Month: January 2019

DIY Yogurt

DIY Yogurt

One of the things people start eating more of when they start out on a healthy journey is yogurt. We all have this idea that yogurt is a healthy food…..like granola. But, did you know that the typical yogurt is loaded with sugar? Sometimes more sugar than a candy bar? So I started looking into making it myself. I have ALWAYS been a DIY nerd. If it’s possible to do it myself-I’m going to!

There are many different methods to making yogurt. The easiest method is using large quart size jars. You would incubate the yogurt in the jar, and place the jar (with a lid on it) into a large thermos or cooler of warm water. I used this method for quite some time, until I bought a yogurt maker. I was so excited to find this little gem, at the thrift store….BRAND NEW. Oh….the excitement that day! This yogurt maker makes 7 small jars of yogurt, no cooler required. Plus- it makes me really look like I know what I’m doing. 😉

 

Ingredients:

1 gallon whole milk

1 cup store bought plain yogurt

OK you might be wondering why we are using store bought yogurt to make your own yogurt? This is needed as a starter. Yogurt is full of healthy bacteria- we need that bacteria to make our yogurt. Once you have made a batch of your own yogurt- you won’t need to buy the store bought again, because you will use 1 cup of your own yogurt. Make sense?

 

You need to heat the milk to 185-195° F. Watch this to make sure that you don’t boil the milk, or burn the bottom. I stand there at the stove and stir, to ensure this doesn’t happen. Combine the milk and yogurt in a pot and stir well, to make sure the yogurt is mixed well in the milk.

 

Pour into whatever you will be using to incubate the yogurt. Mason jars work amazingly well. That is what I used before I purchased the yogurt maker. Put the jars into a cooler. Add water that is about 120 degrees. Cover the jars at least 3/4 of the way to the top. They need to be covered this much to incubate and stay warm. Otherwise, the yogurt will never set. Let incubate for about 3 hours. The yogurt should have firmed up. If it looks like it didn’t set quite enough, have no fear….it will firm up more once it is in the refrigerator.

This will make abut 4 quarts of yogurt.

 

***This is plain yogurt. The possibilities are endless though for flavors. You could add:

  • vanilla flavor
  • diced fruit
  • blend yogurt with fruit

 

 

 

Excellent Whole Food Sources for Protein

Excellent Whole Food Sources for Protein

Today on my podcast, I talked about the importance of protein and it’s role in weight loss.

 

Protein supplements are everywhere and beneficial to helping us get in all the protein that we need. However,  I want to share some whole food options for proteins because it is always best to get our nutrition from whole foods first before we turn to supplements.

You should eat high-quality protein at every meal, to ensure you get enough and to help feel full at each meal. Here are some easy ways to enjoy more protein!

 

  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 oz tilapia
  • ½ cup chickpeas
  • 3 oz chicken breast
  • ½ cup cooked black beans
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • egg
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ½ cup unflavored oatmeal
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 cup Cottage Cheese
  • 3 oz lean beef
  • 1 cup canned tuna (in water)
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 slice Ezekiel Bread
  • 3 oz Turkey Breast
  • 1/2 cup Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/2 cup tofu
  • Beans with rice (Separately, rice and beans are incomplete protein sources. Eaten together, this classic meal can provide 7 g of protein per cup.)

 

Ways to Fight Depression

Ways to Fight Depression

If you follow me on social media, you will know that I have been battling depression and anxiety for over a year, after my husband left for deployment. He is since home, and things are better- however, depression and anxiety are things that I will be battling for some time.

I thought that I would share some ways to help you combat these, in case there is someone else that is battling these that I might be able to help.

 

1. Exercise-The very best thing you can do for yourself is to get up and start moving. This does not mean just running errands with your kids.  This means taking at least 30 minutes for yourself to exercise without distraction. The movement helps to get the anxiousness physically out of your body, while at the same time suppressing stress hormones and releasing feel good hormones and natural pain killers. Remember the scene in “Legally Blonde?” 

If you need help with workouts that can even be done at home, I can help!

2. Meditation- Constant thoughts of the past and worry of the future are the base of anxiety, which is why clearing your mind through meditation can be so effective. There are plenty of apps you can download that can help guide you- most of them for free.

3. Yoga- Also considered a type of meditation, focusing on your breath with movement helps to relax tense muscles and clear your head through the mind-body connection. It help you to think about something else instead of worrying about the cause of your anxiety. Taking a deep breath also allows more oxygen into your body and to your brain to allow you to think more clear. There are also apps for free to practice deep breathing. You can use them to practice or even in the moment of anxiety where it is really needed.

 

4. Make plans- The worst thing you can do is sit at home by yourself thinking about how depressed you are or going over and over something in your head. Get out and call a friend for coffee, head to the mall to window shop, meet up with friends for brunch, whatever it is you like to do to, to just get out of the house.

5. Watch your favorite show- Reality TV gets a bad wrap for being brainless and mind numbingly dumb, but sometimes you just don’t want to think, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to sit back and binge watch your favorite show to get lost in the lives of your favorite characters.

6. Eat healthy- Many people will turn to unhealthy comfort food when they are feeling down or anxious. Think about your future self and how much worse you will feel after inhaling a pint of ice cream or pizza. When we focus on eating healthy foods, or bodies are better able to handle stress and stay on on even keel without the sugar highs and crashes- coupled with the guilt of having indulged in an entire bowl of raw cookie dough.

7. Avoid binge drinking- A glass of wine or two a day is considered to be heart healthy. However, many people turn to excessive alcohol intake to “numb feelings” or to be able to sleep. This will make you feel a thousand times worse the next day for a few reasons. One, alcohol is a depressant in itself and will make you feel more depressed. Two, when you drink alcohol before bed it disturbs deep REM sleep, and you will wake up less rested and more anxious the next morning regardless of how many hours you spent in bed. Three, alcohol will dehydrate you, so you wake up in the morning feeling thirsty with a headache.

 

Sometimes we still need extra help, even after taking these self care tips. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from a doctor or family. Please don’t suffer in silence.