Show Off Friday 168

Oct 1, 2015 by

Why You Need a Blog Post Index
This was a very good post with some great tips and links! the Krafty Owl

create blog index

Pumpkins, and Leaves and Acorns, Oh My!
Here is some pretty fall decor! Home on the Corner

fall decor ideas

The Farmhouse Fall Tour
And even more lovely fall decor! Seeking Lavender Lane

white pumpkin decor

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Good Fats Vs. Bad Fats: What You Need to Know

Sep 29, 2015 by

is butter bad fat

Fats are an interesting subject of nutrition. Many people think that all fat is bad for the body. Not long ago a popular diet was one of avoiding all fats – fat-free.

But the truth is the body needs fat in order to survive. Thirty percent of calories consumed each day should come from fat, however, only 7% should come from saturated and less than 1% from trans-fat.

For example, without fat the body would not be able to process the fat-soluble vitamins of A, D, E, K – all necessary for good health. And your body needs the essential fatty acids called linoleic and alpha-linoleic (Omega 6) to maintain skin, hair and promote wound healing. It has to derive it from food as it is incapable of making it.

However, there are good fats along with the bad. The good fats are the unsaturated ones – poly and mono – while the bad ones are the saturated and trans-fat.

While both the saturated and unsaturated occur naturally in foods, trans-fats are generally a manufactured fat produced by hydrogenating liquid fat into a solid at room temperature. Food manufacturers use it to extend the shelf life of their products. While some trans-fat is naturally occurring in meat and dairy, the amount is inconsequential. Manufactured trans-fat should be avoided as much as possible.

Unsaturated fats help lower your bad LDL cholesterol and raise your good HDL. Good sources of mono-unsaturated fat include walnuts, almonds, pistachios from the nut family and certain oils such as olive, avocado and canola. Foods containing the poly-unsaturated Omega 3 include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring, while the oils corn, soy, safflower and sunflower contain Omega 6.

On the other hand saturated fats raise the bad LDL cholesterol thus increasing your risk of heart disease by forming plaque inside your arteries. This type of fat is generally found in red meat, dairy, eggs and seafood, but is also found in certain plant oils; mainly coconut, palm and palm-kernel.

To eat healthy as far as fats are concerned, use healthy unsaturated oils in cooking and read nutritional labels. Look for foods low in saturated fat. Even though the label may show no trans-fat, the item may still have some in it.

Add up both the saturated and unsaturated fat grams. Compare that number to the total fat. If the numbers are not the same, the difference is trans-fat. According to FDA standards, if it is less than 0.5 of a gram, manufacturers don’t have to declare it on the label.

Knowing what is good and bad is half the battle. Now it is up to you to implement what you know about fats and to choose your foods wisely.

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Good Carbs Vs. Bad Carbs: What You Need to Know

Sep 29, 2015 by

pizza bread

One of the things that defines a carbohydrate (carb) as either good or bad is its glycemic index (GL) which is an indicator of how fast the body processes it. The higher a GL number, the worse it is for you.

Foods high on the GL table are referred to as simple carbs which are high in real sugar and low in fiber (because it is removed during processing); simple carbs tend to spike blood sugar and provide very little nutrition and for those two reasons should not be used as a primary source of nutrition.

It is O.K. to have them once in a while, but not all the time. Foods falling into the bad carb category typically include soda, candy, artificial syrups, pastries and desserts because they are high in sugar; white rice, bread and pasta are also on the list because during processing, the fiber was processed out of it.

Even within the simple carb category, some foods are better choices than others. For example, a cup of white rice has a GL of 91, but the same serving of white spaghetti only has a GL of 64 making it a better choice.

Good carbs are referred to as complex carbohydrates and are low in sugar and high in fiber. Usually anything made from a whole grain falls into the complex category because the flour it is made from has not been as processed, thus retaining much of its fiber. Fiber of course keeps you fuller longer, thus curbing your appetite longer. In the end you’ll consume fewer calories making weight management easier.

Choosing a good carb over a bad one is as simple as choosing brown rice instead of white, or a whole grain bread over one made with white flour. As far as GL value, a cup of brown rice has a value of 79 while the same measurement of white rice shows up at 91.

Most Glycemic Index tables also contains one other type of carb measurement – Glycemic Load. The GL Load of a food refers to the amount of carbohydrates in a food. The lower amount of carbs, the less impact it will have on blood sugar spiking. Some foods can be misleading if you look just at their GL Load.

For example watermelon has a high GL of 103, but a low GL Load of only 52. Compare that with another fruit the pear; it has a GL of 54, and a GL Load of 57. Watermelon has fewer carbs than a pear even though it has almost twice the GL value.

The bottom line is choose carbs sensibly. Focus on eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables to get the nutrition your body needs while minimizing eating simple carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar and make you hungry sooner.

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4 Tips for Making Exercise More Fun

Sep 29, 2015 by

make exercise fun

Do you think you need to go to the gym to exercise even though you might not like it? Maybe you need to put some fun into your workouts. These tips will help to make your workouts more enjoyable…

Find an Exercise Buddy

Some people are happy working out alone just listening to their music. They get enjoyment from not being disturbed by others.

However, if you are a people person and miss the interaction with exercising with a friend during your workouts, find an exercise buddy. It can be a friend you already have or somebody you meet from your gym. Just having someone to talk to when working out can add enjoyment to your workouts.

Vary Your Workouts

Like the old saying “Variety is the spice of life”, so is variety to your workouts. If you do the same thing over and over, day in and day out, you will get bored with it.

Instead, switch things up. Try a new exercise. Change up the intensity. For something different try a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routine or if you always do cardio, switch out two days per week for strength training.

Also by doing the same thing over and over, your body gets conditioned to it and you end up not burning as many calories and you did when you first started. Doing something different kick starts your metabolism.

Set Goals

Some people can be happy exercising for the sake of exercising. For them it is not the destination, but the journey; they never care if they get to the end.

However if you are the type of person that not lonely enjoys the destination, but also needs something to work toward, then set a modest goal. Once you reach it, set a higher or different one. This way you are always challenging yourself to reach a higher level of fitness.

Get Outdoors

If you always exercise in a gym, try moving your workouts outdoors. Parks, walking trails, bike paths, all are good exercise playgrounds at your fingertips. Add some intensity to your workouts by trying new paths or trails on varied terrain. Not only will it challenge your body differently, but also your mind. There is nothing as refreshing as smelling the fresh air, listening to the birds sing and soaking up the sunshine (getting your Vitamin D naturally).

Exercising doesn’t have to be boring unless you want it to be. Use these 4 tips to add fun to your workouts.

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Healthy Aspects of a Vegan Diet

Sep 25, 2015 by

benefits of vegan diet

With all the antibiotics found in today’s meat products, as well as things such as fillers, additives, and chemicals, many individuals are considering making the switch to a vegan diet.

Of course, when making any kind of change, all aspects of that change need exploring. There are many healthy aspects of a vegan diet.

– In earlier days, vegan diets consisted of only vegetables. This is not the case today, however. Vegan diets now include meat-free items such as veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs. Some companies are now developing vegetarian products such as “steak strips” or “chicken nuggets.”

– Going out to eat for a vegetarian used to be a cause for concern. Variety was non-existent or limited at best. Today, however, almost every restaurant has a complete vegan menu from which to choose.

– Studies have shown that eating a diet that is high in animal fats can lead to several diseases such as a higher risk of cancer and diabetes. Vegan diets exclude animal by-products, thereby eliminating these risks.

– Articles have appeared showing that eating a diet that is based on plants can reduce the risk and possibly even reverse progression of chronic illnesses.

– Vegan diets have been shown to reduce cholesterol.

– Vegan diets can be high in protein through eating foods such as nuts and beans.

– Fiber is an extra-added bonus of the vegan diet as many vegetables are naturally high in fiber.

– Another positive aspect of a vegan diet is the mental health benefit, so to speak. Vegans do not use or wear anything that is based on an animal by-product. For example, a true vegan does not purchase leather, some types of makeup and fur. This gives a vegan the feeling that they are positively contributing to a cause.

– Lower blood pressure, risk of heart disease, and lower cholesterol are all healthy side effects of a vegan diet.

– Vitamins such as C and E as well as magnesium, iron and folic acid are found in plant-based foods in a vegan diet.

– Lower saturated fat, a lower obesity rate, and fewer calories are also benefits of a vegan diet.

As you can see, a plant-based vegan diet has many benefits for your health. Vegan diets also have the added bonus of variety. There are so many combinations of soy-based products and vegetables as well as meat-like foods such as veggie patties to keep you healthy and satisfied in your vegan endeavours.

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Show Off Friday 167

Sep 24, 2015 by

Happy Weekend and Happy Fall! I am so sad to say good-bye to summer but am enjoying getting back into a bit more of a routine. This week my features are all about pumpkins ~enjoy!

Sour Cream Pumpkin Cake
Dots & Dust

sour cream pumpkin cake

Vegan Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Not Too Shabby Gabby


Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake With Vanilla Butter Sauce
Create With Joy

pumpkin spice cake

Guilt-Free Candy Corn Crochet Pattern
And these little guys are just too cute! Creatively Homemade

crochet candy corn

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Advantages of Grass-Fed and Pastured Foods

Sep 22, 2015 by

grass fed and pasture fed

When you shop for conventional beef, poultry, and eggs at the grocery store, the animals that produced that food were likely fed grain. Typically, corn and soybeans (which are plentiful, easy-to-grow crops) are fed to animals raised for meat and eggs. However, there is a move back to the old-fashioned way of raising farm animals, which is to let them graze on pasture.

Pastured and/or grass-fed animals are, obviously, raised on a diet that is different than their grain-eating counterparts. If you find grass-fed or pastured meat and eggs in your store, it’s likely more expensive, too. Why? Are there advantages to this way of raising meat- and egg-producing animals? Here are some things to consider about the advantages of grass-fed and pastured foods.

Food Safety

Studies in the late 90s showed a much lower count of E. coli bacteria in grass-fed beef than in grain-fed. Research also indicates that even the E. coli that is found in grass-fed beef is much more likely to succumb to the beef-eater’s stomach acid, and therefore not pose a health threat.

Nutritive Value

Multiple sources point to grass-fed meat’s nutritional superiority, particularly with regard to healthy fats. If you’ve ever seen the yolks of pastured chickens’ eggs, you can see a definite color difference and taste it, too.

Grass-fed beef and poultry also taste different. That’s because it is different! Concerns about the saturated fat found in beef may well be offset by the healthy benefits of the Omega-3’s, Omega-6’s, and CLAs in grass-fed meats.

Grass-fed meats are generally leaner anyhow. Animals that are fed grains are being fattened for market quickly, and that fat, of course, gets passed on to the consumer.

Environmental Advantages

It’s been said that the only sustainable way to grow animals for food is to pasture them. The reasons for this are various, but the most obvious one is that pasturing animals makes good use of the land. Grain-fed animals are generally kept in feed lots, and the crowded conditions make for problems with managing the animals’ waste, and storm run-off from feed lots may be contaminated with this waste.

Also, in order to feed grain-fed animals on feed lots, an enormous amount of land must be dedicated to one or two basic crops that the animals eat. By contrast, pasture-feeding animals encourages biodiversity of plants which is said to be much better for the surrounding ecosystems.

Animal Welfare

Let’s face it – animals just seem happier when they are allowed to range over pasture land. Disease is less common when animals are not crowded together on feed lots, and animals are generally treated more humanely in pasture situations.

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