SO Delicious Almond Yogurt Review: Didn’t hate it…

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ImageMan, times they are a-changing when you start to see so many choices for the vegan, lactose- and gluten free people of the world! Sure, not every neighborhood has access to some of these new inventions in food but at least they can be purchased online right? As a dairy free chica, when the weather gets warm, I start to miss the creamy goodness of ice-cream and yogurt. Funnily enough, it’s the texture I miss….literally the creaminess. Therefore, it was such a relief to see almond and coconut milk yogurts on the shelves of Whole Foods this week. I’m sure they’ve been there awhile it being Whole Foods and all but I just noticed them because, like I said, it’s starting to warm up here and I went looking. Vanilla and chocolate seemed like good beginner flavors and I choose the SO Delicious brand because I dig their coconut and almond milks. Here is what I thought

  1. Packaging: 5 Spoons…regular appealing yet healthy looking package
  2. Color: 3 Spoons….the vanilla was a nutty brown color. I like my vanilla cream colored. Personal preference.
  3. Texture: 4 Spoons… it was very custardy, not milky, which is understandable since well, there’s no real milk in it. They thicken it with tapioca, sea kelp, gelatin among other things.
  4. Taste: hmmm 3 Spoons….it’s….different….even more yogurt tasting than regular vanilla yogurt. I suppose that is the Greek Style the packaging referred to but it still took awhile to grow on me. 
  5. Protein content: 4 Spoons…. It boasts 6 grams of protein and 6 active live cultures. Not a lot for the yogurts I prefer but hey, those yogurts are milk based and cause me gastric distress. I’ll take a lower protein content over that bellyache any day. 

OVERALL RATING: 4 stars. If you live dairy free and want a creamy/custardy yogurt then this might be for you if you like the extra tang of Greek yogurt. I am saving the chocolate one for tomorrow and might try a fruity one soon!

8 High protein substitutions that quell your craving for fats & carbs.

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ImageSo there are 10 days until my competition…I know, blah, blah, blah, me-me-me…fast forward to the part where I tell you how hungry I am and BORED of chicken, tuna etc. Sometimes you just want comforting food, y’know? something warm and chewy to really bite into and make you feel satiated. Well, never fear my FabFriends, because there ARE changes you can make to increase the protein to carb ratio of your meals without losing taste. Like….

  • Yogurt: use where the recipe calls for sour cream or cheese.
  • Eggs/Egg whites: use as the moisture aka “glue” for dishes you want to be batter based but don’t want to add flour to.
  • Almond Milk: use instead of regular milk ( unsweetened for less calories)
  • Almond flourEureka! a way to bake without making carb bombs! Almond flour is just skinless almonds ground up. Use it where flour is called for and your meal will not only be delish but high in fiber AND protein.
  • Oat flourYou can make this yourself by putting oats in the blender or food processor. While not as high protein and low carb  as almond flour it is very nutritious and gives you the whole grains you need.
  • Almond butter: This is a peanut butter substitute but if you’re allergic to peanuts buy the vegan version. Almond butter is considered part of the “Paleo Diet”unlike peanut butter.  Like peanut butter, almond butter is high protein but also high FAT so beware.
  • Bananas: yep, you read right! Because bananas are starchy, they can be mashed and used in lieu of flour. Add  a couple egg whites, some almond butter and spices and voila! you’ve got a batter that is high in protein and yummy! *Bananas are a high glycemic STARCHY  food so use sparingly. 
  • Nutritional Yeast: My friend Mweia uses this to make her mac and cheese and it is delicious! My other friend Krystal makes a great Mexican “cheese sauce” out of it. Me? I sprinkle the flakes with a tsp of truffle olive oil on my popcorn. Use it where you want a nutty, cheesy flavor. 

5 differences between training and everything else

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ImagePeople are often curious about my personal exercise ethos and the level of training I do regularly. The questions I get the most are  ” how often do you train?” and “do you plan on continuing this training” in reference to the various competitions I enlist in and my regular exercise schedule. The answer is: there is a difference between the two. Here I clarify what it means to train vs . exercise

  1. Training is based on a specific and progressive regimen towards a specific and defined goal ( usually performance or aesthetic). Exercise is based on health and has no specific end date ( no, it should not)
  2. Training has measurable markers that illustrate specific progress towards the end goal. Exercise does  as well but they might not be as defined except ” exercise to maintain/lose weight, feel better and live longer”.
  3. Training cannot be deferred and is what makes you run, lift, swim, bike or leap in rain, sleet AND snow. Exercise may let you cheat, hit the snooze button and sleep through all that.
  4. Training is what makes you say no to your favorite foods no matter how much you want them because they will affect the outcome ( performance or aesthetics). Exercise is what you do to pay penance for saying yes to those foods.
  5. Training is what fills you with pride, strength and more commitment  when you see and feel your hard work paying off daily. Regular exercise is what prepares you to take on training so that you can feel that same pride, strength and commitment.

“How I lost 70 lbs to compete in a bodybuilding show”: Sabrina’s story

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ImageSabrina is a fellow cycling teacher and the 1st  thing I noticed about her was her positive attitude and can-do spirit. Granted this was because we first texted then spoke over the phone but I could tell even then that she was full of good vibes. When I finally did meet her in person her contagious smile and sweet face compelled me to smile right back. But don’t let that smile fool you because behind it lies a steely resolve. This new nursing graduate y knows how to dig deep and achieve her dreams!

The picture above is of Sabrina getting ready to hit the stage for her 1st “Figure” bodybuilding competition.  That lithe body lost over 70 lbs to get to that point. Here is what she said about the experience:

What would I say to someone like me who is interested in competing? I’d say never give up! Never in my life did I think I’d hit 127 lbs amd be on stage. The world I’m from considers my former weight of 200 llbs to be normal weight in my genetically overweight family. Every time you fail, get back up. We all fall off the wagon (I did) BUT NEVER give up: believe you can do it and envision it. I would also say to take your time and lose it slowly. Your brain needs to catch up to your body. I’ve learned so much from competing. I’m using a whole different approach for my next one to lose slowly because I don’t want to rebound as badly as I did last time. I’m a recovering binge eater and competing kinda triggered it afterwards due to stress on my body. I was so depressed after that I gained 25 lbs in 6 weeks!! But I’ve finally gotten a hold of it. I want to stay within 10 lbs of competition weight and I think my career dream is to work with young women with eating disorders to show them they can and will overcome it!”

She is, in a word, AMAZING. Here’s to you Sabrina!!

 

I miss donuts: A hungry woman rant.

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As competition training winds down, my food life is flashing before my eyes… I haven’t had a donut in over a decade and yet they suddenly seem like the best thing in the world. I would kill for a big steaming pile of curried chicken and rice, right now, or maybe some oxtail, followed by a toasted raisin bagel ( again, haven’t eaten one in 3-4 years) and finished off with some Greek yogurt ice-cream which is odd since I’m dairy-free. It’s amazing what foods you miss when they’re off limits.

No hunger pangs have really hit me since I eat every 3 hours but the cravings for these forbidden treats sometimes slay me at weird times and in weird ways. For example, I could eat the heck out of  a donut and almond butter sandwich right now! This tells me that my fat intake is low and that my fat pockets want to be refilled. It also allows me to marvel at how strong the human craving for FAT is. The soothing, calming power of that 3-letter word is powerful, my friends because when I say I miss donuts all I can think about is the creaminess in mouth. That mouthfeel that tells me that I won’t starve………Ok….it almost got me. I might just have half a donut in 3 weeks.Image

6 habits of a fairly Healthy person

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Ever wondered what healthy choices fit people make everyday? This list doesn’t speak for all fit people, just this one!
1. Start the day how you want to end it- attitude is EVERYTHING! Every morning I push away the anxiety of living in NY and decide to be grateful for what I have. I then remind myself that the things I don’t want are not set in stone.
2. A healthy breakfast is required- if I mean to continue feeling good then the 1st meal of the day has to be filling and healthy (protein + carbs and healthy fat)
3. No fast food, no sweet drinks- I’d rather go hungry than eat fast food or drink a soda. Seriously. I stopped supporting MacDonald’s and the like over ten years ago and there’s far too much evidence that says I’m right.
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate- I sometimes forget to have enough water throughout the day. So I now love making cucumber green juices! Water helps to keep everything flowing through your system so drink up.
5. I. Must. Move- don’t get me wrong: I like a good couch session. But I make it a point to exercise via walking my dog and in the gym on a daily basis.
6. Relaxation is a daily ritual- in the morning it’s the snuggle with Molly, followed by brewing the tea and the opening of the drapes. In the evening it’s the changing into the pj bottoms and the making of the hot cocoa. Each helps to ease me into and out of the day. Quiet moments to reflect are crucial to remind us that despite the stressors, life is a flowing river that waits for none of us. Why bother wallowing in things that don’t matter?

Tiffany’s story: BIG SUCCESS NEWS!!

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ImageWell…It is 2/28/2013 today. I have been working on this weight loss journey since November of last year. The goal for me (then) was to lose 30lbs by my nursing school graduation which is on April 19th and it was a SUCCESS!!!!! I began at a start weight of 223lbs then and stepped on the scale today at 192lbs!But it’s far from over(31lbs down and counting). This has only motivated me to do more. I’m highly motivated and truly dedicated! I went out today and bought myself a dress and some cute Kenneth Cole Reaction shoes to match. Did I mention that I was wearing a 2XL in November and my new dress is Large?! All I can do is smile and soak it in every time I hear, “Man Tiffany, you look good. What have you been doing to lose all of the weight?” Wanna know the secret? Work your butt off!!! Not just with the exercise. Food is the most important part. There was almost 3 weeks where I didn’t get into the gym. But I paid attention to the foods and drinks I was putting into my mouth. During that 3 week span, I managed to lard off 10lbs. It can be done, just keep going! I just had to keep telling myself, “You didn’t gain all this weight in one day, so don’t expect it to come off that fast either.”

Fabulously smaller,
Tiffany