Category Archives: nutrition

Willpower

list willpower

Willpower is such a wonderful thing when we have it and the worst thing when we don’t!  I recently read a great article on this!  You can find it HERE or read my re-cap on it:

This article, called “Waiting for the Second Marshmallow,” has some awesome points that made me feel a little bit better about when I feel like my willpower is gone!

It says, “Willpower is the ability to delay immediate gratification in the name of long-term goals.  Think of it as self-regulation- more simply, resisting temptation.”  It talks about how each of us have a limited amount of willpower each day, and compared it to a bank account.  This makes so much sense.  When is the time do you feel like your willpower is at its weakest?  For me, it’s at night and when I’m tired.  According to the article this is normal because by the time the day is at an end, we have probably used up all of our willpower.  We just don’t have any left in the tank to resist temptation anymore!

Fortunately, there are ways to build up our willpower, like a muscle!  Also, we can preserve some willpower for later in the day by planning things out the night before.  Here is how:

First- when we think of willpower, we usually think of being strong enough to stay no to desserts, or unhealthy foods.  But, there is a lot more to it than that.  The article gave some of the following examples: going to the gym when you really want to sleep in, not taking a gym selfie even though the lighting is perfect (I laughed a little too hard at this one :), not texting while driving, and cleaning up the house instead of watching TV.

So, let’s talk about saving up your willpower bank by planning what you can the night before.  By making a lot of little decisions before the day begins, you can start your day off with a little more in your “willpower bank account.”  Here are some ideas of what you can do: decide what you are going to wear, if you going to the gym or going to sleep in, decide on meals.  If you are going out to lunch and know where, look at the menu and decide what you are going to order so when you get there, you are not tempted by the unhealthy stuff.

Researchers believe we can build up our willpower like a muscle.  It’s pretty easy to do too!  Just “choose a low-risk task before bed and commit to it for 30 days.” The examples from the article include flossing, journaling, and doing the dishes.  If you consistently do this task each night, your task not only builds your willpower, but becomes a habit and then you can pick a new task!

Have you noticed if your willpower is lower when you are tired?  (Raising hand!)  Mine is almost non-existent if I am super tired.  So, by getting enough sleep, our willpower is stronger.

There are a lot of other ways to help us with our willpower including: positive thinking, avoiding temptation, and distraction (This is where the title of the article came from.  A 1970 study found that children who had a marshmallow placed in front of them and were told they would get another if they didn’t eat the first one until told, were most successful when they distracted themselves).  Meditation and exercise are also great helps at boosting willpower!

And my favorite one- imaginary eating! Yes, if you want a dessert, but really want to resist it, imagine yourself eating it!  There was a study that actually proved that this works in helping avoid temptation.  I actually do a similar thing that may or may not work for you… I smell the food!  It sounds a little crazy, but it works most of the time for me!  My favorite thing to smell is chocolate.  Honestly, when I smell it and then do give in and eat it, it does not taste as good as it smells or as good as I imagine it is going to taste.  Therefore, it is getting easier to just smell it and not eat it.  It’s a win-win!

The article was awesome and informative.  It was very encouraging to me and gave me a boost of confidence in myself and my own willpower!  Check it out!  and let me know what you think.  What other ideas/things do you do to help your willpower?

Willpower is the ability to delay immediate gratification in the name of long-term goals. Think of it as self-regulation—more simply, resisting temptation. – See more at: http://whole30.com/2014/04/boost-your-willpower/#sthash.lF5WYvkh.dpuf
Willpower is the ability to delay immediate gratification in the name of long-term goals. Think of it as self-regulation—more simply, resisting temptation. – See more at: http://whole30.com/2014/04/boost-your-willpower/#sthash.lF5WYvkh.dpuf

Getting Creative with Veggies

veggies top pick

We all know that it is important to eat vegetables.  I’m lucky and love my veggies!  But, I know a lot of people do not feel the same way.  There are a lot of different ways to prepare and have veggies, but sometimes we can get stuck in a rut with them.  So, I’ve made a list of ideas to get those veggies in our diet!

Steam

This is the one that I do more than anything else.  It’s quick and easy and then you can add any spices on top.  I do this a lot with broccoli and green beans.  I steam them and then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a little garlic salt on top.  Yum!

Roast

I just recently started doing this.  My favorite vegetable for this is cauliflower.  My favorite recipe for it is HERE!  Just last night I roasted carrots, green beans and onions.  I heated the oven to 450 degrees, laid parchment paper on a cookie sheet, diced the onion and halved the carrots.  I laid them out on the cookie sheet, drizzled olive oil and honey over the veggies and them roasted them for about 15 minutes.  They were amazing!!!

Roasted-Garlic-Cauliflower-11t(via)

Chips

Making chips is a great way to get your veggies!  There are lots of different veggies you can do this with besides potatoes.  Sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, egg plant, kale.  The directions to do this depends on what type of vegetable you are making into chips.

Sauces

There are lots of different sauces you can make with vegetables.  I made a butternut squash pasta sauce found  HERE.   My 2 year old has not been eating any sauces lately, but he loved this one!  At first he didn’t notice there was sauce at all because it was almost the same color as the pasta.  There are also yummy and healthy sauces to put veggies into.  I am 100% in love with curry!  I make THIS on a regular basis!  This first time I made it, my then 3 year old told me it was “the greatest dinner ever.”  And my 1 year old was shoveling it in his mouth as fast as he could.

peanut-butter-curry(via)

Salad

We all know this one.  And I do love my regular, romaine lettuce salad.  (Romaine lettuce, craisins, sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar)  I eat it for lunch almost every day in the summer.  However, there are other ways to make salad besides lettuce.  You can make a salad out of chopped up peppers, tomatoes, onions, carrots, and some corn.  Add a healthy dressing and you are set.  So good!

salad

Soup

This is a great way to get a lot of different vegetables in one meal.  If you make your soup from scratch, it can be such a healthy meal or side!  It must be getting close to fall because I have another yummy butternut squash recipe… HERE.  And a sweet potato one I cannot wait to try that my good friend made.  I know it will be delicious because everything she makes is! Find it HERE.

breezy bakes soup (via)

Raw

Most people like raw vegetables… when they dip them into an unhealthy dip.  And while it may be better to eat them that way then not at all, there are healthy dips out there.  One that I have tried and love is so simple!  All you do is get 1/2 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt and 1 Tablespoon of dry ranch dressing mix and mix them together!  That’s it.

Smoothies

I make a protein shake every morning.  I usually use frozen fruit, but how easy would it be to throw in some veggies?  We all know about adding spinach, which is an awesome veggie, and most people don’t even notice it.  I used to do this, but pregnancy with my first child kind of ruined it for me.  But, there are so many other vegetables that can be added to protein shakes and smoothies!  How about pumpkin?  And any type of lettuce… romaine, kale, etc.  Then there is the always refreshing cucumber!  Yum!  If you have a high powered blender (I love my Vitamix!) you can blend it to a very smooth consistency, which makes a big difference!  If you are like me and protein shakes or smoothies are your breakfast, how great is it to get a serving or two of veggies right at the beginning of your day?!  Win!

Out of all of the foods we eat, vegetables should be at the top of our list of importance.  Not only are they low in calories, but they have a ton of nutrients our bodies need to function!  It has been proven that eating veggies regularly (3-5 servings a day) can reduce your risk of cancer, Type II diabetes, and many other diseases.  So, however you do it, do what your mom always told you to, and eat your veggies!!!

Do you have other ways to prepare your veggies?  Please share!!!

Protein and Protein Supplements

I have been talking and reading a lot about protein and protein powders with people lately.  My husband is trying to gain weight (not fair), a friend is trying to get more toned, another friend is trying to lose weight after having a baby.  I do not eat meat, but I lift weights a lot.  So, getting enough protein can be tricky and confusing.

The Purpose of Protein

Our body needs protein for many different reasons.  For our muscles to repair and get stronger, we need to consume protein.  Protein also contains amino acids that are essential to our bodies.  When you work out, especially weight training, you are actually breaking down your muscles.  They are repaired after you work out.  In order for them to repair themselves and get stronger, you need to eat protein. If you want a more in-depth article on protein, check out this article from bodybuilding.com.

How Much Protein

How much protein a person needs is a somewhat controversial number.  People who are sedentary do not need as much protein as those who are active.  People, like my husband, who are trying to put on weight/muscle, need a lot of protein.  Sedentary women need about 45 g/day and men need about 65g/day.  I workout 5-6 days a week, doing running, weightlifting, HIIT, and yoga.  I do  not want to lose any muscle, and would also like to get stronger. So, I try to get about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (I weight about 120 lbs, so I aim for 120 grams of protein a day.)  This may seem like a lot, but if I don’t get around that, I can feel it.  I am hungry at night and feel weak.  Depending on how active you are, you may need more protein than you think.

Sources of Protein

I think the best sources of protein are from animal sources.  Lean meats and fish are a great way to go- chicken, salmon, and lean red meats.  Eggs are also a great source of protein.  Eggs and fish are not only a great way to get protein, but they also have healthy fats that are essential for our bodies.

Since I don’t eat meat (it’s a texture thing, I really wish I liked it and am working on it), I have to get my protein from other places.  I use protein powder once or twice a day.  I also eat protein bars.  Eggs, tofu, and tempeh are regulars in my diet.  I don’t eat a lot of dairy, but I will add cottage cheese to my protein shakes sometimes to thicken it up-to make it more like a shake.  Greek yogurt mixed with protein powder is a really yummy treat that packs a huge protein punch.

Protein Powders

When it comes to protein powders, there are so many out there, it can be incredibly overwhelming.  Not only are there different brands, but so many different kinds.

-Whey Concentrate-

This type of protein is a basic type that is found in a lot of powders.  It is a great place to start if you are new to the protein powder world.  It is a good protein for pre or post workouts, but not the best option for before bed.

-Whey Isolate-

Whey Isolate is absorbed quicker than whey concentrate.  It is also a great pre or post workout option.  This is a good option for people who are trying to eat a low carb diet.  They can be a bit more pricey than whey concentrate.

-Hydrolysate Protein-

This is the most expensive type of protein on the market right now.  The way it was described to me was that the protein is “chopped up into tiny pieces so it is absorbed very quickly.”  It is best to drink this within 15-30 minutes post-workout to get the benefits of this type of protein.

-Casein Protein-

Casein Protein is the slowest to break down.  If you want a supplement to take before bed, this is your guy.  It is also a good option during the day to help you stay full longer.

-Pea Protein-

A great option for vegans, vegetarians, and those with food allergies.  It also has a lot of BCAA’s to help your body recover from a workout.  This protein can be used both pre and post workout.  It also is easier to digest than most whey proteins.

 

There are many more types of protein, but these are the ones I have read about. I try a lot of different protein powders and there are a lot of good options.  Right now I am using this one: V-Core Vantage Protein Powder.  It has a combination of some of the above mentioned types of protein.  It also contains BCAA’s which help your muscles repair. (I’ll do a post on BCAA’s soon).  I like the Vanilla because I can make a lot of different types of protein shakes with it.  My husband likes the chocolate and their best seller is the orange cream, which is also delicious!