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Oats in Pancake Form

22 Feb

Instead of eating my oats from the usual bowl, today I ate my oats in pancake form!

They may look very similar to my oatmeal almond butter pancakes… well they are. 🙂 These were nice though because they were softer, like real pancakes, whereas the oatmeal pancakes are more like a bake.

Yields: two medium sized pancakes
1/3 cup oat bran
1 tsp cinnamon
2 egg whites
1 T unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop Genisoy vanilla soy protein powder
1 T flaxseed meal
1 T chia seeds mixed in a little water first
1/2 banana
1 t honey or agave nectar

Mix the first 7 ingredients together well. Pour into hot skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Flip pancake after it begins to bubble and cook until browned. Top with sliced banana and honey!

These were absolutely delicious, but not quite as filling as I was hoping they would be, but it does take a lot to satiate me.

Nutrition Stats ::  425 calories, 18gm fat, 7gm poly, 6gm mono, 1gm saturated, 0gm trans fat, 587mg potassium, 50gm carbs, 16gm fiber, 27gm protein

What is your go-to breakfast to keep you satisfied?


Ch-ch-ch-CHIA [seeds]

15 Feb

So I’ve been hearing a lot about how amazing chia seeds are lately and decided to try them for myself and do a little research on them as well. So far, I’ve only added them to my oatmeal, which I do enjoy! They do seem to “puff up” and increase the volume of it… and anyone that knows me, knows I’m a volume eater – it takes a ginormous pile of food to tame my hunger. Has anyone baked with them?


Chia is a seed from a plant found in Mexico called Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Just a few of the health claims I’ve come across include:

  • Weight loss: chia seeds are claimed to reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food we eat from getting absorbed. 
    • First, why on earth would not want the nutrients we put in our body to be absorbed?A small, recent study found that chia seeds did not decrease appetite or aid in weight loss. However, my professional opinion is that since they are packed with protein, fat and fiber, they should slow down digestion and keep you full longer. And because of that, as a part of a lower calorie, well balanced diet with an exercise program, they may help with weight loss.
  • “Chia gel” provides good hydration for athletes due to its hydrophillic (water-loving) properties
    • I wasn’t surprised to not be able to find any recent, reliable research on this particular ‘benefit.’ The chia seed is supposed to absorb 9 times the weight of the seed in water. If you let the chia seeds sit in water, they do form a gel (looks like furry seeds to me). Supposedly, it is difficult to remove the water from the seed so that it is a long lasting hydration source. To be honest – I have NO idea on this one. Sounds like a well thought out (made up) theory to me, but also couldn’t hurt. Anyone have any research on this?
  • Reduces blood pressure
    • Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help lower blood pressure (mostly EPA and DHA – below), but I did find one study that found no reduction in blood pressure when consuming 50gm of chia seeds per day.
  • Controls blood sugar by “slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar”
    • Well seeing that sugar is a carbohydrate… this statement obviously wasn’t well thought out. I know what they most likely meant, but this is another red flag that this source probably isn’t backed with scientific information. But like I said above, the protein, fat and fiber will slow digestion, which does stabilizes blood sugars.
  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids therefore decreasing risk of heart disease, improving mood, improving inflammation of arthritis, etc.
    • There definitely is plenty of studies to prove the plethora of benefits that omega-3 fatty acids may offer, including the above. Chia seeds (as well as flax seeds, walnuts, canola oil) contain ALA, a type of omega-3. DHA and EPA are the two superstars as far as omega-3’s, with many studies showing prevention of heart disease; however, ALA is converted (inefficiently) to DHA and EPA in the body and may also contribute to some of the above benefits as well.
  • Beneficial to skin and hair.
    • Fats, protein and many of the micronutrients (vitamins/minerals) found in chia seeds are important components for healthy skin and hair
  • Used to treat colon cancer, IBS, diverticulitis, chronic constipation
    • Fiber definitely has a relationship to many GI conditions, including the above. It may help prevent colon cancer by keeping your bowels regular (if you drink plenty of fluid!), and it will help prevent diverticulitis flare-ups if you have diverticulosis (but during a flare-up, you may want to avoid high fiber foods).

Nutrition Stats (1 heaping tbsp) :: 56 calories, 5gm fat, 4gm poly, 0.5gm saturated, 6gm carbs, 6gm fiber (0.6gm soluble, 5.1gm insoluble), 3gm protein, 7% daily value iron

Also contains a vast array of vitamins (especially B vitamins) and minerals.

Just a note. There is a TON of information on the internet. Check your sources. If the site that is providing you with the information is also selling the product, do some additional research. Trust information from reliable websites (.org and .edu) and from trained professionals (RD, MD). Also, animal studies should be taken with a grain of salt; definitely a great research starting point, but humans anatomy is obviously different from any animal.

And my all time favorite advice: if it sounds too good to be true (whatever it is), it probably is.

Conclusion:: The bottom line is that chia seeds are no magic cure-all for every disease known to man (even though the internet apparently says otherwise). I did read a 2009 study that eating chia seeds had no effect on weight or various disease risk factors (inflammation, blood pressure, etc). But, in my opinion, I think they could be a good addition to a healthy, well-balanced diet due to the benefits of protein, fiber, polyunsaturated fats and many nutrients.

What do you use chia seeds in? What health claims have you heard about them? What’s your take?

Thought — “It’s never too late to be who you might have been” ~ George Elliot

Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

8 Feb

Well to start off with an update on my “wedding makeover”…. weight is stable, last week I only lifted twice (goal 3-4x/week) and did one regular run and one day of intervals on the treadmill (goal 2-4 days of cardio/week). I also have made it to yoga for the past 3 weeks! I’ve been doing better about keeping track of my food, and do pretty well during the day, but afternoon/evening snacking is definitely my downfall. That’s what I’ll focus on this week. I’ve been eating 300-350 calorie snacks between meals to see if it helps my hunger attacks later in the day. I’ll also be taking my measurements again this week; sometime the scale doesn’t budge but the inches are melting away (even though that’s not likely the case this week).

We had some friends over for the Super Bowl last night, not that I actually watched more than a few minutes of the game! But we had (if I do say so myself) a pretty fabulous spread; everyone left feeling just a bit too full!

One piece of advice I always give around the holidays, make sure to eat a good, healthy breakfast and lunch before parties. Many people “save” their calories for the party by skipping meals before – I PROMISE you that this doesn’t work out in your favor.

I started out with my usual oat bran and had a yummy salad for lunch. To make sure it would fill me up, I loaded it up with:

  • 1/8 block extra-firm lite tofu
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow and red peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar, 1/2 T. tahini paste, 1/2 T. tamari sauce, 1/2 T. minced garlic

And here are is the Super Bowl Spread:
Hummus :: (minus the roasted red peppers)

(we were hungry while cooking and broke into it before I could snap a photo!)

Sweet Potato Chips ::

Preheat oven to 400*F.

Wash and slice up some sweet potatoes. The thinner you slice them the more like chips they will be, the thicker they are the more like potato skims (yum) they are.

Lightly spray each side with olive oil cooking spray (or brush with olive oil). Line baking sheet with “chips”. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until brown (or crispy if desired).

Snapped the photo a little late I guess 🙂

Get creative with the spices on these! My other favorite combo is a little salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme!

I also made regular potato skins (Russet potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic pepper)  and homemade corn and whole wheat tortilla chips. For the tortilla chips, cut the tortillas into eighths and prepare the same as the potato chips. I just added salt and pepper and they made for perfect, crunchy vehicles for my friend’s homemade queso dip and salsa!

We also grilled some turkey burgers topped with reduced fat Sargento provolone cheese and plenty of veggies.

And my favorite part of the day…. dessert!

No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls ::

Makes 22 cookies

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 18 whole, pitted dates
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 4 T dark chocolate chips

In a food processor, blend cashews and almonds until nuts are pulverized. Remove nuts and blend dates, vanilla extract and salt until smooth. Place nuts back into processor and blend together. It will looks like loose crumbs when it’s ready. Fold in chocolate chips. Using a heaping tablespoon to begin to form balls and shape in your hands. Refrigerate to help keep form. I’ve seen a lot of recipes for these no-bake balls lately, feel free to experiment with ingredients! I wanted to keep it simple this time, but I sure will be experimenting also!

Nutrition Stats (per ball) :: 100 calories, 10gm carbs, 7gm fat (almost all poly and monounsaturated), 3gm protein

Gluten-free Brownies ::

Makes 15 squares

  • 3 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • 7 T. Smart Balance butter
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 2 T. + 1 1/2 t. oat flour (add 2T additional for high altitude)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup walnuts


Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray 8×11 baking pan with cooking spray. Melt choc chips and butter in a saucepan over low heat (or double boiler, if you have one). Once melted, add all the other ingredients and mix well. Pour into pan and cook for about 30 minutes, until springy in the center. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then cut into 15 squares.

Nutrition Stats :: 122 calories, 11gm fat, 3gm saturated, 3gm poly, 3gm mono, 50mg sodium, 28mg cholesterol, 49mg potassium, 6gm carbs, 2gm fiber, 3gm sugar, 3gm protein


“All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney

Question // What are your favorite, healthy treats for entertaining?

Super filling breakfast

1 Feb

The BEST way to start the day…

Kinda blurry, but it’s my all-time favorite AM oats:

  • 1/3 cup oat bran made with 1 cup water
  • 1T flaxseed meal
  • 2 egg whites (add in oats after 1 min of cooking with 2 min left)
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1Tbsp almond butter
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (no sugar added)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree

And my chai tea steeped in almond milk. Yep, the coffee maker has been sitting clean & pristine on the counter for one WHOLE WEEK.

I did REALLY miss coffee yesterday, I was especially tired after working 7 days in a row (yay for one day off today!). But I am also really enjoying the Vanilla Chai and steeping it in almond milk satisfies my creamy AM beverage craving. This breakfast, all for less than my allotted 400 calories, actually fills me up and tastes like dessert (I actually crave this meal more than sweets, which is saying A LOT). And a quick oats lesson – I chose oat bran vs Scottish oats (which have similar structure) because, gram for gram, it has the same amount of calories, a little more fat, more protein, more fiber and less carbs.

Breakfast Stats :: 390 calories, 15gm fat, 4gm poly, 6 gm mono, 1 gm satured, 269mg sodium, 528mg potassium, 45gm carbs, 14gm fiber, 13gm sugar, 20gm protein

Bonus :: 300% daily value vitamin A (thank you pumpkin!), 23% dv calcium, 24% dv iron
Time to make more almond butter!

Question :: What’s your favorite oats combo? Anyone as addicted as I am??

Starbucks “Trente” … Really??

30 Jan

As I’m sure most of you are aware, Starbucks is trying out a larger than life beverage. Considering some of the moves Starbucks has made recently towards promote healthy living, I’m a bit surprised at this monstrosity. The ‘trente’ sized drinks are 31 ounces, with a hot venti drink being 20 ounces and iced venti being 24 ounces.

…Big gulps, eh? Welp, see ya later.

That’s right; the trente is 1 measly ounce less than a 711 Big Gulp. 31 ounces is 930mL – the average capacity of the human stomach is 900mL with the maximum capacity being 2000-4000mL….

Here are the stats::

♦Tall (12 oz) Caffe Latte w/ skim milk: 100 calories, 0gm fat, 15gm carb, 14gm sugar, 10gm protein, 75mg caffeine

♦Venti (20 oz) Caffe Latte w/ skim milk: 170 calories, 0gm fat, 25gm carb, 23gm sugar, 16gm protein, 150mg caffiene

♦Trente (31 oz) Caffe Latte w/ skim milk: 265 calories, 0gm gat, 39gm carb, 36gm sugar, 25gm protein, 233mg caffeine

♦Venti Caramel Macchiato w/ 2% milk: 300 calories, 8gm fat, 5gm saturated, 43gm carb, 39gm sugar, 13gm protein

♦Trente Caramel Macchiato w/ whole milk: 525 calories, 20gm fat, 12gm saturated, 65gm carb, 60gm sugar, 20gm protein

Considering that most people drink their coffee in addition to a meal or snack, I can’t even fathom a 525 calorie drink being a part of my meal plans. Even with skim milk, 31 ounces add up – 265 calories – and really, who gets full from coffee alone?? Not me, so this is not somewhere I’d prefer to spend my hard-earned caloric bucks. Also, a trente caramel macchiato with whole milk has almost the maximum amount of saturated fat recommended for the entire day.

Starbucks, I am disappointed in you.

More incentive to support local coffee houses!

Question // Anyone tried the trente yet and been able to drink it all? Any local Denver coffee houses you’d recommend?

Kill them with caffeine.

29 Jan

Caffeine, specifically coffee, and I have been friends for a long time. I started drinking coffee in 7th grade to stunt my growth because, as a gymnast, I was getting to be on the taller side. Let’s just say if it did stunt my growth, I’m thankful because I’m 5’8″! And ever since 7th grade, I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I haven’t had multiple cups of coffee…

Now let me just say that coffee is not the problem; coffee contains heart healthy antioxidants and recent studies have shown it can help prevent type II diabetes.  Even caffeine is beneficial, when used moderation, promoting alertness and mental clarity. Keyword: moderation, AKA a dietitian’s favorite term.

Each and every day, the very first thing I do is pour a 16 oz cup of coffee into my mug. Since I’ve obviously guzzled that down while getting ready for work, I refill for the drive. Then at work, I easily get 2 more 8oz cups of coffee before 1pm. That’s a mild day. If I’m extra tired, at home or meeting up with a friend, I’ll easily have another 16oz cup. That’s a minimum of 6 cups of coffee per day.

Another (not-so) fun fact about me: I’ve been going to different doctors for about 6 years because of fatigue. I just always fill drained. I’m definitely Type A, so I like to have a long “To-Do” list, but each and every day it’s a struggle to keep my legs moving and my eyes open.  In that 6 year time period, I’ve been diagnosed as depressed (wouldn’t you be if you felt like crud all the time??), tried multiple supplements from a Naturopath (and I am NOT a supplement advocate) and been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Tried all three prescriptions for hypothyroid and none made a difference. In the last few months, I’ve discovered that my digestive issues resolve when I don’t eat gluten. So I thought that cutting out this intolerance would improve my energy levels as that often does for people…. not so far. I’ve tried many other things, but needless to say, I’m DESPERATE.

So in the last few months, I’ve started making my coffee 1/2 caf  and I’ve been choosing decaf coffee after my home-brewed coffee for the most part also. So I figured, with the low amount of caffeine in decaf, I shouldn’t be addicted to caffeine still, right?

Well, I randomly decided to stop drinking any coffee (like I said, desperate) last Tuesday. And let me tell you, I felt like I hit a brick wall the first few days! Here we are on day #5, and while I’m still tired, I may actually feel a tiny bit better than normal! And I must say that I do enjoy my Vanilla Chai steeped in almond milk with stevia for my creamy morning treat. So I’m obviously still drinking tea, which also has caffeine, but not as much as regular coffee and I’m not drinking the same quantity.

I feel like it’s worth keeping up for a week or two to see if there is any improvement.. in the meantime, I also plan on cleaning up my diet a little and see where I could be lacking. More to come on this and my coffee-free journey as well.

Question :: Anyone found a cure to constant fatigue???

The Low-Down on Fats ://: “GORP”

25 Jan

Good fats, bad fats, skinny fats, fat fats . . . There is a lot of talk about fats these days. Let’s break it down. For most people, about 30% of your total calories for the day should be from fat, this is considered a low-fat diet. Of that, 20% should come from the heart healthy fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated Fats – – Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol

  • Sources :: Olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts & seeds, peanut butter, sesame oil
  • Benefits ::
    • Reduces cholesterol when used in place of saturated and trans fats
    • Sources of monounsaturated fats also usually good source of vitamin E (antioxidant)

Polyunsaturated Fats

Lowers LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol

  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids
    • Sources: Vegetable oils (safflower, corn, sunflower, soy and cottonseed)
    • Abundant in American diet – used in processed foods, salad dressings
    • Pro-inflammatory
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    • Best sources: Salmon, trout, tuna, sardines
    • Plant sources: Flaxseed, wheat germ, canola oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Benefits ::
      • Have been shown to reduce risk of heart disease
      • Lowers triglycerides at certain doses
      • May improve depression
      • May ease joint pain
      • Improves cognitive functioning

The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3’s in the diet is 2 to 1 while the typical American diet is about a 15 to 1 ratio. Key message: decrease omega-6’s (found in many processed foods) and increase omega-3’s. In order to get the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids, you would need to eat 2-3 servings of the fish sources listed above.  If you’re taking a supplement, most people DO NOT need to supplement omega-6’s (or 9), just omega-3. The dose depends on what your goal is with supplementation, but quality is key with fish oil supplements – read the labels. If the label doesn’t show that EPA and DHA (two of the most beneficial types of omega-3’s) comprise most of the “fish oil” in the capsules, look for a different supplement.Hint: You’ll be paying a bit extra for EPA and DHA, but it’s worth it!If you need suggestions navigating supplementing fish oil, let me know!

Now for the bad:

Saturated Fats

Sources :: Animal products (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, lard and butter), and coconut, palm and other tropical oils [Look for a post coming up about one of the newest fads – coconut oil]

  • Increases risk of heart disease by increasing total and LDL cholesterol
  • Aim for no more than 15-22 grams per day (7-10% of total daily calories)


Chemical process which changes a fat from a liquid (unsaturated fat) to a solid (saturated fat) that increases the shelf-life of products.

Sources :: Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, commercial baked goods (such as crackers, cookies and cakes), fried foods (such as doughnuts and french fries), shortening and margarine

  • Increases total and LDL cholesterol
  • Aim to consume no trans-fat!

GORP aka Trail Mix

Makes 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup whole almonds, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup unsalted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dark chocolate chips

Nutrition Stats (Per serving): 209 calories; 15g fat (2 g sat, 6 g mono, 5gm poly); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 12 g sugar; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 4 mg sodium; 190 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium, magnesium, fiber, vitamins E and C, antioxidants

Homemade trail mix is an easy snack and it’s much better for you than store-bought. Store-bought trail mixes are always high in sodium and usually have M&M’s as opposed to dark chocolate. But because of the nuts in this recipe, it is a higher calorie snack, so watch your portions!