Happy New Year!

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The New Year always brings about reflection on the past year. How did I live my life? Did I listen to God’s plan or follow my own selfish ambitions? 2014 was a mix of both and the results of each decision were very clear!
I am very excited about 2015! I am filled with hope for so many things not only for myself but for our family. I will strive to be a better wife, daughter, granddaughter and friend. I will try to put the Lord first in everything I do. I will not be afraid to say no when I am overwhelmed. I will focus on my health and get back in the shape in which I long to be. I am so thankful for the last year as I saw so many blessings not only in our family but in the lives of my friends; new babies, marriages and new homes. In 2015 I will live my life in the present; focus on who I am with when I am with them. God, family, friends and job are my focus in 2015! Happy New Year and may you all be blessed with more than you can think or imagine in the coming year! xoxo

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Is Sodium Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts?

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When I was completing the final assignment for my Nutrition and Wellness Consultant certification, I had to do an actual consult on a client and submit a report. My dad was in town so he volunteered to be my guinea pig. I had him complete a food log for about a week and then we sat down to go over his numbers. My biggest concern was his sodium level. He didn’t eat out much except for a weekly trip to Chick-fil-a and lunch at a local restaurant a couple of times per week. He didn’t realize it but during those meals he had been consuming almost three times the recommended daily amount of sodium!

This is very common as most people don’t log their food and they certainly don’t study nutritional guides at restaurants they frequent. How would they know? Don’t be fooled into thinking dining out is the only problem. Even at-home cooks can rack up the sodium levels with canned and processed foods. Have you every looked at a can of diced tomatoes? I pulled the nutritional information from myfitnesspal. I use this website daily and also use it with all of my clients to have them track their food intake and exercise. I am not bashing Hunt’s brand tomatoes, in fact, I use them all the time in my recipes. I just want you to see the sodium levels in one can. In my chili recipe, I always use two cans. On top of that I add canned beans which are also packed with sodium. I use these examples because while I know what I am putting in my recipe, most people don’t and that is causing a host of health issues that could be avoided.

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Back to my dad; over the course of one year he took my recommendations and cut his sodium to 1500 mg or less per day (leaning more toward 1000 mg). At the end of that year, he had lost 25 pounds and was taken off both of his high-blood pressure medications by his doctor. By cutting back on his sodium intake, his diet also improved because he cut out processed foods and most restaurant meals. While it seems like an extreme measure, the effects were well worth any minor inconvenience.

According to the American Heart Association, most people consume about 3400 mg of sodium per day. That is twice the recommended daily intake! Here are their “Salty Six” foods:

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So What Can You Do?

1. Do your homework.

The labels are there to help you understand what you are consuming. Read them! Most restaurants are required to post nutritional information in the store but if they don’t you can usually find it on their website. We have stopped eating at certain restaurants because there are simply no healthy options concerning sodium. Beware of menus advertising “low fat” or “low calorie.” Two major offenders I have found are Applebee’s and Panera who both offer “healthy” options and proudly post meals under 600 calories. However, most of those meals are loaded with unhealthy sodium.

2. Limit or avoid packaged or frozen meals, canned vegetables and jarred sauces.

Most frozen dinners (plain vegetables excluded) use sauces and seasonings high in sodium. If you like the convenience of canned vegetables, rinse them well to remove some of the sodium. There are many low-sodium canned vegetable alternatives available. Of course, fresh vegetables are always your most nutritious option!

3. Find salt alternatives.

Spices and herbs can be a great alternative to salt when flavoring dishes and meals. Mrs. Dash offers a wide variety of salt-free options.

4. If you have to use salt, use it sparingly.

If you have a recipe that calls for salt, try cutting it in half or leave it out altogether and allow the person eating the meal to add it at the table if necessary. Remember to pay attention to how much your salt shaker dispenses. Try shaking it in your hand before you put it on your food.

5. Exercise and drink plenty of water.

Your activity level plays a role in determining how your body eliminates excess sodium. If you are sedentary or a light exerciser, you excrete most of it through your urine, but if you are active and exercise vigorously, much of it is purged through your sweat. The average person loses about 1/2 teaspoon of salt through sweat for each hour of exercise. Depending on the intensity and air temperature, some people lose twice that much. If you have taken in too much salt and are trying to dilute it by drinking water, go for a jog or spend an hour at the gym to help your body purge some of the excess salt.
When you consume too much salt, your body tries to dilute it by holding on to as much water as it can. You may notice a bloated feeling when this happens. To help your body dilute the excess salt and decrease bloating, drink water.

Limiting sodium can be a big change at first, so start small. You will see big changes before you know it!

Cheers!

Source: “How to Counteract Too Much Salt Intake.” Healthy Eating. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2014.

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper and Zucchini Frittata

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This may be one of the easiest dishes I have ever made and according to my husband, one of the best! My friends at Skinnytaste.com knocked it out of the park yet once again. Their website has become my go-to for healthy, delicious recipes. Over the last couple of years, I have tried a ton and have not had one disappointing experience. If you have not discovered the website yet, stop reading and go there now please. My feelings will not be hurt one bit!

Rarely do I cook a dish for which I do not readily have the ingredients available. I work from home so it is not convenient for me to run out to the store during the day. You would think it would be the other way around but Bogey (my dog) and I have a nice little routine and I only get an hour for lunch. When I choose a recipe, it is usually because I have the ingredients in stock and this dish was not any different. The only semi-time-consuming part of this dish is dicing the vegetables so I did that ahead of time. According to the recipe, you can use only egg whites but I followed the original and left the whole eggs since I like the protein and vitamins in the yolk. If you are watching your cholesterol, stick to egg whites!

Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper and Zucchini Frittata

Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1/4th • Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 157.7 • Fat: 9.3 g • Protein: 14.6 g • Carb: 5.7 g • Fiber: 1.6 g • Sugar: 0.8 g
Sodium: 243 mg (without salt)

Ingredients:

  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced rings
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, diced into matchsticks
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper

Directions:

Over medium-low heat, heat oil in a 10-inch skillet. Stir in onion and cook until slightly brown, about 10 minutes. Add peppers and cook 5 more minutes, then add zucchini.Season with salt and pepper and cook 3 more minutes stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl whisk eggs, egg whites, parmesan, salt and pepper.

Add eggs to the skillet making sure eggs cover all the vegetables. When the edges begin to set (about 2 minutes) move skillet to oven. Cook about 10-15 minutes, or until frittata is completely cooked. Serve warm, cut into 4 pieces.

Jenn – 1: Laziness – 0

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This morning, my alarm went off at 5:20 just like it does every morning I go to the gym. I rolled out of bed around 5:30, made sure my husband was awake and started getting ready. I was actually ready a little early this morning which was exciting. I hopped in my car and off I went. As I got about 2 miles from my house I realized it was Wednesday. I didn’t schedule myself for class today, I scheduled it for Thursday. Somehow I got my days mixed up. I sat at the stop sign with a decision to make; turn around and go home and crawl back in my cozy bed or keep driving and go to class. I am embarrassed to admit that I really had to think about it for a minute or two! I am happy to report, I made it to class and my body is thanking me!

Most nutrition and fitness decisions come down to that one moment: Work out or sleep in? Eat and apple or a brownie? Take the stairs or the elevator? There are countless times throughout the day where we are given a choice to be healthy or not. The key is to choose the healthy options more times than the unhealthy. The more you do it, the easier it gets and eventually you will not even have to think about it.

Use the holiday season as your personal training program! This time of year is the most difficult time of year to maintain a healthy regimen. If you can do it now, the rest of the year will be a breeze!

Cheers!