Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Day 1 – Learn Portion Control

(1) Learn portion control ~ Start off with a smaller plate. A blue plate is best as it the least appetizing in color. In nature, blue food is typically poisonous or spoiled. Limit your protein to the size of your palm or 1/4 of your plate. 1/2 of your plate should be veggies & the other 1/4 of your plate healthy whole grains.

Double Chocolate Banana Cake Mix Muffins

I love making muffins and cupcakes and eating them too! I use a Devils’ Food Chocolate Cake Mix for my “healthier” cupcakes often (just use 1 c. of greek yogurt & 1 c. of water). I needed to make a breakfast item for our upcoming teacher appreciation breakfast & I had 3 over-ripe bananas staring at me in the fruit bowl.  I knew I had a chocolate cake mix, and chocolate banana muffins just sounded yummy.  I didn’t want to use eggs (besides I was out) so here is what I came up with instead…

Set the oven to 400 degrees.

1 chocolate cake mix (I prefer Devil’s Food but any will do)

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 c. applesauce (all I had was cinnamon but it worked)

1/4 c. Greek yogurt

chocolate chips

 

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Combine all ingredients and mix well.  I added a little water because my batter was a little too thick.   Add your chocolate chips…however many you want, I used about 3/4 c. in mine.  Then spoon the batter into your lined muffin tins.  I sprinkled a little organic sugar on top of each muffin…just for a little added sweetness.  I cooked my muffins for 16 minutes at 400 degrees.

These turned out so moist and really tasty! The chocolate really balances the banana flavor…so it’s not too banana-y! 🙂 I hope you enjoy them as much as my kiddos did and hopefully the teachers!

Happy Healthy Baking!!

Facebook Lunch Time Love Giveaway

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I love making my kids fun, healthy school lunches, so I’m offering a fun Facebook lunch time love giveaway on my Happy Clean Life Facebook page will have you all set to share some lunchtime love with your kiddos too. They will love finding these in their lunchboxes!!

This giveaway includes:
* 2 BPA free 3 compartment lunchboxes
* 6 silicone muffin cups
* 2 condiment cups
* 4 food picks
* 1 star cookie cutter
* 2 small metal cutters (for cheeses, veggies & etc)
* 4 sheets of lunchbox notes

I purchased all of these (except the star cookie cutter) on Amazon.com. I’ve included the links and product info for you below so feel free to order your own lunchbox goodies.

Here are just a few of the lunches I’ve created for my kiddos! I love making them as much as they love eating them!

LUNCH 7    

LUNCH BLOG PICLUNCH 4

 

For more school lunch box ideas, check out my Pinterest board Lunch Box Love.  I’ve got recipes, lunch box notes, pictures for inspiration and more! Please feel free to leave your comments or questions below or email me at happycleanlife@gmail.com.  Happy lunch making!!

5 Ingredients You Don’t Need in Your Protein Shake

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I’ve tried so many different protein shakes over the years. I’ve finally found the perfect one for me! How does your stand up to my checklist?

Over the years, I’ve tried many different brands, flavors and types of protein shakes.  I admit it! I’m a protein shake junkie! I drink one for breakfast almost every day & I have for years.  For me it’s a quick, easy, healthy way to get my day started.  If you find a tasty protein shake mix packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and good nutrition that is.  There are so many different brands, types, price ranges, etc and believe me, I’ve tried so many! When shopping for a protein shake, in my opinion there are 5 big NO NO’s that you don’t want in your shake.  You need to start reading the nutritional label on your protein shake mix & know what you are putting into your body.  Many of the ingredients are not really necessary & some are just so bad for you.  So while you think you are doing the “healthy” thing by drinking one or two a day, think again!

5 ingredients you do not need in your protein shake:

(1)  Soy ~ Contains high levels of phytic acid & phytoestrogens which withdraw nutrients when processed by the body. Soy has been linked to endocrine disruption, infertility, breast cancer, hypothyroidism & thyroid cancer.

(2) GMO’s ~ “genetically modified organisms” is a plant or meat product that has had it’s DNA artificially altered in a lab by genes of other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria in order to produce foreign compounds into that food.  Virtually all GMO’s are bred to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce and insecticide.  (Yum! Exactly what I want for breakfast!! NOT!!) These GMO’s have been linked to all sorts of organ failures & diseases.

(3) Artificial colors ~ These are artificial dyes made from chemicals derived from petroleum. The  same stuff used to make gasoline, diesel fuel and asphalt.  These artificial dyes have been linked to: brain cancer, nerve-cell disorientation, anxiety & hyperactivity in children.  There are currently only 7 artificial dyes on the FDA’s food list & many of these are currently being tested for a list of health reasons.

(4) Artificial flavors ~ Once again these flavors are chemically derived.  They offer no nutritional value but do offer a slew of health risks.  Their use has been linked to ADHD, asthma, allergies, cancers & a list of other diseases and illnesses.

(5) Artificial Sweeteners ~ Also know as aspartame, sucralose & sacchrin are chemically derived to mimic the taste of sugar without the calories.  They have been linked to: decreased vision, headaches/migraines, depression, severe PMS, fibromyalgia, cancers, hyperactivity in children, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome & more.

PROTEIN SHAKES
Protein shakes can be packed with lots of stuff your body just doesn’t need. Learn to read the nutritional label.

There are 2 more important factors to consider when choosing the right protein shake mix for your lifestyle.  If you are planning on using your shake as a meal replacement, then your shake must have between 240 to 300 calories to be classified as a meal replacement and it should also have at least 20 grams of protein.  If it doesn’t meet these 2 requirements, then you should keep shopping.  Your brain needs fat and natural sugar.  The brain is the only organ that draws nearly all its energy from glucose. It’s also the body’s second-highest deposit of fat, after fatty tissue itself (such as the butt and the gut).  Essential fatty acids are fats that are necessary within the human body. The word “fats” is often associated with bad health, but there are some essential fatty acids that are necessary for your survival.

If you have a protein shake that you really love and you’re not sure about how good it is for you…shoot me an email at happycleanlife@gmail.com or leave me a comment below.  I’d be happy to compare your shake to the one I recommend.  I will compare ingredients and nutrition labels honestly and openly.  You just might be surprised about what’s hiding in your protein shake! 😉

 

 

The secret to weight loss…it might surprise you!!

It’s time to get real for a moment! There are SO MANY companies out there selling weight loss products, pills, potions, patches, shakes, gadgets and etc.  You’ve seen them on tv, in magazine ads, on social media and maybe even tried a few.  I have tried more than my fair share of them hoping to shed a few pounds.  I’ve also battled with my weight most of my adult life.  I lose the weight only to gain it back again.  I tried to blame it on my age or my metabolism.  I just kept trying product after product hoping I would find the one that works for me…that “magic” pill, potion, diet, etc. that would have me shedding the pounds and shopping for skinny jeans in just a few weeks.  Well, guess what?! All of those weight loss products out there are wasting our time and money.  We know this so why do we keep purchasing them? Is it because we have hope that maybe this one will work? This one will be different? There is NO “magic” to losing weight.  I will let you in on a little secret that I’ve finally learned even though I’d heard it over and over most of my life.  The secret to losing weight is proper nutrition & exercise.  Yep! You have to eat good food and move more.  It sucks…doesn’t it? To actually get the body you want and deserve you have to work for it!

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We need to stop being lazy and stop making excuses for why we are overweight, tired, sick and etc.  We need to stop spending money on products that might give us short term weight loss results but as soon as we go back to our old habits or stop taking/using the products we gain the weight back.  We need to start feeding our bodies to fuel them so they work like they are supposed to work.  We need to stop eating the processed junk food that does nothing for our bodies and start eating more fruits, veggies, proteins and etc.  Drink more water and less soda, coffee and sweet tea.  Feed your body the good nutrition it needs.  If you aren’t fueling your body properly how do you expect it to run properly? You don’t expect your car to run without gas…right? Same thing here…good food is fuel for your body.  Stop eating so many high-glycemic carbs too…the breads, pastas, rices, cookies, etc.  I don’t consider those “food”…those are treats and you should avoid them if possible.

Maybe you don’t want to join a gym, purchase a fitness dvd or start running…that’s ok but you can start moving your feet one foot in front of the other & here’s a bonus, walking is free!! Start walking every day.  Maybe it’s not very far at first but keep going a little farther every day.  Believe me, you will feel the difference!! Find a friend who wants to lose weight and start walking together or join a fitness class if you that interests you.  Just start moving!!

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Before you buy that next weight loss product that promises you will get results that aren’t typical…reach out to me.  I know what works and what doesn’t.  I want to help  you get the results you are after.  I want to show you how to lose the weight and keep it off in one of the healthiest ways I’ve tried.  I know it works! I’ve got the results to prove it! I want you to feel better and like what you see in the mirror.  I don’t want you to waste anymore money on products that don’t work that are only going to frustrate you even more and may even cause more weight gain. Who wants that? You deserve better! Stop being lazy! Stop looking for a quick fix! You deserve this! I’d love to hear from you at: happycleanlife@gmail.com.  Feel free to leave your comments below.

Has the “gluten free” lifestyle become another fad diet?

With so many people joining the “gluten free” lifestyle movement, it has me wondering if this is just another fad diet.   About 9 months ago, I decided to join the movement & give up gluten.  I decided to eat a “gluten free” lifestyle (I hate the word diet!).  It was not easy at first because I love breads, pastas, sweets, etc. and I have all my life but I did it! I decided to give up gluten not because I’ve got Celiac Disease or any gluten allergies but because I’ve always felt bloated and had some tummy troubles and after doing my research about gluten, I decided to just cut it out and see how I felt or what changes I saw.  Let me tell you, it was the BEST thing I ever did!! I no longer have stomach issues or chronic bloating and one of the weirdest things I’ve noticed is that I used to have this strange heaviness in my legs. That is completely gone! Weird…right?!

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How many of these do you experience that could be directly related to gluten?

With all of the awesomeness I felt after giving up gluten, I am concerned that living “gluten free” has become a fad diet & one that might lead people to eat more processed foods.  If you’ve wandered through your grocery store lately, you will see “gluten free” on many different products…especially the processed, pre-packaged foods.  Let’s get something straight! “Gluten free” does not equal “healthier”.  Purchasing a bag of chips or a box of crackers because they are “gluten free”, doesn’t give them any extra nutritional value.  In my opinion, you should probably avoid most of the foods that say “gluten free’.  Eating a bag of pretzels because they are “gluten free” does not mean you are doing anything good for your body.  Take a look at the other ingredients, chances are you will find some not so healthy ones.  Just because you are eating “gluten free” doesn’t mean you should gobble up all of the “gluten free” snacks.  I gave up gluten which means, I essentially gave up breads, pastas, rices, cookies, crackers and much more.  I just don’t eat these foods for the most part…I don’t look for the “gluten free” versions…except for pasta.  My family does love spaghetti night! I think it’s fine to indulge on the “gluten free” alternatives occasionally but I think it’s best to just give up those foods completely.  Start eating more veggies, fruits, seeds and nuts.

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Have you eliminated foods that contain gluten from your diet?

Now for those of you that live “gluten free”, here’s my link to some great “gluten free” recipes: http://www.pinterest.com/mlpittman72/gluten-free/.  Enjoy!

I’d love to hear from you! How has going “gluten free” impacted your life? Or maybe you have a question for me, please feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email: happycleanlife@gmail.com.  Have a happy healthy day!

 

Beat food temptations with these tips

Do you find that when you get up in the morning, you have the best intentions of sticking to your new healthy lifestyle (I hate the word “diet”) and you do great all morning…eating your healthier food options and drinking plenty of water? Then, as the day goes on, your willpower seems to disappear! Prevent over-idulgence and stay committed to eating healthy with these 4 tips:

(1)  Eat Breakfast -prevent overeating by starting your day off with food.  31 million Americans don’t eat breakfast and by lunch they are so hungry that they indulge in foods that are not the healthiest choices or eat too much.  Add protein to your breakfast to keep you satisfied longer.  I’m a big fan of protein shakes for breakfast, that’s my “go to” choice for breakfast.  Here’s my favorite shake mix…http://bit.ly/1zNqjv3

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Protein shakes that are packed with good nutrition, are all natural, organic & even non-gmo are the perfect breakfast for controlling your appetite and starting your day off right.

(2) Eat nutrient dense snacks – Some of the most nutrient dense foods are: raw leafy greens, fresh fruits, beans/legumes, raw nuts & seeds.  When afternoon fatigue sets in (for me it’s usually around 2:30/3:00pm) choose snacks that have protein & fiber and are not high in calories or sugar.  Because there is  nothing worse than a “sugar crash” in the middle of the afternoon.  Keep healthy snacks readily available…cut veggies, fruits, popcorn, nuts and all natural protein bars, etc.

(3) Take a walk to reduce cravings – After dinner, I often feel my sweet tooth kicking in and many times I feel the need for a sweet treat or dessert.  Anyone else? To reduce your cravings or at least forget about them for a bit, try taking an “after dinner” walk.  My daughter and I will take the dog for a walk and when we come back, I’m usually no longer craving anything sweet!

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When you feel like you might be tempted to indulge in a food that might sabotage your goal, take a walk.

(4) Choose late night snacks that won’t sabotage your weight loss goals – Do you crave salty, sugary, or starchy foods before bed? Don’t let the temptation of that bag of chips or chocolate chip cookies derail your commitment to living a healthier lifestyle.  Some of the best metabolism boosting foods are:  apples, broccoli, yogurt, almonds, green tea, and grapefruit. Choose veggies with a bit of healthy dip or dressing, a bit of fruit or try some plain popcorn with a little sea salt.

Be prepared for those food temptations that will try and sabotage your healthy lifestyle.     Don’t give in or give up.  Stick to your goal. You can do it!!

Did you use butter on your toast this morning?

Did you use real butter on your toast this morning for breakfast? Or did you use that “yellow buttery spread”? If it wasn’t “real” butter, you NEED to read this…

Did you know that diabetes, heart disease and cancer were virtually unheard of until margarine (that “yellow buttery spread”), crisco, canola oil, & vegetable oil made their appearance on store shelves in the early 1900’s?

Prior to their existence, people only used butter.

These vegetable oils are highly processed and unlike butter or coconut oils, they cannot be extracted by just pressing or extracting naturally.  They must be chemically removed, deodorized and altered.

Did you know that hydrogenated vegetable oils are heated to very high temps, deodorized to hide the rancid odor and then boiled for many hours with hydrogen to turn it into a solid & extend it’s shelf life? Ew!

Now let’s try making butter…. Let’s see, we milk the cow.  Let the cream separate.  Skim off the cream and shake until it turns into butter. Which one sounds more appetizing?

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Oils that are extracted naturally or pressed are a healthier alternative to those oils that are “chemically” produced.

 

In 1900 people got most of their fats from animals…lard, butter, cream, meats and etc.  Today the average person consumes almost 70 pounds of vegetable oils in a year as vegetable oils are found in almost every processed food.  Hmm…what do you think this 70 pounds of “food” is doing to us compared to prior to it’s existence? In comparison, the average person today consumes only 4 pounds of butter a year.  Is it a coincidence that at the turn of the century, the average person consumed 18 pounds of butter per year & as you already know vegetable oils were virtually unknown.  Heart disease and cancers were rare then too but now, they are epidemic.

The use of vegetable oils & margarine didn’t really increase much until the 1950’s when a government campaign began urging people to give up their artery-clogging saturated fats. No surprise, that this is when we saw an increase in heart disease and cancers.

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I trust cows more than chemists. How about you?

Since vegetable oils are chemically produced, it’s not surprising that they contain harmful chemicals that in excess can cause the following: heart disease, liver/kidney damage, immune system problems, behavioral problems in children, cancers, infertility and sterility.

While it’s a good idea in my opinion to avoid these unhealthy vegetable fats entirely, they are in many of the products we consume daily…salad dressings, mayos, store bought condiments, chips, artificial cheeses, nuts, cookies, crackers, sauces, & practically any of the pre-packed, processed foods in the center aisles at the store.  I recommend using butter, coconut oil, grape seed oil, hemp oil or olive oil and start reading your food labels when you are shopping.  It’s all about living a healthier happy clean life for as long as I can.

Please feel free to leave me a comment or email me at happycleanlife@gmail.com.