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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Healthy Redhead NutritionPlan

A Long Post, Worth the Read! 

I had an AWESOME check in yesterday! Looks like my work out plan is doing it's job!  If you missed the results, you can still check it out HERE.

As I mentioned, I had put so much attention to working out, that I really put the nutrition plan on the back burner. So, NOW is the time! I have been pondering this topic for weeks! (Which is part of the reason that it was on the back burner.) I think that I finally came up with something....DRUM ROLL PLEASE....

The Healthy Redhead Nutrition Plan!!
Ready to start JUNE 1st!

Aaaaannnndddd, *Symbol crash!* Do me a favor.  Click HERE. Take a good look at all of the different types of food pyramids that there are.  Some put grains at the bottom. Others, meat. Others, vegetables.  My personal favorite included donuts and chips. With all of the many, many opinions out there, it is hard to see which is the RIGHT opinion.  This is where my journey began.

What Was I Looking For?

I knew from the many books I have read, websites I have studied, and programs that I have tried, that I wanted more of "plant based" plan with the option to still have a steak! Too much to ask?  I thought so.  I have searched the world wide web over to find such a plan and, well, nothing QUITE fit the bill. So, I was stuck to do my own research and pondering, and THIS is what I came up with.

My Food Pyramid


I don't think that the importance that water has on our health can be stressed enough.  It helps to cleanse our systems, reduce water retention, helps us think clearer, and helps to control our caloric intake. The consensus on how much water to drink in a days time seems to be "8 glasses of water." Note that it doesn't say "8 CUPS of water."  I think that is a common misconception.  Other sources say to drink HALF of your body weight in ounces per day.  That seems more realistic to me.  Remember: That which comes out should be the same color as that which went in.  Just sayin.

For the rest of the pyramid, I had to really delve into science, my own beliefs, and my own body.

I started out with scripture. I am lucky enough to belong to a religion that has a health code.  I figure that if anyone knows how to treat our bodies, it's the guy that created them! I read an article called "The Do's in the Word of Wisdom." Although slightly outdated, I think that the information is still fairly relevant.  I used this article to put my BASE pyramid together.  I needed an order.  The author, Lora Beth Larson, breaks it down very nicely.

Vegetables First

Through reading the Doctrine and Covenants 59:16-20, we find that Vegetables (things from the earth) are for our enjoyment to be used "both to please the eye and to gladden the heart."  I'm not sure that I am to the "gladden the heart" part yet when it comes to my veggies, but I will say that I would rather look at a picture of veggies than meat.

See what I mean?  So, I will say that Veggies are pleasing to the eye. In the same scripture, the Lord goes into a little more detail and  also states that  are to be used "for food and raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and enliven the soul."

We tend to focus on GREEN vegetables. Although the benefits of our "leafy green friends" are undeniable, it was intriguing to me to see what the COLOR of the vegetable tells us! That is why my direction is to EAT COLORFUL! Add this to what I have learned in Michael Pollen's Books, along with just our general knowledge of vegetables, and I had the perfect candidate for my bottom layer.


It's no secret that fruit doesn't contain the nutritional value that vegetables have.  They have natural sugars in them that if taken in excess can actually cause our insulin to go crazy.  HOWEVER, the natural disease fighting aspects of fruit won their spot in my pyramid as the second best layer.  With the anti-oxidant powers of berries, the amounts of fiber in core fruits, and Vitamin C in citrus, we can't go wrong enjoying the "fruits of the vine." 

Vegetables and fruit are about as REAL as food gets. You literally don't have to do anything to them to prepare them for eating.  If you have an apple tree, you can go out, pick the apple and just eat it! Well, if you don't use pesticides....but that topic has already been discussed in my post on organic food.  Obviously, given the choice, I would choose to grow my own organic produce to ensure the best quality, but that isn't quite possible since we are renting. So, for those of us that want a whole foods diet, this is as good as it gets. 

Plant Based Protein

I struggled a lot with this one. I wasn't sure if I should put Grains in this spot or stick with the plant based Protein.  After some research, I found that legumes, seeds, nuts, etc. have a higher nutritional value to them than wheat or other grains.  For now, I'm classifying plant based protein as the following (preferably RAW):

  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc. 
  • Seeds: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seed, sunflower seeds, melon seeds etc. 
  • Legumes: lentil, dried beans, soy beans, chick/garbanzo beans, black-eyed beans, red beans, peas, green peas,or even quinoa etc.

Nuts and seeds contain B vitamins, which give you energy and promote your metabolism. HELLO FAT LOSS!!! They also contain selenium, chromium and vitamin E, which are all components of antioxidants. Nuts also contain phosphorous and magnesium, both of which are essential for the formation and health of your bones and teeth. Phosphorous supports energy production and the formation of nucleic acids, such as DNA. Magnesium helps activate your body's enzymes, and ensures that your muscles work properly.

You can see why these won their spot on the food pyramid!


"The Staff of Life!"  What the heck does THAT mean!?!?!  Is a staff something that sustains you, or is it something that you rely on when you need it?!?  Oh, this caused me heartache.  This topic is where religion and science tend to differ. It USED to be that grains were touted in the nutritional field.  So much so, that they used to be the bottom (most recommended) section of the food pyramid. The Word of Wisdom talks about ALL GRAIN being "ordained for the use of be the staff of life..."  Ultimately, I think that we sometimes focus a little too much on that saying.  There is nothing wrong with WHOLE or SPROUTED wheat, whole oats, corn (yes, corn is a grain,) brown rice, or any other grain.  In fact, I can't think of a faster way to give myself a burst of energy in the morning!

The nutritional value of grain is not as high as the nuts or seeds.  Grains are known as the best source of FIBER and also carry a good dose of Magnesium (perfect for those with high Cortisol levels.)

Other documented health benefits include:
  • stroke risk reduced 30-36%
  • type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30%
  • heart disease risk reduced 25-28%
  • better weight maintenance
Not to bad for a measly serving of whole grains per day!  Now, a serving size would be 1/4 C DRY, which equals anywhere from 100-160 calories per serving.  So, be careful!  But the health benefits for such a small amount are pretty awesome!

Animal Protein

I tried to find nice picture.... 
Once again, I relied on scripture to guide me on this one.  In the Word of Wisdom, we are cautioned to "eat meat sparingly." Today, we have learned that animal protein is related to multiple diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer's Disease.   However, with nutritional value of high protein, and iron, I don't think that we can just "take out" the animal protein. I mean, after all, we ARE Omnivores! ;) Even Michael Pollen talks about having a good steak or hamburger sometimes! It's just that with the low nutritional value from animal protein, I had a hard time giving it a different spot on the pyramid. 


This goes along with my Animal Protein ideas.  Although we can gain quite a bit of Calcium and Vitamin D from consuming WHOLE milk and cheeses, the fat content is not too pleasing, and the protein value is less than getting it from other animal sources (such as the meat or eggs.) I'm not so sure that milk really "does a body good." I, however, am a HUGE fan of cheese, so I couldn't leave dairy off of the pyramid. PLUS, getting the pro-biotic cultures from natural yogurt has been proven to aid in our health. Those that are "pro-dairy" boast that just a serving a day is enough Vitamin D and Calcium for our bodies! So, I'm giving it a shot!  One serving....1/2 C of yogurt or 1 oz of cheese will cost you appx. 5-10% of your calories for the day!  So sad....  Maybe I'll save it up and use it all at once at a Mexican restaurant! (Not sure that would work...)

Healthy Oils

Finally, we reach the top of the pyramid!  Just a TBSP of a good oil can have multiple benefits for your body! My favorite? Coconut Oil!  Claims abound that coconut oil is a health food that can cure everything from poor immune function,thyroid disease, and heart disease, to obesity, cancer, and HIV! No joke, folks! 

The Big Reveal!

Now, the moment that you all have been waiting for!  Here is my complete pyramid!  The percentages are based upon the amounts of each category that we should be consuming on a daily basis. The serving sizes are based upon a 1400-1500 Calorie diet.  Obviously if you need more calories during the day, you could eat more servings, or larger servings, of the food.  That is why I put the percentages there as well.
Click to PRINT

Where is the Sugar?

Ok, I am a huge fan of sweets!  And I do think that there is a place for them in our diet.  I just don't think that it should be a daily occurrence. This is why it's not on the pyramid.  Now, if you have a piece of dark chocolate every day, I think that is great!  That is less than 1% of your daily caloric intake and really is negligible. It's the second, third, fourth, the whole bar that I am worried about. I am also including other sweeteners in this category. Honey, agave, and Stevia are all natural and should still make up less than 1% of your daily caloric intake.  

Having said that, when I did Weight Watchers, we were allowed "extra points" in the week.  These points were there almost as a safety net in case you had a party or a break down or something. That is how I consider my sugar intake. I know that there will be times that I will have a piece of cake or a banana split.  Ok? Sure! When that happens though, I plan on being sure that I am having the correct portion sizes.  It's not a "hall pass" to go crazy! My mom always says:
 "I may have ONE brownie. But, I may NOT have a 9x13 Brownie!"  
One more thing: When I say "sugar" I'm talking about ACTUAL sugar, not High Fructose Corn Syrup, or anything like that. I'm talking ALL NATURAL! Remember though, ORGANIC SUGAR is STILL SUGAR!! This was my main motivation in doing the NO SODA challenge.  I think that is where MOST of my sugary (HFCS) intake was coming from.  It's not like most of us sit down every day and chomp on some cupcakes, ice cream, and candy.....or do you???  I really have felt a boost of energy since getting rid of the soda. I highly recommend giving the SODA CHALLENGE a shot. 

In a Nutshell- TLDR (For Paul)

The plan is to EAT CLEAN, using The Healthy Redhead Food Pyramid as a guide to portion control for each food group.  We're talking REAL food, not processed,VERY minimal Sugar. Oh! And to drink lots of water. Brilliant and mind blowing, I know. 

Piece of cake  watermelon, right??  

Well folks!  That's all she wrote! I will probably log my meals into for a bit just to make sure that I am getting in the right percentages.  I HATE, HATE, HATE logging my food.  I actually just do better planning out a full day in advance.  SO, when I plan my dinners for the week, I'll log them, then create my other meals based off of that.  It will be a HUGE pain at first, but I should get the hang of it and get to the point where I am just eating the right things!

Wish me luck!!  Don't forget to enter to win the Giveaway at the bottom of the page!

I am on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

First Month Results and Giveaway!!

Well my dears, the time has come!!!  After all of my hard work with exercise and eating better, it is time to see where I am ONE MONTH later....

Before I reveal the results, I want to say that in May, I put most of my focus into building a good exercise routine and making a habit out of it. That doesn't mean that I just went "full hog" on my eating.  I was still careful about what I ate, and portion sizes, trying to focus on whole foods.  I also cut out Soda for a full week, and plan to do it through June. BUT, I for sure put more effort into exercise rather than diet.

Without further ado.....

MAY 2013 results are in:

Weight: 247.6 (although this is 10 lbs less than my starting weight, I have not lost a pound since starting The Healthy Redhead journey.... diet maybe?)

Right Upper Arm 15" from bottom of my ear: 16.5" = DOWN .75"
Right Wrist- 7"= SAME
Right Thigh at middle finger: 27.5" = DOWN 1.25" !!!!
Chest:41.75"= DOWN 1.25" !!!
Waist:45.25"=DOWN .75"
Hips:52.5"= DOWN 1.5" AAHHHHHH!!!!!!!
TOTAL INCHES LOST: 5.5" (I needed a calculator for that.)

For the STARTING measurements, click HERE.

There you have it! Although I didn't lose any weight on the scale, it is apparent that I am getting SMALLER. And the fact that I can life heavier weights (up to 10 lbs on the dumbbells, started at 5lbs)  and go longer on the treadmill (doing 1.5 miles-2 miles at a 20 min average mile, compared to 1 mile in 22 min,) shows that I am getting healthier. Right???  RIGHT!?!?!  

Ultimately, my goal is to be the healthiest that I have ever been and I think I am well on my way! 

What's Next?

Nutrition Plan: I am confident that as I follow a real food plan, I will see results in my weight as well.  (Not that "the number" is the end all of self- worth..) June will be the month to add in a set, comprehensive diet.  

I have been researching by behind off, looking for the "magic plan."  I know that have put a lot of emphasis on the Michael Pollen books "In Defense of Food" and "Food Rules" as well as The Word of Wisdom. These books have taught me A LOT about food. I have studied other "diets" such as Paleo and Primal Living, South Beach, Atkins, Blood Type, etc.  I have also looked into the programs such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and Medifast. I'm just trying to find "the one" that I know I can stick to without bitterness! ;)

I am in the process of completing The Healthy Redhead Food Plan which will be the rules that I will follow through my journey. I'm not a nutritionist, doctor or anything of the sorts, but I feel like I have done enough research to put this together for myself. Not gonna lie though, it will probably be a combination of what "the experts" are saying is good. Basically, I'm just taking what I like from a lot of people that know what they are talking about, and I'm putting it into one plan that I can follow, no, that I WILL follow. I mean, how hard can it be!  Vegetables and Fruits are good, Sugar and Fat are not good, and if it came from a lab, I shouldn't have it in my body!  Easy right?  Well, my research tells me that it's a bit more complicated than that. 

Either way, my next post will reveal:
The Healthy Redhead Nutrition Plan! 
Or, in lame man's terms, what foods Cindy will be eating. But, that isn't as exciting to say. For a better understanding of my "general opinions on food" click HERE.


Now, I am pretty stoked about my 30 day results and I want to CELEBRATE!!!  I honestly could not have done it without your support!  Being able to vent, share, and just BE here on the blog, Facebook Page and others has helped keep me motivated and has pushed me through hard times.  I can put down that I had a hard day and you guys are right there with words of encouragement.  So, as a thank you, I am giving away a 

$25 Gift Card!!!!! 
To Enter: Just follow the steps near the bottom of the page!  Good luck!

I am on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

10 Tips for Healthier Kid Snacks

It's OFFICIALLY Summer!  That means that you in charge of entertainment and food for your clan! Here are some great tips to make eating healthier a little more fun for both you and your kidders! I hope that you enjoyed your Memorial Day! 

The NO SODA challenge ended on Sunday and now it's time to put some focus on what we eat vs what we drink! That doesn't mean that you still shouldn't keep away from the soda and sugar drinks and focus on the ice cold water.  BUT, it's nice to switch it up a bit. With the kids home, lets focus on them!  (They will demand it anyway.)

1. Start A nibble tray. Take a muffin tin and fill each cup with a fruit or veggie and /or a healthy dip. Leave it on the table and the kids will munch on it throughout the day.

2. Put away the junk food. We all need a snack between meals so it is important to keep the healthy options available. I have found in my house that if junk food is not around, we happily fill our tummies with the good stuff. Plus junk food adds to my grocery bill without offering me any benefit for the money I am spending.

3. Freeze Fruit. Instead of frozen treats that contain harmful sweeteners and dyes opt to freeze fruit. Try bananas on a stick, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with chopped almonds. OR blend together watermelon, strawberries, raspberries and banana, pour into popcicle trays and create your own fruit-cicle. Try THIS recipe on for size!

4. Grow a garden. Research shows that kids who participate in the growing of food are much more likely to want to eat what they grow. Plus the food tastes better.

5. Add veggies to your recipes. For example plain pasta is a simple carb but add some fresh tomatoes, onions or peppers and it begins to have some health benefits.

6. Make creative snacks. Remember ants on a log growing up (celery with peanut butter and raisins)? Perhaps you could make pizza faces with pita rounds, sauce, and veggies as eyes, nose and mouth and cheese as hair. HERE is a great site with TONS of ideas!

7. Put kids in charge. Lay out some healthy ingredients and let the kids get creative. Options include peanut butter, hummus, fruits and veggies cut into fun shapes, whole wheat crackers and so on. Let them make their own trail mix with nuts, granola and dried fruits. Again, kids are more likely to eat something that they created.

8. Make smoothies. You can hide a world of seemingly yucky foods in a yummy smoothie. For example the taste of Kale can be disguised when blended with frozen bananas, pineapple and mango.

9. Take raw fruits and veggies with you. This will be a more filling snack while you are out and you won’t add empty calories that lead to weight gain.

10. Be a good example. If you don’t eat veggies your kids won’t want to either. If you are frowning at the peas on your plate, your kids will find fault with them too. Kids will model behavior so engage in choices that you want them to mimic.

Monday, May 27, 2013

How Do Your Finances Affect Your Health?

It's all about the money, money, money!!  

Ever since my post on Stress, I have been trying to find ways to DECREASE the stress in my life. I noticed that I have different levels of "stress."  There are situations that stress me out, but they usually dissipate quickly.  I stress about my kids and how I am probably messing up their life and should just accept the fact that they will need therapy.  Then, there are the things that CONSTANTLY have me on edge.  FINANCES is one of those things!

In a poll conducted by The Associated Press and AOL, it was found that people that suffered from financial stress also suffered from:
  • Ulcers or digestive tract problems — 27 percent of people with high stress over finances reported digestive problems versus 8 percent of people who did not worry about finances.
  • Headaches or migraines —44 percent of people financially stressed reported having migraines versus 4 percent of people with low financial stress.
  • Depression– 23 percent of people with financial stress were depressed, compared with 4 percent of people who were not stressed.
  • Muscle tension or lower back pain — Highly stressed people were 65 percent more likely to suffer from back pain and muscle tensions than those with low stress.
All this ON TOP of the higher cortisol levels that are caused from the extra stress that the constant worry brings. Not to mention that ALL of the above symptoms are linked to struggles with weight loss.  (Is your interest peaked now?)

In short, YES, your financial situation DOES affect your fat loss.  

Imagine your life without debt or financial worries.

Really.  Take a minute and think to yourself.  "What would my life be like if I didn't have to worry about debt?"  Intriguing, isn't it.  Possible? Yes!  

Jeff is a pilot.  This career choice required that we sign away our lives into the black pit of money despair took out some student loans. Because pilots don't get paid very much ($17,000 for a first year, First Officer, and only a little more as a Flight Instructor,) we haven't been able to pay down much of the loans.  This just eats at both of us. Although we know that the time will come when he will make some pretty good money (the kind that pilots are known for, and that everyone THINKS we make right now,) I still struggle with wanting to end the debt faster.  Patience isn't one of my virtues. I just know that if we were debt free and followed a budget a little more closely, we would be happier...FOR SURE! 

Where to Start?

As usual, when you don't know the answer to something, you go and find it.  This problem is no different. And, a year ago or so, I did my research and came up with Dave Ramsey's book ,"The Total Money Makeover."   Jeff and I started reading it.....we never finished.  Was it not a priority? Yeah...maybe.  I think it was mainly because were were trying to read it together and that just wasn't happening. BUT, because I already have this book.  I'm going to finish it.  I'm going to apply the things that I learn. At the time of this post, this book has over 850 reviews on and almost ALL of them are positive and share life-changing stories.  So, THIS is where I am starting.  Anyone disagree with this choice?  Speak now.

The Road to Financial Health

The way I see it, I have 5 steps:
  1. Learn to "Just Say No."  Cut up the credit cards, and face reality.  NO to going out to eat, NO to the cute jewelry, dress, purse, etc that I might want, NO to vacations, NO NO NO!  That money can be better used elsewhere.
  2. Focus on Getting Out of Debt- Jeff and I are going to find the balance between needs and wants with our family.  Figuring out how we can bring in more in and have less go out.  That is the goal.
  3. Create a Realistic, Yet Firm Budget- I think creating a budget is like dieting.  You can't go SO strict that you BINGE later on.  We want to avoid that.
  4. Learn About Investing- I know absolutely NOTHING about investing or financial planning, for that matter.  I think it's time. Who knows, I probably could have been a millionaire if I had made some better moves 10 years ago!  ;)
  5. Create a Retirement Plan- Let's face it.  No one wants to work forever.  This is just a must.  How sad would it be if I became all healthy and active and then wasn't able to DO anything because I always had to work?

Yup, those are my goals.  Are they good?  Should I add to them? Are my expectations too high? Too low?  

What have you done to ease the Financial Stress in your home?  What are your favorite books? Programs? Do you have a favorite financial planner? 

Time to "weigh in!" 


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