Halloween Candy……STOP EATING IT ALL!

If you are like me, you struggle every Halloween. You get candy for the trick-or-treaters but eat it all before Halloween Day. So you go out and buy another bag or two and by Halloween night, you still have to ration the candy to one piece per kid! Ouch! What a lack of self control! Okay, I’ll admit I already dug in this year. But I’m really focused now and want to help all of you with the same guilt!!

I’ve learned a few tricks I will happily share with you. First, don’t buy the candy until last minute. The longer  it sits around the more likely you are to eat it. I bet you are saying…”but then the selection isn’t as good!” But why should you care? It’s not for you…is it! HA gotcha!

Which brings us to our next tip…..don’t buy something you like.  I LOVE chocolate so buying it for trick or treaters is like sticking bacon in front of a dog and telling him not to eat it. That dog will listen at first, but it won’t take long for him to start sneaking to take a bite! Pick something you aren’t fond of but that kids will like. I’m not a Tootsie Roll or lollipop fan so the bag will be safe until Halloween in my house. I know some people who buy granola bars, dried fruit snacks or popcorn snacks rather than candy. I commend the effort to not only giving out less sugar to the kids, but also minimize their own chances of eating it.

If you already bought your bags of candy, DON’T OPEN THEM! You say to yourself as you open a bag….”I’ll only have one piece”, but once the bag is open……..there it all goes!

Finally, once you’ve survived all the trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, what do you do with the left over candy? You want to be the good house and not run out of candy…right? ….Anyway, the best thing you can do with leftover candy is give it to someone else. There are local charities and stores that take leftover candy for the less fortunate. What a great thing to do! If you work, bringing it in to work is an easy way to get rid of it and make your co-workers happy. One year I had so much left over I stored it well and sprinkled it in gift bags of baked goods I hand out every Christmas to my neighbors and friends.

I hope these tricks result in your treaters getting more candy than you this Halloween!

Are Asian pears good for you?

Asian pears aren’t just good for you….they are GREAT. If you have never had an asian pear, it looks kind of like an apple with a brownish colored skin, but when you take a bite, it tastes like a sweet pear. On top of that, it’s much crunchier than a pear, and it’s very refreshing if you are thirsty. The healthiest thing it has going for it is the amount of fiber you get without eating something gritty or stringy. Fiber is great for so many things. Obviously your GI tract will thank you, but it also prevents colon cancer. High fiber is known to reduce your cholesterol level for a healthy heart. Like most produce, asian pears are low in fat and help you lose weight. Don’t forget to eat the skin! That’s where most of the phytonutrients, antioxidants and flavonoids are stored and ready to help! This includes anti-inflammatory properties and it’s even said to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Wow! How much more can you pack in a tasty fruit!

No fat doesn’t have to mean no flavor

I lost weight over the summer even while eating heavier than usual, probably because I walked a lot! The weather is beginning to get cold so I don’t see myself outside as much. I really don’t want to gain the weight back so need to focus on eating more lower calorie meals at home.

The fastest way to reduce your calorie intake is to reduce the fat in your meals. While carbohydrate and protein is roughly 5 calories per gram, fat packs a whopping 9 calories per gram! Do the math!

Taking all the fat out of your food doesn’t sound appetizing, but you’d be amazed at how you can cook with less fat but still boost the flavor!

One of the top fatty items used in cooking is dairy. Consider the difference in calories between heavy cream and non-fat milk. That range of options is available in almost everything dairy, like sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt and all sorts of cheeses. Sample a few to see which ones taste the best.

Meats also have many options. White meat on chicken is lower fat than dark meat. Most fish is lower fat, but even higher fat fish is usually good for your health with high Omega 3s. Red meat, depending on what part of the animal it’s from, can also have much lower fat content.

How to cook these lower fat options is key. The lower fat red meat needs to be tenderized, be marinated and cooked lightly to keep it from getting tough. One of the best lowfat marinade is fruit juice based. Other sauces you can use rather than butter or oil, include things like chicken stock or the lowfat dairy. If your meat has some fat, it may be enough to cook in and give the added flavor needed. Add lots of seasonings and you have tasty meal with less fat.

Have fun cooking!


Yeast is everywhere….beer, bread and body

Ahhh bread…..the magic of yeast brings us this tastey staple in so many people’s diets. Give me a good slice of warm hearty bread and I’m in heaven. The miracle of beer fermentation leads to a delicious intoxication of the senses. The body as well contains yeast naturally, but unfortunately it can be easily overwhelmed by it resulting in infection. I’ve avoided bringing this topic up because many people don’t like to talk about it, but that is exactly why it is so important to have this conversation!

The body’s chemistry is delicately balanced.  It’s easy for naturally occuring organisms like yeast to increase and decrease leading to inbalance. One of the most prominent signs of overactive yeast in the body is a layer of the white stuff on your tongue. Yeast is actually a fungus, so anywhere there is moisture on your body, it will occur in higher amounts. Too much can lead to an infection. One leading cause of overproduction of yeast is taking antibiotics which kill off the good bacteria that keep yeast at bay.

So how do you get rid of too much yeast? Well….if it’s so bad it’s causing pain, you need to get to the doctor. If it’s not that bad yet, the cure and the prevention are pretty much the same.

First, since fungus likes dirty, warm, moist areas, keep your body clean, cool and dry. Wear light, loose clothing. Cotton is the most breathable. Wash any clothes exposed to the yeast in hot water, using a little bleach, and thoroughly dry in a hot dryer.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This will not only help you keep cool, it will also create a healthy environment that will allow the good bacteria in your body to thrive and start rebalancing the chemistry in your body.

What you eat really effects the growth of yeast. Food that contains yeast may increase it in the body. Staying away from breads and beer will minimize your risk. Sugar feeds yeast so try to stay away from it. Adding yogurt to your diet should also make a difference. Yogurt contains good bacteria that will help put the body back into a balanced state.

I’m not saying that you have to do this all the time to keep yourself from getting a yeast infection. If you generally lead a healthy life, your episodes should be few and far between. You should only need to restrict yourself if you notice an imbalance starting to occur.

So grab a pretzel, raise your Octoberfest beer mug and enjoy! Bröst!