The Value of Reading Food Labels

We are one month and twelve days into 2019. Even if you did not commit to a traditional New Year Resolution, I bet you set some type of goal for yourself. How’s it going?

The top objectives for people in the new year are to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, and to save money.

If your goal has anything to do with eating healthy or losing weight, pay close attention. The most important new skill you should adopt is to learn to read food labels. Read before you buy.

Vegan Avocado Wrap

Case in point, look at this mouth-watering avocado wrap.

So you’ve bought this beauty.

Now you can’t wait to sink your teeth into it.

You sit down, open the package, and prepare to dig in.

Then, you notice this small 1.4 oz. packet.

The sweet chili sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and spice that you think you crave. Mouthwatering.

Thankfully you have the conscious mind (yes you do) to flip the packet over and you read the nutritional label.

Ahem!

Look. At. This. Mess! Bulging eyes!!

1. I rarely count calories, but this is a bit much.

2. The sodium content is all wrong! 530mg? That’s salt baby!!! If you’re monitoring your blood pressure, DON’T DO IT!

3. For the sugar addicts, 23 grams of sugar in a 1.4 oz. packet is preposterous!

The chili sauce is a precise example of why you must remain disciplined to read the labels on everything you buy.

If you are ever going to reach your goals, I urge you to commit to taking the first step to read the label before you buy anything for consumption.

Also, there are many Apps where you can search menu items from popular restaurants. When I trained for my figure competitions, I used MyPlate to track my macros. You can search for food by restaurants and get nutritional values.

Here I did a random Chic-Fil-A menu search. when you tap on the food item, the App gives you total calories, protein, fat, and carbs. It’s simple but helpful. If you are aware of the nutritional value of the food you are about to eat, the knowledge may deter you from completing the order and inspire you to change up. ūüôā

This post is short and sweet but I need you to understand the connection between what’s on your plate and how snug your jeans fit.

Set aside your fitness regime because no matter how hard you exercise, if you’re not eating right, your clothes ain’t gonna fit right. TTYL


Pay attention to the things you are naturally drawn to.
They are often drawn to your path, passion, and purpose in life.  Have the courage to follow them.
-Ruben Chavez

I am at conflict.  Like really feeling some kinda way.

Only two weeks into my journey, I promised myself that I would not to turn into a wacky extremest.¬†¬†Hmm…¬† I am the only person in my household on this vegan trip.

No one is interested in a plant-based diet, so I have to cook two different meals, which isn’t new for me. ¬†Right before I started training for my first figure competition,¬†I began to eat clean (avoiding processed foods), so I cooked “clean” meals for me and regular meals for my family.

If you are not vegan, please; keep reading!¬† I am not trying to gross you out or offend¬†you. I am sharing my private thoughts…that’s all.¬† You might have initiated some kind of change in your life and are facing a struggle with its execution.

To¬†shift our behavior to more¬†positive behavior requires some level of self-awareness and self-regulation (factors of emotional intelligence). Efficiently being aware of and managing our emotions can guide our thinking and our actions through the muddle and eventually achieve our goals. That’s what this post is about… me sharing¬†my private thoughts with you and while sorting through conflicting emotions.¬† If this post helps one person, then it is worth my time and effort.

This blog is devoted to sharing insight on how to improve Health & Wellness (HW).  The food and beverage we consume impacts our physical, mental and overall well-being.

Chicken drumsticks

Ugh!

Anyways, while seasoning a pan of drumsticks for my peeps, all I could see where thousands of ill-health chickens squashed together in coop.

Then there’s the realization of the sheer volume¬†of antibiotics and other chemicals that were injected… the thoughts produced feelings of guilt.¬† Yes. Guilt!

Why guilt?  Because I do the grocery shopping and cooking for my family.  If I prepare plant-based meals, they will be annoyed with me.

My 15-year-old son ain’t trying to eat plant-based…period.¬† Hubby and mom.¬† They enjoy meat too.

Knowing more about the effects of meat on the body, makes me feel bad.¬† I feel like I’m feeding them chemicals and contributing to future health problems.¬† I have to figure how out how to manage my unsettling emotions without passing judgment for their dietary choices. After all, other vegan family members have never judged me for sucking chicken off a bone or for eating a half dozen shrimp saturated in butter.¬† I’m merely trying to keep things in perspective.

Read More

Private Thoughts Of A Transitioning Vegan


Day 5 Of My Vegan Challenge

It is day five of my personal vegan challenge.   I fear that I will run out of plant-based meals or become bored with my options.  To prevent my fear from coming to fruition, I am fiercely planning meatless meals.

In addition to reading online articles about vegan diets, I unpacked Russell Simons, The Happy Vegan. ¬† Two years ago I bought the book, but I never finished reading it. ¬†Why I don’t know.

This go around, I am more focused, and I am enjoying the read.

A friend introduced me to tempeh.

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Tempeh is funny looking.¬† Not very appealing to the eye. It is a fermented soy-based¬†vegetarian food that is common in Asia.¬† Tempeh is reported to elevate hormones levels and trigger breast cell production, so “if you have a history of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer,” you should talk to your doctor.

Anyways, while I do limit my soy intake, I decided to try it. Of course, I had to put my spin on it.  So without a recipe and using only the package instructions, I made a new and tasty dish.

First I melted Kerrygold butter.¬† ¬†Yes.¬† I know it’s dairy.¬† One thing at a time.¬† Meat first, then dairy.¬† At least it’s butter from plant fed cows.

Then I added minced garlic and the entire packet of tempeh (cubed).  Instructions said to add soy sauce and cook until golden but to avoid the sodium, I skipped that step. Instead, I added vegetable broth.  Then I tossed in a little red, yellow and orange peppers, 1/2 jalapeno, and then a serving (3 teaspoons) of hemp seeds.

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I let it simmer until the tempeh softened and I could split the cubes.  It looked dull, naked, and lacked color, so I added green beans.

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The Pot!

 

 

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My plate!  It was magnificent!

For dinner on Tuesday, I added Lima beans to my spaghetti squash…¬† Another good one!

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But on Tuesday, I also cooked curry and turmeric quinoa.

The ingredients:

1 cup of quinoa
1 Tbs of olive oil
1 medium to large size garlic clove
1 jalapeno pepper
1 regular size can of organic black beans (rinsed)
1 can garbanzo beans (thoroughly rinsed)
1 can of regular or fire roasted diced tomatoes or regular unsalted stewed tomatoes
1 – 1/2 cups of organic low sodium vegetable broth
3-4 Tbs of organic curry (estimate… add until the quinoa turns yellow)
2-3 Tbs of organic turmeric (estimate)

Add olive oil, minced garlic, and jalapeno to saucepan. Soften then combine remaining ingredients. Cook on high for about 5 minutes, then simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes.  If it dries out before the quinoa is soft, add a little more vegetable broth.

Enjoy!!  I found the original Mexican Quinoa on Pinterest at damdelicious.net.
If the curry is a little too much for you, try the Mexican dish.

I am doing okay this week and will continue to search for new recipes.

If you read my post, Why My Son Wants To Help His Grandmother, or This Happened Today then you know my son is trying to help my mom quit smoking.

A quick update.  Tailor continues to convince my mom to walk to the mailbox after dinner, but she is still smoking.  She has talked about smoking fewer cigarettes so only time will tell.  I give him an A for effort.

As I previously wrote, I failed at my first attempt at a vegan diet, but I haven’t given up.¬† Perhaps two years ago wasn’t the right time for me eliminate all meat from my diet. What I am sure about is that, although I failed once, it doesn’t mean I can’t take another shot at it.¬† And no.¬† I am not trying to convince anyone to become vegan, I am merely sharing my journey.¬† In a future post, I will write more about my decision to give up meat.

Modify. Adapt. Assess. Revaluate. But don’t give up on what’s important to you.

 


Why You Should Eat A Dish You Hated As A Child

Life’s ironies are surprising.¬† Childhood repugnances grow¬†to become adult favorites.

Recently grabbing a bag of Lima beans and placing them in my shopping cart had me cracking up.

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Because as a child, if you told me Lima beans were being served for dinner, my face became contorted and jacked up. Without throwing shade to any of the cooks in my past, no matter who cooked Limas, they were dry as hell.  But you knew not to complain; that was never an option.

I’ve decided to make an attempt at veganism again.

I am NOT discouraged by failure.

In 2016, for three months I was successful with a vegan diet.  I am not sure exactly why I started eating chicken and turkey again.  But I do remember having concerns about protein intake. In bodybuilding, protein intake is a crucial element to building muscle mass.

To be successful this go-round, I am better prepared and have 1.¬† Read more articles like this.¬† ¬†2. Substituting more plant-based protein then I did before. I have plenty of vegan recipes pinned to my board on Pinterest. 3.¬† Instead of overwhelming myself with an “I will never eat meat again” goal, I have set weekly goals, will plan better, and allow for hiccups.

So today I cooked the Limas in the crockpot.¬† I forgot to measure the seasoning and broth but it’ hard to go wrong¬†and its more about getting the flavor that you enjoy.¬† Cooking beans are easy.¬† I don’t bother soaking them.¬† I toss everything in the crock-pot and cook on low¬†for around¬† 6 hours or cook on high for 4-5 hours.

  1. 1 lb bag of  dry beans
  2. 2 Jalapeno peppers (1 is fine).
  3. Fresh ground ginger
  4. 1 large sweet onion (chopped)
  5. Freshly Himalayan sea salt (or another salt)
  6. Fresh ground pepper
  7. 1 1/2 boxes of low sodium vegetable broth (enough to cover the beans because you¬†don’t¬†want your beans to dry out)

I know, I really have to learn to measure my food.

After the beans soften up, taste test and add seasoning to your taste and enjoy over quinoa, brown rice, black rice, spaghetti squash or something else.

 

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Crock-pot Prepared

 

Mmm… these Limas are moist, delicious and healthy.¬† Considered a “Fiber Allstar,” only¬†one-cup of Limas are packed with 29 grams of protein. Read more about Limas here.

If you’ve hated these as a kid, give ’em a try, you might like them now. I do!

 

 


How To Eat Well While Traveling 

Who’s says you have to eat junk when taking road trips or quick getaways?  Seriously if you have time-  wait. My bad.  I mean, if you make time to prep before traveling, you won’t get stuck eating sh** then feeling like sh**.  


Instead of relying on horrible and packaged rest stop or airport food that ultimately leave you feeling sluggish, lethargic, and Sleepy, take control with a trip to the market before leaving. 


Slice your food if necessary, then wash and dry them. 


Yeah, you’ll need to invest a little time, but I promise, you’ll be glad that you did. ūüôā


Pick your favorite fruits and veggies and have fun with packing. I forgot the carrots and celery but I have plenty of natural sugar and vitamins.  Slice and peel the oranges so there’s no mess in the car, train, bus, airplane, or even the beach. 


A great way to monitor your portions is to pick up a box of portion pack snack bags from Walmart.  Mmm- blueberries! 

Don’t forget to wash the appples too. Put them in sandwich bags or gallon size freezer bags. Again, all the hard work is done in advance. 

For a refreshing treat, mix the blueberries or strawberries with some granola. Yummy! 

 

Then enjoy your trip! ūüôā

Enjoy your holiday weekend. 


I Don’t Have To Know You To Care About You

‚ÄúI‚Äôll have an order of hot wings, spicy please and a Coors Light.”

At 25 years old, this was my standard dish after my aerobic class. With my workout partner sitting across the table from me, we laughed ridiculously about class, our uncoordinated moves, and how fine the instructor was.

We were young, slim, and trim, and as far as we were concerned, we were going to stay that way forever.  Lol! When you’re young, you think that way; at least I did.  

Recently I saw a video of “The Stanky Leg Workout,” and I laughed so hard. These people have a blast dancing to a choreographed aerobic workout. The class is getting their cardio in, as well as getting their heart-rate up.  

For some reason, the video reminded me of the early ’90s when me and my girl worked out then feasted on the hot wings and beer.

I wondered what the participants in the class ate after their Stanky Leg Workout. I wondered if it mattered to them or if they understood how important their post-workout meal is to the hard work they put in during class.

After all, when I was 25, I didn’t give a hoot about post-workout nutrition. It didn’t matter. I was lean; I could not gain weight, I did not have any fitness goals, so what I ate did not matter. We worked out because it was fun. Both of us were married and with kids. We enjoyed the hour of “me time” away from work and family.  If this is the case with you; that’s cool; enjoy every minute!  If you workout for additional reasons, this post is for you. ūüôā

What are your fitness goals?

lexawrites.com

Fitness goals motivate your behavior.  Fitness goals dictate what you do before, during, and after your workout.  Your goals move you to live better. 

lexawrites.com

I am not an expert, a certified nutritionist, a certified personal trainer, or any other fitness pro (yet); however, for over 20 years, I have lived a healthy lifestyle and continue to educate myself in the world of fitness and nutrition.  It just keeps getting better.

I care about myself and…

I care about you!  I don’t have to know you to care about you.

Every day I see the results of unhealthy lifestyles. I see it in children, parents, and my family. I have lost family members to cancer, diabetics, and morbid obesity. It hurts.

When I see an obese child, it makes me sad; and I want to cry. I know it is likely they are teased in school.  If nothing changes for these children  (or their parents), they will experience a lifetime of struggle, some may fail to reach their full potential in life.  The prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States is disturbing. 

By the way, I AM NOT saying that a person cannot be heavy or large and be in shape and live happily. I’m talking about lifestyles that lead to major healthy issues such as, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and more.

I want to take these obese children and the parent by the hand and tell them there is a better way. In reality tho, I’d probably be told to mind my business, so I stay in my lane.

I receive daily emails, texts, private FB messages, and phone calls from people asking me for help; these inquiries compelled me to write this post.  My advice to you is to sit down and decide what your goals are and to write them down.

Don’t generalize: “I want to lose 20 pounds.” Instead, be specific:

To reduce my blood pressure to ______ and to reduce or get off my medication, I want to lose 20 pounds.

Start a food journal.  For three or four days, write down the following:

  1. What you ate/drank.
  2. How much ate (estimate don’t measure).
  3. When you eat (time of day).
  4. Why you’re eating (breakfast, lunch, stress, boredom, at a party, etc…).
  5. How you felt after you ate.

This may seem time-consuming and cumbersome; however, to get the results, you MUST do the work… inside the gym and outside. There are no quick fixes.

If you don’t understand what you do or why you do it, you cannot make progress.

So what should you do after any workout?

Eat within an hour. If you are not going home immediately after your workout, pack your meal, and take it with you to your workout. Eat it in the locker room, in the car, or on the bus, just eat.  After a workout, your body is in recovery and needs fuel to recover.

If you’re into bodybuilding, pre and post-meal workouts are more complicated.  This post is for the average person.. if there is such a thing.

Eat what?  This will vary greatly depending on your fitness goals.

Generally speaking, avoid:

  • fast food
  • fried foods
  • processed food (such as lunch meat)
  • sugary drinks/soda (including diet sodas and fruit punch)
  • packaged foods
  • frozen foods (except vegetables and fruits)
  • can foods

Try eating:

  • green/leafy food (spinach, broccoli, kale, collards, brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc..)
  • lean meat (skinless, boneless chicken, turkey, beef, etc…)
  • fish
  • beans (sometimes I use organic canned beans, but I always rinse them thoroughly)
  • water
  • brown rice or pasta
  • Quinoa
  • yams/sweet potatoes
  • whole wheat vs. white
  • yogurt (plain with fresh fruit)

This lists above are general.  Again, depending on your health and fitness goals, your diet will vary.

Before starting any fitness regimen or nutrition plan, you should ALWAYS discuss it with your doctor.

Likewise, if you are being treated by your doctor for any condition, discuss and develop a plan with them.  Safety and overall wellness should always be your first priority.

I hope this helps. 

Thanks for stopping by. Have a fabulous day!