Sunday, February 28, 2010

Recipe Calculator

Either I'm a huge nerd, or this is really cool. Or maybe both. As you know, I LOVE my nutrition facts. I love to know the exact calorie count of what I'm eating.

I like taking the guesswork out of my diet. I have found this website where you can enter in your recipe's (ingredient by ingredient) and then put in the amount of servings the recipe makes and it gives you the break down per serving. Pretty freaking sweet if you ask me.
Click HERE to check it out.

Happy Sunday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Healthy Honey Oatmeal Cookies

Just call me cookie monster. Wow, I have been doing a LOT of food related posts as of late. A new workout post soon to come, I promise. I must be really hungry or something? As you probably know, my go to "healthy" cookie is usually my favorite zucchini cookies. It almost seems like i'm cheating on them or something to post a rival...but nonetheless...I have found a rival. I was searching for a new healthy cookie recipe and I came across one that I gave a little makeover to. I'll be honest, I'm quite pleased with the results.

*excuse the photo taken with my phone :)

Healthy Honey Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 30 cookies

1 1/2 TBS butter
1 1/2 TBS unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 egg whites
1 TBS water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
* you could use raisins, craisins, nuts, or go straight up oatmeal!

1. Preheat your oven to 350
2. Mix together butter, applesauce, brown sugar, honey, egg whites, and water.
3. Add in your dry ingredients, and then your oatmeal and chocolate chips.
4. Spoon onto cookie sheet (sprayed with Pam) and bake for 12 minutes.

Nutritional Info:
69.5 calories, 2.1 grams of fat (1.3 sat, .2 poly, .3 mono), 15.1 grams of carbs, 1.4 grams of fiber, 4.3 grams of sugar, and 1.1 grams of protein.
pretty dang good for a cookie if you ask me!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Artificial Sweeteners

To sweet to be true? There is SO much controversy over artificial sweeteners. I will try to be unbiased as i can in presenting what legitimate facts have been given.
(Please note that I am only using reputable sources here. Anyone can type in their opinion to google and find sources to back them up, but that doesn't by any means mean they are legitimate sources.)

What are they?
Artificial sweeteners are chemical or natural compounds that provide the sweet taste that Sucralose (table sugar) offers with out at a much lower calorie count. These substitutes are much sweeter than sugar. Because their sweetness is so much higher you don't need to use as much as you would sugar.

Do Artificial sweeteners effect your blood sugar level?
Just because a product is, "sugar free," doesn't mean it's going to be neutral on your blood sugar levels. Many of the products that are sugar free still have high levels of carbohydrates in them which will cause your blood sugar to rise.

Are artificial sweeteners safe?
This is where the controversy lies. In order for food to be sold to the general public it has to go through approval of the FDA. The FDA has given "ADI's" (Acceptable Daily Intakes) for the following sweeteners; Aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal), Saccharin (SweetN'Low and SugarTwin), Acesulfame K (Sunett and Sweet One), and Sucralose (Splenda). The acceptable daily intakes of these foods mean that if you can safely intake the ADI for that sweetener each day. This chart taken from The Mayo Clinic, can help you to see the ADI for each sweetener.

The idea that artificial sweeteners might cause cancer came from an early study that was done involving saccharin and rats. They did find some instances of bladder cancer in the some of the rats. Due to this finding congress mandated that further studies be done before it was allowed to be deemed safe. Further studies were done and it was proven that these instances of cancer dealt solely with rats, and was not applicable with humans. Human epidemiology studies have shown no correlation. Other claims tried to link Aspartame to brain cancer, and have been proven irrelevant. More information about these studies can be found on the National Cancer Institution's website.

Are there any known dangers of artificial sweeteners?
Many claim that artificial sweeteners can cause cancer. This idea, however, is only a claim. According to the National Cancer Institute, there is no scientific evidence that any of the sweeteners that are approved for use in the US have any relation to causing cancer. On the flip side, there are numerous studies that deem artificial sweeteners safe for the general population. For individuals that have PKU (Phenylketonuria), Aspartame is considered unsafe and must cary a PKU warning.
*PKU is a rare hereditary disease where an individual lacks the ability to break down the amino acid, Pheynalalinine (Phe), causing harmful increases in Phe in the blood. Aspartame contains Phe, and if ingested by individuals with PKU can cause unsafe levels of Phe to build up in the blood.

With all of this information on the table you can make of the studies, what you will. I think that the principle of moderation in all things applies well here. I don't think that using artificial sweeteners in your diet is a bad thing, that of course is my own opinion. I do, however, think that one can over do it. Remember that food is best for you in it's natural form. Because I don't eat sugar, I sometimes will have Diet Coke or Chrystal Light when I need a sweet fix. In my opinion that is better than eating a ton of processed sugar. That of course, is just my opinion. :)
There has also been some debate as to wether or not eating, "sugar free" foods just makes you crave sweets more or not. I think that this is something that is determined on an individual basis. I haven't been eating sugar for about a year and a half, and I haven't had this problem.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The sugar low down

Sugar is tasty. It just is. It's sweetness can be soooo enticing, and so confusing. Isn't it in fruit too? How much should I have? Is it really "bad" for you? Hopefully we can clear up some of the confusion.
In 2005 the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended we eat no more than 8 tsp (32 grams) of sugar, per day. This recommendation was based on a 2,000 calorie diet. So if we take that down to a restricted calorie diet of 1,300 calories we're looking at about 26 grams of sugar. That may sound like a lot, but believe me it is not. Sugar seems to sneak in to a LOT of things you eat that you might not be realizing.

Before you start to worry about the sugar in every food you are eating you should first realize that not all sugars are created equal. There is the good and the bad.

These are the sugars that occur naturally in food. They are found in foods that are nutritious and you don't need to worry about them. Lactose, fructose, sucrose, are sugars found in milk, fruits and veggies.

These sugars are added sugars, usually refined sugars. They were not initially found in the food, but were added in by the manufacturer. We are looking at processed foods here. To give you a little sample...

1 cup apple juice 28 grams
1 12 oz can of coke 39 grams
1 twinkie 19 grams
1 6 oz Yoplait light yogurt 14 grams
1 Snickers Bar 30 grams
1 small bag Skittles 47 grams
2 TBS honey bbq sauce 13 grams
1/2 cup Prego Marinara 7 grams
1 pop tart 17 grams
1 Cinnabon 55 grams (Now we see why one roll = 813 cals!)
1 Nutrigrain bar 13 grams
16 oz Butterfinger Blizzard 86 grams
McD's Med Chocolate shake 111 grams

I think you get the point.

So, why does this matter?
- Refined sugar can raise the insulin level in your blood. Elevated blood insulin levels can cause weight gain due to the fact that insulin promotes the storage of fat. So by increasing your insulin levels, you're increasing fat storage, which leads to weight gain.
- High insulin levels can also suppress the immune system, weakening your ability to fight disease.
- Refined sugar contains no vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for the body to metabolize the sugar, so because it doesn't contain it's own, refined sugar draws upon the body's storage of vitamins and minerals. When the bodies vitamin and mineral stores are depleted the metabolism of fatty acids and cholesterol is impeded causing them to be stored around the organs, promoting obesity. (Are you with me still??? hope so!)

oh yeah a few more things...
Sugar can suppress the immune system. Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance. Sugar can contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides. Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children. Sugar can reduce helpful high density cholesterol (HDLs). Sugar can promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol (LDLs). Sugar can cause hypoglycemia. Sugar contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection. o Sugar can cause kidney damage. Sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Sugar may lead to chromium deficiency. Sugar can cause copper deficiency. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium. Sugar can increase fasting levels of blood glucose. Sugar can promote tooth decay. Sugar can produce an acidic stomach. Sugar can raise adrenaline levels in children. Sugar can lead to periodontal disease. Sugar can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair. Sugar can increase total cholesterol. Sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity. High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Sugar can contribute to diabetes. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity. Sugar leads to decreased glucose tolerance. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease. Sugar can increase systolic blood pressure. Sugar causes food allergies. Sugar can cause free radical formation in the bloodstream. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children. Sugar can overstress the pancreas, causing damage. Sugar can cause atherosclerosis. Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries. Sugar can cause liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver. Sugar can increase the amount of fat in the liver. Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney. Sugar can cause depression. Sugar can increase the body's fluid retention. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance. Sugar can cause hypertension. Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines. Sugar can cause an increase in delat, alpha and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind's ability to think clearly. Sugar can increase blood platelet adhesiveness which increases risk of blood clots and strokes. Sugar can increase insulin responses in those consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets. Sugar increases bacterial fermentation in the name a few.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Losing the Post Pregnancy Poundage

So you had a baby, and as a door prize you were awarded a few extra pounds to take home. Are you ready to get back to the, "old you." Well, here are some tips on how to shed the weight that helped bring your darling little one into the world.
1 - Realize that you are not Heidi Klum. I'm sorry. You most likely won't leave the hospital and slip in to your size 0 jeans. Celebs often give the world a fake perception of how easy it is to get rid of the post-pregnancy weight. You have to remember that more often than not, they begin activity before it is recommended, and they often times use unhealthy means to get back to their old selves. I wouldn't recommend it.

2 - Be Patient. It took 9 months for that weight to get there. It takes time for it to come off as well. This doesn't mean be lazy, and make excuses for yourself. But, in your working hard, give yourself a little credit!

3 - Eat Healthy. Try to surround yourself with good wholesome food. Don't kill yourself stressing over your diet. You already have enough to stress over at this point, but make available the foods that are going to help you in your process. Choose foods that are high in nutritional value and low in calories and fat. (Think lean meats, fruits, veggies, and whole grains.)

4 - Breastfeed. While studies aren't solid on whether or not breastfeeding helps you to lose weight or not, it does give you a little leeway in the calorie department. If you breastfeed you can eat about 300 more calories per day. Remember that 300 calories can go pretty quick, so don't use this as an excuse to eat whatever you want.

5 - Get Moving. With your doctor's approval, most women can get back to exercising 4-8 weeks after the baby is born. If getting to the gym seems impossible with your new little one get yourself some workout DVD's or a jump rope. Hand weights aren't that expensive and you can do your own circuit training or strength training at home. Increasing your cardio is going to make a big difference in shedding the extra weight, and increasing your muscle mass with increase the calories you burn at rest, so it's important to do both! Is time an issue? Split your workouts up, or do little bits throughout the day until you're able to get it all in! Every little bit helps :)

6 - SLEEP. This is a really important one. Although the baby upsets your sleep schedule in a big way, be sure to find time to get some rest. When your body is super tired Cortisol and other stress hormones are released that can promote weight gain. You also don't feel like doing much when you're exhausted and working out, and eating healthy are usually the first things to go. It's a scary ripple effect!

7 - Seek out a professional. If you are really having a hard time getting back to your old self find someone that can coach you along to get there. A personal trainer or dietitian can help you find the most effective way to get rid of the post pregnancy weight.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Year #2 Bring on the Cotton.

Why in the world is cotton the 2 year anniversary gift? Who gives cotton? Unless it's in the form of clothing maybe...hmmm. Anyways. I was looking through some old blog posts and I noticed that my first blog post ever was Feb, 17th 2008. I've been munching and crunching for two years now! So happy B-day to my little blog-a-rooski.
I have had so much fun being able to share my thoughts, ideas, knowledge, recipes, opinions, etc. Thanks for your questions, comments, and involvement. It's been so great. Here are some of my favorite posts from the past two years, just in case you've missed them... :)

Healthy Dinner BBQ Chicken Pizza

Be a Mulit-Tasker when lifting weights

Deck the Halls With Holiday Goodies

Time Saver Workout

I Fell in love with the Spin Bike

And of course all my Running Playlists

To all my fellow muncher crunchers...yep all of you...Thanks for being such great readers! As always, I'd love to hear any questions you have!! Feel free to post them as a comment or to email me at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

PhitPro Be Well Workshop

147 West 400 North Orem

This is a free workshop and anyone can attend, so grab your friends and come on over. It's going to be great!

There will be...activities, demonstrations, fitness testing and mini workshops.
The workshops will contain the following...

Reality Bites! If you are struggling with weight loss,then you already know it's the little things that add up...the "little bit more" at the dinner table, the "little bit to tight" feeling of your clothes. But, what if you also knew about the little things you could do everyday to increase your weight loss success? Join PHITpro Megan Smith in her workshop where she will share with you how using simple substitutions in your cooking can make eating healthy and enjoying it a reality!

Be S.M.A.R.T
It's a new year - time for a new YOU. PHITpro Doug Ashtonwants to help guide you, making this your best year. In his workshop we will be learning how to make s.m.a.r.t. goals for 2010. He will show us that true success isn't rare because we are weak,lazy, or have no willpower. Rather,true success is rare because too often we use flawed strategies for success. Come and learn from Doug about how to set s.m.a.r.t. goals and go home with the most powerful tools known to science that will lead to your greatest success.

Be Balanced
Finding balance, it's what we all need. Keeping yourself balanced contributes to good health. Balanced living means forming good habits, having a positive outlook, and lowering stress. Join PHITpro Cody Sanders, for a workshop on how to balance each day. How to not feel bogged down with all of the stress around you, but how to find time for each area in your life that is important for your well-being. All batteries get run down, even yours. After this workshop you will feel recharged and ready to face each day with new found balance.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How sweet it is...

Happy Belated Valentines Day. I love you all...I spent mine in the warm sun of AZ, and I wasn't mad about it at all.

First things first.
THANK YOU, to darling Courtney who gave me an award on her blog. How fun is blogging? i mean seriously. I love the connections you can make with people.

Second things Second.

I remember when my mom was teaching at Weight Watchers she would make these delightful little Graham Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches. I figured out the stats on them tonight. Turns out they are a great little treat, and SUPER easy to make. It goes a little something like this:

Ingredients: 1 rectangle Chocolate Graham Cracker, 2 Tbsp Fat free/Sugar free cool whip

Break the Graham rectangle in half and spread the 2 Tbsp of cool whip on one square. Place the other square on top. Place in a plastic bag and freeze for at least an hour.

Nutritional Info: (for one sandwich) 85 cals, 2.5 g fat, 15 g carbs, .5 g fiber, 4.5 g sugar, 1 g protein.

Nutritional info in a regular Ice cream sandwich: 190 cals, 7 g fat, 29 g carbs,

Third things third:

What are you doing this Thursday, Feb 18th? I'll tell you what you should be doing...attending a FREE Wellness Workshop at Elevate Fitness in Orem UT. It is going to go from 7-8 PM, and there will be three different segments taught.
"Reality Bites" : Taught by me...yep. So if you haven't got an ear full yet you will. ;)
"S.M.A.R.T.": Taught by, Doug Ashton
"Be Balanced" Taught by, Cody Sanders

I work with the most incredible trainers that are SO knowledgeable. It's going to be an awesome night with a lot of great tips to help you get back on track, or stay put if you're already there! I'll be making some "healthified" desserts that you will be able to sample, and it's going to be a party. It's free and open to anyone who wants to come. I'll post some more info on what all of the classes entail tomorrow, but if you have any questions about it let me know!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

see Megan Run & some outdoor exercise 101

70 degrees. That is what my car temperature read at 3:00 today when I got in my car.
Don't worry it quickly dropped down to the true 48 that is was, but I took that high temperature as an omen. It was time for my first outdoor run of 2010, and man was I excited. I geared up, layered up, music'd up, ear warmer'd up, and was on my way. The prescribed mileage for the day; 7 beautiful outdoor, non-treadmill miles. Wow. It felt so good. I can't even tell you. I felt like a kid at outside recess after a two-week snowed in indoor recess captivity.
While I was running I thought about how there are some uneducated outdoor exercisers...why did I start thinking about this? Because I saw several.

So, because the weather is going to be getting a little nicer, inviting us to come out and meet the sun in all our pasty is my Outdoor Exercise 101.
- Dress Appropriately. Yes, your legs look HOT in those booty shorts, but it's still 35 degrees. Don't go beggin' for a cold. Cover your head. That is where you lose most your heat. As for warm temps; wear cool, breathable clothing that won't cause you to overheat.
- Make Eye Contact w/Cars. If you are crossing streets, dodging behind driveways, or just in the way; be SURE you are seen. Cars aren't always looking for pedestrians, so you be looking for them.
- Obey traffic protocol. Cross at crosswalks, use traffic lights, wait for your turn to go...etc. etc. etc. These things are where they are for a reason. If you aren't going to obey them, go somewhere where you don't have to. Provo River trail anyone?
- DO NOT GO ALONE AT NIGHT. Yep, I mean it. Can you tell? This one get's big bold, huge font. There is NOTHING that makes me more mad, then when i see girls running alone at night. You are just asking for trouble. Please just DON'T. k? Thanks. Along with this...i'll just throw in, don't go running in sketchy parts of town or unknown areas. Be careful!
- Let someone know where you're at. Silly as this may seem, be sure that you are always telling at least one person that you are going to be working out outside. Safety first. Even if it's just a casual, "Well, I've got to go. I'm going for a run outside." At the end of a phone convo. Tell someone.
- Use those arms. If you're going to workout do it right. You up your calories and increase your intensity when you use your arms. This goes for the gym too. I always hate when i see people at the gym gripping the treadmill or the stable handlebars. If you're going to work out, make it worth it!
- Hydrate. If you are planning on doing lengthy exercise sessions, be sure to get a water belt, plant some water bottles, or know of some places you could stop at.
- Take it in. Enjoy the beautiful outdoors, because man are they beautiful!

To answer some questions: (Which I love, so keep them coming!)
The program that I use to train is from Hal Higdon's Website. Click HERE to check it out. I have used his 1/2 and full marathon programs and I like both of them.

It is fine to shift around your long runs if you need to during the week. I would try to keep them consistently on the same day weekly, if possible. However, your long runs don't have to be on Saturday. (That is just when I do mine because time permits.) I would be sure to have a rest day, or light cross training day on the day before your long run so your body can be prepped for your long run.

I am so impressed by all that you guys are doing! Keep running! Keep pushing yourselves. Your'e awesome! :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

What is 10 Calories?

The Candy Bowl...It's super easy to grab "just one piece." But what is that "one piece" (That might turn into 3 or 4...or 10)really worth in calories?
I found this list on that puts those "bites" into perspective. Some of them just might make you rethink dipping your hand into the candy bowl at all.

These are all worth 10 calories:
1 navel orange segment
1 Whopper
2 large strawberries
4 1/2 mini-marshmallows
1 Wheatables cracker
12 1/2 blueberries
1 1/2 almonds
2 1/2 Jelly Belly jelly beans
1 French onion SunChip
3 watermelon balls
3 Altoids mints
1 Austin Zoo animal cracker
9 Brach's Cinnamon Imperial Hearts
11 pieces shelled edamame (soybeans)
1 cashew half
1 dried pineapple piece
1 pecan half
1 Big Cheez-It Cracker
1 Tostitos Scoops! chip
1 gummi bear
1 large celery stick
1 Snyder's of Hanover honey mustard and onion pretzel nibbler
1/3 cup air-popped popcorn
1 Keebler mini vanilla wafer
4 Cheddar Goldfish crackers
2 Skittles
1 apple slice
2 1/2 pistachios
1 reduced-fat Pringle
4 Nestlé Toll House semisweet chocolate chips
20 roasted and salted soy nuts
10 Wheat Chex
2 1/2 baked Cheetos
42 Cheerios
3 cherry tomatoes
2 Fritos
1 shoestring french fry
1 peanut M&M
3 green or red grapes
1 1/2 Twizzlers black licorice bites
2 1/2 baby carrots
2 Teddy Grahams
3 plain M&M's
18 roasted and salted sunflower seeds
7 pieces Pirate's Booty
1 container tropical berry or strawberry-kiwi Jell-O sugar-free gelatin snack

Saturday, February 6, 2010

See Megan Run.

The miles are starting to climb. This is when I hear the Kevin McCallister, our favorite Home Alone renegade, saying, "This is it. Don't get scared now."
Last night my darling friend Janae, inspired me. I pulled myself to the gym, very unwillingly, might I add, to find her finishing up her 17 mile run. NBD. She was basically working the treadmill over. I'm pretty sure she ran the whole thing on like a 9.0 at a 10% incline. She is amazing. (She is my spin teacher of choice, btw, if your'e in the market.) She's doing the Salt Lake Marathon as well, and we like to keep tabs on each other.
Well this morning when I hopped on the treadmill for my own jaunt I remembered amazing little Janae, and she helped me kick my buns into gear.
Despite the fact that the worst movie ever, Laura Croft; Tomb Raider, was playing, I managed to bust out a fairly decent time. I finished the 13 miles in an hour and fifty-three minutes. That averages out to just over an 8.5 minute mile which I was ok with. I still know I need to work on upping my pace, but we're doing the best we can here!! :)
Keep running everyone.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday Success

Superbowl Sunday = Lots of Food. It's just a known fact. It is like Peanut Butter and jelly, like Sigfried and Roy, like ying and get it. But a day of festive food doesn't have to ruin all the good you've done with your January resolutions. My suggestions for your Super-delish. Super Bowl Spread?

Hummus and Veggies


Hummus is SO tasty and SO good for you and usually rings in around 60 calories for 2 TBS. Not bad if you ask me.

A Fresh Fruit Tray


Scoff if you must, but fruit trays are ALWAYS a hit. People love the natural sweetness, and they are always gone by the end of the party!

If chips are a must...try the healthier chip...PopChips


These are actually quite delicious. Pop Chips are all-natural, contain less fat, fewer calories and you get a lot more chips per serving. Popchips are popped with heat and pressure taking out a lot of the fat compared to potato chips that are fried.

If you are needing a main dish, why not go for some (hearty and healthy)

Why not try some Chicken and White Bean Chili


Pesto Pizza with Butternut Squash

Maybe even some

Parmesean Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce

The ever-popular Black Bean Salsa.


Click HERE for the Recipe.

If you are needing something sweet, try a healthier version of Caramel Popcorn.


Recipe HERE.

Give this lighter Chocolate Eclair Dessert a try.

*note with this one you can use fat free/sugar free items for the pudding and whipped topping and it tastes just the same!

Happy Super Bowl-ing!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

new tunes

I love when people join the running bandwagon. I just do. My darling friend Cami has decided to run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon this April. We all know music during your run can make the biggest difference, so as per Cami's request...a new workout playlist. Voila.

Tik Tok - Ke$ha
(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To - Weezer
This is Why I'm Hot - Mims (clean)
Ooh Ahh - Grits
I'm in Miami Trick - LMFAO
Beggin' - Madcon
Chop Suey! - System of a Down
I Run This (feat. Lil' Wayne) - Birdman
Imma Be - The Black Eyed Peas
Bebot - The Black Eyed Peas
Ice Cream Paint Job - Dorrough
Crash - Gwen Stefani
Gettin' It In - Jadakiss
Bulletproof - La Roux
Like This - Mims
Chillin' ft. Lady Gaga - Wale

Click here are the workouts of old...