Have you been on the search for a brownie recipe that your whole family can enjoy? I have!
My husband eats a gluten free diet, I don't eat refined sugar, and my kids don't like anything that might remotely be good for them!
Finally I whipped up the perfect brownie recipe! These little brownie bites are gluten free, they have no refined white sugar, they are Vegan, they have no flour, they only have 2.6g of carbs per brownie, and they boast 2.25g of protein per brownie!
They came out gooey and oh-so-chocolatey! My children won't quit asking if they can have more of them! Yayh! Eat your heart out!
What you'll need:
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
1/2 Cup Ground Pecans (the finer you can grind it the better)
1/2 Cup Gluten Free, Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder (you can use regular flour if you don't mind them not being gluten free)
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Celtic Salt (or regular salt)
3 tsp Chia Powder mixed with 3/4 Cups Water - allow to sit for 20 minutes (or you can use 3 Tbsp Flaxseed mixed with 1/2 Cup water or 3 eggs if you don't mind that they are not Vegan)
3 Tbsp No Sugar Added Apple Sauce
1 Tbsp Vanilla Flavoring
Combine all dry ingredients.
Combine all wet ingredients and mix with a hand mixer for 30 seconds to a minute.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and continue mixing with blender until batter is smooth.
Scoop into a mini muffin pan (I didn't use liners - I sprayed the pan with Olive Oil Cooking Spray).
Cook at 350 for 15-18 minutes.
Servings: 24 Brownie Bites
Nutritional Info: Calories Per Brownie: 47, Carbs Per Brownie: 2.6, Protein Per Brownie: 2.25
Let me know what you think of these brownie bites! Did you like them? Do you have suggestions for making the recipe even healthier (other than using black beans!)? I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment please!
Short answer - They BOTH matter...but for different reasons. So, depending on your goals, here's the long answer...
Food matters more for losing weight. You can workout for hours and hours and not undo a bad diet. Most 1 hour workouts will burn 400-600 calories. That's one donut! So, for losing weight you must make healthy food choices and limit your total caloric intake. Wait - don't leave!!! I'm not saying "Never eat a donut". I'm not about deprivation or starving so - Yes, please do eat that donut if you really want it. Just try to keep your "donut" meals to less than 20% of your overall meal plan and you will be fine. If you are new to healthy eating and need help check out The Healthy Eating Newbies Corner. If you already know what you should be eating but need some new recipes and ideas click here. Losing weight may be necessary for you and if that is the case - congratulations... you are in the right place to get started on changing your eating habits. However, losing weight through diet only and not working out will leave you with saggy skin, cellulite, and a "skinny fat" body. So, working out is a necessity. More about this under "Body Composition".
If you want a sleek and toned body you MUST workout. Working out only and not controlling your diet will certainly provide health benefits and build muscle; however, you will never see the muscle because it is covered by a later of fat. Lose your excess pounds by eating right and taking in the appropriate amount of calories per day as explained above under "Losing Weight". Reveal toned muscles by working out. Here's some workouts to get your started. Or, try one of our Challenges.
For overall health you need both healthy eating and exercise. Countless studies have shown that eating right and exercising can help with your heart health, cholesterol levels, anxiety, stress, increased energy levels, and so much more. I won't bore you with the details or with hundreds of links to prove this point to you. You already know through common sense that you need to eat a healthy diet and workout so just go do it!
Please comment below and let me know what you think is more important - food or exercise - and WHY.
Find Motivation to Get Back on Track to Your Fitness Goals
Two Words - Get Obsessed!
Have you ever taken a break from your healthy eating and working out and then just been totally incapable of getting back on track? Yes? Well, me too. I'm there now.
A few months ago my husband and I took an awesome trip to Las Vegas. While we were there I threw all of my clean eating and fitness knowledge out the window. I ate stuffed burritos, carrot cake, chips, and anything else my little heart desired. I also drank enough vodka to stock a liquor store. Yep, good times. :->
Now, 2 months later (and 10 pounds heavier) I just can't seem to get myself motivated to get back on track. Usually I need some sort of motivation to get me going - something like swim suit season coming up, a trip coming up, a competition....something. I guess since we got back from Vegas I've been so consumed in the every day rat race of life that I just haven't taken the time to focus on finding a reason to get motivated. Now I have the best reason ever to get motivated - I feel like shit and I want my healthy, toned, energized body back! Sound familiar?
So, I'm getting obsessed. I'm getting obsessed with giving my body the "fuel" it needs to perform at it's maximum for me. I'm getting obsessed about not putting SHIT in my body! I'm getting obsessed about working out and earning back my body!
Join me by implementing these obsessive behaviors in your daily life:
Plan every single bite you will take each day. Use this template.
Track every tiny morsel you put in your mouth. Use this template.
Plan at least 5 workouts per week. Here's some ideas for workouts.
Track your workouts.
At the end of each day let your kids review what you have eaten! Seriously - if you know your kids are going to see every unhealthy piece of crap you have put in your mouth throughout the day you WILL be less likely to eat the crap. You wouldn't let your kids binge on a whole sleeve of thin mints so why would you allow yourself to? And really, do you want to have to explain to your kids why they live by the standard you preach but you don't?
Now go do it!
Comment and let me know what you do to get back on track!
Ok, so maybe you are not fat and instead you just want to be in better shape but no matter what you try you just can't seem to get there. I'll bet you have tried countless nutrition and fitness plans but ended up bailing on them because they were all just too damn complicated, didn't fit your lifestyle, or required too much time? If this sounds familiar please rest assured that you are not alone. I have talked to masses of people in the past who want to live a healthier lifestyle but get too bogged down in the details of whatever "diet" they are following at the time and just throw in the white flag.
The key is to figure out what works for you...keep it simple...and do it! Instead of dishing out a ton of money on the latest, biggest, and best diet and fitness plans on the market try this - Think about YOUR life and build a plan around it.
Get Out Your Calendar
Everyone has a different schedule - Maybe you are a stay at home Mom who's life is somewhat in check during the day but then gets insane after you pick the kids up from school. Maybe you are a CEO who travels frequently. Maybe you are a working Mom who has very little time to yourself except the weekends. Whoever you are, you have a complicated schedule and you need a food and workout plan that will work for your life and schedule. Odds are you probably have some days where there is not much going on after work/school/whatever and other days where you are going hard from the time your feet hit the floor in the morning until you go to sleep at night.
So, whoever you are...
Get your calendar out. Update it with EVERYTHING you will be doing for the week.
Determine which days you will have time to cook meals vs. which days you will really have no choice except to eat out or have something that you prepared on your less busy days.
Determine which days you will have time for a workout (even if it's only 20 minutes) vs. which days there will be absolutely zero time to fit in a workout.
Only plan for 1 week at a time...not a month, not a quarter, not a year. OMG - no one's life stays the same month after month, year after year. Planning your food and workout plan for anything more than a week at a time is asking for failure.
What to Eat and Which Workout Plan to Follow
You are smart and you don't need me to specify what you will eat and when you will eat it or exactly what workout you should do and when you should do it...Look at your calendar and your life and plan accordingly using these guidelines.
For real - keep it simple. Figure out which days you will have time to cook and which ones you won't. When you cook, make enough for a couple of meals. If you have no choice but to eat out then so be it. That's not an excuse to give up and cram your face with a ton of junk. Make smart choices. Stay away from fried shit and desserts.
Plan your meals and put them on the calendar based on your schedule for the week.
Try to stay away from junk like fried foods, alcohol, and sweets. I'm not telling you to give them up. Just try to minimize them. Make a rule for yourself like "This week I won't eat any dessert but during the game on Saturday I'll have some hotty toddy's and I'll enjoy every second of it." Or "This week I will not have any fried foods until Friday night when I go out with the girls." Whatever, the idea is to make a couple of small rules for yourself that won't leave you feeling restricted and deprived. Life is short. Live it.
Try not too eat too many carbs in the evenings. So, don't say, "I can't have carbs". Instead, at night when you are craving some carbs say to yourself, "I can do without them tonight and instead I'll have a little treat tomorrow morning after my workout".
If you need some ideas for healthy meals, try these. If you need ideas for healthy snacks try these.
The point is, plan your meals and put them on your calendar. Don't totally deprive yourself but be smart about your choices.
Don't get bogged down in all the crap out there that says you must do a specific workout on a specific day at a specific time. Bluggghhh! It's all BS. Well it's probably not ALL BS but most of it is and what isn't BS is written for serious body trainers - not us everyday folks just trying to feel better about ourselves. Bottom line is that you need to be doing some cardio and you need to be doing some lifting. You can get workout ideas here.
Shoot for working out 3-5 hours per week doing cardio, weight lifting, and/or meditation and stretching. If you can't do 3-5 hours then just do what you can - anything is better than nothing!
On your free days try to do a longer workout so you can makeup for the days you can't fit one in. Or on the days you can't do a workout do some push-ups and squats and lunges before your shower, after your shower, before bed, whenever.
The point is, figure out what you can do and when you can do it and put it on your calendar!
So hopefully this post will inspire you to simplify and enjoy your life by getting out your calendar, making a plan, and sticking to it the best you can. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this post and if you plan to implement my suggestions.
So, for the 2nd year in a row I'm going on a mission trip to Nicaragua. Since I have been before, I know that I will have no control over my workout schedule or what is offered to me to eat.
I am allowed to take a small amount of snacks with me but for the most part I have to eat what is there. Last year there was an abundant supply of packaged crackers, cookies, and cereal bars...none of which I eat on a normal day. The meals were (as expected) cheap and made with lots of carbs...after all rice & pasta go the farthest when feeding a ton of people. I'm not complaining about the food. I was very thankful for the food we were being served. I'm just saying that it's not what I would normally eat.
My particular job on the trip requires a ton of physical activity. I run what we call "Wal-Mart". I am responsible for distributing all of the donated items and rice and beans. For 12 hours a day (minimum), I am moving and unloading boxes. I'm on my feet ALL day. I am burning a ton of calories but I don't feel complete if I don't meet some sort of workout goal. Last year I set a goal of doing 3 sets of 50 crunches and 10 push-ups each morning. I love good challenge. I stuck to it most mornings and on those days I felt better mentally. This year I plan to do my "1 Week Keep the Control Challenge".
I feel absolutely pathetic and worthless that these are my concerns when going into this mission trip. Really? I'm concerned about whether I eat too many processed calories and whether I get to do a workout each day? My daughter is going on the trip with me. I should be concerned about her well being. The people we meet are sick, poor, and stuck. They walk miles and miles in the rain, often starting their journey before the crack of dawn and not returning to their home until after dark. For many of them this will be the first and only time in their lives to be seen by a doctor. The rice and beans I give them will be the only food they have. The clothes and donated items I give them will be worth more to them in their world than a new piece of Tiffany's jewelry is worth to us in our world.
So this year instead of obsessing over my food and workouts, I will take the time each day to be thankful for the things that really matter.
My family is healthy. I am healthy.
My precious 10 year daughter, my sister and my Mother will be there with me.
My family will never go a day in their lives wondering where their next meal will come from.
My children have access to the best medical care in the world (obviously, I hope they will never need it).
When I leave Nicaragua I will be returning home to a loving family, a beautiful home and community, and the privileges that come with being born in the land of opportunity.