Skinny Fiesta: Mexican Cuisine Made Light. 

When it comes to losing and maintain weight you will need a lot of Healthy Recipes for Weight Loss. Choosing not to go out to eat and stay home and cook has many benefits such as saving money and keeping your weight in check. When dining, it’s too easy to eat foods you normally wouldn’t at home. Sometimes, you just have to makeover some recipes to make it fit into your new way of eating. It can be done and it can be just as delicious. I have found that the recipes can taste even better. They are also better for you.

It’s Cinco De Mayo and this day is usually an excuse for me to go out and drink (skinny) margaritas and eat chips and salsa. After struggling and fighting to keep my weight off, I have made a conscious choice to watch what I put into my mouth. That doesn’t mean I will never eat our drink again-it just means that in order to keep the weight off I have to keep the excuses in check. I really wanted to go out today and drink like a lot of people are doing. It’s Cinco De Mayo, which is a great excuse to eat Mexican cuisine and drink. But I had to get real. This isn’t a holiday for me. It isn’t something I want to truly celebrate. I was using it as an excuse to indulge. I was bummed as all the morning shows were preparing margaritas and enchiladas as I was sweating on the treadmill knowing I couldn’t do the same. But I let that feeling pass. I wasn’t missing out,I was making a chance. SACRIFICE must be made when it comes to keeping the weight off OR getting to your goal weight.  I decided to cook my own light Mexican cuisine. I know personally, eating out at restaurants tends to put on weight, and when I stay home I make better choices. It isn’t always the most exciting choice, but it yields the best results. Here are two light Cinco De Mayo dishes and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.


 

Crockpot Turkey Tacos: I love tacos but I am gluten free now due to an allegery. I also am trying my best to avoid grains at all costs, so no brown rice or gluten free products. When eating “tacos” I use butter lettuce instead…aka Lacos. LOL. Seriously you wont miss the tortilla and you will save a ton of calories. It still tastes just as good.

  • 1 pound of organic ground turkey
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup of black or kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup of salsa
  • 1/4 red onion
  • Cilantro- about 4 TBSP
  • Taco Seasoning (make sure it’s low sodium). If you don’t have just add chili, salt, pepper, garlic

Directions:Throw all ingredients into crock pot and let simmer on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Half way in between take a spatula break up the turkey and mix all the ingredients together. The longer this simmers the better it tastes as all the flavors come together. Taste towards the end, if it needs more seasoning be sure to add. Once done, serve with the butter lettuce. These leaves have proven to be the best for making Lacos.

Serves 4 or 2 with leftovers

 


 

Twice Baked Tostones: I love tostones because they do easily replace chips and they are gluten and grain free. Traditional tostones are fried…twice. I simply don eat fried food. So, I have decided to take a new healthy twist on this dish by baking them. Keep in mind, plantains are still high in carbs if you are counting or watching carbohydrate levels. It is a great alternative to chips because the texture is still crunchy and they are great for dipping into salsa and guacamole.  It is a whole food and isn’t processed like chips are, making this a better alternative to chips. Grain free living made easy. This is my favorite and I have it on high carb days.

  • 1-2 green plantains
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Garlic

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 420 degrees. Cut off ends of the plantain first, then cut down one side of the plantain. Peel the skin off as you would a banana. Note, skin will be thick and hard and will need to be cut. Once out of the skin, slice the plantain as you would a slice banana. Coat the pieces in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and bake at 420 for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms are brown. Take them out of the oven and use parchment paper and a glass or mug to flatten them. Once all of the plantains are smashed, add garlic and sea salt and bank again for another 12-15 minutes. They are down when they are slightly brown. Do not let them burn.

Look for firm, mature, deep green, well-formed plantains that feel heavy in hand. Do not buy overripe, damaged, split fruits, as they stay poor. Once at home, store them open at room temperature for up to 4-5 days.

Fun fact: plantains have more Vitamin A,C and potassium than bananas.

Baked Tostones

 


 

Then I added a low calorie drink-sparking water with lemon. The bubbles can remind you of champaign. LOL! It wasn’t so bad after all. Even my dog dolce wanted some. Hope you liked this easy Skinny Fiesta night. Let me know what your favorite Mexican dishes are. It can seem like you are missing out when others seem to be enjoying themselves eating out. But the truth is you are doing yourself a favor. Putting your healthy first will pay off.

 

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Gluten Free Grain Free Bread

After struggling with my weight for years I decided to consult with a top nutritionist. I have worked out for over 10 years have eaten pretty “healthy” (according to USDA standards) and I was perplexed.  My nutritionist recommended a food sensitivity test. After I got my results back I discovered that I have a gluten sensitivity which causes inflammation anytime I eat it. I have eaten wheat my entire life! No wonder I have struggled. It turns out many have a gluten sensitivity. If you want to learn more I suggest reading Wheat Belly or Grain Brain for extended research books by doctors who educate us on how grains and gluten take a toll on our heath. Inflammation and obesity go hand and hand and effect each other. If you want to learn more about how obesity causes the fat cell to become inflamed AND expand, you can read this medical study. With that being said, cutting out gluten and grains is something that I am choosing to do now after struggling with my weight for years despite calorie counting and exercise. It isn’t for weight loss specifically, but for over all health. I have discovered how easy it is to go gluten and grain free! You can still enjoy your favorite foods like bread and pizza, using nut and coconut flours. I like bread, I switched over to the gluten free bread but found it to be too processed and made with grains. So, I adapted and made this grain free and gluten free bread for mornings where I feel like having a slice of bread. If you are allergic to nuts this recipe will not work for you. But it worked for me and I am loving it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 5 large eggs + 2 egg whites
  • 4 teaspoons vinegar: apple cider preferred
  • 2 tablespoons Flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon of organic grassfed butter
  • 2 cups organic whole raw cashews, about 1 bag.
  • 6 tablespoons coconut flour or arrowroot powder
  • 2 teaspoons of Aluminum Free baking soda or powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Optional: 1 TBSP of Raw Honey

Instructions: 

1. Pre-Heat oven to 320 degrees. Place a glass dish filled with 2 inches of water on the bottom rack. This will keep bread from drying or cracking.

2. Throw all of the ingredients into a high power blender. Run on high until thoroughly mixed. It will become thick and ready to pour into the bread loaf. If you need to scrape the sides to get all ingredients mixed, do so.

3. Pour bread batter into the bread pan and cook for 60-70 minutes. Use a clean toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. This will ensure the bread is done.

4. Allow bread to cool before slicing and eating.

Notes: this bread needs to be stored in the refrigerator and will last 4-5 days. Bread can be lightly toasted in oven.

Serving Size: 32 slices, 80 calories each.

Remember: This is made with nuts, high in calories! Eat sparingly. 1-2 slices a day is my max. It is a great replacement when you want toast in the morning with your eggs.

 

Gluten Free Grain Free Bread

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I recently found out through a food sensitivity test that I have a gluten sensitivity. That means anytime I consume gluten (wheat, rye, etc) I puff up and my body becomes inflamed. They say inflammation is the cause of weight gain-well there we go! A resolution maybe? I have eaten wheat my entire life thinking it was “healthy” and I was wrong. So I have been on a quest to completely remove gluten from my diet. I have found that a gluten free life isn’t hard and can be easy. On Sundays, I love to have a treat with my coffee. Instead of going out and grabbing a big NYC muffin, filled with wheat and tons of sugar, I make my own gluten free sugar free blueberry muffins. I like to control whats in my food and it make a big difference. Going gluten free doesn’t always mean you will see weight loss, but you may find that you feel better.

Gluten Free Oat Flour Blueberry Muffins-12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter or * sub coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 Stevia packets
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp of honey * optional
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups of home made oat flour or gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, honey, almond milk, greek yogurt, vanilla). You can use electric mixer on low or a whisk to all the ingredients together- be sure to get it to a smooth well beaten consistency.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients (oat flour, flax, stevia,salt, baking powder) and combine with the wet ingredients.
  4. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  5. Prepare muffins tins by spraying muffin pan or using paper liners. Fill each one half way up.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden.

*Because these are non-tradtional muffins they will not puff up or brown as much as normal muffins. However, the texture and flavor will be great at the end for a perfect healthy muffin.

To make this a complete breakfast add in hard boiled eggs or greek yogurt.

Note: If you are dairy free you can substitute all of the dairy with real coconut, almond or rice products. Just be sure to watch for the added sugar in some of these products.

Serving size: 1 muffin (of 12) Calories: 99 Fat: 5 grams Sugar: 4 grams/2 if you don’t use honey Carbs: 12 Protein: 4 grams

     

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I know losing weight seems like a daunting task, but it is something that can be done. All you need to do is educate yourself, find what works for you, and just get started!  Losing weight and transforming your body can be difficult goal for anyone to tackle. If you truly want to lose weight, there are a few things you need to know first to get ready for your weight loss journey. Anyone can lose weight no matter how big they are, it is possible, but there are a few secrets to success. Here are some tips that are crucial to remember to get you started with your weight loss program and help you finally achieve your goals!

Picture your new body

I don’t care what size you are now, you MUST picture yourself slimmer. You can picture yourself 30 pounds slimmer or 120 pounds slimmer! Whatever your dream body is, you need to picture that body in your mind every day you wake up. Make a goal chart for yourself, cut out pictures of the body you wish to have, even put your face on the top of the body if it helps. Write down on the goal chart how many pounds you wish to lose as well. Look at this goal chart every single morning without fail. Do not forget it, it is the most important part of losing weight. If you do not set your mind into believing you can get the body you want, then you will never achieve it. Trust me when I say this is the most important step! Spend a few days and focus on this first step alone before you start any other steps to your weight loss program. Getting your mind synched with your body must be achieved first, this can take a day or two or maybe even a week. You will know when you are ready for the next step, your mind will be motivated and your body will ready to begin!

Change what you eat

Once you are mentally prepared to start your weight loss program, then you can concentrate on your diet. The second most important step is to change what you are eating. Losing weight is not always about calories in versus calories out, it is more about the quality of the food you eat. You must throw away any prepackaged foods, foods loaded with GMOs, sugars, processed foods, anything that is fake. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you cannot pick it, pluck it, or pull it, then DO NOT eat it! Start shopping at your local farmers market. Buy only organic foods and make your own meals. Learn to love and enjoy cooking food and knowing the ingredients in what you are eating. You will find that foods are so much more delicious when they are fresh and unprocessed. Fresher, cleaner foods, are also so much better on your body inside and out. Your body can break down these foods faster as opposed to processed foods that can take forever to break down and digest. Making this adjustment is very important, no more fast foods or late night snacking on junk. You have to make a promise to yourself to put a stop to the junk and unnecessary foods your body does not need. Try and remind yourself to give your body the healthy foods and nutrients it needs. If you have not had much success from dieting in the past, be sure to discuss with your doctor any food allergies that you may have. Your doctor may advise you to refrain from certain foods and see if that can help in the progression of your weight loss plan.

Drink a lot of water

Transforming your body and losing weight is not just about what you eat but also pay close attention to your liquid intake as well. Stay away from sodas! Diet or regular sodas are a big no no. If you are one of those diet coke lovers who have at least two or more a day then you really need to put a stop to it. Soda gives your body absolutely no benefits at all. Your body craves plenty of water and drinking soda just makes it more thirsty. Try to slowly replace each soda with a glass of water. Drinking a full glass of water with lemon as soon as you wake up hydrates your body and boosts your metabolism to get you ready for the day. Get in a routine and try and drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. You will see what a transformation switching to water every day can do to not only your body but also your skin. Not only does your body need the water but there may be times when you think you are hungry but your body is just thirsty. Drinking plenty of water can help curb your appetite while helping your skin glow.

Limit your alcohol intake

Limiting your alcohol intake is also important in losing weight, especially if you enjoy a few beers or a few glasses of wine every night. Save alcohol for those special occasions. Even if you are exercising like crazy and cutting back on the calories, those two or three cocktails at the end of the night can really add up and ruin your weight loss goals. Start off fresh and only drink when necessary for those truly special occasions.

Get moving!

You may wonder why this one isn’t the most important step for trying to lose weight. Exercising and keeping active is crucial to losing weight but you can exercise all you want and never shed a pound if you don’t believe in yourself, eat, and drink right. Those steps need to change before deciding which type of exercise goal you would like to take on. If you are fairly overweight and never exercise at all, then take it slow and start with 15 minute walks around your neighborhood daily until you slowly build up to last longer each week. You want to incorporate at least 30 minutes of activity every day. Once you are at a good walking pace and are ready for a more intense workout, try weight training, pilates, yoga, or continue stick with longer walks or runs if you enjoy more cardio. Once you are a pro at walking, be sure to add some weight lifting, and then you can even do some boot camps or high intensity training. High intensity training will definity change your body and help you reach your goal weight faster. Make sure to do this at least 5-6 days a week and within no time watch your body transform into the body you’ve always desired.

If you really want to lose weight then you have to get your mind set and commit to your goal. See yourself thin and feeling great, seeing is believing! Make it feel like a reward, not a chore, and be proud of yourself the entire time for what you are achieving, every little pound counts. Do not give up! Remember to change your eating and drinking habits first and foremost before you start any type of exercise routine. You can do cardio for hours but it will not help you drop those pounds unless you are eating and drinking properly.

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plus size model

When I grew up I was always the fat girl. I was bigger and taller than most and it was uncomfortable. I was always told growing up I has such a pretty face, that I was a pretty big girl. It was annoying and rude. In high school I wanted to be a cheerleader so I started working out 5 days a week for over an hour. Truth be told I didn’t lose more than 15 pounds in 4 years. It goes to show that diet is key. I ate terrible foods and I never got any results. The older I got the more I was told I was a “pretty big girl” so I thought that maybe I could be a plus size model. After all, I am plus size, so why not. I decide to move to NYC and attend school while chasing my dream of being a plus size model. I quickly learned that I was too big to be a plus size model. I weighed over 300 pounds and everyone one said I had potential but there was no way I would make it. I took a step back and realized that I was unhealthy. I decided to try out for “The Biggest Loser” TV show on NBC, and next you know, I was on the show. I wanted to be a plus size model so bad and I was determined to make it happen. I had to lose at least 100 pounds to get down below a size 14 and get signed. Plus size modeling agencies represent women sizes 8-16. Anything before or after that will not be considered plus size modeling material. So I WORKED, and I worked, and lost about 80 pounds at this point. I went to a photo shoot for The Biggest Loser with People Magazine and was told by the photographers and stylists that I should check out plus size modeling. That was when I knew I was meant to be a plus size model (so I thought). I went to the top NYC Plus Model scout Gary Dakin with Ford Models. Gary wanted to sign me but said I needed to lose more weight. It was really upsetting yet encouraging. The top plus size model scout said I had potential if I lost more weight. Well, thats what I went on to do. After losing a total of 120 pounds, I went on to sign with a modeling agency. My agent Susan is so kind and rare-she isn’t rude like other agents. She founded the Wilhelmina plus division. She saw my potential and helped me get started. My journey to become a plus size model wasn’t easy-but after 5 years I finally made it and got signed. I worked out hard, I went to networking events, and I went to agency after agency until I made it happen. When it did happen, I realized there is so much more to life than being pretty. Although people do judge you by the way you look or your personality, if you don’t have substance and stand for something-you have nothing.

After getting signed as a model I started getting into it. I started taking photos aka “testing” and going on castings.  I even booked a few big jobs without trying. It is fun and it is an art. The job of a model is to express her beauty and expression on camera, to make others feel something. You go to casting after casting, and may not book any jobs. Your job is to look pretty and be ready for a job at any moment. That means pretty hair, white teeth, clear skin, manicured nails, and a toned body! Thats right-plus size models eat right and workout. Not all women are a size 2 and that doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy or successful. Side note: that is why I started healthy curves!

Modeling is a competitive industry where a beautiful face and body with a great attitude take you a long way. Along with a lot of ambition. There is no room for fear or lack of confidence in this job. That is the problem I had, being insecure in this world that I never fit into. I was the big fat girl, and now suddenly I am the healthy curvy size 12 girl being stared at and is the center of attention. It takes some getting used to. You have to have thick skin in this industry, some people in the fashion industry will try to tear you down (usually because they have their own personal issues).  I personally wasn’t ready for that type of criticism and it turned me off. I realized that there is so much more to life than being pretty. A pretty woman is great dont get me wrong-but you have to have substance to you. Being pretty won’t get you through life. Once people peel away the layers its nice to have a woman who is smart, vibrant, and is just as beautiful and strong on the inside as she is the outside.

It’s funny that a lot of women want to be a model. I don’t think that should be something to aspire to. How about running a business? Starting a non profit? Doing something to give back? We cannot be judged solely on our otter shell. That is what I began to hate about modeling. It’s so empty and superficial. Yes I can play the part, but do I really want to? Modeling is so interesting and I have a love/hate relationship with it. When I was 20 it was my dream job: be pretty, get dressed and dolled up by the people, take photos, get paid thousands a day to do it. Pretty dreamy right? Until you realize you’re just a doll being used. This company gets to pay you a few thousand to turn around and make a ton of money off of you. They exploit beautiful women and get what they need done to sell their products. Modeling is rarely about the modeling and all about the business of selling. I think there is fun to be had with modeling, but there is so much more to life. Yes, it is a big platform to inspire other young girls. However, there should be a better message other than be pretty and get attention. I wish mode models would spread this message.

I consider it a hobby these days because I have so many important tasks to do in life such as run businesses and help other women look and feel better about themselves. I do still take big modeling jobs, but I do not take everything that comes my way. Being a plus size model is fun, I have met great people, and have had great experiences. But it takes a lot of work like anything, and I think there is a lot more than just being pretty. That works until you’re about 25. LOL. I’m 25 now, guess my time is up. Joking. But seriously, it’t not as glamorous as you think. But if I can use it as a platform to inspire and create art-then I will keep doing it.

      

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