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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Thoughts on the HCG Diet; Don't Waste Your Time or Money!!

I'm sure you've all heard about the latest, greatest fad; the HCG Diet! If you're a fan of this diet, you may want to pass on reading my opinion on this!  I have been researching HCG since 2006, and the outcome of my research is less than positive!! 
For starters; HCG is only available through a licensed M.D.  That's right you must see a Medical Doctor; it is available by prescription only, and you will most likely undergo a physical examination, as well as a series of blood tests before receiving HCG injections.  The FDA has not approved HCG for weight loss, and if your doctor does approve this weight loss method, you will more than likely be monitored on a regular basis!  This is no joke!

And then there's the over the counter, so called HCG drops sold at Health Spas and also available online, at ridiculously high prices!  Beware of these products!  Because here's the deal; Why on earth would HCG be available over the counter, when it is a serious drug and available by prescription only?  If you or someone you know is losing weight with the so called "HCG Drops," I'm pretty sure you are only losing weight because of the ridiculous 500 calorie a day diet, which has little or nothing to do with HCG!!  Who on earth wouldn't lose weight on 500 calories a day???  Honestly!!  You are also putting your health at risk if you are attempting to survive on 500 calories a day!! If you are purchasing HCG without an actual prescription, chances are, you are receiving only a trace if any, of the actual HCG!  In my opinion, this is a huge ripoff!!  Again, this is only my opinion, but my opinion is based on years of research and actual conversations and experiences with Medical Doctors!  

In 2007, I was able to get the HCG injections through a medical doctor, as I was wanting to lose 10 pounds.  The sad part of this story is that the doctor worked at a Health Spa and was less than honest; meaning she diluted my injections!  This meant I was not receiving enough of the HCG to benefit in any way.  I, of course stayed on the ridiculous 500 calorie a day diet, so I did lose weight, but I can tell you; it was not pleasant; it was not easy; and at no time was my hunger curved in any way.  I did it on pure will power.  I do feel that a pure HCG injection can probably assist you in weight loss, but only when supervised and prescribed by a medical M.D.  It is quite costly as well.

This is MY opinion, based on MY research!! My suggestion is this; Do your own research!  I would love to hear what you learn about HCG!! I am confident you will draw the same conclusions as I have! 
Feel free to give me a shoutout; I would love to hear what you have to say about HCG!
Until next time,
Be well  :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eat Healthy Fat to Lose Fat!!!! Yep; It's True!!!

Healthy Fat plays a vital part in our diet!  I know this scares a lot of you, but it IS absolutely necessary!  Healthy fat can actually delay hunger pangs; yes it's true! Healthy fats & oils are a concentrated source of energy & are necessary for good health & fitness! Too much fat in our diet isn't healthy, but too little fat can have some serious consequences. For the most part, I add 9 grams of healthy fat to each meal, but it also depends on what my meal consists of.  For example; If I am eating Salmon I do NOT add fat because 4 ounces of Salmon contains roughly 12.5 grams of fat, in which case the Salmon would serve as both my protein and my fat in my meal.  If I am eating 2 eggs for Breakfast, I add only 5 grams of fat to my meal, because each egg contains 4.5 grams of fat.  Do you get what I am saying?  Am I making any sense to you! So use your common sense on this one! 
Healthy fats also add tremendous flavor to our meals, making it easier for us to stay on track, but more importantly, healthy fat when combined with healthy protein and low glycemic carbs will actually delay your hunger!  Believe it!! 
In one of my previous posts, I provided you with a list of healthy fats.  Pictured below are just a few of my favorite healthy fats:
From left to right; Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pam Olive Oil Spray, Follow Your Heart Lowfat Ranch Salad Dressing, Cold Pressed Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Tahini, & Almond Butter! My  favorite healthy fats also include Barleans Flax seed Oil, Cold Pressed Walnut Oil, Coconut Milk Plain Yogurt, Lite Butter, Follow Your Heart Vegenaise (tastes like Mayonnaise) Avocado's and Lowfat Rice Cheese.

I do not cook with Sesame Oil, Walnut Oil, or Flax seed oil; I usually drizzle this over my protein or add it to a hot bowl of soup, or I use it to make salad dressings.  You will ruin the integrity of these oils if you cook with them.

As far as opting to use Lite Butter and just a few other lite products; This is a personal choice for me.  I am a clean eater, but I wouldn't say I'm perfect!  What I know is this; 1 Tablespoon of Butter has 14 grams of fat, and 1 Tablespoon of lite Butter contains 5 grams of fat.  I will get much more flavor out of 2 Tablespoons of the Lite Butter, than I would using 2 teaspoons of regular Butter.  This girl needs flavor!  My organic lite Salad Dressing contains 1.5 grams of fat for 2 Tablespoons, which means I can have 1/4 cup of this dressing on my salad, rather than less than 2 Tablespoons of Regular Salad Dressing!  There is just no way less than 2 Tablespoons of regular Salad Dressing is going to add any flavor to an 8-10 ounce salad!  Are you with me on this?  By choosing to use just a few lite products, I am adding tremendous flavor to my meals, therefore making it easier for me to stay on track!!  Again, this is a personal choice!  Do what works best for you!

Until next time,
Be well  :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spice It Up!! Get Creative With Your Food for Weight Loss Success!

Losing weight and getting healthy doesn't mean your meals have to be bland or boring, but it does require you to be creative.  I keep an inventory of about 35 spices in my pantry; I experiment with and use them constantly to make my meals more appealing!  I enjoy my every meal and I never feel deprived because I have learned how to spice up my food to make it taste really really good!!  I actually enjoy my every meal!!
For example, when I steam or roast my vegetables I sprinkle them with Yellow Spike Vegit, and Garlic & Onion powder.  I also drizzle them with Olive Oil and a little salt & pepper.  That sounds a lot more appealing than just a side of plain steamed or roasted vegetables, doesn't it?  When I bake, roast or grill my protein, I also use a variety of spices such as Salt Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning, Garlic & Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper & Lemon Pepper.  I even put Yellow Spike Vegit and Garlic Powder on my eggs!  I am telling you, this is the difference between a bland and boring meal and a satisfying and yummy meal!!  Don't be shy with your spices!!  Use them on everything; even on a salad, or on your sliced tomatoes or cucumbers, etc., etc.,

~My Spice Cabinet~

I am sharing my Spice Cabinet with you!!  I took this picture earlier today!  And behind the spices you see above, there are even more spices. My favorite store to buy spices is Smart & Final, but if you don't have one near you, Costco is another great store for spices.  I also use a few  spices that I can find only at Whole Foods.  I am sharing with you a list of spices that are necessary for creative cooking and weight loss success!!  Have fun with them, get creative and spice up your meals to add great flavor!!  You will not be disappointed!! 
Suggested Spices-
Garlic Powder (Smart & Final has the best garlic powder; it looks more like powder & less granulated)
Onion Powder
Sea Salt
White Pepper
Black Pepper
Cajun Spice Rub (for Fish)
Cayenne Pepper
Pumpkin Pie Spice (Great in coffee or tea)
Lemon & Herb Seasoning (I can only find this at Smart & Final)
Lemon Pepper
Basil Flakes
Cilantro Flakes
Dill Weed (great on fish)
Poultry Seasoning
Fennel Powder
Chili Powder
McCormick's Salt Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning
McCormick's Salt Free Lemon Pepper
McCormick's Salt Free Spicy Seasoning
McCormick's Salt Free It's A Dilly (great for fish)
Mrs. Dash Original Blend (Salt Free)
Mrs. Dash Citrus Seasoning Blend (Salt Free)

Spices available only at Whole Foods-
LoSalt (a 66% reduced salt product; really good)
NuSalt (a healthy salt substitute)
Spike Vegit (the one with the Yellow lid; I use this on EVERYTHING!)
Seven Seasons (all natural, all purpose seasoning & low sodium)

Fresh herbs and spices are great too; but I am limited in that area, due to my severe IBS!  Only you know what your body will tolerate; so experiment a little and do what works for you.

Have fun with it and add great flavor to your meals for weight loss success!!
Until next time,
Be well :)


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chicken, Artichoke & Quinoa Casserole! Easy, Healthy, & YUMMY!

I recently found a great Chicken, Cheese & Artichoke recipe; but for the Complicated Skinny Girl, who is trying to get lean & healthy, it needed some serious tweaking. So I played around with it; with weight loss and all of our complicated issues in mind, and I came up with a great alternative!!  Check out my yummy recipe! 

Chicken, Artichoke & Quinoa Casserole

2 cups chopped cooked Chicken Breast
1- 6 ounce jar of Artichoke Hearts, (not the marinated type) drained & finely chopped
3 Tablespoons of Organic Light Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon of Dijon or grainy mustard
2 teaspoons of Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon of Onion Powder (or if your tummy can handle onions, then 2 Tablespoons of finely chopped Red Onion)
Salt & Pepper
1 1/2 cups of Cooked Quinoa
3/4 cup grated rice cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine Chicken, Artichokes Hearts, Mayonnaise, Mustard, Onions, and all spices. Mix well, set aside.  Spray a small shallow glass baking dish with Pam Olive Oil spray.  Spread the Quinoa evenly along the bottom of the pan.  Spread the Chicken & Artichoke mixture evenly over the Quinoa.   Sprinkle the top with 3/4 cup of grated rice cheese.  Bake @ 350 until hot, and the cheese is melted.  Serves 4.  This dish contains protein, fat and carbs, making it a full meal, but you could add a side of sliced tomatoes with garlic powder, salt & pepper if you need a little more.  A side of spiced up sliced cucumbers would also be acceptable.

I usually eat grains for Breakfast only; This is my guideline for weight loss success.  However, today I have opted not to eat my grains for Breakfast, so that I can enjoy a serving of this casserole for lunch or dinner.  This is not something I would do on a regular basis, but every now and again this is acceptable.  I am going to eat 1 serving and freeze the rest, since this is NOT something I should eat day after day. 

For those of you who are not familiar with Quinoa, it is a low carb, wheat & gluten free grain.  You basically cook it like you would rice.  You can find it at Trader Joe's. 

Our eating may be complicated, but that doesn't mean our meals have to be bland or boring!!!
Healthy eating can be pretty yummy if you get creative.
Until next time,
Be well  :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lighten Up!

Have you ever let a few extra pounds turn your world upside down??  What I mean by this, is we sometimes go into 'Panic Mode" when we gain a few extra pounds, and from there it turns into an unhealthy obsession!!  I myself have been guilty of this!  Who hasn't at one time or another??
This unhealthy obsession can straight sabotage our weight loss goals and actually cause us to gain even MORE weight!  Yes, it's true!!
So my advice to you, is to LIGHTEN UP!!  So you've gained a few extra pounds!!  It's not the end of the world!!   You've lost the weight before, and you can lose it again!!  Something tells me if you are reading this,  you already have all the necessary tools to get lean & healthy!  That in itself puts you ahead of the game, meaning you already know what you should be doing; healthy food choices, meal planning, etc., etc.,  So be Thankful that you have these wonderful tools, put them to use, and make a conscious effort to getting back on track!  There is just no need for the mental beating!  Honestly!!  I hate to sound like a Nike commercial, but "Just Do It!"
If you walk by the mirror and suddenly feel bummed because you've gained a few pounds and maybe your skinny jeans aren't fitting as comfortably as they did a few months ago, I suggest you have a little talk with yourself;  Follow up that negative thought with, "I'm back on track, so I don't need to worry about this, I will be rid of those extra pounds in no time!"  Positive affirmations will save you during this common crisis!!  We are not perfect human beings and we will have our off moments, so to speak.  So LIGHTEN UP!! 
That's not to say you should take your weight gain lightly, but if you want to obsess, then obsess on spending 2 days a week in your kitchen,  preparing your food, planning ahead, making healthy food choices and being aware of your trigger foods!!  Remove any and all trigger foods from your pantry!!  Why torture yourself??
Am I making any sense to you??  Are you proactive or reactive??  Proactive would be the correct answer.  Reacting to your weight gain usually results in panic mode, and old behavior! So don't go there!  And if you do find yourself there; make a U turn!!  It is never to late to turn it around.  Do not procrastinate!  "I'll start tomorrow" never works!  Why not start today??
You are stronger than you think you are!!
Until next time,
Be well :)