A Spoonful of Health

A Blog About Wellness


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3 Month Progress

So this weight loss thing hasn’t really been working for me, which is a bummer. I suppose it is harder than I expected with having a baby and not sleeping well.
But we got ourselves a new bed, woohoo! So let us hope that improves sleep a bit.
My Lumosity scores this week, I was at 1021 last week!
Day 6 1009 I missed a couple days and my scores went down! Only got in 4 this week!
Day 7 1069
Day 8 1118
Day 9 1178

Day 90 205lbs
Everything is the same as last month. Damn you baked goods and chocolate!

For the next month I am trying TWO things, Meal Replacement shakes to replace two meals a day, and a waist cincher(trainer, etc).

Check out my reviews of a few different shakes next week! And check in for a review of my waist cincher! We will have to wait until next month’s check in to know if they are doing me any good.

I am also going to start the Beginners Blogilates workout program! It’s a 4 week pilates program, 6 days a week. I am TERRIBLE as exercise so I know month one there isn’t going to be a lot of progress because I just don’t have the muscles yet! But it’s a 30ish minute program that I don’t need any equipment for. So hopefully my baby will cooperate and just hang out on the floor with me!
4 Days in an I feel good! Plus I did my first headstand! Against a wall, but I did it!

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Lumosity, or healthy brains!

Besides a healthy body we need a healthy mind.
I’ve decided to try Lumosity for a month and see if I have any improvement! It’s going to cost me $12, but if it works, it’s only $4.00 a month or less if you sign up for the year!
lumowork

Here are my starting numbers
goals
My overall LPI is 457 to start. The LPI is calculated from all my 5 brain areas! I am going to do this 5 times a week for a month and then let you know where I am at!

“LPI (Lumosity Performance Index) gives you one simple number for tracking your performance on Lumosity.
Overall LPI is an average of your Game LPIs, which are calculated from your game score histories. Your Brain Area LPIs for Memory, Attention, Speed, Flexibility, and Problem Solving are calculated from games in each of those areas.
LPI also helps you compare your strengths and weaknesses across games that challenge different cognitive abilities. You can improve your LPIs in your weaker areas by playing and improving at games in each of those areas.”

I’ve done Lumosity 5 times this week, and already improved to 1021 LPI. What’s cool is in some of the games I am actually seeing an improvement which is awesome! Some games it’s hard to tell, I mean it shows my score being better but I don’t necessarily feel smarter.

Day 1 457
Day 2 667
Day 3 897
Day 4 970
Day 5 1021

Since we are talking about Brains, how about a recipe to boost our brain function?
Blueberries!!
“”Brainberries” is what Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, calls these tasty fruits. Pratt, who is also on staff at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., says that in animal studies researchers have found that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Studies have also shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats.” (Side note, I in NO WAY condone animal testing, SO against it!)

Little Miss Muffin Tops
from one of my favourite cook books, Eat, Shrink and Be Merry!
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Ingredients:
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (original recipe called for 1 cup of the previous, but trying to ger my whole grains in!)
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup coconut (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
3 tbsp melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray or line a muffin pan.
Combine first 9 ingredients.
In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients except blueberries.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mix, then fold in blueberries.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


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Summer Time Chaffing

Summer Time Chaffing..
For those of us who don’t have the infamous thigh gap we’d all love to have the summer time can be a really bummer if we want to wear skirts or shorter than knee length shorts.
Now even though I have crazy stretch marks on my legs, damn it I want them to see the sun this year! Last year because I was pregnant I avoided the sun at all costs, but this year, HOOK me up!

Chaffing for those of you who don’t know if when it gets hot out and our legs get moist and start rubbing together thus creating a rash. I got one a few weeks ago going for a hike and that is what made me start looking into options!

Now there are lots of products, none of which I have used because I am broke. Many of these products help to create a gliding layer between our thighs. But I found two at home remedies that seem to have done the trick for me!

The first is good old deodorant!
secret-deodorant2
Now I can only attest to Secret Brand Solid deodorant. I have not tested this with a gel deodorant.
I bought some deodorant specifically for places they may chafe, under boob and inner thigh. I have not have a problem with under boob chaffing yet, but you never know! I just liberally apply the deodorant to my inner thigh before I am going out to do any regular activity. Seems to cut down on the friction plus help with any sweating!

The second is for when you are doing more rigorous activity and need something a little more heavy duty! I’ve put together a homemade chaffing cream using only 3 ingredients!
You just need a carrier oil (grapeseed, almond, etc), cornstarch and an essential oil of your choice!
chafe
WARNING: Do not wear super dark clothes with this, the cornstarch will most likely on your clothes.
You can make this in any amount you like, just follow this simple ratio 2:1 Cornstarch:Oil, then add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice.
My cream looks green because I used grapeseed oil, but if you use almond oil it will be more beige.
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Then mix well (each time you use it) and use your hands or an old makeup brush to apply to your inner thigh. Wait a couple minutes for the oil to soak in and dry and it will go on clear.
However I found out when I went to work and bent over to pick up my baby that all of a sudden I had white all over my shirt. So even though it appears invisible on the skin, there is still cornstarch powder on your legs so user beware. As I said before this is more for vigorous exercise such as hiking, so you wouldn’t normally be bending over it anyways.

Note: If you have darker skin I am not sure if the cornstarch will be as invisible, let me know!


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Product Review

So I grabbed a couple new toys this month, and I have some mixed feelings!

First off I got a really neat detox Water Bottle from Blogilates!


It’s so cute! It has many great features, such as a space to put in fruit to flavour your water. I also really enjoy the time increments printed on one side of the bottle, as they remind me to keep drinking my fluids.
Unfortunately there are more things I dislike about this bottle. 1. I SOOOO wish it was glass, but I knew it was plastic when I bought it and I still think it’s great. 2. I disagree with the time, because I feel I should be drinking about twice as much as it is labelled for. 3. The flavour diffuser is at the top only.. so once I am halfway through my water I no longer get flavour.
So I love the design and concept, but I will definitely plan for a glass bottle next time, and see if I can get a custom design on it for me!
There are so great fruit diffuser water bottles that have a nicer diffuser and are glass for much less cost.

The second item I got this month was an individual tea maker from Teavanna!
tea
Again it was a little pricey at $20, but I use it almost everyday! It is so easy to use and clean. I can make hot or iced tea! The biggest downsize is knowing how much water to use because all cups are different sizes. So I’ve started pouring the water into my cup first, and then into the tea maker. You then steep your tea, and place it over your cup and it drains into it! If you fill it completely it can make about 2 cups of tea, or one REALLY large mug.

Overall I love my two new items, but I need to be careful with splurge shopping to make sure the item is exactly what I want. Next time I think I would get glass for both items instead of plastic!

This is a recipe I found online at Tasty Kitchen, it was so good I could not pass up the opportunity to share it with you all! And it can be gluten free!

Boyfriend-Approved-Spicy-Black-Bean-Burgers-410x272
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 whole jalapeno
2 cloves of garlic
2 cans (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp cumin
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground flax
3 tbsp water
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (GLUTEN FREE SUBSTITUTION: 1/2 C. Ground Rice Chex in place of Panko.)
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1/2 cup corn
1 tbsp olive oil
6 hamburger buns, any
Optional Garnishes: Avocado, Sriracha, Ketchup, Mustard

Instructions:
1. Seed and roughly chop the jalapeno. Add it and the garlic cloves to a food processor, blender or you can hand chop.

2. Add one can of beans to the mix and pulse to combine. Add cumin and salt and pulse until it looks like chunky black bean dip.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the ground flax and water. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture in the food processor to a large bowl and stir in the bread crumbs, tomato sauce, flax mixture and corn. Stir well until everything is combined. Add remaining can of black beans.

4. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Form black bean mixture into patties and fry for about 4 minutes per side, until golden and crusty brown.

5. Serve burgers with avocado slices, sriracha sauce and ketchup!


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2 Month Progress

Not really any change from last month. Been having a hard time staying on top of everything. Having a cranky child makes it hard to focus on oneself. Also I was incredibly sick for a couple weeks, and unlike most people I EAT when I am sick, not starve. Time to increase exercise and FULLY cut out any processed sugars. This is going to be a hard one for me, I LOVE sweet snacks. Going to try eating more fruit for my sweetness. Ever as I am writing this I am dreading this change, I am thinking of chocolate chip cookies, and cakes, and madelines! Should I be keeping all my amazing bakeware? I think yes 🙂 My goal is to get to get healthy, but there is nothing wrong with the occasional treat ONCE I can get to where I want.

Day 60 210 lbs, 50 lbs to go
No picture this month, just been too busy!
2 Month Measurements
Bust 43.5″
Chest 35″
Arm 12″
Waist 35″
Hips 43″
Thigh 26″
Calves 14″
Stomach 43″


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Tea, Delicious, Delicious Tea

I love tea so much! Hot or Cold, it’s an amazing way to get my water without having to actually drink boring water.
Since ancient times tea has been revered for it’s health benefits.
Many types of teas(oolong, black, white, green) come from the same plant Camellia sinensis, it all depends on how the leaves are processed that makes them.
Many loose leaf teas have a specific type of tea leaf in them, and then many different flowers, fruits, herbs are added to enhance it and give it a different taste, otherwise they would all taste the same.

tea

Oolong, Black, White, Yellow, Pu-erh and Green
All these teas have been shown to lower bad cholesterol and are great fat burners. They all contain large amounts of antioxidants, thus giving them anticancer powers. White tea has to most anti-cancerous power as it is the least processed. They help lower heart disease because they contain catechins. Catechins are a type of antioxidant. These teas contain caffeine.

Rooibos
Rooibos tea, or red tea, is made from a South African red bush.
Health benefits of red rooibos tea include its use as a cure for nagging headaches, insomnia, asthma, eczema, bone weakness, hypertension, allergies, stomach cramps and premature aging. It is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-mutagenic. Of course it also has antioxidants, making it anti-cancerous. It is caffeine free!

Herbal
Herbal tea does not contain any leaves from the Camellia plant family, so it is sometimes referred to as a tisane. Herbals teas are not technically tea because they do not contain tea leaves. You must be careful with herbal teas as they can contain any numerous types of plants, so it is not recommended for pregnant women, as they may contain herbs they could cause miscarriage.

Mate
Mate tea is considered the coffee lover’s favorite tea. Made from the leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant. Yerba Mate is rich in antioxidants, enhances your ability to focus and your physical endurance. It aids in digestions, helps control your weight because it is a stimulant you feel fuller sooner and your stomach stays fuller longer, and supports heart health!

Blooming
These are artisanal plants that come in the form of a ball and when hot water is poured over then they bloom. The health benefits of blooming teas are dependent on the flower used. They can eliminate toxins, help the liver, help the lungs, relieve chills, soften the skin, and the list goes on. Click this link for more information.

Tea Blends
Tea blends are a mix of different types of teas.

Kombucha
Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Kombucha is not a mushroom — it’s a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and tea, and allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds. It tastes like a tea flavoured soda. Kombucha is a detoxifier, helps with joint issues such as arthritis, aids in digestions and is considered immune boosting.

I can’t give you a tea recipe that I’ve made but I can tell you of a local shop that I have come to love here in Boise! It is called Snake River Tea. They have an incredible assortment of loose leaf teas. They also sell kombucha! You can get it hot or cold by the glass, or you can by dry tea to take home. My favourite tea so far is their Kalahari Rooibos, great hot and cold. There are several tea places in town, but so far this is my favourite! I will post some reviews in the future.

Want some travel teas to take to work without having to carry an entire container, or maybe you just want two different flavours throughout the day?
Cut some small squares of cheesecloth, about 3″x3″. Scoop the amount of tea leaf you need for one cup of tea. Tie together with a small string. Then take a small piece of paper and write the type of tea and brewing directions and tape or glue or staple it to the other end of the string. Want to know if your tea water is the right temperature before dropping your newly crafted bag in? Try an infrared thermometer!

What is tea without…SCONES! Under 200 calories each. Still don’t eat more than one!
Skinny Pumpkin Starbucks Scone by The Skinny Fork ONLY 154 calories!
White Chocolate Cranberry Scones by Apple of my Eye ONLY 197 calories!
Lemon Blueberry Scones by Christina’s Adventures ONLY 135 calories!
Cranberry Orange Drop Scones by All Day I Dream About Food ONLY 108 calories!


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Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar, could it help you lose weight? Possibly!

apple

There are many claims about the health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar(ACV), unfortunately most are not scientifically based. I am going to write about the benefits that some friends on mine have noticed while they took ACV. I have not been able to stomach it, even extremely diluted so this is not first hand experience.

A friend of mine has stated that ACV helped with her UTI’s, much like cranberry juice would. She stated if she had symptoms of possible UTI which she was prone to she would take some ACV and her symptoms would be gone the next day. The reason this may work is because it will make your urine more acidic, preventing the bacteria from being able to grow.
ACV seems to help people with heartburn, this is because heartburn is caused by our stomachs not having enough acid, so they churn more violently forcing the acid through the weak sphincter into out esophagus. ACV put more acid back into our stomach thus calming our stomachs and reducing heartburn. Of course it also stimulates digestive juices helping to breakdown foods they may be irritating our sensitive stomachs during pregnancy as well. This also helps reduce stinky gas as our foods are being broken down more efficiently.

ACV is said to help our satiety and therefore we won’t snack as much, leading to less calories consumed. So ACV could be said to aid in weight loss. Unfortunately the taste of it makes me gag and I am doing other things to help lose weight I can’t give an accurate account of this. But there are MANY people on the internet who swear by it. There has only been one scientific test that I’ve read about and it was a 12 week program where half the people were taking ACV and half weren’t, and they all kept food journals to make sure they were eating similarly. But they only lost 1-2 pounds over that 12 weeks. Which is not very much, however combined with portion control and exercise it could lead to that couple extra pounds you want to lose and just can’t seem to.

Some studies have shown that drinking ACV daily led to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, which in turn lowered blood pressure. I have really good cholesterol, but my blood pressure was high throughout my pregnancy, for this reason alone I would consider trying ACV, I just need to find a better way to consume it. These studies have also shown that ACV MAY lower blood sugar levels when taking before a meal.

I haven’t talked about why ACV may be bad for your health, and that is because I can’t find much information about it being bad for your health. Vinegar is a cleanser. The only caution I can suggest it PLEASE dilute it! A shot of vinegar is extremely acidic and that can destroy the enamel of your teeth and wreak havoc on your esophagus. Just think about how a bulimic’s throat get destroyed from vomiting, it’s the stomach acid that does that, ACV would be the same going down if not diluted.

So where do I stand on ACV? It seems like if it is diluted with water or juice and only taken once or twice daily there aren’t really any bad side effects. Am I going to take ACV? Probably not.

Sources: Dr. Oz, Jessica Barry, WebMD