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I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love sweet potatoes! They are naturally sweet, are high in fiber, and high in vitamins A & C. Quest Bars are another nutrition staple for my busy schedule, so naturally when I found this video on the Quest Youtube channel, I had to share it with you!

These sweet potato bites are perfect for post workout snack when paired with a vanilla whey protein shake.

This recipe makes 7 servings of 2 pieces.
Nutrition per serving: 156 calories / 29 g carb / 3 g fat / 9 g protein / 7 g fiber

Enjoy! ;-)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 2 Cinnamon Quest Bars
  • 1 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 cup canned Sweet Potato
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

  • Directions

      Step 1: Gather & measure ingredients and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      Step 2: Stir the oats, sweet potato, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
      Step 3: Place 2 bars, and Almond Milk in a bowl and microwave until it’s a liquid.
      Step 4: Mix the Almond Milk mixture with the dry mixture.
      Step 5: Create golf ball sized balls and place on a baking sheet 1-2 inches apart.
      Step 6: Place baking sheet in oven and cook for 20 minutes.

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    What’s the Deal With Artificial Sweeteners?

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    We have all heard some scary facts about the intake of sugar and the risk for obesity, diabetes, and other lifestyle related diseases. So many people turn to artificial sweeteners and diet foods in an attempt to make a healthy choice- but is it really healthier?

    A quick google search for any of these artificial sweeteners will launch you into a war between experts on both sides. On one hand, these lab created artificial sweeteners are accused of causing everything from cancer and neurological disorders, to weight gain and depression. On the other hand, the FDA and other government agencies insist that they are safe. But one thing is certain, artificial sweeteners are controversial and have not been around that long.

    Most Common Artificial Sweeteners

    Sucralose (Splenda)
    Aspartame (NutraSweet,Equal)
    Saccharin (Sweet n Low)
    Acesulfame K (Sunett)
    Stevia (Truvia, PureVia, SweetLeaf)

    My Top 4 Takeaways on Artificial Sweeteners

      1. Most of the studies on artificial sweeteners were done on animals, which may or may not relate to the safety (or lack there of) of these compounds being digested in humans.
      2. All of these products were discovered or created in the 1960s and 1970s, therefore knowing the effects of consuming these for your lifetime is impossible to know. They just haven’t been around that long.
      3. Most of the “pro” studies have been funded by the companies themselves, so there is a conflict of interest in many cases.
      4. They all have an established upper limit where they would be considered toxic (poisonous) to the human body. Yes, even stevia.

    My Recommendation

    Stay away from them as much as possible, but don’t lose sleep if you have them occasionally. Artificial Sweeteners are used in many products like gum, yogurts, protein bars and powders, juices, sodas, dressings, etc.

    Many of the negative symptoms like headaches, bloating, depression and weight gain are associated with frequent use of artificial sweeteners. If you are one to frequently drink diet sodas or sweeten your beverages, start to cut back or eliminate them from your daily routine.

    Lastly, eat unprocessed foods like lean meat and fresh produce as much as possible and read the nutrition label of the products you buy so you are at least aware of what’s in there. (Read my article on reading nutrition labels)

    Over years of working with clients, I have found that people are drawn towards artificial sweeteners because they think it’s a way to cheat the system and indulge without the consequences of sugar. If you are constantly looking for something sweet or craving a sugary drink like soda or a fancy coffee, try to get to the root of the problem instead of looking for the quick fix of an artificial sweetener.

    Cravings for sugar are a pretty good sign that something is off in your diet, and you’re reaching for sugar to fix it. Sugar cravings increase when you aren’t eating enough protein, when you eat mostly processed food, when you are overly stressed, or when you are not getting enough sleep. Correct these problems and you will likely find that cutting back on sweets is no longer an issue.

    Resources

    The Harmful Effects of Splenda
    The Dangers of Saccharin and Aspartame
    Artificial Sweeteners Don’t Fool Your Brain
    Sweetened Beverages and Depression Link
    The Potential Danger of Sugar Substitutes
    Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer
    The Safety of Saccharin
    Aspartame Facts and Myths
    Battle of the Sweeteners

    Question: Tell me what you think! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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    photo credit: PunchingJudy via photopin cc

    How to Take Control of Your Time

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    I don’t have time to…. Those words come out of everyone’s mouth from time to time, particularly when we are trying to justify the fact that we fell short on a commitment. How often do you excuse your missed exercise routine, or the fast food run to a lack of time? Today I will share some simple tips on how to take control of your time so that you can fit everything in.

    Before I dive into that though, a little disclaimer is necessary. Most of what you are about to read is pretty basic, but sometimes getting back to the basics are exactly what we need. :-) Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a new tool, or iPhone app will be the solution. This is another form of procrastination and after all, you don’t have time to waste.

    6 Tips for Tips Management

    how to take control of your time
    Reduce your commitments and prioritize what’s important.
    How many people and things rely on you? Now how many are really important? I am NOT suggesting you become a flaky person and bail on all of your commitments, but you DO need to stop yourself before you pile on any more. If you are a people pleaser and tend to take on more than you need to, start to perform “commitment triage.” Decide what is truly important in your life and start doing what you need to do to get to where you want to go. I highly recommend Today Matters by John C Maxwell.

    Minimize distractions so you can focus on what is important.
    Do you have the TV on and Facebook open while you’re talking on your phone and trying to make your grocery list? Multitasking is a myth that only leads to inefficiency. When you have something to do focus on it, and you will get a lot more done in a lot less time. I recommend The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

    Set a time limit for tasks.
    We’ve all gotten lost in our email inbox, or sucked into Facebook. Setting a timer for fun things like internet browsing as well as work tasks will help you to stay focused. When it’s time to work, work. When it’s time to play, play.

    Stay organized.
    Have a place for everything. Your shoes, your keys, your purse, your incoming mail, your bills, your laundry- EVERYTHING. Yes, it takes time & effort upfront to get systems in place. Some will work and others won’t, but keep trying until you find a system that works for you and then use it. The time and stress you save yourself will be well worth it in the long run.

    Keep separate lists for tasks and projects.
    Whether you prefer physical notebooks and a filing cabinet or something more high tech like Evernote, keeping your TO DOs for various projects separate will help you to remain organized. Getting Things Done by David Allen is a must read for anyone who is busy and has many responsibilities to manage.

    Ask for help & delegate things that you do not need to be doing.
    There are some things that only you can do, and then there are things that you can delegate. This may be as simple as asking your spouse for help around the house. You can not do it all, so stop trying to.

    We all fall short of our goals from time to time, but continually working to improve our time management will keep you growing both personally and professionally. Keep working at it, we are all in this together.

    If you this information to be helpful please SHARE this post to help spread the message of healthy living. Thank you for reading!

    You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    photo credit: http://www.freerangekids.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/clock.jpg