If Shakeology was a tool, it’d be a Swiss Army knife– it’s that versatile. So versatile, in fact, Shakeology has been used for pie, ice cream and few “treatsy” recipes comin’ at you in this post. And where Shakeology tastes awesome despite having a ridiculously strong nutritional profile, it’s easy to shoe-horn it in to recipes that make you feel like you’re having a treat when you’re really nailing your nutrition.

CAVEAT: Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of “cheating in a treat just because it’s kinda healthy”– you know… trying to have your cake and eat it too because you’re afraid of a little discipline. Truth is, I’m not a HUGE fan of these “treats” but where Shakeology does make a solid substitution in many cases, I’d rather have you making Shakeology based “treats” (cringe) than diving into a binge ice cream spree or sneaking cookies and candy. And in the case of the following recipes they do make a nice, healthy, almostmeal-like substitution.

So here’s the catch– keep the following Shakeology recipes in portion sizes and in your daily calorie and macronutrient goals as they can walk a fine line between just enough is ok and overkill is too much. Just because they’re healthier doesn’t mean “eat the whole batch”.  All that “tsk-tsk-ing” and sandbagging aside, here’s a few Shakeology recipes you might enjoy because I’d rather having you eat THIS than THAT (I’m looking at your, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups):

How to use it: Snack with a meal

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp Chocolate Shakeology
  • 2 tbsp unrefined organic coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp chocolate PB2*
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 mini cupcake foils
*PB2 - is the secret ingredient here and what keeps this recipe from going into calorie-busting territory. If you DO sub regular peanut butter, this recipe has the potential to become a little too indulgent if you aren’t careful to fold it in with your daily nutrition. :)


Preparation

Add the 2 Tbsp. coconut oil to a microwaveable bowl and warm it up enough it becomes liquid. DO NOT LET IT BOIL- we’re talking warmed up to melting- not turning it into coconut lava. Add Chocolate Shakeology and stir until mixed.

In a separate bowl, spoon in the PB2 with bit of water to make a thick “paste”.

In the cupcake foils, spoon in 1 Tsp-ish of the Chocolate Shakeology mixture– enough to fully coat the bottom of the foil.  Add 1 Tsp. of your PB2 mixture. Pour another round of Chocolate Shakeology over the top to fully cover. Load your foils into the freezer and let sit for 20 minutes or so. Enjoy… one. Save the rest for subsequent days or sharing time.

Nutrition Breakdown: (Per batch- divide by as many servings as you make)

Using PB2:

370 calories

Fat: 18g

Protein: 28g

Carbs: 27g

Fiber: 7 g

Sugar: 11g

Using Regular Peanut Butter

660 calories

Fat: 47g

Protein: 32g

Carbs:33g

Fiber: 9g

Sugar: 15g

**As mentioned, if you eat this whole recipe in one sitting using peanut butter, it’s calorie overload- most of it coming from fat. The PB2 recipe has a pretty decent profile sans the 18g fat (about 8g too high but it could technically count as a meal). The regular peanut butter turns into a fat overload if taken in one sitting (which is why it has more calories). So if you do make this recipe with regular PB, just eat one and save the others for later. Definitely make note of it in your daily macros so you can work your other nutrition around it (eating something lower in fat for a meal to balance it out). A great treat, but one not to eat the whole recipe in one sitting.

How to use it: Snack with meal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup Chocolate Shakeology
Preparation

Mix peanut butter, honey, oats and Shakeology in medium bowl. Roll 24 balls, each about 1 Tbsp. Push them down a bit to flatten them into “cookie shape”. Or, if you like your No-Bakes with some curves… don’t.

Nutritional Breakdown (per serving):

Calories: 115
Fat: 6g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 2mg
Sodium: 39mg
Carbohydrate: 15g
Fiber: 1g
Sugar: 5g
Protein: 15g
How to use it- Breakfast or snack

Ingredients:

  • 4 scoops Chocolate Vegan Shakeology
  • 2 cups quick-cooking old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened grated coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
Preparation:
Dump your Shakeology, oats, grated coconut, walnuts, and raisins in large mixing bowl and mix to your heart’s content. Add almond milk and peanut butter. Mix again! Dump and flatten your bowl of mixology into 8×8-inch baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and load into the refrigerator. Let it sit for 3-4 hours. Cut into 9 bars (one bar is a serving).

Nutritional Breakdown (per serving):

Calories: 300
Fat: 14g
Carbohydrate: 28g
Fiber: 5g
Sugar: 8g
Protein: 15g

As you can see, there’s a few baseline ingredients you can use that keep things on the relative up and up. You may try your own recipes as well but above all, remember to keep it clean and keep the nutritional breakdown from being too lopsided.
 
 
So while at the Central Market yesterday looking for a few select items like meat and sweet potatoes for the dogs, carrots for us along with some potatoes ect. Our friends , my husband and myself ran across some delish looking eggplant! Deep purple almost no flaw eggplants! They had one which was hug 20 "bushel" package. Needless to say we jumped on that and split the $5 cost.  Now I have a good 10 eggplant to figure out what to do with! So would love some recipe ideas from you lovely folks!

Here are some good fact about this great plant!
How to Select and Store
Choose eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size. Their skin should be
smooth and shiny, and their color, whether it be purple, white or green, should
be vivid. They should be free of discoloration, scars, and bruises, which
usually indicate that the flesh beneath has become damaged and possibly decayed.

The stem and cap, on either end of the eggplant, should be bright green in
color. As you would with other fruits and vegetables, avoid purchasing eggplant
that has been waxed. To test for the ripeness of an eggplant, gently press the
skin with the pad of your thumb. If it springs back, the eggplant is ripe, while
if an indentation remains, it is not.
Although they look hardy, eggplants are actually very perishable and care
should be taken in their storage. Eggplants are sensitive to both heat and cold
and should ideally be stored at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees
Celsius). Do not cut eggplant before you store it as it perishes quickly once
its skin has been punctured or its inner flesh exposed.
Place uncut and unwashed eggplant in a plastic bag and store in the
refrigerator crisper where it will keep for a few days. If it is too large for
the crisper, do not try to force it in; this will damage the skin and cause the
eggplant to spoil and decay. Instead, place it on a shelf within the
refrigerator.
If you purchase eggplant that is wrapped in plastic film, remove it as soon
as possible since it will inhibit the eggplant from breathing and degrade its
freshness.

Health benefits of Eggplant (aubergine)

  • Eggplant is very low in calories and fats but rich in soluble fiber content.
    100 g provides just 24 calories but contributes about 9% of RDA (recommended
    daily allowance) of fiber.
  • Research studies conducted at the Institute of Biology of São
    Paulo State University; Brazil suggested that eggplant is effective to
    control high blood cholesterol.

  • The peel or skin (deep blue/purple varieties) of aubergine has significant
    amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins.
    Scientific studies have shown that these anti-oxidants have potential health
    effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
  •   Total antioxidant strength measured in terms of oxygen
    radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of aubergines is 993 µmol TE/100 g. At
    value 15; they are one of the low glycemic
    index (GI) vegetables. 
  • It contains good amounts of many essential B-complex groups of vitamins such
    as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin
    B1), niacin (B3). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires
    them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein and
    carbohydrate metabolism. 

    Further, this vegetable is an also good source of minerals like
    manganese, copper, iron and potassium. Manganese is used as a co-factor for the
    antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Potassium is an important
    intracellular electrolyte helps counter the hypertension effects of sodium. 


 
 
today, there are dozens of foods we fool ourselves into thinking are healthful
when in truth they do nothing but pad our hips and arteries. Here are 9 of the
worst offenders on your grocery store shelves.
1. Yogurt
It starts out as good stuff. Fat aside, there's the calcium
and protein you find in all milk products, along with probiotics, which make it
easier to digest for those with lactose issues. The only problem is that
straight yogurt can be pretty bitter, so manufacturers load the stuff with sugar
and masquerade those carbs as fruit in an effort to make the whole thing more
palatable. Have a look at most flavored yogurt and you'll find the second
ingredient to be sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. One container of Yoplait®
Original Strawberry has 170 calories, with 5 grams of protein and 33 grams of
carbohydrates, 27 of which are sugar. Oddly enough, these are the exact same
nutrition facts for Yoplait's other, less healthy-sounding flavors, including
Key Lime Pie and White Chocolate Raspberry.

Solution:
Buy plain yogurt and flavor it yourself. You'd be amazed at how far a handful of
raspberries or a tablespoon of honey will go to cut the bitter taste.

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2. Wheat Bread
Whole-grain wheat is better for you than refined wheat. By keeping
the bran and germ, you maintain the naturally occurring nutrients and fiber.
But, for some reason, manufacturers constantly come up with new ways to lead you
back to the refined stuff. One of their latest tricks is to refer to refined
flour as "wheat flour" because, obviously, it's made of wheat. But just because
it's wheat-based doesn't mean it's not refined. The distracted shopper can
mistake this label for "whole wheat flour" and throw it in his cart. Another
loaf of cruddy, refined, fiberless bread has a new home.


Solution: Slow down when you read the label. That word
"whole" is an important one.


3. Chicken
Just because you made the switch from red meat doesn't mean
you're in the clear. Three ounces of raw chicken breast, meat only, has 93
calories, 19.5 grams of protein, and 1.2 grams of fat. Three ounces of dark meat
(wings, thighs, and legs), meat only, has 105 calories, 18 grams of protein, and
3.6 grams of fat. It may not seem like much, but it adds up.


Solution: Go for the breast, and while you're at it,
ditch the skin. It's nothing but fat


4. Frozen or Canned Fruit
Any food swimming in juice or "light syrup" isn't good for you.
Furthermore, most canned fruit is peeled, meaning you're being robbed of a
valuable source of fiber. Frozen fruit is a little trickier. Freezing preserves
the fruit itself, but some manufacturers add sugar during the freezing process
to preserve color and taste.

Solution: Read that
ingredients list! You want it to say fruit, water—and that's it.


5. Canned Vegetables
"What?!" you declare. "There's light syrup in canned string
beans too?!" Nope—actually, they add salt to preserve this produce. A half-cup
serving of canned string beans has approximately 300 to 400 milligrams of
sodium.

Solution: Many companies offer "no salt added"
options. If you can't find one to your liking, go frozen instead—many of these
don't contain salt. Or better yet, buy what's fresh and in season.


6. Peanut Butter
Grind up peanuts, maybe add a little salt. How hard is it to
make that taste good?

Apparently, it's so difficult that many companies
feel compelled to add sugar or high-fructose corn syrup into the mix. Why? I
don't know. Some manufacturers, such as Skippy®, are up front enough to admit
this and call their product "Peanut Butter Spread," but many others still refer
to this sugary concoction as good old "peanut butter."


Solution: Read the label. (There's a theme emerging
here.) Considering real peanut butter has one ingredient—two ingredients, max—it
shouldn't be too hard to figure it out.



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7. Juice
The range in the nutritional value of store-bought juices is massive.
On one end, you have "fruit drinks" with barely any actual juice in them. On the
other end, you have fresh-squeezed, 100% preservative-free juices like Odwalla®
and Naked Juice®. But no matter which you choose, it's important to remember
that it's never going to be as healthy as whole fruit. And if you're trying to
lose weight, it's a flat-out bad idea.

First off, it's been stripped of
fiber, so you absorb it faster, which makes it more likely to induce blood sugar
spikes. Secondly, you consume it faster and it's less filling, so you're more
likely to drink more.

There are a few instances when juice is okay. For
example, a home juicer can make predominately veggie-based drinks that are
loaded with vitamins and minerals and lower in calories. If you're using this as
part of a supervised juice fast, or you're trying to target a particular
nutrient while concurrently not trying to lose weight, go for it.
Otherwise, it's simply not worth it.

Solution: If you
must buy it, go fresh-squeezed, but you're usually better off just skipping it
entirely.


8. Canned Soup
As is also the case with canned veggies, you're entering a
sodium minefield. Half a cup of Campbell's® Chicken Noodle Soup has about 37% of
the recommended daily allowance—and who eats half a cup?


Solution: Read those labels carefully. Most companies
make low-sodium versions.


9. Fat-Free Salad Dressing
Dressing by definition is supposed to be fatty, and thus,
highly caloric. You use a little bit of it, and in doing so, you get a healthy
hit of the fats you need for a nutritionally balanced diet. Unfortunately,
people prefer to buy fat-free versions so they can drown their greens while
avoiding excess fat. Nothing's free. All this stuff does is replace the fat with
carbs and salt, so you've basically gone from pouring a little healthy
unsaturated fat on your salad to dumping on a pile of sugar.


Solution: Make your own salad dressing. One part
vinegar and one part olive oil with a blob of Dijon mustard makes an awesome
vinaigrette. And here's another trick: Make your salad in a sealable container,
add a tiny bit of dressing, and shake it up. It'll coat so much more than
tossing will.

And finally, make that salad with romaine lettuce,
spinach, or some other nutrient-rich leafy green. As far as we're concerned,
nutrient-poor iceberg lettuce should have gone the way of the South Dakota Diet
Plate.


Note: Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily
values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

By Denis Faye

 
 
Facial Toner
Ditch your expensive, store bought toner and mix one part apple cider vinegar and one  part water for the perfect all natural, skin solution. Apple cider vinegar is
antibacterial and known to help acne, but it also works to balance the pH levels
of your skin so that it’s at the optimal level between dry and oily. Reduce red
marks, blemishes and improve your overall complexion by applying the mixture
with a cotton pad before moisturizing.


Cleaning Solution
 Go  eco-friendly by making your own all-purpose cleaner with apple cider vinegar. Dilute with one cup of water and let it go to work on kitchen counters, bathroom  sinks, windows and mirrors. It can also be used as a dish detergent substitute  or carpet stain remover when combined with baking
soda.


Soothe  a Sunburn
 Spend a little too much time in the sun? Use apple cider vinegar to ease the pain and  prevent blistering and peeling. Dab it on with a cotton pad or pour two cups
into a warm bath and let the antiseptic properties work their
magic. 

Weight Loss Aid
 Take  two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily to help lose weight and detoxify
your body. Not only is it a natural appetite suppressant, but it boosts your
metabolism and helps block fat absorption in the small intestine. Due to the
acidity, it can be hard on your enamel so be sure to dilute it with water before
consuming.


 Hair Treatment
 Mix apple cider vinegar with water and pour the mixture on your hair to help remove  product residue and build up for ultra soft strands. Besides increased body and shine, it helps restore the natural pH balance of your hair while fighting
dandruff.


Skin Problem Cure
 In addition to acne, apple cider vinegar can work to help other skin conditions
such as dermatitis, warts and psoriasis. Depending on the severity of the issue,
it may be beneficial to leave the treatment on for an extended period. Looking
to get rid of a wart? Fasten a soaked cotton ball onto the wart overnight and it
should fall off within the next couple days. 

Fight Sickness and Allergies
 Use its antiseptic and antimicrobial powers to fight colds, the flu, sore throats
and allergies. Taking it daily can help build up your immune system to fight
bugs and also breaks up mucus within the body while cleansing your lymph nodes.
Got a sore throat? Gargle apple cider vinegar for instant
relief. 


Flavor Enhancer
 Add flavor and a boost of nutrients to your favorite dressings, sauces, dips and
anything that calls for vinegar as an ingredient. You can also add it to your
morning tea as a detox agent.


Fight Fleas
 There’s nothing worse than a pet with fleas. Instead of masking the problem with
chemical solutions, save money and go natural by applying apple cider vinegar to
their skin with a cotton ball or misting their fur with a spray bottle to fight
off these pesky guys. 


Lower High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
 Amongst its many healing properties, the vinegar has also been said to help lower blood  pressure and cholesterol due to its ability to balance the body’s pH level.
Before going on medications for these health issues, try the natural route and
consume daily.

 
 
Along with the increasing interest over the past few years in what we are
putting in our bodies is the growing genre of food and health-related
documentaries. Concerned with food industry deception, obesity and the rising
number of illnesses in the United States, each film seeks to shed light on the
problems existing within the current sphere of health. Here are five movies that
will change the way you conceptualize food.
 Now I am not telling you that eating meat is wrong or that you are some awful person. I am posting this as more of a health and fitness standpoint. Change one dinner a week to a vegan dinner. Too much of a change, change your lunch to healthier plant based option! One step at a time people, one step at a time.
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Fork over Knives
With obesity on the rise and prescriptions taking over all our health issues,
Forks Over Knives” examines the claim that most degenerative diseases can be
controlled or even reversed by a proper diet that avoids processed and
animal-based foods. Through an examination of the careers and findings of
physicians, biochemists and professors, the film looks into the reason we are
sicker than ever despite the most advanced technology in the world. Throughout
the film, cameras follow patients with chronic conditions to test the idea that
food is the ideal medicine.
From the creators of “Food  Matters,” “Hungry for Change” exposes the deceptive secrets and strategies the food and diet industries use to keep us hooked on processed foods and coming back for more. Featuring interviews with leading medical experts and best-selling authors, this film will have you questioning what goes in your body and help you escape the constant trap of yo-yo dieting. Through proper nutrition, “Hungry for Change” will teach you how to become beautiful from the inside out.
An oldie but a goodie, “Food Inc.” is a must-see documentary that exposes
the shocking truths about the food industry, what we eat, and how it is
produced. Hidden from American consumers, our nation’s food supply is currently
controlled by a handful of corporations that put profit before the safety and
health of consumers, the environment, animals and workers. Featuring expert
interviews and local farmers, the movie brings to life the surprising realities
of pesticides, harmful bacteria and steroid-ridden animals.
Seeking to provide a new mentality about what we’re eating, “Fresh” celebrates farmers and businesses across
the nation that are re-inventing our food system. Featuring notable individuals
who have experienced or witnessed the harmful effects of obesity, food
contamination and environmental pollution, the documentary offers healthy and
sustainable alternatives for a better future. At a time where most of our food
is being mass produced, urban farmers show that there are still efficient ways
to produce organic food.
The heartwarming documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, chronicles the journey of Joe Cross, sick and
nearly 100 pounds overweight, on his mission to regain his health. After seeing
numerous doctors and loading up on steroids and other conventional medicines for
his autoimmune disease, Joe decides to take matters into his own hands. He
ditches the junk food and vows to stick to a fresh vegetable and fruit juice
only cleanse for 60 days. Travelling more than 3,000 miles, Joe talks to more
than 500 Americans along the way, noting their views on health and food. His
transformation and unconventional story are nothing short of inspiring.
 
 
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Simple Vegan Sushi . Did you know its super easy to make healthy sushi at home? If I can do it in a hotel you can do it at home! 

Ingrediants-
 1 small carrot
 1/2 small cucumber
 1 stalk celery
 1/4 avocado 
 3-4 tbsp warm Quinoa

Directions

slice first 3 ingredients into small long strips like in picture above. 
slice 1/4 avocado and spoon out, slice into thin slices and set aside.
Lay one piece of Nori paper out on flat dry surface.
Add warm quinoa ( NOTE: for me in order to roll the sushi the quinoa has to be warm to soft them paper to keep from breaking!) 
Now add your thinly sliced vegetables and add your avocado.
 Roll up your Nori roll. ( Click HERE for tutorial)
 Now slice up and ENJOY! 
 
 
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If you look at the bottoms of many bell peppers, you may notice that some of them have three lobes on their bottoms and others have four. Less common varieties of bell pepper may have one, two, or five lobes, but the ones available in North American grocery stores typically have three or four. Some culinary writers claim that this difference affects the pepper’s taste and the amount of seeds it has. However, these claims appear to be largely unfounded. The main difference is the number of lobes on the peppers’ bottoms, no more and no less.

According to the culinary blog GetYvonne.com, by Yvonne Deatherage, three bottomed bell peppers are “sweeter and better for eating,” while four bottomed bell peppers are “firmer and better for cooking.” A few other blogs and question/answer sites give the same information. However, many others disagree. Several commentors say they have never noticed any difference in taste or texture between three bottomed bell peppers and four bottomed bell peppers.

Bell peppers do have different flavors if they are different varieties. However, whether they have three or four lobes on the bottom is not a determining factor in what variety they are. Certain varieties may tend more heavily toward four lobes or three, but both shapes of bell pepper may grow on the same plant. All three and four bottomed bell peppers belong to varieties that produce three or four lobes, or that produce two to five.

page on eHow gives a detailed description of another putative difference. Three bottomed bell peppers, it claims, are male, while four bottomed bell peppers are female. Female bell peppers have more seeds than males. For this reason, eHow advises always buying “male” bell peppers at the grocery store... since females have more seeds, they weigh more, and weigh more because of something you will only throw away, making them a "waste" of money. Unless you are one of the rare few who take the time to preserve these seeds! 

If there is any such thing as male and female bell peppers, the designation is culinary, not biological, and if it is a culinary designation, it does not appear to be a widespread one. Fruits (bell peppers are biologically fruits, being the seed bearing part of the plant) have no gender. They are not the plant’s sexual parts, but the vehicles for its offspring, formed only after the plant has been pollinated and fertilized. On most flowering plants, including bell peppers, the flowers that become the fruit have both male and female parts, making them androgynous. All bell peppers, then, are hermaphrodites.

No Internet sources available at the time of this writing support or refute eHow’s claim that four bottomed bell peppers have more seeds. In my own experience, having cut up many a bell pepper, larger ones usually have more seeds. Since four bottomed bell peppers tend to be slightly bigger than three bottomed ones of the same variety, that claim may have some merit. However, if it does, it is due to the pepper’s size, not its number of bottom lobes, and the difference would be negligible when it comes to paying for the pepper by weight.

The difference between three bottomed bell peppers and four bottomed bell peppers cannot be found in taste or texture. There may be slight differences in size and in the amount of seeds they produce, but these differences are negligible. The only real difference, which is so slight that many bell pepper eaters are unaware of it, is appearance.

 
 
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A veggie wrap for lunch. A night out for sushi. And you're working out . . . but you're still not losing weight. What gives?

Some "diet" foods may be your worst enemy. That's because they're tricking you into eating too many calories. So what are some of the worst offenders?

  1. Sushi: Fish wrapped in rice and seaweed. Not a diet food? Yep, that's right. It's not always as "light" as it seems. Some sushi has calorie levels so high it might just shock you. 

    Diet Shocker: One eight-piece serving of Philadelphia sushi roll is the caloric equivalent of 1 medium bagel with plain cream cheese—close to 500 calories. It's the cream cheese that gets you. And what about spicy tuna and other mayo-based rolls? They can contain as many as 450 calories and 11 grams of artery-clogging fat per serving. Eat too many of the "wrong" rolls and you're in Big Mac® calorie territory.
  2. Wraps: You order the whole wheat veggie wrap thinking it'll put you on the skinny track. But is it actually the fat track? For some reason, wraps have been viewed as a healthy upgrade from a sandwich, but this isn't always the case. 

    Diet Shocker: The tortilla holding your wrap together can easily contain the same number of calories as four slices of bread, not to mention more carbs and twice as much fat. Many kinds of wraps you get at a deli have at least 300 calories. And that's just the tortilla, not the contents. You also have to factor in the fillings—and keep in mind that a wrap has more surface space to spread these calorie-boosting culprits:
    • Dressing
    • Cheese
    • Mayo
    All told, one healthy-seeming wrap can easily trick you into eating hundreds more calories than you planned.
  3. Granola: When you're having granola, you might think, "It's healthy. The fiber and all those little pieces of dried fruit are so good for me." Truth is, although it's got good stuff in it, it also packs in the calories. 

    Diet Shocker: A half-cup serving is what's often listed on the nutrition label of prepared granola. But who eats just half a cup? For most brands, there are more than 400 calories in a one-cup serving of granola. And when's the last time you actually measured? If you keep filling your cereal bowl with this stuff, it's no wonder you're not losing!
  4. Bran Muffins: The kinds sold at many bakeries today aren't the little 3-inch muffins Grandma used to bake. They're much, much bigger. And just because they're made with "healthy" bran doesn't mean they're a diet food, either. 

    Diet Shocker: The average bakery muffin can contain as many as 630 calories. You might be slightly better off with a bran muffin than, say, a banana or blueberry one because of bran's extra fiber, but most of them are still packed with sugar and butter. Eat one bran muffin from Dunkin' Donuts® and you'll be consuming 480 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 46 grams of sugar. OMG.
  5. Dried Fruit: The more fruit you eat the better, right? Not when it comes to the dried stuff. 

    Diet Shocker: You could boost your calorie count as much as four times (!) by choosing to eat the dried version of a fruit rather than its fresh counterpart. Check out these calorie comparisons based on a 100-gram (about 1 cup) serving:

 


  1. Pumpkin-Flavored Baked Goods: Pumpkin is nutritious, but these baked goods can be a dieting disaster. Like bran, pumpkin has lots of stuff that's good for you. So if you see pumpkin on a baked-goods label, it's easy to think you're eating something that's lower in calories. Not the case, though: Pumpkin doesn't mean diet food. 

    Diet Shocker: Dunkin' Donuts strikes again. Their pumpkin muffin has 630 calories and 28 grams of fat. OMG again! Want to switch bakeries? It won't help much. A pumpkin muffin from Panera Bread® has 530 calories and 20 grams of fat, and the pumpkin scone at Starbucks® has 470 calories and lots of fat too—22 grams' worth. You might as well be eating pie with whipped cream!
  2. Olive Oil: It's a good fat and helps you burn fat. However, you don't need a lot of it to get the benefits. Two tablespoons a day can do the trick. And overdoing it can backfire. 

    Diet Shocker: Olive oil served with bread at a restaurant is heart-healthy, but high in calories. You can easily sop up a quarter of a cup. That's 478 calories, not including the bread. Or the rest of the meal you've ordered.
  3. "Healthy" Salads: That's what some restaurants want you to believe in their "lite" section of the menu. It must be diet-friendly, right? Not always. 

    Diet Shocker: Listed under "Healthy Options" on the T.G.I. Friday's® menu, their pecan-crusted chicken salad, which contains mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, and celery, has 1,360 calories. Meanwhile, their cheeseburger and fries combo weighs in at 1,290 calories. Say it ain't so.
So what's a dieter to do in a world filled with "diet" traps?

Ask about nutrition and read food labels. After a while, you'll be a pro at it and enjoy the weight loss that comes with it. You won't even have to give up the foods you like. That's because you'll know how to work them into your food plan the right way.



By Justine Holberg
 
 
Are you thinking about going vegan but aren't sure you'll be able to get the results you want from your workout program? In this article, we tackle this question and the 9 others that are likely on your mind.
By going vegan, you're making a commitment to avoid all animal products and by-products. This means not eating meat, dairy, honey, and other products, and also not wearing leather, fur, and other products made from animals. Why do it? If done in a healthy way, it can be great for your body and for the planet. Recent research published in the journal Diabetologia revealed that reducing meat intake can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and a study from London's Imperial College shows it may be able to prevent long-term weight gain.

Converting to a vegan lifestyle isn't easy, but it's a lot easier than it was 20 years ago . . . even if you don't live in alternative-diet-friendly California. These days, you'll find vegan restaurants in most urban centers, and vegan books and online resources abound. And, to help you get many of the nutrients and some of the protein you need, Beachbody® recently introduced Chocolate Vegan and Tropical Strawberry Shakeology.

To help you make the switch, we asked Beachbody Wellness Expert Denis Faye the 10 questions we get most often. And, as a bonus, he even decided to answer them.

  1. I want to build muscle. Can I do this if I'm vegan? Yes. It can be a bit more challenging to eat enough healthy calories to build serious mass, but it can be done. And, believe it or not, vegan bodybuilders do exist. Case in point is the author of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, Robert Cheeke. I'd hate to meet that guy in a dark alley and suggest he eat a pork chop.
  2. Will I be able to get enough calories as a vegan if I'm training with a program like P90X® or INSANITY®? Yes. Eating foods like tempeh, nuts, and legumes will help you reach your caloric needs no matter what program you're doing. In addition, the P90X2® nutrition guide has an entire vegan plan. Also, here's an article on going vegan P90X-style in the newsletter archives.
  3. What are the top foods I should add to my diet? I'm afraid I won't be getting enough calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, or iron. The fact that you know these are the micronutrients your diet may be short on puts you ahead of the game. Whole-grain cereals and breads are often fortified with these 4 micronutrients, but you can't live on grain alone. Here's a breakdown of what to keep in your kitchen.
    • Calcium: Leafy greens, almonds, broccoli, oranges, chickpeas, soy. A salad a day should cover it.
    • Iron: Spinach, sesame and pumpkin seeds, garbanzo, navy and lima beans, soy, and lentils. Add these to your salad, snack on the seeds alone, or make a hearty chili or stew.
    • Vitamins B12 and D: For these micronutrients, vegetarian sources are hard to find, so you'll want to take a good multivitamin.
  4. Can I just substitute soy for meat in all my recipes? Technically, yes, but I wouldn't recommend it. Soy is a great tool for vegans in that it's one of the few "complete" vegetable proteins out there. It has the 9 essential amino acids you need to survive. It's also rich in the other micronutrients we discussed in the previous question. 

    That said, it's never healthy to overeat any food. And furthermore, soy-based fake meats tend to be packed with sodium and chemicals.

    A serving of soy a day, preferably in fermented forms such as tempeh or miso, is fine. If you're worried about estrogen, don't be. The estrogen in soy is known as phytoestrogen, and these hormone-regulating compounds are different from those made by the human body. For the record, the only recorded case of someone developing man boobs from eating too much soy was a 70-year-old man who drank nearly a gallon of soy milk a day—and they went away when he stopped.

  5. Are there any supplements I should take? You should add a supplement that includes vitamins B12 and D to your diet. You may also be low on omega-3 fatty acids as these most commonly come from eating fish, so consider adding a vegan-friendly omega-3 supplement such as flaxseed oil.
  6. If a food product doesn't have dairy, honey, or meat listed as an ingredient, it's vegan, right? No! Animal products are everywhere. For example, gelatin, which you'll find in JELL-O®, puddings, marshmallows, and the casing for gel-caps, is made from animal bones. Many winemakers use albumin, dried blood powder, milk proteins, or fish bladders to remove sediment and other particles before the wine is bottled. And cane sugar is often whitened using charcoal from cow bones. But, hey, you shouldn't be eating sugar anyway. 

    The easiest way to avoid animal products is to eat as many whole foods as possible instead of "food products." And, when it comes to supplements, stick to those that plainly state that they are vegan, such as vegan Shakeology®.

    An exhaustive list of foods that contain animal products is too long to include here, but PETA® maintains a complete guide.

  7. Is there any truth to combining proteins to make a complete protein? Absolutely. Dietary protein is made up of 20 amino acids. The human body produces 11 of those, leaving 9 that we need to get in our diet to survive. Animal-based foods are rich in these 9, making them "complete" protein sources. Individual vegetable sources tend to be missing one or two, so it's important to combine certain ones to get all 9. A classic example of this is the combination of legumes and grains (i.e., rice and beans). 

    But you don't need to eat all 9 at one meal as long as you get them during the course of the day. If you have sprouted whole-grain toast for breakfast and a three-bean salad for lunch, you're in good shape.

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  1. Beans and vegetables like broccoli and kale give me indigestion. What can I do about this?Switching to a vegan diet can be challenging for the digestive system as you might be eating a lot more fiber. If you tough it out for 2 to 3 weeks and put up with a couple embarrassing elevator moments, your body should adjust. 

    Here are some things that you can do that will help make your transition easier.

    • Chew your food more thoroughly. This allows the digestive enzymes in your mouth to take some of the burden off of the rest of your system.
    • When cooking beans, always soak and rinse them thoroughly. This reduces their gas-causing oligosaccharides (sugars).
    • Ginger and fennel are two great homeopathic ways to settle an unsettled gut. Try sipping ginger tea or chewing on fennel seeds.
    • Two important factors in breaking down these foods are digestive enzymes and healthy gut bacteria. Enzyme supplements and probiotics are two great ways to help yourself out in this area.
    • here can I find some vegan recipes to get me started? Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis, R.D. and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D. This book covers every aspect of vegan nutrition, from the history of veganism to how vegans can get the macronutrients—protein, carbs, and fat—they need. 

  2. Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. This book takes less of a scientific approach and more of a culinary one. It's like The Joy of Cooking for vegans.

    Finally, chef and author Mark Bittman has long been an advocate of reducing animal products in the American diet while maintaining the yum factor. Start exploring his amazing veggie recipes at his Web site.

  3. On second thought, I'm not ready to go fully vegan. What other options do I have? Several. There's ovo-lacto vegetarianism, which means you include eggs and dairy in your diet. There's pescatarianism, which means you keep a mostly vegetarian diet but eat fish—that's how I eat. Tony Horton is a flexitarian, meaning he mostly eats vegan, but does occasionally eat meat. Tony is especially picky about what animal products he eats. His poultry is organic and field-raised, his seafood is wild-caught and sustainable, and his beef is organic and free-range. 

    But you don't have to follow any specific dogma. If you want to cut down on animal products, do it as you see fit. Perhaps you can take part in the "Meatless Monday" campaign launched by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future and not eat animal products on Mondays.

    No matter what you do, cutting back on your meat intake is probably going to be good for you and for the planet. According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, Americans are among the highest per capita meat gobblers on Earth—and we're no healthier.

    If you have any additional questions for Denis or the rest of the Beachbody Advice Staff, you can reach them on the Team Beachbody Message BoardsThey're always happy to help!
    By Rebecca Swanner


 
 
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I love the way I feel since switching to a vegan diet. It's not for everyone , but for me it works. The only issue I find is finding enough of a variety in what I cook. 
 Now don't get me wrong I eat a lot of different food, but preparing them I tend to get in a rut. Right now we are also mid transit to Bahrain! So my cooking techniques are very limited. I have a couple knives, a electric counter top burner, cutting board, a couple pans, basically a full size fridge. 
 It is actually a very nice set up considering.  So staying healthy while in hotels IS possible. it just takes some planning. 

Cucumber Tomato Salad

1 medium cucumber
5-8 cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp onion
2tbsp cilantro/parsley
 1/4 avocado 
Dressing
1 tbsp cold pressed olive oil-extra virgin
2tbsp apple cider vinegar 
salt free herb seasoning to taste

Directions-

Cut cucumber in spaghetti strips. ( you can cut cucumber in any way you wish, I choose strips to add a little change up).
Next dice the onion and tomato and add to bowl. 
chop up almonds and add to bowl.
mince up fresh parsley and cilantro and add. 
score half of the avocado and scoop out 1/4.
 Mix the dressing ingredients and add  to chopped ingredients.

Nutritional breakdown