Sunday, March 11, 2012

No Wonder I've Been Breaking Out

Lately I've been having some 'skin issues'-mainly break outs. I kept trying to figure out why it was happening...was it stress, sugar, working out, my make up? Stress was a definite possibility, but I use my 3-step skin care system twice daily (I use Clinique, and I'm OBSESSED with any of their products. They are all amazing!), so this should've controlled any stress break outs. I didn't think sugar was the problem since I haven't been eating too much of it. For awhile I thought it was the towels I was using when I was working out, but when I stopped using those towels I was still breaking out. The make-up I use is all Clinique (call me a "Clinique snob" if you will, I won't use anything else!), so I didn't think this was the reason.
Then when I was trying to think about when the break outs started, I realized it had to do with when I started wearing make up again consistently. I didn't think it was my make-up, and then it hit me. My  make-up brushes!
I have to admit, I can't remember the last time that I had cleaned them, and they were pretty really extremely dirty. So I decided to clean them and see if that helped. Let me tell you, what a HUGE difference! Within a few days all my break outs were gone, and my brushes put on the make-up so much better! (It still grosses me out how much nastiness I washed out of those brushes)

Lesson to the wise: Make up brushes collect germs and bacteria that can make you break out. Clean your brushes consistently!

Here's to much healthier and happier skin :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Snowball Effect: A Few Confessions

It has been awhile since my last post, but I have spent all that time studying for my BIG test and am proud to say that I passed! Next up is my national exam March 10.

So how has that healthy lifestyle been working out for me while I've been busy you might ask? And the truth is not so great, terrible actually. I am sad to say that when I got super busy with internship-studying-work mayhem, I fell back into my former pre-healthy, sugar-filled, couch potato lifestyle. I know, so terrible. And the truth is I don't feel great either. I have to confess that I haven't worked out in a week, and I have been eating sweets like crazy (Thank you Valentine's Day!).

When I was thinking where I went wrong, I realized it started with one choice to have a "cheat day", which then turned into a weekend, which then snowballed into week, and now two weeks. Once I made one unhealthy choice, it became harder to say no, and that little voice that was like "well since you already had something unhealthy today, might as well just keep going" got easier to listen to. Once that snowball starts rolling, it is hard to stop.

It's not that I am against occasionally having ice cream or candy or all those other good foods. I am so for sweets and being able to enjoy them. It's when that one indulgence turns into a habit where there is a problem. The key word is occasional. Obviously I am still trying to perfect this. (Twizzlers are just so good!)

From this experience I learned a lesson: every time you make a healthy choice it makes the next healthy choice easier, but if you make the unhealthy choice it can snowball from one unhealthy choice to an unhealthy week. This week my goal is to get back to the gym 3-4 times no matter how tired I may be, to not eat sweets, and to drink more water. What are your healthy goals for the week?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pizza Pizza!

It's been a week since my last post! Things have gotten pretty crazy this week because I started my internship and have two big tests coming up soon. I actually started this post about a week ago, so here it is, a week late!

Pizza is one of my favorite things in the whole world. It is a cheap, easy, and convenient meal. It also happens to be loaded with carbs and calories. Between my husband and myself, we would typically put away an entire pizza for dinner.

Before we got married I found a cookbook called "The Belly-Fat Cure" by Jorge Cruise. It promotes a low-carb, low-sugar lifestyle. While some of the products are difficult to find (I think maybe if you had a Whole Foods or similar nearby it might be easier) and can be expensive, I was able to find a lot of comparable products at Wal Mart. I highly recommend it; it gives really practical ways to change meals that everyone loves into healthy low carb and low sugar  meals, and they are YUMMY. Here is a slightly altered version of the pizza recipe I found in this cookbook:

Flat-Out multi-grain flat bread (available at Wal Mart)
1  jar Great Value/Ragu pizza sauce
1 2 cup bag of shredded Italian cheese
Any other toppings you like to eat on your pizza (I personally like to put pepperoni and mushrooms)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place Flat-Out(s) on a cookie sheet and place in oven for 5 minutes. Remove. Spread pizza sauce on Flat-Out and add cheese and other toppings. Put back in the over for around 8 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

It's that simple! This mini, personal pizza is awesome and only a fraction of the calories and carbs of a regular pizza. If you crave pizza as much as we do, this is a great way to get your pizza fix but with a healthy twist!

Friday, February 3, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...

...Use them to benefit your health!

My mom mentioned to me the other day that I should research into the health benefits of lemons. I did, and was really surprised at what I found out. Here are some of the things I found: (via

1. Lemons boost your immune system, and are a strong anti-bacterial

2. Lemons promote weight loss

3. Lemons are an effective treatment of acne (apply lemon juice to acne and leave overnight. Rinse in the morning!)

4. Lemons help reduce anxiety and stress, and can help boost concentration and alertness

5. Lemons help heal canker sores

6. Lemons help ease the symptoms of fever

7. Lemon poultices help corns and callouses

8. Lemon helps the symptoms of eczema

9. Lemons help fight fatigue

10. Lemons help cure bad breath

11. Lemons help hypertension

12. Lemons sooth itchy bug bites

13. Lemons help promote sleep

14. Lemon  can help pain

15. Lemon helps fight varicose veins

There are 15 reasons why you should always have lemons in your fridge! I know I am going to start stocking them, what about you?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Smaller Portions, Bigger Impact

I love food.

I really really love food.

As a result, I typically would eat a lot at meals. It was a running joke between my husband and me that I would routinely out eat him. What resulted was me having that "super full" feeling after you've eaten too much. When I started trying to be more aware of being healthy, I thought I was going to have to throw out a bunch of my favorite recipes (which as previously stated, I love food, especially good food, so this thought didn't exactly make me too happy). What I realized though was that most of the recipes I was making were decently healthy, it was just our my portion size that was out of control. I realized this needed to change and so I gradually decreased the amount I was eating to a more healthy portion, and to stop eating when I felt full, not when my plate was cleared. When I did this I realized that yes, I could eat a smaller, healthier portion and still feel full, and then not have those full and guilty feelings from eating too much. I also started being more intentional about making sure I also put veggies with the main course, which also helps to fill me up.

I would not have be able to make a radical change from my large serving to the smaller one, but I had to gradually make it smaller to the right size (serving sizes are great suggestions!). (I'm not saying reduce your serving to a spoonful-key word is HEALTHY serving size!) Notice this change didn't alter what I was eating, it was the amount I was eating. I have seen such a huge difference in how I feel just by this little change. I don't have the 'uggghhh' feeling like you can't move after a big meal; I feel like I can actually get up and do things after dinner!

Here's to another little change towards a healthier lifestyle!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Healthy Choices, Small Victories

One of my goals is to make more and more healthy choices. One choice I want to be able to make is to be able to say no to sweets. I LOVE sweets, especially twizzlers and cookies. I have zero self control. I'm ashamed to admit that whenever I buy a bag of twizzlers they never last very long longer than a day or two in spite of my attempts at self control. They just taste so good! Cookies I'm the same way. I'll tell myself I'll just eat one, and then 5 later I'm still going. Ridiculous!

Another weakness I have is Diet Dr. Pepper. Especially Sonic Happy Hour Diet Dr. Pepper with cherry. Yum. I have been on and off of caffeine several times in the past few years (I still maintain that it is impossible to make it through school without caffeine) but I have never been able to substantially cut back on how much soda I drink, even when it was caffeine free. I also would like to be able to cut down on the amount of aspartame that I'm drinking, because it's definitely not doing amazing things for you.

While I think it's ok to have sweets and soda every once in a while, and I don't think I will ever say goodbye to either of them for good, moderation is definitely key. Yesterday I went to Wal Mart to buy some candy as part of a gift and I wanted some SO BAD but I was able to say no, and continue to say no while they were sitting on my counter begging me to eat them. I also was able to say no to Diet Dr. Pepper even though there was some in my fridge and I wanted some so bad all day. I was so proud of myself that I was able to make these two small healthy choices. It felt really good, and my body felt better after drinking more water instead of soda. What small healthy choices can you make?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

To Die For Tuesday!

Last night for dinner I tried a new recipe called Lasagna Soup. Let me tell you, it is AWESOME. While this isn't exactly the healthiest recipe in the world, it's definitely not terrible for you, and it is definitely better for you than regular lasagna. Consider this a low carb alternative! I'm all about trying to be low carb and low sugar, and this recipe fits the bill relatively well. Here's the recipe:

Lasagna Soup:
1 1/2 lbs Italian sausage
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 tblsp tomato paste
1 28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tblsp dried basil
1/2 lb rotini noodles (or your preferred kind), cooked and drained

Cheese Topping: (this is to die for)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
2 cups mozzarella

In a large 4 quart pot, add the italian sausage and cook over medium heat. After approximately 3-4 minutes, add the onion. Cook together, stirring occasionally until cooked (around 5-7 minutes). Drain grease. Stir in garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste. Cook 1-2 minutes stirring constantly. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, chicken broth, and basil. Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.
For cheese mixture, combine ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, and basil. Set aside.
To serve, add a scoop/handful/however much you want to bottom of bowl then scoop soup on top w/ generous dollop of cheese mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella.

Because you are putting your own noodles in, you are reducing the amount of carbs that is in normal lasagna. The 'soup' is also thick, so you don't even really feel like you're eating soup. This is so easy and it makes a lot. I split the recipe in half for my husband and me and we still have plenty of leftovers. It is still just as good the next day, as I found out today when I reheated some for lunch! My husband loved it because it was really flavorful with all the different spices; I only added a small amount of salt and pepper.
So next time you're craving for some carb-filled lasagna, you might try this healthier alternative! Can you say YUM?