Tag Archive | reviews

Lose 5 lbs Overnight on the Vegan Gluten Free Cupcake Diet

Yeah, that’s how crazy people on the Paleo, Carb-Free, Blood Type diets sound to me but you want to know something, I lost 5 lbs over the course of one night and the only difference in my meal planning was I ate two and a half gluten free vegan cupcakes from The Flying Cupcake in Indianapolis.

How the heck does something like that happen? I have my theories.  A new study released showed that people will overeat “healthy” foods consuming more calories.  I know cupcakes are loaded with calories so I adjust the rest of my meals accordingly.  This could be one answer. Let me say that I have been “eating clean” and a vegan diet well before they were hashtags and trends to tweet about, for 25 years and counting so maybe this isn’t the correct answer.

My second guess is that as a recovering eating disorder patient I have a tendency to over estimate calories.  Any good EDP will bash into your head the idea that too few calories puts the body into starvation and fat storage mode so possibly eating a few extra calories triggered my body into releasing some fat? Maybe.

My third guess is a mix of the two.  I eat a decent amount but as I recently learned during a trip to my doctor – there is no real rule of thumb for how many calories a woman who; regular exercises and almost exclusively breastfeeds a four and one year, while sporadically pumping milk for others should eat.  My doctor told me that my BMI is 27 but if I took of 10 lbs of weight for milk and extra breast tissue from nursing I would be at 24 and she was happy with that.  I quote, “Emily, we are real women – with boobs and butts – that’s healthy. I’m fine with your BMI and you should be too.” I must say that was a very yogic idea indeed.  Not looking for pleasure down outside avenues (more on that later).

Where did I get my cupcakes from? The Raw location of The Flying Cupcake which has a separate gluten free vegan case full of cupcakes regular and jumbo size.  A dozen and a juice box set us back $54.50 (thanks @cxi for the treat!) and I have to be honest – they were hit or miss.  A few were tasty and texture wise palatable but several were way too crumbly. Here is what we ordered:IMG_3544[1]

Bunny’s Favorite Carrot Cake – a carrot cake cupcake.  Now you have to do vegan carrot cake well for me to applaud because I consider myself a carrot cake aficionado and I know who makes the best. The flavor was spot on, and the frosting was good but the cake consistency was too moist – think underbaked, pudding like. When trying to use a fork it would mush down and not spring up, becoming a dense ball of dough.

IMG_3546[1] Happy Birthday To Me Chocolate – chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  There was way too much frosting, the edges of the cake were hard (either overcooked or stale) and the cake itself was sooooo dry. Think Mojave dessert. It crumbled to pieces and the frosting came off in a lump, for both of these that we purchased.  I also could have done without the cheesy plastic flower on top – never paint the peacock.

The Cosby –  a chocolate pudding pop cupcake as it was described on the menu suffered the same cake fate as the chocolate based cupcake above.  The frosting however was quite thick and like a mousse. In fact I make a tofu mousse pie that is very similar – to put it atop a cake was a bit overwhelming- a better name would be death by chocolate. I had one bite and pawned the rest of on the hubs.IMG_3540[1]

Strawberry Shortcake –  was highly recommended by the VERY friendly counter help as her favorite.  And while it was tasty, the cake was almost non existent.  A vanilla cake with overly sweet strawberry sauce in the center and piped filling.  The center became a pile of mush and the cupcake itself was almost hollow.  The frosting was crispy – like almost hardened. When I tried to separate the cupcake from its paper, the whole cupcake fell apart and had to be eaten with a spoon. The cake was neither moist or dry – if you have ever experienced this state of large crumbleness it is most easily described as oily but crumbly.

Ebony and Ivory –  A chocolate cake topped with rich vanilla “dream-cheese” frosting did not go over well with anyone.  The kids were used to similar cupcakes from other bakeries and ate half a bit of this one.  The frosting was not overly sweet may have been the problem and again the chocolate cake was gritty and dry. My husband wound up sharing the kids cake with me and eating the second one later himself on the car ride home.

IMG_3547[1] Bananas Foster –  I ate this one this afternoon and they nailed the taste spot on.  I love anything bananas honestly. Banana bread with a caramel and brown sugar Penuche frosting.  Again though the cupcake was too moist or dense? you can see that the cake is overwhelmed by too much frosting and after taking a forkful the cake does not spring back.  I left half of the frosting on my plate.

Lemon Blue Berry Tutti Frutti – lemon zest buttercream, the cake again was similar in crumble to the shortcake and there was a little too much frosting which made my mouth feel pasty with sugar, but the taste was nice  – a little sweet and a little tart.  I munched on it right before Zumba class this morning.

Orange You Glad I Said Pineapple – pineapple right side up cake with crushed pineapple and orange zest icing.  Again, a little too thick on the icing, it over powered the cake which was not as crumbly but the paper was not full.  The ratio seemed to be half cake half frosting.  I prefer 80% cake 20% frosting.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry –   My son wanted to share so I took a bite then went to cut him a piece, he tried to pick it up and it fell apart in a chunk and the frosting came off in a lump from both halves.  He was not a happy kid about it.  The frosting was mousse like thick, and the cake a little gritty and very dry. He didn’t stop yelling at me about how I ruined the last cupcake. Oh well.

IMG_3550[1] IMG_3551[1]

I would categorize my overall experience as good.  Vegan cupcakes are hard to get perfect and gluten free cupcakes are a real challenge.  Gluten Free Vegan cupcakes then by simple algebra are impossibly difficult to make perfectly. As I understand it too, the bakery just opened this Gluten Free location in April 2013 so they still have time to grow their gluten free knowledge.  The counter girl was amazed when I told her about another variety we buy frozen stating, “we were told you can’t freeze gluten free products. I’ll have to look into that.”

So maybe the cupcake diet isn’t a great idea – I don’t think any diet plans are – and add to that shake and meal replacement plans. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.  Savor every moment. Live, love and enjoy the food you are eating

Toxins in Your Environment May Effect Your Thyroid and Weight Loss, Learn More

I have long been a proponent for safe and sane weight loss.  I believe the research that a calorie deficit is required to lose weight which means you have to expend more calories than you put in, 3500 calorie deficit per week to lose a pound to be exact. However, in my decade in the fitness industry helping thousands of people stay healthy I have met individuals who, for some reason, no matter how much the exercise and how much they cut their calories, can not seem to lose weight.

This is one reason I was intrigued to receive, read and review THE THYROID SOLUTION DIET Boost Your Sluggish Metabolism to Lose Weight by Ridha Arem, MD. The opinions expressed about this book are my own,I received no compensation for this review.  You should always check with your medical professional before starting any health or fitness program.

For a book about dieting there was a large proportion of chapters dedicated to information, a ton of information, almost too much information.  There are some pretty long discussions about hormones, nothing so in depth that you need a degree to understand the concepts, they just were a little dry to read. That being said, I was impressed with the knowledge presented and I do enjoy expanding my mind.


· More than 50 recipes and meal plans

· A list of favorite foods to eat for weight loss that make this diet unique

· Detailed exercise programs with 100 step-by-step photos

· The 15 common causes of metabolic problems that lead to weight gain

· The hidden factors and toxins in your environment that lead to weight gain and how to eliminate them

· Techniques to control cravings

· Mind-body relaxation methods for counteracting stress and reasons why stress makes you gain weight

· Success stories from Dr. Arem’s patients

· Information on why organic foods do minimize damage to metabolism and are integral to a successful diet and optimal health—which contradicts recent studies that diminish the importance of organic foods

Who is Dr. Arem and why should you take note of what he has to say? Ridha Arem, M.D., is an endocrinologist, clinical professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and director of the Texas Thyroid Institute in Houston, Texas. He served as chief of endocrinology and metabolism at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston for many years. You can visit www.aremwellness.com for more information or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm2NlIc_XEo to watch a video of Dr. Arem.

What do I personally think of the diet? There were a few places in the book where certain foods were to be avoided because they cause a unwanted reaction “x” and then other sections where that same food were to be eaten because the caused a wanted reaction “y’”.  I always find these situations confusing and they never seem to be addressed by any authors.  A simple explanation of why and when you would eat them should suffice.  I am also not a big fan of diets offered in “Phases”. The weekly shopping list can help simplify meal planning for many and so can the 10 Tips for long-term weight loss which include “pay close attention to sleep and stress” two of the biggest hindrances to weight loss in my mind and experience.

There are photos of exercises but they are black and white and about 1 inch in size – I would suggest to those who are new to working out, overweight, or obese – do yourself a favor and meet with a trainer at least once to get some good tips and an honest eye to watch your form.  The exercises are really good ones but the Common Errors listed “starting out with a range of motion that is too deep” can be vague for someone new to lunges and unaware of what an appropriate range looks like.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is suggested, which I definitely agree with.  Zumba in the Circuit and Butts N Gutts are two classes that I teach that use this method of training and I can attest to the quick results clients have seen, and I myself have had after pregnancy.  “People who exercise in intense spurts have about a 15 percent higher resting metabolic rate” (meaning they burn more calories when they aren’t working out).

Here is a quick guide to jump start eliminating toxins in your environment from Dr. Paul Thompson. He is a nationally renowned surgeon, Age Management practitioner with the Cenegenics Medical Institute. He has helped patients around the country reverse diabetes, combat obesity, fights off genetic health risks, and has guided them to living longer and healthier lives. Dr. Thompson’s Tips (www.drthompsonstips.com / Twitter: @drthompsonstips).

Dr. Thompson says “we are bombarded with toxins every day, even though we think we are being healthy”. These toxins can affect endocrine systems resulting in children experiencing earlier puberty and irregular hormone levels, diabetes, depression, and thyroid in adults.

The most common sources of these neuro-endocrine toxins are:

· Plastics, including storage containers, wraps, can linings and water bottles

· Pesticides & fertilizers- which affects many of the foods you feed your family everyday.

· Common Cosmetics

· Common Cleaning products

Here are Dr. Thompson’s Tips to avoid these toxins to protect you and your family from A Toxic Takeover

1) Plastics: Avoid Them!

Whether it is plastic water bottles, wraps or food containers.

Use a water filtration system, it avoids the use of plastic water bottles and saves a bunch of money

Use glass food containers to store those leftovers.

2) GO Organic, Organic, Organic.

By going organic you can avoid the whole toxin trap. It may be a little more expensive on the front end but what is your health worth? You will SAVE MONEY in the long run in the healthcare you and your child will may need.

3) Cosmetics and cleaning products.

Look for the natural products. Companies realize this is becoming more and more important to the healthy and educated consumers so the products perform well and there are plenty on the market. Once again there is a bit more of a cost…but lots of visits to the doctor do as well.

4) Parents:   Stay Away from BPA!

Look for BPA and BPS free toys. These are often found in the plastics and are a potent Neuro endocrine toxin.

Dr. Thompson’s Final Prescription

Good luck, a little extra time and money spent selecting food, cleaning and storing products, and toys will keep your family happier and safer. But for many it is the transition that is the tough part. Once you do, your long term health will change as you age.

Further Bio

Dr. Thompson is currently the CMO and CEO of Cenegenics Texas Medical Institute in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. (www.Cengenicstexas.com ). He is a cofounder and board member of USMD a Medical Development Company. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons & the Chief of Surgery (20 years), Chief of Staff, and head of the Credential Committee at Southeast Missouri Hospital.

Kettlebells They Aren’t for Ringing They’re for Training

I received a copy of Kettlebells for Dummies to review.  As a personal trainer and fitness expert I am always skeptical about new exercise fads that make over the top claims about burning fat, shredding muscle, etc.; however, studies done by the American Council on Exercise concluded that,

“Kettlebells can provide one heck of a workout. Based on
comparisons with data from previous research on standard
weight training, the HR and V•O2 responses during the
kettlebell snatch routine suggest it provides a much
higher-intensity workout than standard weight-training

While I have yet to try a full kettlebell workout, I did find the book very informative.  Clear concise instructions were given on good alignment and form, how to generate force, and of course a breakdown of basic exercises.  There were sections that covered kettlebell training for pregnant women, how to put together an effective program and of course photos.  This book   definitely provides a good foundation and starting point for beginners.  k3929113

Something I didn’t know? Stay away from vinyl coated Kettlebells like the one at right.  Many of these are hollow and filled with something other than iron.  I like pretty things and of course bought a pair just like this.  This book has some excellent tips on what to purchase, how much to purchase and even where to get them and more information about training. Read more about this new workout book…

image Kettlebells For Dummies® tells all about this trendy new piece of fitness equipment. Using kettlebells has been hailed in recent years as the most efficient and effective way to train your body for burning tons of fat, getting super strong and lean, and obtaining the ultimate physique. And for families who are looking for ways to decrease their waistlines without increasing their budgets, kettlebells are the perfect solution.

Like with any new workout routine, there are a few things you need to know before you get started in order to maximize results and minimize injury. Packed with step-by-step photos, this easy-to-read guide gives you everything you need to use kettlebells to safely lose weight, boost your metabolism, and become strong and lean.

Other lessons include:

About the Author:
Sarah Lurie, RKC, CSCS, founded Iron Core, the first kettlebell training studio in the United States to exclusively offer Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) certified instruction. Sarah is a nationally recognized kettlebell expert and has been featured in Fitness Magazine, among other publications.

About the Book:

Kettlebells For Dummies®(Wiley Publishing, Inc., June 2010, ISBN: 978-0-470-59929-7, $21.99) is available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or directly from the publisher by calling (877) 762-2974.