I’m a Heavy Drinker

February 28, 2012 in Nutrition

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Well, yes it may come as a shock, but I am a heavy drinker.

Heavy WATER drinker, that is. ;-)  I love water….I really, really do.  It is definitely my drink of choice.

I gotta say, I haven’t always been a water drinker though.  I used to just drink it occasionally because I knew it was good for me, but I didn’t really love it.  Somehow over the years, I’ve learned to love it and actually crave it.  I am a firm believer that if you just keep drinking it (even if you hate it), your body will learn to love it and you will LOVE it too!  Really.

Kev does not love water.  This is a hard one for him.  If you are a water hater, he sympathizes with you. :-(

But, of all the things you can do to improve your health….this has got to be one of the EASIEST!!!  Really.

Think about it…..it takes very little time, planning, money and effort  to drink water, but it helps your body SO MUCH!  Drinking more water has been shown to increase metabolism, help with weight loss and appetite control, increase energy, decrease risk of disease, moisturize skin, aid in digestion and many many more awesome things!!!

Soooooo, drink up!!

I fill up my gallon pitcher every day and try to finish it.  I drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning and then 1-2 more big glasses with each meal.  I also fill 1-2 water bottles and bring them with me everywhere I go.

If you really don’t love water, try squeezing some fresh fruit juice in there; lemons, limes and oranges are some of my favs.  Crystal Light and things like that are okay, but I wouldn’t count it as “water drinking.”

One more little thought about water…..make sure it is CLEAN, PURIFIED water!

We live in an area that has pretty hard, crappy water.  Yes, it’s technically safe to drink, but it is definitely not awesome.  However, for the past 4 years I’ve mostly had just plain ‘ol tap water.  I don’t mind the taste and you can’t beat the price!

But, I went to the dentist a few weeks ago and my hygienist told me a had quite a bit of tarter!??

What!???

Really!???

I am a very diligent “tooth taker carer” person, so I was shocked to hear this!

Also, we lived in New Hampshire and Rhode Island for 6 years and my dentist always told me I had “very little build up” on my teeth.  So when my hygienist told me I had tarter, it made me stop and think.

I’m sure it’s because of my heavy crappy water drinking!

I wonder if it’s really hard water build up!!!  Eeeeewwww.  I also realized that if the water I’m drinking does that to my teeth, what is it doing to the rest of my body???

Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to figure it out.  I’m a little slow sometimes….

We have a 5 gallon water cooler at our house, but I try not to drink all my water from that because it would cost us so much $$!  I would suck that thing dry in no time.

So, last night I bought myself a cute little Brita Water Filter Pitcher (again, why has it taken me so long to figure this out!!???)  I’m so excited about it.  Here’s a pic.

It holds about a gallon of water, so I’m going to fill this up every morning and drink it!  Yay!

I figured out it will cost us about $30 a year (cost of filter replacements) to support my drinking habit.  In contrast, it would cost us about $700 a year for me to drink all my water from our 5 gallon cooler.  Yikes!  We still love our cooler though because it helps Kev and the kids to drink more.  It’s also nice to have when we have guests over and it’s a great way to store emergency water.

Anyway, that’s my little schpeal on water.  So, drink as much healthy, clean water as you possibly can!  Mmm, k?

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10 Small, yet Significant Things you can do to Improve your Health!

November 18, 2011 in Nutrition

Losing weight is tough.

Maintaining a healthy diet requires hard work every single day!!

Exercising regularly takes a ton of time, effort, discipline and motivation!

Dang.

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It is easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed when it comes to improving our health.

But, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should avoid it.

There are a ton of small, yet very significant things we can do EVERY single day.

You may already be doing a lot of these things, but here’s a list I came up with:

  1. Drink buckets and buckets of water!  It is so good for your body and such a simple thing to do.  If you don’t like water, try to drink a little more every day.  Eventually your body will crave it.  I promise…really.
  2. Eat more fruits and veggies!  Try to eat at least 5 servings every day.  The more, the better.  Chop and prepare things ahead of time so you will be more likely to eat them!
  3. Healthify your food choices!  When eating/purchasing food, choose the healthiest option available.  Here are some examples:  Drink lite milk (skim, rice, soy, almond, etc.)  Only use lite or fat free sour cream/cottage cheese/mayo, etc.  Eat only healthy breads (100% whole wheat, spelt, Ezekiel, etc.)  Use natural peanut butter. Purchase low sugar varieties of jams, syrups, yogurts, etc.
  4. Control your portions!  When you eat a meal, portion out your food and then don’t go back for more!  Even if you still feel hungry….just wait.  It takes a while (usually about 20 minutes) before your stomach communicates to your brain that you are full.
  5. Reduce your salt intake.  Salt causes us to retain water and hang onto extra weight.  It can also cause high blood pressure and wreak havoc on your heart and body.  When purchasing food, look for low sodium options.  Also, try not to use a salt shaker on your food at all.  Your body will learn to adjust to the taste of less salt and it will thank you for it!
  6. Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.  This one is tough and I’m definitely not a good example of it!  However, our bodies need sleep to repair, renew and refresh our bodies.  When we are sleep deprived, we aren’t as productive, we don’t feel like exercising and we tend to eat more convenient and comforting (i.e. bad) foods.
  7. Pack food/snacks with you.  When hunger strikes, having a healthy snack on hand will insure that you always have something good to eat!  Pack things like nuts, string cheese, protein bars, fruit, veggies, etc.  You can bring a little insulated lunchbox or cooler with you to keep things cold too.
  8. Exercise!  This is a no-brainer, but it is so vital to our physical and mental health!  Even if you just workout for a half hour a few times a week, you will benefit a ton from it!  If you are short on time, exercise 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the evening.  Take a walk on your lunch break or after dinner.  Lift weights and do pushups, squats and lunges while watching TV.  Whatever works….just make it happen.
  9. Keep a food journal.  This is a hard one for me to do consistently, but studies have shown it is very effective in helping people to lose weight.  Keep a small notebook with you or record your food intake online.  There are a number of websites out there that let you track your food intake and provide information about calories, fat, fiber, protein and sugar content as well.  I used the Daily Plate on Livestrong.com for a while and it was very helpful and informative.
  10. Avoid processed and refined food as much a possible!  Always read labels and purchase food items with the shortest ingredients list.  Don’t buy food containing High Fructose Corn Syrup, hydrogenated oils, MSG, trans fats or sodium nitrates/nitrites.  You don’t need to be gestapo about it, but just try to consume the most “real” and minimally processed foods as possible.

Well, there is my little list.

There are so many other things we can do as well!

As we commit to small, healthy changes in our lives, they will eventually become habits!

Yay!

We can all become natural little health nuts!

Fun!  ;-)

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Hydration tips and Fruit/Spinach Protein Shake

July 19, 2011 in Nutrition, Recipe

I went to one of my favorite classes at the gym tonight….Boot Camp!  Love it!  It’s basically an hour of short, yet intense cardio/resistance intervals.  I always leave totally SPENT.  It’s awesome.  Kev comes with me sometimes too.  I told him that a lot of (normal) men attend the class, so he started coming with me and he loves it too!  So, if you have a gym membership, I would highly encourage you to try out a Boot Camp (or similar) class.  You and your body will love it!

I also thought I would put in a little plug for good ‘ol WATER.  I love love love love love water!  There’s nothing that can quench my thirst quite like water.  I actually crave it.  I’m here to tell you that if you don’t like water…..drink it anyway!  The more you drink it, the more your body will crave it.  Seriously.  It’s such a simple thing to do and it provides so many health benefits!  Here are just a few reasons why you should drink (buckets and buckets of) water:

  • Aids in weight loss:  Helps to flush out your system, reduce hunger and it has 0 calories!
  • Helps your skin look younger and healthier:  helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturize skin and increase skin elasticity.
  • Helps you to exercise more efficiently:  Helps to regulate your body temperature.  It gives you more energy and fuels your muscles.
  • I’ve also heard that drinking lots of water can boost your immune system, improve your mood and even reduce your risk of some types of cancer!

So, drink up!  I try to drink a gallon a day.  I fill up a gallon pitcher every morning and then I just drink from it all day long.  If I’m leaving for a while, I will fill up a water bottle or two with water from the pitcher and take them with me.  I like to be able to keep track of how much I drink every day and this seems to work for me!

Here’s my little water pitcher;

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For dinner tonight, I just made the kids grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit and Kev and I had protein shakes.  We usually don’t do that, but for some reason after our boot camp class, we wanted something lite.  It was just the thing I needed and filled me up perfectly.

I just want to say a little something about Protein Shakes….

For a long time I wasn’t interested in drinking protein shakes AT ALL because I thought of them as just “bodybuilder food”.  They didn’t seem like a really healthy food to me either.   Well…….I tried them and I LOVE them (kinda like green eggs and ham!)  They ARE healthy too!  Yay!  Now I think of them as a very easy and healthy way to eat (drink) a lot of powerful foods!  I also love them because they are portable, no-nonsense, and very filling!  Most of the protein shakes I drink include a protein (protein powder), healthy carb (fruit) and a healthy fat (flaxseed).   Perfect.  I really really love them.

So, here is the recipe for the one I had tonight.  It is a very yummy one and I promise you can’t even taste the spinach (not even a little bit).

Fruity Spinach Protein Shake

1/2 C. skim milk (you can also substitute almond milk or water)

1 scoop Protein Powder (any flavor)

1/4 orange

3-4 strawberries

1/4 banana

2 big handfuls spinach (it is not yucky, I promise)

1 T ground flaxseed

6-8 ice cubes

In blender, mix Protein Powder and milk (water) first. 

This is the kind of Protein Powder I use. I buy it at Costco and I think it’s about $36 for this giant bag. It lasts a long time. Kev likes the vanilla flavor too. The serving size (1 rounded scoop) is 140 calories. I use 1 level scoop, so I’m guessing it’s about 120 calories or so.

Chocolate-Protein-Powder

Add fruit and mix well. 

This is my frozen fruit in a little ziplock bag. I like to freeze my fruit beforehand in single-servings to make it quick and convenient. It also creates a better consistency if the fruit is frozen first.

Frozen-Fruit

This is the fruit with the milk/protein powder in the blender

making a fruity spinach protein shake

Add spinach, mix well. 

This is how much spinach I use. I just grab two big handfuls. I promise you can’t even taste it in the shake! I think it’s quite awesome that you can eat so much of such a healthy vegetable so easily! Yay!

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Getting ready to blend in the spinach! I use a spoon to push it down first.

adding spinach to fruity spinach protein shake

Add flaxseed and ice and mix until desired consistency. 

This is the brand of flax seed I use. I buy it at Costco. I just put a cup or two in a plastic container in the fridge and keep this big ‘ol bag in the freezer.

flaxseed

And this is how it looks when everything is all mixed up!

Fruity-Spinach-Protein-Shake-mixed-up

Fruity-Spinach-Protein-Shake-in-Cup

Just to show you how yummy this is….my three year old couldn’t leave it alone. He probably ate 1/4 of it!

Child-Drinking-Fruity-Spinach-Protein-Shake

This shake is about 250 calories.  If you replace the milk with water it shaves off 45 calories.  I’ve tried it with water and it’s very yummy too!  I haven’t tried it with almond milk yet, but I’ve heard it’s awesome and saves a little on calories too!

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