DIY Wednesday: Sports Drink

DIY Wednesday: Sports Drink | Life Healthfully LivedI would say that sport’s drinks like Gatorade, Propel, and Powerade are some of the most controversial products when it comes to hydration.  You have the people who are firmly in the water-is-the-only-hydration-you-need camp and then you have others who are firmly in the you-need-to-replenish-your-electrolytes-after-activity camp.  Then you have those in the murky middle ground who believe sometimes you need sports drinks and sometimes you don’t.  It can be very confusing.

I am somewhere in the murky middle ground.  It all depends on the activity you’ve been doing and how long you’ve been active for.  The vast majority of us don’t do enough work or exercise that will require anything other than water to rehydrate.  There is no need for a Gatorade after a 20-minute workout or to hand out sports drinks after a kids soccer game.  There are a few instances where you do need to replenish your electrolyte levels with something other than just water.

People who run/train for marathons, triathlons, Ironman competitions, or any other grueling endurance sport are probably going to need something more than just water.  That is because they are asking their bodies to work at full capacity for a long period of time.  Anything more than a 90-minute workout session is going to probably warrant a little extra attention to your hydration levels.DIY Wednesday: Sports Drink | Life Healthfully Lived

Now, here is my other sticking point:  I think that commercially sold sports drinks are NOT the way to replenish your fluids and electrolytes.  They’re full of sugar and other ingredients that actually make you thirstier than you were before.  How else would they sell their product?  If one drink made rehydrated you, you wouldn’t need another.  Plus you’re getting way more calories than you need from a drink.

Lucky for you, it’s easy to make your own sports drink that will rehydrate you as well as replenish your electrolyte levels without the calories, sugar, or any other possible weird ingredients.  You can make these in advance of a tough workout or activity and have them ready to go when you’re done.  You can play with the levels of citrus and natural sweetener to suit your tastes.

You can play with the levels of citrus and natural sweetener to suit your tastes and if you don’t want or can’t find coconut water, regular water works just as well.  And yes, I know there is salt in here and you’re going to tell me that is ridiculous because we all know that salt makes you thirstier.  Yes, BUT, you also need the proper amount of sodium levels in your body to rehydrate and absorb minerals like potassium.  If you’ve been sweating like crazy, then you have been losing a lot of sodium as well and need to replenish those stores.  So don’t skip the salt (and make sure you use sea salt NOT regular table salt), it won’t make you thirstier and you won’t be choking down a salty drink.

Sports DrinkDIY Wednesday: Sports Drink | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 cup coconut water or regular water (make sure it’s just plain coconut water, no added sugars)
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup (less or more to suit your taste)
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Put everything into a blender and blend for a few seconds.  Taste and adjust things as needed.

Keep this drink stored in the fridge up to 2 days before you need it.  You can also double or triple this recipe to make sure that you have enough on hand for when it’s needed.

 

How To Cook With Eggs

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Ah, the humble egg.  At first glance it doesn’t really seem all that spectacular.  Most of the time we just relegate it to breakfast foods or as an ingredient for delicious baked goods.  Sure, it has gotten some press over the years.  Yolks, good or bad?  How many should you eat a day?  Are egg whites really a health food?  What came first, the chicken or the egg?  I’m not here to debate any of those things with you, as intriguing as they may be.  What I do want to talk about is how versatile and awesome the egg can be.  I love eggs.  I love all the things that you can do with them.  I make them every day and sometimes for multiple meals.  They are relatively inexpensive, and they can do so many delicious things.  Eggs are a huge part of my healthy diet and I wanted to share some of the ways I use them.  I know some of you don’t consume eggs for various reasons, and that is totally fine.  I have never had a problem with eggs and if you are looking for some quick and tasty meals to eat during the week then keep reading.

I’ll start with the very obvious choice for egg based meals, breakfast.  I have one every morning and it’s one of my favorite breakfast foods, after waffles/pancakes of course!  If you want something super simple, try a poached or fried egg.  I know that you might think poaching an egg is difficult and for awhile I was intimidated too.  But it is actually quite easy.  In a small saucepan, bring about an inch or two of water to a simmer (NOT boiling).  Add a tsp or two of apple cider vinegar or just plain vinegar (this adds a little flavor and helps keep the whites together).  Crack open your egg and drop it into a small bowl or ramekin, not directly into the water.  Slowly pour your egg into the simmering water and cover with a lid.  Cook for 3-5 minutes depending on how runny you want your yolk.  Uncover and using a slotted spoon lift the egg out of the water and onto your plate.  It might take you a few tries to get it just right, but once you do it’s really easy.  Poached eggs are delicious on their own, but they can add so much more to other meals.  Try them on top of hashed browns, cooked greens (like kale or collard), over pasta, or even on top of tortilla shells.  One of Adam and I’s favorite meals is shakshuka, which is basically eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce.

Eggs are also good scrambled or in an omelette and these meals allow you to be really creative.  Add in vegetables like green peppers or mushrooms, leftover meat like shredded pork or rotisserie chicken, beans or other grains like millet.  Experiment with different seasonings too like fresh basil or cilantro.  Smoked paprika adds a nice meaty touch to eggs and italian herbs go well too.  Don’t worry if you aren’t a pro at making omelettes, if you mess up they just turn into scrambled eggs!

Another meal that I like to make, and Adam loves to eat, is a frittata.  This is like an egg pie and you can add whatever you would like to it.  I’ve posted a recipe for a potato frittata before.  One of my new favorite ways to make this meal is to take a few potatoes, peel them and cut the into bite sized chunks.  Place them in a pot and cover with water, bring them to a boil and then cover with a lid and let them simmer for about 30 minutes.  Once you can easily pierce them with a fork, drain the water move them to a bowl and lightly mash them.  You don’t want mashed potatoes, but you want them to be broken up.  Place that aside to cool and crack 5 to 6 eggs into a separate bowl.  Add a splash of unsweetened almond milk (or whatever milk you drink) and whatever herbs or spices you like (I usually do salt and pepper and then basil and oregano).  I sometimes also add in pumpkin puree or tomatoes.  Whisk the eggs until they are light and fluffy. Heat the oven to 400 and then heat an oven safe skillet, like cast iron, over medium heat, pour the egg mixture over  the potatoes and then pour into the heated pan.  Cook on the stovetop for a few minutes and then transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes and then slice it up like pie.  You can eat it plain or serve it with salsa or guacamole or hummus or whatever other toppings you would like.  It’s an easy peasy meal that fills you up and keeps you going!

You can also hard boil eggs and make a few other meals with them.  I like plain hard boiled eggs as a quick snack and Adam likes to mash them up with dill and mustard for a little egg salad.  I’ve made healthy deviled eggs in the past by hard boiling eggs, cutting them in half and mashing the yolks up with avocado and paprika before spooning back into the egg halves.  That is a quick and easy appetizer that will keep people happy!  You can also put hard boiled eggs in your salad or over pasta for a little something extra.

Eggs can even be used to make condiments!  One of the easiest is to make your own mayonnaise.  Now I am not a mayo fan, never have been, but Juli over at PaleOMG has a really easy 30 second mayo that looks pretty tasty.

As you can see, eggs are a SUPER versatile food that can be used for so many different things.  Next time you are scrambling (ha, see what I did there?) for a quick and healthy meal that will satisfy your hunger, try eggs.  Get creative and see what delicious things you can come up with!

Your Body And Mine

I read this article last week and found it very interesting.  If you aren’t familiar with fitbit, it is a fitness band that keeps count of your steps and calories eaten.  It is suppose to help with weight loss but some users are finding that they are actually gaining weight while using fitness bands.  These users are confused because weight loss should be a simple equation of less calories in than calories out.  But is weight loss that simple?

Unfortunately, it isn’t.  Yes, if you have a deficit of calories at the end of the day you will lose weight.  The thing with weight loss is that there are so many more variables than just the amount of calories you consume or burn.  More and more people are realizing that each person is different when it comes to losing weight or getting healthier.  The way that food affects each person is different, the way that exercise affects each person is different, and this means that the way each person goes about getting healthier has to be different.  We can’t have cookie cutter diets or workout routines any longer, because they don’t work.  I have preached this lesson before, because I believe that it is so important.

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People don’t want to hear that losing weight is hard.  They don’t want to have to put in a ton of work, so they are constantly looking for the magic bullet that will give them a quick fix.  It is much more comforting to just pick up the newest book outlining the latest diet and believe that your weight problem will just go away in 30 days.  I’m sorry to tell you that to get the kind of results that most people want or need, they need to put in much more work.  You have to put in the effort to find what works best for you.

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I know that sounds depressing.  But putting in the work is going to make your journey to be healthier so much more rewarding.  It is also going to make it last a lifetime.  When people keep switching from diet fad to diet fad, they aren’t really learning how to eat better and fuel their body.  They think that because this has worked for others, it should work for them.  Relying on others or fitness gadgets totally to get healthier backfires because you are now dependant on something else.  Put in the effort to customize your lifestyle to your needs, and suddenly you intuitively know what your body needs to stay healthy.  Now you know what works for you and what doesn’t and it is easier to make health decisions.  It becomes a habit to choose the good and turn down the bad.

I don’t want to bash fitness bands or certain diets.  Those things work for some people and they are great places to start when you decide to get healthier.  Just don’t rely too heavily on these things for too long.  Take risks, experiment with different techniques, and embrace that you are uniquely you.  It is a good thing that we each have our own set of needs, because who wants to be just like every other person?  Bottom line: The most important step for better health is to make the decision to change.  Once you do that, really commit to finding what works best for you to accomplish that goal.  Putting in the work and extra effort will make you that much prouder when you get the results you are looking for.

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Lifestyle Choices: Weight Watchers

Hello! I’m posting on Wednesday and Friday again this week.  I spent the weekend with my sister in Champaign and rather than work on my blog, I decided to have fun and relax with her.  So sorry for the delay, but sometimes you just need to take a break!

weight watchers

Last week, I looked a little bit into the Paleo lifestyle.  Today I want to talk about the Weight Watchers program.  Weight Watchers has been around for about 50 years.  It started with a small group of women in Queens, New York who would get together to discuss the best way to lose weight.  From there it grew into one of the most popular and biggest weight loss programs in the country.  The concept behind Weight Watchers places an emphasis on community and group support while losing weight.  There are weekly meetings where you weigh-in and get measured to track your weight loss.  You also meet with other people who are losing weight as well as health professionals who offer support on your weight loss journey.  Weight Watchers uses a point system to help clients track their eating.  Food is given a point value and the client is allotted a certain amount of points per day based on their weight loss goals.  You can eat what you want, you just make sure that you count the points and don’t go over your daily allowance.  Weight Watchers also promotes daily exercise as a way to help with weight loss and offers help and support in that realm as well.  The Weight Watchers program is also fairly customizable and can offer benefits to a wide range of people and all their different needs.  They also offer an online program so no matter where you are you can access all the information and tools that they have.

There are a lot of things that I really like about the Weight Watchers program.  One of the biggest things that I like is the  amount of support that they offer to their clients as well as the sense of community that they build.  Losing weight is a really big decision and it takes a lot of motivation.  It can be really tough for some people to try to lose weight all on their own.  Being able to meet with other people who are going through the same things you are can really keep you on track.  You can share tips, recipes, motivation, triumphs as well as failures.  Having a support system behind you when you take a big step like getting healthier can make or break some people’s success.  I also like that clients have access to a wide range of health professionals.  Because losing weight and finding what works best for you can be such a confusing and sometimes frustrating process, it’s great to be able to have a lot of people to help guide you along the way.  The other thing I like about Weight Watchers is that you can eat real food and they don’t place an emphasis on what you can’t eat but what you can eat.  It is a lot harder to stick with a program when all you are told is you can’t eat this or you can’t do this.  People don’t like to feel deprived, so I like the idea that you can eat what you would like.

On the flip side to that, I think it can be a little bit of a slippery slope when you are allowed to eat anything.  While Weight Watchers does tout eating healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, technically you could also eat chocolate cake and cookies as long as you don’t go over your points.  Obviously this will not help you lose weight, and that isn’t what Weight Watchers is about.  It can be tough for someone who is just starting out to be able to have all that freedom when it comes to food.  I am not promoting a deprivation diet or starving yourself just to lose weight, I just know that for me I can’t just have one cookie or a slice of cake.  Other people have great willpower right from the get go and have no problem saying no to those things.  It all depends on the person.  One other thing that I don’t like about Weight Watchers are their food products.  They don’t have required food that you have to buy from them or eat, but they do have a wide range of food products that they make and fit into their point system.  I am simply against this because of my belief that we need to step away from processed food and focus on real food.  I understand that it is hard to figure out what to eat when starting a new lifestyle, but you shouldn’t live on packaged food whether you are losing weight or not.  The chemicals and preservatives in processed food can cause more damage to your health than having a little excess weight on your body.  Luckily with Weight Watchers you can easily focus your eating on real foods, and they offer a ton of meal plans and guidance when it comes to eating better.

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Overall, I really do like Weight Watchers, especially for those that are just starting out and need help and guidance.  They offer a ton of information and support that will help people be as successful as possible.  I personally don’t think it’s realistic to be on Weight Watchers for life, but they make sure that they give you the building blocks to being healthier.  Ideally, you can start to make healthier choices and live a healthy lifestyle beyond the Weight Watchers program and continue to find what works best for your body and your health!

I hope that you are all having a fabulous week and are enjoying the fall weather that is starting to make an appearance, I know I am!  I’ll see you guys on Friday with a new recipe to try out!

Love her to pieces!

Love her to pieces!