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