AskAnnamarie Blog

Healthy Living for Real People

7 ESSENTIAL, HIGH-PROTEIN PUMPKIN RECIPES

October 15, 2018

By: Tayler Glenn

As soon as October 1st was in sight, we whipped out pumpkin everything with absolutely no shame! While the weather may suggest that summer is still in the air, our taste buds are saying something different – Fall vibes are here to stay! There’s something just so comforting about the thick, chewy taste of pumpkin bites, bars, and breads – but the sugar and unhealthy fats? Not so much.

Enjoy a lighter take on your soul-warming favorites with these 7 essential high-protein pumpkin recipes that are packed full of flavor without all the sugar!

Flourless Pumpkin Breakfast Brownies

These healthy flourless pumpkin breakfast brownies are moist, dense, and packed with protein goodness! Without the addition of flour, sugar, or oil, this recipe qualifies as a great start to the day and a pretty great way to end one, too! Perfect for a make-ahead breakfast or snack, these brownies are gluten-free, plant-based (if using TLS® Plant-Based Protein), dairy-free, and sugar-free. Plus, they even qualify as paleo!

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Serves: Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-2 scoops of TLS® Protein Powder – Vanilla

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 + spray a small loaf pan (6×6) with nonstick spray
  • Mix all your ingredients until a thick batter is formed
  • Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out just clean from the center.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan completely. For the best texture, refrigerate after it has cooled and keep refrigerated at all times.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spiced Power Pancakes

It’s easy for a healthy, whole grain pancake breakfast to turn into a “dessert before 9 a.m.” situation, even with the best intentions in mind.  Overwhelmed with toppings and syrups that pack in empty calories and quick sugars, many of us simply stay away from this higher-carb meal. Worry no more! Low in sugar and high in, you’ll know you’ve done your body a favor with these pumpkin pancakes!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 svg. TLS® Shake – Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 T almond milk

Method:

  • In large bowl, mix flour, protein powder, spices, sweetener, salt, and baking powder.
  • In a small bowl, whisk egg whites with the vanilla extract.
  • Add to the dry mixture and stir until you’ve reached a dough-like consistency.
  • Add pumpkin and slowly add the milk one tablespoon at a time until a thick batter is formed.
  • Heat a frying pan on low heat and spray with cooking oil.
  • Once pan is extremely hot, pour 1/4 cup servings of the batter and cover.
  • Flip the pancakes once they begin to bubble and edges begin to brown then cover again for 1 minute.
  • Repeat until all the batter is used

Top these with pumpkins seeds, spices, or sautéed apples for a delicious morning start!

Edible Pumpkin Cookie Dough

If you’re a fan of no-bake recipes (or just eating most of the cookie batter before it makes it to the oven) then this healthy cookie dough just became your new fall staple! You can thicken it up to create a super crumbly texture, add in pumpkin seeds or almonds for a healthy crunch, or add liquid + serve it up with apples as a great dip! However you like it, we love how easy this recipe is to adapt to paleo, gluten-free, vegan, or anything diet between. You can even keep it keto by opting for liquid stevia!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup sticky sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1-2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1-2 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)

Method:

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine pumpkin nut butter, and sweetener.
  • Add coconut flour one tablespoon at a time, adding more until desired consistency is reached.
  • Stir through chocolate chips, if desired, and enjoy! 

1-Minute Chocolate Pumpkin Mug Cake

Unlike the typical white flour, butter, oil, and sugar that fills traditional cakes, this one opts to combine the most texture of pumpkin + rich taste of chocolate protein powder to create a more healthful approach! This perfectly portioned treat is a no-mess recipe where the natural pumpkin taste complements the earthy, rich notes of dark cocoa, and it’s ready to eat after only a minute’s prep!

Prep Time: 1 minute

Serves: Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1 svg. TLS® Whey Protein
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sweetener of choice*
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg

Method:

  • Grease a microwave safe bowl with cooking spray and add the protein powder, baking powder, coconut flour, sweetener of choice, cocoa powder and mix well.
  • Add the egg, pumpkin puree, and add to the dry mixture.
  • Add the milk of choice, continuing to add milk until a very thick batter is formed.
  • Top with chocolate chips and microwave for 60 seconds, or until just cooked.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Protein Bars

Pumpkin Spice deserves its own season, in our humble opinion. Until that day comes, we’re taking in all things #PSL with these flavorful, healthy protein bars!  They’re thick, chewy, and perfect for those days when you need to grab a quick snack or something to tide you over as you’re running out the door.  No matter what, these are always a healthier option than any Pumpkin Spice Latte calling to you from that local coffee shop. You’ve just got to love having a healthier, tastier option, right?

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Serves: Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 scoop TLS® Shake – Vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup but butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. almond milk
  • Cinnamon and granulated sweetener of choice, to coat bites in (optional)

Method:

  • Line a small 6 x 6 pan with parchment paper
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, TLS® protein powder, sweetener, espresso powder, + pumpkin pie spice.
  • In microwave or stovetop, heat nut butter with sweetener until combined.
  • Mix in vanilla extract.
  • Pour wet mixture and pumpkin into the dry mixture and mix well, adding either more milk or flour to reach desired consistency.
  • Transfer to pre-lined tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Once firm, cut into bars and coat in cinnamon/sweetener mixture.

Enjoy!

Healthy Pumpkin Protein Cookies

This recipe checks all our boxes for the Fall season: easy, fast, healthy, and budget-friendly! Without using butter, sugar, or oil, we’re pretty impressed with this new staple! Whether you pair it with a cup of coffee, grab one for post-workout refuel, or sneak these healthier options into the cupboard for the little ones in the house, you can’t go wrong!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: Makes 16 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup TLS® Shake
  • 1/3 cup ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips for topping

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees + spray baking sheet with cooking spray
  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  • Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then wet ingredients. Combine wet ingredients first, then stir the entire mixture together
  • Scoop 2 tablespoons of dough onto baking sheet for each cookie and flatten slightly as they don’t spread when they bake
  • Top with chocolate chips if desired, then bake for 8-10 minutes, or until set.

Enjoy! 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

This high-protein pumpkin recipe for a rich mousse is a creamy take on our favorite pumpkin cheesecake, just better! Packed with protein and fiber while remaining low in sugar and calories, this recipe is one that will leave both you and your sweet tooth satisfied without undoing a hard week’s worth of healthy choices. Add a handful of low-sugar granola or some graham cracker crumbles, and you’ve got a crowd pleaser for the 2018 holiday season!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves: Makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 svg. TLS® Shake – Vanilla (optional)
  • Graham crackers, to serve (optional)

Method:

  • Add all ingredients to blender except for graham crackers
  • Blend until smooth then place in freezer to set
  • When ready to serve, top with graham crackers and cinnamon

Enjoy!

September 2018

By Ashley Purnell

Close your eyes and think of fall. What’s the first smell that comes to mind? Pumpkin? Cinnamon? Apple? There are so many foods and flavors associated with fall, most of which are unhealthy. It may be tradition to order the seasonal drinks at the coffee shop or spend a day in the kitchen baking your grandma’s famous desserts, but those choices have consequences on your health. Read on to learn what foods you should avoid this fall.

Pumpkin Flavored Coffee

If you’re a big fan of pumpkin, don’t give into pumpkin season at your favorite coffee shop. Skip the coffee shop altogether and make your own at home where you can control how much of what goes into your drink. The flavored coffees contain a large amount of sugar, condensed milk, pumpkin puree, plus add the whipped cream on top.

Pies

There’s something about fall that puts people in the mood to bake. Maybe it’s all of the delicious seasonal ingredients or possibly the chilly weather, either way, be conscious about what you eat. Pies are seen more in the fall and winter, especially as the holidays draw closer. It seems everywhere you turn there’s a pumpkin pie, apple pie, or another enticing flavor taunting you. Loaded with carbs and sugar, even fruit filled pies are your waistline’s worst nightmare!

Fall Breads

There are few things better than the smell of fresh baked bread, especially when they are made with fall ingredients. It’s a trap! The tempting aroma may fill your house, and also your clothes! The sugary ingredients turn already high glycemic bread into a decadent dessert loaf. Skip the added sugars and carbs and opt for a healthier delight.

Instead, try these delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season during fall:

Apples

Reach for a Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Gala, or one of over 20 more varieties of apple each with their own flavor to add to your salad or eat as a snack. Don’t forget to eat the skin—it contains healthy flavonoids. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away? That’s because apples are full of antioxidants and dietary fiber.

Harvest season: August-November

Pumpkin

While pumpkin is on the high end of the glycemic scale, it’s rich in potassium and a good source of vitamin B. If you’re currently following the TLS Weight Loss Solution lifestyle and low glycemic eating, opt for a pumpkin extract to still enjoy the favorite fall flavor.

Harvest season: October–February 

Sweet Potatoes

The way you prepare sweet potatoes makes a difference in their GI. Instead of baking sweet potatoes, opt for the lower GI option of boiling them. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of iron, plus have anti-inflammatory benefits.

 Harvest season: September–December

Squash

Did you know that there is a difference between summer and winter squash? Winter squash has a fine texture and a slightly sweet flavor, unlike summer squash. Season winter squash with warm seasonal spices such as cinnamon and ginger. Plus, squash contains omega-3 fatty acids and are an excellent source of vitamin A.

Harvest season: October–February

What Supplements Promote Relaxation & Reduce Stress?

Supplements that may help promote relaxation and reduce stress contain vitamins, minerals, extracts, and antioxidants. Some examples are:

  • Certain B vitamins, such as B5, B6, and B12
  • L-tryptophan
  • L-theanine
  • Rhodiola
  • Ashwagandha (or winter cherry)
  • Eleuthero (or Siberian ginseng)
  • Passion Flower
  • Bacopa
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Ginseng

We experience stress when we feel overwhelmed, either emotionally or physically, and our body and mind react accordingly. Everybody experiences stress differently, and the effects of stress on the body vary greatly from person to person. Furthermore, we are all triggered by different things. Events, experiences, actions, or situations that trigger stress are known as stressors. Stress is our body and mind responding to the stressors with which we are confronted at a given time. Again, everybody responds to stress differently, with the body reacting in various ways, and to that end, everybody copes with stress differently. Some people simply remove themselves from the stressful situation, or distract themselves with a certain technique. Other people need assistance in reducing stress, and in some cases, dietary supplements may help promote a healthy response to stress. The vitamins and nutrients in certain Isotonix® products, such as the Anti-Stress Kit and L-Tryptophan supplements, work to support the body’s natural stress response.*

What Happens During Stress? The Brain’s Response to Stress

Stress is such an encompassing term - in fact, the American Institute of Stress suggests it is so highly subjective that it almost defies definition. But we are all familiar enough with our bodies to know what causes us stress, and what we need to relieve stress. To better understand how dietary supplements can help, let’s take a look at the body’s physiological reaction to stress: the stress response.

What is the Stress Response?

The stress response is our body’s initial and automatic reaction to stress. It is a sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses that helps us analyze and respond to stress. You may have heard of the “fight-or-flight” response, which began as a survival mechanism, and is the basis of our stress response. Initially a mechanism for us to react quickly to dangerous situations, our stress response is also triggered by non-threatening situations - every day occurrences that stress us out, but aren’t necessarily dangerous.

The way we respond to stress begins in the brain, when we are confronted with a situation that triggers our reaction. There are two primary parts of the brain involved in the stress response:

  • Amygdala. The amygdala plays a role in the way we process emotions, and when we experience something stressful, it sends a “distress signal” of sorts to the hypothalamus.
  • Hypothalamus. This portion of our brain is essentially a command center, and communicates with the rest of the body via the autonomic nervous system. There are two components to the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic nervous system, which provides the body with a burst of energy to respond to the stressor, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the body after the danger has passed.

The sympathetic nervous system is activated first, sending signals to the adrenal gland in our brains to pump epinephrine into the blood. Epinephrine is a hormone that results in many of the physical changes we experience during stress. These changes happen quickly, oftentimes before we’re aware of them, and once that surge of epinephrine subsides, the hypothalamus activates the HPA axis, which is composed of the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands, and relies on subsequent hormones to sustain our “high alert” reaction until the stressful situation has passed.Once we’re out of the situation, or the stimulus has left, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated to calm us down. Certain supplements may impact the process of calming down, or helping us adapt and respond more appropriately to stressors.*

L-Tryptophan Supplements in Daily Essentials ‘Turn Down’ & Vitamins for Stress

Isotonix®, the world’s most advanced nutraceuticals, offers several dietary supplements that may impact the body’s response to stress. What sets Isotonix apart is our revolutionary isotonic delivery system. The nutrients in our products are delivered via an isotonic solution which, when mixed with water, mirrors the concentration of the body’s own fluids. This makes the absorption of nutrients by the body highly efficient, while delivering maximum results.* The phrase “isotonic” means same pressure, and refers to a solution that bears the same chemical resemblance as the body’s blood, plasma, and tears. All fluids in the body have a certain concentration, which is referred to as the common osmotic pressure, and this allows for a consistent maintenance of the body’s tissues. In order for a substance to be absorbed by the body, it must be converted to an isotonic state, but Isotonix dietary supplements are already isotonic, allowing for efficient absorption.* Learn more about the Isotonix delivery system by watching the video above.*

Activated B Complex The Isotonix Activated B Complex, which is available individually or as part of our Isotonix Daily Essential Kit, contains the activated forms of several essential vitamins and minerals. The activated form of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid allows for a more efficient utilization of these vitamins by the body. Activated B Complex may help maintain healthy levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that promotes mood regulation), increase energy, and help decrease stress.* This supplement contains:

  • Vitamin B5, or D-Calcium Pantothenate, promotes proper neurotransmitter activity in the brain, and is also known as the “anti-stress vitamin” because it helps relieve physical and emotional stress and promotes the secretion of essential hormones.*
  • Vitamin B6, or Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate, is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain and nerve cell, and may support mental function, including your mood.*
  • Vitamin B12, or Methylcobalamin, promotes the formation of SAMe (S-adenosylemethionine), which has powerful mood-elevating properties.*

Our Activated B Complex also contains magnesium, the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, which supports more than 300 enzyme systems.*

The Bliss Anti-Stress Formula promotes relaxation without drowsiness, and may help your body adapt to stress, while also potentially improving mental clarity.* Bliss contains the following ingredients:

  • L-Theanine. Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea, and may help promote normal levels of serotonin and Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA). GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation.*
  • Rhodiola. Rhodiola Roseroot contains salidroside, which may help support resistance to the harmful effects of stressors.*
  • Ashwagandha. Also known as winter cherry, this Indian herb may have a relaxing effect on the body, and may also help promote normal levels of dopamine receptors.*
  • Eleuthero. Also called Siberian ginseng, this ingredient may help the body adapt to stress, and may have a “balancing” effect on the body, helping the body deal with stressful conditions.*
  • Passion Flower. This flower may help promote relaxation.*
  • Bacopa. This ingredient may help promote cognitive performance.*

We have several ways we can help you gain energy throughout the day that include some powerful sources in addition to the Isotonix Daily Essentials ‘'Turn Up”. Additionally, this kit contains MochaTonix®, a powerful energy enhancer, and Awake Energy Shots, to provide a gradual energy boost. Each of these products contain an array of ingredients to promote energy and help decrease stress.* Specifically, Mochatonix contains:

  • Rhodiola Rosea, a root that helps support the body’s resistance to stressful conditions.*
  • Ginkgo Biloba, extracted from the leaves of the gingko tree, may act as a mood enhancer .*
  • Korean Ginseng, also known as Panax ginseng, may help enhance physical and mental performance.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product(s) is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

--Sources: “What is Stress?”American Institute of Stress. Web. 09 Feb. 2017. “Understanding the Stress Response.”Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School. 18 Mar. 2016. Web. 09 Feb. 2017. Nordqvist, Christian. “What is Stress? How to Deal with Stress.”Medical News Today. 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.

August 2018

Have you ever been on a flight and heard the flight attendant give instructions? There are many. I’d like to talk about two of them in particular as I find them to be quite profound in life as well as air travel.

  1. “Fasten your seat belts as you may encounter turbulence until we reach a comfortable altitude.”
  2. “In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. … If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.”

Let me tell you why I find these so profound.

The first is quite simple. We all know that life is messy. For me it’s about staying in the moment while looking forward. I attended a conference this weekend that reminded me of this. Sometimes life is a struggle, but if we stay the course, it will even out. Hang on and don’t falter in whatever it is you are striving for.

The second is about taking care of yourself. It’s up to you to take care of you. Only you know what your true needs and desires are. In order for us to take care of everyone and everything else, we must first take care of ourselves.

My father is a wise man and has instilled this principle in us over time by impressing upon us the need for self care. I am the mother of a busy family with a great, supportive husband, four beautiful teenaged children, and two businesses. If I don't care for me first, how can I care for the others?

It's your turn to focus on you, before you take care of everyone else. And one of the best ways you can help yourself is to make your body as well as you can be. We all have many stresses in our lives these days, with family, work, school, errands, bills, travel and so much more.

YOU ARE WORTH IT!!! DO IT FOR YOURSELF and then everyone else.

I’d love to hear from you and how I can help you focus on your wellness.

July 2018

Challenge completed…

I did it… well almost. I was a little shy in riding the distance of the 200 miles in the month of June as I set out. I am celebrating my accomplishment of riding 165 miles even though it was a little short. This is still big for me. I am not sure I mentioned this in my earlier post, but I had not ridden my bike in several years before this. I had intended to warm up to it but it rained for the two full weeks prior to June 1st.

I persevered through as much as I could. I rode 16 days with a minimum of just under 7 miles and the maximum of just over 15 each time with most of them at or just over 10 miles. I am thrilled with this. Each of my daughters joined me a time or two and I saw parts of our quaint little town that I had never seen before. I mostly stayed in the parks though. I rode farther on my bicycle this past month than I ever imagined I would in a single month.

As I did with the running challenge a few years ago, I feel stronger than before. I ride with more confidence. I am hopeful to make the leap onto the bigger road.

I love that this is something I can do with my family. This weekend, I went for a ride with my 87 year old dad. It was short, but sweet. The photo at the top is dad.

June 4

I talked last time about the running challenge that Joe and I participated in 3 years ago. We both felt so strong, confident, more fit, and amazing after completing that challenge and knew I wanted to do something again in the future.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do or what I would come across to peak interest. I toyed with riding my bicycle, swimming, or hiking long distance but had no plan.
This spring I came across the one I knew was right for me. The Great Cycle Challenge. I have already started it. I will ride 200 miles during the month of June, challenge myself and raise awareness and funds to fight

I plan to ride this month and maybe beyond. You can follow my progress on Facebook and/or support me here: greatcyclechallenge.com/Riders/AnnamarieJakubielski

The Power of Challenges

April 17

A few years ago, Joe and I learned about a challenge that neither one of us were prepared for, yet we got excited and decided to make a go of it.

We ran a 5K a day for 50 consecutive days. While we had both run a 5K here or there previously, we found neither of us were conditioned to go that distance for that many days. All the running articles I had read prior to that said that one should not run for more than a few days at a time without a break of some sort. This would allow your muscles to recover and in a perfect world, they were probably right. We did it anyway.

At first, it was more difficult than we expected. We didn’t give up. We pushed through. Some days we ran together. Most days we didn’t. I’ll further explain my journey.
I decided midway through that I should start a detox. This made going that distance a little more difficult. I walked those 7 days, but I always went the distance. While my time was never a worthy record, it was worth every minute of every day I ran. By the time I got to the end of the challenge, I found it to be a wonderful experience, a great place to ‘go’ and I learned a whole lot.

Here are some of the things I learned.

  • There is always time to run, even a slow runner like me can go the distance. It’s not about time, at least it isn’t for me. My time did improve by about 8 minutes.
  • Be prepared. I have four children and this challenge was during the summer and I prefer to sleep in during the summer rather than get up early, much less to run. This meant I had to fit the 35-45 minutes into my time around the summer time activities. I kept a bag with my shoes and running clothes in the car. I’ve run while they are in the dentist chair, getting a hair cut, at the pool, while my car was being serviced, in many parks, University of Maryland, Virginia Beach UNC Wilmington, and so much more.
  • Food is fuel - as i mentioned, in the middle of this challenge I was inspired to detox and what a difference it made in my recovery. I was still sore but much less. I learned how to fuel my body with whole, real food. It ate clean proteins, lots of vegetables, some fruit and probably 80 oz of water per day for me. BTW, I still eat this way.
  • Supplements can help - one supplement in particular i credit to the faster recovery. as part of my detox, i amped up my intake of the antioxidant/anti inflammatory supplement called OPC-3. combining this supplement with the proper food help bring the inflammation in my calves down to a quiet discomfort instead of the screaming tightness i had been experiencing.
  • My body is so strong. and exercise is a great way to relieve stress and take away the blues.
  • Diet and lifestyle changes dramatically change quality of life.

Guess what I did on days 51-54? Yep, I ran a 5K. It had become a habit. I get my exercise in other forms these days and I found a new challenge for this summer. I’ll tell you about it in a later blog.

Challenges are a great way to push yourself to the next level. This challenge was the what I needed to change my body, and lifestyle, creating a healthier me. And I love feeling good, looking good, and being healthy.

If you or anyone you know is struggling to make healthy lifestyle changes, I understand your fears. You have to love and believe in yourself. AskAnnamarie and I’ll do what I can to help you succeed in your challenges.

I love Kale!

April 2

Yep, I can hardly believe it myself. Although I’ve not ever snubbed kale officially, I am surprised at how much I now like it. One of the biggest reasons is because of the way it makes me feel. And I’ve been testing this for a few weeks now, so I can say with some certainty that it is the kale.

I made a kale salad, recipe will be on bottom, about 6 weeks ago for a pot luck luncheon at my friend and mentor’s home. She is also my weight loss coach and trainer in business. So, when I prepare a dish, in my mind, I must choose wisely and want to make it extra good for us to share. When I arrived, I was feeling sluggish and tired. It had been a long week prior to the luncheon and I was beat. I finally sat down to the potluck and heaped a large portion of my kale salad on my plate along with some other scrumptious choices from our lunch. Almost immediately, I was feeling energized and clear headed. I figured I just needed food in general.

Fast forward a week or so later. My family had the benefits of leftover kale salad upon my return and my husband and 13 year old daughter found it and enjoyed it in the fridge. They liked it so much they asked me to make more. I obliged. I packed it for lunch one day while out on appointments and found the same feelings of energy and clarity come over me upon eating it. I have since enjoyed this salad several times. I almost always have it made for us to enjoy at home and to go.

I wanted to know why this little salad was packing such a great powerful rush for me… I did some research.

Of all the super healthy greens, kale is the king.

It is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in existence and when prepared well is, in my opinion, delicious.

Kale is being called “the new beef”, “the queen of greens” and “a nutritional powerhouse.” Here are ten great benefits of adding more kale to your diet:

1. Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. - One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium as well as those listed below.

2. Kale is high in iron. - Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.

3. Kale is high in Vitamin K. - Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. - Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.

5. Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. - One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.

6. Kale is great for cardiovascular support. - Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.

7. Kale is high in Vitamin A. - Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.

8. Kale is high in Vitamin C. - This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration.

9. Kale is high in calcium. - Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility.

10. Kale is a great detox food. - Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy. mindbodygreen.com

Recipe I make:

Gratitude is my on my mind today and for so many reasons. Several years ago Oprah had a guest author who spoke of her book on abundance. Part of the author's approach included becoming aware of and writing in a gratitude journal, just a few things that one might be thankful for each day. I did this for a long time and it did help me to recognize all the good around me. I do not journal it in the same way today. I do take the time each week/month to reflect on those things and people I am grateful for, and why, and get a good sense of the power that lies in it. I am also reminded that it is all from God. What might you find yourself grateful for today? Here’s an article on the power of gratitude and it’s positive influence over you.

What is Gratitude and What Is Its Role in Positive Psychology?

Sharing is caring. "Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude." ― Ralph Waldo Emerson There is a variety of things that can conjure positive feelings of appreciation, or gratitude.

April 10

Gratitude

March 15, 2018

It's Spring! The evening hours are lighter longer. This often brings out the natural inclination in us to ready our homes to renew our surroundings. We might clean windows, change curtains, clean dryer vent, dust underneath those hard to reach places, wash walls, you get it… deep clean. This gives our home a fresh start as we let the fresh air in. I want you to consider doing the same spring cleaning for your body. It can start with a 21-Day Challenge.

This is something that I have done for a few years now. By participating in the TLS 21-Day Challenge I feel better, have more energy, lose body fat and simply have fun enjoying life with vim, vigor and zest! It can begin with a detox or a change in diet.

Some of the benefits of TLS 21-Day Challenge and detoxifying are:

  • Flushes out harmful toxins from the body.
  • Improves the immune system.
  • Capacity to metabolize stored fat improves.
  • Reduces the risk of recurring chronic diseases.
  • Improves mental clarity.
  • Helps in making better decisions and also increases the power of analysis.
  • Burn unwanted fat.
  • Reset your palate to continue to make healthy food choices.

Are you ready to renew your body this spring? Take the Weight Loss Profile below to help us identify how we can work together.

828 699-6996 Call/TextTake Weight Loss Profile

February 22, 2018

Before and After… a little bit of how

The above photos were taken about 8 years apart. It didn’t take us 8 years to lose the 125 pounds of collective fat, just that long to take the picture. It took us about 2 years to get from here to there. We use a lifestyle approach to weight loss and now weight management.

There are four parts to living this lifestyle. It is diet. Not in that four letter word that most folks think of as a temporary way to eat, but the sensible way we approach eating. We have learned, and teach, that we have to fuel our bodies with good food. Now having said that, I'd like to share some of our everyday meals with you.

February 8, 2018

With Valentines Day right around the corner, I wanted to remind you that I love you. 💕My hope is that you love you, too. One must love thy self. It is one of the two great commandments given to us.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

For me, that means taking time for myself, doing things I love to do. This does not take away from my family, instead, it gives more of me.

It starts with YOU! How can you show love of neighbor by your example of self love today?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Email me: info@AskAnnamarie.com

February 15, 2018

Time is the most important gift we have to share with the ones we love.

I have two teenage daughters at home and am always looking for ways to connect with each of them before they grow up and fly away... and they will. I thought I'd share the list I found.

10 MOM AND TEEN DAUGHTER DATES TO EXPERIENCE

#1 Concert

# 2 Romantic “Teenager” Movie

#3 Appetizers and Desserts Only

#4 Bowling

#5 Mani/Pedis

#6 Afternoon of Shopping

#7 Escape Room

#8 Flea Market/Junkstock Event

#9 Stage Play

#10 Pottery

Bonus and personal favorite:

#11 Hike or Scenic Ride

7 Foods High in Calcium

By: Debbie Lui

Many of us know that calcium is an essential nutrient but, according to a recent review study, most adults do not meet their daily recommended calcium intake. ¹ While supplementation is always an option, the best way to meet your daily needs is through a diet that incorporates high-calcium foods! We’ve rounded up our 7 favorite foods high in calcium below.

It plays a major role in nerve function, muscle contraction, blood clotting as well as building and keeping our bones strong. Nowadays, people are becoming more health-conscious and pay more attention to what they are eating. While dairy is well-known for its calcium content, not all of us include dairy in our diets which leaves us to wonder what other foods are high in calcium. If that sounds like you, check out this list and the following TLS recipes that incorporate our favorite foods high in calcium!

7 Foods High in Calcium

Tofu

Calcium Content: 800mg per cup

Tofu is made from soybeans which are a great source of calcium, especially for thoe living a plant-based lifestyle! If you are on a high calcium diet, firm tofu could be your best choice since because firm tofu has more calcium than regular soft tofu. Tofu has a bland taste which makes it perfect for recipes since it can be easily combined with other flavorful ingredients! In addition, it is a low-calorie and low- sodium food as well and is an ideal ingredient for weight loss diet!

Almond

Calcium Content: 65mg in a cup

Along with many other types of nuts, almonds pack a lot of nutrition into a small bite! They can be served as snacks, added to smoothies, or served as a crust or topping for your favorite dishes. With its rise in popularity, almond milk has become another way to use almonds as a way to get more calcium. It’s a great milk alternative and can be used in place of milk in your most beloved recipes! Whichever way you prefer your almonds, you can enjoy its nutritional values and health benefits as long as you skip options with added sugars.

Okra

Calcium Content: 200mg in 10 Okra

Okra is one of our favorite go-to vegetables as a food high in calcium. It is a good choice for those who are vegetarian or currently on a detox plan since it offers fiber and nutriends to boot! Okra tastes delicious in various cooking methods, so don’t be afraid to broil, roast, or experiment with your favorite okra dish today!

Figs

Calcium Content: 240mg in a cup

Dark, leafy greens aren’t the only foods high in calcium! Fruits such as figs are also a good source of this essential nutrient. About half a cup of dried figs contain 120mg of calcium, which is almost as much as the calcium content in half cup of milk! Fresh and dried figs can be found very easily in the market, but watch out for the added sugar if you choose the dried option. We love figs on their own but if you are looking for something savory to go with your salad, try adding fresh figs!

Canned Sardine

Calcium Content: 460mg in a can

Besides calcium, canned sardine also is abundant in vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which are beneficial to nerve and skeletal system. If you are looking for a protein source that is also high in calcium, canned sardine is one of your choices. Overall it is very easy to prepare and is a perfect ingredient for your salad or sandwich. For a healthier option, always remember to choose canned sardine in water over sardine in oil.

Sesame

Calcium Content: 975mg in 100g of sesame

Many people are surprised to find that sesame is one of the high-calcium foods, although sesame is usually used for garnishes or seasoning, it can be a great ingredient for a drink like smoothies. Check out our earlier blog post on chocolate sesame smoothie recipe, all you need to do is to blend sesame seeds, skim milk, frozen banana and TLS nutrition shake all together to make a drink. Adding calcium into your diet can be just as easy as this!

Chia Seeds

Calcium Content: 631mg in 100g sesame

Everyone is talking about the super food—chia seeds lately. What is so special about these little seeds? You may find it surprised that chia seeds actually contain five times more calcium than milk! 100 grams of chia seeds contain 631mg of calcium! For those who are vegetarian, it is also a great source for complete protein and omega-3 fatty acids! You can simply add soaked chia seeds in your salad or drinks such as lemon water or shakes!

Did You Know?

Calcium alone is not enough to build strong bone

If you think that calcium is all you need to maintain good bones, you might need to learn more about calcium.

Calcium alone cannot do the job, it needs vitamin D to aid in bone absorption. Vitamin D plays a critical role in maintaining bone health. This is why we often see milk is fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D takes an important role in encouraging greater calcium absorption into the blood and minimize calcium loss in urine when our bodies are low in calcium. A great source of vitamin D directly forms the sunshine, and food sources of vitamin D include tuna, salmon, liver and egg yolk.²

Exercise helps in preventing osteoporosis.

We know that exercise brings numerous health benefits, and it is good for our cardiovascular system, metabolism, moods and emotion as well as our bone strength. Weight-bearing exercises such as jogging, weightlifting, hiking, or dancing are great activities for making our bone stronger. It is because when we exercise, it puts strain and stress on our bones which causes the bones to retain; and the cells within the bone respond by making the bone stronger and denser.²

Besides dairy products, there are many foods high in calcium! The above-recommended food items are great for anyone who is looking for more food choices to increase their calcium intake in their diets. These food items are very easy to find at the supermarket, and most of them can be found all year long. Be creative with these food items, try adding them to your favorite dishes or drinks. You may create a very special recipe of your own, and most importantly, you can get the calcium you need in your diet! Don’t forget that vitamin D and exercise are needed along together to build healthy and strong bones.
Resources:

  1. Balk, E. M. et al. “Global Dietary Calcium Intake among Adults: A Systematic Review.” Osteoporosis International 28.12 (2017): 3315–3324. PMC. Web. 7 June 2018.
  2. School of Public Health, Harvard T.H.Chan. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/calcium-and-milk/calcium-full-story/ on June 7th