Posted by Sima Cohen
Being overweight is not a problem. It is a decision. One good or bad decision can have a dramatic ripple effect on the rest of your life. Anything that has the power to change our mental discipline can, and will, eventually have an effect on the decisions we make. Losing a loved one, a painful break-up, divorce, being laid off, having children, infidelity, big lifestyle changes, or trauma can derail a person’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being, and can cause him or her to make decisions that have powerful consequences.
A decision leads to action, which leads to the reality you experience, good or bad, fat or skinny. If your reality is flower-print mumus, type 2 diabetes, and a love affair with the pizza delivery guy, chances are, it’s time to make a different decision.
Winston Churchill said, “The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.” Well… haven’t you? You’ve tried Atkins, gone on the latest celebrity detox, counted calories and carbs and “points”, or gone the gym for four hours a day, every day for six months. That’s dedication! But none of it worked. Why not? The list is long, if you’ve got time. It costs a lot of money, takes a lot of time and energy, it’s boring and unhealthy, you’ll feel incredibly deprived, it feels like a second job, it’s just not sustainable, and all you’ve ever lost is your sanity.
Common sense would support the idea that if you eat less food, you’ll lose more weight, or that if you exercise more you will burn more calories and lose more fat. But our bodies don’t work this way, and neither do our brains. At least not in the long term. Our brains are driven by pain and pleasure. We want to avoid pain, and we want to experience pleasure, and we seek it out automatically and subconsciously.
When we don’t get adequate protein, dopamine levels drop significantly and we experience a mental fog. Many people believe that if they severely reduce their carbohydrate intake or remove them altogether, their body fat will be broken down when they exercise. Instead they are lowering their capacity to burn fat, and ultimately destroying their metabolism. The body will break down muscle to try and form carbohydrates, which raises stress hormone levels and causes carb cravings.
My advice to you is to make a new decision and end the struggle by feeding your body what it wants: a combination of lean protein, healthy fat, and complex high-fiber carbohydrates. For more tips, information, and weight loss products visit www.ExpressHomeTrainer.com.
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May 11, 2012 | 7:14 pm
Posted by Sima Cohen
Mother’s Day comes just once a year. Show your mother how much you care by bringing her a delicious and healthy breakfast in bed. One that has all of the flavor and none of the guilt! Here are three to choose from, and none of them take longer than 20 minutes to prepare!
“Perfect” Parfait (Serves 1) Prep time: 5 mins., Cook time: 0 mins.Ingredients
1 C non-fat or low fat Greek yogurt
½ C mixed berries
1 tsp. honey
¼ C low sugar granola
1. Start by pouring some of the berries into a short glass. Top with ½ C of yogurt, followed by a little bit of granola.
2. Continue until the glass is full or all ingredients are used. Serve.
Skinny Protein French Toast (Serves 1) Prep time: 5-7 mins., Cook time: 10 mins.Ingredients
2 egg whites and 1 egg yolk (substitute for ¾ C liquid egg whites, such as Egg Beaters)
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. agave
1. Start by whipping the eggs or egg substitute. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon and protein powder and continue whipping.
2. Dip the bread in the egg mixture, coating on both sides.
3. Lightly coat a skillet with cooking spray and brown each slice of bread over medium heat for 1-2 minutes each side.
4. Pour agave over toast and serve with grapefruit.
Egg White Crepes (Serves 2) Prep time: 3 mins., Cook time: 10 mins.Ingredients
½ C whole wheat flour
3 egg whites
½ C low-fat milk
1 tbsp. omega-3 spread
½ C frozen mixed berries, thawed and drained
Pinch of salt
1 package sugar substitute
1. Whisk the wheat flour, egg whites, milk, salt, and omega-3 spread together in a large bowl until smooth.
2. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium heat.
3. Pour half of batter into skillet and tilt back and forth until batter covers the bottom of the skillet. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown.
4. Flip the crepe upside down and place half of the berries on top. Cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Fold crepe in half and remove to serving plate. Sprinkle half of sugar substitute on top and serve.
6. Repeat 3-5 for second serving.
May 7, 2012 | 3:28 pm
Posted by Sima Cohen
We all need food. Not because it tastes good or because it makes us feel good, but because it provides vital nutrients and energy for our bodies. Food has one true purpose: to keep us alive, healthy and functioning; to provide us with the fuel and body rebuilding nutrition we need to avoid illness and death. We believe things should be simple, and being smart means avoiding things that will lead us down that dangerous path.
The first and easiest way to do that is to avoid boxed foods, junk foods, fake foods, or foods that are altered during processing. Junk foods contain very little real food. They’re usually composed of hydrogenated fats, chemicals, preservatives, and white flour. Canned breakfast drinks, sugary cereals, donuts and soda are prime examples. Fake foods such as bacon bits, dehydrated soups and instant coffee are composed primarily of chemicals, and oftain contain gum and sugar fillers. Processed foods are made from real foods, but have been put through chemical processes and infused with preservatives. They are often cooked at very high temperatures, which destroys any vital nutrients, and are loaded with sugar, salt, stabilizers and color enhancers. Yuck. Processed foods are also altered and stripped of nutrients through a process called “refining”. White bread is a prime example. These foods fill you up with useless calories, but provide no vital nutrients. Instant oats, white sugar, and white rice are also refined foods.
As if that weren’t enough, these processed foods are also preserved, and salt is one of the top preservatives. You’ll notice this rampant in canned foods and bread, but also in beef jerky, canned teas, jam, and hot dogs, among other foods. Diets high in sodium are linked with heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and weight gain! The bottom line is that once a food is altered from its original state, it has lost all of its real value to the human body. So, to keep it simple, follow my #1 principle:
READ THE INGREDIENTS. I believe that if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it. Stick to food with ingredients that you recognize.
March 23, 2012 | 5:51 pm
Posted by Sima Cohen
Breakfast provides children with the energy they’ll need and the essential nutrients they need to concentrate on school work and studies. Research conducted as recently as 2011 shows that breakfast provides as much as 25% of the recommended daily allowance for key nutrients, such as protein, vitamin A and B6, calcium, iron and zinc.
Q: But really, why is it so important to give our kids breakfast?
A: Children who don’t skip breakfast have been shown to have higher achievement scores, increased focus and concentration in the classroom, and they are more likely to establish healthy eating habits that in the future will help them to prevent weight gain, obesity, and diabetes.
Q: Okay. So what is a balanced breakfast?
A: One that consists of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat. Translation: one that will stabilize their blood sugar and keep them satisfied until their next meal, which is the secret for sustaining energy, keeping hunger and cravings at bay, and preventing weight gain.
The bottom line is don’t let your kids skip breakfast! Eating something is always better than eating nothing at all.
My best advice is to set a healthy example. Your kids look up to you! If you don’t eat breakfast, than why should they? If they see you eat, chances are they will mimic you and do the same. Problem solved! I believe that establishing this important habit ensures that they will grow up with healthy eating habits, understanding that food is fuel and that it’s good for them. And that is absolutely invaluable.
Peace & Breakfast,
March 8, 2012 | 5:28 pm
Posted by Sima Cohen
Be honest: the first thing you hear when you pick up your kids is, “Mom, I’m hungry!” It’s too early for dinner, but you can still give them a fun snack that’s quick, easy to prepare, and that will hold them over until dinner. This fun, colorful dish is just as entertaining to eat as it is satisfying:
Fruit Kabob with Yogurt Dip
4 cubes watermelon
4 cubes honeydew melon
2 large skewers
16 oz. low fat or fat free plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp. slivered almonds or pistachios
2 tbsp. honey or truvia
1. In a medium bowl, mix fruit with honey or truvia.
2. Assemble kebabs by alternating fruit on skewers.
3. Grill over medium heat for 2 minutes each side.
4. In a medium bowl, mix together Greek yogurt, almonds or pistachios, and chopped fresh mint. Serve as dip.
When dinner rolls around, they’ll come back to the kitchen with the same line. So, what now? Below are two dinner options that can be our little healthy secret! I gave them each a makeover and added a few secret ingredients to up their healthy quotient and reduce the fat, sugar, and salt. You can even have these yourself for lunch the next day! Bon Apetit!
Better Mac and Cheese
4 C macaroni noodles
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. whole wheat flour
1/3 C cooked, mashed yams
1/3 C low-fat milk
½ C low-fat Greek yogurt, whisked
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp. panko bread crumbs
1. Cook macaroni noodles according to package. Drain and set aside.
2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add whole wheat flour and whisk, making a paste. Gradually add the milk and continue whisking until the sauce thickens. Add the yams and continue stirring.
3. Add cheese, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Add the noodles and coat with the cheese mixture.
4. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and serve.
Breaded Chicken Nuggets
8 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 Cup Kashi 7 Whole Grain Flakes Cereal
1/2 Cup Kashi Honey Puffs Cereal
4 tbsp. raw honey
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking sheet using nonstick spray.
2. Place cereals in a Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, crush until cereals have the consistency of bread crumbs. (You can also place them in a food processor.) Pour cereal into a bowl and add salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Coat chicken strips with honey and dip them in the cereal crumbs. Line strips on baking sheet so strips are not touching.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn and bake for 8-10 more minutes. Serve with your favorite low fat dipping sauce!
Peace and Happy Kids!
February 22, 2012 | 8:32 pm
Posted by Sima Cohen
As you probably know, I am a proud mom myself. Working with other busy moms, I get asked all the time: What if I don’t want to cook, but I still want to give my kids healthy choices?
No problem! The following quick snacks are excellent choices that support an active and a healthy lifestyle.
And if you are looking for other healthy and satisfying pre-packaged snacks for your kids to enjoy between meals, here are a few guidelines to follow:
Peace and Snack Time!
February 14, 2012 | 1:27 pm
Posted by Sima Cohen
After being approached by dozens of parents with questions about raising healthy children, I’m excited to share my some of my secrets and tricks of the trade, and provide some insight and answers.
Over the past 20 years childhood obesity has doubled and as of 2011 is at epidemic rates! Overweight children and teens are more likely to develop serious health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
As a parent myself, I know that making small changes every day can drastically effect the health of your growing child for the rest of his or her life. There are a lot of convenient, cheap products out there, but 99% of them are loaded with added sugar, salt, sodium, saturated fat and empty calories that will do more harm than good. Giving our kids healthy foods can stabilize their energy, sharpen their minds and even help to even out their moods. It will also help them develop healthier habits as they get older.
From my experience with my picky eater daughter, foods like wraps, dips, smoothies, and popsicles, plus fruit and vegetables for color, are always fun to eat. All of my kid-friendly recipes and snack ideas, like the ones below, take no more than 15 minutes to prepare and they’re all totally healthy and delicious.
Do the right thing for their health (and your peace of mind) by taking a few minutes in the morning to prepare their food. I promise, it’s an investment you won’t regret. Just follow my nutrition principles by combining lean proteins, high fiber complex carbohydrates and healthy fats with every meal when preparing their lunches and snacks for school. This will give them the energy they need to make it through the day with a delicious, healthy lunch that they’ll look forward to… and they won’t trade away!
That’s it! fruit bars
Low fat string cheese
Carrots and Celery
Packaged dry green beans
Snap Pea Crisps
Individually packaged organic Apple sauce (They come in a variety of flavors including plain, berry and cinnamon, and pear. Make sure they say “No Sugar Added”!)
Mini packages of hummus
Stay tuned next week when I discuss guidelines for pre-packaged snacks and how to read labels.
Peace and Healthy Kids!
January 24, 2012 | 9:01 pm
Posted by Sima Cohen
Processed foods are POISON. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof:
1. Ever heard of castoreum? It’s used to enhance the flavor of puddings, candies, and some frozen dairy desserts. It’s also derived from beaver anal glands.
2. The food coloring known as “Carmine” that gives many processed foods their reddish hue is made of ground-up insect shells. It’s also been known to cause severe allergic reactions in some people.
3. Your risk of E. coli goes WAY up, the more cheap ground meat that’s in a single beef patty. Fast food burgers contain the miscellaneous parts of dozens of cows raised all over the world.
4. UCLA did a study on how processed foods affect the brain, and discovered that it only takes TWO months of eating a steady processed food diet to lower the levels of brain chemicals that are responsible for learning and memory. Maybe that’s why you forgot after only a week that McDonald’s doesn’t actually taste that good.
5. Last year, Kellogg’s recalled 28 million boxes of cereal because a compound in the box lining was giving off a foul smell and tainting the taste of the food. They refuse to release the name of the compound.
6. The company that makes airport metal detectors also sells them to food manufacturers… to test processed meats for stray wires, metal shards, and hypodermic needles.
7. Ever had strawberry fruit roll-ups or given them to your kids? Did you notice that the ingredients list doesn’t contain any strawberries?
8. The food that our factory-farmed cows eat contains roadkill, and euthanized cats and dogs. We, Americans, eat those cows to the tune of millions a year.
9. Oscar Meyer Breaded Chicken and Mozzarella sandwiches contain more than 80 ingredients. You could make the exact same meal at home with less than 10.
10. Our friends at the FDA allow 74 mites and 19 maggots in a single can of mushrooms.
Peace and REAL food,