Go make ME a sandwich…..

I recently read an article written by a female reporter about a blog she started over a year ago (which made me wonder; who reads blogs anymore?) She wrote about her journey to win over her man’s heart through his stomach by making him sandwiches every day. You see, he had promised her that once she’s made him a total of 300 sandwiches then he will propose to her- and not a bite before.

As you can imagine, a flood of angry feminists came out scolding her for throwing us back 50 years by acting subservient or submissive to have to chase a man down like a 1950’s housewife wearing nothing but an apron (actually I’m making it sound a lot more sexy than their argument really was- that would seriously be a dream come true for my husband- not the apron part but the cooking a meal without the fire alarm sounding part).

But their point was clear: this woman who publicly wrote about how she serves up her man- greased buns and all- may sound a bit archaic when it comes to how far equal rights movement has come.

I however, disagree entirely – in my opinion it is the complete opposite…. you see, I think women who prepare food for their men actually hold all the power.

Flash back 14 years ago when my (now) husband and I were just getting to know each other. Neither one of us had any real kitchen utensils (my fancy and magical plastic ware consisted of a fork that also acted as a spoon). Nope, our biggest issue was agreeing on exactly which local sushi restaurant delivered the fastest.

So when we got married and kept up our busy work schedule nothing much changed in the domestic area other than we now had two bowls to pour our cereal into. But after we had our first child, something changed in me. I decided I wanted to clean up our eating habits and modify what we put into our mouths. I was always a student of health and fitness but I was even more determined to lead a clean and active lifestyle from all angles – which included banning chemicals in the foods we ate- so I deemed that changes had to be made. And so they were.

In other words, I was the one who did all the healthy cooking but I also was the one who made all the decisions on what was brought into our home and ingested into our bodies. Don’t get me wrong- it wasn’t a tyranny- he had and still does- free reign to change things back to steak and potatoes if he wants to – but alas, he is simply too lazy to cook or even consider the idea of meal planning. And so it was and so it came about – the new king of the kitchen – i.e. the head of the household – was designated and she is still reining true to this day.

Lesson Learned

Go ahead! Make your partner some sandwiches! You see, all these feminists (myself included) have it all wrong. It’s not about who makes the sandwich or who reaps the benefits of the calories- it’s really about who controls what goes in the middle of the bun.

Healthy Habits Hump Day….

Here we are… winter has come and gone and now we are left facing what some deem intimidating and others empowering: The swimsuit season.
And it’s Hump day after a long memorial day weekend, which makes it a double whammy.
No more “it can wait until after the weekend” and none of the “next week I will eat better and move a little more”….nope, summer is here and now so CONFRONT it head on.
It is time to PLAN!
 
What’s interesting about diet resolutions is that to succeed, you need to understand that it’s not about will power. You heard me. Contrary to what you may think , its not about holding back from eating certain foods or restricting yourself from junk, but rather, it’s about formulating structure and making the effort to plan to make the right choices. Structure is the key element to accomplishing your fitness resolutions. Another key factor is confronting your weight- get out of denial!
 
I am one of those people who likes to eat the same thing every day. Some may call it boring but i just call it a healthy habit. I simply have very choosy and picky tastes and therefore stick to the same “super” foods each day and vary them up by mixing them together in different (often gross sounding but tasty) combinations that I refer to as “concoctions”.
My diet almost always consists of the same foods:
  1. Healthy fats (TONS of raw nuts, olive oil and avocado)
  2. Lean proteins (Salmon, Tuna, Sashimi etc)
  3. Complex carbs (sweet potato, lentils, (I used to eat chickpeas but have since given up legumes), 100% oats)
  4. Non fat non dairy beverages (almond milk and plain non fat Greek yogurt)
  5. Fruits and vegetables -tons of them (and yes, wine is considered a fruit:)
I eat more calories in a given day than most women my age eat in a week.  I simply eat from the above list and don’t count calories, don’t control portions but do enjoy healthy clean eating.
Lesson Learned:
If you structure your diet with clean, fibrous and nutrient rich filling foods you will not feel that you need any “will power” to stay on track to accomplish your goals.
As always, feel free to reply with comments or questions I will be more than happy to help you structure a new fitness and healthy eating plan specifically for you!
Happy Hump day!

Do what they say. Say what you mean…..

Years ago I had a friend from London who spoke very bluntly about everything. Because I am also, lets just say, very direct- we got along well.

He would often point out the many cultural differences between British and Americans. One of his pet peeves was when he would meet an American and immediately after the introduction they would say: “nice to meet you” he would tell me that those 4 simple words would irritate him to no end – as how could they possibly know that it was nice to meet him before they even have a chance to get to know him. Made perfect sense to me. But I just brushed it off as a habit and a cultural difference, two different ways of communicating.

It’s years later and I never really thought twice about the words “nice to meet you”.

Until now.

I ran into an acquaintance in a restaurant recently. She was with a group of her friends and she introduced me to the ladies sitting at her table. After a few minutes of small talk, I smiled and said “nice to meet you” as I turned to leave. But not without overhearing them talk about me as I left. (I know what you’re thinking – what could they possible say negatively about ME??? –right? I’m such a nice person! ….It was something catty and typical of insecure women and completely rolled off me as usual- but not the point- and alas another blog).

But I could not help thinking to myself – was it really nice to meet them?

From the age when my kids learned to talk, I taught them proper manners from the basics of “please” and “thank you” to the now questionable “nice to meet you”. They have always held their own at the adult table with proper posture and napkin in the lap etc. (Ms. Manners would be proud.)

But maybe my British friend was right.

Perhaps we do jump the gun with our quick responses –that are set on autopilot.

Lesson Leaned:

Be nice.

Do what you say. Say what you mean. One thing leads to another. When the wrong word goes in the right ear I know you’ve been lying to me.

And now for your viewing pleasure click link:

End of an Anti Hero? Or beginning of girl power?….

Last night was the season finale of Mad Men. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it yet, no spoiler alert, I haven’t watched it either but Im pretty sure it includes sexism and alcoholism all at a very very slow pace.

For weeks now, columnists and talk show hosts have been building up the suspense by referring to the end of the dramatic series as an “end to an era”, which I disagree as the era ended like 40 years ago but , yea.

Some critics, however, are claiming that it’s finally the end of the “anti hero”- which is Hollywood’s way to describe a crooked, shady, unethical, yet ironically likeable and easy to connect to, star of the show.

I have to say, that I am not sure what these critics are talking about since we still have so many anti-heros that are still on TV such as Frank, from House of Cards (corrupt politician) , Orange is the New Black (jailbird), Real Housewives franchise- any- (vanity, drama, stupidity and shallowness).

Image result for real housewives drama funny

It’s not like Sopranos or Weeds or best one yet, Breaking Bad, were that long ago that would make Mad Men stand out as the last – or most compelling – of the anti hero series. Admittedly, although I still watch the show, I find Don Draper to be pathetic and well, boring.

Alcoholic, fraudulent, sexist, womanizer.…Yea, yea, yea- I get it. But still boring.

But I had to admit, watching the finale made me think about just how far we’ve come – and I’m not just referring to women’s rights or equality in the work place, (those are obvious wins and yet still not where they should be). I’m referring to the appeal of what tv viewers find interesting to watch.

For instance, yesterday- just hours before the Mad Men series finale, I took my two girls to see “Pitch Perfect 2”. I can’t remember laughing that hard – and smiling for 2 hours straight- in a movie in years. Aside from Jack Black, no other actor –male or female- makes me pee my pants the way Fat Amy’s character did.

 

I walked out of the movie theater with my girls smiling ear to ear- even though some lines were stupid it was still a very “feminist feel good/girl power” movie. There was no bitchy, catty girl drama, or eating ice cream straight from the tub when depressed – to speak of. (Although there was one pillow fight scene but they called it out and made it funny).

I thought to myself, look how far we’ve come.

Funny, the very same thing I thought after I watch Mad Men.

Lesson Learned:

Be it an anti hero or a fat female comedian, television, or movie; whatever entertains and intrigues us enough to “think” is what is compelling to watch.

Think more, hate less. Peace out to Mad Men and here’s hoping there’s a Pitch Perfect 3

 

 

Think before you click “Like”…..

Facebook fishing

[feys-boo k] [fish-ing]

Definition: When someone posts a status on Facebook that is very open ended or mysterious in the hopes of getting people to comment on their post. It is often used to gain sympathy from the posters friends.

It used to be, back in the good old days, we would only get to hear about our passive aggressive friends problems when we ran into them in person. Nowadays, we are lucky enough that we get to read about them – and everyone else in the world’s – problems on our social media feeds.

What is it about the Internet that offers people the comfort of complaining to literally the world about thier daily – and often mundane- lives? Does everyone in your inner and outer circle and Timbuktu really need to know that you are making chicken Marsala for dinner?

I was watching a taped show of Dr. Oz last night (I told you about how amazing my DVR is that it picks up on my Reality show watching habits and once in a while throws in a talk show just for fun) and he was talking to a dermatologist about common skin problems. He asked the audience to raise their hands if they have skin issues. One woman got up and told the Dr. that she has red bumps around her pubic area. She proceeded to describe them and also admitted that she is too embarrassed to talk about this problem with her own doctor. (can’t say I blame her after hearing about them in gross detail)

I could not help myself from wondering: is she really that oblivious to the fact that she is not only sharing this personal information – the very same info that she was too “embarrassed” to talk about with her own doctor- with the world– on national television? Or perhaps, more likely, she just wanted to see herself on TV?

I

I suppose it was the latter, but nevertheless it reminded me of all the posts I have been seeing in my FB feed lately; you would think they were coming from kindergarteners the way they are written.

For example: “ My life sucks. Apparently I am a terrible person and have no friends”. (*This is a real post I read the other day from a woman age 45.)

The chain of comments that followed were somewhat along these lines:

“I’m your friend – love you!”

Or

“Hang in there. It will get better”.

All very nice and encouraging, but it made me wonder what the real reason was behind her Facebook fishing.

Was she merely trying to reach out to her network and let them know she is feeling under appreciated?

Or was she trying to instigate something bigger?

A chain reaction of lovers? Or a chain reaction of haters?

It Could go either way when framed in that way.

Which made me think even more….

Does social media give us the platform to write what we really think yet are too afraid to say out loud?

Lesson Learned:

Pay attention- this is an important one: Don’t post what you wouldn’t have the courage to say out loud to someone’s face or to more than just the person you intend to direct it to. Think before you click send. Teach this lesson to your children and then Share, Like and Comment!

10 super foods for radiant skin, overall health and weight loss

Lol. Eat real food.

Back by popular demand! …. My super foods list!

So many people have asked me over the years –  what do i eat? What is my diet?  My answer is always the same: I never diet. I eat the same natural, whole foods everyday. Long before the popularity of kale and the accessibility of pinterest boards, I have been eating the same delicious foods everyday- I have always refered to my list as my “Super foods”.

For those of you not interested in hearing about the easiest, fastest and best way to get into amazing shape, both internally and externally, please ignore this post and move along with your day.

For the other 99% of the world, you’re welcome!

There are so many opinions of what to eat for optimal health. I keep my shopping list simple and inexpensive. I eat as much as I want of these same super foods every day and feel energy, have great skin, maintain a healthy weight and always feel satisfied.

What are super foods?

Super foods are easy to find, natural, fresh, whole foods (ie; not processed or packaged) that not only taste delicious, but also help prevent chronic diseases, reduce risk of cancer, and improve your overall health and weight loss goals. There are plenty of high end, expensive foods out there that are all the rage right now, but you don’t need to break your budget to find these inexpensive powerhouses of nutrients:

Eat these 10 foods everyday  in any combination: 

  1. Berries. Any kind.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just take a pill to lose weight, prevent disease and help keep your brain sharp? Actually, there is something  better than a prescription, and you can find it in your local grocery store or farmers market. Berries not only taste delicious and are easy to eat alone or blend into a smoothie, but they also have high levels of phytochemicals that help protect cells from damage. They are low in sugar and are a great way to curb your sweet tooth!

  1. Avocado –Don’t be afraid of healthy fat! Fat is your friend and sugar is the enemy!  I repeat:Fat is your friend and sugar is the enemy! These healthy fats that go well with other vegetables are actually a fruit and are packed with 20 essential nutrients including potassium, fiber and folic acid. They are a good source of Vitamins B, K, C and E, and help enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients such as beta-carotene and lutein, which offer outstanding health benefits when absorbed into your cells.

  1. Eggs. Just one egg is loaded with vitamins and essential nutrients such as, riboflavin, which helps your body break down food into energy. Eggs also contain a good amount of Vitamin A, retinol, that is great for your eyesight, as well as Vitamin E that fights cellular and tissue damage and prevents cancer. Eggs can be eaten in a variety of ways and help in weight loss by keeping you fuller longer. Contrary to popular belief, although eggs contain “dietary cholesterol”,  eating eggs does not increase your “blood cholesterol” and are a low calorie, inexpensive protein source.

  1. Nuts. My favorite on-the-go snack or just a great add on to my salads! These heart healthy fats  contain omega- 3 fatty acid and Alpha-linoleic which are proven to reduce LDL (the bad) cholesterol and maintain HDL (the good) cholesterol. Besides, they are easy to take on the go, very satisfying to chew and keep you full for hours in between meals. I prefer to add them to my salad for an extra crunch! P.S.- make sure they are raw and unsalted!

  1. Sweet potatoes. (Or spelled Potatos if Youre George W bush )These orange complex carbohydrates are packed with alpha and beta-carotene,  which the body converts  into Vitamin A and assists in keeping bones, immune system and eyes healthy. They also contain phytochemicals which act as antioxidants to defend against disease producing free radicals. Just one potato contains Vitamins A, C, B and potassium lutein and manganese; all make this sweet treat one of the healthiest vegetables to eat.
  1. Broccoli and Kale. These tiny green tree look alkies are loaded with vitamins C, A and K that help with bone health and fight cancer. They also stimulate the body’s detoxifying enzymes. Cook them up in a skillet with red peppers and mushrooms and a splash of olive oil for a delicious (and easy!) stir-fry. My kids love to add a little sea salt and make them extra crisp.

  1. Spinach. Although easily stuck in your teeth, this vegetable is packed with fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese and water soluble Vitamin A, C, K and vitamin B, which helps form new healthy cells. I eat so much of this superfood I don’t even care that it takes 3 pieces of dental floss to get the part that is stuck in between my teeth.
  1. Greek Yogurt.  I have been eating greek yogurt since before it became cool to eat greek yogurt…my best (not so kept secret!!) The creamy thick texture of this supper food makes it one of the most  delicious desserts that can actually add on years to your life. Yogurt has “good bacteria” that aids in gut health and helps prevent digestive issues. This inexpensive snack is also rich in calcium, zinc, vitamin B12 and protein. I love to add cinnamon, stevia, and 100% rolled oats and berries to my yogurt in the morning for a fast on the go breakfast! Greek yogurt is also a fantastic base for smoothies.

  1. Tomatoes. These juicy red fruits are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant that can prevent cancer and protect your skin. They contain fiber, potassium and vitamin C and help protect against the harmful UV rays. But don’t get cocky- still slather on the sunblock!

  1. Oats. These whole grains that are loaded with fiber can replace any recipe that asks for all purpose flour and are great for baking or just adding to some of the above super foods such as Greek yogurt and berries for a delicious and easy morning meal. I also love to mix oats with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and liquid egg whites prepared as a pancake in a skillet – delicious!! ENJOY! See my Recipe section for other ideas. http://www.jordanabalsam.com
  • Note: I used to have salmon on my list of super foods but I have since removed it and I’ll tell you why: Wild salmon is so expensive ($30+/lb. and the way I used to eat it would cost over $400 a week – seemed wasteful. ) Farmed salmon, while more affordable, is absolutely horrible for you because of all the antibiotics and hormones they pump into them so it deflects from any of the health benefits of eating fish. Stick to the above list and you will look and feel amazing!

Lesson Learned:

Keep your meal planning simple and inexpensive: stick to the same above list of super foods and you will have a complete nutritionally balanced diet that will keep you full, give you radiant skin, shiny hair, prevent disease and keep you slim!!

4 things to do to get rid of that stubborn belly fat

Trying something different today (send feedback if you picked up on it)

Belly fat, also known as the ‘spare tire’, is probably the most difficult part of the body to reduce – especially for women. That’s because this area is made up of visceral fat, which is stored around many of the important internal organs such as the pancreas, intestines and the liver.

If too much fat is stored around your vital organs, it can interfere with how your liver functions and can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Hormones, age and genetics all factor into how your belly fat is stored, but you can take charge of your own body and take these 4 simple steps to reduce this fat and get that flat belly you always wanted.

  1. Eat a Bigger meal. I know, that sounds weird, considering you want to lose weight. But the simple act of just skipping dessert will help. When you eat too many processed foods, your body reacts to the refined sugars with increased inflammation which ultimately leads to that visceral – i.e.: belly- fat.

Instead choose fruits, vegetables and whole foods which all contain anti-oxidants that have an anti- inflammatory effect on your body. These natural foods fight off that belly, so go ahead and eat more natural whole foods at mealtime and then close the kitchen!

  1. Eat more fat!

My favorite phrase that I preach is: “Fat is your friend and sugar is the enemy!” Eat the right kind of fat to fight that stubborn belly fat! When you eat monounsaturated fats they have an anti inflammatory effect on your body.

Don’t be afraid of healthy fats like salmon, raw nuts, avocado, olive oil. Do cut down on meat, fried foods and dairy for a total anti-inflammatory effect.

  1. Go to bed!

You’re mama was right when she told you, as a kid, to go to bed. Those people, who average less than 5 hours of sleep a night, are more likely to gain 25+ pounds per year than those that sleep at least 7 hours a night. So take a chill and go to bed early.

  1. Relax Don’t Do it when you want to go to it!                                                             Frankie goes to Hollywood was right. Relaxation helps in fat loss. When you are stressed, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol, which can actually enlarge your fat cells! I don’t know about you, but I always reach for the peanut butter jar when I’m stressed and I feel it in my belly the next day. Stress can sometimes lead to over eating and ultimately overproduction of cortisol, which leads to that belly fat!

Lesson Learned:

Sleep, eat fats, take a chill and linger at dinner  for optimum health and to lose that stubborn belly.