Category / Health

Dr. Oz’s Tea

After coming across this article on Dr. Oz about metabolism-boosting teas, I decided to give the Chinese Oolang + Cinnamon version a try. It seemed perfect for going into fall, but with temps still in the 70s, drinking it over ice is refreshing. The tea DOES have caffeine, so I limit myself to a glass a day.

To make this tea, boil 3 cups of water and remove from heat.  Let 12 tea bags and 3-4 cinnamon sticks steep for a few minutes, remove, then dilute the tea with as many cups of cold water as the container you’re storing your tea in will allow you to fit.

The consensus? Delicious!

salty snack: kale chips

I’ve been a little less present in blogworld lately…it seems to be that there’s just a lot going on. I’ve been on a rampage to learn the ins and outs of my camera before our trip to Hawaii later this year (the same camera I’ve had for a year and a half but rarely take out of auto mode) and I’ve been trying to stay committed to July of Try (aka the follow-up month to June of Doom).

After taking almost a week off from the gym for a variety of reasons, I’m back in my routine, alternating the Brazilian Butt elliptical workout with a run on the treadmill, and doing some ab and arm work on alternating days. It’s about all I can crank out in this crazy heat lately just to do that much. So I’m working equally hard at what I eat, which includes trying several clean eating recipes that have been on my radar for a while. We finally (finally!) get a Whole Foods here, opening tomorrow. I can’t wait to have access to so many natural options for even more snack and meal ideas.

kale chips | life in yellow

So…kale chips. If you’re like my husband, you’ll gag at the name and perhaps at the sight of them. I have shied away from kale up to this point, hearing about its bitter taste and that many who try it in smoothies or salads are turned off by the flavor. Then I read an article that said to try it baked and with a pinch of salt- that many people find they love kale when prepared this way. I should preface this by saying yes, I am a veggie lover to begin with, but these were seriously like snack crack…I ate an entire bunch of cooked kale in one Saturday afternoon (guilt-free, I might add). A cup of kale has about 30 or so calories, and it’s uber-healthy for you. So snack away!

KALE CHIPS:
1 bunch of kale (I doubled up to make extra)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil (use very sparingly, I used too much in my first batch)
a sprinkling of your favorite seasoned salt (Paula Deen’s is my fave)

Pull the leaves off the stems and toss in a bowl with your olive oil. Get your hands messy and make sure the oil gets rubbed onto every piece. Spread out on a baking sheet sprayed with a light mist of nonstick spray (in the photo above, mine was layered too thickly – in hindsight, I would have split this amount onto two sheets) and finally sprinkle salt over the sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 14 minutes, adding an additional minute or two as needed.

Lay out a few paper towels and use a big spatula to move the cooked kale onto them to fully dry and cool. You can see here just how much it cooks down. I keep mine stored in a big Ziploc bag. Munch as needed.

Enjoy!

doctor’s orders

After reading this article recently through Dr. Oz’s website, I’ve decided to add a couple supplements to my routine as one of my “July of Try” goals. I’ve never been very good with vitamins (I remember to take a multi MAYBE once a week – terrible), so this will be good for me to get into a habit of doing so every day. Plus, the two he recommends in this article are particularly targeted at weight loss and digesting carbohydrates. (Score!)

First up, I’m taking an African mango supplement, which is supposed to suppress appetite but also aid boosting metabolism.

The family of B vitamins (there are 8 ) are responsible for everything from support of metabolism to health of your skin, nails, muscles, and immune and nervous systems.

I figure I’ll give both a 30 day trial and see if I notice anything different – I’ll be back with a follow-up! 🙂

(almost) guilt-free chocolate chip cookies

While I’m trying not to reward the completion of June of Doom with food, I was feeling I was due an indulgence in the sweets department.

One of my new favorite things to do in the kitchen is experiment with how to take favorite recipes and lighten them up, without sacrificing flavor. So where better to start than the classic Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Source

But before we begin, can we take a minute to re-live this classic Friends moment where Phoebe can’t remember her grandmother’s “famous” chocolate chip cookie recipe? 🙂 I can’t embed the video here, but click this link to watch the clip.

You Americans always butcher the French language. Hehe.

Anyway, back to the lightened-up version of this recipe. Below is the original (printed on the back of any chocolate chip bag) and the items highlighted in pink are ones that I altered to cut fat and calories.

2-1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips

So, as the original recipe stands, here are the nutrition facts for one cookie, assuming you don’t eat dough like I do and get a full three dozen (36) cookies out of your batch. Considering NO ONE can eat just one cookie, the calories add up quickly!

Now, with some subsitutions….

…the ingredients list looks like this:

1-1/8 cup all purpose flour
1-1/8 cup wheat flour
3/4 cup Truvia baking blend
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup Chobani plain non-fat greek yogurt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
2 egg beaters
2 cups chocolate chips

I’m not a fan of “fake” sugars (if you need something sweetened, just use real sugar, or maple or agave syrup to sweeten it), but Truvia is finally something I can get on board with. First of all, the ingredients list is all of three items. Second, none of those items are fourteen-syllable chemical names I can’t recognize. We keep this on-hand in packet form for Page’s coffee as well and we’re both fans.

Back to the batter, which turned out just as delish as the regular kind…

… and the nutrition facts are much more to my liking:

I have to sidebar for a second and make note of two of my favorite kitchen tools, both gifted to me from my culinarily-gifted BFF. She taught me the importance of Silpat baking mats (no more scraping cookie burn off the baking sheet!) and a cookie scoop (hello, perfectly measured balls of dough and consistently sized cookies!).

And while they were a bit fluffier than the original recipe (most likely the egg beaters and the sub of half wheat flour), the taste was just as amazing! (Note to self – you can’t see the cookies in photos against the counters!)

Happy Monday! Hope your (short!) week is SWEET. 🙂

June of Doom: The Wrap-Up

All in all, it’s been a pretty quick 30 days. Can it really be the end of June already?

Overall, I’m really happy with the effort I made to get my workouts in and keep my meals reasonable. I stuck with most of my goals, most days, with the exception of a couple of cocktails already this weekend (I was celebrating the end of June!).  Oh and yes, there was a slice of graduation cake, a slice of birthday cake, and another birthday cupcake somewhere in there along the way as well. What can you do? You have to live and celebrate. 🙂

 

RESULTS SO FAR:
While my weight hasn’t moved much (I’m down about three to four pounds), my body fat percentage is down almost a full 1% and my muscle mass is up almost as much. This doesn’t seem like much, but after a little research, I learned that for women in particular, it takes a significant effort to lose 1% fat, even if we have excess to shed, because our bodies are just wired to store it. So in short, I’m chalking this one up to success. Hopefully my body will gain a little momentum in this area over the NEXT four weeks.

As far as other measurements I’m tracking, I’ve lost about an inch off my hips and a half-inch in my waist. Again, nothing monumental, but it’s progress in the right direction and I’ll take it. More so than any numbers can show, I just FEEL better and my clothes fit more comfortably, so I know changes are taking place, even if oh-so-slowly.

So from here, we begin July. It really seems to work for me to set goals one month at a time. I can stick with just about anything for a mere four weeks. For this month, I have a few new goals and some modifications to the old ones.

 

FOOD:
Alcohol is allowed back in, in moderation – and just in time! Whose idea was it to forego delicious cool cocktails in June?! 🙂 For me, alcohol means “skinny” cocktails only, the occasional lite beer, and ideally I’ll keep drinks only to the weekend. I’m going to continue to keep white starches to a minimum and skip excess carbs when I can (i.e. eat a burger with a fork, minus the top side of the bun). I won’t feel guilty about an occasional dessert, but I am going to try and keep substituting it with fruit and a little whipped cream as I did several times this past month. I’ve been learning a lot about subsitutions in recipes to save on calories and fat, and want to continue to cook favorite meals we skipped on the past several weeks, but in a lightened-up way.

 

WORKOUTS
I’m really enjoying my workouts right now and nothing is boring (yet) so for now, I’m going with the flow and not changing much. I did a very minor amount of strength training in June, just trying to guage where I was, and could definitely do more with that this month. My goal is to get two lower body and two upper body/ab sessions in every week. Even if the whole session is a mere ten minutes, I just want to get in the habit of working muscle groups in addition to the cardio I’m currently doing.

 

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

 

And if the above is true, I’m hopefully right on track. I can see and feel the most subtle of changes right now, but I’m hoping with another month of progress, they can seem more “legit”. By the end of the summer, here’s hoping someone other than me might be able to see a difference (fingers crossed)!