Posts Tagged ‘eating habits’

Portion Control

Anyone who is trying to watch their weight will tell you that portion control is one of their best allies.  But what is portion control?rasp

By definition: Portion control is understanding how much a serving size of food is and how many calories or how much food energy a serving contains.

It’s very evident that the American diet no longer consists of true portions.  A perfect example would be an order of pasta.  Today’s average serving is enough to fill a 10 to 12 inch plate or bowl.  Even just 10 to 15 years ago, the same order would be equivalent to a side order portion today.

Also consider that it’s not just at a restaurant or at home that portions can sneak up on you.  When you read labels and see the information given, make sure to look at the serving size and how many servings are in the container.  It might say it’s only 50 calories in a serving but there may be 2 to 3 servings per container.

Some people find that actual measurements help keep them in line where others prefer a visual to compare to.  I’ve put together a list of both measurements and visuals to help guide you to better portion control.

Of course these examples are just averages.  For more accurate readings use a calibrated kitchen scale (I purchased a cheap one at Target) or measuring cups and spoons.

  • Fist = 1 Cup of rice, pasta, fruit or veggies
  • Palm = 3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry
  • Handful = 1 ounce of nuts, seeds or raisins
  • Thumb = 1 ounce of hard cheese or nut butter
  • Thumb tip = 1 teaspoon of oil, butter or sugar
Other serving size references:

1 serving:

  • 1/2 cup, cooked pasta
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables
  • 1 cup ( 4 leaves) lettuce
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1/2 mango
  • 1/2 cup berries
  • 1 cup yogurt or milk
  • 1 1/2 ounces of cheddar cheese
  • 1 small chicken breast
  • 1/4 pound hamburger patty

Stuck on Cilantro

I am in LOVE with Cilantro!  I love the spiciness of it as well as the texture. And check out all of the added benefits Cilantro in your diet can provide!

It is such a versatile herb.  Here are a few of the ways I’ve been using it this summer:cilantro

  • In a marinade (Awesome for grilled chicken)
    • Olive oil
    • Agave
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Cilantro
    • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Hummus – Find your favorite Hummus recipe and throw in some Cilantro.  It’s awesome!
  • Juicing or smoothies – I know, it sounds weird but it is so refreshing.
  • In a salad – This is the easiest of them all.  Throw in a handful of leaves into your next salad be wowed by the punch of spice that it brings.  It’s perfect with a sliced apple on top.


drinking-water If I could ask my clients to make one change to their lifestyle, do you know what I would suggest?

Although all small changes really do have an impact on your health, there is one thing in particular that I think EVERYONE could work on…HYDRATION.

Did you know that the average human body is made up of 60% water?  That’s a lot of water!  And consider this; as stated on, “People feel thirsty when they have already lost around 2-3% of their body’s water.  Mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired before thirst kicks in, typically around 1% dehydration.”

It is thought that nearly 75% of Americans are dehydrated on a daily occurrence.  This can lead to many side effects, including:

  • Mood change
  • Exhaustion
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Palpations
  • Inability to sweat

By observing the slightest changes in your body, you can beat dehydration before it reaches impairment levels.  These are symptoms to be aware of:

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output — no wet diapers for three hours for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or light-headedness

Lack of hydration is an easy issue to remedy.   Drink more water!  Not pop or most teas and juices, plain water.  Of course, you could always seep cucumber, berries or herbs in your water.  As long as it is high quality, filtered water.

That is where the easy answer ends.  In research, there are many equations and guidelines mentioned as to how much of it to drink.  I found this website questionnaire to be the most precise.

How Much Water Do You Need?

After going through and answering all of the questions it brought me to an answer that is the same as I would have gotten by just following this advice.

Take your weight, divide it by two, and that is the amount in ounces that you should be drinking per day.

Dehydration leads to a slew of physical and mental impairments.  Let’s take an easy preventative step and work on staying hydrated.  Have a water bottle with you at all times.  Soon enough it will be a habit!

The Nut Butter Debate

nut butter I can about guarantee that most of you, if not all of you, have some sort of nut butter sitting on your shelf.  Nut butters are a great source of protein and a healthy snack option.  But not all nut butters are created equal.

Let’s dig deeper in to the most popular of the nut butters, peanut butter.  I grew up on Jif’s Creamy Peanut Butter.  Let’s just say, I’m glad I know now what I didn’t know then.


That’s a lot of oil!  At least there’s a better choice of peanut butter out there these days.  In fact, this is my choice of readily available peanut butter; Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter.


Now, you might wonder why I choose the natural over the organic option that Smucker’s has.  It’s all in the ingredients.  The organic option’s first ingredient is ROASTED ORGANIC PEANUTSTo roast the peanuts, unless it says dry roasted, they have to use oil.  It doesn’t say what type of oil they use.  Tricky, I know!!

There are great options available made from other nuts as well.  I love to splurge and get sunflower seed butter once in a while.  But I also like to keep it simple.   I figure, any nut butter is a high fat food.  If I’m going to splurge and eat it, I want to know exactly what I’m eating.

With all of the options out there these days, you really have to be cautious of what you’re buying.  Here’s an example of tricky marketing.  This is what some companies are trying to pass off as healthy these days.  Sorry, Nutella, I’m going to pick on you.


Hazelnut is the third ingredient!  And I guess they didn’t think hazelnuts were oily enough; they had to add palm oil.  Not to mention the worst phrase ever: artificial flavor.  No thank you.

Let’s also take a look at PB2.  I wish I could say I like this product but I have a few issues with it.


There’s that word again, ROASTED.  Not to mention they had to throw sugar into the mix.

This is what it boils down to; if you want to splurge and eat a high fat treat such as nut butters, look at the ingredients list not the nutritional values and enjoy it in moderation!  Or, there are local stores in the area that have machines available to make your own nut butter.  Go for it!  Then you’ll really know what it’s made of!

Information Session in Ankeny

Round Two – Information Session at Back to Wellness Chiropractic in Ankeny

Well, the first round didn’t kill me so how about a round two!  I may just start to like doing these 😉

Session #2 Marketing Poster for B2W - Copy

Whole-Wheat Waffles

My hubby made me this yummy weekend breakfast treat!

Whole-Wheat Waffles

whole wheat waffles


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups almond milk
  • ¼ cup oil (I used coconut oil, make sure to heat it up a bit so it’s not solid going in)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Warmed 100% pure maple syrup or agave for serving

Fresh fruit for serving (Blueberries or strawberries would be great in or on top of these)


  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, honey, cinnamon, and baking soda until well combined.
  3. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk together just until the large lumps disappear.
  4. When the waffle iron is hot, dab it with a little butter or spray and then ladle some batter onto the center of the iron.  Follow the instructions that came with your waffle maker to know how long it should be cooked (mine takes about 3 – 4 minutes each).
  5. Keep waffles warm until you finish cooking all of them. Top with pure maple syrup and fruit. Enjoy!

Suggested Documentaries

If you have not caught it in previous blogs, my husband and I do not own a TV…  by choice.  I know, I know, how un-American!  How do we watch the news?  How do we watch The Voice?


Truth be told, I don’t like the news anyway.  It’s my opinion that most TV stations are ratings-driven media bullies who will say and sell anything for a buck.  And to me, reality TV is a huge issue in today’s society.

My husband mostly agrees with me and for our viewing pleasure, we usually turn to the internet for cheap entertainment.

Now that I’ve pushed my position on the public (does that make me a hypocrite?), there are a few videos that I’d like to share with you.  As I’ve been training for my races, I’ve found numerous documentaries that have truly been worthwhile to see.

On Netflix (which is much cheaper that cable or dish), they have a series of TED talks covering many facets of today’s food industry and the growing concerns surrounding the topic.  They are about 20 minutes in length each.  Some I found very informative and others I skipped on by.

Here is the link:  Netflix

I have also enjoyed watching a few full-length documentaries on Netflix as well.   There are many ideas and political positions within these films.  But I will say, they all get you thinking in terms of how the daily choices you make effect your future as well as the Earth’s future.

Many of these movies can be seen on Hulu and YouTube as well as Netflix.  And don’t forget about your local library!

Here are some of my favorites.

  • Forks Over Knives
  • Hungry for Change
  • Food Fight
  • Ingredients
  • Killer at Large

And these are on my list to watch.

  • Super Size Me
  • Food, Inc.
  • King Corn
  • Food Beware

If there are other’s out there that you think I would enjoy, let me know!

Informational Session!

The time has come for me to face a HUGE fear!  I have always had a hard time getting up in front of a group of people and speaking.  But now I need to face the fear and do it anyway.

Please join me at my very first Information Session!  I decided to start with an overview of Health Coaching and its benefits and then move on to more challenging topics at later sessions.

If you are able to make it, thank you for being my guinea pigs!  If anything it will be very entertaining.  Bear with me and let’s hope my face doesn’t stay the shade of red that I’m sure it will be turning .

Session #1 Poster for Website & Newsletter

Glycemic Index

GI Have you heard of Glycemic Index?  It is a great tool that can help those who are watching their blood sugar levels with diet.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose (blood sugar) level. A food with a low GI will typically prompt a moderate rise in blood glucose, while a food with a high GI may cause our blood glucose level to increase above the optimal level.

There are many websites with lists of foods and their GI score available on the internet.  Some of those include:

A couple of things to keep in mind, portion control is a huge part of any healthy food lifestyle.  Also, these items are listed separately.  It does not take in to consideration the changing factors of preparation and how the items may change their GI when digested together.

Calling all Gardeners

Cool black dirt, baby plants looking for a home, mouth salivating at the possible vegetables that will be enjoyed in just a few short weeks.  Yep, it’s gardening time!  This is only the second time we have done a garden together and I’m hoping this season we have better luck.  gardening

I grew up with a huge garden every year.  It has always been my goal to replicate the bounty that my parents could produce.  Someday, I will succeed!  For now, we have two 4×8 raised beds and a few pots.  This year, we are doing beans, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, spinach, kale and herbs.

Tell me about your gardens!  I want to know your tricks of the trade.  What veggies do better next to others, which do you start by seed and plant?  I realize there are hundreds of books on the subject but I prefer firsthand experience to learn from.

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