Artificial vs. Regular Sugar – What’s your Stance?

Sweeteners 24 Diner Austin, Texas

Sweeteners 24 Diner Austin, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When it comes to sweeteners what side of the fence do you sit on?  Are you an all natural no sugar added type?  Or perhaps artificial sugar intimidates you so you stick with regular sugar, honey, agave nectar or sugar in the raw. Still yet maybe you like sweet things but want to avoid the extra calories taken in from using the real deal so you opt for one of the artificial alternatives?  Well truthfully, whichever side of the fence your on with the exception of those who don’t need to add extra sugar – we envy you, there are pluses and minus to contradict both choices.

 

Here is a slide show I found from Fit Sugar that goes through the details on some of the most common found sugar options: http://bit.ly/aF39nq

 

My personal preferences to the types of sugar have changed throughout my life.  When I was a kid obviously fake sugar was the last thing I would have tried, but as I became adult and regular tea/coffee drinker I started using Equal and Sweet n Low, still after becoming pregnant with my daughter I knew i couldn’t void sugar from my life completely but did want to change something so I rid aspartame and nutrasweet from my diet completely and started using Splenda.  I now continue to use Splenda but have been making a conscious effort to not put it on everything.  As the saying goes, there can be too much of a good thing.

 

So I ask you what’s your sugar preference and why?

 

Pesto Squash Gratin Recipe

Butternut Squash

Cucurbita moschata ‘Butternut’. Original description: Courges butternut (Cucurbita moschata) Photo JH Mora, septembre 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am super excited to try a recipe tonight’s I had seen Giada De Laurentiis make the other day on Food Network.  I had purchased a butternut squash before finding her recipe and was wondering what I should do with it.  Below is the recipe it sounds excellent and am hoping it tastes as delightful too!  If it’s as good as in sounds i may have found a new exciting holiday dish!

1 Butternut Squash – de seed and cut into cubes

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese – or a 1/4 cup of reduced fat parmesan cheese works ok too

1/4 cup basil pesto (homemade or store-bought… in my case store-bought)

1-2 tablespoons of a light butter (your preference)

non-stick spray for baking dish

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 350.

2. Spray 8 inch baking dish with non stick.

3.  Place a large pot of water with a steamer rack on the stove.  Throw in the steamer rack all the butternut squash cubes and cook until soft (about 20 min)

4. Blend the steamed squash in a food blender or mixer with a little salt and pepper to taste

5. Pour 1/2 of the squash mixture into the baking dish.

6. Spread 1/2 the pesto all over the layer of squash.

7. Add half the parmesan cheese on top of the pesto

8.  Add the rest of the squash on top layering it like a casserole

9.  Followed by the rest of your pesto.  Spread to form an even top layer.  You can even get creative with a toothpick and lightly swirl in the top layer of pesto squash.

10.  Add the rest of the parmesan cheese and 1-2 tablespoons of butter and heat until starting to lightly brown for approx 40 minutes.

Here’s the recipe from Food Network:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/baked-squash-gratin-recipe/index.html

Do You Know What Your Eating?

My inspiration for this article comes from an enticing email I received in my inbox while at work yesterday.  It was from Corner Bakery advertising their newest addition: bacon tomato mac and cheese and how for a “limited time only” I was fortunate enough to receive a free cafe size…  whoopee!

Yea, not quite.  Right off the bat to save myself from giving in to the freebie, I  searched online for Corner Bakery’s nutrition instead to further confirm my suspicion that this cafe side would do much more damage than good in feeding my need for “warm, comfort food”.  As I scrolled through the nutritional info and found this exact one I almost fell off my chair – literally…now luckily they didn’t have the exact nutrition of the cafe size but the entrée size instead.  If they would have had the cafe size I for sure would have definitely been on the floor.  Entrée size: 1140 calories!!!!  Are you kidding me? Which could only mean that the cafe size has to be over 500 plus calories for a dinky sample size!  Sound like a filling lunch to anyone?  So not worth it.

This got me thinking on a bigger scale to the three biggest pitfall in our weight loss, maintenance, whatever you want to call it lifestyles: lack of research/knowledge, willpower or just flat-out denial.  The nutritional counts are out there and available most of the time for those really looking to see them.  Some places, believe it or not, have them displayed in the store.  Just look around. That means there is no excuse for the oops I didn’t know it was that bad approach.  If you are trying to make heathy decisions and watch your weight then its definitely in your best interest to do a bit of work/research. After all we should have learned growing up that nothing comes easy…

Ok so what if you can’t look it up online or it’s not posted now what?  If you’re really stuck between a rock and a hard place knowing if something is good for you then either DON’T GET IT or get it and immediately put half in a take home container or give it away.  Eating smart inside and outside of your home just involves a little self-discipline.

 

What Type of Metabolism Do You Have?

A few weeks ago Dr. Oz released an article on the different types of metabolisms.  He broke them down into three different types: Type A, Type B, and Type C with each having its own defined characteristics and needs.  In order to determine which of those types you have he also added a 4 question quiz on items like salty versus sweet, heavy appetite versus light appetite.  Here’s a link to the quiz for you to find out what yours is: Metabolic Type   While it’s not 100% as if you would have metabolic testing done it does get close to at least offering a direction to better understanding your body.

I took the quiz and scored Type A…. seems Type A fits the bill for my personality over all!  This is helpful in referring back to his article on the approximate breakdown of daily protein/carbs/fat that keeps my body running at it’s best.  Turns out I’m not too far off my current plan, good news!  I challenge you to take the quiz for yourself and determine your metabolic rate.  What did you score?

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/your-metabolism-type-diet

Dr Oz‘s: Eat Right For Your Metabolic Type

 

Recipe Alert: Chicken with Feta and Spinach

With the winter creeping up on us with its cold air our bodies can’t help but switch modes into wanting heartier, warm and filling foods as opposed to the light, airy spring/summer foods (the healthy ones) like fruits and crisp salads.  This makes it additionally challenging to eat healthy in those months when all our body wants is some nice warm chicken pot pie or cornbread or stew.  The recipe I’m about to give you is one of my all times favorites. It’s a great well-rounded  entree and needs next to nothing paired beside it to make it fulfilling.  It gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside and doesn’t sabotage your diet!  So here it is and i hope you enjoy it as much as I do:

Ingredients: (recipe for 1)

Chicken breast

Spinach (frozen/thawed is best but if fresh you will need to cook it down first)

Feta cheese  (reduced fat – I personally like trader Joe’s fat free alternative)

light mayo

turkey bacon

optional seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Meanwhile in a small mixing bowl combine spinach (I like a lot of spinach as it cooks down next to nothing), feta cheese, and 1 serving of light mayo. Stir until all ingredients are condensed into a paste like substance.

2.  Pull out your chicken breast and cut in half stopping before going all the way through so you form a pocket with the breast.

3. Stuff the chicken with the spinach/feta mixture and wrap the breast to hold the inside mixture in place with the turkey bacon (2 strips is perfect)

4. Spray a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray and sit breast in the middle of tray.

5. Pop in over and set to cook for approx 45 minutes.  You will know it’s done when the cheese starts to lightly brown up top and the chicken is no longer pink.

6. Enjoy!  It’s also great paired with boiled potatoes or a small baked sweet potato and side of veggies.