The 411 on Chocolate Cravings!

The 411 on your chocolate cravings

There are actually a few reasons you could be craving a big hunk of chocolate beside the fact that it is DELICIOUS!

The first and most obvious of course being that sugar is addicting.

Like actually, I’m not kidding.

Sugar triggers the same pleasure centers in the brain that are also affected by many drugs.

This is the same reason that putting yourself on that new sugar-free diet is often accompanied by a few days of sugar withdraw; headaches, lethargy etc.

But what if I told you that craving chocolate could not only be your body trying to tell you something but also be good for you?!

 

Dark chocolate- the superfood!

Dark chocolate, 60% and higher that is, has some badass qualities! I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s full of antioxidants and honestly, that’s reason enough for ya girl over here to not think twice about giving in to my cravings! Yet, there are even more reasons that, on your quest to remove sugar from your diet, you might oughta just let dark chocolate stay!

For starters, a chocolate craving might be your body telling you that you are running low on magnesium! Magnesium is needed for a whole boatload of body processes and dark chocolate is a good source of it. Low levels of this micronutrient can lead to low energy, sleep problems, anxiety or depression and hormone problems.

But it doesn’t stop there! Dark chocolate is also a good source of, Manganese (anti-inflammatory), Copper (immune and nerve health), and Zinc (growth and development)!

Dark chocolate and your skin!

Let’s talk Flavanols! Flava- what?? This must obviously be some fancy reason why chocolate is so damn good, right?

Wrong!

Flavanol is the particular type of antioxidant that is found in high quantities in dark chocolate. Because of their free radical fighting properties antioxidants and the foods that contain them are good for your cell health! Protection, regeneration, etc. All the good stuff! Eating Flavanol-rich cocoa can lead to smoother more hydrated skin due to the antioxidant’s ability to protect cells from harmful UV rays.7_0003_mailbox

Chocoholic Disclaimer!

Okay, Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have written this post at all… because let’s be real, another excuse to eat chocolate is the last thing any of us need… However, a reason to swap sugary, processed milk chocolate for dark chocolate is something your body will thank you for!

Just to be clear, though, milk chocolate does not have all these awesome benefits and will do nothing for you but fuel your sugar addiction! (ouch, maybe that was too harsh?)

And, of course, remember all in moderation! Dark chocolate still has its fair share of sugar, so don’t get carried away!

P.S. Justin’s Hazelnut butter is not technically dark chocolate over 60% but its seriously the best and with considerably less sugar than the other guys, I have to make room to rave about it! Bark thins are actually to die for, and Theo is possibly the love of my life? Pretty sure the feeling is mutual.

What are your favorite ways to satisfy your chocolate cravings?? Tell me in the comments below!

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P.S. The Valentines Artwork is by the super talented Ulia Choo!  – find her on Creative Market!!

 

 

 

 

 


3 Minute Kale Greek Salad!

3 Minute Kale Greek Salad!I think we can probably all agree that eating healthy is not convenient, but like it must be done!

So what are you to do when there’s 15 minutes left before you have to leave for work and you have done absolutely nothing in the way of preparing lunch/dinner for yourself. Plus your hair isn’t brushed and you aren’t even wearing pants.

Do you..

A) Crawl into bed and give up on today, it hasn’t started out well anyway.

B) Just eat out again, it’s not the new year yet so are new habits really necessary?

C) Sing in the mirror for 16 minutes and be late to life.. again.

D) 3 minute kale salad you saw on that blog that one time. BONUS- you have time for pants and a hairbrush!

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(Answer at the end of this post)!

No matter what you picked, I’m going to go ahead and share this must have recipe with you because its literally been my lifesaver lately!

 

3 Minute Kale Greek Salad!

  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped english cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup red onions (optional)
  • greek dressing (if you want to be alittle extra you can substitute this with oil & vinegar and a sprinkle of rosemary!)

Mix it all up and enjoy!

I hope you LOVE this quick jem as much as I do!

Nutrition Facts!

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For anyone that is still scared of fat, STOP! look at that beautiful specimen of a nutrition label, that Fat and Fiber combo means this baby will keep you full! The kale is really the superstar here, but the fat content really helps it to be a satisfying meal. If you are Vegan and choose to pass on the feta I really recommend adding some sunflower seeds instead to keep this salad filling and well rounded!

P.S. The answer is obviously D!

XOXO Sus

 


Oh So Good for You Matcha Latte!

Wait… a latte that’s good for you?? Uh, count me in!

So I’m not going to lie, I’ve been overdoing it a bit with the coffee lately. I mean who can blame me though what is college even if not just a 4 four year coffee overload?

I usually drink the stuff that glues your eyes open. I’m talkin’ Americano- easy on the water and go ahead and add an extra shot! Then, send a decadent frothy latte my way after I’m good and awake!

But if we are being real with each other here, one coffee addict to another, while it’s not the Worst thing for your body it certainly isn’t the best either!

Coffee is pretty acidic and all that acid definitely can take a toll on your stomach if you overdo it!

I think most of the time I crave the creamy warm-ness more than the coffee itself so this Matcha latte is literally the perfect change of pace!

Matcha has a caffeine content comparable to coffee and in my search to report an actual number for you guys I came across some pretty bad ass reasons that Matcha trumps coffee!

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Matcha VS Coffee – The ultimate caffeine showdown!

  • BETTER energy! The “power up” (for lack of a better description lol) brought by matcha is much smoother and doesn’t come with a crash like with coffee.
  • Antioxidants, which are always a huge plus!
  • Better breath! Let’s not lie, guys, the coffee breath is real. On top of that Matcha is actually good for your teeth while coffee stains those pearly whites!
  • CLEARER SKIN! So this is where my loyalty to coffee has met its match… Matcha has antibacterial properties and can help resolve acne!

DONE.       SOLD.

Are you as ready for this recipe as I am to brew myself a Matcha latte??

Matcha Latte Recipe!

So, originally I found this recipe on Pinterest and I fell in love at first sip, but I was determined to make it FROTHIER! Obviously, I need all the fluff. Heres my

Processed With Darkroom

final product, enjoy!

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • cinnamon (optional to add a lil holiday spice)
  • coconut sugar (substitute honey or maple depending on what you prefer!)

First mix the hot water and Matcha powder, think of this as your espresso shot! Add your sweetener of choice and cinnamon now too.

Frothing the milk is the most important step! You want to start with milk that is cold. I used canned coconut milk. Don’t be scared of the layers that the coconut milk separates into when in the can, use it all! Use a hand mixer or blender bottle to froth the milk and then pop it in the microwave for about 30 – 45 seconds. (make sure you’ve left extra space because the milk will expand even more in the microwave!)

Pour your creamy, frothy milk into your Matcha shot and voila!

Enjoy!

XOXO Sus


5 Grocery Store Tricks to Keep the pounds OFF!

1. Don’t go grocery shopping while you’re hungry!

This one is like well duh! But seriously, don’t! More often than I’d like to admit I’ve let myself go to the store hungry and came out with a LOAD of crap that I know better than to buy.

Everything that I want to eat like right now goes straight into my cart, next thing I know I’m on Pinterest pulling up every recipe for any dessert I’ve ever wanted. All ingredients, boom. In the cart. All snacks, boom. In the cart! It’s pretty much a disaster.

We’ve all been there, but that’s no need to let it keep happening! If it’s not in your kitchen at home, it’s also not around to tempt you! And if you don’t go to the grocery store hungry then you will be SO much less tempted to put it in your cart in the first place!

2. Stay out of the middle isles!

This one is definitely more of a guideline! There are lots of things I get in the middle aisles that are perfectly fine. For example; beans, bread, coconut oil, peanut butter, oats, BANZA chic pea pasta, chia seeds, nuts, Angie’s BOOM CHIKA POP the list goes on and on… but KNOWING exactly what you are venturing into the abyss for makes all the difference in the world! Have a list and stick to it, don’t let yourself succumb to all the sugary processed temptress foods that lay within!

If you don’t trust yourself at first, you can always stick to ordering your non-perishables on Amazon pantry. (I’ve included some links to my fav things!)

3. Know your labels!

Are you ready for a horror story?? Last week I was perusing the sauce isle for the best pasta sauce choice and naturally, I picked up the one advertised as “healthy!”. However, upon inspecting the label and comparing it to a pasta sauce by the SAME BRAND that lacked the “healthy” claim, I was horrified to find the fat, calorie, carb, and, sugar content was HIGHER in the “healthy” version! In fact, its only better feature was a slightly lower sodium content. Now, this isn’t to say that all companies lack the know-how on classifying their foods, but your body will certainly be glad you took the extra couple of seconds to inspect your foods labels!

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4. Don’t be afraid of fat!

Those labels that claim to be your best weight loss friend do not have your best interest at heart! While they aren’t lying about being lower in fat, they are completely taking advantage of the fact that there is a HUGE misunderstanding of the role fat plays in our bodies.

Why you want whole fat!

You wouldn’t buy a reduced fat avocado, would you? Real is always better than fake!

  • Some vitamins are fat soluble and cannot be used by your body unless they are eaten alongside fat!
  • To make a food low fat the fats that are still present are changed chemically and your body will have a way harder time using them.
  • We use fat for damn near everything! No, seriously you need it. Like, a lot! Our cells use fat like its going out of style.. but now that it has gone out of style…. well it’s becoming an issue.

P.S. Fried food still hates your goals. Sorry.

5. Have a list of meals!

How many of you have been grocery shopping, bought a TON of stuff, gotten home and realized you have the ingredients for a whole two meals! The stress is real am I right?? I am unfortunately queen of letting my yummy veggies go bad just because I’m not prepared and don’t have all the ingredients I need to make a meal out of them! So here’s my ultimate solution, write your grocery list based on MEALS! so simple right? but it really does make a world of difference.

Plan your dinners for the week and have an idea of what your breakfasts and lunches will consist of, make your list based on this and of course give yourself a little wiggle room!

Planning meals for your week this way will also help you stay on track eating healthy instead of giving in to what is easiest that night!

Happy shopping!

XOX, Sus


Healthy 2 Ingredient Chocolate Pudding!

Attention chocolate lovers!!

This is a MUST know recipe!! TWO ingredients yall, and it is seriously delicious!

Two Ingredient Chocolate Pudding Recipe

  • 2 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 Cup of Ripple Chocolate pea milk

That’s it! Easy {pea}sy! I usually make mine the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight, but the chia seeds will absorb enough of the chocolate milk to have a pudding consistency within a couple hours! Then top with whatever your little heart desires and enjoy! 🙂

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Nutrition facts!

The simplicity of this recipe is not even close to the only thing that makes it healthy! Chia seeds are pretty badass for a few reasons on their own, here are a few that I thought worth mentioning-

  • TOTALED UP.pngThey are loaded with antioxidants so they are anti-inflammatory and promote healthy skin! Antioxidants help your body get rid of damaged cells- this means new healthy glowing skin for you!( Can I get a hell yeah for that one??)
  • Getting rid of damaged cells also means reduced signs of aging!
  • They are also jam-packed with vitamins and minerals
  • Promote a healthy heart and digestive system
  • Can aid in weight loss! Because they are high in fiber, and protein, chia seeds will keep you full! you’ll be surprised how filling a small serving can be!

Ripple Pea milk is impressive as well, it’s high in protein and calcium and completely plant-based! The refined sugar content of this chocolate pudding is also low considering the only sugar is coming from the pea milk!

Check out this link to Dr. Axe if you want to know more about chia seed benefits! Chia seeds should be pretty easy to find at your local grocery store, but just in case, I also included a link above!

I hope you enjoy!! Let me know what you think!!

XOXO Sus


Choconut Post workout Smoothie!

Okay, before I dive into the recipe for this dreamy post work out smoothie, let me just take a sec to rave about my new obsession with Ripple Pea Milk! And yes you heard me right!

Pea Milk

I love trying different dairy-free milk and so naturally I was stoked to see that a new option had made an appearance on my grocery store shelves out here in good ol’ west Texas. My usual favorites are coconut and cashew milk, and while nothing will ever replace these two in my heart, they do have their shortcomings. Coconut milk is my go-to creamer for coffee and tea and I sure do love it in my cereal but it doesn’t make a good smoothie base because it tends to get pretty thick if it’s allowed to sit. Cashew milk, on the other hand, is usually my go-to smoothie base but, like most other dairy-free milk has a pretty low protein content.

Pea milk is high in protein and makes a perfect smoothie base! It also tastes SO good! In fact the chocolate milk version (the one I used for this smoothie) is literally to die for! I usually try to force feed my “weird” food (his words not mine!) to my boyfriend (he’s pretty much that small child that you hate babysitting because he refuses to eat anything but mac and cheese and pieces of hot dog) but this milk is something I will not be sharing!

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Choconut post workout smoothie!

Let’s get to the good stuff!

  • 1 cup chocolate Ripple pea milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 frozen banana (I always add some type of frozen fruit to my smoothies vs ice for that cold creamy texture, more frozen banana = a thicker smoothie)
  • a handful of walnuts
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (yes the weird kind where the oil separates)

BLEND AND ENJOY!

XOXO Sus

 


Pup-sicles!

Yep! you read that right! I don’t know about y’all but here in Texas the sun is still blaring down on us and the temperature is still sky high! I know my pup is feelin’ the heat just like I am, so I decided to whip him up some frozen treats!

My little dude (well, not so little anymore) loves the dog ice cream we buy him every once and awhile, but unfortunately for us, it tends to make him a little gassy… But who am I to take that from him ya know?? I mean who doesn’t love a cold sweet treat after playing in the sun?!

My 10 Fruits and Vegetables Your Pup is Allowed to Enjoy! post a couple weeks ago got me thinking, PUP-SICLES uh duh! And I’m happy to say it was a total hit! So, of course, I have to share my recipe with all you doggie moms out there!

Pup-sickle Recipe

1 cup chopped strawberries

1 cup blueberries

2 cups water

Popsicle mold

add all together and FREEZE!

Isn’t he the cutest??

IMG_5476.pngYou can play around with this however you want! (just make sure to stay far away from foods that are toxic to pups!) I used two of his favorite berries and froze them in Popsicle molds with water!

That’s all for now!

XOXO Sus


How to Steal Back the Vitamins You Didn’t Even Know You Were Missing Out On!

Did you know that when you boil or steam vegetables anywhere from 20-50% of their water soluble vitamins can leech into the water they are being prepared in? This means those vitamins get poured straight down the drain or simply evaporate into the air!

Of course that still leaves 50-80% for you to eat and thats still awesome! (especially considering that frozen pizza contributes close to none!) But I just couldn’t make myself settle for those numbers!

What in the Heck are Water Soluble Vitamins?

You’ve heard of water soluble vitamins before, maybe just not by that name. These vitamins are pretty common and very important! For example, vitamin C and all the B vitamins (thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, biotin, folic acid etc) They are named water soluble because they dissolve in water and are thus absorbed very quickly by your body! However, they cannot be stored and therefore must be consumed often!

One of my all time favorite bloggers, Ashley Diana, posted a blog not too long ago explaining how she makes green tea ice cubes to add antioxidants to her smoothies! What a great idea!!

IMG_0218.JPGI used the same idea to make Veggie Vitamin Ice cubes from the water my vitamins had leeched into during cooking! Just pour the water that you used to boil your veggies into a ice cube tray and pop it into the freezer, DONE! Frozen vitamins, ready to go for smoothies the next morning!

One side note, these ice cubes do retain some of the taste of whatever veggie they came from so if you like a lot of ice in your smoothies, do half regular ice (Or half green tea ice cubes!) and half veggie ice!

XOXO Sus

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/ask-well-does-boiling-or-baking-vegetables-destroy-their-vitamins/?mcubz=3


10 Fruits and Vegetables Your Pup is Allowed to Enjoy!

Who would have guessed that my crazy pup loves blueberries!? Good news for him is that they are not only totally safe, but good for him too! Blueberries offer the same awesome antioxidants to Dax as they do to me and you!

Of course I am thrilled that I am allowed to give my pupper something fresh that he loves and benefits from, so I set out looking for some other yummy foods that he is able to enjoy. I am so pleasantly surprised that the list of doggie approved fruits and veggies is so long and I wanted to share a couple of our favs with you!

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Fruits and Veggies For Your Pup!

Apples- Great source of vitamin C, fiber, and calcium!

Bananas- Great source of potassium, biotin and fiber!

Blueberries- Lots of antioxidants and fiber!

Cantaloupe- Omg so many nutrients and of course fiber!

Carrots- Contains beta carotene and is great for healthy teeth!

Celery- Promotes fresh breath (uh, YES PLEASE) and is recommended by vets as a weight loss treat!

Green beans- Another vet recommended healthy treat! But make sure your pup is only getting plain, unseasoned green beans

Pineapple- Contains bromelain, an enzyme that aids in digestion, joint pain, and treatment of allergies!

Strawberries- Nutrients and fiber, yeah yeah we know. Strawberries can also whiten your pups smile!

Blackberries- Have loads of antioxidants, fiber and nutrients!

*Remember these are meant to be given as treats and not a replacement for regular meals!

Now Dax hangs around excitedly every time I’m in the kitchen making a smoothie! But be aware guys, there are still plenty of fruits and veggies out there your pup can’t have, whenever you aren’t sure, always look it up!

In the spirit of being thorough here are a couple foods your dog WON’T be thanking you for.

IMG_5721.pngFruits and Veggies Your Pup Should Avoid!

Avocado- Contains persin which is toxic to dogs

Cherries- Contains cyanide.

Grapes- Can lead to kidney failure

Onions- Contains a toxin that affects your pet’s red blood cells

 

Next week I’ll be posting a Pup-sicle recipe that Dax and I are both very excited about! Stay tuned!

XOXO Sus

 


Grocery Store Dictionary!

The grocery store can be one overwhelming MOFO!

Don’t worry we have all been there… on the way to the store you are day dreaming of all the healthy yummy things to stock your kitchen with just to realize once you arrive that you have no idea what the best options are!

So many diet foods claim to be your friend but, are they? So many bright labels that must mean good things… right?

The Lowdown on Food Labels

The good news is that food labels can’t lie! The not so good news is that although they cannot purposefully mislead you, that line gets blurred quite often.

I have put together a small dictionary of terms we run into while shopping to help you make more informed decisions on your own! some of the terms and their meaning may seem like… well duh! and others are going to get a little science-y but i think it will all prove to be useful. The more ya know right?

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Sus’ Grocery Store Dictionary

Alkaline- a reference to pH- basic (not acidic) the claim on alkaline water is that it will help regulate your body pH (your body pH is more acidic when you eat more junkie foods) your bodies pH can be regulated naturally though by eating well, so I wouldn’t stress about it. Almonds, avocados, asparagus, and cauliflower are some examples of foods that are naturally alkaline.

BCAA’s- Branched chain amino acids often used to prevent fatigue and enhance workout performance. IS found naturally in protein.

BPA Free- Bisphenol A is used in plastic and lining of cans and has been shown to be linked to several health conditions. Many plastics that advertise being BPA free are just replaced with another chemical is equally as bad. my suggestion is- use glass as much as possible and never eat or drink out of plastics that have been left in the sun!

Calorie- A measurement of the amount of energy a food will provide your body

Calorie free- Less than 5 calories per serving

Dairy Free-  Not containing lactose casein or whey, not derived from animal milk. You would seek this if you are vegan or allergic to dairy.

Enriched Food- Food that has nutrients added back into it. (After processing has killed them)

Fortified Food- Foods that have nutrients added (breakfast cereals are a good example of this, its how they justify marketing themselves as healthy)

Gluten Free- Gluten is simply a term to describe wheat proteins. You only need to be concerned about it if you  have a gluten sensitivity, a wheat allergy, or celiac disease.

Heart Healthy- A health claim that is approved by the FDA. It must not be misleading, but take with a grain of salt because it does not mean the food in its entirety is healthy.

Hydrogenated Oil- Trans fats that have been made artificially by adding an extra hydrogen to a vegetable oil. (the technical stuff isn’t so important just know these fats are bad news bears for your body!) since they are artificially made they are super hard for your body to break down and so almost always get stored. You wont see this term advertised anywhere but it is important to know where these oils are found, here are some examples- Smart balance or any butter imitation spread, coffee creamers, fried foods, ready to use dough, packaged snacks.

High Fiber – More than 5g per serving

Low Calorie- 40 or less per serving

Low Fat- 3g or less per serving (be aware that to make things low fat, hydrogenated oils are often used)

Low Fat Milk- Low fat milk has to be fortified with nutrients because so many are lost in the process of making it low fat. But heres the real kicker, a lot of vitamins, like vitamin C are fat soluble and don’t even get absorbed into your body when they aren’t eaten with enough accompanying fat.

Low Glycemic- The glycemic index measures how carbs affect your blood sugar. This is usually in reference to sweeteners. (The lower on the glycemic index a food is the less it provokes an insulin response)

Monounsaturated fat- This fat has one double bond, this just means that the fat is less stable and needs to be handled more carefully or it oxidizes. (who cares right?) Fats that oxidize promote free radicals in your body and this leads to aging and poor cell health.

Natural Flavoring- Okay this one is really bogus! We have all been there, staring at a package of gummy snacks wondering how in the hell there is anything natural about them. Well to tote this label the only requirement a food needs is that the flavor is derived from something edible. The chemicals that make artificial flavors and the chemicals that make natural favors are often one and the same. One was just originally derived from something edible and the other well.. isn’t. None the less at the end of the day this label really adds no health value to a food.

NON GMO- An indicator that no genetic modification has been done.

Omega 3- These fats are all the craze right now, probably because they are awesome for your cell health and decrease inflammation. Avocados, fish oils, flax and chia all contain this fat.

Omega 6- This fatty acid is found in saturated fats and often gets a bad rap but is actually used by your body in a 1:1 ratio with its counterpart Omega 3. This fat is important to muscle growth and brain function.

Polyunsaturated- This is the most sensitive of the fats and oxidizes much easier than any of the others so don’t cook with these because they cannot withstand high heat.

Protein- Protein is your bodies building block. But beware of the protein craze, it is recommended that protein only consists of 10-35% of your daily food intake

Saturated Fat- This is the most stable fat for your body and is a great fat to cook with as it withstands heat very well. Saturated fat has gotten a horrible reputation over the years but it is in fact very useful to the body. (coconut oil is an exceptional saturated fat because it is great to cook with and has a chemical structure that is very easily broken down by the body)

Sugar Free- Less than .5g (but remember, it must be replaced with something!)

Trans Fat – The worst fat for you!! and Im going to leave it at that. STAY

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AWAY FROM THESE!

Wow okay that was a lot.. Ive poured myself a hefty glass of wine and I suggest you do the same! Happy shopping guys, until next time!

XOXO -Sus