Simple Snacks To Accelerate Your Weight Loss Efforts

 

The biggest problem with losing weight is not the calorie counting headache, or whether you are “burning it right” with back-breaking workouts.

The real problem is – sugar snacking!

We modern humans eat a lot more sugar than we were meant to be, which is also the source of our obesity problems.

So in this article, I’ll show you some awesome snacking solutions that will supercharge your weight loss journey, while helping you reduce your sugar cravings and dependency.

First of all, the simplest tip: let yourself snack on things like nuts or dried fruit in moderation to help you resist candy or ice cream.

Contrary to popular notion, sugar cravings can also be combated using natural alternative sweeteners, i.e. fresh fruits and nuts. While this might seem to be an entirely counterintuitive approach to avoiding sugar consumption, it does present many advantages.

Provided that you do not have a sensitivity to nuts or nut-based products, this might be an option worth considering.

A sugar-free existence does not mean you cannot consume sugar at all. In fact, most fruits are rich in sugar (hence their sweet taste), but they are completely devoid of processed sugar as well as other artificial sweeteners. These are the real evils you need to steer clear of, especially if you have a family history of diabetes or you are trying to achieve (and maintain your target weight).


Fresh Fruits – The Greatest Weight Loss Snack

Any one of these fruits would make an excellent substitute for candy and ice cream.

When you feel the urge to snack on a chocolate bar filled with tempting caramel, these fruits will certainly help curb your craving;

Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Cherries, Boysenberries, Blackcurrants, Red currants, Cranberries.

Grapes– These come in many different varieties, but the sweetest is the

Cardinal Grapes (sometimes referred to as Sweet Surrender), which is primarily red and have thick skins. These are favored by those who are on a fruit-only diet because they are not only sweet but also remarkably filling.

Tayberry – This is a cross between raspberry and blackberry. It is a very fragrant berry and is often used for making jams and preserves because of its tart but sweet flavor.

Elderberries – These are small, dark berries that grow in clusters that range from black to blue. They are commonly used as fruit ingredients for cakes, jams, syrups, and muffins. elderberries the best snack These are not overly sweet like sugar, but it entertains the palate sufficiently to take your mind off the forbidden treat.

Note: Berries (especially the wild varieties) are loaded with antioxidants that help prevent premature aging and avoid degenerative diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin C; so, while you are successfully avoiding sugar, you are also effectively strengthening your immune system and gums.

Apples – The Jonagold and Red Delicious are among the sweetest and crunchiest red apples available. If you are up for a bit of sour to go with the sweet, you can also go for Granny Smith apples, which are green in color and have a tart flavor.

Peaches and Apricots – These are very low in sugar content and are mostly available year-round. Peaches are particularly ubiquitous as they also come in a canned variety. These fruits are abundant in fiber as well; so, they make for excellent breakfast items as well (for better digestion). Organic peaches are always best, but those you can get in the regular produce section in the supermarket is just fine.

Figs – These are among the most underrated fruits there is, but they make for excellent snack foods. They can be eaten fresh or even grilled or mixed with other year-round fruits.


(Go) Nuts and Dried Fruits For Their Fat Melting Power!

What if you do not particularly like “wet” fruit? Perhaps the hassle of having to cut or peel it doesn’t resonate with you, or you are constantly on the go and do not always have time to shop for fresh produce. You still have a wide range of sugar-free treats that you can munch on, even on the road.

greatest snack are nuts

Dried cranberries – These come in snack sizes, which are excellent for when you are stuck in traffic and would want to keep yourself from stopping at the nearest fill-up joint for a candy bar or ice cream. Dried cranberries have a much more intense flavor than their fresh counterparts, and they are strangely more filling. These usually go well with nuts so if you are a snack-mix type of person; this is a good way to indulge without having to resort to sugar.

Dried mangoes – Some of the best-dried mangoes are imported from the Philippines. This South East Asian country is where you can find the sweetest organic mangoes, and the dried ones are just as impressive and delicious as the fresh ones. The export-quality mangoes come unadulterated, which means they are not laced with processed sugar, corn syrup, or any other additive.

Note: Philippine dried mangoes are sold in major airport lounges around the world as well as Asian specialty stores in the US, UK, Australia, and many countries in South East Asia.

Pili Nuts – This is another Philippine delicacy, which grows mainly in the Bicol Region. It is mostly sold as a sweet treat (pili nuts covered in caramel), but unsweetened Pili nuts are also available. They can be requested online, or you can purchase them in certain Filipino stores that sell delicacies.

Almonds – Roasted almonds are under-appreciated mostly because they are commonly found in the chocolate covered variety. These nuts are among the healthiest snacks that would curb not only your appetite for sugar but also your appetite for any junk food. They are best eaten with tart or sweet fruits, but can also be consumed on their own.

Pistachios – These are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and have quite a pleasing flavor that is unique unto itself. While these tend to be on the pricey side, they make for excellent snacks for people who want to avoid sugar as well as saturated fat since pistachios are often roasted.

Cashews – This completes the healthy nut trio, joining pistachios and almonds. These are very cheap so you can stock your pantry full of small cashew packets. These are not as greasy as peanuts and are quite filling as well, making it a great movie snack to replace that caramel popcorn you love so much.

Other nuts and dried fruits that are perfect for curbing your addiction to sugar include hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, and walnuts. These may have a bit of fat in them, but they do not contain processed sugars.


Concluding – Think About Simple Snacks For Fat Loss

One of the causes, why many people fall off the wagon after avoiding sugar for some time, is that they do not know clever ways on how to make fruits and nuts more interesting to eat. This is the number one reason for most people’s weight loss failure. Fresh fruits can always be pureed or blended down into shakes or smoothies or can be served chilled.

Also, some fruits (such as berries and anything that has a tart flavor) would shine even more when topped with Greek yogurt (unsweetened and all natural). It is a lot easier to avoid sugar altogether when you find newer and healthier ways to indulge.

This way, not only will you deprive yourself of some much needed energy boosters, but will also fill your body with the most essential nutrients, all the while knowing that your fat loss journey is right on its track!

Visit Bonny’s blog at https://skinnybonny.com/what-is-clean-eating/ to read many more such simple practical diet tips to lose weight and gain back your fitness.

DIY Homemade Dog Food

Homemade Dog Food feature

I never expected to be that dog mom that makes her own dog food for her animal. But we treat our dog exactly like what she is, a member of our family. We love her and, yes, we spoil her. And so does both set of grandparents. But there are two reasons it’s advantageous to give your dog human food: their health and your wallet.

Being an animal activist I research what animal food manufacturers I should buy from and I ensure that I’m not giving harsh ingredients (or support companies that are cruel to animals). So, obviously, we aren’t buying the super cheap food. In fact, I buy Blue Buffalo for all the animals. Then we supplement the dry dog food that we buy with human food. My father-in-law was a dairy and poultry farmer and my mom used to show dogs so they both are very helpful in our animals health, but so is the Internet now a days.

HUMAN FOODS YOU CAN GIVE DOGS

Here’s what I make for Shelby weekly:

  • Rice*
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potatoes

Foods for dogs*white rice is great fiber keeping both humans and animals in great health by clearing out toxins. This also makes her more regular and more predictable for husband and I so we don’t ever worry about what is waiting for us to clean up when we get home if we happen to both be out for 6-8 hours.

I steam the cauliflower in the microwave, boil the sweet potatoes on the stove, and make the rice in the rice cooker. It is so brainless and done in conjunction with our dinner it’s not even funny how little time is involved. For less than $3 a week all that goes a long way (even less if you buy rice and vegetables in bulk and then freeze the vegetables and store the rice). If your dog is a picky eater, you can throw in the chicken and carrots (and other ingredients) in a high quality Juicing Machine and add a nice beef broth – this should make it palatable for the pickiest of dogs.

I will then add in any of the ingredients that I have on hand depending on what we’re cooking for the human dinners:

  • Bacon
  • Leftover meats that have been unseasoned (I’ll purposely unseason or put off to the side meat we’re having for her)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Any other vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans, etc. All of these are so great for her.
  • Chicken broth (unsalted, unseasoned)

I can tell a big difference in her health and she has such a great coat of fur after adding these human foods to her diet. I mix it in all in a bowl with some dry food that that’s what I dish her food out of in the morning and the evening.

There are lots of other food that dogs can have, that I rotate in every so often depending on season and what we’re having ourselves but these aren’t as regular for her:

  • spinach
  • squash
  • pumpkin
  • brussel sprouts
  • carrots
  • zucchini
  • lean meats
  • salmon
  • apples, berries; other fruits dogs can have include oranges, bananas, and watermelon (all seeded, stemless, etc)

Human foods to never give dogs

  • avocado
  • salt, onions and garlic (hence why I make sure everything I give her is unseasoned)
  • grapes and raisins
  • candy and gum
  • chocolate
  • most dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese, and other cheese seems to be a popular dog treat but articles go back and forth)
  • many fruits like peaches (generally those with pits)
  • bread dough / yeast
  • baked sweets
  • nuts (particularly macadamia; the shells of other nuts like hazelnut, walnuts could be hurtful to their digestive tract lining so be careful with whole nuts)
  • tomatoes
  • mushrooms

Taking Another Break

Hello, friends!

I’m going to be taking the month of December off.  We are putting a lot of energy into Skill Space because we are excited and have a lot of plans to grow a community for creatives, entrepreneurs, and the likes over there.

We also have a lot going on personally and with my family that I’m looking forward to taking care of it all  in December.

Continue following along on Instagram and Twitter in the meantime.

I hope for a magical holiday season for you all!  Filled with many new memories and safe travels.  Surround yourselves with love and happiness as much as possible.

Holiday Card Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but there is a plethora of options for holiday greeting cards.  My husband and I aren’t the type of people to send out holiday cards with our faces on them, even now that we have a cute little munchkin.  But we do like to send out personalized cards, and typically I do the boring thing by just picking up a standard greeting card from Walmart or Target.  This year, I’m getting a little more creative and personal.

Plus, it’s that season after all for fun shaped cards with beautiful graphic designs (and deals galore!).

Holiday Card Inspiration

Be Merry • Dots of Love • Falling Leaves • Geometric Joy • Golden Season
Happy Hanukkah • New Year Glow • Peace Joy Love • Royal Stripes • Snowbells

Holiday Quality with AdoramaPix

I’ve worked with AdoramaPix both as a consumer and as a blogger and I have to say I love the quality products and the different options for photo products.  You can see my gallery wall makeover using AdoramaPix here.  Each of the prints are always on beautiful paper with excellent, rich color.  The company is wonderful to work with and really makes it easy to shop.  I highly recommend them and to prove all of this to you AdoramaPix is giving away a $30 credit for you to go do your own holiday card shopping!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and will be for a $30 shop credit to AdoramaPix.  To enter, simply enter and tweet about the giveaway.

Feel free to comment and tell us about your holiday plans, where you’ll be celebrating, but definitely check out AdoramaPix.com and browse around and let us know what you would spend your credit on! This giveaway ends on Wednesday with winners to be announced on Thanksgiving!

 

Disclaimer: this post has a sponsored giveaway by AdoramaPix; however the blog post topic, content, and opinions are 100% in keeping with my own thoughts.

DIY Yarn Wall Hanging

DIY Yarn Wall Hanging

A guest DIY post by The Lolly Project.

Some of my favorite things to create are different pieces of wall art.  After some quick brainstorming and surveying of the craft supplies, I decided to create a super easy wall hanging DIY – no weaving needed!

Supplies

  1. various colored yarn
  2. scissors
  3. wooden dowel or thin branch
  4. beads

Instructions

Take your yarn and measure out ten wingspans of each color.  Take one piece of yarn and, starting from the middle, create a loop and place it under the dowel.  Pull the two vertical strands through the loop and secure (images below).  Repeat those same steps until you have your desired size, and cut off any extra yarn at the bottom, creating your desired length.

Creating the loop

Take another length of yarn and attach it to each side of the dowel, enabling you to hang it on the wall!  I added a few beads to the ends, but feel free to customize it!

There you have it!  A super simple wall hanging that takes almost no time and no expertise in crafting!  It compliments any gallery wall and looks great with or without other pieces, like that flag from Flag Fest! Happy crafting!

How We’re Working On Becoming Better With Money (First Friday Financial)

How We’re Working On Becoming Better With Money

A first Friday Financial post

How_Working_on_Becoming_Better_With_MoneyWe aren’t as good as we would maybe like to be.  Well, maybe I’m not as good as I would maybe like to be.  I’m not the most disciplined person in the world and I leave my husband to the task of taking care of the finances.  He enjoys it so why not let him handle that aspect so it’s one less thing on my ever-filling plate?

Though leaving him to have that task definitely works for us, I do need to take a little more effort to understanding what is going on in our bank accounts.  So, my husband and I sit down at least once a month to make sure we are on the same page with how we spend and save the money we are earning.

Budgeting

Sounds like a d’oh captain obvious topic, right?  Well how DO you budget?  Do you use the envelope system?  That’s probably a highly advised system that isn’t so easy in this paperless world.

For us?  We have allocated certain amounts of money to the necessities and to various categories of savings.  We also have different credit cards that we use for certain things.  For instance, we have a Capital One credit card for gas and auto expenses, a credit card from our credit union for groceries, and an American Express that earns us Delta SkyMiles for the high bills like mortgage, utilities, etc.

We then try to stick to as close to our budget for the categories as possible.  In addition to groceries, bills, etc, we have monthly budgets for eating out at restaurants, pet supplies, donations, baby supplies, and entertainment.

Bonus tip: building multiple lines of credit and paying them off monthly really helps a credit score, which is important for buying items that might require a loan, like a car or a house, as well as opening bank accounts.

Savings

Anything outside of the necessities like food and the mortgage, we talk about together and try our best to plan ahead.  We have a few different savings accounts, including one for travel, one for investments, one for education, an emergency fund, etc.  All of these are deemed “discretionary” and are optional to contribute to monthly.  Therefore, should we be in a pinch financially (eg, one of us loses our job) we would stop allocating money to these accounts, but as long as we can afford to send money to these accounts we are better investing in our future and our daughter’s future.

Before we started the “discretionary” accounts, we made sure to have the recommended 3-6 months saved up to cover the mandatory bare minimum in case of a loss of income.  We still contribute to that fund, but now we are working on other the discretionary funds, like saving for the aforementioned with our daughter’s education and traveling.

Bonus tip: The key to deciding how to save is having an honest conversation with your spouse about what is the most important to you in your lifetime.  Want a big house?  To travel the world?  Retire early?  To us, travel is more important than retiring early (not that that wouldn’t be nice) so we make that a priority.

Keep Track of Expenses

Re-evaluating your spending is crucial to staying successful.  My husband probably does this daily and updates me on a need-to-know basis (he knows me so well) but we definitely sit down at least once a month to do a thorough job evaluating how we did that month and to try to plan ahead for the next month as much as possible.

Bonus tip: Mint.com and it’s mobile app helps us keep track of what we’re spending and where we’re spending it, if we’re in the green or red, if our financial patterns are in line with our goals and budgets, and a whole bunch of other really helpful stuff and my husband just swears by it.

Me?  I like the visuals: the pie graphs, the colors, and categorizing the purchases so that the bar charts readjust when I deem a purchase “kid supplies” instead of “groceries.”

Hire A Planner

We have a financial planner that helps us with investments (stocks, mutual funds, etc), but also helps us with long-term goals like saving for our daughter’s education and retirement.  Fortunately, we do not have any debt, but I know if we did a planner might be especially advantageous.  Regardless, we aren’t know-it-alls with finances, even though my husband does seem very well-informed and I do genuinely have an interest.  Having someone whose job it is to help us with our future is incredibly helpful because we want to make sure we can retire nicely and our kids will be okay.

Bonus tip:

Give Yourselves an Allowance

Starting in January of this year, my husband and I started giving ourselves what we call our own personal no questions asked pocket money.  We each have a certain amount that we allocate monthly to each other for the “allowance” or the “pocket money.”  This is so that we can save for personal items that we want to buy, like updating our wardrobe.

I think this has been great for us because I don’t think we liked having to “consult” with the other about the things we didn’t need but definitely really wanted and whether we were “allowed” to get it.  Plus we didn’t have a “budget” for it so it started getting difficult to track.

There’s been a few times where he’s asked if he could buy something and, though I very rarely say no, I completely didn’t understand why in the world that was important for him to buy.  For him?  He doesn’t understand my strong love of Kate Spade purses.  But, hey, it’s my pocket money and I can do what I want.  I also bought him a pretty sweet birthday gift this year with my pocket money so I don’t care what he thinks!

Like I said about his birthday present, I saved a portion of my pocket money to buy him an iPad mini.  Birthday, Christmas, and “just because” gifts to each other comes from our pocket money, but family and friend gifts are budgeted separately.

How do you save, budget, and spend?
We’re always adjusting as necessary and looking for great tips!
Share below if you have any!

FUTURE FIRST FRIDAY FINANCIALS

What topics would you like to see covered?  I have some ideas about writing a post on how and what we decided to save for our daughter’s education, maybe having my husband go over the resources he uses for financial planning and investments, but I’m happy to try to cover other ideas and I’m always happy to have guest posts on the subject of money and finances.

Why I Took a Break from Blogging

8Aug15Well, because I needed to.

I became a mom.  I went back to work as a nurse.  And I still had to find time to be a housewife.

It rocks.  I love my life.  But something was definitely slipping away and for my sanity I needed it to.

I have big dreams for this blog.  Not saying I dream of being a full time professional blog or because I want to sign a deal with any major brand to do x, y, and z.  I simply dream to build a place online where I can build connections with others.  It’s why I firmly refuse to commit to any “one” niche: parenting, home, marriage, etc.  I have lots of passions and I know I’m not alone.  I want to encourage, inspire, and introduce you all to ideas and products that could better your life and in return I want to be encouraged, be inspired, and be introduced to new ideas and products.  It’s a wonderful circle.

And I was getting to the point where I couldn’t do that.  Though I’m not sure if I can completely now, but I am going to try.  Because I miss being a part of this wonderful community.  I have met some truly inspiring people and have started friendships.  And, I need this as at least as a hobby.  I would find myself twiddling my thumbs one day and you know what?  I would think about a great blog post.  I would discover a new product and I would want to review it and share it with you.  I wanted to reach out when I had a parenting question and didn’t really know where to turn but got the best advice from one of your blog posts.  When my husband and I were having difficulties, I turned to a favorite marriage blogger of mine to at least begin to get some ideas.

I took a break for more than my sanity.  But also so that I can make sure when I come back I can give more of myself and higher quality content.  Because I don’t want to do anything half-ass… if I can help it at least.

I mean, I went from pregnancy brain to mama brain folks, and it’s a real thing.

So get ready for my comeback/return.  Please read yesterday’s State of the Blog for more on how I’m moving forward and We’re Back post from Monday on what you can expect on the blog this month!

And please say hello below or on social media.  Feel free to email me.  I’ve missed a lot so catch me up on anything and everything!

GIVEAWAY

Life pack giveawayEnter the giveaway to win this prize pack by heading over to Instagram and becoming a follower and commenting that you did so on the official Instagram post for this prize.

What I’m Loving in May 2013

From top to bottom, left to right:

Samsung Galaxy S4.  I love my new phone.  I’ve had an iPhone since 2008, I was getting so tired of it.  Fortunately, Samsung has really become a top contender in the market (outselling Apple in 2012) and has really been creating quality products, like this S4.  I can give you so many reasons I love it more than the iPhone…. but I’ll just stick with saying it’s amazing and I love it.

This ASOS dress.  I got this dress for my graduation and I love it so much.  I got a size larger because I don’t like skin tight, but it’s so flattering and relatively modest.  And, as much as I dislike the color blue, I love this shade.

Ikea.  I love Ikea.  My mom and I headed over for some swedish meatballs (with cranberry and gravy — superb) and a little shopping.  I’d been looking at Bedroom solutions for some bedroom furniture to match our bed and, of course, Ikea had some great options at a wonderful price.  And I’ve never had a problem with the “quality” of their furniture.  I’ve had a few pieces for a few years now.  Love them.

So Delicious Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Yogurt, Vanilla flavor.  We are trying to go dairy-free and gluten-free in our house and Mr. Charming and I have found quite a few alternatives that we love.  For my yogurt and snacking fix?  This yogurt.  It’s so yummy and refreshing!

Nude nail polish.  I’m totally in to this look right now.  I rarely put color on my nails to begin with, so this nude makes me feel all dolled up and it’s a great shade.

Game of Thrones.  Team Targaryen.  You have to watch/read it to understand.

State of the Blog

State of the blog

Coming back, I knew that meant I needed to buckle down on my “vision” for the blog.  I’ve always attempted but never quite fully executed it before.  The beauty of doing your own thing is you are in control, so I’m sure, like with many brands, updates and tweaks happen as often as they need to.  But here is how the blog will move forward now that I’m back:

SOCIAL MEDIA

As of right now, I’m simplifying.  I used to love Twitter, but since I went on hiatus, I found I never logged in.  I think Instagram and Periscope are changing the face of the social media platform.  Facebook plateaued awhile ago, and though there are still great reasons for it, it’s definitely no longer the preferred platform.  With that said, Instagram will remain the best way to connect with me.  I will still put effort into Facebook, but only as long as it makes sense.  I will attempt Periscope before having an official opinion/decision on that app.  Google+ has SEO advantages so, like everyone else, that will still be background noise as a lot of my blog automatically posts to that anyways.  Twitter will probably be the same in that aspect.

COLLABORATORS AND GUEST BLOGGERS

I have four wonderful monthly contributors that will post on the following topics: lifestyle, food, parenting, DIY, and wellness.  These are paid positions and I no longer have any openings.  I hope to eventually increase their pay before I open up more paid positions, but I will let you know should any positions come available.

I open the blog up to collaborators and guest bloggers because they bring new perspectives and expertise where sometimes I cannot.  Plus, they bring a fresh face.  I will continue to offer guest post spots with my advertising (see below) in the hopes of also doing this, but I will be more intentional and mindful of the content quality and frequency.

TYPES OF CONTENT

I will not be the newest mommy blog.  I love my daughter, but I’m more than a mom.  I love technology, business and branding, fashion, etc.  This blog will be less all over the place, even though there are many passions I would love to include.  I need to simplify however and so in addition to the four contributor categories, you’ll see more of my The Better Blog Series, technology, life updates, and the occasional other lifestyle categories.

Advertising

If you would like to be on my sidebar, I take a limited number because I really want to go above and beyond and work behind the scenes with you.  Let me know if you would like to advertise by starting at my advertise page.

Guest Posts

I take a very limited amount of guest post content on my blog.  I already commit to five paid spots per month with my contributors.  Any more than that will be on a very select basis.  This includes sponsored content.  I will, however, accept collaborations for money and financial posts as well as business related posts.

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to work together or if you have any questions.

We’re Back

Are you ready for a revamped (ish) blog here?  I am!

I’m not going into all the details today simply saying helllooo again!  I have a little event calendar to get y’all as excited as I am for this month, including four hand-picked and curated giveaways.  I’m trying to make it interactive so we can get reacquainted with each other again.

My life is dramatically different than where I was last year and it’s still pretty different than when I left you all in April.  If you follow me on Instagram you are probably pretty up to date, but I’m going to make more of an effort to give updates on my personal life since many of you request I add a little bit more of me and my life into this blog.

In the meantime, get ready for a month of great content, news, life updates, tips, giveaways, link ups, and fun!

Relaunch Calendar