Why You (& All Women) Need to Lift Weights…Starting Today

Written by: on Friday, January 16th, 2015
Woman lifting weight

All women should be lifting weights for strength, balance, bone building, and a dose of confidence.

If you’re like most women, you probably head to the gym for a power workout—completely avoiding the weight floor. Or maybe you have a pair of handheld weights that you do some arm exercises with…when you get the chance (but you’ve been doing the same moves with the same weight for as long as you can remember).

If this sounds like you, you’re missing out on the key benefits of weight training, say experts like Paula Burger, a personal trainer based in Ft. Lauderdale. “I can’t stress the importance enough of why women—particularly as we get older—should be weight training,” says Burger. “As a woman, your body wants to lose muscle mass every year—and you gain weight because of it. Plus, your hormones are all over the place: your estrogen and testosterone [yes, even women have some] are dropping and you have to lift heavier weights, eat less, and work harder than ever to keep the weight off.”

But consistent weight training can shift the momentum—significantly. Studies conducted by Wayne Westcott, PhD, fitness research director with the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, back this up. Westcott found that strength training two to three times a week for just two months will help women gain nearly two pounds of muscle and lose 3.5 pounds of fat. Why? As the body increases muscle mass, our fat-burning furnace (metabolism) fires up, which means you burn more calories and fat—all day long—even when you’re sitting. This is key as we get older because our metabolism slows down with every passing year—the reason you’re eating the same foods as you did years ago but now you’re gaining weight, gradually.

Miriam Nelson Book

The groundbreaking book that laid out exactly why women need strength training.

Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, author of the national bestseller Strong Women Stay Young, is a staunch proponent of women lifting weights, based on research she’s done—and continues to do through her The StrongWomen Program, a women’s national community exercise and nutrition program. Nelson found that after a year of strength training twice per week, women not only had less fat and more muscle, they also increased strength and energy dramatically, improved balance and flexibility, and prevented or reversed bone loss.

Why weight training gets such impressive bone-building results: Cells called osteoblasts are critical to maintaining bone structure; when you do weight-bearing exercise, these osteoblasts lay down new bone tissue to strengthen the points where the bone is stressed. Do regular strength training—and continually challenge yourself with heavier weights and more repetitions—and these osteoblasts continue to reinforce the bone, over and over again, reducing your risk of serious health problems like osteopenia, or low bone density; full-blown osteoporosis; and sarcopenia, or gradual loss of muscle mass. All can affect not only how you age but your quality of life, too (i.e. what’s the joy in living longer, if you’re bed bound with compound hip fractures and have little muscle strength to do daily activities?).

Kris Wilkes, 59, is a former federal prosecutor and former litigator and senior partner at an international law firm in San Diego who has experienced the body- and life-changing benefits of weight training first hand. “I was in a very demanding career, often working 16 to 18 hours a day,” explains Wilkes, who took up weight training almost 20 years ago. “I would leave work feeling exhausted. But I forced myself to exercise after work. It became a great stress reliever for me. I started to feel euphoric because I was taking care of my body—not just using my mind as I did at work.” (Exercise, both cardio and weight training, is a proven mood booster.)

woman working out with dummbells

Dumbbells are an effective first step in any weight training program, but you need to switch up your routine every six weeks to prevent your muscles from getting used to it.

But Wilkes found that while cardio did help reduce her stress, it didn’t re-shape her body as she had expected. “I’d see these girls coming out of Gold’s Gym with amazing bodies—something that we just weren’t achieving in the aerobics studio next door,” explains Wilkes, who credits that with inspiring her to get a trainer and start lifting weights. “Of all the things I’ve done over the years—yoga, Pilates, running, step classes, CrossFit—weight lifting is the one that has truly sculpted my body and changed it, for the better.” (Wilkes has become such a fan of weight lifting, she competes regularly in International Federation of Bodybuilding competitions.)

In the Gym

The scene at the World Gym in Ft. Lauderdale, where Wilkes now lives, is impressive—and to the lay exerciser, a bit intimidating. Awe-inspiring photos of bodies sculpted at the gym line the walls and top-of-the line exercise equipment fills the floor. But it’s the members themselves who draw the most stares: muscles rippling, super-fit women and men can be found pumping iron, plenty of it. Wilkes is one of them—and is right at home. “I do 60 to 90 minutes of weights followed by 30 to 40 minutes of cardio, typically the StepMill or interval running,” says Wilkes, who works out 5 to 6 days a week and is unquestionably in the best shape—and health—of her life.

Dumbbells

Don’t get intimidated by heavy weights; work your way up to using them.

But Wilkes doesn’t just lift some heavy weights and call it a day. She plans out her course of action—something a trainer taught her early on to sculpt her body and avoid injury—working different body parts on different days. “Some days I do chest, shoulders, and biceps, followed by a leg day, and then the next day, I’ll do back and triceps,” she says. “Then, on the last day, I’ll work my abs and calves. You really have to thoroughly train the areas you’re targeting to get results.” But a trainer is key, says Wilkes: “There are so many different things you can do at the gym to build muscle—and a trainer can help you figure everything out and come up with a plan.”

Ft-Lauderdale-based Burger agrees. “You have to get out of your comfort level to see results. When you’re 50 or older, you can’t just go and do some shoulder presses and curls with 5-pound weights. You’ve got to push yourself and build up to the next level. A trainer can help you do that. I have a 75-year-old client doing step-ups with 15-pound dumbbells; she didn’t start there. She had to work up to it, but she did—and she’s doing it—and she’s getting great results.”

man lifting weights in gym

Don’t worry about bulking up like this if you lift weights; the truth is…you won’t.

“There’s a persistent myth about weight lifting and women,” explains Wilkes. “Women think that if they lift heavy weights, they’re going to bulk up and look like a guy.” That’s just not happening, she says. “As we get older and our hormone levels start to drop, women have to fight for every shred of muscle we put on. We have to work really hard for it. We’re just not physically capable of bulking up like a guy. Sure, I want to fill out sagging skin with muscle, but I also want to be able to wear a dress and not look like a football player.”

The Fountain of Youth?

For women 50+, hormones and an aging body aren’t their best friends—but weight training can turn things around, something that Maria Liza Eden Giammaria, M.D., MPH, a vein specialist—based in New York and Ft. Lauderdale—discovered firsthand. “My father was ill with cancer and I was traveling between North Carolina, where he was, and my offices. At one point, when I turned 50, I had an awakening,” she says. “I was exhausted, I wasn’t working out, I wasn’t eating healthy, and I wasn’t sleeping. I felt toxic. I needed to work on me—and because I was so busy, I had to maximize my time. I wanted to get the best results in as little time as possible.” Enter weight lifting. As Eden Giammaria got more toned, she started eating better, lost weight, felt better about herself—and had a better overall mood—and even started to feel more empowered at work. “I want to gracefully embrace the aging process,” she says, adding that weight training has helped her do this.

Fifty was also the magic number for San Diego-based Meg Kruse, a personal trainer who’s now 56. Like Wilkes, Kruse is a regular at bodybuilding competitions, but Kruse never initially believed she could ever get to that point. “A trainer came up to me one day right around the time I turned 50 and suggested that I take my weight training to the next level because I had a beautiful back,” says Kruse. “When she said that, a little voice in my head said ‘You can’t do that. You’re too old. You’ve got wrinkles. Your right boob hangs down.’ But that made me even more determined to do it.” As her muscles grew, so did her self-esteem. Says Kruse: “As a woman, when you get stronger, you get more confident. There’s no question.”

This boost in self-esteem is a common side effect of taking on a challenge like weight lifting—particularly as you get older, says Michele Kerulis, LCPC, director of Sport & Health Psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology, in Chicago. “When you’re in your 50s and older, there are many body changes occurring that make seeing results in the gym extremely difficult,” explains Kerulis. “But that’s what makes setting, and achieving, goals like this that much more outstanding for women.”

Woman holding water bottle in gym

No matter what age you are, exercising—both cardio and strength training—can help you look younger.

“Having a goal to work toward keeps you young,” adds Carol Matthews, 68, a personal trainer in Ft. Lauderdale who regularly weight trains women 50+ (including women in their 80s and 90s, whom she trains in their nursing homes). And getting stronger is a goal, says Matthews, which should be on every woman’s fitness bucket list. “Every single woman should lift weights,” she says. “You’re never too old to start.” But Matthews also stresses the importance of balancing out the rest of your life, too: “Eat clean and healthy—and prep your food for the day so you have things with you—get plenty of rest, and get out there and do cardio, even if it’s walking. These all work together to help you live a strong, healthy, long life.” Kruse agrees, saying: “You need to feed your body fuel: good healthy protein [like lean meats, fish, eggs, and beans], vegetables, and healthy carbs.”

So weight training—along with living a healthy, balanced life—makes you stronger, boosts your health, and wards off disease. But there’s also a tiny bit of vanity that comes from being able to wear sleeveless dresses with ease and a boost of confidence that comes from being able to heft your own shopping bags or your suitcase, or even your grandkids, sans help. All are what keep growing numbers of women, like Wilkes and Kruse, committed to strength training. “So we’re getting older?” says Kruse. “Women who strength train are not going to break their hips and they’re not going to ride up the stairs in one of those trolley things. And we’re not going to head to the grave with a muffin top. I like to call what we’re doing aging gracefully—and actively.”

Getting Started

Looking to boost your strength and improve your health with weight training? Consistency is key. Start with a trainer (all gyms have them, or try a personal training center that can work with you—and your goals). Or gradually work your way up to a trainer with these easy strength training tips*:

Put on a walking vest. These adjustable weighted vests can be worn daily to transform your daily walks into strength-training ones.

Do body weight exercises. Push-ups are the easiest exercises to do. You need no equipment and can do them anywhere. Other good options include squats (for your legs) and crunches (for your abs).

Try resistance tubing. These stretchy, lightweight pieces of latex provide resistance (and strength training) when stretched. (Tip: the lighter the color of the tubing, the less resistance it offers.)

Do free weights (or use weight machines). Dumbbells are effective strength training tools. You can do everything from biceps curls (to strengthen the arms) and shoulder raises (to strengthen the shoulders) to weighted squats (to help boost muscle—and bone—in the legs). Weight machines at the gym are a more advanced way to build bone; a trainer can show you step-by-step how to use them.

Do 5 to 10 minutes of cardio before strength training (this warms up the muscle, helping to prevent injury). Then choose a weight or resistance level that will tire your muscles after 12 repetitions. (When you can do more than 15 reps without tiring, increase the amount of weight or resistance.) Plan to do two to three, 20- to 30-minute sessions a week, alternating days that you work on different body parts.

* Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen so you don’t get hurt.

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Edible Seeds & Why They’re Good for You

Written by: on Monday, November 3rd, 2014

I love this chart highlighting the benefits of seeds. We’re not conditioned to think of seeds as a food here in America—but we should. (I personally love flax and chia seeds because they’re chockfull of omega-3s [I sprinkle them on my oatmeal every day] — and sesame seeds, which I sprinkle on my salads, because they’re high in calcium.) Take a look and find a seed to try in your diet.

6 Edible Seeds: Here is why you should sprinkle them into your diet
“6 Edible Seeds” on Health Perch

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Why I See a Midwife (No, I’m Not Pregnant)

Written by: on Sunday, October 5th, 2014
Midwives

Midwives provide care while you’re pregnant, but they can also provide primary care to women, annual gynecological exams, family planning, and even menopausal care.

I just booked an appointment with my midwife. No, I’m not having a baby — or planning on becoming pregnant — but this midwife  (Tina Alessi, CNM, in Morristown, New Jersey) provides many of the same services as an OB/GYN. In fact, she’s part of an established OB/GYN practice. She worked with me throughout my last pregnancy — and I’ve been with her ever since.

What I’ve found is that I love my midwife’s holistic approach to well-being…she’s kind of like an integrative “doctor” but for female care: she’s versed in natural treatments (as well as natural births—which is what I had for my youngest son, even at 8 pounds 13 ounces!…technically a VBAC, since my daughter was born via C-section), but she’s more than capable of writing a prescription if I need medication (which I did when I was suffering the same nausea as Kate Middleton is now). But I realized that most people don’t know anything about midwives (or if they do, they have some pretty outdated notions about them) — why I thought I’d do a little primer on midwives (particularly because Oct 5 – 11 is National Midwifery Week), addressing some of the myths:

Myth: You only need the services of a nurse-midwife during pregnancy.

Fact: Certified nurse midwives like mine provide primary health care services to women and families in all stages of life, from the teenage years through menopause. These services include not only caring for women during pregnancy but also general health check-ups; gynecologic care; and prescribing medications, including all forms of pain control medications and birth control. Nurse-midwives can also help care for newborns in the first month of life.

Newborn Baby Boy

Certified Nurse Midwives can attend births in hospitals—or be with you at home for a home birth.

Myth: Nurse-midwives can’t attend births in hospitals.

Fact: My midwife has hospital privileges—and in fact, she’s well known (and respected) around the hospital and the community in general. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM) practice in many settings, including hospitals, medical offices, freestanding birth centers, clinics, and private homes (I had always wanted to try a water birth…and while midwives will help you do it, this wasn’t in the cards for me). In fact, many of them practice in different settings to help ensure women have access to the range of services they need.

By working collaboratively with OB/GYNs, Certified Nurse Midwives can ensure that a specialist is available if a high-risk condition should arise (e.g. an emergency C-section, like I had with my 7-year-old daughter). Likewise, many OB/GYN practices work with Certified Nurse Midwives who specialize in care for women through normal, healthy life events.

Midwife Giving Medications

Midwives can, and do, prescribe medications to their patients—but they always talk you through non-medication alternatives as well.

Myth: You can’t use pain medicine if you use a nurse-midwife for your birth.

Fact: Certified Nurse Midwives partner with families on making decisions around pain-relief techniques. I got a chance to talk with Susan Stone, DNSc, CNM, FAAN, FACNM, who’s president of Frontier Nursing University in Kentucky (one of the oldest and largest midwifery schools in the nation) and she had this to say: “Whether the mom wishes to use methods such as relaxation techniques or movement during labor; or epidural, or other pain medications; a Certified Nurse Midwife will help meet their desired approach. At the same time, they provide information and resources about the different options and choices available should any changes to the birth plan become necessary.”

What is true: Births overseen by Certified Nurse Midwives usually have less intervention – such as continuous electronic fetal monitoring, epidurals, and episiotomies. But, when a medical procedure is necessary, a Certified Nurse Midwife works to ensure that the woman gets what she needs—so it’s the best of all worlds.

Myth: Insurance does not cover midwifery services.

Fact: I’ve got the absolute worst insurance company in the country (United Healthcare), and it still covers my midwife. In fact, thirty-three states require private insurance companies to pay for services provided by Certified Nurse Midwives, and Medicaid coverage for Certified Nurse Midwives is actually required in all states.

stethoscope

Certified Nurse Midwives are trained as nurses first —and have a masters or doctoral degree.

Myth: Midwives don’t need a lot of education.

Fact: All nurse-midwives in the United States begin their education as a registered nurse—and mine started off exactly that way. The fact is: There are many different types of midwives, each holding different certifications based on their education and/or experience. Certified Nurse Midwives have a master’s and/or doctoral degree—and are licensed in all 50 states. This licensing gives them the authority to perform exams, order lab tests, attend births, and prescribe medications.

So there you have it: some basic facts about a pretty old profession. A last bit of advice: I had experience with a midwife (not a Certified Nurse Midwife), who was offering a breast imaging technique called Thermography that I wanted to try (more on this in an upcoming blog!). I would never recommend anyone to her: her office was at the back of her home (which I had to walk through a weedy garden to get to) and I didn’t like her manner or the atmosphere; I couldn’t wait to get out of there—and would never recommend anyone to her. So not all midwives are created equal; that’s for sure! Just as with a doctor, do your research and trust your gut. And make sure they’re a Certified Nurse Midwife!

 

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How Much Are You Really Paying for that New iPhone?

Written by: on Sunday, September 21st, 2014
new iPhone costs

Are you being deceived by the sales people at your local AT&T or Verizon store?

A new iPhone is coming out, it seems, every second — so it’s no surprise when we find ourselves wandering into an AT&T store or Verizon store to “check out” the new phones.

This happened to me — and the result has not been pretty.

When I wandered in, I had the iPhone 4 (yes, I know…ancient in these times) — and was just checking to see how much it would be to upgrade. The “really nice” AT&T sales guy came over and said “Let’s check out your account and see what you’re eligible for.” Okay…so turns out I was “eligible” for an upgrade. I said I wasn’t interested in spending a lot on a new phone (the iPhone 5s was selling for $299 — and I didn’t think that it was necessary to upgrade for $300).

But what came next is the problem.

The AT&T sales guy said, based on my eligibility for an upgrade, I actually didn’t have to pay anything for the phone — and he could lower my monthly bill, too. Wow. I was impressed and happy that I stopped in. So I said “Yes, let’s do it.”

He worked with me on getting the phone, my contacts switched over to the new phone, etc. Then he passed me over to another sales person who had me sign the paperwork. What I knew: I was signing a contract for 2 years (typical) and I had a plan that included e-mail, unlimited texting and more. Did I carefully read the contract? No…I glanced at it and figured I had talked through everything with the sales guy. This wasn’t my first cell phone, so I honestly wasn’t expecting any surprises.

But the reality is something the sales people are not telling you upfront. It wasn’t until I got my monthly bill that the story changed.

I found out that somehow in this whole process, I had signed up for a Wireless Equipment Installment Plan and was paying a monthly fee ($28.85) towards the cost of my new phone, which…get this…was not the $299 phone cost that was advertised in the store, but $749.99!!! Somehow, I had gotten roped into paying an installment plan for my new phone with exorbitant interest charges.

There must be some mistake, I thought: I called AT&T and got through to a supervisor, Alexa, who told me that “I signed a contract so there’s nothing she can do.” And furthermore, I should have read the contract “more closely” as this information was not hidden. But I said: I was going on what the sales person told me and didn’t expect any surprises; he told me I didn’t have to pay for the phone and so I didn’t anticipate any surprises. “Well I’m sorry the salesperson told you that, but there’s nothing I can do,” she said. “You signed a contract.”

My response: “You think a salesperson is going to tell a customer that they’re actually going to be paying almost $800 for a phone that sells for $299?? You’re sadly mistaken.”

But come to find out two of my friends had this also happen to them. Check your bills (so many of us don’t) and see if you’ve been charged for an installment plan for exorbitant costs for your phone; if so, e-mail me. I’m putting together a class action lawsuit against AT&T (and maybe even Verizon—as one of my friends had this happen to her at a Verizon store).

We have a right to know exactly what we’re paying for…up front — without deceptive sales practices, which is what is going on here.

Share your stories with me at valerie@valerielatona.com!

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8 Best Cities for Cylists

Written by: on Sunday, September 7th, 2014
Woman With Road Bike

Biking is one of the best (and most fun) ways to get fit outdoors. You can burn 300+ calories an hour.

I love cycling — there’s just something about being out in nature, with just you and your bike! So happy to see that so many cities are featured here, but even if your city isn’t…you can still get out and ride: all you need is a bike and a helmet (a must). Look for local charity rides or races if you want to take your cycling up a notch; I like active.com to find rides and races, though any local bike store will have info on local rides, too.

 


Brought to you by:SpareFoot.com – See more at: http://blog.sparefoot.com/eight-best-cities-for-cyclists/#washington

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Eat Brownies (and Still Lose Weight)

Written by: on Sunday, September 7th, 2014
Jamie Lichenstein

Trying out freshly baked brownies!

In the past 16 months, I’ve excluded sugar, dairy, gluten, carbohydrates, and red meat from my diet in an effort to lose weight—and gain much-needed confidence. (I also began to exercise five days a week.) The result: I’ve lost 40 pounds and I’ve never felt better.

During the first month of my diet I was challenged: temptations were all around, my friends didn’t understand, and amidst final exams at the end of last school year, Entenmanns cookies were the most common study snack, but I forced myself to remember why I started my diet in the first place: I felt badly about my body and wanted to change that.

Not to generalize, but I have learned that my peers, teenage girls, either eat whatever they want and don’t care—supporting the YOLO (You Live Only Once) lifestyle—or others will choose to skip eating all together, setting themselves up for serious eating disorders. So, when I decided to adopt a routine that was not similar to theirs, I was met with confusion and opposition. “Why would you do that?” They would ask. It wasn’t clear to anyone but me. This was something I had to do for myself.

After those first four weeks, the diet became more of a lifestyle: ordering chicken and veggies became natural and skipping dessert wasn’t a big deal any more. Eventually my friends stopped pressing me.

The result: I’m happier and healthier than I have ever been before, and now I get emails and texts from people all the time asking me for “weight-loss tips”.

Healthy Ingredients for Brownies

The ingredients for my favorite brownies.

With that said, I wanted to share this amazing recipe for sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free chocolate fudge brownies. They are delicious! So, I hope you enjoy these brownies and understand that just because there isn’t sugar in my diet, it doesn’t mean my life is any less sweet! (I found the recipe on this great website, sugarfreemom.com.)

P.S. Just as I was cooking these brownies, my mom said to me, “I don’t get the point of these. If you can’t have sugar, dairy, or gluten, why eat these at all?” Well, to those of us who have very restrictive diets, it is nice to often be rewarded, albeit with non-traditional desserts. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from my diet is there is always a way to enjoy yourself, but without sacrificing calories or confidence. Now, I respect myself for having such strong will power, and I feel better about my body than I ever thought I could.

Sugar, Dairy, and Gluten-Free Brownies

Just click on this recipe to enlarge…and follow!

 

 

 

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A Father’s Incredible Dedication to His Son

Written by: on Friday, June 27th, 2014

In honor of Team Hoyt, who finished their last Boston Marathon together this year, I’m featuring this video—which brings me to tears every time.

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Get Married For a Healthier Heart?

Written by: on Monday, June 9th, 2014
Happily Married Couple

Turns out that love, particularly when it results in marriage, keeps your heart healthy.

A recent survey of 3.5 million Americans has shown that people who are married—regardless of age, sex, or even cardiovascular disease risk factors—have significantly less chances of having any kind of cardiovascular disease than those who are single, widowed, or divorced.

I find this fascinating because while we do so much for a healthy heart—exercise regularly, eat healthy, etc.—there are social factors, like marriage, that play a big role, too (and are often forgotten).

With so many couples griping about their own marriages, I had to ask lead study investigator and NYU Langone cardiology fellow Carlos L. Alviar, M.D., if this research applies to couples, whether they’re happily married or not. And, according to Alviar, these findings do hold true for both happy and unhappy couples. Here’s what he had to say:

“There are some intrinsic factors from just having a spouse or partner that could contribute to better cardiovascular health,” he says. “For instance, a spouse might still take care of his/her significant other and promote healthy habits (medical follow up, diet, exercise, medication compliance, etc.) even if their marriage is not the most harmonious one. In the same way, the fact of not being alone might also contribute to lower levels of physical and psychological stress—which directly affect cardiovascular disease—even if at other times there are disagreements or unpleasant moments.”

There you have it: if you’re worried about heart disease—get hitched or stay hitched. Here are some of the interesting stats from this research, courtesy of NYU Langone Medical Center:

Married People Have Less Cardiovascular Problems

 

 

 

 

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Whole Grain Applesauce Bread

Written by: on Friday, May 9th, 2014
Applesauce bread

Top this bread with peanut or almond butter for an even healthier snack.

In honor of Applesauce Cake Day (coming up on June 6) check out my recipe on Playdate Place  for Homemade Applesauce Cake. My family gave it two thumbs up. Still feeling inspired, plus I had some leftover applesauce, I decided to lighten up my mother-in-law’s applesauce bread. She gave me her recipe 25 years ago and let’s just say, it was time for an update. For starters, I cut back on the sugar. To add fiber and grains, I used whole-wheat white flour instead of the usual all-purpose white flour. Rather than butter (I know it tastes so rich), I used heart-healthy canola oil. The makeover was worth it! Thanks to the applesauce and buttermilk, my Whole Grain Applesauce Bread is super moist and still has a buttery flavor. I have no idea who came up with National Applesauce Cake Day but I love applesauce! Check out my recipe for homemade applesauce. It’s so easy and fun to make with your kids. In the mean time, enjoy my applesauce bread. I wonder what my mother-in-law will think?

 

Whole Grain Applesauce Bread

Makes 12 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

3 large egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup buttermilk

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder together. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites, sugar and oil. Blend in applesauce and buttermilk. Add flour mixture and stir until moistened. Stir in raisins. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

 

Nutrition Information per slice 228 calories, 3.5 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrate, 9.5 grams fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 0.5 milligrams cholesterol, 2.5 grams dietary fiber, 78.5 milligram sodium

Different type of flour to bake with

Try substituting different types of flour in this recipe: We tried substituting gluten-free flour for whole wheat and it worked great.

 

Alternative to Milk in Recipes

We also tried making this recipe dairy free by taking out the buttermilk—and it worked. We substituted rice milk (you could also use almond milk) for buttermilk and added a tablespoon of chia seeds soaked in 2 tablespoons of water.

 

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A Delicious, Super Healthy Snack

Written by: on Monday, April 28th, 2014

Chia Pod BananaI picked up some Banana Chia Pods while I was doing my weekly grocery shopping—and I have fallen in love! This convenient snack only contains three! ingredients (which follows my simple, healthy eating philosophy): chia seeds, coconut milk, and real bananas. The banana definitely tastes fresh…and there are no added sugars! Plus, one container contains 259 milligrams of potassium—a mineral key for so many things like regulating blood pressure and keeping your kidneys healthy.

These snacks are also rich in fiber and omega-3s (of course, because chias are chockfull of omega-3 fatty acids). Take a look at the ingredient label, below. Bottom line: definitely try these yummy treats—particularly as a substitute for more sugary snacks. (You can buy a 12-pack for $40, about $3 a snack, at thechiaco.com.au; just be sure to click the US flag at the bottom of the page…otherwise, you’ll be ordering from Australia!) The only downside: they use a lot of plastic for this one snack (plastic top, plastic spoon included, and plastic cup); while I do recycle plastic, I want to find a way to re-use these snack pods to make buying these worthwhile. (I think they’d make a great on-the-go snack container for kids on long car rides!) And while I’m not a fan of plastic at all, glass chia pod containers are never going to happen unless I make my own banana chia pudding…stay tuned!

Chia Pod Nutrition

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