Archive | Diet RSS feed for this section

Something Sweet- Cheesecake Chocolate Cupcakes

1 Sep

After being at Crumbs earlier this week, I’ve been craving something delicious and sweet. (Or let’s be real. When am I not craving something like that?) So, today I made one of the HungryGirl recipes for “Double-Decker Fudgy Cheescake Cupcakes.”

Yum. These bad boys have chocolate devil’s food cake on the bottom, cheese cake on top of that, and are sprinkled with semi-sweet mini chocolate chips. So good. And, slightly lightened up which makes them even better. Mine might not have looked as pretty as the original recipes pictures, but boy did they taste good…

Are you eating anything extra yummy on this Labor Day weekend? 

My HungryGirl Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake Cupcakes. Delicious!

Advertisements

Crumbs: 99 Cent Iced Coffee but No Cupcakes For Me!

29 Aug

Some of you might be familiar with Crumbs, a delicious bake shop chain. And, I’m sure by now you’re familiar with my love of iced coffee. This summer, Crumbs has been doing 1 dollar iced coffees, any size. They’re delicious.

Today, I’m quite proud because I successfully drank my iced coffee, sitting dangerously close to the Cupcake display case. The options are overwhelming. Every flavor combination you can possibly imagine and then some. People came and went, choosing all sorts of amazing-looking cupcakes. But not me. I stayed strong. Don’t get me wrong, I was somewhat tempted to get a bite of chocolate goodness.

But then I thought about the sugar-crash later. And, I resisted. I was strong.

I’m proud of myself for that.

Cupcake Counter at Crumbs Bake Shop in NYC

Tell me about a time you were tempted but resisted… inspire me! 

Sushi: A Healthy Option?

25 Aug

This afternoon, I enjoyed some delicious sushi from a local Japanese restaurant. Sushi is one of those things that can be healthy, or it can be loaded with unexpected calories you might not have expected. I read that one shrimp tempura roll can have over 500 calories! Here’s a few tips to help you pick healthy and importantly, delicious sushi.

Tuna Roll and Alaska Roll from Matsu Sushi in Astoria

-Ask for Brown Rice: It has more nutrients than the usual white rice found in sushi rolls. Whether you’re getting brown or white rice make sure you’re conscious of how much rice there is total. A roll can add up to quite a bit—it can be deceptive!

-Sashimi’s a good option: You won’t have to worry about the rice at all, and it’s still completely, utterly delicious, I promise.

-Avoid tempura and anything with cream (Spicy Rolls!): Rolls drizzled with mayo or containing cream cheese significantly increase the fat level. And, that tempura might be delicious but it’s still deep-fried, even if we call it by a fancier sounding name.

-Careful with that soy sauce: It is absolutely loaded with sodium. You can ask for lower-sodium soy sauce, but it still has a ton. Use sparingly. Miso is also pretty high in sodium.

-Order a side of steamed veggies or start your meal with edamame: If those rolls aren’t going to fill you up, munch on a side order of steamed broccoli rather than some of the other greasy options that might be on the menu (fried dumplings, I’m looking at you)!

-Don’t be afraid to ask: If you’re not sure if soy sauce or tempura flakes, for example, were used in the preparation of your roll, ask your restaurant.  Also, watch out for sugar based sauces—if you don’t ask, you often wouldn’t have known it was there.

-Split it with a friend: If there’s a roll that you’re absolutely craving and you know it isn’t the best option, try to split it with a friend and order a healthier option to enjoy along with it.

Do you like sushi? What’s your favorite kind?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and What it Means for Health and Weight Loss

22 Aug

I’m a big reader. Recently, I was reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and one section really stuck out to me—it speaks to how community affects our health.

Living a long life, the conventional wisdom said at the time, depended to a great extent on who we were — that is, our genes. It depended on the decisions people made — on what they chose to eat, and how much they chose to exercise, and how effectively they were treated by the medical system. No one was used to thinking about health in terms of a place.

Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical establishment to think about health and heart attacks in an entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that you couldn’t understand why someone was healthy if all you did was think about their individual choices or actions in isolation. You had to look beyond the individual. You had to understand what culture they were a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town in Italy their family came from. You had to appreciate the idea that community — the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with — has a profound effect on who we are. The value of an outlier was that it forced you to look a little harder and dig little deeper than you normally would to make sense of the world. And if you did, you could learn something from the outlier than could use to help everyone else.”

This chapter was published in the New York Times and you can read it here. To me, this was an important eye opener. So often, we think about genes and decision-making as the two main drivers behind our level of health. The research that Gladwell is referencing indicates that it so much more than just the individual. Our health is also a product of our culture, the people that we surround ourselves with. Whether we’re trying to pinpoint why someone is healthy or why they aren’t healthy, we need to not only look at the individual but beyond them to their culture and environment.

Outliers (book)

Outliers (book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does this mean for someone who is trying to change their current health status? To me, I think that it means we have to think of ourselves within context. None of us exist in a silo. We are influenced by the people around us and their values. Does something in our environment have to change in order for us to succeed in changing into a more healthy being?

How do you think your cultural context has affected your health? 

Sunday Cooking & Looking For A Lunch Tote

19 Aug

Sunday’s my cooking day. I try to make something extra yummy for dinner (aka something that takes a little longer to cook) as well as get my meals planned for the week ahead. This includes a lot of the prep work and as much cooking for that as possible!

But one thing I’ve been struggling with is selecting transportable options. I take the subway to work so it has to be portable and able to survive 45 minutes of possibly being squished between many human beings rushing to work. (They aren’t joking when they call it the rush hour!) And, I’m ashamed to say, I mostly take what I can fit in my purse.

It’s about time I invest in a lunch bag. They always made me think of elementary school but it’s about time that I suck it up for practicality’s sake. The one’s I’ve liked so far cost more than I’d like to spend and ideally, I want one with a long enough strap to throw over my shoulder. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker though.

Does anyone have one that they like and that they’d recommend?

Thermos Raya Lunch Tote: Picture from Amazon.com

And what am I cooking today? Currently, I’ve got a healthier version of Buffalo Chicken Dip in the Crock Pot (from SkinnyTaste, I’ve made it before and it’s a total winner!).  I’m also planning on doing some baking and maybe a couscous dish. The extra Buffalo Chicken Dip will make some great lettuce (or regular) wraps this week!

Other Ways To Measure Progress- Besides The Scale

10 Aug

“But, I’ve been working so hard and haven’t made any progress!”  “Why am I gaining weight if I’m eating healthier and working out?” “Is this even worth it or working?”  It can be incredibly frustrating when you feel like you’re putting so much time/effort into something and the scale just isn’t budging. Since I revealed my weight earlier this week and discussed how we often label ourselves based on “our number”, I’ve been thinking a lot about other ways we can measure and track our progress besides the scale.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the amount of effort you put in equaled the results you saw? It might not be equal, but there is definitely some level of correlation between your effort and your progress towards becoming a healthier person. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways you can track this progress besides the number on the scale—which we all know is affected by so many things.

Tape Measure

Tape Measure for tracking body measurements. Lose those inches! (Photo credit: incurable_hippie)

Here are a few of my favorite ways to see success:

  • Measurements: Every month, I take my body measurements and track them on a website (but even an excel spreadsheet would work). It’s so nice to see those inches coming off even if my scale tells me otherwise. I use a vinyl measuring tape for this and it works perfectly.
  • Clothes: Dig into that closet! Are your clothes fitting better? Are they literally falling off of you?
  • Photos: Many people take pictures regularly (in the same outfit, location, pose, etc.) and compare them side by side. This is a great way to really see the changes in your body.  Every month or would work for this, you won’t see much/any change from one day to the next but over stretches of time you can definitely see a difference.
  • Energy & Emotions: Is your energy level higher? Are you generally feeling happier and better about yourself? This is a highly underrated way to track your progress in my opinion.  If you’re feeling better—isn’t that so much of what this journey is all about?
  • Workouts: Your fitness milestones are another way to track how you’re doing. Are you running faster or further? Are you getting stronger? Are you able to do that workout with more intensity? This all speaks to your improved fitness level—stamina, strength, cardiovascular health, etc.
  • Other Indicators: BMI, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, etc.: If you’re numbers driven, another great way to see how you’re doing is by regularly monitoring other parts of your health like blood pressure and cholesterol. Work with your doctor to determine how often you should be testing these.  They might be able to help you with goal setting and any other health measurements you might want to monitor—like for me; my A1C measurement is a huge indicator of my progress.

Do you track your progress using any of the above methods? Are there any others you use that I might have missed? I’d love to hear them!

The Ice-cream Truck is After Me.

8 Aug

I think the ice-cream truck is taunting me. Seriously, last night when I was in the middle of my TurboFire HIIT 20 workout, it parked outside of my apartment for at least ten minutes. At first I was mad, but after it didn’t move for a while, it was all I could do to keep from laughing. Really? The ice-cream truck just happens to be outside during my workout (at 9:30 at night, none the less?).

mm choco taco for breakfast

(Photo credit: roboppy)

I do really love those choco-taco’s…. But, don’t worry. I’m not tempted. I might have been if they came before I was busting my butt. Now? No way am I going to give up all this hard work for a few delicious (and seriously unhealthy) bites. Nuh uh!  And yes, I do think someone who lives in my building (it’s a three family house) works on the ice-cream truck. Now that’s a job I’d never be able to have!

What’s your favorite ice-cream truck treat?

Starbucks Treat Receipt: Deals & Caffeine all in one

3 Aug

I’ve posted before about my love for Starbucks Iced Coffee (mmmm!) and yesterday I shared with you all how much I love saving money.  So, I felt absolutely compelled to share that for the month of August Starbucks is issuing “Treat Receipts.”

Starbucks Treat Receipt August 2012 & Gold Card

As my receipt reads, “Make any purchase before 2 p.m. then show your receipt after 2 p.m. same day to get any cold Grande drink for $2 + tax.”  Did you say any cold Grande drink, Starbucks? Yes, yes you did! That means I can even get my beloved skinny vanilla latte that usually costs me way more than $2 if I splurge on a special occasion. This is great news. (You’ll also see my gold rewards card in the photo above. Proof that Starbucks is my one expense I can’t seem to bring down. Especially in the summer– iced coffee is such a weakness for me. In the winter my Starbucks spending goes down significantly since I make coffee in the Keurig at work.)

Except, you might remember a few weeks ago for That’s it! Thursday’s, I gave up having more than one caffeinated beverage a day. So– I’ve gotta remember to tack on “decaf”  iced skinny vanilla latte to that order this afternoon. I’ve been doing great so far with this and I don’t want to end my streak now! That’s right, Starbucks, you won’t get me with your tricky discounts and schemes!

What’s your favorite Starbucks (or other coffee joint) beverage?

That’s it! Thursday: 8/2 Healthy Eating Can Cost A Little More

2 Aug

I am cheap. As a general rule, I am always looking for the best deal, the lowest price, and to save a few bucks. But, I’ve realized that in order to live a healthy lifestyle, I have to be okay with spending a little more for a healthier option.

So, for this weeks “That’s it! Thursday” I vow to give up my cheap ways. I’m not saying I won’t stay thrifty, because you definitely can still eat healthy on a pretty low-budget (I’ll give you some tips for that below). Instead, I’m going to work on spending the extra $1 for the egg white omelette or the $2 for salad instead of fries. I will buy the healthier bread option from the grocery store instead of the one that’s on sale (can anyone say bleached white bread?). To me this comes down to priorities. Is my health worth that extra couple of dollars? Yes. Yes. Yes. Health > Money. Plus, let’s not even go into the actual monetary cost of living unhealthy– prescriptions, complications, more doctors visits, the list goes on and on. All this to say, I think I can spare the extra bit of cash– so now I will!

Titus and Livia, my kitties, searching for their food among my groceries.

Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget:

  • Plan out your Meals (and snacks!): One of my recent That’s it! Thursday features was about my transition to meal planning. Since then, I’ve noticed a notable drop in my grocery bill. If I know in advance what I’m looking for at the store I don’t end up with frivolous items that catch my eye. I also don’t end up throwing out a bunch of groceries that I never got around to using before they went bad.
  • But, be flexible in your meal planning: I plan my meals after reviewing the weekly circular for my grocery store and plan my meals for the week around what is on sale. Sales can be your friend! Just make sure they’re items you can actually use in your dishes.

More tips below the cut. Continue reading

I’m in Trouble: The Melt Shop Grilled Cheese in NYC

1 Aug

Uh oh. Yesterday, I noticed a new place is opening up across the street from my work. Eagerly, I walked over to check it out. It’s going to be a Grilled Cheese store called “The Melt Shop”. What! I love grilled cheese! Who told them I was trying to be healthy and then placed a delicious, gooey, cheese and carb filled goodness so close?

Their website claims it serves “hand crafted, extra cheesy, super delicious comfort food” and the “best grilled cheese on the planet.” Looking at their menu it certainly looks that way. They have everything from a truffle melt, buttermilk fried chicken grilled cheese, to classic grilled cheese with tomato soup and an arnold palmer. The Melt Shop will also be serving breakfast… yum.

Grilled Cheese with hoisin

Grilled Cheese with hoisin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then, I thought, at least they don’t have milkshakes. Nope. Wrong again. My other arch-nemesis appears on the menu. Flavors include: cookies and cream, coffee crunch, peanut butter & jelly, vanilla maple, orange creamsicle, and my absolute favorite chocolate peanut butter.

Now, my only hope is that this Melt Shop is really bad. Or, somehow doesn’t open. Maybe I can convince myself that it doesn’t exist.

Do you like grilled cheese? What’s your favorite kind? With tomato? ham? classic?