Nothing says fall like some fresh off the tree, crisp apples! Even better, apples baking in your oven topped with just the right amount of cinnamon and vanilla! Yummy!
A few weekends ago, we ventured north from Atlanta to the North Georgia town of Ellijay. It just so happened that the Georgia Apple Festival was taking place on the same weekend that we were there. Although we didn't get to slide down any large slides or take part in any apple-bobbing contests, we did score so great deals on delicious apples and sweet potatoes (my personal favorite!).
Our first stop... the Red Apple Barn. With better prices than others we have been to, the Red Apple Barn is hard to beat for their hospitality and selection. All apples are pre measured for you - you simply pick up the peck or bushel you would like and take it to the cashier. They have about 12-15 different varieties of apples and be sure to taste them before you buy them - what you see on the outside may taste entirely different on the inside. The actual store at the Red Apple Barn in Ellijay, GA is smaller than most, however, they do offer apple picking tours for the family at just $5 per person.
Our last stop... Hillcrest Orchards. If you are looking to have the "tourist" experience and spend the day, Hillcrest Orchards is your #1 stop. A true family stop, Hillcrest Orchards offers tours, an opportunity to pick your own apples, a petting zoo, a playground with a giant slide and a bakery and ice cream parlour (yes, I know that is not clean!) to fuel even the pickiest of eaters. With loads of apple selections picked daily, their apples are as fresh as they are tasty. A few more dollars per bag than the Red Apple Barn, Hillcrest allows you the opportunity to mix and match your apple varieties and get as many or as few of your favorites. Beware of their lines though - don't stop here if you are in a hurry!
Stay tuned for some great apple recipes you will have to try to make your house smell Fall Fresh!
Did you know that according to the article, Candynomics, the average US family buys over $44 dollars of Halloween Candy each year? Halloween candy accounts for nearly 25% of candy makers yearly gross sales! It is also estimated that a staggering 41 million children will be trick-or-treating on October 31st. Will you be there with them?
Here is some thing to consider before you decide to reach into your child's pail of candy:
The average American eats a whopping 24.7 pounds of candy each year ALONE! Just think about the calories, fat and sugar!
Let's do the math:
There are approximately 20 "Fun Size" packs of M&M (T) candy per pound.
If all the average American ate was 24.7 pounds of "Fun Size" M&M(T)'s per year, that would be 494 packs.
There are approximately 70 calories in each bag. 494 "Fun Size" M&M(T)'s at 70 calories each = 34,580 total calories digested. (With a pound of body weight = 3500 calories, that's an extra 10lbs per year we pack on!)
Total sugars? 9g x 494 = 4446 grams of sugar!
Congratulations America! You just ingested an extra 1071 cubes of sugar in one year alone!
Approximately 20 million pounds of Candy Corn are sold in the US each year! Wondering how much sugar that is?
Again, let's do the math:
There are approximately 294 pieces of candy corn in a pound. Multiplied by 20 million, that is 5,880,000,000 individual pieces of candy corn. Yikes!
With 5.76 calories in each piece, multiplied by 5,880,000,000 pieces, that is 33,923,076,923 calories in all of the candy corn sold in the US each year!
How much sugar is that? Well, there are 1.07g in each piece! That is 36,997,692,307g of sugar in all!
In terms of sugar cubes..... da dump da dum... 8,704,482,567.
Our suggestion: Let your kids have fun, but be mindful of how much they intake. For you, you know when to quit. It's best to refrain from the candy and eat an apple or frozen grapes, but it's not always easy.
Good Luck! And have fun trick or treating!
It may seem tedious and at times, monotonous, but keeping a food log of what all touches your tongue is a key step to reaching any and all weight loss and fitness goals. After all, what diet have you tried where you don't have to count your calories? The folks over at myfitnesspal.com have come up with an easier, more user-friendly way to track your daily food (and water) intake.
Simply open an account on myfitnesspal.com. The beginning stages will take you through an assessment to determine the number of calories you should be consuming, and if you have any weight loss goals. (Their calculators will actually add and subtract calories to your daily intake when you input your workouts as well!)
Once your account and goals are set up, it is time to start tracking your calories and using the website. Each time you enter a food, their software will calculate the total number of calories, carbohydrates, fats and protein in each serving. Additionally, once you enter a certain item for breakfast, it will store that information and let you choose the same meal another day. For example, if you often eat 6 egg whites (like I do), it keeps that info and all you have to do is click your mouse instead of retyping and searching for that food again. It keeps a running total of your calories and lets you know just how many you have left or how many you have gone over (oops!).
We all now how important drinking water is for your waistline and for your fitness goals, right? If not, refresh yourself on H20 and then track your water consumption on the same page as your food consumption!
Additionally, MyFitnessPal.com offers a few other calculators that are certainly handy. My favorite - the recipe nutritional tracker! How awesome is it that you can figure out just how many calories are in your favorite meal? Just input your ingredients and amounts and voila! you have all of your nutrient counts in one place!
Go explore their website - it is phenomenal once you get into it!
Chances are, if you have been keeping up with our blog, you have started to notice a spike in your energy levels. If not, in addition to eating a clean lifestyle and regulating your metabolism by eating 6 smaller meals per day rathern than 3, below are foods that you can use to help give you fight fatigue (and hunger!).
In no particular order:
1. Water - Good old H20. How much do you drink per day? Remember, eight - 8 ounce glasses of water per day is only your starting point. Beginning to feel sluggish - start with a glass of water first, assess your mood and then reach for that healthy snack. More information on optimal water consumption here.
2. Fruits - Yes, fruit does contain sugar. BUT, it's natural sugar. Sugar that your body happily digests since it was designed to digest it naturally! Fruit also contains key vitamins and minerals that are important for your bodys optimal performance. For example, one of the best fruit-based energy sources you can choose is the banana. High in potassium, a nutrient that is not only a key electrolyte in your body, but partially responsible for your optimal nerve and muscle function provides about 110 calories (medium banana) of quick, easy-to-use energy for your body.
3. Oatmeal - What food do you start your day off with? Oatmeal is an excellent choice! It contains both carbohydrates and protein, which translates into a slower breakdown and absorption of the oatmeal in your body. This helps maintain your metabolism at a healthy level and provides longer, more sustainable energy rather than a quick short burst that is typically followed by a sharp crash an hour later. Additionally, oatmeal contains fiber. (Oh you must be so excited!) Not only does the oatmeal break down slower than other carbohydrate forms, but because of the fiber it now helps show the release of sugar (or glucose) in your body. Less sugar released = less sugar converted to fat in your body. Woo hoo!
4. Quinoa - Similar to oatmeal, quinoa, although in the grain family is rich in protein. It is the perfect compliment to baked chicken, fish or filler in your salad. Quinoa is a slow-releasing carbohydrate and protein source that will keep you fuller longer and keep your energy levels up.
5. Whole Grains - You have heard it from us before - whole grain, whole grain, whole grain. Why eat part of something when you can have it all? Yes, I said HAVE IT ALL! It's funny to think in those terms, but when you eat a whole grain, you provide your body the chance to break it down, thus prolonging the energy conversion rate in your body. White flours and white rices have already been stripped of their "whole" parts leaving you with a little less and a lot less time for your body to digest it. Do yourself a favor - switch your white rice for brown rice, your white flour for whole grain or whole wheat flour and your regular white potatoes for heartier sweet potatoes.
6. Seeds/Tree Nuts - Back to nature, these provide essential fatty acids and fat sources that help to digest nutrients, including important mood-enhancing and energy-providing vitamins in your body. Skip the chocolate-covered peanut brand though and go straight for whole, raw nuts like almonds.
Now... all good news must come with a little bad... here is what to avoid:
1. Candy Bars
3. Baked goods like cakes, cupcakes, and crossaints
4. Sodas and fruit drinks. These contain too much sugar that will give you a quick burst of energy, but leave you passed out on your desk an hour later.
5 Caffeine. Again, sounds like a great idea, but is the crash an hour later really worth it? Nope!
Does this sound like you? You have heard the word metabolism before and you know that in order for you to feel your best, look your best and function at your optimal performance level (even if that's sitting at a desk answering telephones), your metabolism should be up and steady. However, you are not exactly sure what all this talk about your metabolism really is! What exactly does it mean and what does it do?
Let's throw out the definition of metabolism for you: Dictionary.com defines metabolism as: the sum of the physical and chemical processes in an organism by which its material substance is produced, maintained and destroyed, and by which energy is made. Merriam-Webster defines metabolism as: the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated.
Easy to understand? Not quite... let's break this down.
Simply put, metabolism is the body's process by which it converts your food, fat and yes, your muscle (scary, huh?) to energy. This energy fuels your normal body processes and functions, gives you the opportunity to digest and even chew your food, fuels you while you work out and play and helps your brain to process simple and complex tasks. If your body is involved, your metabolism is involved!
So wait a minute... you just said that your body can burn your muscle for energy? That's not a good thing, right?
Nope. Not a good thing at all! You want to fuel your body and give it what it needs to perform its best and LOOK its best! Naturally, if you are not feeding your body every 2.5-3 hours, it starts to believe that it will not receive any additional food, thus beginning the stages of fasting fat storage. Your body holds on to the resources it has already - fat - in order to "stock" up for later since you aren't giving it more food. It begins to convert your muscle into energy instead of fat. Your hard work in the gym... gone! GOOD NEWS! You can fix this... keep feeding your body every 2.5-3 hours and not only will your body use the food you just put into it for energy, but it will break down some of your fat stores for extra energy rather than stealing from your muscle. Make sure you check out the calorie calculators to determine how many calories you should have each day and plan those meals accordingly.
Here is a graphic below:
Which one do you want? Boost that metabolism by eating 5-6 meals per day and stay above that line!
See this post for information on foods that you can eat for extra energy boosts! Remember though, unless you start eating more times per day, you will continue to rob yourself of energy and muscle!
Your dreams are amazing– why would you want to cut them short? The truth – Life gets in the way! A human’s basic needs are food, water and sleep.When we deprive our bodies of one of these basic needs, we are unable to function at our best or even anywhere near our best.Optimal performance as it relates to our jobs, our families, our favorite sport, our hobbies and even our ability to remember is affected when we deprive ourselves of sleep.
So, what’s the magic formula for sleep?Well… it’s not that easy.Researchers suggest that the average adult, over the age of 18, needs seven (7) to nine (9) hours of GOOD sleep (basal sleep) per night.What is GOOD sleep or basal sleep? It’s just actual, off in “la la land”, sleep.We often accumulate BAD sleep or sleep debt if you wish to call it that, when we are stressed out, sick or we are in an uncomfortable environment (think freshman year of college sacked out on your friend’s hand-me-down couch).
Risks and Characteristics Associated with Lack of GOOD Sleep:
We may already know these, as some are obvious, but listing them out is quite unnerving!
1.Lack of cognitive (brain) ability to remember details.
2.Lack of general daily productivity and focus. (Don’t forget about those TPS reports!)
3.Increase of car accidents, accidents on the job and general clumsiness.
4.Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems.
5.Increased risk of psychiatric problems including depression and substance abuse.
6.Increased BMI (Body Mass Index). YES – THAT’S AN INCREASE IN BAD BODY WEIGHT (FAT). Try reaching your fitness and weight loss goals without sleep – NOT happening!
Sleeping for Weight Loss and for Increased Fitness:
When we sleep, we help provide our bodies the energy to regulate its daily functions.One such function is regulation of our hormone levels.When we sleep, our bodies regulate our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for the break down, or metabolism of sugars, proteins, fats, minerals and water in our bodies.
Research also suggests a connection between sleep and insulin levels. Insulin is responsible for keeping your blood sugar levels healthy and in balance. Lack of sleep increases these levels, which cause a spike in blood sugar, which in turn promotes the storage of fat in your body. Definitely a hindrance if you are looking to drop those pounds.
I am TOO Stressed to Sleep. What can I do to increase my ability to get GOODsleep?
1.Allow yourself to sleep only as much as your body needs.This may take time to determine, but learn to listen to your body and adjust your sleep schedule accordingly.Just because it is the weekend, don’t let yourself sleep from midnight to noon – keep a regular schedule or you will pay for it on Monday.
2.Do something for yourself before you go to sleep. Listen to your favorite tunes (ahem… relaxing music, not head-banging heavy metal or rap music), have a one-on-one conversation (not an argument – save those topics for later) with your spouse, read a few chapters in your favorite book in a chair (skip reading in bed – not good!)
3.Try to make yourself as comfortable for sleep as possible. Is your pillow as hard as a rock? It may just be time for a new pillow. Do you wake up sweating at night because it gets too hot in your house? Adjust the thermostat before you go to bed to ensure maximum comfort.
4.Keep your bedroom as a place for sleeping only (and well…. Ahem… maybe a little of that other stuff too!)
5.Eat at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to ward off any heart burn or indigestion that may disrupt your ability to sleep soundly.
6.Don’t grab a cup of high-octane coffee right before you go to bed! Lay off the caffeine and get more rest!
Can I get too much sleep? What happens if I do? How can I avoid it?
Quick answer – Yes. There is such a thing as too much sleep.Remember, don’t start waking up your spouse or children right at the eighth hour mark – they may require more sleep than you.
If you sleep too much, you may find that you are prone to depression (I would certainly be depressed if I had less hours in the day to accomplish all of my tasks!), and increased illness. Combat this by regulating your sleep. Allow yourself to sleep for as much as recommended (9 hours) and assess how you feel.Feel groggy? Too rested? Dial it back and set an alarm for 30 minutes less each day until you start to feel like yourself again.
Our lives are busy. We barely have time for each other and all of the tasks that annoyingly cloud our to-do lists. Some of us even make a list to make lists! Why not take a little bit of time to slow cook a pot of crock pot black bean and sweet potato chili. Chances are, it will be ready when you are!
He and She adapted this recipe from another one - feel free to play around with the spices. You can make it as spicy or as mild as you would like. This recipe works best in a smaller pot...
Clean Crock Pot Black Bean and Sweet Potato Turkey Chili
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz can black beans
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 lb turkey breast, ground
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp coarse grind pepper
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1.5 cup water
1. Put vegetables and beans in the bottom of the crock pot.
2. Layer ground turkey breast, spices, seasoning and water.
3. Place lid on crock pot and cook on low for eight hours. (He and She Tip: If you are pressed for time, 1 hr on high equals 2 hours on low.)
4. Carefully remove lid and stir chili. Adjust seasonings to taste.
5. Replace lid, cook for an additional 20-30 minutes on low. Serve.
Now, who isn't a sucker for a good deal? I don't know anyone that can't handle a little 40-60% off of retail every now and then... Even Jim!
So, I've scoured the internet and put together a few daily deal or flash sale websites for you to join that have deals on activewear. After all, when you look your best in the gym, you feel your best and will do your best!
LeftLaneSports The Skinny: Deals, up to 60% off on major brands including items specifically targeted to different sports - skiing, snowboarding, cycling, hiking and fitness. Left Lane Sports also features a different shops (open more than a few days) with items at discounted prices of 20-35% off (or more).
PlanetGear The Skinny: Save big, up to 70% off, on brands that are tailored specifically to your active lifestyle. Think cycling, hiking, and fitness gear! Sales run weekly and run for up to 72 hours or less depending on if the goods run out!
HealthDeals The Skinny: Big Savings on items you use everyday, geared specifically toward health and wellness. Currently, they are running a promotion for $40 of brand name goods from pharmapacks.com for just $15. Deals for mom and baby are also on the site!
Water. Whether bottled, straight from your tap or garden hose, the ocean or a stream, water is an essential component to human life. Without water, your internal organs would be unable to function. Imagine this - you purchase a fresh pineapple and a bag of dried pineapple from your local grocer. Upon inspection of the fresh pineapple, you see that the fresh pineapple is juicy and appears to have cells that are “plump” and bounce back after touched. The dried pineapple (although it is amazingly yummy) has shriveled to nearly half of the size of a fresh round of pineapple and appears tough and uneasily torn or altered.This is due to dehydration – the cells in your body act the same way without essential daily water intake.
Photo Courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1857
Water for Basic Function
Here’s the hype –
1.Water and your kidneys are best buds! They work together to filter all of the bad chemicals and waste products both ingested by us (gasp!) and made by the cells in our bodies. In order to expel the urea and uric acid from your body, it must be dissolved in water to be carried out of your body.WebMD suggests that adults should make 7 to 12 trips to the restroom daily!
2.Ever wondered how your metabolism and digestion work? Well, the process starts with, you guessed it, WATER!
3.Your blood is made up of water. (In fact, the average human adult body is comprised of 60-70% of water.) The water in your blood carries essential oxygen and nutrients to your cells so they can function properly.
4.Have those days when you are “feeling your age?” Water helps to keep joints in your body, including those in your spine lubricated so you can move more freely and without pain!
5.Water lubricates the tissues in your lungs so you can inhale and exhale freely.
6.Sweat. Yeah, it’s ugly and if you are here in the south and am a woman, you “glisten,” but bottom line, the reason we perspire is to cool our body down.Yep, that perspiration is pretty much all water!
How Much Should I Drink per Day?
Although there are varying schools of thought, the tried and true 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water per day cannot hurt! If plan to or are working out, you will want to increase your water consumption because chances are, your cells will be working harder than if you were just sitting behind your desk.Think about upping your water intake when you take the dog for a walk, garden and even chase the kids in the park.
Do I Need to Drink More for Weight Loss?
From a personal standpoint, I feel better (maybe it’s just psychosomatic) when I remember to drink decent amounts of water per day.I feel hydrated and find that I can push just a little harder in the gym. If I don’t drink enough, I find myself sluggish and tired throughout the day and evening.
According to “Dr. Howard Flaks, a bariatric (obesity) specialist in Beverly Hills, California, says, ‘By not drinking enough water, many people incur excess body fat, poor muscle tone and size, decreased digestive efficiency and organ function, increased toxicity in the body, joint and muscle soreness and water retention.’ (http://www.naturodoc.com/library/nutrition/water.htm)” Coming from someone who sees obese patients all day long, that’s reason enough to get my water in!
Water during Exercise… Will I Increase my Fitness Level just by Drinking Water?
I wish that I could say “Poof! You drink water and now you have the fitness level of an 18 year old athlete although you are 50 and in poor health.” The truth – No. Drinking water alone will NOT increase your fitness level. However, there is a silver lining! Drinking water during exercise will help stave off dehydration that often occurs during rigorous physical activity. Thus, you feel better during your workout and are more apt to lift harder, do an extra set or push yourself a little further. All of these equal more calories burned!
Other Sources of Water
Water from Food
Water is abundant in the foods that we enjoy. In fact, WebMD suggests that the average adult drinks about 80% of their total water intake and ingests, from food, approximately 20% of their water intake. With 1.5 cup servings,
Iceberg Lettuce – 95% Water
Watermelon – 92% Water
Broccoli – 91% Water
Water from Sports Drinks, Colas, Coffee and Teas
There is no evidence to suggest (at least that I could find) to suggest that your body uses the water from these drinks differently than that of pure, unaltered water. HOWEVER, keep these things in mind:
Sports Drinks – contain added sugars and electrolytes. Although you may be in the middle of strenuous exercise and need those nutrients, changes are you will likely drink these as you drive in traffic, with a meal, etc. Skip the sugar – go for pure H20!
Colas – most cola not only contain added sugars, but also caffeine.Caffeine is a known diuretic that helps your body to expel water from cells. This can have adverse effects on hydration, causing your body to become dehydrated instead of hydrated.
Coffee and Tea – Just as with the cola, coffee and tea contains caffeine, which is a diuretic.
I heard a saying once that if you drink an 8-ounce cola, coffee or tea, you would want to follow it with an 8-ounce glass of water to ensure your body is hydrated. Not scientifically based, but a good rule of thumb.
These kind of or kinda clean Dark Chocolate Espresso Granola Bars are absolutely phenomenal! I was a little concerned during the preparation of the granola bars as I quite unfamiliar with making granola or granola bars, but am quite pleased with the results. The recipe is easy to follow and I had most of the ingredients in my pantry (or cupboard for you Southern folk!). Although Oxygen magazine recommends eating a little cocoa before an exercise, I felt compelled to categorize them under our Clean Eat Treats category since you would not want to over indulge with the Dark Chocolate Espresso Granola Bars or even eat one per day! They have approximately 250 calories per bar (makes 8).
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Place all ingredients in a large mixing box. Use a wooden spoon to combine.
3. Spread mixture evenly in a 9"x9" baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes to 30 minutes or until golden around edges. Let cool and slice into 8 bars. Refrigerate leftovers. Gluten Free Version: UseGluten-Free Rolled Oats and Gluten-Free Flour as alternatives
Recipe Source: Oxygen Magazine, "Cocoa Before Cardio - Reader of the Month Recipe", October 2011.