The Fit You

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3 Healthy Carbs You Should Be Eating in Your Diet to Lose Fat

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I love knowing that the world of food and nutrition provides us so many healthy options.  Like I’ve said on this site before, I’m all about balance in your nutrition.  I believe cutting out entire food groups just because you feel it helps you “lose fat,” isn’t productive or very sustainable longterm.  I know that humans can eat a balanced diet of healthy carbs, proteins and fat and still stay healthy.

If you’ve been hooked by the low carb – high fat crowd though, you’re likely not going to believe what I’m going to tell you in this post.  The sad thing is that your low-carb gurus are literally banking on you not being aware of things I’ll tell you in this post.  It defeats a Keto-diet guru’s purpose (and financial future) for you to be aware of how eating carbs can actually help you also lose fat without having to subscribe to their extreme diet plan.  They really want you to believe carbs are your enemy, because they “prevent” you from losing fat.

Here are 3 kinds of carbs you should be eating in your balanced diet not only because they help you burn fat, but they’re also nutritious for your body’s overall health longterm.

Sweet Potatoes

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These are one of the super foods everyone should technically be trying to add into their diet – just because it’s so much health in every single bite!!  Here are the nutrients inside your magical sweet potato:

  • Vitamin A – for good vision, clear skin, anti-aging, and boosts your immunity
  • Vitamin B6 – the energy vitamin that also helps maintain a good metabolism
  • Vitamin C – boosts your immunity
  • Carotenoids – anti-oxidants that prevent your food from being turned into fat by stabilizing your blood-glucose levels and lowering any insulin resistance

Beans

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Since we live in Texas, it’s hard for me to picture going for more than a week without adding beans into our weekly diet.  And no wonder, they are SO beneficial to your body’s longterm health by lowering your LDL’s (bad cholesterol) and improving your systolic blood pressure (the number that is best at showing your risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, and stroke)!

They also help you burn fat because they are a resistant starch (which is the next on the list!).

 

Resistant Starches (Cooked & Cooled Method)

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Have you ever wondered why things like spaghetti noodles, mashed potatoes, or any kind of pasta in general, never seem to taste the same after they’ve cooled in the fridge and become leftovers?  Because I’m nerdy, this used to bother me a lot.

Well… if you’re like me and you’ve wondered why these kinds of carbs taste like they have a completely different texture after being refrigerated, you were right to wonder!

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Carbs like pastas, potatoes, even rice and beans, actually physically and chemically change in texture and composition when they are cooked and then refrigerated.  They become what is known as a “Resistant Starch,” in the cooling process.

Resistant starches resist digestion, which actually promotes fat oxidation and burns that very stubborn and difficult to lose belly fat!

Resistant Starches to try:

  • Potatoes (try Yukon Gold or the small red potatoes)
  • Cooled spaghetti pasta
  • Cooled rice

But do you absolutely have to eat them cold to keep them fat-burning?

No, you don’t actually!  Here’s a great article on how even reheating resistant starches seems to increase their positive effects on blood-glucose levels ❤

So go ahead, and eat some cooked-then-cooled/reheated spaghetti, totally guilt free. 😉

Stephanie

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Jillian Michaels Slams Diet Fads & Instagram “Booty”

I love Jillian Michaels.  She was the first workout I did after I had our first baby that helped me to lose all the weight.  I do credit Tracy Anderson’s workouts for getting me back to being muscular and tiny (they are ballet based muscular structure/dance cardio), but I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for the motivation and inspiration Jillian gave me when I had 45 pounds of baby weight to lose.

So in this short clip she talks briefly about diet fads and how Keto is the exact same thing as the Atkins diet that was popular in the 80’s (yes, my mom did it, too… she remembers peeing on those sticks to see if she was in ketosis yet).  It’s unhealthy longterm *unless you have a serious medical condition and actually NEED this diet, otherwise, it’s just another fad that hopefully finds it way on out the door like the “Booty Instagrams” lol.

 

Great Grocery Items for Healthy Meal Ideas

Try, Fail, Try Again – Don’t Give Up at Weightloss

If you’re trying to get fit and lose weight, it can be SO extremely depressing and difficult.  As someone whose body clings to fat as though I’m in a concentration camp (or will be lol), I feel like I can understand the frustration that comes with seeing slower results than people with faster metabolisms.

Fitness, or losing fat and gaining muscle, always depends largely on your diet – not BEING on a certain kind of new, flashy, popular diet, but literally the things you’re eating day in and day out.  The reason why I post so much of our food preps and recipe ideas I’ve created over the years, is because fitness truly is about 80% what you eat, and 20% exercise.

We go to a gym almost daily during the week to lift and do some cardio (sometimes), and there are all types of fit people we see.  Unfortunately, there are also a couple of women we see and have seen since 2015, who have actually gained weight over the 3 years we’ve been there.  While it could be a combination of things (not working out hard or long enough – smart exercise in other words, or bad eating habits or even hormones out of whack, as in hypothyroidism), you always have to look at your diet if this is happening to you.  Even hormonal problems with weight can usually be controlled when you stick to a very strict and proper diet that is tailored to only YOUR specific biological needs.  Sometimes it takes just a visit to the doctor to get tested, but there is usually a solution out there somewhere.

The most important thing though that trainers don’t usually say, probably because they figure you’ll find this to be common sense, is to just simply not give up!

I’m serious!  All of the women that I know who have lost lots and lots of weight through the fitness groups I’m active in, the ones who have been the most successful were the ones who just NEVER GAVE UP.

You will fail!  Fitness, for women whose bodies biologically hold on to fat, is VERY hard.  Even for models who are “naturally thin,” if they stop their very strict eating habits and rigorous exercise routines, they gain weight fairly fast, too.

Everyone fails at times.  Even the most successful, beautiful women I’ve talked to personally who have done bikini competitions (and placed!!!!), even THEY feel like a failure at times in their own personal journeys.  There are ups and downs in life, there are periods of time where you won’t be able to stick to something that works because a major life event happened that you weren’t prepared for (child death, parental death… anything!).  I’ve seen things like this happen, and I’ve seen the women who get back up and keep on going eventually find success.

You’re going to backslide at some point.  It’s just the honest truth.  You need to accept that it will happen so that when it happens, you aren’t mentally derailed and depressed about it.  There was once a woman in a church group I was in who got fairly angry at me when I tried to tell her this and warn her about not expecting success right away.  Her retort was that she was completely backed up with Scriptures and the Holy Spirit and that it was for sure going to work this time.  Even years later when I saw her again, she was still overweight.  But that kind of mentality she insisted upon is a recipe for disaster!  Again, it’s better to humble yourself, realize that you’re only human, and maybe a woman with a propensity to hold onto fat like you’re a dying person lol, and roll with the ups and downs.

What truly matters is persistence and the resolve that you’re not going to let failure make you stop.

I’ve talked to a few trainers now 🙂 they are the most awesome people in  my mind ❤  So encouraging, optimistic and sweet!  But I don’t think they tell people this when they first start out on a journey to try to be fit or lose weight.

You have to be really patient and kind to yourself.  I’ve known quite a few women who came to their journey through hating their bodies as they were – seeing a photo on facebook where it suddenly hits them how far they’ve let themselves go is a big one.  And maybe that is enough motivation to get them through to the end.

But I’ve also seen that it’s good to look at this journey as loving yourself and finally taking care of your body the way you should have been.  Self-hatred may not be the best way longterm, as I know it drives other eating disorders like anorexia as well as over-eating.  Changing the way you think about your body can be so empowering in getting in shape.

And truly loving yourself and valuing yourself shows up by taking care of the only body you have.  If you’re Christian, there’s even a deeper spiritual element to why you need to take good care of your body:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”

1 Corinthians 6:19

So keep going.  No matter where you are in your journey… if you have over 100 pounds to lose, or just 10, DO NOT GIVE UP.

Stephanie

White Chicken Chili Soup

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For some strange reason, around this time of year, I seem to get a urge to have soups again.  Just one really giant crockpot soup seems to hit the spot, and then I’m finally done with “Winter Foods” and can move on LOL 😀

So… this was my fulfillment of that craving.  A beautifully white, healthier version of the full fat and cream White Chili, this version has more protein and less fat, and is packed full of veggies to round out the meal as a “complete” meal for nutrition.

It. Is. SO. Delicious!  And it’s just beautiful!

Even though this version has a lot less fat than the usual one, my husband remarked that it still tasted as though it should be extremely fattening 😀  YES!  Goal met!!!  You know you’ve made a good recipe when it tastes like it should be “bad for you” food 😉

Anyway, here is the recipe below.  And you literally just chop everything, put the raw chicken (sliced/pounded/prepped) at the bottom of your crockpot, add the water and chicken bouillon (or chicken broth), and all the chopped ingredients, spices, give it a stir, and then cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for 8 hours.

Easy as pie … er… soup!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds chicken breasts
  • 24 oz chicken broth (or water mixed with 2 tbs chicken bouillon)
  • Two 15 oz cans (large) of Great Northern Beans, drained
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 stalk of cilantro, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 very large can of diced tomatoes and chili peppers
  • 2 jalapenos diced
  • 1 very large can of creamed corn (makes it extra creamy since we’re not using real cream)
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (OR half and half – usually this is where people add heavy whipping cream, but the yogurt is MUCH healthier and gives it a creamy taste and texture)
  • 1 tbs Cumin
  • 1 tbs Oregano
  • 1 tbs Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

So again, you just literally chop everything, open the canned foods, lay the chicken in strips or pieces on the bottom of your crockpot, fill it up with the water or chicken broth, add the spices and you’re set!

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You DO need to take the chicken out at the end, quickly shred it with two forks in a bowl (super easy because it’s SO tender), and add it back in.

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Add the greek yogurt when you add the chicken back in, whisking it into the chili (or add your half and half).  Then cook on High for 15 minutes more, and you’re done!

It basically cooks itself.

And there you have it.  A much healthier version of the scrumptious White Chicken Chili!

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Stephanie

Decadent Coconut Flour Muffins!

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Oh man, these are SO good!  I’ve been playing around with attempting to bake with coconut flour for a few weeks now, and it’s been quite an adventure with my kids as the taste testers 😀  But… I think I have finally found some recipes for muffins that have us eating them nearly everyday for snacks or breakfast foods.

And the best part???  They are actually pretty good for you!!  They have way less sugar, zero gluten, and are packed full of eggs and protein since coconut flour requires a lot more egg in order to bind like gluten does.

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The FIRST thing that is really important when baking with coconut flour is that you HAVE to use parchment baking cups.  Regular cupcake/muffin cups do not work at all, as the muffins stick way too much, and you’ll end up eating some of the paper LOL (not that we know personally or anything... 😉 ).

The SECOND major caution is that you must store these in an air-tight container in the fridge.  They are so much more moist that they will mold faster if left out.

Also, you’ll notice that the recipes call for more eggs than normal, as well as weird combinations of oils and liquids to balance out the flour.  Follow each recipe to a “T” because they have the correct amounts of liquid-oil-dry ingredients specifically because the coconut flour needs it to be exact.

On the other hand, I found that one of the best things about baking with coconut flour is that you can’t overstir a batter!  How amazing is that!?!  You can mix till your OCD-heart’s content and never worry about having rock hard baked goods 😀

Basic 12-Muffin Recipe

1/2 cup coconut flour (smash out clumps w/ a fork or sift)

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbs butter (melted) OR canola or coconut oil

6 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

30 drops liquid stevia (or 1/2 cup maple syrup)  *2 tbs sugar is also fine

2 tbs milk (regular or coconut milk)

1 cup of chocolate chips (white and dark, or whatever you prefer) OR blueberries

Combine all wet ingredients in one bowl, then dry in another.  Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, completely mixing in all the coconut flour.  Scoop into parchment cups and bake at 350’F for 15-20 minutes.

Notice that last point is basically whatever you want to add, 1 cup is about perfect.  We made blueberries one week – and they tasted fantastic!  And then this week I made a mixture of white + dark chocolate chip muffins and everyone in the family loved them.

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How wonderful to eat something so decadent and not feel any guilt!  I think the eggs making them so moist makes them feel like you’re eating a really rich treat!

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And now for the other recipe I tried… CHOCOLATE Coconut Flour Muffins with White Chocolate Chips.  Ooooo this one was heavenly!

Chocolate Coconut Flour Muffins (Makes 12) from here

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour (or regular flour, I used regular)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil melted
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut milk if needed
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips)

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Mix the wet & dry ingredients separately, then add them in together like in the other recipe.  Then just scoop them into parchment paper cups, pop them in the oven at 375’F for about 15-20 minutes.

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The white chocolate chips made these just taste luxurious.  So elegant and creamy – I am DEFINITELY making these again!

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I’m eating one right now with my morning coffee 😀  Oh the joys of cooking and baking!

Stephanie

Easy & Fast Snacks For Busy Families

 

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Along with our usual meal prep when we’re really trying to focus on eating healthier, I like to have some prepped snacks on hand for when we’re going to be more on the go.

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These can be anything from cubed cheddar and turkey bites, apples slices, cheese and crackers, bags of trail mix, all the way to protein bars!  The key, if you’re making it yourself – which does save so much money – is to slice, cut, or cube right away and section out your portions into ziplock bags or tupperware so that it’s already done and ready to go.   We buy a lot of things in bulk and then make our own little “packages” of servings for convenience.

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And it does make it a million times easier to have your healthy snacks already portioned out like this and ready to take with you!  And it really doesn’t take that much time.  In fact, you’re saving yourself time and money by ensuring you’re not going to be more tempted to reach for a candy bar from a snack machine or fast food when you’ve been stuck out too long.

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I do have to admit that meal prepping and snack prepping were much  harder when I was briefly trying to be a working mom back when our oldest was little.  I did manage to make all our food homemade, including snacks and such, but everything was a lot more rushed and anxious.

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One of the first things I noticed when I began staying home with him was the beauty of slowing down and truly enjoying life.  And MANY of the adventurous baking or cooking that we did together only happened when I was staying home… work took the best of me.

Now that we’re having more children, our family is almost run like a small business, so little things like this, although they take time, are relaxing to do and gives me fulfillment.  It’s the difference of making something beautiful yourself, rather than paying someone else to do it for you – you just feel that much more fulfilled and almost a sense of joy in creating it.

So I hope you try out making your own portioned out snacks this next week.  We do our grocery shopping today, so I already have a list of the things I’m going try 😀

Stephanie

Kung Pao Beef & Asian Garlic Chicken Meal Preps!

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This was SO incredibly delicious!!!  BOTH Asian dishes just came out amazing.  And it was really pretty easy… Asian cooking doesn’t have to be as hard as it appears, it’s mostly just certain flavors in the spices and sauces they use that brings everything together.

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I’ve never made Kung Pao Beef (or Chicken)… it just always seemed too hard, plus Sirloin is expensive.  I’ve always just made beef stir fry with rice and whatever veggies we had on hand (and my husband loved it)!  But this really took my Asian food repertoire (lol if you could call it that!) to a whole ‘nother level!

And remember, I almost always bulk cook – cook in huge quantities so that it lasts throughout the week (or we have some to freeze if we get tired of it).  It’s just so much more time efficient that way to get all the cooking for the week, done in a few hours ONCE. 😀

Basic Kung Pao Beef Ingredients –

  • 2-3 lbs Sirloin Steak Meat sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced or diced
  • 1/2 a large onion sliced or diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 tsp ginger
  • 1-2 cups dried (or roasted) chopped peanuts (depends on how many you really want throughout the dish)
  • 1 cup of baby corns (canned is fine)
  • 1 cup of bamboo shoots, thinly sliced (canned is super easy and possibly the only way to buy these!)
  • Dried chilies chopped (I used green chilies but usually you want to use red ones)
  • 1 “bunch” of chopped green onions
  • 1-2 cups of Chinese brown sauce (I used just one whole bottle of Panda Express’ Kung Pao Sauce… but typically you can make your own by mixing Oyster sauce and Soy sauce 50:50)
  • A few splashes of Asian Rice Vinegar
  • A few splashes of Sesame Oil (at the end of cooking)

So as you can see, it looks complicated, I promise you once you start getting all of it chopped and prepared, it is super easy to just throw it together to cook it and it’s done very fast depending on how high your heat can get.

I loosely followed this man’s instructions on the cooking part, using my own version of the ingredients.  He is super cute and did it so authentically!  LOL  All that fire!!!!

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So in this picture above, it shows the yellow and orange sweet bell peppers.  I was bulk cooking BOTH of these dishes, literally at the same time, so you don’t need those for the Kung Pao.  Those were sliced up for the Asian Garlic Chicken I made (recipe at the end).

I LOVE cooking like this… it’s one of my favorite things to feel like I’m cooking in some restaurant ❤  And the flavors are just insane when you cook stuff like this homemade!  The smells fill your house too, I’ve had guests or family come in, and they immediately said it smelled like a restaurant!  😀  Yay for cooking!  It is just too much fun!

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So this is about 3-4 lbs chicken on one side, and 2.5 pounds Sirloin steak strips on the other.  Both can be cooked in a little oil, plus some minced garlic.  Add in the chilies to the Kung Pao (it’s a very spicy dish!) so that the steak absorbs their spicy flavors.

Remove the steak strips into a bowl once they’re done or mostly done cooking (since you’re going to add them back in toward the the end).

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And for your Asian Garlic Chicken, add in the sliced up sweet bell peppers and the other 1/2 of your onion used in the Kung Pao Beef.

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These pics just show the progression really coming together for both meals.  Honestly the Asian chicken is about done at this point.  I just made a second batch to have even more for throughout the week since the kids would eat this, too.  You’re going to get a nice juice going on in the bottom of the pot/wok.  You want to save that because it’s going to be full of ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, and sweet teriyaki sauce.

Just add the rest of the chopped veggies into the Kung Pao Beef, and cook on high heat (lol or with FIRE like the cute Asian man!) until they get nicely carmelized.  Add in the peanuts of course, and your Kung Pao sauce (whether you choose to make it yourself with oyster sauce and soy, or use a premade version) toward the end.

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They look so gorgeous as they cook longer!  YUMMMMM!  😀

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This (above) was the end result of the Kung Pao, along with the second batch of chicken cooked to add into the one made right before it.

And then you’ve got not one but TWO awesome tasting Asian dishes to choose from throughout the week!  I was also cooking a ton of rice to go with these meals, just plain white rice with some garlic cloves cooked with it, and some rice vinegar splashed in for Asian flavor.

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And there you go!  Meal preps for the entire week for both Kung Pao Beef and Asian Garlic Chicken!  Soooooooo incredibly tasty!!

And here were the ingredients for the Asian Garlic Chicken – it was super easy:

Asian Garlic Chicken Ingredients –

  • 3-4 lbs Chicken breasts, sliced, scored, and chopped into pieces
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1-2 tsp ginger
  • A few splashes of rice vinegar
  • A few splashes of Sesame Oil at the end
  • 1/2 onion chopped or sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (sweet)
  • 1 orange bell pepper (sweet)
  • 1/2 cup to 1 whole cup Teriyaki Sauce or Soy (depending on your taste preference)

And that’s really it!  You cook it all together, first adding the spices in with the raw chicken to cook and form a flavored juice, then add in the peppers and onions and sauce.  Cook until chicken is done, and then you have a wonderfully flavored Asian chicken medley!

Enjoy – I know we definitely are this week!

Stephanie

Cauliflower Pizza!!

 

Oh man!!!!!!!!!   This was a GREAT TASTING recipe!  And this man in the video is so funny and cute!

This is the best cauliflower crust I’ve seen recipe-wise, and he definitely tried out a few different combinations before landing on this one, which he explains in his video.  So I decided to try it out myself…

My oldest son’s face when I told him what I was making 😀 LOL

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Priceless!

Anyway… it was really easy.  The only thing I did differently was use frozen (de-thawed) cauliflower which in hindsight, made it harder to get into the right texture, but it did still work and it still held together as a “crust.”  But next time I try this, I’m doing it this  man’s way using raw cauliflower and grating it down – just would have saved so much time.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cauliflower, (or however much you want to make as many pizzas as you want) 2 cups = only ONE medium sized pizza
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or other hard cheese)
  • 1 large egg

Grate cauliflower into little rice-like shavings (best to do this with raw cauliflower, if using de-thawed frozen, you have to try to blend it in a food processor)

Gently cook cauliflower shavings in a pan over medium heat to get all the moisture out.  You’re not browning it – just getting it to be a dryer texture so that it meshes together better to make a perfect crust!

Whisk egg in a large bowl, add in the shavings along with the parmesan.  Mix together and then your ready to put it on a pizza pan.

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Use oven paper or parchment paper over your pizza pan to prevent it from sticking (and help with super easy clean up!), spread out the crust mixture evenly into a circle.  Lift up edges of pizza to create a slight “crust.”  It’s important that the edges are thicker so that they don’t burn since the edges tend to cook quicker!

 

Now just bake at 400’F for 20 minutes to get it into a nice bread-y texture:

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That’s it!!  It’s gorgeous!!  This (above) is what it looks like after it’s baked to prep.  It is CHEESY because of all that Parmesan mixed into the crust!  We thought this was awesome!!  Now add your toppings once it’s cooled a little (5 min), and pop back in the oven at 400’F to cook for about 10 min more.

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DELICIOUS alternative to pizza!!!

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The only down side is that it does takes some time and only produces ONE smallish pizza – good for two adults for 2 days of lunches.  My usual (normal) recipe of making homemade pizza from scratch produces typically FOUR LARGE (HUGE) pizzas that last a long time.

So you have to really want to make this to keep to lower carbs.  It’s great though!  I’ll definitely be making it again ❤

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And the leftovers the next day are GREAT!  😀

Another tasty & healthy recipe in the bucket… now excuse me while I indulge in some gorgeous cheesy healthy pizza 😉

Stephanie

French Women Don’t Get Fat

I’ve always loved French culture… the way they typically don’t brush their hair even when it’s long… the obsession with skincare… their apothecaries where you can find beauty treasures not available anywhere else!

And… the way they eat!

French women eat carbs!  They enjoy breads and pastries!  They drink wine!

They eat dark chocolate and have dessert!

And yet they typically are well known for not getting fat.

There’s even a book out from years ago (no I haven’t read it – I should!) with this title, “French Women Don’t Get Fat!”

This video explores some of the ways they keep fit into old age ❤  So sweet!  And it’s mostly common sense stuff.  Nothing too hard or difficult to manage.

And the cute way they talk about staying fit, is as if it’s just part of daily living.  And it IS for them.

All it takes is moderation, or knowing your body well enough to understand when you need to “take the stairs” as they say.

When your pants start to feel tight, it’s time to ramp up your exercising, and cut back a little.  They do this on their own as a way of monitoring their weight and staying fit and thin.  No strange, difficult diets, no cutting out desserts or breads, just plain old exercising and eating fresh (not processed), homemade foods and desserts along with their healthy foods (proteins and veggies), too.

Here’s to french desserts, en modération😉

Bon appétit!

Stephanie