It Was Good While It Lasted

The decision to give up coffee was kind of spontaneous.  Nearly two months have passed since I gave up my freshly brewed java.    Fresh coffee was a nice early morning treat and part of my morning ritual.

The decision to give up coffee was sudden and random.  One day I just noticed that I didn’t  feel like myself.  The feeling was more than the typical jitters from too much caffeine.  Aside from the increase in hot flashes,  I felt sick from it.  The taste changed too.  It was nasty.   That’s not supposed to happen. What the heck is going on?  Hormones I suppose.  Or maybe it’s my body’s way of telling me it’s time to give it up.

Anyways my current morning ritual now includes organic loose leaf green tea. And guess what?   It’s working well.  I actually feel better, more energized and I don’t get the dragging feeling after the caffeine boost. Yay!

So imagine my delight when I stumbled on a Green Tea Latte at Starbucks.


 🙂 Aaaaaaaah!  The heavenly gates opened up.   I tried the latte and loooooooved it!  Although I like the vibe of Starbucks, they’re too pricey for me.  This day was an exception because I was on the road and ran in to get some oatmeal.  I ended up with the oats and the green tea latte.  I substituted regular milk for coconut milk.

Fast forward to my third one.   😦

You know I had to know the nutritional content, so I went to the company’s website.

“Smooth and Creamy.” Yes.

“Lightly sweetened.” NOT!!

Check out the sugar content!!  Oh my gosh!  I was devastated then I realized the whopping 27 grams of sugar was for a Grande.  Uh oh. I’ve been drinking the Venti, which is even larger. Ugh!

The Venti is loaded with even more sugar!  36 grams!!  This is ridiculous.  Starbucks has to do better. They got that one off on me.  This is yet another example of why we have to stay diligent in researching all that we eat and drink.  250 Calories. 9 grams of saturated fat. 90 calories from fat.  When I read the label, I became sad and angry. Who would think green tea would have so much sugar?  Yup. They tricked me.  

Whelp.  It was good while it lasted.  I just can’t and don’t consume sugar like that. Speaking of sugar, if you’re trying to lose weight or maybe trying to reduce your sugar intake, check out the video, The Truth About Sugar that I recently watched. It may change the way you think about your favorite sugary snack.

I’ve got a lot going on these days.  When things settle down, I have tons of good stuff to share.  So hang in there with me.  If you like this post, please like, share and follow me.

Smooches!  🙂



How Much Sugar Are in These Crackers?

After leaving the gym one morning, I stopped by Shoprite my local grocery store to pick up a few items.  

After paying for my groceries, I am about to walk out the door when an elderly man stopped me.  As he approached me, he held a box of crackers in his hand. Pointing his finger at the label he says…

  

Excuse me honey, can you tell me how much sugar are in these crackers?

I was not wearing my reading glasses, so to read the label and to see the sugar content, I had to focus really hard. 🤓

Sir, according to the label, the crackers contain only one gram of sugar per serving, but if you are watching your sugar intake, I don’t recommend you eat them?

Really?   Why is that?

I point to the first ingredient, Enriched Flour.  “Do you see this here?” 
I try to give him a quick synopsis and tell him that the white flour is a starch, which isn’t the best choice for him. I explain that the starches are going to eventually break down in his body into simple sugar.   

He is shocked and says he is not going to buy them.  I tell him to look for “whole grains.” 

Of course there is so much to it then eating whole grains but I did not have the time to say all that I wanted and needed to say. 

My time was limited but I desperately wanted to take his hand and walk him aisle by aisle through the store to show him healthier options.  

Food labels are tricky and deceptive. The labels are colorful and are strategically designed to get our attention to buy their products.  It  seems that every aspect of this country is about profit. 

Healthy living is sacrificed for greed and for profit. 

Just look at Martin Shkreli.  The jerk… I mean CEO of Turing Pharmaceuicals.  He jacked up the price of a prescription drug designed to help save the lives of HIV patients.  He tried to increase the price from $13.50 per pill to $750.00 per pill!  What the heck!!

GREED!!  

The intentional trickery and lies told by food manufacturers is disturbing.  Consumers must read food labels; however, the education does not stop with reading labels. The process of educating oneself is ongoing and there are many valuable sources available online and in print.  Below are a few sites to check out but there are many. 

I also enjoy reading the free magazines from The Vitamin Store.  Several  magazines are located at the register and they are full of resourceful information.   

As I said in the beginning, I wish I had the time to walk the man and others like him through the store to help them to find healthier alternatives.  Hmm…. Maybe that’s something I could do on the side.   

Just remember, don’t be so quick to believe the pretty little lies they tell you on the colorful packaging.  Dig deeper to find what’s really in the food.   Just because the words “natural,” “low calorie,” “organic,” or “sugar free” are printed on a package, doesn’t mean that is true. Sadly, food manufacturers and companies can make all kinds of outlandish and untrue statements about their products.  The practice should be unlawful but it is not.

Some of these companies are such blatant liars, I can’t stand it!  If you stand close enough to me in the grocery store, you can overhear me saying, “liar! Liar!”   Lol!  I’m laughing but it is true.   

My rule of thumb is if an item has too many ingredients listed, for the most part, I leave it alone.  If you don’t already know, there is a large amount of the first ingredient listed on a label.  So when you see sugar as one of the first, second, or third ingredients written in anyone of it’s 61 forms, toss it pack on the shelf. 

Yes!!  According to Sugar Science, there are “at least 61 different names for sugar listed on food labels. I didn’t know that!  Some of the most common names are:

Sucrose

High-fructose corn syrup

Barley malt

Dextrose

Maltose

Rice syrup

Americans consume 66 pounds of added sugar each year, on average.

Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged food.

Okay, my sugar rant is over. I could go on and on, but I will end with a friendly reminder to read the food labels and educate yourself.   Don’t cheat yourself by putting bad stuff in your body.  The body is like an automobile, the better you care for it, the better your body will perform for you. 

For the most part, the better you care for yourself, the better you will look and feel.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by and remember to keep it moving!  


10 Things To Try Instead of Making A New Year’s Resolution

beauty-isnt-measured-in-pounds-quote-1The scale says I weigh 151.1 pounds. So what! I have weighed less but looked worse. Lol!

At 49 1/2, I’m fit, healthy, and am in the best shape of my life. 🙂

IMG_7390

Women are obsessed with their weight. Each day thousands of women choose to skip meals, pop diet pills, or start some fad diet.  And why? For the sake of seeing a magic number on a scale that falsely suggests they are… umm.. somewhat in shape. Or maybe it’s for bragging rights to share with peers? Oh wait I know!  The big one is to slip into “the gown” or “that dress” for a wedding, a high school reunion, or some other big event.

I dunno, but it is ridiculous and it needs to stop because unless a lifestyle change is made, the pattern will never end.

no one step

ATTENTION LADIES!!

Why not make today your last weigh in…  for a least a month or two. Go ahead– first thing in the morning hop your butt on the scale and record the number.

Afterwards pick up the scale and put it away where you will not be tempted to step on it for at least 30 days. If you haven’t had a checkup in the past year, schedule a visit ASAP and, with your MD’s blessing, for the next 30 – 60 days try the following:

  1. Eat breakfast every day!  A smoothie, oatmeal, or an egg white omelet.
  2. Don’t drink any alcohol (it’s only 30 to 60 days, you CAN do it). *Alcohol has sugar.
  3. Replace soda and juice with water.  Increase your daily water intake to 32 – 64 ounces (flavored bottled water doesn’t count).
  4. Avoid unhealthy and processed snacks such as, chips (all of them), Doritos, cookies, cakes, pies, candy, donuts, etc…  Snack on nuts, non sugary fruits like apples, strawberries, and blueberries.
  5. Eat fresh leafy and green veggies like spinach, broccoli, kale, broccoli rabe, asparagus, zucchini and avocados.  Avoid canned veggies like the plague but frozen veggies will do.
  6. Reduce your sugar (including honey) intake.  Read labels on everything you eat.
  7. Hold off on white anything and drastically reduce your  Bread, rice, cheese, pancakes, pasta, grits, cereal, etc… Replace with sweet potatoes, yams, brown rice, or whole grain pasta (in moderation).
  8. Coffee!  Skip the fattening latte’s with heavy creams and milk. Switch to a non-dairy milk like plain almond milk. I get the caffeine fix! Drink the coffee, but skip the sugar and watch your cream.. less is best!
  9. Get movin at least 4-5 days per week.  No, you don’t have to join a gym, you can start out by walking.
    1. Wear a good walking sneaker.
    2. Time your walk and distance. I like the FREE app MapMyRun, but there are tons of options out there.
    3. Each day try to increase your pace and distance.
    4. Don’t talk on your cell phone while walking!  Doing this will slow you down.  Listen to musics that makes you wanna dance–that should keep you moving. 🙂
  10. Get a good night’s sleep every night. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Specific hormones and the metabolism are linked to weight loss. Sleep deprivation may increase your Ghrelin hormone, decrease your leptin hormones and will have you eating more– of the bad stuff you should be avoiding.

Skip the annual New Year’s Resolution; they come and go. Instead commit to a lifestyle change and do it now.

During the next 30 or 60 days, keep a journal. Pay attention to how you feel when you wake up and throughout the day. Record your findings. You might as well record how you feel, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

healthier Lifestyle

This post is inspired by a close friend who decided to take on a challenge of avoiding alcohol and eating better for 30 days.  🙂

After your 30 or 60 days are up, if you so wish, step on the scale.  You may or may not have lost weight, but I guarantee (barring any healthy issues) that you will feel 100% better than you did before the change.

For healthier meal ideas, visit my healthy eating board, soup board, or crock pot meals on Pinterest.

Not a day passes that I am not asked by someone about my lifestyle or seek advice about how to look like me, so that is another reason I wrote this post.

If you are at a place in your life where you feel compelled to make some positive changes, I hope and pray this post helps you.  Are you up for the challenge?  I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.  🙂

DM-Motivation-vs-Habit

 


Is This What FLOTUS Had In Mind?

Equal to my passion for fitness is encouraging, uplifting, educating, and empowering teens.

Teenagers are cool beings, often misunderstood, and just want to be heard. No different from when we were adolescents.  How soon we forget. I don’t know of anyone who miraculously jumped from age 13 right into “wisdom” and “maturity.”  Heck many adults are still trying to find themselves.

Anyway, I was preparing to talk to a group of teens. While I spoke, they ate their breakfast, which included this stuff.

delicious essentials

“Delicious Essentials!”  Seriously, what’s essential about this?  Read the label.

muffin labelPeep the sugar!!  16 grahams!

Graham Cracker’s for breakfast?

graham crackersGot milk?

low fat milklow fat milk labelLet’s add more sugar! 12 grams.

It was early morning and my curiosity got the best of me. I always read food and product labels. I already suspected the food had little nutritional value and was high in sugar, but wanted confirmation.

I picked up the packages squinting and straining to gain focus to read the small printed labels (reading specs were not on hand).

Aloud I say Nooo!!  Seriously?!! The “food pusha” that I am, the name given to me by a colleague, was appalled by the nutritional value of the package.

In just one meal, the breakfast almost exceeds the American Heart Association’s new daily sugar guidelines for pre-teen and teens.

One prepackaged breakfast included cereal, juice and animal crackers. Yes, animal crackers!  Smh!

Food Sugar Sodium Calories
Golden Grahams Cereal 5 grams 220 110
100% Apple Juice 12 grams 10 60
Whole grain animal crackers 7 90 110
Total 24 grams 320 grams 280

While this “meal” is low in calories, the sugar content is high.

“A recent AHA (American Heart Association) study found 14-18 year old children intake the most sugar on a daily basis, averaging about 34.3 teaspoons a day.”

A large number of sugar consumed by these kids come from sodas and juices. This number can be drastically decreased by replacing juice and soda with water. To add natural flavor to water, add lemon wedges, strawberries, or cucumber.

So back to the package… The “great breakfast” is produced by E.S.Foods. “Nourishing our future” is the tag line under the logo.   Umm… aaahhh…. (Twisting my lips to find the right words)… animal crackers, juice and Golden Grahams are not my idea of feeding my son a nutritious breakfast in the morning.

Here’s another breakfast favorite that was included in the stash.

fruit loops

Who believes that there is actually fruit in this bowl?  Want to to talk about food coloring?  Ugh!!

froot loop label

Red 40, Blue 2, Yellow 6, Blue 1 – Here’s more about blue dye.

Before anyone gets upset here, I get it!

“A” breakfast is better than “no” breakfast at all. True.

But seriously, I really wanna know does the company genuinely want to help nourish kids or is it the same old bullshit that revolves around profit and a network of business minded folk and or politicians exchanging favors.

With the kids in mind, my thoughts are,

“How can the quality of the package contents be improved?”

“How can real fruit be incorporated into this process?”

I’m not naïve and understand the shelf-life of fruit is limited. The complexities of getting fresh produce out to kids will mostly likely be more complicated and cumbersome. I also know, due to shrinking family budgets, that not all kids eat or have even been exposed to fresh fruit.

Why not offer more fruit in schools and places like the Police Athletic Leagues, YMCA’s,  and The Boys & Girls Club of America?

There has to be a better way. I’m not here to judge any business, organization or institution who chooses to buy the product, I am simply pointing out facts and asking questions.

What if the manufacturer removed the cookies and substituted the cookies with a fruit coded voucher (similar to coupons redeemed from smart phones)  for fruit redemption in the food line in school?

Certainly they (manufacturers & suppliers) know the value and cost of each bag of cookies.

What if the manufacturer partnered with a local produce vendor or grocery store?

What if those grocery stores and markets provided fresh fruits to the vendors who buy the pre-packaged breakfasts and reimbursed them based on consumption up to an agreed upon amount? What if the local vendors partnered with agencies and institutions that serviced children?

Childhood obesity continues to rise. The Center for Disease Prevention (CDC) reports that, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

High blood pressure, diabetes, and hypertension—are diagnosed at much earlier ages than in previous decades.

I am a football mom. At the start of each season, I sit and repulsively observe over-weight and out of shape players struggle to complete one lap around the football field. The boys are literally wheezing, gasping for air, and crying! These boys are pre-teens and too young to be unfit and unhealthy.  It’s insane!

Years ago kids spent endless hours playing outside.  Electronics (TV, computers, games, smart phones, iPads, and other fun gadgets) replace the outdoor physical activity.

Throughout the school day only God knows what the kids eat. Furthermore, many of them do not eat dinner before soccer, football, cheer, baseball, lacrosse, or whatever their chose activity is.  By 8 O’Clock at night, the kids are hungry and will wolf down anything resembling food.

Cheese fries, hot dogs, or chicken fingers from the concession stand or a slice or two of pizza from the local pizzeria is not my idea of dinner.  Most often parents think they do not have the time to prepare balanced home cooked meals. But the key is meal planning and meal prep (just like in body building).

Consuming less processed foods and more fresh fruits and vegetables is essential.  I know that it is expensive to eat healthier. But don’t forget healthcare costs are rising too and American’s are also paying more for healthcare.  So, why not try to make small changes that will have better long-term affects on the health of our children?

So between these “healthy” breakfast offerings, school lunches, and on-the-road dinner, its no wonder childhood obesity and chronic illnesses are rising.

The solution? Education. Education. Education.

For whom?

Everyone!

Start by reading food labels. If you don’t know how to read labels, resources are available online. Here too.  If you don’t know what an ingredient is, google it online and keep reading until you understand what the ingredient.  Further research the ingredient. When you find something that isn’t healthy (or repulsive to you), make note of it (put it in notes on your phone) and avoid buying food with the product or buy foods that have lower amounts of the ingredient.

Policy makers. They can’t just campaign for healthier foods, sign off on legal documents, slap their hands together and call their job done. “Healthy foods” needs to be defined so that everyone is on the same page. Healthy to me certainly differs from someone else.

Banning candy and soda in school is fine, but not when the food is replaced by packaged food that say “healthy,” “low fat,” “low calorie,” and “low sodium” but is laced with sugar (as much or more as the candy) and other artificial and genetically modified organisms. Oh my Gawd!! My head is spinning.

Parents Wake up! Learn better habits so that you can do better. Read and educate yourself about the food you buy and serve your children.

I am not saying they can’t eat candy, chips, etc… What I am saying is that this “junk” that is often masked, as nutritious food should not be a child’s primary source of food.

While speaking to a group of teens I used my favorite car analogy. I asked about their dream cars. Maserati! Lamborghini! Mercedes! Range Rover! I further inquired about the type of gasoline they’d fuel their car. “The best!” “High octane!”   What about tires, I continued to probe… They named outlandishly expensive tires and rims that I’ve never heard of. Lastly I asked if how they cared for their dream care would affect the car’s performance. They agreed it would.

BINGO!!

So why would you take better care of your car than your body??   I could see the light bulbs going off! Lol!   Will it change the way they eat? Maybe. Maybe not. I tried to help them make a connection between diet and performance (mental & physical). If nothing else, they left the discussion with a little more insight with respect to what they eat.

All I can think about is Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative. What would FLOTUS say about these meals? Remember, I am not judging and know the process is not easy. I am however, asking important questions, looking for better solutions and challenging parents to do the same.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a fabulous day! 🙂

Additional Resources

Dietary Guidelines For Americans 2010

MyPyramid.gov

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 

Nutrition.gov 

healthfinder.gov 

Health.gov

Eatingwell.com

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA

Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

Food and Nutrition Service 

Food and Nutrition Information Center

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institutes of Health

Let’s Move!

Healthy People

U.S. National Physical Activity Plan Note: The U.S. National Physical Activity Plan is not a product of the Federal Government. However, a number of Federal offices were involved in the development of the Plan