Light Summertime Eating

by Michelle on August 15, 2018

When the weather is warm it’s natural to crave something on the lighter side to eat.  Items that are heavy meals (lasagna, meatloaf, etc.) aren’t usually what people gravitate towards in summer months. In fact, eating lighter fare in warmer weather is actually beneficial…but how?

Body temperature stays low:  The body works harder to digest heavy, hearty meals so keeping things lighter (chilled soups, smoothies, etc.) helps you stay cool.

You’ll be well hydrated:  Fresh, raw fruits and veggies naturally contain more water so eating light produce will naturally keep you hydrated.  Try snacking on cucumber, jicama, or even frozen grapes.

It can help control weight gain: Eating light makes it easier to feel “light” which hopefully prompts you to get out and be more active.  Developing a habit of eating light and HEALTHY options can go a long way in not overdoing things when on vacation during the summer or even at home in general.

Your cravings will diminish:  Serotonin, responsible for a balanced mood, is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight…but carbohydrates can produce the same effect.  If you can get outdoors more often in warm weather then the sunlight can boost your mood instead of the heavy, unhealthy carbs that you might normally crave.

Here are some great websites with light summer recipes that can help you get started:


Cooking “light” doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor.  Eating a meal that doesn’t weigh you down not only has health benefits but might also open your eyes (and taste buds) to things that could soon become new favorites year-round!  Happy eating!


Summer “Mocktails”

by Michelle on August 8, 2018

It’s not really easy any time of year to find recipes for non-alcoholic drinks that taste delicious…and Summer time is no exception.  With fruity drinks taking center stage in warmer weather sometimes taking out the alcohol just leaves you with juice and a tiny umbrella!  Well, it doesn’t have to be that way…not with these options:


Cucumber-Mint Limeade



 Black Cherry Basil Mocktail


Copa Verde Mocktail


Ginger Beer Mojito


Strawberry Orange Mango Kombucha Mocktail


Watermelon Lime Mocktail


Pineapple-Mango Agua Fresca


Non-Alcoholic Sangria


Pina Colada


Grilled Pineapple Lime Mocktail


Of course you can always opt for flavorful beverages with alcohol as well…and here is a site with some tasty cocktails that utilize herbs for an abundance of flavor:

Cool down with these flavorful mocktails or cocktails…whichever you prefer…and ENJOY!


Summer Cocktails

by Michelle on August 1, 2018

With the warm weather here to stay for a while it’s nice to try some low calorie summer cocktails to stay cool.  Here are 8 low calorie cocktail recipes you might want to try:

  1. Pinot Grigio Melon Ball Spritzer
  2. Watermelon Mojito
  3. Skinny Sangria
  4. Mango Margarita
  5. Lemon ‘N’ Lime Cocktail
  6. Strawberry Margarita
  7. Pina Colada
  8. White Wine Sangria

You can see all of the ingredients and instructions for these drinks by clicking on this link:

Here are a few things to remember if you want to try and “lighten up” one of your favorite cocktails or even come up with a unique drink yourself:

  1. Use a no calorie sweetener (Stevia, etc.) instead of sugar or simple syrup
  2. Squeeze in real fruits for flavor
  3. Use no calories sodas or even flavored sparkling water instead of regular soda
  4. Try coconut water for additional flavor with many health benefits
  5. Make your own drink mixes with items like green tea, mint, lemon, etc.
  6. Garnish with fruit and fresh herbs

For wine lovers replace ½ a glass of white wine with club soda and a splash of citrus juice for a refreshing, bubbly cocktail that’s fewer calories.  You can also try infused alcohol like flavored vodka to save on the calories of sugary mixes yet still impart flavor.

Save a lot of calories for the delicious food that’s all around in summer by trying some of these techniques so you can still enjoy a cocktail while not going over on your calorie budget.



Best Tasting Salt Substitutes

by David on July 12, 2018

Lower your overall sodium has been proven to help improve your overall health. These heart-healthy Salt Substitutes will help you to ditch the white stuff!

Sodium chloride, or salt, is linked to heart disease, hypertension, and other heart-related issues. A 2010 study in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that if people reduced their intake of salt by 3 grams each day, they could greatly reduce their risk of developing heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 44,000 lives could be saved each year if people reduced salt consumption and used heart smart herbs and spices as a replacement.

Spices and Herbs

Using different spices and herbs in cooking can help serve as a salt substitute. These options are full of varied and unique flavorings, and some herbs even have health benefits. Garlic, for example, is shown to reduce inflammation, prevent heart blockages and assist with many chronic joint and yeast overgrowth conditions. For newbie’s, start by acquiring a variety of dried and fresh spices, and begin cooking using these elements for flavor. Safe bets are oregano, pepper, tarragon, and sage. Herbs and spices are a natural salt substitute, and a flavorful alternative.

For people who enjoy a spicy kick to their food, try Hungarian paprika, cinnamon, curry and cayenne pepper. The Culinary Institute of America hosts many recipes on their website that use herbs and spices instead of salt.


Lemon and lime juice can also serve as a natural salt substitute. They provide an interesting twist to chicken and fish dishes and imbue flavor when used in marinades. No salt substitute can completely mimic the actual taste of salt, but they can add enough elements to make dishes tasty and satisfying. Citrus activates the same taste buds as sodium chloride, so it tricks your mind into thinking you are eating salt without taking on the heart risks of sodium.


Oils such as truffle oil, walnut oil, extra virgin olive oil and pumpkin seed oil are some of the best salt substitutes. Cooking meats and vegetables in these flavor-packed oils make your food a taste explosion. They coat the food with interesting tastes, and when mixed with herbs they are a delightful salt substitute.

How to Make the Switch

Our taste buds are fairly easy going. If you have a hankering for salt, it is easy to teach your taste buds to like salt substitutes. Try cutting back a little at a time in the beginning of your journey to zap salt from your diet. Begin with cutting your salt intake by 25 percent. Make sure if you eat a lot of packaged and processed foods, that you are noting the sodium amounts in these foods. Sometimes cutting salt is as easy as giving up these shelf stable products, which are packed with sodium. Begin swapping out salt for garlic, herbs, lemon and other sodium-free products. Play with flavored oils and vinegar, and find combinations that please your palette.

What Will I Do With My Shaker?

There are products available in grocery and health food stores, which replace salt. One of the best-tasting salt substitute products is Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Salt-Free Seasoning. Other options include Morton Salt Substitute, Benson’s Gourmet salt-free seasonings, Nu-Salt and Morton Lite Salt. Herb-based brands considered some of the best salt substitute products are Mrs. Dash, Spike and Penzey’s.

Take your salt shaker and fill with one of the above items, so whenever you shake you are using a heart-healthy product.

You can also try the recipes below to create a homemade salt substitute:

Super Substitute

1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons celery seed
2 tablespoons onion powder
4-½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon ground dill
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
½ teaspoon dried cayenne pepper

Spiced Up

4 teaspoons onion powder
3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
3 tablespoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons ground oregano
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a coffee grinder. Grind together until they form a fine powder. Store in a salt shaker in a cool, dry corner of your kitchen.

Substitute with a Kick

3 tablespoons dried tarragon
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 ½ tablespoons paprika
1 ½ tablespoons sage
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground dill

Place all ingredients in a coffee grinder. Grind together until they form a fine powder. Store in a salt shaker in a cool, dry corner of your kitchen.

The most important part of ridding your diet of salt is to not be afraid of trying new spice mixes to accommodate the loss of salt. With these tasty natural salt substitue options, you may find your food tasting better and more interesting and salt will become a complete afterthought. Reducing your intake of sodium chloride will reduce your risk of heart attack, hypertension and a swathe of heart-related diseases. Less sodium will also reduce bloating and edema in the feet and ankles.


With summer in full swing having delicious healthy grilling recipes on hand is a great way to stay on track and continue to work towards your weight loss goals

Trying to stick to a diet during barbeque season is sometimes a difficult task.  We understand and have some great healthy grilling recipes that are not only diet friendly and easy to make, but taste great as well!

Roasted Beef and Apple Kabobs


100 grams of lean good quality beef or chunked chicken

1 apple cut into large chunks

¼ onion petals

½ cup beef, chicken, or vegetable broth

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid aminos

Stevia to taste 


Marinate beef or chicken in broth, vinegar, and spices. Layer apple, onion petals, and beef or protein chunks on wooden or metal skewers (If using wooden skewers soak them for a few minutes so they don’t burn). Barbeque directly or place on aluminum foil sheet and cook until the desired level of doneness. Baste frequently with remaining marinade. Heat the remaining marinade in a small saucepan and use as a dipping sauce.

Blackened Chicken Salad


100g chicken tenders 
1 t paprika 
1/2 t onion powder 
1/2 t garlic powder 
1/4 t oregano 
1/4 t thyme 
1/4 t white pepper 
1/4 t black pepper 
1/4 t ground red pepper 
spinach or salad greens (as allowed)


Combine all spices and rub on chicken.

Grill until no longer pink.

Serve over spinach or salad greens


Fish is also something that gets really great flavor when cooked on the barbeque…just be sure to leave the skin on one side so it doesn’t stick to the grill or use a special fish “basket” to cook it.  You can also try making a foil packet and steam the fish with lemon, herbs, butter, etc. which is even easier. Happy Grilling!


The Best Slimming colors every person should have hanging in their closet to help them looks and feel their best! Having the right slimming colors on hand can help provide confidence!

The colors you choose to wear can make a big difference not only for your skin tone but for your waist. Choose the wrong color and you could add extra pounds to your frame – which is something that I am sure we all wish to avoid!! Choosing flattering tones and slimming colors can help you look instantly slim – and help your skin tone shine.

Let’s start with the universally flattering color we are all familiar with: Black. I love the color black, especially in my wardrobe – much to my husband’s dismay. The first reason I love it and own so much of it is because black always looks chic- regardless of the outfit. Put two of the same outfits side by side but with a white and black top, and hands down the blacktop will look more put together. The second reason I love black is because of its magical slimming powers. Why is black so slimming? Unlike other colors, black does not reflect light – so it does not create shadows and project reflections where your body curves or when it wrinkles. It does a great job of hiding lumps and bulges while looking chic. A small warning – black will lose some of its slimming powers when wearing lycra, spandex, and sequins, as these materials do have light reflecting characteristics. Where black from head to toe – you create the ultra-slimming look because your outfit becomes one long vertical line. See Reese’s photo below. Don’t forget that one of the sexiest items, every woman should have hanging in their closet is  The Little Black Dress.

Sick of Black? This next color can have the same slimming effect of black, but with a pop of color. Eggplant is a great color to add to your wardrobe. It is as versatile as black but falls in the middle of the color spectrum so it is not too warm or too cold. It is also a great color to pair with black because it is dark enough so that when paired with black there is not a stark contrast – which can chop your body in half, making you look shorter.


True Red is the next color that is extremely flattering. Next to black, red is one of the most powerful colors you can wear. Red demands attention and when you wear it people pay attention. There are a lot of shades of red – each of which complements different skin tones, but if you stick to a true red – which falls in the middle of the spectrum, you will find it flatters your skin tone and body. Embrace the power of a true red!


Navy is another great color because it has the slimming power of black, but without actually being black. It looks just as chic and is completely versatile. I think it also looks better than black when paired with light neutral colors like white, cream and tan because it is softer, so the contrast is not as stark.


Adding these colors to your wardrobe will help you create outfits that will slim your body and will also flatter your skin tones. Monotone outfits (all one color) can be the ultimate slimming choice because they create one long vertical line from the shoulders down to the feet. Monotone does not have to be boring though – add in a fun, vibrant necklace, earrings or a great pair of colorful pumps. You can also mix and match these slimming colors together to create the feeling of a monotone outfit, without going with just one color. Together they will not only complement your figure, but will help brighten your skin tone.

The last thing to remember is to only wear colors that you feel confident in. I know I have said this before, but the best stylist in the world can tell you what looks best on you, but if you do not feel comfortable and confident, their advice won’t matter. You need to feel good in the outfit you are wearing for it to truly look the best. If you don’t feel comfortable or confident, people will see that. Carry yourself with confidence and you will look flawless in every outfit you put on!




If you are wanting to transition to a more plant-based lifestyle – the one thing people struggle with most is finding good sources of protein – These are the best vegan and vegetarian protein options!

Whether you’re a strict vegan, a vegetarian, or you just want to avoid meat for a while the following information might help you navigate our 1234 Diet regardless of your reasons. You can eat the following as part of the protocol or simply as part of a diet of your own design. Please be aware that these options will provide slower weight loss on average and might stall weight loss as well. The items should be varied with each meal and each day. The below-serving sizes and calories are average amounts without listing specific brands for each item. Be sure to read all labels carefully and stay close to the serving size and calories listed.

Extra Firm 1 oz. 30 Cal.
Firm 1 oz. 28 Cal.
Regular (medium firm) 1 oz. 23 Cal.
Soft (silken) 1 oz. 20 Cal.
Meat substitutes 1 oz. 50 Cal. (Miso Soup w/Tofu & Spring Onions pre-pkgd.: 1 Cup = 95 Cal.)

Non-Dairy Milk: (select unsweetened varieties)
Almond Milk – plain/unsweetened 1 Cup 40 Cal. Vanilla 1 Cup 30 Cal.
Hemp Milk – plain/unsweetened 1 Cup 80 Cal. Vanilla 1 Cup 75 Cal.
Rice Milk – plain/unsweetened 1 Cup 120 Cal. Vanilla 1 Cup 130 Cal.
Coconut Milk – plain/unsweetened 1 Cup 45 Cal. Original 1 Cup 80 Cal. Vanilla 1 Cup 110 Cal.
Soy Milk – plain/unsweetened 1 Cup 90 Cal. Light original 1 Cup 70 Cal. Vanilla 1 Cup 100 Cal. Light vanilla 1 Cup 70 Cal.

Protein Powder: (select unsweetened varieties)
Flavored or Unflavored 20 – 30 grams 80 – 120 Cal. (grains, greens, hemp, rice, seeds, veggies, etc.) (AVOID: whey protein powder)

Tempeh: Plain (fermented soybeans) 1 oz. 60 Cal.

Seitan: Strips/Cubes – plain (wheat gluten) 3.5 oz. 130 Cal.
Ground/Crumbled – plain 3.5 oz. 117 Cal.

Snow, Sugar Snap (in pods) – raw/whole 1 Cup 26 Cal.
Green Peas (out of pods) – raw 1 Cup 117 Cal.

Garbanzo Beans – canned ½ Cup 130 Cal.
Hummus 1 Tbl. 27 Cal.

Green Beans (Snow, String) – raw (half-inch pieces) 1 Cup 40 Cal.
Edamame (in pods) – raw/steamed 10 pods 30 Cal. (out of the pods = too many calories/avoid)
Mung Bean Sprouts – raw 1 Cup 31 Cal.
Kidney Beans – raw/uncooked ¼ Cup 155 Cal.
Canned ½ Cup 108 Cal.
Black Beans – raw/uncooked ½ Cup 166 Cal.
Canned ½ Cup 110 Cal.
Pinto Beans – raw/uncooked ¼ Cup 168 Cal.
Canned ½ Cup 120 Cal.
Lentils – raw/uncooked ¼ Cup 170 Cal.

Sunflower Seed Kernels (with or without salt) 1 Tbl. 95 Cal.
Chia Seeds (raw) 1 Tbl. 70 Cal.
Flaxseeds (Linseeds) – raw 1 Tbl. 75 Cal.
Ground Meal 1 Tbl. 40 Cal.
Hemp Seeds – raw/shelled 1 Tbl. 55 Cal.
Sesame Seeds – whole/dried 1 Tbl. 30 Cal.
Sesame Butter (Tahini) 1 Tbl. 100 Cal.

Nuts: (high calories for minimal amount…use minimally and with caution for best results)
Almonds – raw (about 24 nuts) 1 oz. 164 Cal.
Walnuts – raw (about 14 halves) 1 oz. 195 Cal.
Cashews – raw (about 18 nuts) 1 oz. 165 Cal.
PistachioVegan & Vegetarian Protein Options

Whether you’re a strict vegan, a vegetarian, or you just want to avoid meat for a while the following information might help you navigate our 1234 Diet regardless of your reasons. You can eat the following as part of the protocol or simply as part of a diet of your own design. Please be aware that these options will provide slower weight loss on average and might stall weight loss as well. The items should be varied with each meal and each day. The below-serving sizes and calories are average amounts without listing specific brands for each item. Be sure to read all labels carefully and stay close to the serving size and calories listed.



Summer is a great time to get outside and be active – how many calories do you burn doing the things you love to do?! Get out there and get active!

When the weather is nice and you get the urge to go out and enjoy it you aren’t necessarily thinking about how many calories you’re burning while having fun.  However, if you do happen to be paying attention to it then here are some activities and the calories they burn (on average) to help you keep track:

(These numbers are the average calories burned and are based on a 150-pound individual doing 1 hour of activity)

  • Outdoor Yoga: 175
  • Mowing the Lawn: 350
  • Surfing: 175
  • Swimming: 350
  • Frisbee: 200
  • Hiking: 375
  • Gardening: 250
  • Rollerblading: 400
  • Canoeing/Kayaking: 250
  • Paddle Boarding: 400
  • Golf (no cart): 250
  • Tennis: 500
  • Biking: 300
  • Soccer: 500
  • Beach Volleyball: 300
  • Rock Climbing: 550


These figures are meant to give you an idea of what the caloric burn can be…actual calories burned are based on several factors including weight and how long the activity is done.  

Here is a good calculator to look up different activities and the calories they can burn:

Also, there are many great websites to look up the calories for certain types of foods (and their portions) so you can also calculate what you’re eating.  When used correctly these tools can not only let you see what calories you’re consuming but also know how much and what movement you need to incorporate to burn those calories (and then some) to see weight loss.

Here are just a few calorie calculators that might help:




As always, please review everything with your health care provider to make sure you’re able to safely do any outdoor activity and take precautions to not overheat.  Have fun and enjoy the great outdoors!


With the sun beating down on your everyday learning how to protect and heal your skin from the sun will help your skin stay healthy and happy this summer!

Summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors and all of the fun activities the warmer weather allows.  However, with the great weather comes the necessary precautions of avoiding sunburn, preventing heat exhaustion, and general Summer safety.  With a little bit of knowledge and due diligence, you can hopefully enjoy all Summer has to offer without suffering from any negative effects.

It seems pretty obvious that sunscreen is necessary when outside, but far too often people underestimate their risk in different situations.  For example, the sun is more intense and can burn you more quickly in the mountains due to your sheer proximity to it as well as burning you more on the water (the reflection of rays and all).  Here are 5 ways to protect yourself:

  1. Wear sunscreen every day, in all weather, and in every season.  It should be at least a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 and say “broad-spectrum” on the label…meaning it protects against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.  Apply at least 15 minutes prior to going outside.
  2. Reapply sunscreen at least every 60 minutes; more often if you’re sweating or swimming.
  3. Wear wide-brimmed hats and long sleeve shirts and pants for the best coverage.
  4. Use sunglasses with total UV protection to protect your eyes from getting burned…yes, this is a thing!
  5. Avoid being out in the sun as much as possible from 10 am – 2 pm (the hottest part of the day when the sun is the most intense and likely to burn you).

Now if you have tried your best and still end up sunburned, there are some easy ways to treat your burn:

  1. Take a cool bath without soap or bubbles.  Adding baking soda (and air drying) helps relieve inflammation and itching.  You can also add apple cider or white vinegar as well (about 1 cup) since it’s a great astringent and soothes sunburn pain.
  2. Apply a “watery” type of moisturizer (not a heavy cream) to relieve the dryness.  Eucerin is a good example.
  3. Apply an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a damp cloth to your burned areas.  This will absorb some of the heat from your skin, constrict blood vessels, and reduce swelling.
  4. Hydrate from the inside out…with water AND food!  Think watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe.
  5. Try applying black tea bags to your face, eyelids, etc. for relief (soak in hot water, let cool, and apply).  You can also soak a clean cloth in milk with water and ice cubes and apply as a compress, mix cornstarch with water to make a paste, or apply plain yogurt to the burned areas then rinse off after a few minutes.  All of these items help to reduce the inflammation caused by the sunburn as well as ease the pain.
  6. Use Aloe Vera gel (directly from the plant is best) to soothe burned skin and help it to heal quickly.
  7. Resist the urge to peel!  Let the body keep its protective layer as long as possible to avoid any type of infection peeling might cause.
  8. Know when to call a doctor.  Some sunburns are just too severe to be treated at home so watch for the signs that signal it’s beyond your remedy:  nausea, chills, fever, faintness, extensive blistering, general weakness, patches of purple discoloration, or intense itching.  Also, be aware of the burn seems to be spreading…it could be infected.

You also need to be aware of any of the medications you might be taking make you more photosensitive (causing a severe reaction to UV rays).  Certain medications like antibiotics, tranquilizers, and antifungals can increase your sensitivity to the sun causing you to burn more quickly.  Oral contraceptives, diuretics, diabetes medications, and even PABA-containing sunscreens may also increase your sunburn risk. So the takeaway is…have fun in the sun but be aware of your personal situation and arm yourself with the knowledge that will allow you to enjoy the day without having to pay for it later.



With temperatures rising it is important to know exactly how heat and humidity affect the body! Knowing and understanding this will help protect you and keep you safe!

Summer can be either dry or humid…or both…depending on where you live.  Either way, heat can negatively affect how the body functions if proper precautions aren’t taken.  Add humidity to the heat and the potential for dangerous results multiplies. Knowing how heat and humidity affect the body is critical to keeping you safe! 

Hot weather can obviously make you hot…that’s a given…but heat is also generated by the body when it’s active.  Three-Fourths of the energy we convert from physical activity turns into heat, only one-fourth into motion. When the body is active it usually generates more heat than it needs and has to release it somehow…this is when sweating occurs.  The body draws water from the bloodstream to make sweat that carries heat through pores and onto the skin surface where it evaporates and releases the heat…cooling the body. Staying hydrated is how this process works properly, cools you down, and keeps you safe when overheated.  

With temperatures rising it is important to know exactly how heat and humidity affect the body! Knowing and understanding this will help protect you and keep you safe!

Humidity is when there is an excessive amount of moisture in the air that prevents proper evaporation of sweat and keeps your body temperature high.  Once the air has too much moisture relative to the sweat you’re producing the sweat can’t evaporate and you remain too hot…along with being sticky. This is a dangerous situation that keeps your core temperature too hot and can lead to heat exhaustion.  You also lose water, salt, and electrolytes that the body needs to function.

So how can you combat heat and especially humidity so you aren’t suffering from the ill effects?  There are a few key things you can do if you notice you’re feeling overheated, fatigued, have a headache, increased pulse, and you can’t cool down:

  1. Seek shade and a cooler environment in extreme heat or overexertion  
  2. Go into a humidity controlled room (or one that’s cooled via central air) if humidity is leaving you feeling sticky and you can’t cool down
  3. ALWAYS drink plenty of water to stay properly hydrated (avoid alcohol and sugary juices)
  4. Use fans, cooling towels, wraps, clothing, etc. to maintain a proper core temperature
  5. Eat cool foods (cucumbers, watermelon, apples, etc.) and avoid warm or hot fare; eat vegetarian to avoid the energy expenditure that protein metabolism causes


Sometimes it’s not so easy to avoid overheating, but with a little bit of knowledge maybe you can avoid suffering when it does happen.  Always stay hydrated as the first line of defense against problems and plan ahead as much as possible to enjoy the warmer weather without issue.