Thursday, January 31, 2013

Health Tip #23: Counting Calories

The human body burns calories naturally. The amount burned all depends on the amount of activity you normally get. If you work a desk job you will burn fewer calories than if your job involved walking. If you take this number and then factor in your height and weight you will find how many calories you naturally burn in a normal day. Normal meaning without exercise or extra activities. Take that number and you have the amount of calories you can eat to maintain your weight. If you want to lose weight you eat less calories and if you want to gain you eat more. Most people eat more calories then they think and that is way obesity is a growing problem on our planet. A recent study found there are more people in the developing world that are overweight than there are hungry. "Worldwide, more than 1.3 billion people are overweight, whereas only about 800 million are underweight—and these statistics are diverging rapidly." ( Eat 1000 less if you want to lose 2 pounds a week 500 less if you want to lose 1 pound a week. To find your caloric intake, visit this site:
Be honest with your weight and exercise level when using this otherwise the numbers will be wrong and you wont lose anything. On another note: you do not want to lose more than 2 pounds a week. What you see on the Biggest Loser is not representing of what a successful weight lose program is lost. They are being constantly supervised by doctors, nutritionists and personal trainers. Unless you have 2000 dollars a week to spare you will not have that kind of supervision. It is up to you to track what you are doing and hold yourself accountable for a safe and steady weight loss. IF IT HAS BEEN A MONTH AND YOU HAVE LOST ONLY 4 OR 6 POUNDS YOU ARE DOING GREAT! I cannot stress this any more: don't be down on yourself because you have only lost a few pounds in a couple weeks. When you are down on yourself, you will go back to the way you were and you will gain 10 pounds in 2 weeks. You don't want that. Be proud of what you accomplish; no matter how small.

There are many ways to keep track of  your calories. You can use pen and paper or you can use a site like or I use and, using their android or iPhone/iPod app I can see right away what I have consumed for the day and know what I have left, no matter where I am. Myfitnesspal also has an app that is also very good. If you don't have a smart phone keep a pen and paper with you and record as you go. If you don't know the amount of calories then write down what it is and look it up later. Once you get home at the end of the day, grab your notepad and record it all down on Loseit or Myfitnesspal. Over time it will become easier to guess how many calories are in an item. 

To get an idea of what your normal caloric intake is before you start to count eat what you do normally. Don't lie to yourself no matte how bad it may be. Record it all down on paper don't count any calories, when the night is over add it all up and you will see how bad it normally is. Then you can look and see what you did wrong that day and see where you can improve. I did this and found I had consumed 4600 calories on a Saturday and then 5200 calories on a Sunday. Given that one pound weighs 3,500 calories and I consumed 9800 Calories over 2 days minus that my body naturally burns 6000 Calories over 2 days, I gained over 1 pound in 2 days. Now factor that I probably ate that much over the entire week, 5000 a day times 7 days is 35000 calories over the entire week, my body burned 21000, subtract that from 35000 and I ate 14000 extra calories. That would be a 4 pound gain in a week. Of course the science behind this isn't exact but you get the picture. Count your calories; it really is important.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pesto Veggie Pizza: Lunch Style

I was trying to come up with something for the kids for lunch since school was cancelled again. I was tired of do the same old things for so I went to the fridge to see what we got. I found we still had leftover pizza sauce. I was going to make up a quick batch of dough but that sounded like too much work for lunch so I decided to just use the Sandwich Thins we had. As I was getting things set up for them to make their own little pizzas I had a great idea. Why not make the Pesto Veggie Pizza on one of the pizza thins. And I enjoyed it a lot and it was fast. Only 334 calories

What you will need:
About 6 Florets
11 calories

Cheese, Mozzarella, Shredded
1/4 Cup
84 calories

Sandwich Thins
1 Each
100 calories

2 Tablespoons

Set Oven to 350°. If broccoli is frozen steam in the microwave. for about 5 minutes. Open the sandwich thin and set on a plate. Put 1 Tb of Pesto on each sandwich half. Top with broccoli and then cheese. Put cheese last to ensure that the broccoli is in place. You can add any other veggie topping as well but there isn't much room so be careful not to stack too high. Put on a cookie sheet and place in the oven until the cheese is nice and melted. Should take about 5 to 7 minutes. You could also put in microwave if you need to save time but I imagine it wouldn't be as tasty.

Pesto Egg English Muffin

This what I eat just about every morning. It has gone through may different variations but has always had three main ingredients. Egg, cheese and Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles. I don't always use English muffins, most the time I use a bagel thin or a sandwich thin but the English muffin gives it a much better flavor and the pesto just make it so much more delicious.
After making the Pesto Pizza I had some left over pesto and thought maybe I should use it for my breakfast. I had forgotten how much I love pesto and adding to my sandwich was a great idea.
Very simple and quick. I have a round pancake/egg mold I set on the pan, spraying Pam on the mold and the pan. In a separate bowl mix one egg and the sausage crumbles in a bowl. Break the yoke if you want, I try to keep it whole; The burst of flavor when I bite into the yoke is amazing. This is a very versatile recipe; if you are vegan you can use your normal substitutes and still enjoy. Pour the egg/sausage mix in the middle of the mold and cook. Take a lid for your pan, put a little water in the lid, pour the water around the egg and cover. The steam will cook the egg faster. Meanwhile, toast your muffin checking back with you egg every 20 or 30 seconds and make sure it is done. Put it all together and your done.
Calories: 294
To reduce calories omit pesto, use egg substitute/whites, omit sausage or omit cheese.
Just don't do all or it doesn't taste as wonderful.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wallpaper: Towers in the Snow

Health Tip #22: Health Podcasts

One way that I am learning more about being healthy is by listening to health related podcasts. I have always listened to podcasts pretty heavily and when i started to work on being healthier I figured that will be the best way to get information. I started by subscribing to a lot and then weeding through those. Here are too that I find that I liked best.

The Jillian Michaels Show: Lots of rambling but filled with nuggets of goodness. What I like about her is she doesn't tip toe around she will tell you want you are doing wrong and tell you how to fix it.

The Nutrition Diva's Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous: Fast and under 10 minutes. Very useful information on eating healthy.

I also just found out that Diamod Dallas Page has DDPRadio. He has created the DDPYoga workout that I am really wanting to try. I haven listened to it but I will update if it is good or not.

This is one way I stay informed, it's not gonna be right for everyone but if you listen to the radio at all I suggest you look around. Go to iTunes and skim the Health podcast section and see whats there.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pesto Veggie Pizza

On Friday, I made this really good Pesto Veggie Pizza. In my attempts to eat healthier I am eating more veggies and this was my attempt to take something I love and still enjoy it. At first I wanted to do the veggie pizza I grew up on but found out it was made with cream cheese and ranch so I thought against it because my wife, Silva, hates ranch and Cream Cheese. I found this on pinterest and it linked up to Taste of Home. It was perfect because I have used pesto in a recipe in the past and loved it and the main topping is broccoli which I also love. And more important no cream cheese or ranch. At first I was weirded out by having to boil and then process the spinach with the pesto but it turned out amazing. Not to bad on the calorie count and very good. I made a regular pizza for the kids and was shocked when Liam, my  year old, wanted the veggies pizza instead. And he loved it. Success! The below photos are from me. The crust was a little too thick so try to get it very thin to really enjoy.

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 to 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3-1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1-3/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh broccoli
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 green onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the Parmesan cheese, oil, sugar, basil, salt, all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining whole wheat flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll dough into a 16-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Transfer to a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; build up edges slightly. Prick dough with a fork. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 1/2 in. of water to a boil. Add spinach; cover and boil for 3-5 minutes or until wilted. Drain and place in a food processor. Add pesto; cover and process until blended.
Spread over pizza crust. Top with broccoli, green pepper, green onions, garlic and mozzarella cheese. Bake 10-12 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Facts
1 piece equals 364 calories, 17 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 29 mg cholesterol, 543 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 19 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 2 fat, 1 vegetable.

Health Tip #21: Anti-Fun

Piggy backing on yesterday, remember to space out your free days. Yes its OK to have a free day, where you have a little extra here and there, but it is not OK to have a free day 2 days in a row. That is how bad habits are formed. By doing that over and over you get set into patterns and next thing you know you are doing it 3 nights a week, then 4 nights a week. Remember to set boundaries with yourself and stick with it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Health Tip #20: Fun

You don't always have to be uptight about health. Allow yourself to have some time to unwind. If that means having a little wine once a week or eating a bowl of ice cream. Its not the end of the world, enjoy it and don't beat yourself up over it. Because you know you will do fine tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Health Tip #19: Vitamins

Vitamins are a controversial subject. Many people feel they aren't needed. I don't agree with this. I feel vitamins are important; especially when losing weight. I feel this way because I have seen a difference in my weight lose numbers when I regularly take them. Many vitamins act as metabolism boosters and it is a good idea to take vitamins that will maximize your metabolism. I don't like to drink energy drinks (that will be another tip later) so I instead I take Vitamin B Complex which contain more of the same vitamins that are in energy drinks. Not only do B vitamins provide energy but it will also increase your metabolism and boost red blood cell production, I also am sure to take a daily Multi-Vitamins (like One-A-Day) that will fill out all my other vitamins that I am not otherwise supplementing. I take a Vitamin C chew-able as well because it, not only helps your immune system, but it also pulls iron out of your body to increase oxygen levels. And there is more Vitamin C will boost you metabolic rate and burn fat. I also take St. Johns Wart to boost my mood it help a little and I have found that I am in a better mood when I take it. Not really a substitute but it is better than taking Zoloft. I am considering taking a Vitamin D and E but I am still studying up on those.

Here are a couple links about fat burning vitamins:


Ok. So it's been 4 or 5 months so I guess its time to redo this blog again. My new focus with this blog is to highlight my photography, share great HEALTHY recipes I find and post health tips. I want to use this to motivate my healthy eating eating lifestyle and get myself back into photography. Keep coming back to see a daily health tip and look forward to some good posts in the future.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Health Tip #18

Don't listen to your treadmills data. Every treadmill manufacture calibrates theirs different and usually use extremely healthy men to calibrate their calories burned monitor. By doing this the number can become inflated beyond what you actually burn. There are many other factors as well. If you use the fat burning program you will be keeping your heart rate down to a low level and when your heart rate is low you will burn less and a treadmill doesn't account for this difference and will display a higher burn amount. Don't rely on a treadmills heart rate monitor either because in order to be accurate you will have to hold on to the handles for your entire run. If your holding on you cant run very well and wont burn as many calories. Best way to accurately know your calories burned is by having a heart rate monitor that straps to your chest and records calories burned based on that.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Health Tip #17

When starting a journey to better health don't be afraid to rely on others for support. Remember to be honest with yourself and share your progress with others good or bad. I am receiving so much support by great people that this quest is easier than I could imagine. On another note be sure to help your friends that are on the same journey. Help them when they are down and congratulations them when they do great. Even if they are doing better than you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Daily Health Tip #16

Hungry and its bed time. Eat something. The whole never eat before bed time is for the most part a myth. If its bed time and your tummy is rumbling have an apple or some yogurt. Something that will give you a quick fix but with a enough calories to satisfy you until morning. If you go to bed hungry you will wake up in the middle of the night and eat. And when your sleepy and groggy and starving you will go for what ever your dreamy mind can find, leftover cake, chips, ice cream, leftover fried chicken, half a package of Oreo's Wash it down with a big glass of milk and you just consumed 500 calories. If you are starved you will be more prone to over eat. And then morning comes and you eat a decent breakfast and don't record the late night "snack". If you do eat before bed try to stay ways from the fatty foods and breads.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Daily Health Tip #15

Plan your meals ahead of time. That way you will be less likely to eat out or to something bad.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Daily Health Tip #14

Crash diets are just that...Any diet that requires you to eat 2000 calories less is only going to hurt you. On the same token any diet that requires you eat a ton on meat and forgo ALL or extremely low carbs is also a train wreak waiting to happen. No one needs extreme measures to lose weight. If a diet is promising you will loss more than 2 pounds a week it is not safe. Your body is not designed for rapid weight loss, if you lose too much too fast you will gain most of it back... even more when you reach your goal and stop following that diet. This has happened to me with the south beach diet. I like The Biggest Loser but the reason these people are losing so much is because they are being constantly watched by doctors and if you look back a lot of them have gained a lot back. I heard a nutritionist say, "one women needs to lose 10 pounds and one women needs to lose 50. The first will adjust her eating and do more exercise and the other will do a crash diet and lose 50 pounds in the same amount of time women 1 does. Women 1 can return to her regular lifestyle and the other will continue to so that crash diet for the rest of her life in order to keep it off. Do you want to starve your self and never eat foods you like again and exercise 3 hours day? Probably not. Lose 1 to 2 pounds a week that is the best choice. There is one sure fire way to get better. Eat healthy choices more and sugary/high calorie choices less. You don't have to stop eating what you like you just have to control how much of it you take in. Go ahead and have that Snickers but only one regular size and only once a week or less. Not everyday. And on the other side. Gimmicky exercise programs. Don't choose these 150 dollar DVD sets that promise all the shiny things. These companies put all the great things on the box and make promises that you will have results in blah blah weeks. Real life doesn't happen over a couple weeks. Chances are it took years to get the way you are and you WONT change overnight. Just start walking more, get more active and sit less. Pay attention to how many EXTRA calories you burn and stay within a budget that is right for you. It doesn't have to cost money to get guaranteed results. It only costs willpower.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Daily Health Tip #13

NO Artificial Sweeteners. We all know they aren't the best for us, but they are zero calories so they can't be all bad...right? Wrong. It is true that we need to cut back on sugars but it should not be replaced with chemicals that have been designed in a lab. The 3 main Artificial Sweeteners, Equal (Aspartame), Splenda (Sucralose) and Sweet and Low (Saccharin) are what we all see. They are also the worst thing to replace sugar with. When we eat something sweet we are telling our bodies that there will be lots of energy coming but when that energy never comes then our bodies start to tell us we are hungry, thus we eat more than we should because we feel hungry. They are also addicting so we always crave more sweeteners, which will cause us to crave more food and when your body is used to a highly sweetened things we crave more sweet foods. Still want that sweet taste in you coffee? Switch to NATURAL sweeteners like honey, agave or Stevia. I just switched to stevia. Since I have stopped drinking pop i am finding that I am not craving the artificial sweeteners as much so i am attempting to break myself from over sweetening my coffee and tea. I also feel that by doing this I will stop my body from only wanting sweet so I can get more used to the lightly sweetened GOOD foods like vegetables and fruits.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Health Tip #2

Most people don't realize how many calories they eat in the day. Start writing down what you eat either in a phone app or by hand you will be shocked at the number whether it is high or low. If you eat more than you burn you will keep gaining and if you eat too little your body goes into starvation mode and will store all the extra fat causing a stop in weight loss. It is also important to eat meals at the same time every day and have a decent sized breakfast every morning to maximize your metabolism.
Oh and that salad you get at that restaurant thinking its good for you has way more calories than you think.