Sleep and Weight Loss

sleep and eating

We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep to let our bodies heal itself from the wear and tear from that day. What we eat impacts how well we sleep.

I’m sure there have been several studies on this, but I like to try things out for myself before I back anything… and those studies are TRUE!!

When I ate junk like soda, Kraft macaroni & cheese, hamburgers, hot dogs, candy, and the like regularly I always had problems falling asleep for more than an hour at a time. Now, that I use simple ingredients in my recipes, I sleep like a baby and I can count on falling asleep at a specific time every night!

I’ve done a little research and apparently all of the sugar and chemicals from the boxed crap we eat keeps us from falling into what science calls “Delta sleep.” WebMD defines “delta sleep” (link here) as a stage in the NREM (non-rapid eye movement) cycle where the body can repair/regenerate tissue, build bones/muscles and strengthen your immune system!

So the next time you feel a little sleepy, listen to your body and take a quick nap!

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SlimVox

SlimVox

I don’t believe that diet pills should be the crux of anyone’s plan to change their eating habits, but they might be helpful if you need to lose weight but can’t work out.

A prime example is be when I was on bed rest for my back injury: I could barely move without excruciating pain, let alone exercise. Despite my limitations, I was determined to do SOMETHING to change my destructive eating habits, so I started doing research on what kinds off supplements were available to me. One day I came across SlimVox and I noticed I could pronounce the ingredients and that stoked my curiosity. The more research I did on SlimVox, the more it impressed me, so I ordered it to see how it could help me during my recovery.

Supplementing.com has a terrific in-depth YouTube review on the ingredients in SlimVox; the concept behind the development SlimVox and the fact that they used NO artificial ingredients were the main catalysts that helped me decide to give it a trial run.

SlimVox was developed by women for women because we fully understand how hard it can be for us to shed those unwanted pounds. Men say women don’t lose weight as fast as they do because we’re lazy (a MONUMENTAL cop-out, in my opinion!), but that is NOT the case. A woman’s body is genetically engineered (link) to store more fat than men just in case we get pregnant.

The women who developed SlimVox underscore this point and use all natural ingredients to help us shed those unwanted pounds, with proper diet and exercise!

My favorite ingredients in SlimVox are kelp, ginger and green tea. The fact SlimVox included kelp in the formulation intrigued me greatly. I had heard many times how marine plants like kelp and seaweed were helpful in absorbing toxins in the digestive tract and easing them out (after all, sushi rolls are usually wrapped in seaweed!). Since I had 25+ years of junk food in my system, I wanted something that could really kick-start the detoxification process.

Ginger is an incredible spice because it is an intestinal spasmolytic (something that is really good at soothing the intestinal tract and makes it easier for it to expel toxins from your system). This was important to me because during the first five months my recovery, I could not stand long enough to make a fiber-rich salad or heart-healthy bowl of granola.

Green tea sealed the deal for me because of the potent antioxidant properties that could help repair the damage from my injury (and it had just the right amount of caffeine that gave me a much-needed boost of energy while I took the time to recover from my injury).

Heart-Healthy Pancakes

Pancakes

I loved it when I would be in the kitchen with my Mom early on Sunday mornings to her make a big breakfast that could have two or three days-worth of leftovers. While I’m sure you can create pancake batter from scratch (which is something I think I might try someday 🙂 ), I like to use Log Cabin’s ready-to-mix dry batter. I prefer this brand because they use simple ingredients and never have more than 10 ingredients (including NO PRESERVATIVES!!) in their mixes.

As I mentioned in my post about French toast, we can use the carbohydrate content in our foods to our advantage given you want to educate yourself about the different kinds of carbohydrates and your willingness to experiment with them.

Here’s my basic pancake recipe I use regularly that is under 400 calories (which includes ¼ cup of syrup!) and keeps me full for about 3 hours.

Heart-Healthy Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Log Cabin pancake mix
  • 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon & 2 tsp of ginger
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Combine pancake mix, egg, oil, ginger and cinnamon in a bowl
  2. Warm medium sized pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray (to prevent the pancakes from sticking, let the cooking spray warm up with the pan until it turns clear)
  3. Spritz a small of water into the pan to make sure it’s evenly heated (the water droplets should boil instantly)
  4. Pour pancake mix and cook on medium heat

Greek Yogurt is a FANTASTIC substitute for fatty oils and butter!

chobani-conversion-chart_web_final1A few weeks ago, I was watching Dr. Oz and he was discussing how Greek yogurt is the best kind of yogurt you can include in your diet. It’s got a taste and texture that will take a while to get used to, but once you do, you’ll never want to eat any other kind of yogurt!

Towards the end of the show, Dr. Oz had a guest explain how she substituted oils and fats in her favorite foods to make it healthier and much more flavorful. She had recipes for some of my favorite indulgences like  chicken alfredo and brownies.

A special thank you to Allyson for the neat conversion chart!

I can’t wait to try this in some of my favorite recipes!

Tacos

two-grilled-tacos

As a kid, I remember being addicted to fast food joints like McDonald’s and Taco Bell. One of my favorite things from Taco Bell was their beef tacos. Now that I’m almost 30, I want to pass on healthier recipes to my friends and family.

This is my basic taco recipe, but you can make enchiladas, empanadas, etc. the same way!

Tacos

Ingredients:

  • Ground beef, chicken, shrimp, lobster, scallops or tofu
  • Tortillas (multi-grain or whole wheat)
  • Shredded cheese (I like Sargento’s Pepper Jack)
  • Green, red, yellow peppers (diced)
  • White, red, yellow onions (diced)

Directions:

  1. Brown your meat or meat substitute in a saute pan on medium heat (add adobo for seasoning)
  2. Warm up the tortillas in a 2nd saute pan → put water in the pan, place it on a low simmer and let the tortilla sit in the warm water.
  3. After the ground beef is done, saute the peppers and onions
  4. Plate up the tortillas, veggies, and ground beef and ENJOY!!!

Spinach Salad

chicken-bacon-pomegranate-spinach-salad

Like many kids, I absolutely detested vegetables. Even when my mom would say I could have dessert if I ate my vegetables, I found a way to worm my way out of eating them.

Fast forward to my early 20s… after coming home after graduation, I resolved to get more greens my diet. For the first three months, I made good on my promise, but I forgot the wise, old saying goes: “Variety is the spice of life.” I only bought spinach and would incorporate a plain chicken breast to get protein and I drowned it in Caesar dressing to hide the bitter taste of the spinach.

This is my go-to spinach salad recipe. The inclusion of a little bit of feta cheese eliminates my need for dressing and when all is said and done, this meal is about 300 calories and fuels me for the rest of the day!

Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce of feta cheese
  • 1 cups of spinach
  • 1 Purdue Perfect Portion chicken breast (Italian Style) or 1 scallop

Directions:

  1. Place chicken breast in greased pan burning on medium heat and cook thoroughly, then cut into small pieces
  2. Cut 1 ounce block of feta into desired chunk size
  3. Place spinach in a large bowl
  4. Add cheese and chicken to spinach

Greek Pizza

Greek Pizza

When I was younger, my mom and dad worked really hard to give me the best life possible and sometimes they needed a break. Especially my mom (from the kitchen) – I think she dropped the ball completely by going to SUNY Oneonta and majoring in Economics. She should have opened a restaurant and gone to culinary school!

To take a break from the kitchen, my mom would order Pizza Hut every Friday night. I remember her ordering two or three large pepperoni pizzas because I used to eat three slices in one sitting – EEK!

Now that I know I never have to give up my favorite foods, I started trying different kinds of pizza. Recently, I ordered a Greek pizza and I cannot describe how AWESOMELY DELECTABLE it was! It was a white pizza with Feta, roasted red peppers tomatoes and olives… MMM MMM! Since I don’t want to order out every other night, I came up with this recipe I can make at home whenever I crave some pizza.

Greek Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Feta cheese

  • Red peppers

  • Shredded cheese

  • Pizza dough

  • Thinly sliced tomatoes

  • Spinach

Directions:

  1. Cut the feta cheese into medium sized blocks

  2. Cut the red pepper into medium sized strips

  3. Flatten pizza dough an place on pan lightly greased with cooking spray

  4. Place shredded cheese, feta cheese, red peppers, spinach and tomatoes on pizza dough

  5. Bake pizza at 275°F for 30-45 minutes

When I was younger, my mom and dad worked really hard to give me the best life possible and sometimes they needed a break. Especially my mom (from the kitchen) – I think she dropped the ball completely by going to SUNY Oneonta and majoring in Economics. She should have opened a restaurant and gone to culinary school!

To take a break from the kitchen, my mom would order Pizza Hut every Friday night. I remember her ordering two or three large pepperoni pizzas because I used to eat three slices in one sitting – EEK!

Now that I know I never have to give up my favorite foods, I started trying different kinds of pizza. Recently, I ordered a Greek pizza and I cannot describe how AWESOMELY DELECTABLE it was! It was a white pizza with Feta, roasted red peppers tomatoes and olives… MMM MMM! Since I don’t want to order out every other night, I came up with this recipe I can make at home whenever I crave some pizza.

Greek Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Feta cheese

  • Red peppers

  • Shredded cheese

  • Pizza dough

  • Thinly sliced tomatoes

  • Spinach

Directions:

  1. Cut the feta cheese into medium sized blocks

  2. Cut the red pepper into medium sized strips

  3. Flatten pizza dough an place on pan lightly greased with cooking spray

  4. Place shredded cheese, feta cheese, red peppers, spinach and tomatoes on pizza dough

  5. Bake pizza at 275°F for 30-45 minutes