Monday, November 11, 2013

Mixing Up Your Salad

Hey guys I'm back for a short post. As you may have noticed, this blog has been very inactive lately. If anyone is interested in writing a health post on food, diet, exercise, fitness, etc. please send me an email with the topic you'd like to write about! I would love to have some posts written by you readers!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: Salads!!!

How many of you actually enjoy salads? I have to be honest and say that I only enjoy them on occasion. They have to be a good salad too, not some crappy lettuce and dressing salad. I like it fixed up with a few other toppings such as almonds, spinach, raisins, tomatoes, croutons, cucumbers, sharp cheddar cheese, shredded chicken... and I could go on (not all in the same salad of course!).

I thought I'd share with you some different photos of salads I've enjoyed over the last few months. Get ready for your mouth's to start watering!

This salad has a nice mix of almond slices, raisins, dried cranberries, spinach, iceberg lettuce, and ranch dressing. It is probably one of my favorites to make, although I usually don't add almonds to it except for on occasion.

This salad is mostly spinach with raisins, sharp cheddar cheese, croutons and ranch dressing.

A more classic salad which consists of a nice mixture of green lettuces, beautiful cherry tomatoes, and sharp cheddar cheese with ranch (my favorite dressing if you haven't noticed lol).

Adding shredded chicken to a salad gives you some protein with your veggies. As you can see this salad has the dark green lettuce, spinach, shredded chicken, a few dried cranberries and of course, ranch dressing.

If you're looking to make a salad into a meal try Taco Salad. I usually make it up with ground beef, frito chips, lettuce, shredded cheese, salsa, black olives, red onion, kidney beans, ranch dressing, and occasionally I add spinach too. I have the Taco Salad recipe on my main blog which you should totally check out if you think most or all of those things sound good!

So there are some ideas for mixing up your regular salad to make it more tasty and enjoyable!

What are extra toppings you like to add to your salads?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Your Skin In Colder Weather

{photo via Key To Nutrition}

Hello all! I know it's been a month too many since I've posted anything here and I'm terribly sorry about's little post is more just a sharing of another great post I found via a favorite health related blog of mine: Key To Nutrition!

Brish is the beautiful author behind this blog which was formerly titled "Get A Taste Of Nutrition". I wrote a featured post on her blog last November which you can check out here. Today's post, which I'm sharing with you from her blog, is all about foods to eat to help keep your skin moisturized instead of cracked, dry, and flaky. I love how she shares lots of foods for each vitamin necessary to keep healthy skin throughout the fall/winter seasons while the weather is cooler and then just plain cold! So stop reading here and go check out her post Autumn Glow!

Monday, August 12, 2013

What is your BMI?

One of the reason I started my healthy journey was an iPhone app that told me what my BMI (Body Mass Index) was.  That night  I was in shock and sick to my stomach.  Not only was I obese, but severely obese.  This realization propelled me into the journey that I am on today.

Use the chart below to find your BMI:
Now that you know your BMI, it is important for these reasons:

If your BMI is high, you may have an increased risk of developing certain diseases

-high blood pressure
-heart disease
-high cholesterol and blood lipids (LDL)
-Type 2 Diabetes
-sleep apnea
-female infertility
-gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) 

If our BMI is not where it should be, we have to choose to make some healthy changes.  The best way to lower your BMI is weight loss.  When you lower it to normal range, you have a better chance of not getting the conditions above. 

I also know that health insurance uses this chart to determine if you are in a healthy range.  With the changes, you could be paying double or even triple the price of your insurance if you are not in the normal range. {article}  This is going to be our future, so it is important that we make healthy choices for ourselves.  

But most importantly, do it for youself.....your children.....your grand children.  If we will choose to lose.....we will be on our way to a healthier lifestyle and a longer life!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Do some push-ups, Ladies!!!


I am going to tell you something that some of you may have never heard before!! Although if you lift weights, you are probably aware that there are some exercises that everyone should be doing! Yep! Even women!! We need to pick up the weights and lift and push!! Why? Lifting weights creates that resistance training which assists in building stronger muscles and bones and creates endurance and strength. Aside from the fact that muscle mass looks better than fat.

Surprisingly the exercise that I am talking about is push-ups!! Aside from bench presses, dead-lifts, and squats. All women should do push-ups!! Push-ups assist in building strength on your arms, chest, shoulders and even your core. Push-ups are great for the development of the pectoral muscles because they create the illusion of cleavage and help to lift your breasts.

I am a huge advocate of doing push-ups and even fit them in between cardio sessions or on chest and triceps days!! Start slow and don't overdo it, do a couple against a sturdy surface while standing.  Don't get on your knees until you have figured out the proper form and your arms are strong to hold you for the few seconds that they last.

Once you have figured out the right form, you could work toward the kneeling push-ups.  Please take a look at the following steps and try it!! With consistency and effort, you will eventually get to master your technique!! Best of luck!!

Step 1: Kneel on a mat on all fours with your knees hip-width apart. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your fingers and wrists pointing forward.

Step 2: Feather your breathing as you lower your chest toward the floor with a through count of 10 seconds. Descend to your maximum tension point, and hold for 2 seconds. 

Step 3: Push your body back to starting position with a through count of 10 seconds, keeping your elbows slightly bent at the top of the move.

Step 4: Repeat three times without resting

Thursday, July 4, 2013

New Header for the blog!

Ever since I did the makeover on Exercise Encouragement GROUP Blog I was never really happy with how the header looked. I thought it was too cluttery, but couldn't ever figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it. Well, as you will see when comparing the two photos below, I basically took the wording off the busy background and left it on plain white. I think this looks MUCH cleaner and probably more professional as well. Which header do you like better? The old or the new? Obviously, I like the new one! lol.



Also, notice the emphasis on GROUP? I wanted to change that part up a bit because this is a GROUP blog with multiple contributors and I think it's important that people who visit the blog will *hopefully* realize that fairly quickly and want to take part! :)

That's all for now. Happy 4th of July everyone!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

In my last post I announced my being pregnant (read that post here) and since then I've been busy with life in general, and then laptop issues have taken up the rest of the past few weeks. (I had to send it off to be repaired and that took about three weeks, and then I was locked out of my email account for almost a full week once I got my laptop back.) ANYWAY... I'm just popping in to share a few more healthy food ideas that I've shared over on my main blog, but thought you readers here may enjoy as well.

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A healthy snack: Nutella on Rice Cakes. This is something I sort-of accidently discovered one day when I was looking for something sweet to snack on but didn't want to take the time to bake anything. Of course there are all kinds of rice cakes you can use. The one in the photo (from my main blog) is just a plain and regular white rice cake. I'm sure this would be healthier with a brown rice cake, but I didn't have any of those.

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A good breakfast: Whole Wheat Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins. Since being pregnant I've discovered that my used-to-be massive sweet tooth has almost completely disappeared. I walk down the candy isle in WalMart now and nothing really looks or sounds good, where as before I wanted most everything on the shelves! Anyway, this recipe is one I created and is really tasty...and as you can see, quite full of blueberries too!

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Snacking: Freezing Bananas. We have an ALDI store around here and I LOVE going in and looking for good deals. Quite often I can find bananas for 0.29 cents a lb. and when I do I usually pick up a few bunches of them to have on hand. Not only are bananas great for eating fresh, but you can also freeze them while they're fresh to use in smoothies later on. OR if you wait too long and they start to turn brown they are perfect for making banana bread! Lots of great, healthy ideas here!

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Filling Snacks/Breakfast: Healthy Granola Fruit Yogurt Snack. I don't know about you but yogurt and granola are two of my favorite things to snack on...add fruit and it's 10 times better! This is a regular snack or dinner for me. I like to make my own granola too because you can put whatever you want in it and it can be either mostly healthy, or completely healthy {granola recipe here}.

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A breakfast idea: Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins. In case you didn't notice, I REALLY like Blueberry Muffins! lol. This recipe is a little different from the one listed above...and with the original ingredients is not near as healthy, but if you make the suggested ingredient changes from the notes (on the recipe page) they actually are quite healthy for you!

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Another breakfast idea: Healthy Applesauce Muffins. This recipe is nice if you like something that has a hint of sweetness, but is mostly very plain and basic. I'm sure you could easily add fruit to this recipe if you'd like.

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Homemade Food: Almond Butter. This is a recipe/my first experience in making almond butter. I thought the experience was wonderful. It is for sure something I'd like to do again when I end up buying some nuts. You could probably make any kind of nut butter that you'd like. I've only tried to make it out of almonds so far but it was a good experience over all.

{click photo to view details}

Homemade Food: Crockpot Apple Sauce. Now this is a recipe that I'd suggest using later on this fall if you can find a neighbor who has an apple tree full of apples they don't plan to use (that's what I did last year and it was wonderful!). Making apple sauce really isn't that hard. Especially if you use the crockpot like I did for this recipe. The hardest part is peeling and removing the core of the apple, everything else is a breeze!

I could go on sharing with you, but I'm sure this gives you enough to have found at least one thing you want to try! :) I am working on publishing more posts over on BEBBlog with healthy eating ideas and foods, but those are somewhat slow in coming since I'd MUCH rather bake or cook unhealthy things! lol. They are slowly building up though and that's a good thing.

What are some healthy foods/snacks you have been enjoying lately?

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Announcement & Healthier Food Ideas!

Hey everybody!! How are things going with you all?? I've been away for about a month...two weeks were family vacation to Mississippi and then two have been me dealing with laptop issues which have kept me from writing very many posts. I have to say that it is a HUGE relief to have the wonderful contributors Kathia & Frances here on EEG Blog! They have helped make my life much easier because they're helping me keep this blog active & also helping encourage and reach readers I didn't have connections with before!! If you'd be interested in contributing you can always EMAIL ME and we'll talk about it! :)

I was finally brave enough to plug in my laptop and hope that it wouldn't start smelling like smoke again...and it doesn't!! Thank you Jesus!! I know I'll still have to take it to be fixed at a Best Buy store, but to have internet at my fingertips once again is heavenly!

I have been scheduling Words On Sunday posts for my main blog earlier and I ran across some really great things on Pinterest to share. Most of those will be shared over on my main blog for the next 9+ weeks to come, but today I wanted to share with you this photo:

{photo via Greatist}

Nothing about fitness & health is about going fast! How many of you know that to be true? (and if you didn't know, now you do!) I have been on a personal battle with fitness for several years now. In 2011 I was able to loose 30+ lbs that I had gained in less than a month because of a medication I was taking for my brain injury. It took me almost a year of walking 1 hour or more a day, drinking lots of water, and staying committed to loosing that weight to make it go away. Let me tell you: that was not a fast process!!

My current fitness & health battle plan has been: well plain laziness!! Since I lost that weight in 2011 I haven't done much to continue working towards being fit. I was happy with being a size 12. I really didn't try hard to eat healthy this past year and I'm regretting that because I could've been doing so much more than I did...but looking back does me no good, I need to focus on right now and what I can do now instead of worrying about the future!

I was originally planning to wait on this announcement for a few more weeks (until after I was able to see my doctor), but it is slightly necessary in order to understand my new reasons and plans I have for wanting to be healthier:

Yes!! I'm pregnant!! :) I'm really excited to be having a baby, but I sure don't like the process of getting the baby!! I found out on May 10th and it turns out I'm about 10 weeks along already! I had no clue!!

Because of me being pregnant I have started making a lot of much more healthier food choices than I have in the past year. I did tell Autry when we went down to Mississippi that if I wasn't pregnant (we were originally going to take a test on Mothers Day, but that's a whole different story!) I wanted to start eating really healthy and exercising a lot...I also told him that if I WAS pregnant, then I would still plan to eat a lot healthier, but I've always heard pregnant women get strange cravings so I wasn't going to be super strict about the healthy that doesn't mean I don't eat healthy most days of the week, it just means that when I have the occasional odd craving I'm going to allow myself to eat a few bites of it so the craving will go away.

So some of the foods I eat on a regular basis now are:

Salads! I've been eating the mess out of salads...granted I only had iceberg lettuce in the fridge...but the next time I go shopping I'll be buying some spinach and other dark green leafy lettuce(s). One of my favorite types of salads to eat is Taco Salad. I usually just use kidney beans, cheese, salsa, black olives, and a little ranch dressing. Occasionally I'll add some crushed Dorito nacho cheese chips too. Fruit Salad. I make up a salad with cheese, paremesan cheese, lettuce, ranch dressing and top it off with some raisins. You could also do dried cranberries which I use too, but not as often as raisins. Croutons and almond slices are also good on this type of salad.

Chicken Breasts! I'm not a terribly huge fan of meat, but I will eat chicken. I like to have my hubby cook up some chicken breasts in the oven with his secret barbecue sauce mix. This is one of my favorite ways to eat chicken breasts...I also like them on sandwiches such as the Subway Oven Roasted Chicken Sub. I usually get that with three servings of lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and ranch. And yes I used to eat black olives before I was pregnant so this is nothing unusual for me! :)

Potatoes! I don't know about you, but I love potatoes!! And there are so many great & healthy ways to fix them too! Here are some of the mostly healthy ways I fix me a baked potato. Classic: butter, green onions, turkey bacon bits (I usually cook up a few pieces of turkey bacon and then break it into bits for different things such as this), and a little ranch dressing to help keep it from being too dry. Mexican: butter, salsa and a little cheese. Basic: butter and a little ranch. Yes, ranch dressing is one of my favorites and even though it's not terribly the best for you it is one thing that I do like to eat with most everything.

Smoothies! These are huge for me right now. Especially the fruit ones because in this constant nausea feeling most things do not sound appetizing at ALL! Does anyone know how this feels? I know my mother does!! Anyway, one thing I've found that I can handle is a fruit smoothie blend of frozen peaches, blueberries, and strawberries with a little milk or some yogurt to smooth it out. These are both tasty and delicious!

Tacos! Did you realize that tacos can be practically anything that's wrapped up in a tortilla? This is a fairly recent obsession food of mine because there are so many varieties you can put together and most of them taste fantastic!! Try a Classic Taco with the regular: beans, black olives, meat, cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomato...etc. One of my recent tortilla discoveries is the Cold Meat Taco, it's like a sandwich, but with a tortilla instead of bread! I usually do lettuce, sandwich cheese, and a few pieces of sandwich meat (3) and then top it off with a bit of ranch for sauce. A popular recipe that was shared here on EEG Blog awhile back is Cilantro Lime Tilapia Tacos. Be sure to check that out if you like fish!

Other healthy foods that I like to either eat or snack on are: flavored yogurts, oatmeal, almonds, cottage cheese (some people argue that this isn't healthy, and I'm not saying that it's the best thing for you, but I love it!), spinach, banana chips, whole wheat bread, frozen grapes and frozen yogurt bites (recipe here).

I don't want you all thinking I eat healthy all the time, because I don't, but I am trying and these are some of the ways and foods that I use to work on healthier eating habits. What healthy foods/meals to you fix for yourself and/or your family?