Wednesday, September 11, 2019

I Tried Every Trendy Diet of 2019 in One Week

Keto. Whole30. Intermittent fasting.

The diet world is on fire!

I set out to try some of the most popular, most challenging, and downright wild diet trends of 2019. In. One. Week.

Why did I do this?

I wanted to:
  1.  Assess the physical and mental effects of the top trending diets. 
  2.  Assess the long term sustainability for an "average" person.
I roped my mom into this crazy venture and we set off on Day 1 with the ever popular Whole30.

Day 1 : Whole30

If you're not familiar with the Whole30 diet, it's a 30 day "reset" that eliminates all dairy, soy, sugar, sweeteners, grains, legumes and certain additives. They have a sheet of rules and common additives in case you need some help.

My experience: To be completely honest, I have gone through a Whole30 before. I think when used properly, this diet can be ok. Depending on the person, this may have different mental effects. I found it somewhat refreshing to challenge myself to give up the diet sodas and energy drinks for a while. While the concept is nice and can be useful if you have food intolerances, the strict set of rules and regulations can make this diet feel a bit like punishment. I think having an appropriate mindset is the key and I think it's often touted as a weight loss plan when it serves better as an elimination diet.

Physically I was simply more tired because I consumed less caffeine (black coffee is just not that appealing lol). My overall energy, however, was pretty good. I had no abnormal bloating and my bowel movements remained normal. The other test subject reported a stable mood, normal bodily functions and feeling sluggish the next morning (likely due to decrease in caffeine).

Okay, that wasn't so bad. We got this.

Day Two: Keto 

The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carb diet with the concept of burning fat as fuel when you enter the state of ketosis. While I didn't have a blood glucose monitor or ketone strip, I followed the general rule of thumb to keep net carbs below 25g. We definitely did a bit of "dirty" keto consuming some "keto" bars, sugar free chocolate and zero calorie energy drinks - all which made the experience a little bit more fun. However, I did find that I was thinking about what foods I could eat, what the carbs were in one strawberry, etc. Subjects reported it was easier than expected but not sustainable as a lifestyle. Bodily functions and energy levels were reported as normal.

Day Three: Intermittent Fasting 

Intermittent Fasting is a diet method of eating in a time restricted window. It is typically 16 hours fasting with an 8 hour eating window or up to 14 hours fasting with a 10 hour eating window (more often for women). We opted for the shorter fasting window (obviously lol!).

Physically, I didn't find it that hard. Hunger subsided for me rather quickly but mentally, I was consumed with thoughts of food. The other subject reported hunger and that once the fasting was over, they overconsumed on carb-heavy foods.

I think it would definitely get easier the more you do it, but I don't see why you would. A good breakfast is something I look forward to start my day. I kept my caloric intake the same because I don't want to lose weight. The idea (for using this as a weight loss method) is that you consume less food, however, the hunger and subsequent overfeeding seems to negate that effect for an average person. I have limited knowledge of the longevity, cell autophagy, etc. effects of fasting and the windows that would be necessary to reap these benefits but I'm quite certain the masses that are adopting this trend are doing it primarily for the "weight loss".

One perk of this day was that we got to eat whatever we wanted during the eating window.

Day Four: Vegan 

Veganism is on the rise. It is a diet comprised of plant based foods only (no meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc.). Not only do vegans claim this diet is healthier, but also morally superior and better for the environment. (Let's not get into that!) Both test subjects have no intolerances to animal products. Subjects reported bloating and less satisfaction. Carbohydrate consumption increased and protein decreased despite the use of supplements. Energy and mood levels were stable. Some meals did not seem satisfying.

I found that there is a lot to take into consideration - even some beverages are not vegan! If veganism is being adopted for someone's personal viewpoint or taste, I completely respect that, but I don't think it should be sold as another diet or tool for weight loss. Oreos are vegan! Lol!

Day Five: Carnivore

The Carnivore diet is a very restrictive diet that includes only foods from animals: meat, fish, eggs, and certain dairy products. We included cheese and also (maybe cheated) zero calorie flavored beverages. It is purported to potentially reduce symptoms of autoimmune disease, have anti-inflammatory effects and obviously, aid in weight loss.

I started strong with eggs and bacon - can't go wrong there. I also consumed beef, lamb, chicken, bone broth and a small portion of cheese. Subjects reported no bloating and normal energy. However, the diet was very hard to follow with such heavy restrictions. It also caused a decrease in appetite which was not desirable for us. This diet is definitely unsustainable simply from a mental perspective. I think personally, I would consistently be underfed and preoccupied with thoughts of food.

So there it was. Five days, five diets. (And guess what, I caught a cold by the end of it!)

The Conclusion:

None of the diets appear to be sustainable for long term or effective as a long term weight loss method.

 Whole30 is marketed as a 30 day program and is acceptable as such, however, should not be primarily for weight loss.

The Ketogenic diet is a therapeutic diet for people with certain medical conditions and is not a magic weight loss diet. It creates a food focus and tendency towards processed foods.

Intermittent Fasting is effective as a weight loss tool due to a decrease in calories, however, the mental effects may negate the benefits. The effectiveness would vary person to person.

Veganism is not a weight loss diet and should not be approached as one. It is a choice for those with certain intolerances or personal viewpoint.

The Carnivore diet is the ultimate elimination diet, possibly could be beneficial to those with severe autoimmune issues or intolerances, for a temporary time period to ascertain the underlying issues.

If you personally benefit or enjoy a certain way of eating, go for it! However, I think it's important to remember that what works for someone may not work for you. Also, if something feels like punishment, it won't be sustainable as a lifestyle and there will most likely be a repercussion. That's why so many people "can't keep the weight off" after a "successful diet".

My personal recommendation would be to focus on fueling your body with good foods that make you feel good inside and out!

Which diet do you think would be hardest? Do you follow a diet for weight loss or other reasons?

Disclaimer: This article is not medical advice. Do not attempt any diet without consulting your medical professional. These were the results of our personal experiences. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

2 Ingredient Chocolate Truffles!

I'm a self proclaimed chocolate aficionado.


I just adore the small chocolate shops with cases of beautiful truffles and candies.

How can I recreate the experience at home? How can I make decadent, rich chocolate candies with silky smooth interiors?

Just two simple ingredients and you can be in chocolate bliss. No fancy chocolate shop necessary.

Ingredients:

  • 30g dark chocolate of choice (I used Montezuma chocolate from England!)
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream (this should be unsweetened, just coconut)
  • coating options: additional chocolate, melted; shredded coconut, cocoa powder, etc

Directions:

  1. Combine the chocolate and coconut cream in a small bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. 
  2. Place the mixture in the fridge or freezer until it is firm enough to form into balls.
  3. Form into four small balls and coat in coating of choice. 
  4. That's it! Enjoy!
Makes 4 truffles. 




Friday, August 23, 2019

Frrrrozen Foods for Easy Meals!

We've all had those nights.

You get home from work. You're exhausted. You shower, take care of a few things and look at the clock. Wow, how did it get so late? The idea of cooking a meal at this point seems overwhelming.

So out comes the frozen dinner, pop it in the microwave and you're good to go. Ahh, thank goodness for modern conveniences. But, have you ever taken the time to read the label on your beloved frozen dinner?

While I'm not here to fear monger or demonize any foods, I am interested in awareness.

I have those nights often! I also have busy mornings or times when I forgot to pack a lunch, etc. So consuming frozen foods in not a rare situation which gives me all the more reason to be aware of what I'm consuming.

Here is the Ingredient List from Barber's Chicken Cordon Bleu stuffed Chicken:

Ingredient Statement:


Chicken Breast with Rib Meat (Containing Up To 18% Of A Solution of Water, Potato Starch, Salt,Modified Food Starch, Yeast Extract, Chicken Broth, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Sugar, Natural Flavors, Spices, Chicken Fat, Corn Syrup Solids, Citric Acid, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten, Concentrated Lemon Juice), Pasteurized Process Swiss American Cheese (Swiss Cheese [Cultured Milk and Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes], American Cheese[Cultured Milk and Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes], Cream, Sodium Phosphate, Salt), Enriched Wheat Flour (Enriched with Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Ham-Water and Smoke Flavoring Added (Cured with Water, Dextrose, Salt, Brown Sugar, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Erythorbate, Smoke Flavoring, Sodium Nitrite), Water, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Vegetable Oil, Modified Food Starch, Whole Wheat Flour, Salt, Sugar, Yeast, Spices, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dextrose, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors, Yellow Corn Flour, Dehydrated Parsley, Extractives Of Turmeric, Paprika, Annatto and Celery Seed, Sodium Alginate. Prebrowned In Vegetable Oil. CONTAINS: MILK, WHEAT
Wowza. That's quite the list and it's not really a rare sight in the frozen food world.

So what's a girl who doesn't want to cook to do?

Well, I have found some brands and products that I enjoy!

For comparison's sake, here is the Ingredient List of Real Good Food's Chicken Cordon Bleu stuffed Chicken:

Ingredients: Chicken crust (chicken, parmesan cheese, salt, grapeseed oil), Filling (smoked ham, Monterey jack cheese, onion, heavy cream, milk, Dijon mustard, egg yolk, sea salt, garlic, butter, black pepper.

Now that seems a little bit more recognizable! And still delicious and convenient!

Real Good Foods is one of my favorite frozen food brands. Their foods are high protein, low carb and made from real ingredients. All their foods are grain free, gluten free and made with all natural ingredients. They offer Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Poppers, Pizzas, Enchiladas, Breakfast Sandwiches, and Italian Entrees. My personal favorites are the Chicken Enchiladas and stuffed chicken breast!

Check them out here: https://www.realgoodfoods.com/ and use code: HHF at checkout to save!

Good Food Made Simple is exactly what it sounds like! They use only natural, minimally processed ingredients and make their meals from scratch. They use antibiotic free meats, real cheese and organic ingredients when possible. They have breakfast bowls, burritos, enchiladas, oatmeal, flatbread sandwiches, egg white patties, entrée burritos and meals. My personal favorites are the breakfast flatbread sandwiches and egg white patties! Check them out here: https://www.goodfoodmadesimple.com/

Tribali Foods doesn't make meals per se but they do make meals come together in a snap! They make meat patties ready to be heated and served! They also make breakfast sliders to add some quick and delicious protein to your breakfast. They use organic meat, grass fed and finished beef, pasture raised and air chilled chicken and Non-gmo spices and seasonings to create the ultimate in clean label meat products. They also happen to be Whole30 compliant if that suits your fancy! Check them out here: https://tribalifoods.com/

KidFresh frozen foods are not just for kids! At least not in my house! They are nonGMO, no artificial ingredients and they even have hidden veggies! I promise you can't taste them! My personal favorite is the Chicken Nuggets! They also have quesadillas, mac n cheese, tots and more! Check them out here: http://www.kidfresh.com/

What's your favorite frozen meal? My favorite as a kid was Michelina's mac n' cheese but I always loved a good Kid Cuisine meal lol!

Barber's ingredient list taken from their website here: http://www.barberfoods.com/our-products/raw/cordon-bleu

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area NC July 2019

Have you ever stumbled on something on Instagram and discovered it's right near you?

That's how I discovered Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area (wow, that name is a mouthful). It's only about one hour from my house yet I had never seen it, been there, or even heard of it until I saw someone post it on Instagram! 

Often times, my mom and I opt for close parks to do a quick hike on the weekend because it's just easier to stay within two hours driving distance for a regular basis. So, I was excited to find a new place nearby to explore! 

We went on a Sunday afternoon and I had already gone for a run that morning so I wasn't in the mood for any intense hiking. The park only has six miles of trails as of now but they have plans to add more trails. We made a loop out of the Grindstone Trail and the Prison Camp Trail totaling close to 2 miles. The trails were rated moderate. The Prison Camp trail goes past the former site of inmate housing but I never noticed it! 

The trail was pretty easy and well marked. There was some stoneface that could be slippery when wet. There was no spectacular views and I probably wouldn't go out of my way to do this hike again. 

The park seems new and well maintained. There were clean restrooms at the parking area and a cute playground for kids. 

They also have a Vertical Mile Trail - completing 8 loops of this trail (16 miles) equals one vertical mile! Talk about a hike! I can't say I'll be trying that challenge any time soon!



It was nice to try some place new, especially being so close to home!

Check out the Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area here: https://rockyfacepark.com/

Friday, August 16, 2019

Homemade Healthier Marshmallows!

Summer is the perfect time for baseball games, cook outs and s'mores!

S'more what?

S'more marshmallows!


If you're like me, the concept of homemade marshmallows sounds a bit intimidating but I can assure you, these were so simple! These marshmallows also happen to be sugar free and have gut healthy fiber!

With a few ingredients, science and patience, you can have these healthier marshmallows for yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp gelatin 
  • 1/4 cold water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sweetener
  • 1/4 cup VitaFiber IMO powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • optional: marshmallow flavoring

Directions:

  1. Line a loaf pan with wax paper. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the gelatin and cold water and let it sit. 
  3. In the meantime, combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until bubbling. 
  4. Remove the mixture from the stove and slowly mix it into the gelatin mixture. 
  5. Continue to mix with a hand or stand mixer for about 15 minutes. 
  6. Pour into the prepared pan and allow to set. Cut into squares and store in the fridge!
See, I told you it was easy! 

What will you do with these marshmallows? I just snacked on them plain! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Product Spotlight: Built Bars!

I've got a riddle for you. 

What's 110 calories, packed with protein and has chocolate all over?

A Built Bar! 





Built bars are making waves on social media and in the WW community and fitness community alike. What's all the hype about?

I didn't really have any expectations when I first tried Built bars so I was pleasantly surprised. They have no funky aftertaste, no protein taste, and are just downright tasty! 

Every flavor is coated in real dark chocolate 🤤with a sweet, light filling. The interior is almost fluffy - like a cross between mallow and nougat. There's no chewiness, grittiness or stuck to your teethness. 

They come in a great variety of flavors: Mint Brownie, Mocha, Coconut Chocolate Crème, Banana Chocolate Crème, Double Chocolate Mousse, Orange Chocolate Crème, Salted Caramel, Raspberry Chocolate Crème, Mint Chocolate Crème, Lemon Chocolate Crème, Vanilla Chocolate Crème, Strawberry Chocolate Crème, Blueberry Cheesecake, and the all new Mango! Phew, that's a lot of flavors - it makes it hard to choose a favorite. 

Some of my favorites are Mint Brownie, Mocha, Blueberry Cheesecake (surprised myself with this one), Lemon Crème (another surprise), Double Chocolate and Vanilla! You really can't go wrong with any of them!


Not only do Built Bars taste like a candy bar, they are made with quality whey protein, no soy, and no artificial ingredients. They pack in 15g of quality protein, 6g of fiber and only 7g net carbs. Every bar is just 110 calories so you can enjoy candy-like protein any time! 

They often run specials and I just stocked up on 2 variety boxes because I just can't choose a favorite! They always ship FREE in the continental US. Check out Built Bars here: http://builtbar.com/HHF2019 and use code: HHF2019 to save on your order!

Which flavor will you choose? Or do you like a taste of everything like me?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Hanging Rock Hike July 2019

A-hiking we will go! Hi Ho Hi Ho a-hiking we will go. 

I wanted to get together with a friend before she moves and what better way to do that than with a hike! 

We changed our minds about where to go at the last minute due to the weather forecast and settled on Hanging Rock State Park in NC. The park is about 1 1/2 hours from my house so it's a pretty easy drive. 

We did the Hanging Rock Trail which I've done numerous times before. It begins just off the main parking lot and is very well marked. It begins with a descent and then is uphill for the remainder with some stairs. 

Upon reaching the top, there are several big rocks to get a good view. I love a good view! I enjoy this hike because I think it's enough of a challenge to break a sweat, but not too much to carry a conversation and you're rewarded with a great view. 



The trail is not a loop so you simply head down the same way you came up ending up hiking just over 2.5 miles. It's a go-to hike for a nearby hike and I had a great time with my mom and friend. We drove down to the lake but ended up leaving the park and going to Whole Foods! 

Do you hike with friends? What's your go-to activity to catch up with friends?

Check out Hanging Rock State Park here: https://www.ncparks.gov/hanging-rock-state-park