Moon Pies

I have a head ache today ūüė¶

And I think it is because of these…

moon pies

Yes friends… that is a box of 12 delicious moon pies.

So why are these in my house?

Because this guy came to visit this weekend!

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And in all of his sweetness he brought me chocolate goods!

This is also the reason to my lack of words last Thursday and Friday.

But it’s all good, because I will gladly take the headache and tummy trouble if it means seeing this face for 44 hours!

And in his defense, he didn’t force me to eat 3 moon pies.

I’m just extra good at things like eating large portions of treats.

So today I have nothing for you except a picture of a handsome guy and to say the fabulous winner of the glass canister’s has yet to respond to my email so if they do not by midnight tonight, I will be re-drawing and email the new winner.

So please check you inbox!

Happy Monday friends and I promise to make up tomorrow for today ūüôā

Websites that Work

I find being healthy so much easier when I have a support system. And for me, part of my support system are websites and apps that help me stay on track. Today I would like to share with you my top 5 websites and/or apps that help me stay healthy.

1. MyFitnessPal.com

In my “contact” section I give you all my name and info to find me on myfitnesspal… the reason I do this is is because of accountability and that is exactly what myfitnesspal offers me. I can log everyday what I eat and when I eat it and not only will my calories be counted but I can also see my macro-nutrient intake. When you find friends, it makes the accountability that much stronger as your friends can view what you are eating.This website also has the availability to help you track your exercise as well. This website also has an app for most smart phones.

2. runningmap.com

When I first found this website, I was in awwwwwww! After registering, you can type in the zip code of where you want to run at and by dropping points along the streets you run you can map precisely the distance you run. I find this to be especially great if you are training for any distance race.

3. bodyrock.tv

This website is a great resource, not only does it has fabulous workouts (most which only last 16 minutes), but it also has great nutrition guides as well. I’m not crazy about the personalities on this website but I do know that these workouts are legit!

4. zuzkalight.com

Originally, the above website was done by this girl. So when her and her husband split, she started her own site and I LOVE it!!!! There is not quite the amount of workouts in her archives as the above site, however I find her personality much more endearing and this website all around more enjoyable.

5. sarahfit.com

This website is full of great reads, workouts and even a few recipes. She is fun, personal and all around someone who you won’t mind watching and learning from.

I personally like to place all of these links in a folder n my bookmark tab that says “Daily Reads” and then it’s that much easier for me to have them at my disposal. So go check these out and let me know what you think.

**I am not affiliated with any of these companies and am not compensated for my opinions which these are.**

An Apple A Day….

Alright friends, the winner for the glass canister set has been chosen and emailed. Thank you all so much for participating and please email me with any other ideas you may have in mind for future contest and as always, please let me know what you have been wondering about concerning health.

An Apple A Day…

It’s that time of year again when hay rides are abundant, apples are in season, and trips to the orchard are happening often. In my opinion, and many others it’s the best time of the year! But did you know it can also be the best time of the year for your health?

Despite all the conversations happening about colds, flus and other viruses… apples may just be exactly what we need to transition our health from summer to fall without any auto-immune fail. Add the apple goodness with the slightly cooler temps, and good health in the form of exercise and healthy eats are a no brainer.

So why are apples so great for your health?

1. They help you breathe easier…

The anti-oxidant Quercitan (found in apple skins) helps in lung cell rejuvenation.

2. They can heal your dry scalp…

Specifically apple cider vinegar can be rubbed into your scalp to help combat dandruff.

3. They make for skinnier recipes…

By using unsweetened apple sauce in your baking recipes instead of oils, you can reduce the overall calorie count as well as reduce fat.They help with bone health…

4. They help maintane bone health…

Apples contain a flavonoid called phloridzin which French scientists are correlating to strong bones and the reversal of osteoporosis (especially in woman).

5. They help manage diabetics…

Apples have a nutrient called pectin, and pectin has been shown to provide the body with galacturonic acid, which helps in maintaining blood sugar levels. ** Please check with your doctor before using apples to regulate your diabetes **

6. They help you remember…

Cornell University recently came out with a study which showed a link between Alzheimer’s prevention and Quercitan, which is found in apples.

7. They help with digestion…

The perfect balance of Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium and Calcium in apples helps to reduce and neutralize acids within the stomach.

Now that you are filled in on the good news that is apple health, go eat an apple and have a healthy and happy day.

Venison 3 Bean Chili

If Coop would have been here… yesterday would have been one of the best days of my life.

I woke up in the morning and went to church with my family, followed by brunch. After I came home and spent an hour or so with my grandma. She then left with my uncle for a family funeral and I stayed back. I started cooking, which you all know is something unbelievably relaxing for me and before I knew it Ray LaMontagne’s music was playing on my laptop. I had a light dinner and then an hour later I made it outside for a long run. There were only a few clouds in the sky, a crisp wind and with every stride I felt a little bit lighter. It was perfect!

It was one of those days in which I purposely stopped often to soak up the moment and be thankful for my blessings!

But back to the kitchen and what I cooked up…

Yesterday was the first day of fall so it only seemed right to cook up something perfect for cool afternoon. Something that would be hearty, filling, delicious, and most of all… healthy!

3 bean venison chili

Venison 3 Bean Chili…

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Can of Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can of Tri-Colored Beans (Pinto, Black & Kidney)
  • 1 Pound of Venison
  • 2 tsp of Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp of Salt
  • 1 tsp of Pepper
  • 1 Small Onion

Directions:

  1. Soak your venison for about 20 minutes in hot salt water.
  2. Squeeze the venison in your hand to ring out the water and then place in a frying pan.
  3. Salt and pepper the meat lightly then brown. Concentrate on breaking up the meat with a wood spoon so that the meat is very finely browned.
  4. While the meat is browning, drain and rinse your beans and then place them to the side.
  5. Chop your onion and set that aside.
  6. In a large pot, empty your cans of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
  7. Once you venison is browned, combine with beans and onion, and then place into your large pot.
  8. Add your spices into your chili and then let cook on low with a top for 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

Now before you throw out this recipe, please let me explain a few things.

The reasons I use venison instead of turkey are because one… my brother and I hunt so venison is easily available. Two… venison is unbelievably lean which makes “healthify-ing” recipes very easy. Also, I hear often someone say they don’t like venison. Generally speaking I ask them why and they say it tastes to strong. I then ask if they (or whoever prepared it) soaked the meat before cooking it and 99% of the time I get a “no”. By soaking venison, you take away the rich blood in it which lightens the flavor.

This recipe does take a lot of time, but one thing I can promise you is that by cooking broths, sauces and chili’s you enhance the flavor which allows you to reduce the overall need for salt. For me, this is a no brainer especially if I can cook these types of things in advance or on days when I have time to spend at home.

I really enjoy the 3 different types of beans in this chili. It allows for great fiber, a great supply of healthy carbohydrates and fats, and also delivers an overall better range of nutrients. The 3 types of beans also give a better feeling of full which is great if you have growing boys around or men who like to eat a lot while watching football.

Well friends, that is it for me today. I hope you are having a great start to a new week and don’t forget to enter Friday’s giveaway if you have yet to! The winner will be announced tomorrow and emailed for shipping information.

A Weekend Challenge

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Today I have a challenge for all of us as well as a giveaway for you. Now I have never done a giveaway before so please be patient with me if I do not do it how you would prefer.

First off, the challenge!

Weekend Challenge NOS

So I completely understand that there are many diets out there that say you should never consumer salt, EVER if you want to be healthy, fit, pretty, regularly moving your bowels…. and so on. The same is true for the topic of sugar. Although I find these items wonderfully delicious, I personally have to reign myself in from time to time and cut them out completely for a few days to give my body a break from the madness.

Considering I do not do this everyday, it makes for a fun challenge. So here I am Friday, cutting out sugar, salt and second helpings from my vocabulary and diet for the next 4 days… yes, today, Saturday, Sunday AND Monday I will not be eating any of the above.

Don’t worry friends, it sounds much worse than it is. In fact, just to prove to you all how much fun a weekend food challenge can be, I’m going to do a giveaway today!!!

Glass Canister Giveaway

With fall right around the corner, I am starting to crave warm foods that are comforting and filling. I find that these canisters are the perfect way to store my soups, pasta dishes and hot drinks. They have a rubber lip on the inside of the seal which makes for great traveling. I was at a few stores this week and picked up a few here and there and now I am sharing the love! The fact that they are glass also means that you don’t have to worry about chemicals like BPA getting heated into your food if you choose to heat directly in these glass gars.

So here are the rules… everyday that you comment below, you get entered into this giveaway. This means that you can enter 4 times from now until Monday. And the way you enter is by commenting on this post and telling me about a previous post of mine you like and why. I will then (using a website calculator), total the number of entries and randomly pick a number. That number entry will win!

So there you have it… a challenge and a giveaway! Have a wonderful sugarless, salt-less, second’s free weekend and make sure to tell all your friends about the free goods happening here!

The Reason For The Words

“To provide hope and resources for those without life’s essentials.”

Feed The Children mission statement

If only those were my words! Do you ever stop and look around at the turmoil right in front of you. I don’t mean watching the news, I mean truly seeing through untainted eyes, people. Their struggles, their mistakes, the beauty of the raw emotion happening. Do you ever see the hope, grace and mercy that they are receiving in that moment?

I recently stumbled upon The Novo Project, and a little flame was lit within my heart. You see, I have this dream, a desire in fact. I long to make this blog more than a blog. More than a place of information, but instead I long for it to be a cycle of people helping one another.

I have been unbelievably blessed to currently have ties to both the city of Detroit as well as the city of Nashville. And although on different scales, they both have needs. I recently occurred to me that so many people sit around and speak so poorly of Detroit and quite frankly act as if I am victimized by the state in which Detroit is however I am feeling unbelievably blessed to be able to witness firsthand the need that is here. It has allowed me to develop a perspective and view as well as compassion for those who are living without the essentials that so many of us have.

Can I be very vulnerable with you for a moment and really share with you my dream? I would like to eventually offer services here, and rather than pocket the profit, I would like to sponsor 2 or 3 charities, or non-profit organizations each month and have all revenue go towards their efforts. I want to focus on food, children and the disabled. I want to show the world the need that I have been exposed to. And ultimately, I want to help meet those needs.

You see that little sentence up there under my blog title? It says change YOUR life by stepping into the kitchen… someday I hope WE can changes LIVES by stepping into our kitchens. Not only do I believe that you and I together can make our own lives and health more beneficial through the healing power of foods, but I also believe if done correctly, we can help others change their lives as well.

Here are a few charities and non-profit organizations that I have been drawn to lately. You should check them out and allow yourself to:

Share Our Strength

Also known as No Kid Hungry not only provides children with food, but they also educate the family on how to get and cook healthy food.

Doctors of the World

An organization that provides health care, both emergency and long term to population in need around the world.

The Hunger Project

I especially love the mission statement of this organization…¬†“To end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots,women-centered¬†strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in countries throughout the world.” ¬†In their vision they speak about giving individuals self-reliance AND dignity.

Health Corps

This organization provides schools with resources to teach it’s students about healthy living in many ways.

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While researching needs in the metro-Detroit and metro-Nashville area, I was amazed to see the lack of resource for young moms who chose to keeps their babies and raise them. This subject has always been dear to my heart and I intend on also reaching out to this population and somehow helping meet the need with resources, love, grace, mercy and any other support.

Mrs. Obama’s Cause

Ever since¬†1797 and Abigail Adams, the first lady of this country has chosen a cause to make her own. And throughout her husband’s term(s) she makes efforts to see whatever cause it is that she has chosen, make headway in our country and society.

During the last 6 years, Mrs. Obama has taken on the cause of childhood obesity. No matter what you think of her husband and his views on politics, I think we can all agree that this cause of her’s is something of great value.

Today I read this article that talks about Mrs. Obama asking the “junk” food companies to stop marketing “sweet and salty foods” for young children. And as much as I applaud her efforts to reach out to an audience (multi-million dollar companies) that are not usually reached out to… well, I don’t think this is going to work. I don’t think that these companies are going to stop marketing their product. If they did, well their sales would drop, which would result in their stock dropping and then possible damage to the company over all.

Her idea is brilliant, reach out to a new audience and ask for their involvement to stop childhood obesity. However in a society who believes money equals power, well, this effort will probably fall flat.

I’ve said before on this blog that I have experience with children. In fact I once took the time to count how many children I have helped raised (nannying and long term babysitting) and the total is 12. And although I have had the opportunity to gain much experience with these little ones, I didn’t gain the experience of being financially responsible for them. With saying that, I have a theory, but there is a great chance that I am wrong. Here it is…

If it was financially easier to provide your children with healthy food (fruits, vegetables, purified water, grass fed organic meats), you would do it. If it was easier to cook dinner for your children, ever night and a parent was able to stay home rather then work, that would be the reality for your family.

I really do look up to Mrs. Obama and her boldness with her cause of ending childhood obesity. I think she is courageous, smart and a great inspiration considering she herself chooses to eat healthy and workout daily… but I think this is yet another failed attempt to bring awareness to this issue.

What do you think? In your opinion, how can this issue be approached, fixed and what part should the big companies have in it?

Boozing Weight Loss

You are at a kids birthday party and the hostess walks by offering¬† “mommy juice” in either the form of wine coolers or wine. You are at a baseball game and that guy with the beer seems to only be walking around YOUR section. It’s date night and the fact that you ate a salad makes a glass of wine or a drink at the bar even more appealing. It’s another dreaded shower (baby or bridal) and between the lame games, the stranger conversation and the lack of real food, another mimosa seems to be just what is needed.

And then the next morning, or the next weigh in day comes around and despite your near perfection eating and exercise routine… the scale has only negative things to say.

We have all done it… had an amazing week in terms of food and exercise but for whatever reason sprinkled in some drinking. And in a culture where it is more than ok to do this, in fact it’s socially the right thing to do, ¬†many of us get beyond frustrated when the above situation happens.

Now we all know that drinking lowers you inhibitions which may lead to eating junk food, or drinking more… but what if there is another reason why you can’t seem to shake off pounds with a drink in your hand? What if it isn’t JUST the empty calories?

Enter Phytoestrogen… it’s in your drinks and it’s out to get you! You see phytoestrogen, in this case specifically the phytochemical resveratrol is a bit of a back stabber. Although it has been talked up to be something so great for your health (think diabetes and heart disease prevention), it does something not so great as well. It helps you turn into a fat storing machine.

That’s right… and I’m terribly sorry to break up your love fest with that glass of red wine that awaits you when your children have been, well… monsters. But, science doesn’t lie… at least not usually.

So how does this happen you ask… good question ūüôā You see, hormones within the body must be maintained at the correct balance for everything to go well and as planned. So when you dump a whole lot of one hormone into your body, it naturally affects the other hormones. Think of it as he following math equation { 1 + 3 = 4 }. Now if we change that 1 to a 2, and we still need to get 4 at the end, the equation now looks like { 2 + 2 =¬†4 }.¬†All is well until that 3 decreases to a 2 and can no longer do its job.

So this translates to: phytoestrogen dumps estrogen into your blood, your estrogen level should be at a 1, but now it’s at a 2 which throws off other hormones in your blood and pushes them down from 3’s to 2’s. Now that all that estrogen is in your blood, and the other hormones can’t do their job you end up with some estrogen dominance which results in your body screaming to hold on to fat at any and all causes.

Houston, we have a problem!

I would love to at this point, in this post tell you that there is this special herb which you can take to block that estrogen dumping, but there isn’t. At least not yet! So until some really motivated college student who doesn’t want to get fat takes their bio-chem class REALLY serious and then wakes up a genius one morning as well as a soon to be millionaire ( Curtis Thorsby¬†– Party Armor ), well I guess we all have to re-think this whole drinking while trying to lose weight thing.

Depressing post, huh! I have no pointers for you today, no way to slow down this process or ways in which you can trick your bio-chemistry make up. Just some hard science.

But cheer up friends… tomorrow is Wednesday which means we can all walk around with that camel hump day commercial playing in our heads!

Let’s Talk About

Happy Monday everyone! I had a really exciting Friday and it was all in thanks to you. Not only was my blog post from Thursday (Ella Style Weight Loss) featured in an online magazine, but I also had the most views on this here blog, well… ever on Friday. Thank you so much for believing in me and my passion, for passing my blog name around and for taking the time out of your busy lives to read what I have to say.

lets talk

Let’s talk about food baby,

let’s talk about you and me,

let’s talk about all the good things,

and the bad things that may be.

Let’s talk about food.

So let’s get talking…

I had an interesting conversation this Saturday with a woman who shared with me a bit about a current struggle she is having with her young teenage daughter. This kind hearted mother told me that since July she has been putting great effort into changing the environment concerning food for her family. They have gotten rid of processed and junk food, increased their time cooking as a family and focus on building their meals around foods groups that will help them thrive. However, her sweet and impressionable daughter perceived all of this as her mom viewing her as fat.

This sweet woman looked at me with tears filling her eyes asking what she did wrong.

I looked back at her and said… well, did you talk to her before making all of these changes?

She said… no!

And then I gave her a little input about how she can explain to her daughter why they are making these changes.

Ultimately, I walked away from the conversation so thankful that this woman chose to open up to me. Mainly because I think this problem happens often. I can’t imagine the number of either parents or children, who are concerned about the perception and/or message behind their families attempt to get healthy.

So what is the key then to make sure attempts are understood??? Communication! Yes, talk about it. Explain to your children and spouse that you are choosing to value health… emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. Explain to them what that means and also what it looks like in day-to-day life. Ask their opinion about it, if they have any specific request in this journey and finally what they think.

It is so vital to keeping talking throughout the entire journey simply because our society has some very warped views of health. Therefore, continuing to talk to your children, and spouse about how everyone chooses to value health will create a safe place for people to be honest, an environment where people can grow together and also the reminder that our health (emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally) is our individual responsibility. So today I challenge you to talk… maybe it’s with someone in your home or maybe it’s a co-worker, extended family member, a neighbor or a friend. Who ever it is, ask them what their goals are and how they get to those goals, share with them yours and who knows, maybe we all could learn a thing or two today.

Weight Loss – Ella Style

Happy Thursday!!! It’s officially 2 weeks until I see Cooper and I can’t wait. This new journey of using being far from one another and learning to have a healthy relationship all the while, isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. But I also know I’m very fortunate, so I should stop complaining ūüôā

So, back to the meat of today’s post… Ella and how she has been losing all of her weight. I know I told you before that my sweet younger sister has been taking care of herself and her health a few weeks ago but this girl is tearing it up and I wanted to share with all of you how.

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She has so far lost 63 pounds and is hoping for another 60-70. She has more energy, looks fantastic and it’s all because of hard work.

About 6 months ago my sister called me and informed me that she was officially trying to lose weight. She asked about the types of things she should eat and even a few exercising tips. So I thought that today I could share with you what I shared with her.

*** Before starting any weight loss program or exercise routine, you should consult your doctor ***

Portion Control: As much as we would all love to be able to eat what ever we want when ever we want, the truth is that no matter how you approach losing weight, portion control is key. Whether you are cutting out fat, carbohydrates, gluten, dairy, meat or whatever else you might be able to come up with, portion control is still important. Make sure you are eating only until you are NOT HUNGRY rather than full.

Water: Drink lots of water… it’s good for you and helps maintain your metabolism. I personally don’t use the “8-8oz glasses of water a day” rule. Instead, I prefer to go by your body weight. In fact, let’s do a little equation together right now. If your body weight is 150 lbs divide that by 2, resulting in 75, therefore you should be drinking 75 oz. of water everyday.

Artificial Sweeteners: Get rid of it… no matter where it is. Soda, sugar free anything or any other avenue, artificial sweeteners slow down your metabolism and trick your brain into thinking your are consuming sugar so you just end up craving more sugar.

Exercise: It’s not rocket science but people don’t seem to do it. Exercise… any form will do, running, walking, swimming, playing a sport, calisthenics… just get that body of yours moving. In fact, if you can, exercise immediately when you wake up and then again before going to bed. Try to do you cardio (even if only for 20 min), in the morning with some strength or body weight exercise before going to bed. Try for only 2 weeks and I promise if nothing else , you will sleep better.

Well that’s it… that’s actually all she has been doing. And in 4 months she has lost almost 65 pounds. Amazing,!

How about you… what are your go-to lose a few pounds rules?

If you have lost a large amount of weight, how did you do it?