Just Live Mindfully


Category: Nutrition (page 1 of 2)

So What’s With Inflammation?

What is up with inflammation?  I feel like it’s a new buzz word that everyone is using lately.  Now, it might sound like I’m upset about that, but trust me, I’m not.

Inflammation is something that all of us have and it comes out in different forms.  Some of us experience inflammation in the form of acne.  Some of us in the of sinus issues.  Some of us stomach bloating and even gas. For me, it mostly comes out as nasal congestion, acne, bloating and there are a few others.  And these signs I’ve started to pay more attention to.  Mainly because over the past few years, I’ve realized that a lot of what I put into my body is causing these issues.

Yes, I’m talking about the food we eat.  America is such a fast-paced society that we’re aways on the go.  Because of that, a lot of our food comes from fast food joints and quicker versions of the “real thing” because we don’t have time to cook anymore.  I’m in this boat, so don’t feel like I’m casting a shadow on those of you reading this that feel like you have to stop at those restaurants.  Trust me, I get it.

What I’ve realized over the past few years, though, is that prepping goes a very long way.  That means prepping meals and snacks for the week so you’re not left stranded looking for food throughout your day.   Prepping can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be that way.  But where do you start?  I say, start small.

If you’re out of the house only for the lunch meal, start there.  Prep meals for 2-3 days in advance to get you through a few lunches during the week.  Think of something easy that you can do a lot at the same time – chicken and vegetables, turkey burgers and a salad, greek yogurt and some berries.  Try to have a protein, a good carbohydrate and a healthy fat.  And don’t forget, you can use leftovers to prep too.  We do that in our house regularly.  Whatever is for dinner one night can be lunch the next.  Make it easy on yourself.

Now that you know how to prep, what types of food do you prep?  I just mentioned protein, a good carbohydrate and a healthy fat.  These are your targets.  You take it from there.  Just try to avoid a few things like fried foods, overly processed foods and foods with ingredients that you don’t even know what they are.  Here is a list of the Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to help you get started.

Educating yourself is the best way to learn about how to heal yourself and ease things like inflammation.  But starting is the most important part.  You just might get rid of that inflammation and ease some of those aches and pains you have.  🙂


Looking for health and wellness vendors?

Yesterday I was able to participate in an event north of Boston and let me tell you, it was amazing!  The event was the Health and Wellness Fall 2017 Show and there was all types of organizations there.  From meditation and relaxation, to nutrition and healthy eating to physical fitness.  Each organization had something different to offer and although I was there representing Just Live Mindfully, I got a chance to interact with a few. There were that stood out for me and I wanted to showcase them today.

The first was my neighbor – Wicked Healthy Vending.  They are exactly what the name says, healthier options offered in a vending machine.  So cool, right?  I think their concept is great because when you’re on the go, you want something quick and is easy to access but sometimes, healthier options aren’t always available.  That’s where Wicked Healthy Vending comes in.  They offer both beverages and snacks and at yesterday’s event had some of my favorites!  Think Simply Lemonade, Polar Seltzer, Clif Bars, Kind Bars and Food Should Taste Good products.  Tina, the founder and CEO was so kind and you could tell genuinely loved being able to offer healthier options to people on the go.  They’re already in a number of corporations and growing.  If you’re in the market for this kind of service, I would highly recommend Tina and her team.

Next, I connected with a couple of lovely ladies from Curves in Topsfield, MA.  Karen and Meg were terrific!  Full of energy and you could tell they loved what they did!  If you don’t know about Curves, let me tell you about it.  Curves is a a place to get in a quick 30-minute workout that involves cardio and strength training.  I used to go to a Curves with my mom and honestly loved it!  Keep in mind, that was years ago!  But today they’re so much more than just the 30-minute workout.  Curves has classes from Jillian Michaels to boxing to balance and even more.  And I love the fact that Curves is specifically designed for women of any age and any body size.  You can feel comfortable at Curves because of the support system that you can sense the minute you walk in the door.  I can attest to that…especially after meeting Karen and Meg.  If you’re looking for a gym that can give you a complete solution, and live in the Topsfield area, definitely check Curves out.

The third company I had a chance to interact with was LizzyJays.  They offer a variety of cold pressed juices and cleanses.

If you haven’t had a cold pressed juice, you really don’t know what you’re missing.  It’s a great way to get in your veggies without having to eat a ton of food.  I personally love to get my veggies in this way and I find when I have a cold pressed juice, almost immediately I find a surge in energy.  It’s amazing!  I was able to meet Steve, the VP of Sales, and was able to taste the Crisp Greens.  It was delicious and Steve was great in explaining the story behind the company.  Having found there weren’t many options available to eat and drink raw, live-energy foods, the founder Casey Sabol, began juicing.  While juicing is becoming more and more mainstream, the quality of ingredients is what’s important.  My favorite part is that LizzyJays even ships direct to you!  For me, that’s a win-win!  Definitely check them out and see what juicing can do for you!

These three weren’t the only vendors at the Health and Wellness Fall 2017 Show yesterday, but they were the three that I connected with.  And that connection is what’s important at these types of events.  Each person’s health and wellness journey is different and unique and as such, you have to seek out the companies that will work for you.

If you were at the Show yesterday, I’d love to hear about your experience!  What companies did you stop by?  What was your biggest takeaway?  And what actions do you plan to put into play for your health and wellness journey?

It’s All About Balance!

You know I’m all about balance, right?  Well, that even includes having a little fun every now and then.  And that includes having a drink with some friends.

In Massachusetts, where I’m located, we do not have Happy Hour but I know a lot of my followers in other states do.  So what does that mean for you and your buddies?  It means going out, having a few drinks and maybe even some food.  But how can you still go and stay on track with your lifestyle?  Here are a few tips to help you.

Tip #1 – Be picky

If you’re going to go, be picky!  Read what’s on the menu and think about what ingredients may be used in the recipe.  And if there’s ingredients on the menu that you see and like, but there isn’t a meal made with them, ask if you can have something created for you.  Some restaurants may be willing to make an exception.

Tip #2 – Choose a healthier cocktail

There’s always the good ole beer, but what about something a little different.  The Lemon Thyme Cocktail by Laura Silverman seems perfect!  Herbs can spice up your cocktail just like this one and where the thyme helps you boost your immunity, you can feel a little easier drinking it.

Tip #3 – Eat before you go

If you eat a healthy dinner before you head off with your friends, you’ll be less likely to crave those potato skins on the menu.  Have something filling, like chicken breast and steamed veggies or a kale salad packed with tuna and berries.  Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you like and something you know will keep the cravings at bay.

If you’re going to be doing the Happy Hour at home, you can make the food and drink yourself, which can be even better.  Choose healthier ingredients in the food, organic if you can, and make things with lots of color because it will be visually appealing, which is always fun.  And for the drinks, choose beverages made from locally-sourced ingredients.  They might be higher cost, but the product quality is so much better.

And remember, don’t feel guilty about having a little fun.  It is all about balance and enjoying your life while maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle.  Now go out there and live a little…just a little, though. 🙂

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

I always hear people talking about carbs, how carbs are bad for you and how you shouldn’t eat them.  But, there’s a difference in carbs.  I find many people don’t acknowledge the difference and don’t realize there are some good carbs out there.

To start, let’s talk about what a carbohydrate actually is.  A carbohydrate is a compound found in foods that contain sugars or starches.  It can be broken down to release energy.

good carbohydrate has a slower rate of absorption which means you don’t get the spike insulin, but rather it helps maintain more natural insulin levels.  It’s also not processed and is only one ingredient.  Think of the produce section in the market you shop – fruits and veggies.

bad carbohydrate is just the opposite.  When eaten, it gives a drastic increase in insulin in the blood which can sometimes cause jitteriness and the crash later on.  This drastic increase can cause more fat stores.  Why?  Because insulin is the hormone that helps create the fat stores.  Remember, fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat, carbohydrates can.

Now you’ll see from my picture above that I’ve got a picture of both.  On the left, we’ve got cherries.  All natural, organic, one ingredient and there is a lot less in the bag, so portion control comes into play.  On the right, we have cheese crackers.  Processed, definitely not organic and look how much is in that bag?!  Clearly different, right?

So what do  the bad carbs do to your body?  As I mentioned before, bad carbs cause the spike in insulin, then resulting in the additional fat stores.  I know this first-hand and am trying to fix it now.  I myself am what is known as a “carbaholic”, or someone that loves carbs and am obsessed.  Thinking back on my life, growing up I loved pasta, cookies, crackers…you get the picture.  Now that I know the difference, it’s helped me not be so afraid of eating fruit and vegetables.

One of my favorite lists comparing the good carbs versus the bad carbs is on my Pinterest page.  On that same board, you can find many ideas for clean snacks, food swaps and much more.  Make sure to connect with me on Pinterest as new content is always being posted.  Now that you know there’s a difference, feel comfortable choosing the good carbs when you’re doing your shopping.

I’m sharing this message about carbs today because I want to help you avoid or counteract what these bad carbs can do to your body.  And if you need more intensive help, ask me how my Eliminate to Feel Great Program can help you learn what foods (including carbs) affect your body on a deeper level.



To CSA or Not to CSA…

Have you ever tried a CSA?  You may not even know what a CSA is.  I’ve always wanted to try one and this year, I got my chance!  A CSA is a community-supported agriculture.  Basically, it’s buying straight from your local farmer.  Depending on the CSA, you get a selection of produce that’s grown on the farm each week (or every other week) and the best part is that it’s all fresh.

So how do you decide if joining a CSA is right for you?  If you have been trying to get more fresh produce in your diet, you have a couple of options – shop at the local market, you could grow your own or you could join a CSA.

  • Option 1 is probably the easiest, but to me, it’s the most complicated.  If you’re looking for fresh produce, and I mean really fresh with no pesticides or GMOs, you may not necessarily know where the food is grown or how the vendors treat their farms.  You can research the vendors, but that could take time.  And you don’t necessarily know how long the food has sat on the shelves.
  • Option 2 is to grow your own veggies.  Now if you’re anything like me, you aspire to be a gardener or farmer, but don’t necessarily have the time, the patience or the green thumb.  Growing your own food can definitely take a lot of work.  Currently, I have seeds sitting on my dining room table and at this point, it’s too late in the season to plant them.  I’ll be holding them until next year, for sure.
  • Option 3 is to join the CSA.  Many communities have them now and a quick internet search will help you find one near you.  Once you join one, you have access to many varieties of produce that may be new to you, and the farmer is on-hand to help you learn how to use them.  Even pick up is an easy process and can be much less stressful than going to the market.

Now that you know your options, maybe you’re leaning on joining the CSA.  This year, I was able to join a CSA and was so excited Friday when I picked up my share.  Here’s what I got:

  • Lettuce Head
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Scallions
  • Asian Greens
  • Parsley
  • Young Chinese Cabbage
  • Strawberries
  • Basil
  • Choi

I was sooooo excited!  The most exciting thing to me, was the bok choi.  Although we have’t had it in awhile, bok choi made with coconut milk and caramelized onions is one of our favorite dishes!  That’s one thing that will be on the menu this week.  Friday’s dinner will be homemade pizza with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil.  Mmmmm, sounds good, right?

But what if you don’t know what to do with some of the items?  It’s ok, the CSA typically will have recipes that can be shared and ideas for how to try the produce.   The CSA I participated in this year even has a Facebook page where other members share the recipes they’re making.  The most fun part is the experimentation with the foods you’re getting.

I’ve already received the newsletter for Week 2 at my CSA and I’m even more excited for what’s to come.  If you’re still unsure about trying a CSA, research your local farms and get an idea of what they grow, how they grow their produce and what the logistics would be.  I don’t think you’ll regret it.

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

Today at work a few of my coworkers and I started talking about sugar and sweeteners.  It seems like there used to be a ton of information about there about how the low-calorie sweeteners were good to help you lose weight and real sugar was bad.  Since I’ve started my own journey, I’ve learned a lot about those low-calories sweeteners and learned that many are artificial and really not all that good for you.  If I had time today, I would have shared with my coworkers what I’m about to share with you.  Read on to find out what artificial sweeteners are, what they do to your body and how you can cut back on them and make healthier choices.

What are Artificial Sweeteners Anyway?

Artificial sweeteners are essentially sugar substitutes that were developed in the 1950s as a way to help people reduce the number of calories people take in each day.  Two of the most common types of artificial sweeteners are aspartame (Equal) and Sucralose (Splenda).  It’s most commonly found in soda and because Americans tend to be big soda drinkers, 15% of us ingest artificial sweeteners each year!  The use equates to about $1.5 billion…yup, billion with a giant B.  With so many of us using artificial sweeteners each year, it’s no wonder that the United States is the most obese country in the world.  Some of us may not even know we’re ingesting artificial sweeteners.

How to Identify Artificial Sweeteners

The easy and short answer — read the ingredients list.  If you see words on an ingredients list that end in “itol”, you can almost guarantee that product has artificial sweeteners in it.  Let me give you an example.  I used to be an avid gum chewer and Trident was my go-to.  One day I looked at the ingredients and low and behold, I saw Xylitol.  Another one of my go-to products was Ricola Cough Drops.  These drops actually contain Sorbitol.  Needless to say, I don’t purchase these products anymore.

What Do Artificial Sweeteners Do to Your Body?

As I continued my research, I found more and more interesting pieces of information.  The first one was a shocker.  Artificial sweeteners may actually cause weight gain, not weight loss as many believe.  Although artificial sweeteners reduce calories, they actually have no caloric value at all and they do not have any substance.  This essentially tricks our brains into thinking we got the sweetness we were craving, but didn’t get the sugar we needed.  Therefore, it makes us crave more sweetness causing us to eat or drink more than we should.

Ingesting artificial sweeteners may actually make us sick with use over a long period of time too.  While artificial sweeteners do not cause cancer, however metabolic syndrome can.  Metabolic syndrome is what classify a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for heart disease, strokes and diabetes.  How do you know if you have metabolic syndrome?  The most common signs are high blood pressure, excess belly fat and having a resistance to insulin, just to name a few.  Having just one soda per day has a correlation to having metabolic syndrome.

Artificial sweeteners can also cause your bladder to weaken over time, causing you to have to use the bathroom frequently throughout the day.  Having just one packet of artificial sweetener per day can cause you to go to the bathroom more than you’re supposed to.

How Do You Cut Back on Artificial Sweeteners?

To help you get started, use the three Rs — Reduce, Replace and Renew.  Reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners to just one serving per day.  If you can get rid of them completely, even better.  Replace the artificial sweeteners with something natural, like sugar or Stevia.  Renew your taste buds and find out which foods your body craves.  Try adding in honey or berries to get the sweetness you yearn for.

So what’s the goal here?  Artificial sweeteners are like anything else — ok in moderation.  If you want to change your intake, start slow and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.  Continue to do your own research and read ingredients lists.  Over time, your body will not crave the artificial sweeteners anymore and will make the change transform into a new lifestyle.  If you’ve had experience with eliminating or reducing artificial sweeteners, I’d love to hear about it.  Share your story in the comments below!

Caffeine – How Much Is Too Much?

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to how I’ve been feeling lately.  One of the things I’ve been taking into account is my caffeine intake.  I typically drink only one cup of coffee a day, but sometimes, I feel like I need two.  Recently, though, I’ve been asking myself, how much is too much?

Today, I read an article in Prevention Magazine on this exact topic.  It was an article from an older edition, but hey, it’s still good information.  The article indicated caffeine is one of the world’s most popular drugs.  Yes, that’s right…DRUGS!  I’ve never seen it put that way and it shocked me.  Kind of eye opening, really.  Caffeine once in your body, it blocks brain receptors for certain molecules that impact the feeling of being tired.  Imagine a defensive football player as the caffeine and an offensive football player is the molecule you need?!  The visual really helped me understand what coffee actually does once you ingest it.

So what do you do?  Quit caffeine cold turkey?  It’s hard to do this because you may experience withdrawal symptoms, like headaches, fatigue and cloudy thinking.  This withdrawal is so common that it’s even considered a diagnosis in the psychology field.  If it’s so common that a diagnosis had to be created, that’s enough for me to understand that many people in this world may be addicted to caffeine and not even know it.

And yes, caffeine can have it’s benefits.  Evidences suggests that coffee may help with diabetes, lower the risk of stroke and improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  It can even reduce the possibility of developing Parkinson’s disease.  But are these benefits enough for me to say I should keep drinking coffee?  I’m not so sure.

For me, I think it’s addictive.  I know I love the taste of coffee so that’s why I tell myself it’s ok to have 1-2 cups per day.  But at the same time, I’ve been having anxiety attacks and haven’t been able to sleep well.  These are a few symptoms that too much caffeine can cause.  For me, I think avoiding coffee all together is better.  What I think may be there to help me swap out my morning beverage is green tea.

Green tea is typically lower in caffeine that coffee per cup but has health perks that are actually good for you.  It helps with cancer prevention, has metabolic benefits, has antioxidants and can even calm the mind and body.  However, I do think changing it up will be a little difficult.  That flavor just won’t be the same.

If you’re going to stick with coffee, go for an organic or fair trade version and limit yourself to one cup per day, but no more than two cups.  If you’re going to switch, ween yourself off.  Go slow and take it day by day.  If you need an extra help with the change, grab a piece of dark chocolate with at least 705 cacao.  If you can get through a few days, you’re more likely to give up the coffee.  I’ve even heard changing to hot water with lemon is a great option too…if you’re not into the green tea.

Let me know if you have gotten rid of the coffee and how you’ve done it.  And if you need help, check out Eliminate to Feel Great.  It launches May 1st and may help you learn if removing caffeine is right for you.

Is Dairy Bugging You?

I ask that question because I’m curious.  It was bugging me.  I can’t really remember when, maybe 4 or 5 years ago, I started to pay attention to how food effected me.  The first thing I noticed was dairy.  It really bothered my stomach and caused a lot of breathing issues.  I started removing cow’s milk and paying attention to how my body reacted.  I found I could breathe easier, I didn’t feel as congested and I felt lighter.  I thought, “Hmm, this is interesting.  Let’s see where else I can go with this.”

Next, I tried removing gluten.  Well, mainly bread and pasta.  Again, I felt lighter, less bloated and more clear minded.  And trust me, I love pasta and bread.  For me, they were delicious but the repercussions were not good for me.  Well, removing the gluten actually helped me.  Simple, right?

This is why I developed a 6-week program called Eliminate to Feel Great.  It’s based on the elimination diet and just might be the tool you need to feel your best.  So what is this program all about?

As I said, it’s a 6-week program.  The program is dividd into two phases:

Phase 1 is the removal of certain foods that cause allergies and intolerances for many people.  Believe it or not, you might have a food intolerance and have no idea because you think the way you feel is normal.  Phase 1 lasts 3-weeks and during this phase, you remove foods like gluten and dairy, among others, from your diet completely.  You can do this in baby steps, but by the end of the 3-weeks all foods that can cause allergies or intolerances should be removed from the diet.  The reason for doing this is because removing these foods will let your system be cleared of the things that may cause the allergies and intolerances.

Phase 2 is the reintroduction phase.  Here, we add the foods back in one at a time.  You can start with any of the foods, but let’s take dairy.  If you haven’t had dairy for 3-weeks and then reintroduce it, your body may or may not react.  If it reactions, you can see how badly it reacts and decide if you want to keep it in your diet or completely remove it.  If you don’t have a reaction, you may feel comfortable keeping it in your diet.  Next, you would add in another food like gluten.  Now you could have a reaction this time.  Maybe it’s the gluten or maybe it’s the dairy and gluten together.  This is where the experimentation comes in.  You may want to remove the dairy again to see if it’s the combination of the two foods or if it’s the gluten.  The last 3-weeks of the program continues in this manner until all food groups are reintroduced.  Typically, it takes about a day or two for each food to cause reactions and you’ll be able to decide how you want to proceed.

During the entire 6-weeks, you’ll get support from me, and the other participants, and be given a progress journal to record your feelings with the foods you’re removing and reintroducing.  These feelings may not just be physical, but may be emotional too.  Each day, you’ll be able to interact with the myself and the other participants through comments and questions posted on the participant page.  And I will forewarn you, the 6-weeks may be very challenging.  But it’s the challenge that makes us better.  Are you ready to take on the challenge?  If so, contact me with questions you may have or head straight to the Available Programs page to gain access today!

Is Blood Typing Right for You?

If you follow me on my personal profile on Facebook, you’ll know that I did a blood typing test back in February.

This post caused a lot of commotion but let me set the record straight.  The reason I did this blood test is because I was curious.  I have never known my blood type and whenever I asked my parents, they told me “Oh your blood type is in the file somewhere.”  Well, I thought it was important to know my blood type for a few reasons:

  1. I think it’s important to just know your blood type.  You may need to know it for medical reasons or when the Red Cross calls for donations of a certain type.
  2. I think your blood type can help you understand if you’re eating the foods that fit you, if you believe the theory.

I wanted to test that theory.  Over the past few years I’ve been experimenting myself.  I’ve remove certain foods on my own and noticed a difference.  For example, I removed cow’s milk from my diet about four or five years ago because I started to take into account how I felt after drinking it.  I would feel bloated, I couldn’t breathe normally and I felt like I wanted to crawl on the couch and just lie there for hours.  It was bad.  I’ve also noticed that removing some meat has had an effect on my body and how I feel.  Keep in mind, this experimentation was all done BEFORE I did the blood typing test.

After taking the blood typing test, I found out I was an A- blood type.  The negative basically means that I do not have a particular type of protein in it.  This result was very interesting because my mother swore I could not be this blood type.  But alas, this is what the test said I was.  Granted, there can be a small amount of human error (i.e. me) that may have done something to affect the results.  After reading the information about the diet that goes along with blood type A-, I was sure that this was me.

The blood typing test kit I used from Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s website and so I used the information he provided.  Someone that is a blood type of A- will

  • Flourish on a vegetarian diet – I found I did.  I felt better when I ate less meat.  But please, I won’t give up my back and eggs.
  • Feel better when eating natural foods – I eat as clean, fresh and organic as possible and I find I do feel more alert, have more energy and am less stressed out when I eat this way.

The information I had from the blood typing kit also said someone with a blood type of A (either positive or negative) would mostly enjoy workouts that help you de-stress, like tai chi, pilates, hiking or yoga.  Well, yoga is one of my favorite workouts.

The last piece of information honestly made me realize that I am blood type A.  It indicated that type A’s are predisposition to cardiovascular disease and other stress-related conditions.  I have asthma and there is a history of heart conditions in my family.

What’s the moral of my story?  First and foremost, listen to your body.  Secondly, if you can get some information to help you make changes in your lifestyle, do it!  It’s just information and you can take it or leave it.

The blood typing kit might help you learn something new about yourself, might help you solidify your reasons for making changes in your life or even might help you decide to make some changes.  I’m not saying you should follow Dr. D’Adamo’s theories to a tee.  But what I am saying is that blood typing could help you gather some information to help you live a more healthy lifestyle.  I’m glad I purchased this kit and his book that accompanies the test kit because it helped me realize that the changes I’ve made are valid and were done for a reason.

You can get Dr. D’Adamo’s blood typing kit here for only $9.95!  Yup…that’s it.  In his shop, you will find a TON of books, including the Eat Right 4 Your Type book that gives you the information you need if you want to eat according to your blood type.  Definitely worth the read!

If you’ve done this blood typing test, tell me about your experience!  I’d love to hear about it and know what you decided to do once you knew you blood type.

Eat This…Not That…

I finally decided to take a look at this book.  I’ve literally had it on my shelf for-ev-er.  I was actually kind of shocked by some of the information inside the pages.  I’m from the Boston area and this is one of the cities that is known for it’s food.  And some of the restaurants that I’ll mention are not only in the Boston area, but other parts of the country.  Here are some of the restaurants, foods and occasions that I found most surprising.


Dunkin’ Donuts has the motto “American runs on Dunkin'”, but maybe not after you read this.  If you go for breakfast, you might just want something easy like a bagel.  The Multigrain Bagel with Lite Cream Cheese is a whopping 500 calories!  Instead, go for something lighter like the Ham, Egg & Cheese English Muffin which is only 380 calories.

Moving on to lunch, we head over to Panera Bread.  Now, I love this place because they have such great tasting food and great ingredients.  But what should you get?  A Sierra Turkey Sandwich might be delicious, but at 840 calories, it might not be your best pick.  Try the BBQ Chicken, which is about half the calories – only 470!

Hungry for a snack?  We’re told whole wheat is good for us, right?  Well, not in every situation.  Auntie Annie’s sells a Whole Wheat Pretzel, but at 450 calories, it might not be the best option.  Instead, try the Jalapeño Pretzel which is only 280 calories.

Now, the book didn’t stop at restaurants.  It had a Menu Decoder, comparisons for holidays and special occasions and supermarket options.  It even had choices for beverages.  This information could be very helpful for some.  I think those that celebrate the holidays and special occasions would be very interested in these options:

Thanksgiving dinner is a HUGE holiday in my family.  My dad cooks for an army but I always try to eat mindfully.  I stay with the light meat instead of the dark meat and replace stuffing and sweet potatoes with green bean casseroles and some real cranberry sauce.  By making these swaps, you’ll save about 500 calories.

Halloween is another holiday I totally love.  It’s so much fun dressing up and seeing the children in their costumes.  But the candy…oh, my candy!  I love chocolate and for me, I stick with organic and dark chocolate.  But what I pass out is the good stuff.  Almond Joys are in the trick-or-treat bag, but the better choice is 3 Musketeers because it will save about 30 calories.

What about a ball game?  Being from Boston, I am a Red Sox fan.  Yes, yes, Yankee fans, bring it on!  But what about the food I eat while I watch them battle it out on the field?  I love to have a Fenway Frank with ketchup and relish and I can even add mustard and it’s still only about 280 calories.  Stay away from the nachos and cheese  because those can bring you just under 700 calories.  Yikes!

In our house, we tend to cook a lot in the house.  And when we go to the market, we like to choose foods that are healthy, mostly organic and good for you.  Some of our favorite foods include snacks, like granola bars and ice cream.  The book gave some options for these too.

For granola bars, we used to get Nutrigrain bars, in particular the yogurt bars.  I’m glad we switched to something a little better because they are 140 calories per bar.  The Special K Bar in Vanilla Crisp flavor can save you about 50 calories per bar.

Ice cream is our weekend treat and we always go for the Ben & Jerry’s.  Unfortunately, they don’t have the lowest calories.  Cherry Garcia Low Fat Frozen Yogurt comes out at 170 calories, while Edy’s Slow Churned Rich & Creamy Black Cherry Vanilla Swirl Yogurt is only about 100 calories per serving.

Now, not all of the foods I mentioned are perfect.  My point in this post is to share comparisons and the fact that there may be a better option that you’re not aware of.  All in all, be mindful about your choices when you’re shopping, eating out or even when you’re cooking.  If you’re curious about finding better options, pick up the book.  You can find it here on Amazon.  Check it out and let me know your thoughts.  What swaps did you make?

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