Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Not so stylish dresses

Can someone reach out to the designers who put out the wretched bubble skirted holiday dresses? Send them a message "they didn't work well in the '80s and they are even more repulsive now!" These dresses appear to have forgotten/unfinished hem lines, as if the dressmakers forgot to remove the pins when they were putting the finishing touches on the lines. OK, simmer down Audrey. Seriously, I was scrambling to find a sleek and stylish gown for an appropriately sleek and stylish event and could only find, Empire waist, bubble hem gowns. To quote a male friend who was "enjoying" the Audrey Taylor Last Minute Scramble fashion show,” those dresses make you look pregnant." --So eloquent dear friend. By pregnant, he means what? Round, hefty, or gorgeous and glowing? From the look on his face I think he wanted to say fat, but was too smart to drop that word on a frazzled gal. Bottom line, I went to the event feeling very un-chic in a dress that was 5 seasons old (but still respectable). However, there was bitterness in my heart that night for all the “evil” pseudo designers who put out bubble dresses for the Holiday Season. A pox on them! BTW, my sugar/Splenda cookies were a hit at the office, and just for JB I added extra red and green sprinkles. Happy and Stylish Holidays!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Santa Baby...

Santa Baby…

As it is official cookie decorating time, "Hello, Santa needs those cookies or not gifts for you!", I have cracked open the Splenda recipe book. I now present the lower calorie alternative to Santa's favorite -- THE SUGAR COOKIE. Special thanks to those delightful little “elves” who put together The Splenda World of Sweetness cookbook! See page 108 in the book for the actual recipe...

Sugar cookies

Nonstick spray for baking sheets
4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup Splenda Sugar Blend
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. SIFT flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Next use a mixer to cream the butter. Gradually add in the Splenda Baking Blend, while still mixing (aprox 2 minutes). Add each egg, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and continue to blend. Turn the mixer to LOW speed and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just blended. Now divide the dough in half, cover with plastic wrap and stick into the fridge for about 1 hr. Go get a mani/pedi while waiting for dough to chill.

An hour or so later, return to kitchen with freshly manicured nails, and make sure your polish is dry before advancing to next step. With dry nails, remove dough from fridge. Work with one portion at a time. Sprinkle flour onto your CLEAN counter, sprinkle flour on the dough, grab your rolling pin and get to work flattening out the dough until 1/8 inch thickness. Now use your fave cookie cut outs to create your sugar cookies. Place cut out cookies on greased baking sheet and bake until lightly brown, 8-10 minutes. If you plan on frosting these babies, make sure they are nice and cool before you begin. To frost -- call up your best gal-pals, grab a super bottle of wine, invite everyone over to slather frosting and sprinkles on the cookies, and catch up on all the latest gossip. Now that is multi-tasking at its finest! ~Happy Holidays~ Audrey T.

More Splenda recipes here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fighting the winter lazies

Baby its cold outside....As the strains of my all time favorite crooner, Dean-O, play on my iPod. Yes it is cold but not too cold to stick to our healthy eating and exercise. As you can read from my last couple of posts it is hard to be disciplined every day...when short days combine with chilly temperatures to make my usual round of excuses seem more viable, "it's too cold", "I'm too tired", "All I want is meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy, forget the health food". Never fear, Audrey is here with some easy ways to fight back and stay fit and fab!

1. Power in numbers -- grab your best pals and head outside for a brisk walk. It's a safe and fun way to exercise in the winter. What could be better than combining heart healthy exercise, beautiful winter evenings, and all the latest gossip!

2. Fire up your competitive spirit -- This works great for you and your guy friends. Make sticking to a fitness routine a competition between you and your best guy. Award points for achieving your daily fitness goals and set a time period for the competition (say a 10 week winter challenge). At the end of the challenge, add up the points and the "loser" gets to treat you to a ________ (fill in the blank with what ever you decide as the prize). BTW -- my very best guy has boldly entered the ring with yours truly for our own 10-week winter challenge. Bring it baby!

3. Buy yourself a Holiday present -- Yes, it is better to give than receive, but when it comes to your health it is ok to invest in YOU. While you are out shopping for gifts for all your friends and family, take a break at a local book shop, grab a skim frappuccino and peruse the cook book section for a great, low cal recipe book. My mom recently surprised me with a copy of the Splenda®, World of Sweetness dessert cookbook. It is unbelievable. Think of every dessert you love and subtract 1/2 the calories but keep all the yummy taste and you have some idea of what awaits you inside the pages of this little collection of sweetness.
OK, onward and upward. Keep up the effort and focus on all the super health benefits of winter exercise and flavorful, low fat comfort foods! Take care, Audrey

Friday, December 01, 2006

Reality check -- moderation please!

I am posting based on inspiration that came from an email exchange with a visitor to the blog. This lass had some questions that got me thinking about the essence of life. BALANCE. Equilibrium. What every organized system strives for on a continual basis. Life is about maintaining balance and if something occurs to push us out of equilibrium, internal and external forces work vigorously to put things back in place. In diet, exercise, nutrition it is no different. I don't punish myself if I slip out of a hard-core, early morning workout schedule. In the long run, a few skipped sessions on the elliptical are not going to make a difference if they are balanced by moderation in calories (with the help of low-calorie foods and snacks - a la Splenda®) and vigorous activity on most days. The same is true with any vice, be it chocolate or a delicious spending spree. It is what we do consistently that defines the quality of our lives. Enjoy life, be gentle to yourself, and savor the pleasures that surround you! Happy Friday!
Audrey T.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Peel me another grape -- Dahlin'

While on the look out for new and healthier recipes I came across a wonderful collection of dishes created by the grape growers of California. The little brochure was packed with beautiful pictures and wonderful nutrition information about the tiny, sweet berries we all take for granted...the unassuming little grape. Did you know that a phytonutrient in grapes, resveratrol, is linked to improved brain health, is credited with the beneficial effects of red wine consumption, and has strong anticancer properties. Just 2 1/2 cups of fresh grapes provides enough resveratrol to cut the risk of certain cancers in half (specifically prostate cancer -- attention gentlemen!) Another powerful compound in the grape, flavonoids, are shown to play an important role in cancer prevention and prevention of heart disease. The flavinoids can help protect the heart and blood vessels against oxidative tissue damage. The best thing of all is that grapes are delicious, easy to snack on and easy to pack for lunch or as a pre-dinner indulgence. Audrey loves tasty tidbits that are healthy!! Pass me a grape... BTW, the benefits of grapes and grape seed extracts are found all over the cosmetic department at your fave department store. For example, a recent emergency trip to Nordstrom's beauty counters turned up a wonderful eye cream containing grape plant extract. I love this product. Lanc├┤me even has a moisturizer (super, wondrous moisturizer) that contains the essence of my new favorite berry (and yes, grapes are berries, not fruit). What could be better, rub them on your face, slather them on as moisturizers, cook with them, drink them, eat them...its better than the incredible edible egg. We have the super, sumptuous and snackable grape. Check the recipe below for one twist on the super berry! Ciao!!

Black Fruits in Lavender Honey Glaze
Serves 12 (1 cup each)

Lavender Honey Glaze:
1-½ tsp. Dried lavender blossoms
½ cup honey, warmed
1 Tbsp. Orange zest
½ cup Orange Juice

Fruit Salad:
4 cups fresh blue-black seedless grapes
3 cups blackberries
3 cups dark, sweet cherries, pitted
2 cups black-skin plums, sliced

12 fresh lavender blossom sprigs, for garnish

In a small bowl, whisk together glaze ingredients until well combined. In a large bowl, combine fruits for salad. Pour glaze over fruits and toss gently to coat. Garnish with fresh lavender blossom sprigs. Enjoy!

Recipe found on freshCaliforniagrapes.com – check it out for other great grape dishes!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Feel the burn even when it's cold outside...

This time of year always seems to transform me into a fireside loving, book reading, late sleeping couch potato. I don't know if it is the short days and cool temps that naturally stir the hibernation instinct, but the 5 am workouts get harder and harder to do.

I think we all tend to eat a little more holiday fare, which is rarely low-cal, and if we are not out of doors chopping wood then the holiday pound(s) can creep on. Suddenly all my jeans have shrunk! The answer is to slip activity into the daily grind. For some examples, check out these easy and efficient ways to burn 100 calories:

  • 20 min power walk = 100 cals
  • set the table and prepare a meal = 100 cals
  • clean up the kitchen and wash dishes (35 min) = 100 cals
  • fold laundry (40 min) = 100 cals
  • step aerobics (10 min) = 100 cals
  • rake lawn and sack leaves (25 min) = 100 cals
  • weed the flower beds (20 min) = 100 cals
  • run up and down the steps for 15 min = 100 cals

It is easy to see that daily 'chores' and a little brisk movement can add up to significant caloric burn. Simple ways to fight the winter hibernation mode and holiday weight gain. Don't overlook the power of simple substitutions. As a good friend of mine reminded me this morning "Low-calorie and sugar-free products allow people to make simple substitutions. For example, by using a low-calorie product, anywhere from 50 to 150 calories can be saved. Over the course of a year, if used daily, that can translate to a 5 to 15 pound weight loss." Please pass the Splenda®!! Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Plain old Puritan fear...

"Bottom line: Sweeteners work if you use them to replace caloric treats and drinks; fear of sweeteners is probably plain old Puritan fear of unearned pleasure." http://www.psychologytoday.com/rss/pto-20060925-000006.html.

I have listed the link above as one of the best reviews on sweetener effectiveness in weight loss and insight as to why there is controversy surrounding anything with a sweet taste. It seems there are people who would oppose anything that is tasty regardless of its origins -- bees, beets, science...if it is sweet then it can't possibly be harmless...OK, relax, deep breath... In my view, we were meant to enjoy life and not be consumed with unnecessary worry. So the article, which appeared in Psychology Today, speaks to that point. I guess I am on hyper-drive since my return from FL. Need the weekend and some time with friends to unwind.

Speaking of FL, you can still wear white in November as long as you are in FL. Apparently that applies to any traditional summer color or style. Saw some of the most outrageously colorful outfits while in Naples. It was fun to watch the parade. I was glad I brought lighter colors with me once I left the plane and began walking through the airport...wow! My eyes! My eyes! I didn't know citron yellow and lime green were wardrobe staples for folks...I say, if you've got it then flaunt it (esp. in your lime green platforms!?!). Strange and full of fun. This is just a quick hello before I run out for the weekend. Later alligator...BTW they feed alligators in the Everglades marshmallows as part of the “swamp tour”...don't ask! --A.T.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The case of the disappearing oatmeal cookies....

Ok, still reveling in this beautiful fall. It is out of this world, both in terms of tree color and temperatures. I have been spending evenings curled around a good book, in front of a roaring fire, sipping my fave herb tea (loving a blend of roobios, white tea, vanilla and jasmine, from a tiny, specialty tea house in Roswell, GA). The book I am reading is the second book by Mireille Guiliano, French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, and Pleasure. YUM! If you haven't read the first book, French Women Don't Get Fat, I say RUN to the store and read it cover to cover. One of the best health/lifestyle books ever written. Anyway, love this fall weather and it inspires more culinary experimentation in the kitchen...I have created the ultimate oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. To be truthful, I started with the traditional Quaker Oats recipe, combined it with some common sense, and Voila -- Disappearing, Healthyish Oatmeal Raisin cookies.

Here's the recipe:
(2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened -- this is the splurge/indulgence a la French Women
1 1/2 cup firmly packed Splenda® brown sugar baking mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked) -- can also try, Uncle Sam's Oatmeal with flax seeds
1 cup raisins (Organic preferably)

Mix above ingredients, spoon onto cookie sheets and bake 10-15 min in 350 degree oven...They truly do disappear because they are soooo fabu! Ladies, a Skinny Jeans reminder. For this and other delectable fall/holiday treats make sure you implement the Rule of ONE...take one cookie, savor it and leave the rest for your friends and family. This rule will help keep off pounds making the Skinny Jean possible, spread love and goodwill throughout your network, and allow you to indulge/enjoy the efforts of your labors. Love Ya! Savor the season, roast some pumpkin seeds, and look out for more...Off to Naples, Friday. Might need to send a FL report ;-).

Audrey T

More Splenda recipes here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fall in full

Fall in Full
Woke up this morning to the first frost of the year...burrr! Maybe now the mosquitoes will all be dead and I can enjoy my evening cup of tea (with Splenda) and the outdoors without donating a pint o'blood. What to be for Halloween? Excellent question...a packet of Splenda? A box of Splenda? Just something that doesn't require a tremendous amount of sewing and will serve as blatant advertising for my favorite sweetener. Speaking of sweet, I have a stylish new pair of "skinny" jeans...I bent under the peer pressure and bought a pair of the new jeans. I just can't bear the site of them. I am all for fashion forward, but I lived through the 80's and firmly believe it was a sad time in fashion. So I have these "sweet" new jeans and they are just hanging in the closet staring me down. Each time I reach for them I shudder in Halloween horror as thoughts of big hair bands, leg warmers, over-sized sweaters, and Joan Jett race through my mind...I just can't go there. I am a bit disappointed that I am not more adventurous, heck I'll even try leggings this season, but skinny jeans...what's next? Acid washed jean jackets? Gross...So I think the jeans will remain hanging in the closet, and I might bust out in full 80's garb for my Halloween costume. I'll just carry my sugar-free, Splendafied mixer with me to the parties, skipping the Splenda costume, and show up as that chick from flash dance...shudder at the thought!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Audrey the Iron Woman?

The other day a devilishly handsome friend of mine completed a sprint triathlon. Invigorated from the experience the suggestion was made that I sign up for one of these "life changing" events. Hmmmm...swim in the ocean with sharks getting kicked in the head by the other 100 o crazed thirty something women in the water, run to a station and change into bike clothes w/helmet and bike my buns off, then round out the day with a knee busting run. OK, I'm in. Where do I sign up? Maybe it was the dizzyingly attractive cologne Mr. Triathelete was wearing, but in a moment of complete silliness, I, Audrey Taylor, agreed to start training for a "tri-sprint". How do I back out now, without major knee surgery as an excuse? Bottom line is that I will (ok, might, no I will) be competing in march in one of these fun events. It will at least be great motivation to stick to my workout routine and maybe even ratchet it up a little. All this said after a plate of fried eggs and tater tots for "brunch". Not exactly of the low-calorie plan, but definitely allowed as a treat. I did promise my friend to go running this afternoon, and I can use tater-tots as fuel for my run! It is at least beautiful fall weather, and I won't be sweating like a sow in my running suit. Now I’ll have to start researching a sports performance-eating regime. I bet the blue berry muffins would fit in perfectly!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Kitchen Chemistry or Weird Science?

Kitchen Chemistry or Weird Science?

I spent time baking this weekend...yes, Audrey was in the kitchen using those oven mitts. In my desire to makeover everything, I tried my hand at fortifying my favorite blue berry muffins. I love the Duncan Hines Bakery style muffins, but they are a little too high in empty calories. So I put on my Chef's hat and went to work to add some healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, and protein. They aren't perfect, but not bad for a first attempt. PS, I also hit the Columbus Day pre-sales and found some amazing fall clothes. A wine colored poor boy sweater for $10 that matches the blue berry muffins...how special! ;-P Have fun with the recipe and do a little experimenting of your own. I'd love to know how it works out.

Healthier Blue Berry Muffins

1 Box of Duncan Hines Bakery Style Blue Berry Muffins
2 cups frozen blue berries
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup whole flax seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
One egg
*******************************
Crunchy Topping
2 Tbsp Smart Balance margarine (light)
1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Splenda for Baking
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Pinch of salt (to taste)

Preheat the oven and prepare the muffin batter according to the directions on the box (adding the canned blue berries, egg, and water or milk). Then add the frozen BB, oatmeal, protein powder, and flax seeds. Check batter consistency. Add one egg and a little more water if the muffin batter is too thick. Spoon batter into muffin cups or into greased muffin pan. For the topping, melt the margarine in a saucepan and remove from heat. Next, add the Splenda and the pecans and a pinch of salt. Stir all ingredients. Topping should be moist and crumbly. Top each muffin with the mixture and bake as directed on the box. They should come out of the oven when the tops are golden brown. Note: because of the added protein, they will have a different consistency than standard muffins (might be a little chewy). Play around with the recipe to adjust it to meet your taste/preferences. Hope you enjoy!

Nutritional advantages:
Higher fiber
High protein
Lower glycemic load
Omega 6 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Increased anti-oxidants

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stop, shop, and roll...

Stop, shop, and roll…

Dear readers, many apologies for my absence. I was in D.C. for work. By the way, Chevy Chase, a little far out there, is nearly shopping nirvana. So many stores, so little time.

A few comments on the five pounds. First, vigilance is key. I have been working on daily vigorous exercise and simple substitutions to reduce calories. Some secrets from my dietitian friends: trade out the regular candy bars for lighter versions (at about 120 cals per bar). These can be found on the diet food isle at the grocery store. Eat more seasonal fruits and veggies. Fall is apple season and apples hit the sweet craving and add a nutritious punch of fiber and antioxidants. Add some light yogurt to your fruit and you get muscle retaining protein and bone building calcium as added bonus. Plus, the combination of fiber and protein from this snack combo keeps you full for hours.

Second, it is a daily commitment, and I mean daily, every morning, every meal we get the option to be health or not. It’s great to have so much choice, but a little scary if we don’t remind ourselves how important it is to make healthy choices as many times as possible throughout the day.

Pay dirt for me…. happy to report, admittedly overdue, the five pounds have come and gone. My reward (and it is important to reward yourself when you reach goals) I am plotting my fall fashion shopping spree at my “playing weight”. Translation├ámy normal, healthy, gee I feel great-- weight. As opposed to a sluggish, should I leave this shirt untucked, can you pass some more Oreos, is this a heart attack or just indigestion—weight.

What is the big deal about five pounds. Let's think of it this way. Fat takes up more space than muscle. If you ever have the opportunity to see a model of 5 lbs of fat, you might be shocked at how much space it occupies. Incredibly gross to imagine it tucked around the body. Also, for each pound of fat, the body 'nourishes' it with a complex web of capillaries (little, teeny-tiny blood vessels) to the amazing extent of one mile of blood vessels for every pound of fat. Think of the extra demand that places on the heart. No wonder high blood pressure is closely linked to even moderate overweight. Ms. Taylor sans 5 extra miles of heart-stressing capillaries. My heart beats for joy!

So back to vigilance. You must be bold and determined to take hold of your health, doggedly seeking out the truth and best practices for maintaining good health. As I have been on the road a great deal (and yes, I did take the walking shoes and hit the gym), I have heard more and more questions regarding the safety of low-calorie sweeteners. Time for some truth. Time for the facts.


FACT: low-cal sweeteners have been in the food supply (in some instances) for over a hundred years. They are some of the most highly studied/scrutinized substances around.


FACT: study after study (and I'm speaking of scientifically responsible studies, not the CRAP anecdotal studies on the net) prove that low-cal sweeteners are safe, safe, SAFE.


FACT: my pet sweetener Splenda®, has undergone the same intense level of safety confirmation and it is irrefutably safe. In fact, Splenda®/sucralose is not even metabolized. It passes out of the body because the body does not recognize it as a carbohydrate or sugar. It is not metabolized, does not build up in the body, and does not cause side effects. Need I go on? For more facts visit www.sucralose.org.


Well my lovelies, I hope you have a great week and I will be online more frequently. Look out for fall exercise tips and some great recipes in the weeks to come. Kisses! Audrey

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Five pounds later...

ADA Loha! It's a difficult life, that of a jet setting biz woman, but someone has to do it. Spent the last 5 days in Honolulu rubbing elbows with wizards of nutrition and health. Now that I am back safely in the Atl, let us turn our attention to one of the ugly consequences of business travel. I confidently stepped on the scale this a.m. and discovered five extra pounds...sur moi?!? Ok, one too many macadamia nut candies and a few networking cocktail parties, “bam!!!” (as sweet little Emeril might exclaim) my "thin" slacks are a little uncomfortable. This is no time to panic with the Autumnal equinox in two days, fall fashion is in full swing with slim fit jeans and tights back in style!!!

BTW, this as proof that slim and healthy are not effortless and calories do count, and count even more as we (fabulous women of the world) ripen/mature/smolder/bloom/gain wisdom/ok, age. I have another figure threatening business trip next week and I can't return with another five pounds, so it is time for a plan. I know my options for weight maintenance. Too many calories consumed and not enough calories burned makes Audrey's energy and health lag. To recover and re-balance, just flip the equation---seems so easy in theory, but when the chocolate cravings haunt you and jet lag makes diligence as appealing as last seasons jeans...
Here's the plan. Step 1, food journal. Keep closer track of exactly what I am eating, esp on those biz trips, so I can determine if I am really hungry or just tired and have an appetite. Step 2, exercise log. Keep track of daily activity. Heck they have workout rooms in hotels for a reason, and I will be packing my walking shoes. Step 3, hold off on those fatty indulgences until body is back in balance and the return on a healthier weight. Step 4, document progress in blog to stay accountable and if there are other ladies out there who want to lose 5 lbs with me, please respond! It's always easier to work off difficult pounds when you can do it with a friend.

Finally, Splenda® had come out with French Vanilla and Hazelnut flavored coffee sweeteners. I had a chance to try them in Hawaii and they are fabulous, plus zero calories! Might be a new addition to the morning routine. Stay strong, stay sugar-free, and TTFN!

Friday, September 15, 2006

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Living the low-cal lifestyle

Hello Monday! Is there a better way to start the week than with a vigorous 5 AM workout followed up with a protein and fruit smoothie, sweetened with Splenda®. I feel energized and in a great mood to tackle the week ahead, no matter what is waiting for this wily working girl. Now that is what I mean by the low-cal lifestyle. Care of mind, body, and spirit with strength building exercises, nutrient-packed food, and a positive mindset to take on the world. Before I run out the door, I grab some healthy snacks for the day (2-3 snacks or mini- meals), which will keep my energy up and metabolism boosted all day through. On the menu for today…whole grain crackers with slices of low fat mozzarella and green apple (enough for both mid morning and mid day snacks), low-calorie vanilla yogurt with Splenda®, ½ tuna salad sandwich on whole wheat bread with diet soda for lunch, and a yummy Asian chicken salad with a low-cal sesame dressing, which I make at home using Splenda®, for an early supper or a late day snack. These mini meals are all tucked securely in the company fridge, ready for me at any moment. The best thing about low-calorie living is that I actually spend less at the grocery store because I avoid all the junk food aisles, eat more nutritious foods by loading up on fresh fruits and veggies, and don’t sabotage all the effort I put in to my workouts. Living la vida low-cal is magnifico!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

In the beginning...

Why do I blog? The real question is why not. I’ll try almost anything once, from skydiving and bungee jumping to eating black pudding and haggis in the UK. Then there was that time in college when I wore a miracle bra to a frat party. Needless to say, that never happened again.

Another reason for this inaugural post, I finally succumbed to peer pressure after several friends talked me into it. Seeing as how there are already so many people posting their every thought and impulse on the World Wide Web, I figured why not join the crowd!

Most important, however, I’m writing this blog to both chronicle my efforts to maintain a healthier lifestyle and encourage others to do the same. Rapidly approaching the “Big 30” – and cursed with a family history that includes Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer – I’ve found it’s more important than ever to adopt a smart, balanced approach to eating and exercise.

If you’re wondering what kind of insight I could possibly provide, well who better to write about a low-calorie lifestyle than someone who works with the Calorie Control Council? After several years cranking copy for daily newspapers in various cities, I turned in my reporting notebook last fall and moved into the world of communications. Through the ironies of destiny, I’ve wound up in Atlanta, working with CCC and other non-profit associations. I have spent a good chunk of time in recent months reading up on research involving low-calorie sweeteners and fat replacers. And I now have the pleasure of hanging out with registered dietitians who can rapidly tick off the number of calories and fat grams typically found in a slice of pizza.

However, don’t think this blog is coming from some gal with a perfect figure who’s always been able to hit the size 4 and 6 racks in the juniors department. I’ve had my share of ups and downs on the weight merry-go-round. Thanks to competitive sports, I was fortunate enough to make it through adolescence and early adulthood without having to watch what I ate. So it was a rude wakeup call when I hit my mid-to-late 20s and realized my butt got bigger just looking at a piece of cake. Now almost 30, I’m still trying to get back to my previous size – but that struggle has become easier since adopting a lower-calorie diet.

So what is the good news? Well, for one, science proves that eating low-calorie foods containing sugar substitutes such as sucralose (brand name Splenda®) are not only safe, but also a smart way to maintain a slim figure. Now, rarely will a high-calorie food pass my palate if I can find a lower-calorie, sugar-free option. And speaking of low-cal options, Splenda has virtually changed my diet. I put it in my coffee daily and am increasingly incorporating it into baking and cooking recipes.
As I (cough) “mature,” science dictates that I could be putting on at least a pound a year due to loss of muscle and increased body fat. To counteract that, I’ve been exercising daily and eating lower-cal foods, i.e. fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grain breads and cereals, non-fat dairy. Let’s just say the days of mindless eating, beer bongs, tequila shots and chain smoking are officially over. I stay aware of calorie intake and how many of said calories I burn during the day. Like many other women, though, I still enjoy the occasional chocolate treat, pastry and cocktail. I’ve learned how to indulge in every one of these treats – and still regularly meet friends for dinner and drinks (in moderation, of course) - without packing on pounds. How? By making low-calorie substitutions whenever I can.

Be forewarned, this blog will be all over the board. Entries will range from the latest health news trends, scientific research, advice and commentary on “sugar-free” eating to snarky observations about general news and pop culture. Overall, I hope to help interested parties find ways to navigate this buffet of life while staying – or becoming – healthfully slim (no fad diets or eating disorders allowed). If you want the tricks of the trade, then this is where you’ll get the dish. Hope you enjoy!