Elements of Fitness – A Mother's Memoir

Low Carb Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas


1 large rotisserie chicken (white meat shredded with a fork)

1 jar of Verde salsa (or red enchilada sauce but watch the carb count on red)

2 cans diced hatch green chiles (or 1 can chile’s, 1 can diced jalapenos)

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 cups heavy whipping cream

6-8 low carb tortillas

1 1/2 cups Monterey/cheddar blend shredded cheese

Fresh cilantro (1-2 TBSP no stems)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In skillet, saute butter and/or EVOO, place each tortilla in pan until ends curl. Then drain on paper towel.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, your choice of enchilada sauce, chiles/jalapenos, 3/4 cup of cream.  Fill tortillas with chicken mixture, roll and place in greased glass casserole dish.

Pour remaining cream over the top, cover with cheese and cilantro and bake for 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.


January 22, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weight Loss Diets: The Good, The Bad & The Worst

094As most of you all know, (especially if you have followed my blog for the last few years) I have tried pretty much every diet there is.  I’ve done low fat, low carb, paleo, south beach, vegetarian and vegan.  With all the choices out there, it’s easy to see how people have no idea where to begin!   All of those diets have been associated with weight loss, so they must all be good, right?

While low calorie and low fat food choices can be beneficial, starvation diets are next to impossible to maintain over the long term and they also typically lack the valuable vitamins and nutrients we need at every meal.  This is why many people fail after a few weeks (or less) at these diets.

But before we analyze further, if you have a negative connotation AT ALL with the word “diet” – LET IT GO!  Diet does not mean deprivation, nor does it mean ‘die’.  Everyone follows some kind of diet.  Some follow a healthy diet, some follow there cravings to the nearest drive thru!  They’re all considered diets.

There are numerous unhealthy dieting plans and products out there supported only by marketing ads to entice you for noticeable weight loss in a short period of time.  This satisfies our need for instant gratification!  Some of these include: the Atkins diet, South Beach diet, low-carb diet, low-fat diet, Hollywood diet, Grapefruit diet, Liquid diet (using low-calorie, high-protein, high-fiber shakes) and the juice diet.

The majority of weight loss during these diets can be attributed to a loss in water-weight.  Because of this, weight loss during fad dieting is often quickly regained when normal food and liquid intake is resumed.  These plans are usually expensive and can be dangerous for maintaining proper body function.  They also do not emphasize lifestyle changes that will help you maintain your desired weight. Poor dieting can result in the loss of valuable body tissue such as muscle mass in addition to vital minerals, vitamins and nutrients necessary for maintaining our health.

What are those fad diets?

scaleAtkins Diet– The Atkins diet involves limited consumption of carbohydrates to switch the body’s metabolism from metabolizing glucose as energy over to converting stored body fat to energy.   Low carb (ketogenic) diets deplete the healthy glucose stores in your muscles and liver. When you deplete glycogen stores, you also dehydrate, often causing the scale to drop significantly in the first week or two of the diet. This is usually interpreted as fat loss when it’s actually mostly from dehydration and muscle loss. Loss of muscle causes a decrease in your metabolism. More so, since metabolism happens in muscle, less muscle and muscle tone means a slower metabolism, meaning fewer calories burned in any given day.

South Beach Diet– The South Beach Diet is relatively simple in principle. It replaces “bad carbs” and “bad fats” with “good carbs” and “good fats.”  Phase 1 eliminates all sugars, processed carbohydrates, fruits, and some higher-glycemic vegetables as well. Its purpose is to eliminate the hunger cycle and is expected to result in significant weight loss. Phase 2 re-introduces most fruits and vegetables and some whole grains as well. Phase 3 is the maintenance phase and lasts for ‘life’. The high-protein intake from south beach diet can make the kidneys work harder, causing kidney stress and strip the body of calcium. The inconsistency between each ‘phase’ of the diet is unwarranted. Good foods are always good foods, not tools to change your ‘hunger cycle’.

Hollywood Diet / Grapefruit Diet- usually involves eating half a grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice with each meal and significantly reducing caloric intake, often to below 800 calories per day. The diet is based on the claim that grapefruit has a fat-burning enzyme or similar property. The variations of the grapefruit diet that are too low in calories (below 1200 calories a day), carbs or essential micronutrients are considered unhealthy and potentially dangerous.  Highly restrictive diets can cause eating disorders and poor mental health.

Liquid Diet / Juice Diet (using low-calorie, high-protein, high-fiber shakes) – A clear liquid diet consists of transparent liquid foods such as vegetable broth, bouillon, clear fruit juices, clear fruit ices, popsicles, clear gelatin desserts, or clear carbonated drinks. A full or strained liquid diet consists of both clear and opaque liquid foods with a smooth consistency. It includes milk, milkshakes, ice cream, puddings, strained cream soups, fruit nectar with pulp, smooth cooked cereals such as porridge and cream of wheat, butter, and honey.  Mostly, people replace meals with ‘health’ drinks or ‘meal-replacement’ drinks.  This can result in malnutrition, body system shut-down and extremely detrimental and deadly conditions.  We are not robots that run on gasoline.  Our bodies need calories, fat, carb and protein.  Health drinks and products cannot replace natures true fuel.

So what really works? 

math-graphic-for-blog-300x249Well its simple really!  Bring your basic math skills to the table:  your intake needs to be less than your output!  Meaning you need to burn more calories than you are consuming.  Math never fails.

I usually start my female clients off at 1200 calories a day.   Male clients at 1800 calories a day.  It doesn’t sound like much, I know.  But usually, they are just starting working out in combination.  So it depends on their amount of time they can work out, their fitness level, etc.   To drop 1 pound of fat in 1 week (which equates to 3500 calories), you have to aim to to eat about 300 less calories a day while buring 300 calories from exercise 5 times a week.

You must also remember, our bodies are constantly undergoing an internal tug of war to balance our nutritional needs with our daily energy expenditures and body functions.  Weight loss is a science and our bodies are like computers.  You have to program your brain and retrain your brain.  Your brain knows when you’re making huge changes.  It will react.

Maybe not overnight, but consistency is key and your body will respond.  I promise.

Contact me so we can get started today on YOUR weight loss!


July 24, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

5 More “Healthy” Foods to Avoid

You know from my previous posts of some examples of foods that are marketed as “healthy” but are FAR from it such as reduced fat peanut butter, corn and soy products, and unhealthy canola oil.  Buying local, fresh foods from Farmers’ markets, organic farms, or from your local grocer can go a long way for your budget and your health.  However, not everyone can benefit or wants to shop healthy.  Here are the top five foods to avoid or minimize in your diet for a longer, healthier life and a leaner waistline, followed by the top five foods that will give you amazing health benefits.

#1:   Low-fat Foods

Food labeling can be very deceptive when it comes to food geared for weight loss.  Low-fat foods are one of the products to be careful about.  Just because the food says “low fat,” does not mean the food is low calorie.  Be sure to check the label and see how many calories are typically in the product.  Most people associate low-fat foods with lower calories, so they tend to eat more.  Do not be fooled by this deceptive labeling technique.

#2:   Sugar-Free Foods

Sugar-free foods are geared to people with diabetes or at risk for developing diabetes.  Sugar-free foods have low calories and no sugar.

However, look at the label under sugars, and you will see something interesting.  Sugar-free foods tend to have sugar alcohols, which is an ingredient designed to give it sweetness.  Most of the time, sugar alcohol is made from sugar products, which can lead to increased calories.  Sugar alcohols carry between 1.5 and 4 calories per gram.  Not only do you get extra calories, but you also can get cramping, bloating, and other gastrointestinal problems if you ingest too much.

#3:   Commercial Smoothies

Normally, smoothies are associated with healthy eating.  They have skim milk, fruit, and yogurt, so they are considered a great, healthy food.  Some commercial smoothies, however, have many hidden calories from extra sugar.  Some smoothies are also made with ice cream, so you end up ballooning sugar, fat, and calorie content.  Most of the time, the fruit in smoothies is blended up into fruit juice, or fruit juice is added.   This eliminates the fiber that is found in the skin of most fruits.  My advice:  Make your smoothies at home, and leave the commercial smoothies on the shelf.

#4:   Commercial Yogurts

Yogurt, again, has been considered a natural health product containing calcium, probiotics, and other products that have been shown to be beneficial to our health.  Look at the label again, and you might see something surprising.   When looking at the label, some of the first few ingredients in yogurt are different forms of sugar.  All this extra sugar can lead to weight gain and stubborn, hard-to-lose body fat.  So again, read the label and see exactly what is in the product before you choose the yogurt of choice.

#5:   Sugary energy drinks including items with added vitamins and minerals

Energy drinks have been advertised as giving you that extra pick-me-up during the day, and a way to increase the intensity of your workouts.  Energy drinks can contain high amounts of caffeine and sugar, which gives you that initial pick-me-up, but you end up crashing hard later.  Also, some drinks that have added vitamins and minerals, can have loads of sugar as well.  So stop and think before you drink and choose something lower in calories and sugar, maybe something like coffee or tea.

Next, I am going to share with you 5 foods that are beneficial to your health, and you might not even know it.

#1:  Swiss Chard

Aging can create many different problems for people.  Wrinkles, lack of balance, and our eyesight can worsen, and are just some of the different things that happen with the aging process.  Swiss chard is considered a super food because of some of the amazing caroteniods that can be found in this leafy green vegetable.  Swiss chard contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin that have been shown to help with good eyesight.   These two caroteniods have been shown to build up in the eyes, which help with the way light rays enter our eyes and are absorbed.

#2:  Pepper, Especially Capsaicin

So most of you are probably asking why pepper is on the list.  Pepper is a zero-calories food that can add a lot of flavor to your foods.  Not only does it pack a great punch to your foods, but capsaicin has been shown to have tremendous anti-inflammatory properties.  It has also been shown to be helpful in fighting some cancers because of its anti-cancer effects.
#3:  Wheat Grass

There are plenty of juices out there that contain Wheat Grass which is chock full of vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy.   Loaded with Vitamins, B, C, and E, this food can help to clean out your system and fight infections.   Not only does this food contain essential vitamins and minerals, but it also is a complete protein.  This food is full of the essential amino acids that our bodies require for building muscle.   The high concentration of vitamins helps protect the body from stress that our bodies are under daily.  Wheat grass by itself is not very tasty so I was happy to see it in my shake that I drink every day: Shakeology.
#4:   Tahini

Tahini is now found in most grocery stores as an excellent source of all the B vitamins as well as calcium.  B vitamins are essential in development of healthy cells in the body, especially red blood cells.   B vitamins can also help in raising metabolism, and help our immune system become stronger.  Tahini also holds a surprising amount of calcium, zinc, and copper.  The high levels of calcium can help keep bones strong and healthy, and might be responsible in fighting some cancers. Tahini also holds an abundance of fiber, specifically sesamin and sesomolin, which can have positive effects in lowering cholesterol.
#5:  Avocado

This amazing fruit helps reduce inflammation through some of the carotenoids found in the green, fleshy part of the avocado. This vegetable also has a tremendous amount of fat, but the good fats that are beneficial to the body. The main source of fat is Oliec acid, which helps with fat absorption and also helps to lower the risk for developing heart disease. Avocados also have phytosterols, which keep inflammation in the body under control.

I absolutely love talking about fitness and nutrition and I do a lot of it on my facebook page.  I don’t always get to blog but I post motivating status updates and help people get fit and healthy!  Come join me!

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Nutrition, Organic, P90X, Shakeology, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Do It In the Morning Or At Night?

First week back to work after 4 years is done.  Why is it we don’t cherish what we have until it’s gone?  This recession finally hit our home this year and I am forced to go back to work.  The real estate market did us in just in the past 3 months.  We were used to having at least 5 bank-owned listings each month and now we’re lucky to see 1 every couple of months.  Last year at this time it was more like 20 a month. 

It was proving to be a wonderful way of living until President Obama decided to place a national moratorium on all the foreclosures forcing banks to go the way of short sales.  What a lovely band-aid placed on a decapitated head, Obama.  It’s not going to work long-term.  It has only forced banks to get paid by FDIC insured monies.  I’ll skip over the politics and stay on the path of the realist that I am. 

I started this week at what is looking to be a very promising opportunity and while I am excited about it, I am also missing my previous position as my household’s domestic engineer!  No, I have never referred to myself as that when I was a stay at home Mom but now that I can no longer claim that title I find it so true to it’s intended meaning. 

When I’d get home from work this week I felt like such an outsider.  The girls were on Spring Break this week and Frank is still struggling to work from home so he had all 3 kids in the house.   He did manage to make it work and did it pretty well too.  He wasn’t able to get much work done but he took care of the kids better than I thought he would.   Granted, the dishes never got done, the laundry is calling my name (as I write this) and the baby got sick because a sippy cup of milk got left out but other than that the house held up without me.  He also made dinner 4 of the 5 nights!  It was all grilled but at least I didn’t have to do it!  I renamed Frank Mr. Mom this week and the kids have adopted it too. 

Anyways, it really hurts to start a new chapter of life especially when you’re forced to do it.  The kids want me back home but I think that was just based off their boredom from being out of school.  The baby ignored me when I got home from work.  If he needed something he went straight to Frank even though I was right there!  That hurt so bad. 

I am very grateful to have a job right now in this terrible job market.  So, in hopes of finding the silver lining in all of this I started focusing on trying to work out this week to combat my disappointments of not being needed!  Only problem:  I couldn’t figure out when to work out!  Monday I got home from work and we immediately ate dinner.  Then Frank left to go work out and I had to get the kids ready for bed so I could work out.  By the time they were in bed I was completely exhausted and just wanted to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine!   But I couldn’t – those were my old ways before P90X!   I decided to not have the glass of wine but I also decided not to work out because it was so late.  My plan was to wake up early and do it before work but then I would cut my hours of sleep to only 5!   That doesn’t work for me so needless to say, this week I only worked out 4 times!  It was thankfully a recovery week of Phase 2 so next week I really need to get it together and make no excuses.

But this begs the question:  when is the best time to work out?  There is a fitness center at my work which is fantastic for the guys.  But for me… not so much.  I can’t work out for 45 min, shower and get ready and be back to work all within an hour!  Not going to happen.  I also know now that I cannot work out at night so my only option is in the morning.  But it’s a struggle just getting out of bed in the morning.  How in the world will I get the energy to want to go meet Tony downstairs for chest and back or worse when it’s plyo Tuesday?!  I have no idea!

March 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Cares About Carrie Prejean

What’s the deal with Carrie Prejean … and why do we care?

I don’t follow the pageants at all, not locally, nationally or  internationally.  It just doesn’t appeal to me.

But this woman has made headlines almost every week since the Miss USA pageant.  I don’t get it.  First, it was her answer to Perez Hilton about gay marriage which was silly to talk about in the first place.  She has a right to believe what she wants.  I personally don’t care who gets married.  If you’re in love and you want to make it “real” – whatever, I get it.  She probably should’ve kept her own beliefs to herself and said something like “The state shouldn’t come between 2 people and their lifestyle.”  And then she could’ve gone about her merry way.

Then the following day it was the “racy” pictures that weren’t really racy at all.  They showed her bare back.  So what?

The following week it was that she was dating ‘Mr. Pothead’, Michael Phelps.  Who cares?  Which to that, I must say I don’t really care who smokes what as long as it doesn’t interfere with my (or my kids) life.  The whole thing about Phelps and the pot though … ugh – it’s not like he was taking a ‘performance enhancing drug’!  It actually affected my life when and only when our own media outlets put it on the news!  That isn’t NEWS!  It’s at that point when our kids start to associate Michael Phelps and drugs. 

Anyways, I really think this whole thing is purposely put on by Donald Trump to raise publicity for himself and his dumb reality shows.  Ok, I don’t really think that but it seems like all these pageant winners that he ‘backs’ all have a bunch of skeletons in their closets. 

What I’d like to ask Donald Trump is why he ever pulled out of Phoenix?   He was trying to get the permit to build a high rise in a part of Phoenix where they’re really not welcome (by the neighbors).  But my question, is why didn’t he go to Tempe, downtown Scottsdale or even downtown Phoenix?

Let’s get our heads out of the pageant world, Trump, and stick to real estate!  It seems that’s where your skill-set is less questionable!

June 10, 2009 Posted by | Phoenix AZ, The Critic, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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