Exclusively Lifting

It is day 20 of exclusively Lifting weights – yep that means NO cardio (with the exception of some long walks with Zoe).

I am following (once again) the Livefit trainer by Jamie Eason. Out of all the programs I have tried… Livefit is my favorite. Not only have I been successful on the program, (got me in the best shape of my life) but it just makes since. It is easy to follow and it is the way I personally like to lift in the gym. Of course I always customize the program to my needs, sometimes incorporating different exercises I prefer from other programs.

Anyway, the first phase (4 weeks) is all about gaining as much strength and muscle as you can. And because cardio can eat up your muscles or make it harder for you to gain, cardio is eliminated from the first phase.

And because of pregnancy, I haven’t trained like this in about a year, so it has been nice just to focus on one thing- weight lifting.

My experience so far…

Damn! Even though I have pretty much lost most of the baby weight. I am definitely starting from scratch. Appearance wise- My legs and booty have never been this skinny, my boobs have never been this big. So as you can see my body is the complete opposite of what it use to be. With that being said, it is amazing how with only three weeks of lifting, I am already starting to see some change – my glutes are starting to make a come back.

However, I am not focusing on what my body looks like but rather how it can perform.¬†Muscle memory¬†is an amazing thing. I get to the weight room and it is like riding a bike, right back at it. The first two weeks I took things slow, grabbing lighter weights and working on form. I see it all the time… people lifting heavy who have no business lifting that way because their form is so poor. I definitely do not want to be that girl trying to lift heavy with poor form – I might as well be on my road bike riding with out a helmet. So in the beginning I really focused on form, and now I feel ready and I am upping the weights.

Some of the exercises, I will do a warm up set with lighter weights, just to make sure my form is good and muscles are ready. It is then that I realize I need to up the weight. But there are some exercises mainly body weight exercise, such as push ups or bench dips that I struggle to finish the set. So weird that some exercises surprise me because I need to lift heavier, while others surprise me because they are a struggle when they use to be a piece of cake. I think this is because my core muscles need to be rebuilt. Because of this I am doing as many weight lifting exercises in plank so I am with out doubt engaging my core.

Anyway, I am not weighing myself until the end of the program. I am not worrying about numbers like that because they mean nothing to me. I am more concerned about hitting new PRs in the gym and getting stronger. Plus muscle weighs more than fat, so in this first phase I may not see a drop in weight at all, because I’m hoping for muscle gains. I will post progress pics though.

Diet is 80-90% of the reason why people see results.  This week I am really cleaning up my diet, by eating clean organic mostly plant based. I am also cutting back on sugar, and drinking more water. When trying to put on more muscle you need to eat. Muscle gains are supported by calories. So I will try to eat (clean) every 2-3 hours.
Below is a picture I posted on instagram,  on Day 17 of the Livefit trainer РNO cardio, exclusively lifting!Trying to gain as much muscle/strength back before I start running again. ***FITNESS TIP of the Day: try to do every weight lifting exercise you can in a plank. For example: Tricep Dumbbell Kickbacks or One Arm Dumbbell Row are more challenging when in a plank. That way you are definitely engaging your core. #fitmom #fitspo #girlswholift #liftheavy #livefit

Follow me on Instagram @sweat1xdaily

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

Post Pregnancy Training Plan and Goals

Last Tuesday, I got cleared by my doctor to start working out again. This means I am free to lift heavy and run far. I usually have no problem pushing myself and I actually enjoy it, however, because I had a c-section I want to take things slow. My worst nightmare would be to over do it and then have a major set back with an injury.

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you probably already know, but one of my fitness idols is Jamie Eason. It was because of her, and her Livefit trainer, that I fell in love with weight lifting, and got in the best shape of my life.

She had a child two years ago, and she had a c-section as well. It took her three full months to feel good enough to even start working out again. This was really refreshing to hear coming from a fitness model/trainer. So many times you see people in the fitness industry jump right back into shape, but do they really, or are they just posting the good pictures.

Anyway, Jamie Eason has created a post pregnancy work out plan. It is available for free on bodybuilding.com. Her post pregnancy trainer focuses on the core and back muscles. The daily work outs are circuits, which builds endurance. She also has a 15 minute training day, which is great for the days you may not be able to fit in a long work out. My favorite part about the trainer is that she creates a training day  that includes your baby using a carrier or a stroller РI love this idea.  Most exercises are ones that use body weight and can be done anywhere РSo there is no excuse.

My Game Plan

My game plan is to spend the next month building back the muscle I lost, by completing the Livefit trainer again. I saw great results with the Livefit trainer, so I know it works. However, I also want to include some ideas and work outs from the post pregnancy trainer.

Because of hormones from breast-feeding, it may be difficult for me to build muscle. Plus, as long as my baby is taking in breast milk, I am not allowed to use any supplements. So for the next month, I am going to do minimum cardio, only long walks with my baby, and maybe a short run once or twice a week. My main focus is building muscle and strength back, and to much cardio can also deplete some muscle growth.

With my schedule, I should have no problem making it to the gym, however, I am also confident that I will be able to complete the work outs, outside of the gym.

I definitely want to do some yoga as well. And I’ll let you know when I am 100 % back to running again -trust me, I miss running most, and have already began to think of what races I will be doing in the future.

Mommy and Baby classes

I really love being with my baby, and enjoy her being by my side while I work out. I can’t wait to try some Mommy and Baby classes at Mind the Mat. I think it will be really fun for Zoe to be in a yoga studio with other babies. I’ll be going to my first class tomorrow.

So there you have it…

Last weeks work outs consisted of long walks on the trail with the baby, and some free weight exercises along with some walking lunges.12072767_10102786043199146_8981504843243271286_n Then on Saturday I hit the gym for the first time since having the baby. It felt so good being back. I’m really excited to share this next chapter of my fitness journey with you. I can’t wait to start seeing some serious results.¬†12074791_10102789844281746_6007220832008158331_n

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Love your Body.

It is Valentine’s day.

And, in honor of¬†Valentine’s day, we are going to celebrate LOVE.

But I’m going to challenge you…

for a moment to forget about the red roses, the jewelry, the chocolate, cupid, and whether you have a valentine or not.

Instead, I am going to challenge you to celebrate yourself, your accomplishments. I am going to ask you today,¬†to start loving your body, no matter what…

I have been very inspired by some amazing ladies who are going above and beyond. On facebook, Paige, Fran, and Sophia have been working hard on living a healthy fit lifestyle, during pregnancy and post baby. All of them have had babies with in the last year, and they are not only looking amazing, but defining every day, what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.

Paige has taken her yoga to the next level, and actually has started teaching classes, while cooking healthy meals for her kids. Fran has taken a different approach, by focusing on a nutritional program, cleansing her body. Sophia has been hitting the gym hard, and eating clean, even on days when she hasn’t gotten much sleep. All of these ladies have been making their healthy lifestyle one of their top priority, even with little ones by their sides. Pretty amazing!

So this Valentine’s day, lets celebrate YOU. ¬†Always remember, it is not about¬†what your¬†body looks like, but what it can do. ¬†Because what it looks like… doesn’t really matter… When you are running faster, running further, lifting heavier, stretching deeper, climbing higher, and for the mom’s out there, creating life. Your body is capable of some pretty incredible things. So lets start loving it! Earning your dream body is a perk, but the long lasting health benefits is so much sweeter. A pretty body is nice to look at, but can it perform? At the end of the day health is the ultimate goal, and nothing compares to, a Strong Healthy life.¬†

Screen-Shot-2014-02-05-at-6.01.39-PM

 

Paige, Fran, and Sophia РThanks for always inspiring me, you ladies  are beautiful in every way. Not only do your results look amazing, but they prove your bodies can perform. You define a healthy lifestyle and continue to inspire! Keep up the hard work!

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

Start Something New!

Hey lovelies!

I know, I know, I have been MIA! But honestly, I needed a break. So after my last Christmas post, I stopped writing and reading blogs, and just shut down… I barely checked facebook or instagram either. Social media was actually becoming overwhelming. So I knew it was time to take 2 weeks away.

Quick Update

During this break, my best friend, Mariana, came home from Sri Lanka. She is so pregnant. So we have been hanging out, and catching up. The baby is a boy and he is coming in 5 weeks. Her baby shower is this weekend. Exciting!

Together, we got to check out the health and fitness expo, and Union Market.

The expo was not what I expected. Because I am use to marathon expos, I expected it to be more fitness focused. But instead it was catered to people who are interested in starting a healthy lifestyle, not ones already living it. I expected more supplement vendors, and equipment vendors. On the positive side, Mind the Mat yoga studio was there, and they were worth seeing and supporting. (I’ve been to Mind the Mat, and it is an awesome studio.)

Union Market (although small,) is more than I expected. If you are a foodie, you will love it. It is basically a gourmet food court. There is also a really awesome shop, with house stuff, baby stuff, jewelry, lotions, etc. great for gifts. Because Mariana was with me, we loved all the super cute baby stuff! I definitely will be going back. If you come to the DC area, you must check it out.

Start something New!

2015

2014 was very hard to say goodbye to. It was a very special year for Erik and I. In February, we shared an amazing adventure to the oh so exotic country, Thailand. And then in June, we exchanged vows, and promised to love each other for eternity, aka, we got hitched! So although, 2014 has come and gone, it will always hold a special spot in our hearts.

2015 a lot has happened

But now, two weeks in 2015, the new year is here in full force. I usually by now have a new years resolution. In the past, I have had pretty creative ones, such as, Try one new interesting exotic food, I have never tried before, once a week. (Want to loose weight, try this one.)
2015 this is my year
But this year it has been hard to come up with one. I have been having a hard time because in 2014 I have become a huge goal setter. By constantly setting goals and reaching them, I don’t feel the need to set a new year resolution as much as I did in the past. Anyway, because it is tradition, I am going to set one. I don’t really want it to be too fitness focused because I am not weak in that area. I’m bored and just want something new and different.
My main focus this year for fitness and food is BALANCE. I want to be healthy, not obsessive. I have a pretty addictive personality so balance is something I need to work on.
Food and Nutrition: New Years Resolution, Goal
When it comes to food and nutrition, my goals are simple, boring, but necessary, drink more water, quit eating sugar, bring my lunch to work. 
Fitness, Running: New Years Resolution, Goal
Continue to Run and lift consistently Рto be healthy and have fun. Focus on yoga! Not bikram, I want to be upside down more.
2015 New Years Resolution: Goal, focus on Balance, Creativity and Start something New.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Balance
This year I am going to focus on balance when it comes to fitness and food.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Creativity 
I am also going to be even more creative in everything I do. This means more fashionable. Creating more art. Knitting more.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Start
But my main goal in 2015 is to Start something New. I don’t know what that new thing is yet, but I’m excited to report back to you guys, once I discover what it is. I am excited to write a blog post at the end of this year, with what I have explored. Can’t wait!
2015 best
What’s your focus for 2015? Are you planning on starting something new?
If you need tips on keeping your resolutions and goals click here.
© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting

The holiday season is coming to an end, but winter has just begun. And one of the things that I treat myself to during the “oh so dreaded” colder months is the occasional cup of hot chocolate. I have discovered this amazing hot cocoa and when I say hot I mean spicy.¬†cocoa

This cocoa is spiked with cinnamon and dried ground chili peppers. It is especially delicious with heated coconut milk.¬†Trust me…¬†skip the cows milk, the flavors of cocoa, cinnamon, chili, and coconut are divine.¬†

Anyway, everyone knows I am obsessed with cookbooks, and although, I cook more than I bake, I recently came across, Flourless, by Nicole Spiridakis. It is a cookbook full of gluten-free desserts. I am not gluten free, but the idea of challenging myself to make tasty gluten free desserts really intrigued me. Why make something with gluten, if you can make something delicious without it.

When flipping through the pages of this cookbook, I immediately saw Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting РI thought of my spicy hot cocoa and knew I had to make this cake. I had no doubt in my mind, that this cake would be any less than amazing, so I saved it for Christmas.

10891794_10102194882469986_6886365094385756478_n-1INGREDIENTS : THE CAKE

Note: all ingredients are organic and the highest quality.

  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 2 tsp boiling water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups ground oats
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (less if you want to control the spice. I only put 1/8 tsp.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS : THE CAKE

  • Heat oven¬†to 350 F.
  • Line the bottom of two 8 in or ¬†9 in round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease them with oil. (Note: I used two 9 in round cake pans.)
  • In a small bowl make flax seed paste, combining ground flax seed with boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes.¬†(Note: I didn’t have ground flax seed, so I made my own by grinding flax seeds with the food processor.)
  • In a large bowl, whisk together, flax seed paste, oil, buttermilk, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together, ground oats, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. (Note: I didn’t have ground oats, so I used regular rolled oats and ground them up with the food processor.)
  • To make batter: Add dry mixture to wet mixture, combine and stir well.
  • Divide batter by pouring it into the two cake pans equally.
  • Bake for 30 min.
  • Check to make sure it is done, when done, cool on cooling rack.

INGREDIENTS : THE FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)¬†Note: 1 stick equals 1/2 cup
  • 2 oz. milk chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 to 3 tbsp buttermilk

INSTRUCTIONS : THE FROSTING

  • Beat butter in a large bowl with the electric mixer on medium speed, until fluffy.
  • Add melted chocolate and vanilla.
  • Add confectioners’ sugar and butter milk
  • Continue beating until smooth, fluffy icing forms, about 5 minutes.

When ready to assemble, spread frosting on the top of the first cake. Layer the second cake on top of first cake and frosting. Frost the top.

Enjoy!

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Carpe Diem & Balance

6a011168668cad970c016302eba872970dLately, I have been craving yoga, and thinking about Balance, and being present.

I read a lot of fitness and healthy lifestyle blogs. Whether it is the sport they participate in or the diet they choose to follow, some of the athletes of these blogs, seem obsessive and extreme in some way or another. For example, body builders are putting on more gains during the off season and become even more lean weeks leading up to their show, claiming they are bringing an even better package to the stage. They are counting every macro, and the debate of which diet plan is constant – should I eat clean, or will IIFYM be a better choice? When it comes to long distance runners… They are running even more races, and some are choosing to run further distances.

All of these athletes are inspiring because they show passion, dedication, and hard work.

It is hard to tell in blog world, what the truth is… Just because someone only blogs about running, or prepping for a show, doesn’t mean, that is all they do. No doubt about it, these sports are time consuming and those who participate in them are very passionate about the sport they choose, but they do have rest days, and some are parents, and they go to work everyday. See my point?

Lately… I have been seeing these athletes ease up a bit and begin to talk about some of the other things in their life, and some have even talked about the importance of balance.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I need to work on balance in my own life. It is hard to juggle everything, and when one point of life gets busy others need to take the back burner, right? Not in all cases. By planning ahead and setting time aside for each task things can get fit in. It is important to figure out what your priorities are… Don’t let one part of your life take over.

I have read a couple blogs where the athlete made their sport and diet their life, and they ended up getting burned out or injured. They realized they needed to be more balanced. Actually, by being balanced they saw better results mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Balance is important in diet as well. Stop choosing a label (paleo, gluten free, vegan, low carb, clean eating, IIFYM,) ¬†to describe your eating habits. Start eating balanced healthy meals. Instead of obsessing over food, lets fuel our bodies. Nutrition isn’t restrictive, it’s healing.

 

Another aspect of life where balance is important is when you goal set. As I said in previous posts, I am a “goal digger.” I always set goals, and try to reach them. Once I reach them, I set new goals. Goal setting is very important, it is a glimpse of what you want for yourself in the future. It helps you challenge yourself and keeps you on track. However, you need to be balanced too. By always worrying about the future, you make forget to live in the present.

This is true for me as well. I love the word Carpe Diem – seize the day, but I don’t always live that way. I need to stop focusing on the future and start being more present, seizing the day.¬†large

 

How do you stay present? How do you stay balanced?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Cheesecake Recipe

My November Goal post revealed my food goal for November, which is to explore and test my Thanksgiving recipes instead of winging them the night before or day of. So I have been in search for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert recipe -something new and different that my family has yet to try.  To find this recipe, I have been reading tons of magazines and blogs. While browsing Bon Appetit I finally came across a Sweet  Potato Cheesecake Recipe.

thanksgiving mags

 

I don’t bake much, but I have been lately. Having a Kitchen Aid Mixer and a Vitamix has made me more adventurous in the Kitchen. These tools are must haves and I can’t believe I use to cook and attempt to bake with out them. They save me in the kitchen.

Okay, lets talk about Sweet Potatoes…

When baking this recipe there were so many firsts for me.

It was my first time making a Cheesecake and using a springform pan. First time ever using sweet potato as a dessert. And it was my first time doing a water bath.

So lets define some important tools you must know before you continue on…

Springform pan: is a type of bakeware which features sides that can be removed from the base. This is a must have when making cheesecake. Like any product, you can find one to fit your budget. I got mine at Sur La Table for under $15.

Water bath: At this point your cheesecake is already assembled in the springform pan. Now you are going to place it (cheesecake springform pan and all) in a bigger baking pan. You will boil water over the stove. Once water comes to a boil you will pour the boiling water into the bigger baking pan until it is about 1 inch deep up the side of the springform pan. Then you will transfer the cheesecake and water bath to the oven and bake. The water bath keeps the cheesecake moist and prevents drying and cracking.

cheesecake

 

So there are two parts to this cake, the Oat-Pecan Crust and the Cheesecake Filling.

Oat-Pecan Crust

INGREDIENTS:

all ingredients are organic

  • 2/3 cup whole pecans
  • 1/3 cup large rolled oats (aka old fashioned oats.)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Combine all dry ingredients in Vitamix.
  • Select Variable 1, push start, slowly increase to Variable 6 for 5 seconds.
  • Bring back down to Variable 1 and pour melted butter in though the lid opening.
  • Pulse until everything is blended.
  • Transfer crust mixture to a 9″ springform pan, pressing it into the bottom and 1″ up the sides.
  • Bake for 12 minutes.
  • Place on wire rack to cool.

Cheesecake Filling

INGREDIENTS:

All ingredients are organic

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sweet potato, cooked and cooled
  • 1.5 lbs or 24 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Peel and Cup the sweet potatoes, boil them until soft.
  • Combine all ingredients in Vitamix.
  • Select Variable 1, push start, increase to variable 10 until all is blended
  • Start water bath, (for additional notes check above) bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
  • Position the springform pan inside large baking pan/dish.
  • Pour filling into crust.
  • Pour water in the outer baking pan/dish until it reaches 1″ up the springform pan.
  • Transfer cheesecake in the water bath to the oven and bake for 60 minutes, until edges are firm.
  • Remove cheesecake from water bath and cool cheesecake on cooling rack for 1 hour.
  • Then transfer cake to refrigerator and cool completely for 4 hours.
  • When ready, run a thin knife around sides, remove springform pan sides.
  • Serve with whipped cream.

Important note: Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature. If it is cold the eggs will not mix well. It will be lumpy.

 

cheesecake

 Wondering how this taste!? Well it turned out delicious. I brought it to work and it was gone in 5 minutes. 

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? What are you making for Thanksgiving? Have your tried sweet potatoes as a dessert?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

The story of why I stopped drinking Milk & a Cashew Cream Recipe!

When I was little, I refused to drink milk. I still remember the day my older sister scarred me for life. We were sitting at the kitchen table, and we were both about to down a glass of white rich creamy milk, when she said, “You know, thats from a cow’s boob.” She ran off smirking, when I on the other hand, immediately put the cup down with a look of disgust. I vowed, from that day forward, I would never drink a glass of milk again.

Now a days, if you don’t want to drink milk, or heavy cream you don’t have to. There are tons of dairy alternatives right on your local grocery store shelves. They are available and the variety is endless. However, there are sneaky additives to some of the most popular brands, and it is just as easy and quick to make your own, fresh at home.

When I started to cook more vegan and plant based meals, I noticed that most of the dishes that required heavy cream such as Clam Chowders, used Cashew Cream.

I first came across Cashew Cream in the, Isa Does It, cookbook. But today, I found another variation on the blog I have been reading, My New Roots.

Can you believe I made that creamy goodness from the raw organic cashew nuts sitting in the bowl behind.

Cashew Cream

 

So here it is, the Cashew Cream recipe…

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 cup raw organic cashews
  • 1.25 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  • Place cashews in a large bowl and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and let soak for a minimum of 4 hours at room temperature or overnight refrigerated.
  • Once cashews have soaked, drain water.
  • Place soaked cashews in Vitamix, and add water, garlic, lemon juice, and sea salt.
  • Blend until completely smooth.

That’s all you do.

That’s it!

Enjoy as a replacement to (dairy) heavy cream in all of your recipes!

Have you made Cashew Milk before? What is your favorite dairy replacement?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Chai Tea Recipe

I love coffee shops.

I could easily spend the day reading a good book, or writing an interesting blog post in a coffee shop -they are just sooo cozy and welcoming.  I was actually talking to a friend the other day about how I would much rather meet up, to chat over coffee, then go to a bar for a drink.

However, I have a confession to make … I don’t drink coffee.

I am a tea drinker.

I drink it everyday.

I love all different kinds of tea, but my favorite by far is the oh so delicious Chai tea.

When it comes to a Chai Tea latte, I am guilty of  being like every other American, and just grabbing one on the go from Starbucks.  The Chai Tea latte from Starbucks is very addicting, but it is not healthy for you at all (shocker.) Starbucks is the fast food chain for coffee, so what do you expect?! The Starbucks Chai tea is a concentrated syrup that is extremely caffeinated and loaded with sugar.

Because I am trying to limit my sugar intake, (read about I Quit Sugar Detox here.) I have decided to cut back on Starbucks Chai tea. There is no need to drink one of those suckers everyday, when I can make my own delicious chai tea at home, and control the ingredients I put in it.

The idea that I can make my own Chai tea came to mind, when I came across a simple Chai tea recipe in the I Quit Sugar cookbook. Although, the recipe is awesome, (and I plan on trying it soon,) I decided to continue my  Chai tea research.

Here’s what I found…

I came across the blog, indiaphile. The author explains Chai perfectly by saying,¬†‚ÄúChai‚ÄĚ is the Hindi word for ‚Äútea‚ÄĚ but it usually means the well-known sweetened spiced milk-tea of India.” I also learned from this blog, that¬†Chai Tea is the National drink of India. Indians normally drink Chai at least two times a day, once in the morning, and then again in the afternoon. In India you can get Chai anywhere, including right from your favorite street vendor. You will also find a¬†recipe for Masala Chai, on indiphile –¬†¬†I have a feeling I am going to end up like her mom, obsessing over perfecting my Chai tea recipe.

Because the Chai recipe in I Quit Sugar looked  so good, I decided to search for Sarah, the blogger who came up with it. Her blog is called My New Roots.  She invented Chaice-cubes! 

Let me explain…

You will be making your own chai concentrate. Here’s how…

INGREDIENTS

Because of all of the organic ingredients, this Chai is full of health benefits.

  • 5-6 inches fresh, grated ginger root
  • ¬ľ cup whole cardamom pods¬†
  • 1/8 whole fennel seeds
  • scant ¬ľcup whole cloves
  • 6- 8 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 ¬Ĺ liters fresh water

DIRECTIONS

  • Start out by boiling a big pot of water infused with all of the spices found in traditional Masala Chai. Then let this pot simmer for 2-4 hours.chai tea
  • Remove from heat.
  • Strain.
  • Let cool. (I refrigerated my liquid for a couple days. You can refrigerate for up to 2 week.)
  • Once liquid has cooled, pour liquid into ice cube trays.chai tea ice cubes
  • Store in freezer, so you always have chai on hand.

To make Chai Tea Latte by using the Masala …

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat milk or use a milk alternative over the stove.
  • Add a couple chai ice cubes to the milk and simmer.
  • Once mixture is very hot brew tea. Either place tea bag into mixture, or use loose leaf tea. Traditionally, the tea used is Black tea, but you can use which ever tea you desire.
  • Add honey or stevia to sweeten.

It is fall, my favorite season. And nothing gets me in a better mood, or warms me up more, than a spicy Chai Tea Latte. Now that I have these Chaice-Cubes on hand, there is no excuse to go to Starbucks. These cubes are just as fast. Plus, I can tweak the Chaice Cube recipe to my own taste buds, maybe next time I will add vanilla bean. I also like the idea of changing up my milk option, maybe using coconut milk one time, and almond milk the next. 

Are you a coffee drinker or tea drinker? What is your favorite coffee shop?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

 

I Quit Sugar (8 week detox) review

I am a really competitive person, and I absolutely love challenging myself.

So that is why I am very excited to tell you guys about my new challenge.

I am trying my hardest to quit sugar.

I have talked about my sugar addiction in the past. I have written about it in the blog post, I’ve been drinking my sugar. I also have seen, Fed Up, the latest documentary on sugar addiction. It is a must see and is available on iTunes to rent. ¬†Now, that I have all the facts on sugar, it is time to really get serious. I don’t want sugar to control me anymore.

Do you have a sugar addiction?

I realized I had a sugar problem, when I woke up every morning craving it. I would get my sugar caffeine fix and neglect eating breakfast, but still feel full and energized. Then I would head into work and around 2:00 pm, I would began feeling sluggish again. The craving would start and I would go get my sugar fix. When I was feeling stressed, or my day was not going well, I would immediately want some sort of sweet treat, whatever it may be, it made me feel better. I never thought I had a huge sweet tooth, but I knew I was drinking to many sweet drinks.

I usually don’t pay to much attention to my diet, I just try to eat as many organic plant based whole foods that I can. However, after reading the book, I Quit Sugar, I began to analyze my daily diet even closer. It was then that I realized that all of my healthy snacks was secretly laced with hidden sugars. Did you know you body can not tell the difference between a natural sugar or¬†an added sugar. Your body processes these sugars the same way.

The American Heart Association sets the sugar limit at 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, which translates to 25 grams of sugar. I was getting way more than that. Are you?

Finding the Detox

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A couple weeks ago, I was at the book store picking up a new cookbook, when I came across the book, I Quit Sugar. I thought to myself, “I need this book.”

This book is awesome. It not only has a sugar quitting program, but it also has a lot of amazing recipes.

What I have discovered about quitting sugar….

I have been doing this no sugar diet for a couple weeks now. Unfortunately, I am not very good at it. It is very hard, because sugar is in everything.¬†Compared to this, eating a plant based diet is easy for me. Being vegan or vegetarian you always face the question, “Well what do you eat?” A common answer to that question is… everything, but animal products. Well when it comes to no sugar, I found myself asking the same question. Does this mean no carbs? In the beginning I was very confused.

During, the first week of this no sugar detox, I found myself asking the question, “Well what do I eat?” ¬†I always knew that I drank my sugar, with my daily indulgence of a sugary chai tea latte from Starbucks. But now I am really becoming more aware of all the sugar I have been eating. My daily diet seemed to be a heathy one, but it was laced with hidden sugars. The author of the book, Sarah Wilson, had a similar issue. She too ate tons of health foods, but they were all sugary.

Now here’s the deal…

This detox is sugar free, low carb, gluten free. The foods that make up this detox is organic meat, dairy, and whole foods. The detox is only no sugar for 8 weeks. After the 8 weeks you can add natural sugars back into your daily diet, but remember keep in 6 teaspoons or less, in other words, no more than 25 grams of sugar a day.

My experience and what I have learned so far…

This detox (sugar free) and then diet lifestyle (low sugar) is very similar to paleo. For me this detox has been especially hard because I eat mostly plant based. I am finding that a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes have a good amount of sugar in them. If you eliminate both animal products and sugar form your diet, it is more difficult to find things to eat. For example, a friend of mine is also participating in the I Quit Sugar detox,  but because she eats meat, I found her nibbling on an organic chicken breast though out the day. Chicken breast is sugar free, so it works for her, but you will NOT find me nibbling on chicken, thats just not my style.

So the first couple weeks of the detox, I have been reading labels and have now gotten a really good idea of how much sugar I eat and drink daily. Because I was confused on what to eat, and didn’t have time to meal prep, I have not been cold turkey off all sugars yet. I also didn’t necessary feel like I was eating healthier. For the next 4 weeks I am¬†planning on keeping all of my sugars under 25 grams a day.

In conclusion…

So that is the plan. I will be updating you through out the next couple weeks about my experience. I also will be sharing with you some of the recipes I have tried from the cook book. And when it comes to a very meaty dish, I will be substituting the meat with a veggie option, while keeping everything organic and whole.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Are you a sugar addict?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

I don’t like labels.

Last weekend, I went to DC VegFest. It was totally cool hanging out with all of those vegans and vegetarians. ¬†The Veg community¬†is a very friendly group, and most wanted to know my story. I was asked by a couple different people, ¬†“What brought you to VegFest today? Are you vegan?”

My answer to that questions is…

No. I don’t feel it comfortable or necessary to label myself as anything. I don’t want to follow rigid rules of any kind, when it comes to food – I am too much of a foodie to be so restrictive and disciplined. I simply want to eat a healthy well balanced diet – full of color, flavor, and texture. And although, I eat and cook mostly organic plant based, I¬†am opened minded, adventurous, and willing to explore all different types of food lifestyles.

I recently found my new favorite blog called, My New Roots. When reading Sarah’s (the owner of the blog) About page, I thought to myself, ” Wow! She nailed it. This is exactly how I feel.”

Sarah says, “The only label I‚Äôll slap on myself is ‚Äúwhole-food-lover.” Nothing makes me feel better, think better, and look better than whole foods! And the big bonus? I¬†never¬†count calories or worry about my weight because I know that if I eat this way, my body will be in a perfect state of balance and health, naturally.”

I agree with her 100%. Although, my diet is mainly plant based, consisting of veggies, fruit, grains, beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds, I still can not label myself as vegetarian or vegan.¬†There has been weeks in which I have gone meatless, but there are days you can find me eating a greek yogurt. ¬†I absolutely love eggs and eat them a couple times a week. I also can’t live without fish. My favorite thing about summer time is eating a Maryland crab feast or a Lobster bake on Martha’s Vineyard.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, your main priority is eliminating all animal products. But the most important thing to me is that everything I eat is organic and whole. It is a very rare day, if you find me eating something that is not organic. I avoid GMOs and processed foods. I try to buy everything from local farms, and eat seasonally. If I am eating eggs, they are from cage free hens eating an organic feed. When I eat fish, I only eat wild caught. And on the rare occasion that I eat dairy or any other animal product, it must be treated as humanely as possible, free of antibiotics and hormones.

There are times in which I love labels, and there are times in which I hate them. There are some labels that are simple, while others are more complicated. The times in which I love them is when they are simple and define ones identity. The times in which I hate them are when they are complicated and become stereotypes.  I can label myself as a marathon runner, simply because I run marathons. But, I can not label myself as vegan or vegetarian, although I often cook and eat that way.

I bought this pendant from a vendor at VegFest…

 

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It says, Plant Strong.

So if I must come up with a label, Plant Strong is a pretty awesome one. I also love the label that Sarah from My New Roots came up with РWhole Food Lover.  Add organic to it and slap it on me.

What’s your label?¬†

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Roasted Chickpeas

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This photo got a ton of attention when I posted it to Facebook and Instagram last night. People requested the recipe and wanted to know all the details from what kind of seasoning I use to if they get crunchy.

Why I decided to make these…

On Saturday, when I was at DC VegFest, they handed out free samples of this snack. They tasted delicious, and the minute I saw them, I knew I have seen them before. In my favorite cookbook, Super Natural Everyday, Heidi Swanson has a recipe for these. So instead of buying a bag at VegFest, I decided to make them myself.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas. (Drain and dry them the best you can.)
  • 2 tablespoons evoo
  • 1.5 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons hot paprika (I didn’t have hot paprika on hand, so I used red pepper flakes as a substitute. When using red pepper flakes I only used 0.5 teaspoon.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary. (I used dried)
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme. (I used dried)
  • Lemon zest of 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Pour the chickpeas on a baking sheets, and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Check the chickpeas at 10 minutes shaking the baking sheet, making sure they aren’t stuck to the sheet. Continue baking for the rest of the time.
  • Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine evoo, salt, lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, paprikas, and red pepper flakes if using.
  • Once chickpeas have baked for 20 minutes, take them out of the oven and put them in the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix together.
  • Place paprika covered chickpeas on baking sheet and put in the oven, baking for an additional 5-10 minutes. (The longer you leave them in the oven, the crunchier they get. Just make sure they don’t burn.)
  • Let cool for a couple minutes and serve warm.
  • Enjoy!

*** All of the ingredients I used are organic, and non GMO. ***

Why I love these…

I absolutely love these chickpeas. They are a wonderful alternative to potato chips, kale chips, or popcorn. They are a low in sugar, high in protein snack. You can eat them by themselves, or add them to salad, soups, or even on top of grains. And although, I flavored them with paprika,  you can really chose any type of seasoning or flavors you are craving. A friend of mine, commented on facebook that she made hers with garlic and grated parm. So try away, get creative!

Have you tried roasted chickpeas before? What is your favorite seasoning? How do you flavor you roasted chickpeas?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

DC VegFest

Today was a fun and fulfilling Saturday.

The sun was shining and there wasn’t a drop of humidity in the air. It was the perfect day for a quick five mile loop around the monuments. 10653611_10102009897351646_5078060190360476724_nI wore my new running shoes, Newton Gravity. I also wore my new running watch, Garmin 620. It was my absolute first time wearing the watch and I loved it. ¬†However,¬†I will be writing a detailed review on the Garmin 620 later this week so stay tuned.

10702231_10102009114106276_1414548754899070551_nThen it was off to DC VegFest

The DC VegFest was located in South East DC at the Yards Park right along the river. Growing up in the DC area, South East was a part of the city you always tried to avoid, it was poor and dangerous. But now, it tells a different story. The famous Eastern Market is located in South East, and eastern market is one of my favorite markets in the area. There are also some really cool bars and restaurants on the neighboring streets.

But today, the VegFest took me to another area in South East. I would have never thought to go down to the waterfront. Wow! Things are changing everyday. Check out how cool the South East waterfront is…

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DC waterfront

DC water rest

After walking around the waterfront my friend and I headed over to DC VegFest. 10625143_10102009396749856_5438624594030666857_n

DC VegFest

DC Veg Fest

At the DC VegFest, there were some fabulous vendors, delicious plant based food, free samples, and amazing guest speakers.

SPEAKERS

I didn’t get to see all of the¬†speakers, but I saw a couple. They discussed the health benefits of living a vegan lifestyle. They also touched on politics, and environmental reasons for becoming vegan. They touched on animal cruelty, and some told their personal stories of why they went veg. The last speaker of the event was actually on the October cover of Runner’s World, wearing vegan compression socks.

VENDORS

Veg Fest soapsThere were some awesome vendors at the festival, but this soap vendor was by far my favorite. I have been using this sugar based shower gel from Blue Mercury which has been irritating my skin. Sugar is bad for you in every way.¬†¬†So when I saw this vendor, I thought perfect just what I needed. Buying soap here, saved me a trip to Sephora or Blue Mercury. All of the soap is free of animal products and both of the bars of soap I purchased have coconut oil in them. Coconut oil is my new obsession… (I will be writing a detailed post on the health benefits later this week so stay tuned.) The only negative thing I saw is that some of the soaps contain palm oil. Palm oil is in everything, and although it is not an animal product, it is not very vegan. Palm Tree farms in South East Asia, are taking away food and habitats from Elephant, Tigers, and many other animals. Anyway, I went home with two soaps a coconut one and and oatmeal one. The coconut soap is free of palm oil, but the oatmeal one may have some small amounts. Unfortunately, palm oil is hard to avoid.

FOODVeg Fest lunch

Going Veg is all about eating your veggies. If you go to DC VegFest next year, make sure you come with an appetite. There were tons of amazing food vendors and food trucks. A lot of the vendors only took cash, so make sure you bring cash. However, there are ATMs for those who forget. The food ranged from pizza to Indian, Ethiopian to mexican. There were sweets, and southern cooking, even greek.

Overall, I enjoyed DC VegFest!

I highly recommend VegFest for anyone who is already living a plant based lifestyle, and for those who are just interested to see what it is all about. At DC VegFest I learned a little more about animal cruelty, politics, and the environment. I also got the chance to eat some awesome plant based food, while learning how I can help create a better food system for the USA. And in my eyes, at the end of the day that is the most important thing. You are what you eat.

‚ÄúThat‚Äôs when I heard part of the secret. What we eat is a matter of life and death. Food is who we are.‚ÄĚ ¬†~ Scott Jurek

Stay tuned for some upcoming posts…

  1. Review on Garmin 620
  2. Coconut oil health benefits.

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Curry Sweet Potato Fries

I love sweet potatoes!

I love mixing the sweet flavor of sweet potatoes with salty and spicy. So when I came across the recipe, curry sweet potato fries, in the cookbook Isa Does It… I was thrilled.

This recipe is simple, delicious, and addicting. It is also vegan for all those who eat plant based.

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Ingredients
1) sweet potatoes (as many as you want)
2) olive oil
3) sweet curry powder (Penzeys Brand)
4) sea salt

Directions
1) Wash, peel, cut sweet potatoes in to thin pieces.
2) Place sweet potato wedges on cook sheet.
3) Smother sweet potatoes with olive oil.
4) Liberally sprinkle with curry powder and sea salt.
5) Bake in 400 F preheated oven.
6) Bake for 30 mins or until tender. Cook longer if you want crispy.

Enjoy!

Do you like sweet potatoes? How do you like to prepare your sweet potatoes?

Recipe Box

This summer, I have been spending tons of time in my kitchen. With my new vitamix and my kitchen aid mixer, I have been cooking and baking up a storm.

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“Food is very important to me, and health is my top priority. I believe food is healing, physically, emotionally, and mentally.”

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One of my favorite type of magazines to read are food magazines. But unfortunately, I have become a food magazine hoarder – Scary and embarrassing. So, I will admit there are piles of Vegetarian Times and Veg News in every corner of my house. ¬†These stacks have got to go…

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So I have come up with a couple solutions to organize my recipes…

Pin it...

One major thing I have done is clean up my pinterest profile. I will now have pinboards for each major meal. This will help you guys, my readers find my favorite recipes quickly. So make sure you follow me on pinterest!

Recipe Page 

I also now have a recipe page on this blog. This page will be organized in a similar way. It will be simple and easy for you, my readers. I will have it organized in sections by meal. Then I will have the name of the recipe listed with a link connect to the blog post. Each recipe will also be labled V for vegan/vegetarian, GF for gluten free, P for paleo.

Recipe Box

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At home, to get rid of the magazine stack I now have a recipe box. I have wanted one of these for a long time now, but they are actually really hard to find. With the internet being my generations main source for recipes, the recipe box, has become an old fashion technique to store and organize recipe ideas.  However, it is something my mom and grandma always had.

I like this idea because I will now be able to hand write my favorite recipes on index cards to store in the box, which I later will always have on hand. I also will be able to share recipes easier with friends, when I entertain.  And the ultimate best thing about this box is that I can clip my favorite recipe from the magazines and store these magazine recipes in the box eliminating my magazine stack.

e83ee7b181f01d67789b0d3c35a6da7eSo thats my plan for my recipes… That way I can cook the best I can and eat the best I can.

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How do you keep your recipes organized? Where do you find your favorite recipes?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Wedding Planning and Diet and Exercise Routine…

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So the count down has officially started. In 17 days my groom and I will make things official, and commit to each other for a life time. In 17 days we will celebrate our love, by having a wedding, sharing it with our closest family and friends.

I am very excited! I can’t wait to be married to Erik – what can I say, he is my favorite guy in the world. I am one lucky girl.20140611-174646.jpg

However, I will say this… there has been times during the wedding planning process when it hasn’t been fun. I am not a crazy planner girl, so I have been out of my element. I think the below photo expresses the way I feel about wedding planning more than any words could.

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However,¬†I am very proud of myself though because I have planned most of this wedding by myself. I am now the QUEEN of weeding planning. I am soooo thankful for my Mom and Aunt Nina for being my side kicks – I couldn’t have done it with out them.

I will say this- I have been swamped with wedding stuff. When I am not busy planning my own, I have been doing tons of wedding hair and make up. It seems like every time I see a client and tell them I am engaged… They respond, “Me Too!!”

Being swamped with wedding hair and make up has actually been really fun. Because I am also a bride planning my own wedding, I can totally relate to my bride clients on a whole different level. We share stories with each other about the ups, downs, and drama of wedding planning. Plus, it is so special to me to be a part of such an exciting time in my clients’ life.

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When it comes to my wedding planning, at the moment, I have my checklist and I’m checking it twice. I also am still emailing vendors back and forth. I have never emailed so many people in my life. But my questions need to be answered and so do theirs. I am hoping by the start of next week my emailing will come to an end. It is coming down to the wire. So at this point I am¬†trying to stay focused.

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Ask any of my friends, and they will tell you I am the type of person who always goes above and beyond. I am the type of person who totally gets wrapped up in what she is doing. (For example, I don’t just run, I run marathons.) Some may think I am obsessive and extreme, but I am just trying to be the best person I can be.

My advice to all brides to be…

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And that is exactly what I have been doing… Working on my wedding details everyday. I will admit I have never been so tired. It is a lot of work – now I understand why my best friend quit her job to plan her wedding. Wedding planning is like a job on its own.

On the other hand, I did not quit my job, but instead I am working more. I have never felt so busy. This type of stress is normal for all brides to be.

Alright, now that I have told you, I am excited, in love, exhausted, busy, and stressed. Let me talk to you about my stress reliever.

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Of course I have been running and lifting. Two weeks ago I finished another round of the Livefit trainer.

As for my…

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Along with running, I am now doing Ashley Conrad’s Clutch until I head out to California for my wedding. I am loving the intense circuit training. The one thing I need to stay on point with is the clean eating diet. I am eating clean but I need to eat more, and drink more water. Being so busy has made it difficult for me to meal prep and eat every 3 hours. I will say this though…

I am seeing awesome results. I am looking stronger and leaner. I can’t wait to be in my wedding dress! (I’ll post pics of me in my dress after the wedding.) But here are some progress pics.

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The Clutch programs make me sweaty. Running in the heat does too… And although, I am seeing great progress, I have been really sore lately. I am definitely taking rest days when needed. Marathon training starts in mid July so I want to feel refreshed, not burned out.

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So thats what I have for you guys today! I promise you, I will be updating more often. I awesome have an amazing green tea product to share with you! Look for that post by friday.

What work out do you use to relieve stress? Do you take regular rest days?

© sweatdaily 2014

Fed Up! The most IMPORTANT blog post.

hey there!

I want to apologize for being MIA for the month of May. I have so much to catch you up on… ¬†And although I haven’t posted much, I have been one busy girl.¬†Travel, work, running, weight lifting, cooking, and wedding planning has consumed me, and continues to consume me. However… last week I was able to squeeze in some movie time with my good friend R (check out her fashion/lifestyle ¬†blog. It’s awesome!)

The movie we saw is called Fed Up (watch the trailer here.) Because it is a documentary it is only playing at the E Street Theater in DC. This is bitter sweet. The sweet part: I love the E Street Theater and was thankful the movie was playing in a theater in my area. The bitter part: After seeing the movie I felt so inspired. I wanted to shout from the roof tops, “Everyone should see this film.” ¬†Then I became really disappointed that only one theater is showing this film in my area. And what about other smaller towns? The odds are no theater is playing it.

That is the reason why I am claiming this to be one of the most important blog posts I have written. I am trying to spread the word about this film the fastest way I can, and there is no way faster than through social media. Please reblog this post and continue to spread the word.

Now about the movie…

I first heard about the movie Fed Up on Kris Carr’s facebook page. I can always count on Kris for keeping me inspired, informed, and updated. For those who don’t know Kris Carr – she is an amazing cancer surviver who wrote the book, Crazy Sexy Diet, and created the documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer. I love her book, and watch her documentary often.

Anyway, she posted that Fed Up would premiere May, 9th. Immediately, I knew I had to see it. So I marked it in my calender and contacted R, the one friend I knew who would enjoy the film as much as I would.

This movie is a must see. It is about the American Diet, claiming that sugar is the reason why so many American’s are fat.

Ideas that were expressed in this film that really stuck with me…

  • Sugar is as addictive as cocaine. It releases the same signals from the brain to the body, the way cocaine does. One will drink a sugary coffee drink in the morning. It gives you a high, but in two hours the person feels tired and sluggish, then craving sugar again. People who are overweight, this includes children, continue to crave and often after loosing weight, they will gain it back. Bad habit and routine also causes weight gain. Poor education, not knowing what is healthy also causes weight gain.
  • Sugar without fiber is quickly processed by the liver and stored as fat. This includes fruit juice.
  • The body can not tell the difference between sugar and sugar replacements.
  • Honey, agave, nectars, although natural, are still forms of sugar and effect the body the same way as sugar does.
  • Scientists come up with different names for sugar, and companies label their product with these confusing names. The most common one being¬†high fructose corn syrup.
  • Buying low fat or fat free is not healthier for you. Most low fat or fat free items are processed. Scientists remove the fat and replace it with sugar or man made chemicals.
  • Companies focus on trendy diets in order to sell products. ¬†When low calorie diets were trendy they create products like Coke Zero. Creating products like Coke Zero¬†is just a math equation. It is easy for Scientists to remove calories, but when they remove something they need to replace it with something else – in most cases a chemical. At the end of the day hot pockets vs. lean hot pockets – both of them are equally junk food.¬†
  • Doctors go to medical school and prescribe medicine. In some extreme Doctors will even choose surgery. The problem is medicine and surgery only treats the symptoms. Being obese is a symptom. When children are overweight, there is a deeper reason why… In most cases their parents don’t know the difference between a healthy food vs. a non healthy food. Schools don’t have healthy options in the cafeteria.
  • Advertisements are also a huge reason why Americans are overweight.
  • Politics are also a huge reason why Americans are overweight. Do we want to be the richest nation or the healthiest? Can we have both?
  • This problem is becoming a Global issue.

Although, some of the content I already had knowledge on there were other ideas that were totally eye opening.

 

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Don’t forget to see this film, and bring your friends too. Spread the word!

Do you have a sweet tooth?

What is your favorite documentary?

© sweatdaily 2014