Spring Revival

Hello ya’ll! I’m Shaye and I like to live a life of passion.  My family is my main source of joy but I like to consider myself a renaissance woman as well.  Diving into any and all things that bring me joy head first!  I hail from the great state of Wisconsin and couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place.  If you enjoy what I have done for Pretty Little Grub you can follow me as well at www.simplyshaye.wordpress.com.  Thanks!

The time of year has come for me to pack away my alarm clock because the sound of birds singing is more than a welcome sound to awake to each morning.  Spring has sprung and it’s time to shake off those winter blues and get ready to enjoy the warm months ahead.  It can be a slow process for some but I have a few tricks that I use that seem to make the transition much easier.

Clear Mind, Healthy Mind

Above all else I like to get my mind in the right state.  In order to do that I need to declutter my thoughts.  On a warm day I like to try and meditate.  I remove myself from distraction and head outdoors.  Find a comfortable place to sit and breathe deep.  Let the fresh breeze come over you while you relax.  Focus on all the things that make you happy.  Separate all of your work anxiety from your social life.  A clear division between them will allow you to be more peace and enjoy those events out of work.

Remove Mental Pollution

To help keep my mind at ease as well I try to limit my media intake.  I’ll still keep up on the news but when it comes to evening programming I try to cut it down to a minimum.  Instead I look to a good book.  Sitting on the back porch in the evening reading a great book is an amazing way to escape.  Getting lost in a narrative with the beautiful weather around you is an amazing way to melt away the stresses of a day.  Breathe deep, dive into the narrative and let the words on the page take you over.

Bust a Move

It’s common to see more and more people begin to exercise once the weather improves and I am one of them.  When it’s cold outside I tend to lose motivation but as the weather warms up so does our disposition on exercise.  I find that the best times to try and sneak in some exercise is either at sunrise or dusk.

I personally wake up and hour earlier than normal and take off on a morning jog.  The sun is up earlier which makes it so much easier for me to get out of bed.  The morning air seems to help me clear my mind and prepare for the day.  If you’d rather wait until dusk that is fine too.  A brisk walk is the perfect go to as the day comes to an end.  It gets your heart rate up, isn’t too strenuous and allows you to enjoy the nature around you.  These are just a few easy ideas to get you up and moving.

Kick the Caffeine

Over the winter my dependance on coffee skyrockets.  I try to move away from coffee all together come springtime.  If I need a jolt of caffeine I turn to tea or if I’m desperate a large iced coffee is my savior.  I seek out alternative sources to energize myself come the warmer months, such as a glass of water with a touch of lemon.  The lemon adds a large dose of electrolytes to the water giving you a natural energy boost.  It also helps to keep you hydrated which is just a great general health tip on its own.  

Eat Seasonally

My diet also changes this time of year.  Fruits, greens and other vegetables make up the majority of my meals around this time of year.  Mostly fresh crisp salads.  A bed of greens full of produce topped with grilled steak or chicken is my favorite go to.  From time to time though you have to allow yourself to indulge.  

My favorite way to soak up all spring has to offer is with a picnic.  Peace and tranquility along with enjoying the outdoors and some great food as well.  I don’t always bring healthy foods along, I mean after all this is my reward.  Sweets, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, are my downfall.  That is why I always bring some sort of goodie with me on my picnics.  Anything from dark chocolate bars, to cake pops, to oatmeal raisin cookies usually accompany me.  I can’t deprive myself completely!

Spring is here! It’s time to get out of the house and enjoy all the glory that comes with the changing of the seasons.  What ways do you like to kick start your spring season?

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FYI Friday: Milk – It Does A Body Harm?

The other day as I was pursuing Twitter, I saw someone post an infographic about why people should not be drinking milk. Of course, I had to look at it and as I began to scroll through the text I got more and more infuriated.

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I have already talked a little bit about milk and compared the nutritional value of cow, rice, almond & soy milk in a previous post. However I felt this infographic deserved some more attention to milk. So go ahead and check out the infographic for yourself and then I’ll tell you my thoughts.

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First, take a minute and think about what your thoughts are on the infographic. Did you think there were some valid points. Is it making you question drinking milk?

Now, I’ll break down to you my thoughts on the different parts of it.

The U.S. drinks 9 times more milk per capita than China:

So what? The diet of Americans differs from Chinese. I’m sure the Chinese eat a lot more rice per capita than do Americans. Therefore, I am unsure what the relevance of this point is.

Drinking milk is not natural:

I despise this argument. A lot of anti-dairy proponents claim that it’s not natural to drink milk because we are drinking the milk of another animal and we are the only animals to do that.

First of all, we are the only animals to do a lot of things. We are the only animals to drive cars, talk on cellphones, travel by airplane, etc. We are more advanced than other animals and therefore what we do is different.

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Secondly, what exactly is natural about drinking the “milk” of an almond? Last I checked almonds, rice, soybeans don’t have mammary glands and can’t be “milked”.

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And lastly, what is “natural” is a pretty objective term. I don’t think it’s natural that some animals eat their own babies but that happens all the time.

Food Allergies & Intolerance:

The infographic states that 4% of adults have food allergies, but that doesn’t mean that 4% of adults have a milk allergy. In fact, while milk allergy is one of the most common allergies in children (about 2.5% of children), most outgrow this allergy. Very few adults have a true milk allergy.

It is true that about 33% of adults will develop lactose intolerance and it is more prevalent in african and asian americans. What this means is they lack or have limited amount of the enzyme that breaks down the sugar lactose contained in milk. However, those with lactose intolerance could still drink milk if they take an enzyme supplement and most can still tolerate small amounts of other dairy products such as cheese & yogurt. Lactose intolerance isn’t harmful. A person will experience some side effects such as upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea, etc. but it’s different from an allergy which can be severe and life-threatening.

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Growth Hormones:

In Canada, the use of growth hormones to increase cow’s milk production is prohibited. The same is true for antibiotics, there is strict testing and regulation on antibiotics. As for the US, it is my understanding that growth hormones are permitted, therefore this could be a concern to US milk drinkers. However, there are a lot of companies now promoting that their milk products do not contain growth hormones. Look for labels that say rBGH free.

Calories & Saturated Fat:

The infographic states that milk has the same calorie amount as soda and as much saturated fat as french fries. This is where my inner-hulk really came out! When looking at foods you should never just consider calorie amount. What you want to consider is energy density.

Pop is completely empty calories, it is composed of sugar and provides no health benefit to your body. Milk on the other hand contains protein, fat, calcium and minerals. To make any sort of comparison between pop and milk is ridiculous.

As for the saturated fat content. Saturated fat comes from animal sources so yes, milk does have some saturated fat. French fries however are made from potatoes, a vegetable, therefore they do not contain saturated fat. The saturated fat comes from the oil that they are fried in. While a large McDonald’s french fry is comparable to 1 glass 2% milk in saturated fat content (3g). The fries contain 27g total fat, which is over 5 times the amount of fat in a glass of milk. Therefore this comparison again is ridiculous.

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Ovarian Cancer/Type 1 Diabetes/Cardiovascular Disease:

Research has been done in this area and some studies have shown a correlation between milk intake and ovarian cancer, Type 1 Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease. However correlation does not prove causation. IE Just because those who drink more milk have higher rates of these diseases does not mean milk is the cause. There could be a multitude of other factors. For example with type 1 diabetes the studies found that those who drank cows milk younger and stopped breastfeeding had higher rates of type 1 diabetes. So is it the cow’s milk or the lack of breast milk that caused the diabetes. Or were neither one of these factors? There is certainly no definitive proof or link that milk intake causes cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Bottom Line:

I don’t mean for this post to be pro-milk, you can drink whatever you choose. I just want you to be aware of the fact that the internet is full of misleading nutrition information and you need to ensure you read things very critically. Just because someone puts a bunch of facts into a fancy infographic doesn’t mean that those facts are true or in the case of this infographic, very misleading.

As for me…I love milk and will continue to drink it until the day I become lactose intolerant!

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Do you drink milk? What misleading information makes you angry?

 

April Wrap-Up and Favourites

Good morning everyone and welcome to May! I feel like I felt the same way about March, where did the month go? 

First thing I have to give a shout out to my cutie patootie niece who is turning 5 today! This is a HUGE deal to her because apparently everything in her life will change when she’s 5. I’m very excited to see her this weekend for her and her sister’s combined birthday party.

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Now onto my April wrap-up.

Workouts:

April was a pretty terrible month for my workouts. I mean I did do a 10km race and finish the New Rules of Lifting for Women Stage 4. But I still felt like overall the amount of workouts I did this month was pretty dismal. This was mostly due to lack of motivation for the first half of April and then a terrible cold that is still hanging on right now for the second half.

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But yesterday I decided to send April out with a bang and went for a run….in a t-shirt! I was so excited to be out there.

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For the next month, I’ll be on vacation for most of it. But my running gear is packed. Tom and I plan to use running as a means of sightseeing the cities. I also have a 10km race just 3 days after I get home so I know I have to keep somewhat in shape while I’m away.

Food:

April didn’t bring on alot of experimenting in the kitchen. I kind of just stuck to my old favourites which is why I had very few recipe posts. I did however have the one genious invention….greek yogurt chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

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Makeup:

I did do a bit of makeup shopping in April, I mean, what month don’t I? I shared that in my beauty haul post. I also shared with you my beginners guide to shopping at Sephora.

Some of my standout makeup products from April would be:

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

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I think this is an obvious one, I’ve talked enough about my love of this palette. Check out this post for swatches and tutorials.

Sephora’s Glossy Gloss

 

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I acutally won this product at a friend’s stagette during a game. I wasn’t too excited about the product at first. Generally, I’m kind of a makeup snob and shy away from the Sephora brand items. However, I gave it a try and it’s actually amazing! The gloss is non-sticky, shiny without being too glittery and doesn’t have a bad smell. All that for $16 compared to the terrible Bobbi Brown lipgloss I talked about in my beauty fails post for $29. Sometimes brand name isn’t better! Lesson learned about being a snob.

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Mac Pro Longwear Foundation

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I am in love with this foundation! When they say longwear, it’s true. When I get home from a day at work my foundation hasn’t even budged. Since starting to use this foundation I almost never have to use oil-blotting sheets because my forehead doesn’t look shiny or oxidized. This foundation was a solid investment for sure and my new holy grail product.

That about wraps up April. Oh, except I updated my About Me page! It was long overdue so check it out. If you have any comments feel free to share.

How was April for you? What are you most looking forward to for May? 

Top 5 Reasons You Should Eat Like a Mediterranean

Since I am headed to the Mediterranean in 6 days, I figured this post would be appropriate. Even better, I actually took a course on the Mediterranean diet while in University…in Italy! I know, I live a hard life.

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What is the Mediterranean Diet?

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As you can see the Mediterranean diet emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes & nuts. The main source of fat is olive oil. Fish is eaten weekly. Red meat and sweets are eaten in limited quantities.

The Mediterranean diet has been studied a lot due to the fact that those who eat it have lower incidence of heart disease. It also has some associations with lowered risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. But for me the reason I love the diet is its delicious!! Which leads me to….

My Top 5 Reasons For Eating The Mediterranean Diet:

1. Pizza

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If you ever get the chance to have pizza in Italy you will never see pizza the same way again. It’s nothing like what we serve here. The thin crust topped with fresh tomatoes and just a small amount of cheese all in a wood burning oven. It’s reason enough to buy a ticket to Italy! A huge part of the Mediterranean diet too is enjoyment of food. And believe me, I ENJOY this pizza!

2. Wine

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Of course many regions of the Mediterranean, especially Italy, are known for their wine making. Additionally, red wine is good for your heart too because of the anti-oxidants…in moderation of course.

3. Herbs & Spices

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In the Mediterranean diet very little salt is used. Instead an array of herbs and spices are used to give dishes flavour. My favourite is definitely basil, or garlic, or oregano. Okay, I love them all which is why I love the Mediterranean diet so much! Using herbs & spices in food rather than salt can help reduce blood pressure.

4. Fruit

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Of course in the Mediterranean the fruit is amazing because it is grown fresh there. But even here, choose fruit that is in season. With summer coming up the fruits in the grocery stores and farmers markets are getting better and better. Take advantage of this time of year and enjoy some fresh fruit as a dessert, snack or anytime!

5. Gelato

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Just like in every diet, the Mediterranean diet incorporates sweets in moderation. My favourite sweet treat from the Mediterranean is definitely gelato. I know I will probably be eating my fair share of gelato on my upcoming trip.

On a side note, while writing this post I spelled Mediterranean wrong almost every single time! Apparently I didn’t quite learn all there was to learn in my course. Better go back…

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This was directly outside the door of our classroom. Told you I live a hard life.

What’s your favourite part of the Mediterranean diet? Have you ever been to any part of the Mediterranean?

FYI Friday – When Good Foods Go Bad

Trying to eat healthy is a tricky, tricky thing. And this isn’t helped by the fact that there are many imposters in the grocery stores parading as healthy food.

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Frozen Yogurt:

This seems like a great swap to make in your diet. You can satisfy your sweet tooth but with fewer calories and fat. While this can be true of some frozen yogurt, check ingredient lists and nutrition facts before you make the swap. Because there are some imposters among us.

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Ben & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt. Seems like a great idea until I looked at the ingredient list:

Skim Milk, Greek Yogurt (Cultured Skim Milk, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan), Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Cream, Water, Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar, Blueberry Puree Concentrate, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Egg Yolks, Wheat Flour, Graham Flour, Nonfat Yogurt Powder (Cultured Nonfat Milk), Salt, Butteroil, Canola Oil, Locust Bean Gum, Vanilla Extract, Soy Lecithin, Honey, Molasses, Sodium Bicarbonate.
Notice that while it’s advertised as greek yogurt it still contains cream as the fourth ingredient (after sugar of course). It also contains soybean oil, butteroil and canola oil. That’s a whole lot of added fat for a product you think you are choosing as a lower fat alternative.
The nutrition facts on this one:
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Not exactly the healthy treat you were looking for. In fact, it’s only 70 calories less than Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. For 70 calories difference, I am definitely choosing the ice cream.

Low Calorie Snacks

Next one is a product I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for lately. They claim you can satisfy your sweet craving for only 100 calories. Guilt free snack with these Special K pastry crisps.

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Again, while this may seem like a good idea to satisfy a craving I looked at the ingredient list and found this:

Ingredient List: Wheat flour, sugar, soybean, palm and palm kernel oil shortening, glycerin, maltodextrin, dextrose, cocoa, modified food starch (corn and tapioca), milk ingredients, natural flavour, salt, soy lecithin, colour, cellulose, cornstarch, baking powder, acetylated tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides, acacia gum, mono- and diglycerides, cocoa butter, calcium phosphate, bht.

First of all, how many ingredients do you recognize in that list? Generally, if you have no idea what it is you probably don’t want to put it in your body. Don’t you remember that old PSA – “Don’t you put it in your mouth”

Also note in that ingredient list is palm kernel oil shortening. When you see the word shortening in an ingredient list it means trans fats. Even though the label states 0g trans fats, labelling laws state you can label as zero if it contains 0.2g or less.

Overall, if you’re craving a sweet treat, you’d be much better off having a homemade cookie that you know the ingredients of.

Veggie Chips

When these chips came out, I thought to myself, that’s genius marketing. People see veggie chips and immediately think great they’re healthier. But wait a second, chips are made out of potatoes…which are vegetables. Therefore all chips are technically “veggie chips”. Did I just blow your mind? And in fact when I looked at the ingredient list the “veggies” are tomato paste & spinach powder.

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Now when taking a look at the nutrition facts, these chips are actually fewer calories than a regular bag of chips. But they are very comparable to a baked bag of chips. Therefore, bottom line, eat these chips as a treat if you like. But don’t consider them to be a healthy choice or a source of your daily vegetables.

I could probably go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Check out ingredient lists and nutrition facts before choosing products. I am not saying NEVER eat these products, all food fits, but you should know what you are eating and don’t be fooled by good marketing.

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What food imposters have you found? Have you ever been fooled by marketing?

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FYI Friday – Practicing Mindful Eating

Hello and Happy Friday Everyone! Hope you are enjoying your day off work and have some amazing plans with family for Easter this weekend.

I’m super excited for this weekend. Today, I get to spend some quality time with my sister and my two adorable nieces. Today is my niece’s 3rd birthday!! So wish my little cutie a Happy Birthday.

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Tomorrow, I am heading out with friends to a Duelling Piano bar and then Sunday having Easter Dinner with the fam jam!

Since Easter is this weekend, I know it means two things – big feast & chocolate! I thought I would discuss a little bit about practicing mindful eating this weekend.

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Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a concept that I’m a huge proponent of. If you have never heard of the concept before, it’s basically being aware of what you’re eating and why.

The Difference Between Hunger & Appetite

Food is fuel for our body and primarily we should be eating to fuel ourselves. We know that our body requires more fuel when we feel the sensation of hunger. However, we don’t just eat to fuel our body. We eat for 1000 different reasons including celebration, stress, boredom, habit, etc. These reasons can be called appetite. We can have an appetite for food without being physiologically hungry.

When you are about to eat something think about why you are eating it. Are you eating the food because you are experiencing hunger or because you have an appetite for food?

Now it’s not necessarily wrong to eat for appetite rather than hunger. Food plays a very important social and cultural role in our world and sometimes we will end up eating for appetite but it’s good to be aware of it.

Being Aware of What You Are Eating

Have you ever had the experience where you’re eating something, you’re about halfway through and you realize, you don’t even like it.

So often when we eat, we simply put ourselves on auto pilot. We zone out and don’t pay attention to what we are eating or if we are enjoying it. The next time you are about to eat something, really take some time with it. Take a look at what you are about to eat. Then smell what you are about to eat. Put the food in your mouth and let your tastebuds engage. Do you like the taste, do you like the texture. Then slowly chew the food and swallow. Think about the experience. Was it enjoyable? Do you want to keep eating?

By taking the time to slow down and being mindful of what you are eating you will notice a huge difference in how you eat. You may notice that some foods that you have been eating, you actually don’t even like that much. When you eat foods that love you will enjoy and savour the experience. You also may notice you eat less because you feel satisfied sooner.

How To Apply Mindful Eating at Easter

So how does this all apply to your Easter feast? When you are about to load up your plate at Easter, first take note of your hunger. How hungry are you actually and gauge your portion size based on your true physiological hunger.

When you are eating your dinner, take the time to slow down and savour the food. Eat only until you are satisfied. When it comes time for dessert, you will likely not be physiologically hungry. This is one of those times that you are eating for appetite. That’s okay, but be mindful of how much you eat. Consider how much dessert will make you feel satisfied. Now that you realize you aren’t eating for hunger, maybe a smaller piece of cake that you slowly savour will satisfy you as much or more than a full slice that you gobble down without a thought.

Hope some of these tricks will work for you. Mindful eating takes practice. Believe me, I need more practice! I am a fast eater by nature and need to very consciously slow myself down.

Have you ever tried mindful eating? What are you most looking forward to eating at Easter?

Individual Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

My all-time favourite dessert is cheesecake. I actually feel very fortunate that Canada doesn’t have any Cheesecake Factory’s because I’m not sure how well my self-control would hold out.

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The other day I was really craving some cheesecake but I wanted to try to make a healthier version. I happened across a recipe from the Oikos Greek Yogurt website and found the solution. A greek yogurt cheesecake! And better yet it was individual serving size.

I decided to change up the recipe from the website a bit. To me a proper graham cracker crust makes a cheesecake so I wasn’t willing to compromise on that and I wanted to add peanut butter because….well that’s self-explanatory, peanut butter makes everything better!

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So here’s what I came up with:

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

Makes 4 individual servings

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 1/4 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Margarine

Filling:

  • 2 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Melt margarine in microwave
  3. Mix melted margarine into graham crackers
  4. Evenly distribute graham crumb mixture into 4 individual oven-safe ramekins. Pack graham crumb mixture with hands along bottom and sides of ramekins to form crust
  5. Place ramekins on cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. (Alternatively if you want a no bake option, place ramekins in refrigerator until crust sets, crust will be less crispy but equally delicious)
  6. In a bowl mix together filling ingredients
  7. Add filling to graham cracker crust. Top with Reese’s Peanut Butter chips (optional) and serve

I love the way these turned out. They are a perfect treat that’s not too sweet but perfectly satisfied my cheesecake craving.

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What’s your favourite dessert? Do you ever make healthier desserts?

 

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