The Power of “In a Minute”- How to Say No to Food Pushers

 saying-no-to-food-pushersNo one will ever care as much about your diet or weight loss goals as you. And it makes sense.Your health and wellness will affect no one but you. It’s your responsibility to prevent people or situations from steering you off track. That may sound a little harsh, but we stand firm on this. Ultimately, our successes or setbacks will be determined by our ability to make the best choices for ourselves. We know that our actions will either make or break us. Instead of depending on others to offer support and encouragement and help us be successful with our goals, we’ve made commitments to make ourselves totally accountable for what we do and why we do it, in order to continue to reach our goals.

Now, we’re not saying we’re not surrounded by people that love us and want to see us happy! We’re just saying.. there’s always that one auntie with the irresistible fudge brownie recipe. Every now and then, you’ll be presented with challenges like this. Some of these forks in the road may be shoved down your throat by food pushers. But more often than not, they will be well intended offers to participate in behavior that is simply NOT inline with your weight loss goals. Regardless of others’ intentions, you need to be mentally prepared to respond and act accordingly in these moments. Failing to plan ahead can leave you in a situation where you end up agreeing to something you’d rather not! Think ahead and roleplay the dialogue for some of those situations you may face. Have an action plan to avoid or combat a situation that may lead you down a path of regret the following morning. Don’t test your willpower unless you have to.

So why should you have to give sooooo much thought to something as simple as a visit to your relatives? Because it’s gonna happen. They’ll say, “Here, just have a little.” Or, “Just a taste won’t hurt.” Or, “But you have to try this.” And you won’t always want to go into a full discourse and explain exactly WHY you don’t want whatever they’ve got. We know it’s tough to have that convo in general, and even more so with the food pusher at the party. So instead of arguing, we introduce the magic of “in a minute”. Anytime we’re being pressured to eat something we know isn’t going to get help us achieve our goals, we simply reply with “in a minute”. Is someone nagging you to come grab seconds? In a minute! Are they pushing you to come get your pie? In a minute!

Most people will get the hint. You’re not interested right now. But if they keep attempting to force feed you, think baby in high chair style.. just repeat the statement or add to it by saying, “Thanks! But, I still want to wait a little bit” or “Not just yet!” Using words like these allows you to graciously handle unsolicited food advances that force you to eat when you don’t want to. These kinds of words make it possible for them to walk away feeling at peace that you’ve at least reassured them that you’ll eat eventually. Sometimes, these are just sweet people that view feeding others as the most direct expression of love. Like your grandparents! Anyway, eventually they’ll get distracted and never even realize you didn’t go back for that piece of pie you promised Grandma you’d have.

*Note

There are definitely different ways to address people in these situation. Incessant pushers may require a more direct approach. But for instances where this is just someone trying to offer you some food out of the kindness of their heart, “in a minute” will work just fine :)

Strawberry Fruit Leather

healthy-fruit-snacks-strawberry-fruit-leather

Remember those fruit roll ups we used to get in our lunches that came in the massive box from  Costco?? We needed to find more recipes to put the dehydrator to use instead of the usual dried fruit snacks we’ve been making on the regular since we bought the machine. Making our own fruit leathers at home allows us to be sure it’s all natural with no extra sugars or other additives. These make snack time a bit more exciting, especially for the kids, and we’re keeping it all simple with 2 ingredients. They make a great weight loss snack with only 21 calories and 1 gram of fiber per serving. 

No dehydrator? No problem-

  1. Wash and hull strawberries
  2. Blend the raw strawberries into a Vitamix or high speed blender until pureed.
  3. Add in lemon juice.
  4. Stir until combined.
  5. Pour the mixture onto a lined 11x17in cookie sheet with a Silpat baking mat or cookie tray lined with parchment paper. (The mat works better, but give it a try anyways- you’ll still get a tasty fruit leather either way)
  6. Place tray on middle rack and leave door slightly ajar
  7. Bake in oven at lowest setting (120-150° F) for 6-8 hours. 
  8. Check at hour 6 to see how they’re doing, add more time if necessary and this will depend on your oven settings. 
  9. The fruit leathers are done when they no longer have that gooey texture and you find them sticking to your fingers. You want them to be dry to touch and slightly sticky.  
  10. Roll parchment paper with fruit leather inside up, cut length wise
  11. Tie fruit leather snacks with string (because it’s cute like that)

healthy-weight-loss-snack-ideas-fruit-leather

 

Strawberry Fruit Leather
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Ingredients
  1. 5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
  2. 1 Tbs. lemon juice for each fruit mixture
Instructions
  1. Wash and hull strawberries
  2. Blend the raw strawberries into a Vitamix or high speed blender until pureed.
  3. Add in lemon juice.
  4. Stir until combined.
  5. Pour the mixture onto a separate dehydrator sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Dehydrate for 6-8 hours.
  7. The fruit leathers are done when they no longer have that gooey texture and you find them sticking to your fingers. You want them to be dry to touch and slightly sticky.
  8. Roll parchment paper with fruit leather inside up, cut length wise 12 fruit leather snacks and tie with string
Fit Lush http://www.fitlush.com/

How to be a Role model for Healthy Living

role-model-healthy-behavior

Wanna be a model? Here’s How to be a Role Model for Healthy Living-

When you’re as excited about healthy living as we are, it’s hard not to get excited about sharing your knowledge with those around you. We want to inspire others and motivate them to lead balanced lives that include nutritious food and regular physical activity. But what’s hard to come to terms with sometimes is the fact that we can’t control what others do and how they go about making decisions that affect their health. It’s even harder to accept when these are people that we love and cherish and want to have around forever. We can’t make them see things our way, but what we can do is influence them by role modeling healthy behaviors.

What are some ways you can model healthy behavior without pushing your beliefs on others?

#1 If you’re gonna talk about nutrition to somebody, be excited. Talk about it because you’re passionate about it. Not because you wanna show off how much you know or how much better you are for practicing a certain new diet fad. Depending on the way you present this info, it may come off as an insult to the other person.

#2 Cook a healthy meal for someone or invite them out to lunch or dinner to a restaurant that serves healthy food. Make it fun and make it inviting. Sometimes the reluctance stems from an unawareness that healthy can be exciting and delicious.

#3 Invite someone out for a walk instead of a drink. It’s a low impact activity that most can participate in. Plus you’ll have way more bonding time than you’d have people watching at the bar. Not to mention, you may gain a new walking buddy after they realize they love feeling their body moving!

#4 Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy options. Make them looks appetizing and inviting. A lot of times it’s about how accessible and easy a food is to eat. If you live with a chronic grazer, make it easy for them to graze on healthy snacks instead of junk food.

#5 Be inspiring. When you’re the fit one in your group, you may start to hear “Well, you can do that because you’re fit/healthy/motivated”. Remind them where you started and inspire them to start their own transformation.

Personal Story

I had to chug my beet juice before attempting to go through airport security. After breaking world records for gulping beet juice, I made my way to the line. The guard and probably everyone else in the airport witnessed my ferocious attempt to devour every last drop of my super juice. Naturally, the guard was curious and asked me what it was that I was inhaling so desperately. I go on to tell him about my blended juice with beets, apples, carrots, and ginger. He starts to tell me about how he’s been trying to get into juicing to improve his health, but is struggling to get down those kale juices. Long story short, I give him a brief, but detailed overview about ways to mask the bitterness of certain vegetables in smoothies and juices by adding an apple or pineapple or some other sweet fruit. He’s genuinely excited about this new information and promises me he’s going to give juicing another try.

Why was this such a positive experience for both parties? Because there was an interest. The guard’s curiosity made him open and receptive to what I had to say. Can you imagine if I’d just gone up to him and started blabbing to him about how he should be juicing instead of drinking whatever he was drinking?

If you want to inspire others, you’ll have to plant that seed of curiosity and nurture it until it’s ready. No more talking AT people! Make them wonder what you’re doing before you start making suggestions!

How do you choose to inspire?

 

Why We Need to Stay Hydrated and Drink More Water

proper-hydration

How drinking water can make you more awesome

What makes up 55-60% of our body? Water. H20. It plays a role in every process in the human body. That’s pretty amazing for something that’s basically free. And many of us take it for granted and overlook its value to our health. Whether it’s sweating in the summer heat or keeping dry skin at bay in the winter chill, water is key to keeping our bodies happy at the most basic cellular level.

If you’re not drinking enough water you’re essentially slowly killing yourself. Now that’s a little dramatic, but seriously, the list of its awesomeness goes on and on. It helps combat everyday stresses, fight fatigue, aids in digestion from saliva production to just keeping things moving, makes your metabolism more efficient, your skin more supple, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, flushes unwanted toxins from the body, helps your beautiful brain create hormones and neurotransmitters, keeps your mucosal membranes moist (think of your lung and digestive tissues.. and ya we had to use the word moist), transports nutrients from your foods (especially water soluble vitamins), and keeps your cells rejuvenated, reproducing, and surviving – we literally can not live without water. Did we mention we love water? It makes your insides and outsides awesome. Just like a real life BFF.

how-to-drink-more-water

So, are you drinking enough?

“What color is your pee?” That’s pretty much our first question when someone asks us if they’re drinking enough water. The color of your pee is a huge indicator of your hydration levels and you should be paying close attention to it throughout the day. Ideally, it should be a pale yellow or clear in color. If it looks like apple juice or a darker yellow, thats a definite sign that you need some water. STAT. But there are some other factors that can alter the color of your pee like vitamins, eating asparagus or even beets. Also, keep in mind that your water needs will vary based on your sex, size, activity level and surrounding weather. A good starting point is between 2-3 L depending on the above factors. Set your daily water drinking goal and measure your progress. If you’re struggling to keep your intake where you want it, shape your environment to trigger some hydration. Set an hourly goal for ounces, invest in a new water jug, keep your water within reach, add flavors to it by infusing your with fruit, leave for 20 minutes or overnight, whatever it takes! Our favorite trick for getting us to drink more water is using a straw. 

fruit-infused-water

How do you make sure you’re getting enough water?

Spicy Sriracha Hummus

spicy-sriracha-hummus

We’re going to continue to ride this Sriracha loving band wagon with our spicy Sriracha infused hummus recipe. It’s so delicious and easy to make. Best part about making your own hummus? It’s way tastier and we get to control what we put inside of it. Store bought hummus is seriously a thing of the past now. Hummus makes a great dip for veggies or as a spread with a sandwich. Not only do we love it, it’s totally man-Sriracha loving approved.

FYI- if your tolerance to spice is lower, start off with less Sriracha, maybe 1/2 tablespoon and add more if desired. 

spicy-sriracha-hummus-chick-peas

Spicy Sriracha Hummus
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Total Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 15oz. can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  2. 2-3 tbsp. sriracha sauce
  3. 2 tbsp. tahini
  4. 1 tbsp olive oil
  5. 3 tsp. lemon juice
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients except for oil to a blender or food processor and pulse to combine. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and pulse a few more times.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Notes
  1. If hummus is too thick, add water 1 tbsp. at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
Fit Lush http://www.fitlush.com/
sriracha-hummus-weight-loss-snack-dip-nutrition-information 

 

WTF is a Zoodle?

 what-is-a-zoodle

WTF is a zoodle? No, it’s not a pool apparatus that Sarah relies on to swim. You may have seen these zoodles working their way through the boards of Pinterest and onto so many dinner tables. Zoodles are only the easiest way to get your zucchini (and other vegetables) into that sexy noodle strand shape. “Z” = zucchini and “oodles”= noodles. Ta. Da.

Looking for a sneaky way to add more vegetables to your diet? Because even though you’re a mature adult, you still need to be tricked into eating them? We know some of you are die hard pasta fiends and the idea of switching over to a veggie based alternative is like giving away your first born. But sometimes, trying something new with an open mind, can totally transform your vegetable outlook and waistline.

So why do we think these are beyond awesome? Because they mean you can still eat those pasta like dishes without the added calories and carbs from pasta. No, we’re not carb haters. But in this instance, we’ll trade those for some added vegetable nutrients and fiber.

adding-more-vegetables-to-diet-with-zoodles

Keep it simple with easier to work with shaped veggies like zucchini, yellow squash, carrots and cucumbers. Once you master that, you can move onto more complex ones like jicama, beets, or cabbage.

The process is pretty simple: 1. Peel or wash the raw piece of produce (you can cook it once it’s been run through the zoodle) and 2. Use the zoodle to spiral down the vegetable into the noodle shape.

sneaky-way-to-eat-more-vegetables
Super important tip when making zucchini noodles- pat them dry and sprinkle with salt. Don’t skip the 25 minute wait period while their soaking, your zoodles texture will be dramatically different and not as appealing with how watered down they’ll get. 

salt-zoodles-to-remove-moisture

pat-dry-zoodles-with-paper-towel

You probably wanna buy a zoodle maker now, huh? Good! Keep in mind that these little guys can range from your basic thrifty machine to something super gadgety. Depending on how much of a food geek you are, you may want to start with a small investment. But really, it depends on where you’re at with the idea of eating veggies as pasta to begin with. If your initial thoughts are, “there’s no way I’m giving up my pasta BUT I’m willing to give this a try” then the Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Cutter may be a good start.  If you’re already planning your next dinner spread and thinking, “this sounds awesome!!!” we suggest going with the Mercedes Benz version Paderno Vegetable Slicer

Are you using one of these babies already?! Share your favorite recipe in the comments below!

PMS and Weight Loss: How Being On Your Period May Make You Feel Hungrier

feeling-hungry-while-on-period

This ones for the ladies, mostly. Sorry dudes.

It’s that time of the month. You ever feel like your stomach is a bottomless pit? Do you ask yourself if it’s normal to feel like you’d eat your way through the kitchen sink if no one was looking? You’re not alone.

Every month is a vicious cycle. If you’re lucky, you get 3 weeks of sanity before 1 week of absolute apocalyptic diet misery. Or if you’re like us, you’re stuck with 2 weeks of mental soundness and 2 weeks of torture. The week before, and often times, the week during our period, our hormones wreak absolute havoc on our minds, our moods, and our appetite. Basically, they annihilate any intent we had to participate in healthy eating habits and stick with our activity routines.

Our hormones naturally fluctuate during this time which leads to an increase in appetite and can even affect the way we perceive ourselves. Learning to understand the connection between those whacko hunger feelings and our menstrual cycle is key to being a little less miserable and a little more successful in staying on track with our goals. You’ll find yourself craving more carbs/sugar and fats. This is due to decreases in serotonin and increases in serotonin respectively.

Now, you may have heard that during the PMS phase we burn more calories. Before you go and raid your freezer ice cream selection, keep reading. The amount of extra calories needed during this period is mostly negligible. Studies estimate an increase in calorie needs of 4-9% which adds up to less than 500 calories per an entire cycle! That’s like 1 extra meal per month. *eye roll* So although you may feel ravenous, you don’t actually need many more calories. What a sick, sick joke.

Now, those munchies are pretty much inevitable, so what’s a girl to do? Stick to the basics. Aim for healthy, balanced foods that will fill you up like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and those high in protein. You’re gonna naturally crave more carbs and fat (I.e. chocolate) so make smart choices. Choose complex carbs that will give you sustained sugars and add in some healthy fats throughout the day. You may want to try SMF, small frequent meals, to eat more often but keep your overall intake about the same. Drink plenty of water and avoid salt to keep the bloating to a minimum.

And some non-food related things you can do? Make sure you get enough sleep! Remember our blog a few weeks ago on sleep and your cravings (here for more info on sleeping habits affecting weight loss). During this time, those same hormones, ghrelin and leptin, play a role to increase your appetite and cravings if you haven’t slept well enough. Also, make sure you don’t stop your exercise routine just because IT’S HERE. Keeping active will help you fight off some of those cravings and bummer feelings by releasing “feel good” chemicals in your brain. If you’re still feeling like you’re on an emotional roller coaster with food and your mood, try a different approach like taking a walk, getting a facial or mani/pedi, or binging on some TV.

Once we started to put it all together and recognize what was really going on in our bodies during this time of the month, the ravenous behavior eases up a bit. We know now there’s a reason for it and each month are better able to get a grip and not let our periods totally derail a whole 3 weeks worth of efforts. 

Confessions of a Chocoholic

Do we have some chocolate? #Duh. We don’t use our periods as an excuse to indulge, but if we want a piece, we practice balance and moderation as usual. Do we go overboard sometimes? #Duh. But we learn from it every time and make note of modifications we can make in the future. What we usually do if we really want it, is buy some pretty dark chocolate. We’re talking 86% cacao. It’s dark and fatty without too much of the sugar taste. Translation? You won’t feel like you can’t stop but you’ll still appease the chocolate monster within. And if you’re really desperate like Sofia, you can participate in a reasonable amount of #foodporn watching. We don’t really know what’s reasonable.. But Sofia has been known to watch up to 45 min daily of chocolate truffle making videos during that fantastic week. And she’s mostly just fine <3

 

Not your Average Peanut Butter – PB2 Review

pb2-fresh-look-review-powdered-peanut-butter

Powdered peanut butter? Or Powdered chocolate flavored peanut butter?! Sounds like space food right? Or maybe like something you take on a camping trip?

Well it’s not! It’s this amazing powdery goodness that allows you to make everything taste instantly better. Remember those idiotic Sensa weight loss commercials? You know, the ones where they’re shaking, more like dumping powdered random stuff into their food and prancing around? Ya, it’s like that kinda idea except it tastes amaaaaazing. And you don’t have to do a stupid dance.

Why we like it

It gives us the rich and filling taste of a peanut butter without all the added fat. Yes, we recognize the important role healthy fats play in our diets, but some days, those fats are just gonna send us over our caloric goal. So we choose PB2 as our alternative. You get the same amount of peanut butter taste for ¼ of the calories. The company has also confirmed they are GMO free. How awesome is that?

PB2-simple-weight-loss-swaps

What we do with it

EVERYTHING. Technically, you’re supposed to add water to reconstitute and make it spread like peanut butter. But we prefer real nut butters for spreads and use our PB2 as more of a sprinkle topping. We like to mix it into our plain greek yogurt and top it off with some delicious frozen berries. It tastes like a treat but it’s definitely a healthy snack in disguise. We also add it to our smoothies to give them that creamy nutty taste. And it even makes that plain oatmeal come alive and thicken up.. if you like that kinda thing.

how-to-use-PB2-weight-loss-snacki-deas

Definitely one of our top lifesavers on those days we wanna take a spoon to the jar! We have 2 words of caution and these may or may not have been real life scenarios.  Number 1, don’t get half way through the jar and think, ‘let me just add the water straight to the jar, mix, and store so I don’t have to mix later on’. Flavor is uh, inhibited and the longer you let it sit there in water and we’re talking over day periods, the worse the situation gets. Number 2, thinking PB2 is a good travel friendly carry on snack at the airport? You may be next in line for further TSA questioning. After telling them what the powdered like substance in which PB2 actually is, Ally was free to continue on her traveling journey #allaboutthatpeanutbutter.

Have you tried PB2? What do you put it on?!

Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad

watermelon-arugula-salad

Watermelon season is here! May starts the domestic season for watermelon and we couldn’t be anymore excited. No joke here when needing proof that they contain more than 90% water. After eating this salad, along with more watermelon slices before, during, and as dessert RIGHT BEFORE BED, Sarah (because Sofia wouldn’t make a mistake like this) made 7 trips to the bathroom. Hydration to the max.  

watermelon-feta-arugula-salad-for-weight-loss

We love this recipe all thanks to a combo from Aunt Bonnie and Baba (Sarah’s dad). Another one that dosent require too much prep. Not sure how this one would do as a mason jar take to work type salad for the next day, but we’re going to try that one next!

Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups arugula, packed
  2. 2 cups watermelon, medium diced or cubed
  3. ½ cup feta, crumbled
  4. ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced (or you can use red onion)
  5. 10 mint leaves
  6. 2 - 3 teaspoons olive oil
  7. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  8. 1 tablespoons balsamic reduction
  9. Pinch of Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, add arugula, watermelon, red onion, mint, and feta.
  2. Dress with about 2 - 3 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, or balsamic reduction, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Ta da. Enjoy!
Fit Lush http://www.fitlush.com/
calories-in-watermelon-feta-arugula-salad-lunch-ideas-for-weight-loss

 

Drinking Coffee and Your Weight Loss Goals

coffee-and-weight-loss

But first, coffee. Daily ritual that we don’t plan on changing anytime soon. 

Did you know espresso has less caffeine per shot than 1 cup of joe?

Why we love it

Were obsessed with caffeine drinking in all its forms. Hot or iced. Black or with coconut milk. Simple joe or deliciously frothy cappuccinos. It’s just one of life’s simple pleasures. Plus it helps us do everything at superhuman speed. Or at least we like to think so.

cappucinno-cafe-bassam-drinking-coffee-for-weight-loss

So what’s the story

Someone says coffee and the first thing people think about is probably caffeine, right? So what’s the deal with all that caffeine? Is it good or bad for me? Bottom line, it’s a stimulant. What this translates to for us is more energy, more activity, and better workouts. It also acts as a mild appetite suppressant which leads to reduced cravings. There’s also a minor boost to your metabolism with added caffeine. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not at all dehydrating. Plus, it has tons of antioxidants that help with immune health and recovery from exercise. It’s a unanimous yes from our panel of judges (Sarah & Sofia).

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Coffee bar status. Told you- we take coffee drinking seriously here. 

Current Recommendations

The study of food and human nutrition is a relatively new science. It’s no wonder dietary recommendations are constantly changing. That’s why we’re always advocating balance. But anyway, we celebrated a little when we saw the release of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans includes an allowance of up to 5 cups of coffee a day (400 mg caffeine). And they didn’t just say it was OK, they said it was GOOD for you. Score! Just don’t over do it. Drinking more than you can tolerate can leave you feeling stressed and anxious which may lead to more eating. Not to mention the possibility of interruptions to your regular sleep habits and as a result, your appetite regulating hormones.

The Don’ts

So you’re already planning your next visit to the coffee shop? Hold it right there! This is where you can make or break your weight loss goals with the choices you make. Keep it simple often as possible and skip all the added fats and sugars.

  • Limit syrups or skip them altogether if you can manage. Each pump can add at least 20 calories. And you know those drinks have way more than 1 pump.
  • Choose non-fat milks, or other milk alternatives like almond milk and coconut milk.
  • Skip the whip and other creams. You don’t need the extra calories or saturated fats.
  • Don’t be afraid to add an extra shot to your favorite brew, americano, latte or cappuccino! You’ll get the caffeine and possibly be able to skip the need for another drink later.


If you gotta have that dessert drink, go for it. Indulge. But keep ‘em to a minimum. And don’t get into the habit of using sugar-free syrups to make yourself feel better about them. Besides, that stuff tastes like and is like CRAP.

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