomato paste, salt, pepper, eggs, garlic, onion and pine nuts. Mix well until fully combined. Add the ground turkey and use your hands to mix all of the ingredients evenly into the meat.
Shape the meat into golf ball shaped meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
During Valentine’s is a nice time to treat your family (and yourself) with special treats. What makes these special? The heart!
You are taking time to create a special memory with food. You are gathering around food and spending time together.
Food… Time… Heart….
Sounds delightful to me.
Chocolate & Strawberries:
An all time favorite for my husband and me is Chocolate dipped Strawberries. They are easy to make and fun to eat.
Chocolate & Mocha:
A favorite drink of mine is Coffeccino! It is a great mocha-flavored drink that I can enjoy either hot or cold. It helps increase my mental focus and alertness by supporting my brain’s ability to receive and send messages. You should try it!
Angel Food Cake and fruit Kabobs:
This is a quick and tasty snack. Grab a few of your favorite berries and skewer them between pieces of Angel Food Cake.
(See the bowl of melted chocolate above? Well, drizzle some of that on this and BOOYAH!) What? : )
Hugs and Kisses: X’s and O’s pancakes:
I modified my Mom’s pancake recipe by adding Advocare Vanilla Muscle Gain in place of flour.
(4) tablespoons Advocare Vanilla Muscle Gain (or chocolate)
(4) egg yolks (reserve egg white in seperate bowl)
(4) tablespoons Almond Milk
(1) tablespoon olive oil
Heat oil in pan. Mix Muscle Gain, egg yolks and Almond Milk in a bowl. In a seperate bowl fluff the egg whites.
Fold your fluffy egg whites into the egg yolk batter and ladle the mixture into the hot oil. Cook on both sides and enjoy!
Let’s finish with sweet little bite! My husband is very used to me taking bites out of HIS food… This is different. This is cute!
So, this Valentine’s Day have fun, stay healthy and most importantly spend time with love ones!
To Your Health!
It’s the beginning of a great new year and millions of Americans have decided it’s time to improve their health by eating better, losing weight and trying to exercise a bit more. These are great goals and the core mission of iChoose-Wellness is to help others with their health. We help others begin a wellness lifestyle that will set them on a course of healthy living and help them develop vibrant energy, a leaner body and overall health.
Since a wellness lifestyle is often a change for our friends and clients we are asked many questions when, how often, and how much to eat. We provide a complementary meal plan, recipes, and snack ideas that we share on our website. The plan calls for three meals and three snacks per day because the goal is to keep our metabolism revved up and turn us into fat burning machines.
What many people do not realize is that to have a lean body we must fuel it on a regular basis so that our bodies burn rather than store fat.
One common misconception is that we should avoid eating anything before bed. Nothing could be further from the truth! The body does its repair work at night during REM sleep and if we do not have high quality food in our system our bodies do not have the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats necessary for repair. The right night time snack can have a positive effect on fat burning and building a healthier leaner body. So what are the “key” ingredients of a healthy before bed snack?
- Avoid carbohydrates which will result in an insulin release in the body. Because carbohydrates are easily stored as fat they do not help in the repair process that we undergo during sleep.
- Choose slow digesting proteins like turkey and chicken which do not produce an insulin response and are readily available for the necessary repair work that our bodies do while sleeping.
- Add fat…did he just say ADD FAT? Really? Yes, high quality healthy fats like those found in nuts, oils, hummus and nut butters slow gastric emptying and digestion. They make us feel fuller and help us avoid turning a night time snack into an “all night long” event! They are a great bed time snack.
Some of my favorite Protein snacks before bedtime are:
Since healthy living is a lifestyle we need to make sure that it is easy to follow and provides with enough variety that we enjoy the lifestyle over the long term. In order to make it a lifestyle we need to find variety in the meals that we make and the snacks that we enjoy. You may want to check out our website for meal and snack ideas, we are happy to share them with you!
Remember we know that Wellness is a Choice and we are here to help you get the most out of life this year and for many years in the future!
I grew up in western Pennsylvania in the 1960’s and remember only one schoolmate who was overweight. Although the 200 or so of us attending the small school came from every race, religion, ethnicity and socio-economic background only one of us was “overweight”. How is that possible? Driving past a bus stop in my neighborhood this morning it looked like there were a “bunch” of overweight kids! What happened?
One in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, ichoose-wellness.com encourages your family to make healthy changes together.
- Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.
- Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day.
- Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods. Limit sugar and sugary beverages.
- Encourage to drink more water.
- Limit Saturated fats and choose lean meats.
Taking small steps as a family can help your child stay at a healthy weight.
click here for healthy snack & dessert ideas
Often times I hear parents say “I will do anything for my children” or I would die for my children… the following is a post I made after talking with a Mom & Dad about their health (we were discussing the value of the 24 Day Challenge)
- Educate yourself on what you can do to help those that you love address the problem
- We can help you help them
For more information on healthy choices, visit ichoose-wellness.com
For more information on Childhood Obesity visit cdc.gov
Fun Recipes with Protein Powder is great alternative to the regular shake. Meal Replacement shakes are great ‘on the go’ meals but are also excellent for snack and desserts for a nice variation.
Meal Replacement Shakes can also make great snacks or desserts.
One of our favorite desserts is ice cream. But, because we prefer ‘healthy choices’ this receipe is DIVINE satisfying both our desire to eat protein every 3 hours and a healthy dessert.
Muscle Gain or Meal Replacement Shake Ice Cream
Ingredients: Ice, 1/2 cup rock salt, 1 cup light Soy Milk, 2 scoops Muscle Gain, (or one pack MRS), 2TB peanut butter powder, 12 cocoa roasted Almonds Stevia and Two ziplock bags.
Directions: Set aside the ice and rock salt. Set aside half of the crushed almonds for topping, then in a blender bottle or bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients. After ice cream is made, top with the remaining crushed almonds.
To Make Ice Cream:
Fill a gallon size ziplock about 2/3 full of ice. Add the salt to the ice.
Pour your ice cream mix (either muscle gain or MRS) into a quart size ziplock and seal it. Place the ice cream mix bag into the larger bag with ice & salt, seal. Shake for about 5 minutes until the ice cream reaches the consistency you prefer.
Remove the inner bag with the ice cream and quickly rinse it off (so you don’t get salt in your ice cream). Put the icream into a bowl top with remaining almonds and enjoy!
1 AdvoCare Vanilla Meal replacement shake pack
1 cup of ice (or enough to make the shake thick)
8 oz. water or almond milk
1/2 Advobar snack (use other half to crumble on top)
Put ingredients into the blender and blend until shake-like. Pour into a large glass. Top with remaining snack bar crumbles.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Meal Replacement Shake Muffins:
3 egg whites,
(1) Advocare Chocolate Peanut Butter Meal Replacement Shake,
1/2 t baking powder,
Meal Replacement Shake Muffins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whip 3 egg whites until they get foamy. Add in the Advocare Chocolate Peanut Butter Meal Replacement Shake and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
Fold in 1/2 of a mashed banana. Pour into a greased muffin tin. Top each muffin with a banana slice. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes, until an inserted toothpick will come out dry.
Pancakes Vanilla Protein Advocare Muscle Gain
I modified my Mom’s pancake recipe by adding Advocare Vanilla Muscle Gain in place of flour.
(4) tablespoons Advocare Vanilla Muscle Gain
4 egg yolks (reserve egg white in seperate bowl)
(4) tablespoons Almond Milk
(1) tablespoon olive oil
Heat oil in pan.
Mix Muscle Gain, egg yolks and Almond Milk in a bowl.
In a seperate bowl fluff the egg whites.
Fold your fluffy egg whites into the egg yolk batter and ladle the mixture into the hot oil.
Cook on both sides and enjoy!
Who LOVE’s PIE?
Muscle Gain Spark Pie
Ingredients: 2 Pkgs. or 2 scoops Pink Lemonade or Mandarin SPARK
1/4C Lemon or Lime Juice – Boiling Hot
1 Sm Pkg. Sugar-Free Lemon or Lime Jello
2 1/4 C Vanilla Greek Yogurt (0% Fat)
8oz Cool Whip (Sugar Free Light)
1 Heaping Scoop of Vanilla Muscle Gain
(1) Low-Fat Graham Cracker Crust or the Mini/Individual Graham crust are great!
Directions: Microwave 1/4 Lemon juice to a boil. Stir in Lemon Jello, and SPARK until dissolved. Add and stir in Greek Yogurt and Muscle Gain. Fold in Light Sugar Free Cool Whip then pour into Graham Cracker Crust. Refrigerate 4 hours or you may freeze.
Muscle Gain Banana Pudding Pie
1 small pkg Sugar-Free Fat-Free Vanilla or Banana Pudding
2 C no-fat Milk, Almond Milk, or Soy Milk
1& 1⁄2 C Vanilla Greek Yogurt (0% Fat)
8oz Cool Whip (Sugar Free Lite)
2 Scoops Vanilla Muscle Gain
1 Box Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers
2 Sliced or diced Bananas
Directions: Mix Pudding as directed with milk. Add Greek Yogurt then Muscle Gain. Fold in Cool Whip. Place a layer of wafers at bottom of 9 x 9 serving dish. Then pour 1⁄2 the mixture into the dish follow by a layer of bananas. Repeat that process again and top with crumbled Nilla Wafers. Refrigerate over night for best results.
Advocare Meal Replacement Shake Fudgsicles
Fudgsicles made with Advocare Meal Replacement Shakes! Kid approved (and they won’t even know it is healthy for them and packed with protein).
14oz can coconut milk, fat free milk or almond milk
(1) teaspoon vanilla extract
(2) tablespoons honey
(1) package chocolate Meal Replacement Shake
Directions: In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Beat until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and place in the freezer with popsicle sticks inserted in the middle. Let them freeze overnight. Remove from mold & enjoy!
Muscle Gain Spark Dip
Fold together the cream cheese and fat-free Cool Whip. Add the Mandarin Orange Spark and Vanilla Muscle Gain. Fold together and chill for 1 hour. Serve with fresh fruit pieces of your choice.
I love the Advocare Meal Replacement Shakes for a few different reasons:
First they taste delicious! Second, they provide 24 grams of easy-to-digest protein and support the body’s ability to lower body fat when used as an alternative to high calorie foods. Third, studies have shown that a 1:1 protein-to-carbohydrate ratio supports weight loss and provides sustained energy for healthy weight loss. And the fourth reason I LOVE these shakes is because they mix very well with WATER!
Protein Powder Moulten Cake
This is definetly a favorite! Quick, easy, tastes great and healthy.
1 Package AdvoCare Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake
1/3 Cup Water
Mix ingredients in a mug and microwave for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes.
Let it cool a few minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen. Flip over onto a plate, garnish and serve.
Enjoy a healthy cupcake.
So have fun with your Protein! Enjoy healthy snacks and be creative….
I love new ideas, share your recipes in the comment section.