Crave: Delectable Zucchini

Image thanks to nociveglia

Although the evenings lately are beginning to hint that fall may be in the air, there is still a bounty of summer’s delicious fruits and vegetables to be enjoyed as the season winds down.

One of my favorites? Zucchini.

I also think it is often underused, which is a shame because it is mild, simple to use, and extremely versatile.

Truly great for everything; it can be used in place of pasta, added to healthy breads and desserts, or to fortify soups and salads.

With that in mind, I have set out to offer you some unique and delectable ways to use this yummy little vegetable…

Zucchini Pizza Bites:

1 medium or large zucchini, sliced
4 tbsp pizza sauce (or marinara thickened with tomato paste)
¼ cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
olive oil for brushing

Preparation:

Preheat broiler.

Cut the zucchini into 1/3 inch thick slices. It may be cut horizontally or on an angle for more surface area.

Brush the zucchini lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Either grill the zucchini slices, or broil carefully for about 2 minutes on each side. The slices should retain their firmness.

Then arrange on a baking sheet and carefully top each slice with pizza sauce and cheese. Broil for an additional 1-2 minutes until cheese has melted (be careful not to burn).

Sprinkle with fresh basil and enjoy!

Zucchini Chips:

2 medium zucchini
cooking spray
salt and pepper or seasoning of your choice

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 230 degrees F.

Wash and dry the zucchini and then slice into thin, even slices with a mandoline or (carefully) with a knife.

Spread the zucchini slices evenly onto a lined baking sheet and spray with a light coating of cooking spray.

Sprinkle the slices with the salt and pepper or the seasoning of your choice (be careful not to over season as the flavor will concentrate).

Bake for 45 minutes and then rotate the baking sheet and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes (paying close attention at the end) until the chips are crisped to your liking.

Serve immediately. Chips will become less crispy as they sit.

You're The Inspiration

weight loss inspiration

Image thanks to lululemon athletica

Sometimes, knowing you should do it isn’t enough.

We human beings have become really good at procrastination. If someone isn’t cracking the whip and making us do what we need to do, we are fine with putting it off, indefinitely.

Losing weight can be bad enough, because we often think of it as a chore in the first place. But it can become an even harder task to start when we don’t have an authority figure telling us to get it done. The pros and cons of this game are the same: you are your own boss.

You are the master of your own fate. If you need to get inspired to get off the couch, we can give you a hand. But remember that you are in charge of making those big changes happen.

Here are a few ideas for weight loss inspiration:

Join a gym/hire a trainer…

For some of us, it’s easier to commit to something if we make a monetary investment. Putting money into it means we literally own it, no backing out.

If you want someone else to be the boss of you, and you can afford it, consider joining a gym. That’s where the experts hang out, and they are for hire. They will be able to tell you what you need, how to do it right, and provide you with that motivation you need.

Read, read, read…

Many people have lost weight. Many of them started off with the same kind of goals as yours, worked really hard, and met those goals. And then they wrote books about the whole thing.

Between the library and the internet, there is tons of information waiting for you. So many clues, tips, and solid answers are there for you to discover. Sure, with all those opinions, sometimes the information may contradict, but that’s because some things have worked better for some people. This just gives you options.

Rewards…

Television has banked on what people are willing to do for a prize. We can accomplish a lot if we know a definite award is at the end, and maybe the idea of losing so many pounds just isn’t enough.

What will it take to get you going? A trip? An outfit? A night on the town? Pick it, plan it, and mark it on your calendar. When you’ve met your goal, you’ll win…twice!

What Is The Best Tea For Weight Loss?

Best Tea for Weight Loss

Image thanks to slightly everything

We all know that tea has an almost endless list of health benefits.

It is chock full of antioxidants, can contribute to cell protection, heart health, strong teeth, great skin, and so much more.

Not only that, but more and more research shows that tea can contribute to weight loss. Is there a better, all-natural, healthy, tasty, and slimming drink out there?

So, what is the best tea for weight loss?

There are three primary varieties of tea (black, oolong, and green), which are all derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis.  The difference in these varieties of teas comes from the fermentation process.

So the question is, which resulting tea boosts your metabolism the most?

In a Japanese research study they asked this question. They wanted to know which tea, green or oolong, would increase your metabolism more?

Here is what they found. Within 120 minutes of drinking the tea, green tea boosted metabolism by 4%. Oolong tea, on the other hand, boosted the test subjects metabolism by more than 10%. That is almost 3 times more efficient at increasing your metabolism.

All three varieties of tea are beneficial to health, but the fermentation process for oolong produces a tea that has the highest concentration of polymerized polyphenols – more than black or green tea – making pure oolong tea the best tea for weight loss.

How does it work?

There are three primary ways in which Wu-Long Oolong Tea works:

    1. It boosts your metabolism and prevents fat absorption through its natural ingredients. Studies suggest that the high concentration of polyphenols present in Okuma’s Wu-Long tea actually increases the amount of calories your body burns.
    2. Contribution to the Fat Burning Process: A process called thermogenesis in the human body is introduced with the intake of Wu-Long tea. It is a process, which aids faster fat oxidation. Compared to the regular varieties of tea, the Wu-Long Oolong tea is known to burn more than twice the total calories from the human body.
    3. Caffeine is also a component of Okuma’s Wu-Long tea – an ingredient that has been proven to increase metabolism. Okuma’s Wu-Long tea actually has about one third the amount of caffeine that a cup of coffee has, yet leads to increasing energy metabolism. Research suggests that this is due to the combination with polyphenols, which are at higher levels in Wu-Long tea than any other tea.

It is the combination of these three factors that make our premium oolong tea the very best tea for weight loss.

Here are some other articles you might find helpful:

Dr. Oz – Best Teas for Weight Loss – the most popular post out there. Doesn’t get into any of the science, but Dr. Oz is so popular I had to include it.

PubMed Article – Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men. The article talks about green tea but all the science and research in the study is on oolong tea.

The best Teas for Weight Loss All Day Long– A private blog by Laura Lee Carter, Expert on Baby Boomer Health Concerns – short but good.

Health On a Budget – Oolong Tea for Weight Loss and More – One of the most comprehensive posts out there on Oolong tea. Very good article.

What are your experiences with weight loss tea?

 

Under Pressure: Stress and Weight Loss

Image thanks to topgold

Trying to lose weight is stressful on its own.

It may be an even harder task to accomplish if a person is already feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders. As with everything, there is a science to stress and weight loss.

Maybe you’ve heard of a hormone called cortisol. It regulates blood pressure, glucose metabolism, and immune function. It’s also known as the “stress hormone” because the body secretes more of it when that body is put in a stressful situation. On one hand, that’s good. It gives a boost of energy, jogs memory, and reduces sensitivity to pain.

The problem arises when a person always feels stressed, when most hours of their day feels like a crisis. If the body never gets a chance to calm down, the adrenal glands will keep making cortisol throughout this stress. Feeling like you’re always in the danger zone has plenty of drawbacks: high blood pressure, lowered immunity, poor cognitive function, and oddly enough, increased belly fat. That last one leads to a lot of other issues, which won’t make you feel any calmer.

Here are some things that will:

Meditation

You don’t need to be a mystic to try this. It’s as easy as breathing, literally. Just find fifteen minutes in your day and a quiet place. Sit down, and clear your mind.  Concentrate on nice deep breaths. Push away any stressful thoughts for this. It’s that simple.

Exercise

Being in an agitated state means you have some energy built up, but not necessarily an outlet for it. You don’t need a gym to work out, just a bit of time devoted to moving. Take a walk or run around the block. Play some music and dance. Find an activity that’s actually active and you enjoy. There are a million things you can do with your body. Try some! You’ll be glad you did.

Detoxification

Your body isn’t just dealing with all the hard thoughts; it’s also trying to process the chemicals we consume in a day, which may be contributing to that anxiousness you’re feeling. We often comfort ourselves with things that aren’t the best for our bodies. Some people like a martini or two, while others need a greasy burger. These things are the wrong things for fueling a healthy body. Maybe it’s time to clean out your system.

A good one for the whole body can be found here: http://www.zencentralcleanse.com/

Natural Weight Loss Tea

Natural Weight Loss TeaWu-Long Natural Weight Loss Tea Provides a Safe, Natural Way to Lose Those Extra Pounds

Okuma’s Wu-Long Oolong weight loss tea is an all-natural, completely safe and delicious tea beverage that can actually help your body with natural weight loss.

There are many prescription and over-the-counter weight loss remedies available, but they also come along with a list of side affects and are not 100% natural weight loss teas or aids. If your anything like me, you want to lose weight but do not want to take any of those scary diet pills that contain stimulants, untested ingredients, and who knows what else.

Aside from the lower amount of caffeine in Wu-Long tea (in comparison with other teas), it has quickly become the favorite natural weight loss tea alternative for those who want a healthier, slimmer body.

How Does Okuma’s Wu-Long Weight Loss Tea Work?

Our ability to lose weight involves a number of factors. The two primary factors in weight loss are the food choices that we make, and the amount of exercise that we get.

Oolong tea has been used in for centuries in China to aid in weight loss and to boost overall health. While this belief was merely anecdotal for a long time, there are now a growing number of studies showing that oolong tea can greatly benefit metabolism.

A 2001 study published in the Journal of Nutrition concluded that drinking regular amounts of oolong tea not only increases metabolic rate, but also increased fat oxidation in its subjects. This study showed a 12% increase in fat oxidation over a 24-hour period after drinking the tea, and an overall significant increase in energy expenditure (EE).

Research has shown the high concentration of polyphenols in Wu-Long Weight Loss Tea contributes to fat oxidation, which equals weight loss, good health and the shedding of those unwanted pounds. Because of this, researchers have studied its affects on reducing obesity and diabetes, with favorable results, making Okuma’s weight loss tea a natural weight loss aid.

Why Okuma’s Weight Loss Tea?

Your number one choice in weight loss tea is Okuma’s Wu-Long tea. There are many teas on the market today claiming to be rapid weight loss teas, but Okuma’s Wu-Long tea is far superior, not only for weight loss, but for health and beauty as well.

We pride ourselves on sourcing our tea from the very best tea masters in Anxi County, China. Our fermentation process produces premium oolong tea with the highest concentration of polyphenols available. We also have each batch of tea independently tested to assure quality.

This increase in the antioxidant polyphenols puts Okuma’s Wu-Long natural weight loss tea as a frontrunner for better health and weight loss.

All About The Benjamin

Image thanks to Daniel Rink

Old Ben Franklin is famous for quite a few things: great inventor, founding father, a cosmopolitan, and a ladies’ man.

He was known for his words of wisdom, and Ben Franklin’s wisdom can be applied to anybody’s life, even when that life is on a weight loss journey.

Let’s take a minute to look at some of his quotable quotes, and how they might apply:

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

Human beings are made for change. No one is the same person they were five years ago, and that’s a good thing. Lots of us wish we were that person, or that we could zip-lock a moment in time when we felt or looked our best, but the truth is change happens.

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

Some people seem to have it all, but we only get a glimpse of those guys.  We don’t know how hard they may be working behind closed doors. We don’t know follow them to their gym. Doing something so well that it looks easy takes practice. Instead of wondering how they do it, work on what would work for you. And keep at it!

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

If you want results, you have to strategize your day. When you don’t have a plan for lunch, then your only options will be the ones available at lunch time, which may not work with your goal. So instead or begrudgingly putting your own needs aside, accommodate those needs ahead of time. Brown bag it, or find the healthy option at the restaurant your group is going to. Or do the math to find out how many more hours you’ll need to spend on the treadmill to counter the effects of that one afternoon meal. Insist on taking care of yourself often.

We Are The Champions

Image thanks to the*roving*sheep

Gold Medal Olympic Attitude and Motivation

There’s something going on in London now-a-days. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called the “Olympics.”

Some of us are watching the event with a sense of awe and national pride. A few of us may have just a twinge of envy. Who wouldn’t want the healthy physique of an Olympic champion?

The problem is not a lot of us have the time or devotion to follow that track. It doesn’t have to be too complicated to get motivated, does it?

Maybe there’s a way to keep your head in the game, and pepper the day with that kind of gold winning attitude…

MIX IT UP

I am of a generation that adored mixed tapes. We would spend hours recording, rewinding, and selecting all the right songs in all the right order. In this glorious day of new technology, it won’t take hours, just a few clicks on the track list.

Make yourself a soundtrack full of music that motivates you. This means upbeat tempos, high drama, and no ballads! If it’s a song that Rocky can run up the library steps to, put it in the rotation.

Then plug in your earphones and listen to it as often as possible. Whether you’re running around the block or just doing chores around the house, this should add pep to your step and pride to your stride.

GOTTA BE THE SHOES!

This is such a simple thing, but it makes a difference.

Get yourself some good shoes, and no, flip-flops don’t count. They need to fit you just right and be appropriate to the task at hand, which is getting you around. Then make sure you put them on first thing in the morning. It’s surprising how many excuses the simple act of putting on shoes will cut out of your day.

BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND DINNER OF CHAMPIONS

It takes a lot of energy to be an Olympian. They eat often, and they eat right. Five small but nutritious meals a day is common. See, they don’t fill up all the way, but they never run on empty. So, keep healthy snacks on hand, watch your portions, and maintain a nice variety in what you’re eating so you get the most from your food.

Need more ways to motivate and energize yourself into feeling like a victor? Check this out:
http://exercise.about.com/cs/exercisehealth/a/couchpotatoes_2.htm

Snack Attack

snack attack

Oh, snack food. Why do you hurt us so?

How many times do we find ourselves sitting in the dark with a bowl or a bag of something salty? That bowl or bag gets emptier as we get fuller, until there’s nothing left to munch on, and we don’t feel good about it. It’s like mind control!

Are we in charge of the snacks, or are the snacks controlling us?

There are ways to get a handle on the snack attack…

Small Stuff

Remember that a snack is small. Keep it to a handful. Don’t make a meal out of it. Don’t take the whole bag. If it’s something sloppy, use the smallest bowl you’ve got. Portion control is always important to weight loss. It counts even more with your snacks, because they tend to be eaten mindlessly.

Shop Around

There’s a misconception that snack foods are in the snack aisle. It’s like a trap! If you want to eat something orange, eat an orange. Or a carrot. Or a bunch of carrots. Seriously, head over to the produce section and get something with flavor. A piece of fruit or a nice vegetable will feel better for you than a bag of artificially flavored, processed puffy air, and they’re easier to clean off your fingers, afterwards.

Lock Out

It’s easier to avoid bad snacks if you don’t even have them in the house. It’s okay to indulge from time to time, even on a diet. But for some people, part of the problem that got them in trouble with snacks might be just from having them around too much. Make them special again! Make them rare and work for them. Go out for ice cream or sweets, instead of keeping them in the kitchen.

Want more healthy snack ideas? How about 103 of them, thanks to Rachael Ray at:
http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/103-healthy-snack-recipe-ideas

Avoca-Do’s and Don’ts

thanks to http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenni_e/

Don’t be afraid of the alligator pear!

Sure, they may be funny looking, but avocados, as they are more commonly known, are so good for you. They have plenty of vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, and more potassium than bananas. They’re also a great source of fiber and manganese.

Heck, you don’t even have to eat them to reap some of the benefits: an avocado face mask has been a standard beauty aid for fighting aging affects and sun damage.

The first step to enjoying an avocado is picking the right one. If you see them on sale at the stores, get them. Don’t worry if they’re not ripe yet, as you can let them ripen at home on the kitchen counter. The green ones aren’t ready to eat. They’ll be ready in a few days, so keep that in mind if you’re planning guacamole for your taco party. Check them every day. As they get riper, they darken to black. An avocado will also soften as it ripens. So at the store, hold it in the palm of your hand and give it a gentle squeeze. If it gives a little under the pressure, then it’s closer to ready. Mind you, too soft and too black is too ripe.

Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first few times. Practice makes perfect.

Also, avocados will start to brown once they are cut. To keep them from going over once you’ve opened them up, squeeze on some lemon or lime juice to preserve them. That will also give the flavor a little zing.

They’re easy to use. Put them on a sandwich. Put them on a salad. Or go for it and get ambitious!

Follow this link to Health.com for 8 healthy avocado recipes (besides guacamole. That you got to do on your own!): http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20395687,00.html

Crave: Onion Rings and a Milkshake

Usually, the hot summer days have me craving lots of fresh food – fruits, veggies, and other light and healthy things.

However, every now and then I get a hankering for something a little bit naughty.

This weekend it was onion rings.

I saw someone at a restaurant eating a big plate of onion rings, and I wanted them. Now.

Also, what could go better with onion rings than a chocolate milkshake?

Not much.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and find a couple of recipes to indulge my cravings, without any guilt:

Baked Onion Rings:

Ingredients:

1 large sweet onion, peeled
2 tbsp flour
2/3 cup lowfat buttermilk
½ cup cornmeal
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or regular if you prefer)
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried herbs (pick your favorite)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Slice onion in to 1/2 inch width rings. (Should make about 15-20 rings or so).

In a shallow dish, whisk together 2 tbsp of flour with the buttermilk for coating.

In another shallow dish, whisk together cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, garlic powder, and herbs.

Using a fork or tongs, dip an onion ring into the wet mixture and coat all sides. Then, transfer the ring into the coating mixture and toss until it is completely covered. Place the onion ring carefully onto the baking sheet and repeat for the rest.

Bake for about 18 minutes, flipping the rings over once after 10 minutes. If you would like them to be more golden brown, you can broil them for just a minute or two at the end.

Serve immediately.

Chocolate Banana Milkshake:

1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 frozen banana, broken into chunks
1 cup skim milk
½ cup ice

Preparation:

Add everything into a blender and blend until smooth.

Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget to enjoy these with your favorite slimming tea.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary.