Peppermint Mocha Chia Pudding

Wow. Peppermint, chocolate, and coffee culminate to make this perfectly decadent combination. Did we mention it’s super healthy too? Nutritious and delicious anytime of day! With no added sugar, this dessert-like treat can even be enjoyed for breakfast!

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Ingredients: (makes one meal serving or 2 smaller snack/dessert servings)

  • 2/3 cup almond or coconut milk (make your own!)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2-4 tablespoons coffee (cool/room temp)
  • 2 teaspoons cacoa powder
  • 2 small drops peppermint extract
  • 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. Mixture will thicken to pudding. Remove, stir again, and serve chilled. Enjoy this decadent (super healthy!) sweet treat!

One Healthy Breakdown: who says healthy doesn’t taste good delicious?!

Calories: to Count or Not to Count?

It’s all about calories in vs. calories out, right? So, should we be counting calories or not??

Woman Looking at Vegetables in Refrigerator ca. 2003

All calories are not created equal. 500 calories of fruits or veggies is not, in any way, equal to 500 calories of processed food made out of a hundred ingredients, most of which are chemicals, or sugar, but certainly not food that will fuel your body properly. So, what’s the point of counting calories when calories are not what we should be measuring at all?

Shift the focus from calorie counting to eating whole, real, seasonal foods that fuel your body, satisfy your taste buds, and make you feel good. No diet, no restriction, no labels, no counting, and no one-size-fits-all attitude…because, let’s face it, that’s just no fun at all. Besides, when we’re eating real, healthy foods, our body becomes more in-tune with our hunger and satiety, in other words, when we need food, and when we’ve had enough.

pea on fork

We should be aware of (especially for weight-loss) portions and proportions. A portion is simply the amount of the food we’re eating. It’s not necessary to measure the precise weight/size of everything we eat; however, eyeing approximate portions ensures that we’re not eating far more or less than what we need (which is different for everyone.)

Proportion is the ratio of nutrients; protein, carbohydrates, and fat. It’s important to eat a balance of each nutrient (hence the term ‘balanced meal’) as each performs a different function in the body.

Counting calories is irrelevant, so spare yourself and focus on nutrition. Lastly, counting calories can often lead to food guilt, which is a huge waste of time and brainspace (is that a word?) Likewise, exercising simply to burn the calories we’ve consumed, or are planning to consume, is one of the most miserable things ever. Eat to fuel your body and work out to challenge, strengthen, and energize your body for endorphins, health, and fun!

For more on portion control, eating right for you, losing weight, or to get your own customized meal plan to meet your nutrition goals, email kiley@onehealthyhamptons today.

One Healthy Breakdown: can you count enough reasons not to count cals?

 

Does Fat Make You Fat?

News flash: a low-fat diet can actually cause weight-gain, not a diet high in fat. So, what is fat anyway and why do we assume that fat is what makes us fat?

healthyfat1

Fat is a nutrient that our bodies need, in fact, about 30% of your daily calorie intake should come from fat. This may surprise you, but it’s true!

There’s a catch, though, sort of. We should be eating good quality fats, just like we should be eating good quality foods in general. That means no trans fats. Deal?

So, what are the healthy, good quality fats that we should be eating? Good question. Nuts and seeds, avocado, fatty fish like salmon, coconut, olive oil, unprocessed lean meat, flax, dark chocolate (yay!) and dairy. These healthy fats do not cause obesity, heart attacks, or high-cholesterol, but actually promote nutrient-absorption, raise immunity, and actually burn fat. Really!

Fat also makes us feel satisfied for longer. For example, adding a spoonful of nut butter to your apple or half an avocado to your eggs will make you feel more satisfied, help your body absorb the nutrients it needs, and ward of hunger longer. Win/win!

One Healthy Breakdown: do not fear the fat, eat the fat!

Best Metabolism Boosters

Image-1(5)Metabolism. We all have it. Some faster. Some slower. Metabolism is the rate at which we burn energy, aka the rate at which we burn calories. Though our individual metabolism is largely determined by our health and genetics, here are a few ways to boost metabolism…aka burn more calories…in less time. Aha, now you’re paying attention! Try these simple tips:

Hydration. How many times do I have to say it; drink up. Water, water, water! Sparkling water, lemon water, tea, and hydrating smoothies all count! Here’s how much water you really need.

Exercise. Move your body. While cardio definitely burns calories, strength training exercises boost metabolism for hours after the workout is complete. Also, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body burns. Find what you love, switch it up, and work those muscles. Varying your workouts also causes muscle confusion and prevents boredom and plateau.

FullSizeRenderSleep. The body can’t metabolize food effectively without adequate sleep. 8 hours, people. Read all about why you snooze, you lose here.

Eat. Yes, eating (and digesting) burns calories and boosts metabolism. Breakfast is key as it literally breaks the fast that our body undergoes overnight. Not only is it important to eat throughout the day, there are also quite a few foods that are known for their boosting power.

FullSizeRender_1One Healthy Breakdown: boost a bit to burn more!

30 Things I Learned on Whole30

I recently completed my first (and probably my last!) Whole30. 30 days of whole foods and not a speck of grains, dairy, soy, legumes, corn, baked goods, or added sugar of any kind. I know, I know, “what the heck did you eat?!” Lots and lots of plants, lean protein, nuts and seeds, that’s what! Oh, and not a drop of alcohol. Sounds fun, right?! If you’re wondering why I would do such a thing, (I don’t blame you!) The book It Starts With Food, by the founders of the Whole30 program, inspired me to dig deeper into my own diet and lifestyle, eliminating the foods/food groups above in order to re-evaluate how my body reacts to them after the 30 days. For more specifics about the Whole30 program, click here! unnamed(2)Although it was tough to adjust and even tougher to refrain from just one little teeny tiny drink, (hello, it is rosé season!) I learned a ton over the past 30 days. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly:

1. Sugar is errrrywhere and we’re all pretty seriously addicted to it. You’ve probably heard this in some capacity, but what does that mean?

2. Consuming sugar, artificial sweeteners, and natural alternatives like honey, maple syrup, and even stevia, on a regular basis not only “feed the sugar dragon,” but also throw off our taste buds, cravings, and ability to reach satiety normally.

3. Personally, I do not enjoy black coffee; however, I discovered over these thirty days that I do enjoy unsweetened coffee. Over the past ten years or so, I’ve transitioned from a serious overload of artificial sweetener to cutting back, replacing it with more natural stevia, cutting back on stevia, and now I finally was able to rid my coffee of any sweetener. Whole30 forced me to learn to enjoy my coffee simply with Homemade CocoNut Milk and this is definitely a habit I’m happy to keep. Now I truly savor my coffee, no longer crave it sweet, and rarely do I need a second cup. Remember that baby steps are the way to change a habit for the better. Try cutting the sweetener in your coffee in half to start, if you’re soda drinker, replace one soda a day with seltzer, or satisfy your sweet tooth by having a piece of fruit for dessert. It really does get easier and easier, trust me on this!

4. That’s not to say that occasionally indulging in sweets you truly love is not absolutely necessary to living a balanced life. My love affair with dark chocolate has rekindled and our flame is going strong…although I do not neeeeeeeed it daily like I used to!

5. While many people argue that they don’t have time to eat healthy, healthy meals made from real, whole foods can be very convenient. The Whole30 program made me simplify my meals, at first, simply because of less options to choose from, but now, out of habit. Going forward, I’ll continue with this practice as I’ve noticed that less-complicated meals are easier to digest.

6. I re-discovered some great staples I had been overlooking, like good old scrambled eggs. Nothing fancy necessary. Why? Because…

7. REAL FOOD TASTES GOOD! Seasoning your meals with herbs and spices, tasting the sweetness of a piece of fruit, and savoring the true flavors of food is what it’s all about. Again, baby steps. Your palette will adjust and your body will learn to not only like real foods, but crave them. Trust me, trust me, trust me.

8. Fat does not make you fat. How do I know? Well, I did not gain (or lose) any weight on Whole30, even though I was eating a lot more (healthy) fat on a daily basis – more nuts, oil, avocado, etc.

9. More fat is not better. Some is best.

10. Whole30 or not, portions size is crucial to healthy eating, even when eating all healthy foods.

11. Avocado has my <3 on a daily basis.

12. This may turn your world upside down: peanuts are not actually nuts. A peanut is a legume, like beans, which means that your body may react differently to peanuts or peanut butter than it does nuts and other nut butters. Just some food for thought. And, yes, I did cut out peanut butter for 30 days (if you know me at all, you know that peanut butter is my favorite food in the whole wide world.) Instead, I ate homemade almond and cashew butters as well as sunflower seed butter, that just may top peanut butter on my list of favorite foods. I’m happy to say that peanut butter does now make a regular appearance in my diet; however, it is not the only thing I think about morning, noon, and night, which is probably a good thing because there are other things in life, right?

13. Rules takes the guess work out. I’m not a big fan of long-term labels, strict diets, or restriction, but committing to a short-term plan can be motivating enough that there’s no need for willpower.

14. It’s really, REALLY scary what is in 95% of our “food” these days. For example, even something like store-bought “all natural” almond milk, which a lot of people think of as a healthy upgrade, has far more ingredients than just almonds. What the heck are locust bean gum or carrageenan and why are they in my almond milk?! I decided to break up with store-bought milk for the time being and stick to my new love, Homemade CocoNut Milk. Same with the aforementioned nut butters. Just make your own or buy the ones made with just nuts. There really is no need for ‘palm fruit oil’ in your jar of nut butter. Just like there’s no need for added sugar in your tomato sauce, soy isolate in your snacks, or high fructose corn syrup in…ANYTHING. That’s a no-no no matter what.

15. Which brings me to my next point that I just can’t say enough: READ YOUR LABELS.

16. And do what’s right for you. As I said…

17. Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating only the latest superfoods or trying the latest diet trend. It means knowing what foods make you feel healthy and good.

18. If a food/food group makes you feel energized and healthy, you should probably eat it.

19. If a food/food group makes you feel crappy, tired, or sick, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

20. Whole foods are super versatile, see below:

IMG_085721. Another little fun fact I learned over the past 30 days is that any woman in her 20’s or 30’s that declares that she’s not drinking will, without a doubt, be labeled as pregnant, whether it’s by your waiter or your best friends.

22. Drinking seltzer water or kombucha out of a wine glass is not the same as drinking wine, but that’s alright.

23. Waking up on a Sunday morning without any hint of a hangover or headache is worth all of the above – sacrificing the wine and being labeled pregnant.

24. Smoothies are delicious and nutritious. Smoothies aren’t on Whole30 due to a lack of chewing, the act that kick-starts digestion and satiation. So, what’s a smoothie lover to do? Chew your smoothie! Seriously, do it. I missed my smoothies, green smoothies, and smoothie bowls and am happy to introduce them back into my routine, especially heading into the summer season!

25. It is possible to have too much meat, even lean, organic, grass-fed meat. I got sick of chicken after the first week on Whole30. Happy to say that I’ve since reintroduced tempeh and veggie burgers for some delicious meatless protein. Although I know that for me, everything in moderation works when it comes to protein, I totally respect the vegetarians, vegans, and paleos of the world too. Did I mention to do what’s right for you?! I think I did.

26. The benefit of minty fresh breath after a garlicky meal just may outweigh the drawbacks of chewing gum. Again, something I cut wayyyy back but am not willing to give up completely. Yet.

27. The dreams are real folks. The Whole30 book warns that people on Whole30 may experience weird dreams about eating off-plan foods (which means that you start over at day one.) I’m pretty sure that I had some sort of cheating-on-Whole30-food dream every single night for a month straight. Some worse than others: on the eve of day 30, I dreamed that I weighed myself and the scale read 498 pounds. Thankfully, I woke up.

28. There is something so refreshing about breaking up with the scale. You’re not allowed to weigh yourself during the Whole30 program at all. I’m not a big fan of weighing myself daily, or even weekly, because the number doesn’t often correspond with actual progress. “Non-scale victories” are often much better than a number – looser pants, higher energy, clearer skin, toned muscles, etc. Regarding the scale, if the number makes you feel stuck, negative, guilty, or ashamed, stop weighing yourself and rely on how you feel, inside and out, and how you fit into your clothes. If the scale makes you feel confident and accountable, go for it.

29. Being a proud member of the clean plate club is just plain overrated. Having a healthy diet means eating until your body is satisfied, whether it be fish and veggies or a rich, decadent brownie. It’s not about finishing every last bite, it’s about enjoying one bite at a time, regardless of what you’re eating, and putting the fork down when you’ve had enough (enough means you’re satiated, not loosening your belt in a food coma.) This is easier said than done, I know, so it’s worth the mental effort to work on improving this habit, one meal at a time.

30. Healthy eating is not a mindless activity. It takes awareness, consciousness, presence, and purpose. Some examples include being mindful of how certain foods/food groups make your body feel, inquiring about food preparation when eating out, not digging into the bread basket or snacking simply because the food is right in front of you, and savoring occasional indulgences sans guilt.

So what’s the conclusion here? Honestly, I think that Whole30 has a TON of positive aspects (primarily eating whole foods) and a few negatives (too extreme, too much meat, and not enough smoothies.) Though I’m not the biggest proponent of this exact plan, I’m really happy that I experienced it because I did learn a lot and got rid of some poor habits. What made me stick with it after finding these faults? The sheer fact that I had made a commitment to myself.

Whole30 has lots of great aspects to it and I know that it has changed lots of lives for the better. If this seems like a plan that may be right for you, I encourage you to commit fully as well. Although 30 days may not be realistic, I would suggest an elimination diet for anyone looking to getting to know your body better, especially if you believe you may have an unidentified food sensitivity. Give your body a break from a certain food or food group for about two weeks and then reintroduce it to evaluate your body’s response. That way, as long as other food choices remain consistent, you should be able to tell 24-48 hours after consuming that food/food group if your body is sensitive to it. How will you know? You’ll know. Either it will make you feel fine, good, the same, or it will make you feel not so good in some way. As mentioned above, if it makes you feel yucky, try to cut it out of your diet as much as possible. Lastly, I repeat: read your labels and just eat real food!

IMG_0647One Healthy Breakdown: lessons learned, tools in toolkit, carry on.

Ya Snooze, Ya Lose

You’ve heard it a hundred times: 8 hours of sleep a night! Let’s face it – for most of us, that’s almost impossible really, really, really hard….

MP900181418…but now that these adorable puppies got your attention, let’s talk about why sleep is SO important! It’s not just about feeling rested (although isn’t that such a great feeling?!) Sleep, along with hydration and nutrition, make our bodies efficient, from the inside out to our very top layer of skin cells. Lets uncover all of the benefits of sleep, including, yes, you guessed it: weight loss.MP900385227

Sleep literally creates energy, so we function efficiently in all walks of life, at all stages of life, from the classroom to the gym, at the office, with our families, and beyond. Healthy sleep aids brain functioning, memory, creativity, and focus to ensure we’re on our A game. With a big exam or job interview approaching, the smart thing is to spend those wee hours sleeping instead of cramming.

The immune system is most efficient at prevent illness and disease with ample sleep. Sleep also controls inflammation and balances hormones linked to mood, stress, weight, and appetite. The likelihood of losing weight and keeping it off long-term is far increased by good quality sleep.

With ample sleep, we’re able to efficiently metabolize food, absorb nutrients, cleanse toxins, rebuild muscles, strengthen bones, and control our appetite. That’s right, the difference between a poor night’s sleep and a good night’s sleep can be the difference between choosing healthy foods and…not. Hormones that cue hunger and fullness are thrown off by lack of sleep, as are cortisol levels, causing unnecessary stress, which also adds to weight gain, and the vicious cycle repeats.

Along with healthy eating, regular exercise, and emotional balance, we can become better versions of ourselves with the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Like recharging a battery or filling up a car with gas, sleep is the ammunition that fuels our bodies, a huge factor in mental, physical, and emotional health. If we ALL got enough sleep, imagine the possibilities…!

One Healthy Breakdown: Do your body right – get your eight hours tonight!

Eating With the Season

Hello, winter.Eatwarm This cold front has me craving some serious comfort food and I know I’m not alone. If we can’t warm up out there, we’ve got to warm up in here (our kitchens, our bellies, our souls.) Luckily, with the right foods, we can.

As soon as the leaves turn color, the days shorten, and the temperature drops, those cravings for lite, raw, refreshing eats are replaced with desire for warm, hearty, comfort foods. Our bodies are naturally in tune with the changing seasons, as they should be. Our vitality directly depends on how we fuel our bodies, from our taste buds to our immune systems, (no sniffles!) and everything in between.

Eating with the season means fueling our bodies to align with our environment…and satisfying our souls too. With less sunshine, we’ve got to eat our Vitamin D. With an abundance of in-season produce, focus on the season’s freshest foods, like squash, kale, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. Sauté your greens for heartier salads, roast your veggies, and load up on warming herbs and spices. Transform your green juice into a sweet smoothie or even a light soup. Cure your afternoon sweet tooth with cooked apples (baked, roasted, or even microwaved.) Utilize healthy fats, like olive and coconut oil, and slightly increase whole grains. It takes energy to keep warm and good carbs provide good energy. Most importantly, listen intuitively to your body’s cravings, even when it calls for nothing but sweet indulgence. There’s a healthy upgrade for everything, from cupcakes to pancakes, pumpkin pie to brownies, even cake, doughnuts (what!) and peppermint bark! Once in a while, go all out with the real deal and savor every single bite. Yes, allow for occasional indulging, but never forgo the veggies and continue to build meals around seasonal produce, lean protein, and good carbs.

Warm up in other ways by sweating in the gym, hot yoga, warm baths and showers, bundling up, snuggling under blankets, and lots of tea by the fire. See, maybe winter does have it’s perks.

FullSizeRender(5)One Healthy Breakdown: Beat the heat…with how you eat!

Nothin’ Like EVOO

10702069_904476514773_3840381980300393958_nCiao bella! Although I am a huge fan of all things coconut oil, there’s just nothin’ like the one and only EVOO. Olive oil, rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, is a fundamental part of the Mediterranean Diet. My recent trip to Italy for our honeymoon spiked quite a rekindling for my relationship with olive oil. I’ve always used and loved it, but my appreciation for the oil grew stronger as Italians just don’t live without it. From salad to octopus, (yup) pasta to dessert, olive oil was as essential as water (and wine!) at every meal. Every bite was a bit tastier, richer, and more satiating.

10689850_904476659483_2449018094796810023_nMaking pasta from scratch in Rome!

Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat – aka a healthy fat. Although it is very high in fat content, olive oil’s health benefits are unparalleled. A diet consisting of EVOO regularly is correlated with lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. The phytonutrients in olive oil help to strengthen and protect the blood vessel cells, prevent blockages, and aid digestion. It also transforms a bowl of spaghetti into a work of culinary magic. Bellissima!

1017740_904477602593_2597989234029221327_nWhy EVOO? Extra virgin olive oil is fresh-pressed, less processed, and more pure than regular olive oil. EVOO has been proven to reduce inflammation, cholesterol, and blood pressure. So, instead of butter, margarine, dressing, sauce, etc., turn to EVOO. Olive oil can also be used to treat a sunburn, condition hair, moisturize skin and lips, rid stickiness, polish surfaces, fix a jam, remove eye makeup, and so much more. Who knew?!

One Healthy Breakdown: Rekindle your relationship with this old fave today and you won’t be sorry!

Top 5 Fitness Myths Busted!

Zivile Ngo Healthy Lifestyle Coach brings us the 5 most common fitness myths…don’t fall for ’em anymore!

People Exercising at a GymnasiumMyth #1: Diet pills to boost your effort.

It’s so tempting! The commercials make compelling claims about the power of diet pills, but don’t fall for it. The ‘magic pill’ has yet to be discovered. Actually, it has been discovered…it’s called exercise. Diet pills are more likely to damage your health and burn your pocketbook than to slim you down.

Tip: Don’t pop pills! Burn calories with exercise for healthy, long-lasting success.

Myth #2: Starve the pounds away.

Attempting to lose weight by severely limiting calories is not only ineffective, it’s also dangerous. Although it may seem that calorie restriction delivers the fastest weight loss, due to our bodies’ complexities, by doing so, we disrupt our metabolism and slow results.

Tip: Don’t starve yourself! Instead, eat healthy, balanced meals throughout the day.

Myth #3: Crunches are the way to flatter abs.

We all want our midsection to look toned, but excessive crunches aren’t the answer for tight abs. In order to achieve a lean look, focus on burning off the layer of fat that is covering up your abs. We all have muscles under there somewhere. Fat burn results from exercise and diet, not from your ab roller or hundreds of crunches.

Tip: Don’t obsess about crunches! Instead, focus on overall fat burn.

Myth #4: Packaged diet foods are the easiest way to speedy results.

It’s amazing (and unfortunate) to see all of the many ‘diet’ or ‘weight loss’ packaged foods. More often than not, these products are packed with sodium, refined sugar, and other artificial ingredients that your body doesn’t need. Ditch the packages and focus on feeding your body with real foods like raw and cooked vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, moderate amounts of seeds and nuts, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. Clean eating really is that simple.

Tip: Don’t eat packaged diet foods! Instead, stick with nutritious, whole foods.

Myth #5: Avoid all carbohydrates in order to slim down.

Carbohydrates have been given a bad rap, which is unfortunate because you can (and should) eat carbs while losing weight. Carbs give us energy and help our muscles recover post-workout. The key is avoiding processed and refined flours and sugars.

Tip: Don’t swear off all carbohydrates! instead, stick with whole grains, oatmeal, and brown rice.

One Healthy Breakdown: it’s no mystery. Hard work and healthy eating wins every time!

Cold Crunchy Chopped Asian Salad

This refreshingly crunchy salad is tasty, healthy, and super easy to make. With lots of veggies, healthy fats, and protein, it packs a powerful punch and tastes as indulgent as take-out! Makes a great lunch, dinner, side dish. Makes 2-3 servings and makes for great leftovers for the next day!

asianIn a bowl, combine:

  • 1.5 cup shredded cabbage (use red, green, or a combination of both)
  • 1 cup chopped jicama
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions

For dressing, whisk the following until mixed:

  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter or tahini
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dark miso
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water

For more protein, add cooked egg, tofu, chicken, tempeh etc. Pour dressing over ingredients and mix thoroughly.

One Healthy Breakdown: easier and tastier than you think!

*Recipe adapted from The Ultra-Metabolism Cookbook by Mark Hyman