Summertime Shenanigans: GF Baking with a Twist!

Hello Y’all! Thank you for stopping by. I hope you are doing well in your part of the world. It’s been a whirlwind of sorts lately but well worth it. We’re officially in three-digit temperatures and it’s getting unbearable by the day, but this is Texas, and the desert heat does not play….at all. Summer is the best time for the outdoors. It’s a great time to hike, swim, attend crawfish boil parties, go salsa/bachata dancing, go to the beach, outdoor concerts, do touristy things in your city like checking out local restaurants in your area, visit historic sights, and have fun in the sun – while wearing floral prints and enjoying every minute of it.

It’s the weekend and one of my favorite times to try out new recipes but also doing my best to incorporate healthy ingredients when I can. Today I am trying out a GF Yellow Cake Mix but adding my own twist to it. Being one to skip breakfast on a regular basis, having a healthy-er snack late in the morning will tide me over until lunchtime. Instead of reaching for a sugar filled, calorie dense treat, I feel like this recipe is a much better option.

Update on Health Goals

Culled from my food diary

I’m still on track with eating healthy but also staying fit by being active every other day. One of the things I’ve done recently is trying out new and unknown veggies when I go to the shops. For some, this is the norm but those of us who have that ‘stick to what you know’ mindset, it’s a big step…in the right direction. Bok Choy has been my latest addition and I find it to be an interesting option but also very filling. I’m looking forward to what my next experiment will be. Now let’s get back to baking, shall we?

Typical Cake Mix Ingredients: 3/4 Cup of Water, 1/2 Stick of Butter, 2 tsp GF Vanilla and 2 Eggs. My Added Ingredients: 1/2 Cup of Roasted Salted Almonds, 1/2 Cup of GF Oats, 2 Scoops of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Monk Fruit GF Sweetener, 2-3 Scoops of GF Baking Flour. Utensils: Mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, 2 Baking Pans – To get flat square feel, and a spatula.

Let’s Go! Combine the cake mix ingredients together in a bowl. Add oats and mix. Add GF Flour. Keep mixing and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sweetener and set aside. Chop the almonds and place to the side. Grease both pans and add a dash of GF flour. Pour in the batter into the pans and spread around. Sprinkle in the almonds and lightly mix without letting the spoon go all the way down to the bottom of the pan. Using a spoon drizzle 3 tablespoons or more per pan of the cocoa mix on top and with a plastic knife or chopstick, run through the batter to get that lush chocolate swirl design. Bake at 350F with constant checks until the cake separates from the edges of the pan and the top is golden. Toothpick checks every 15 minutes is great.

Tips: This turned out great, but it had a slight hint of dryness. I would add an extra tablespoon of butter to the batter in my next attempt. Folks I missed writing, but I sure am glad to be back. Feel free to share any healthy twists you are incorporating into your favorite recipes. Until I come your way again, I hope like me, you keep enjoying life and working on your health goals. Please like, comment and follow http://www.myeamba.com for more!! I remain,

Periwinkle Starr

Summer Vacation Aftermath!

Hello Y’all! It sure feels great to be back with another post. I hope you are doing well in your corner of the globe. I just got back from a much needed and well-deserved vacation, and I made a vow to myself to not ever go for long periods without actually taking the time to pack my bags and go SOMEWHERE, because stay-cations don’t cut it anymore. I turned off my phone and didn’t give a thought to work all the while I was gone. I did glance at my emails every now and then to make sure no one was harming themselves or getting into any crazy mischief while I was gone…Ha ha! Buy yes, its so nice to come to you with another post. Its amazing how getting time off to rest does wonders for every part of my being.

Vacations for me mean that ALL diets are off or in some way reduced to the barest medium. One thing I did as soon as I returned was to take a dose of a gentle laxative to clear my gut of any and all the junk I ingested,….in many ways, giving my digestion somewhat of a fresh start. Also drinking a lot of fresh clean water to rehydrate my body is something I’m incorporating.

Staying Focused and Loving Every Moment of It.

Culled from the internet

Some of the things I am incorporating post vacation have been helpful to me and my hope is that it helps someone else enjoy their time off without guilt but also get back in the saddle when they return home.

Big Volume, Low Carb Foods. The list is long and instead of just listing the foods on here, I’m including links to some of the youtubers that have been tremendously helpful in steering me in the right direction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIOk6o5_xS8; and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvaJfRtrJxg

Walk at least 10,000 steps a day. You can build up your resistance to do more. In my case, doing one loop around my favorite trail gets me 5000 steps so my goal is to do two loops and try to build my stamina as I go. It’s so hot in North Texas this period, my plan is to walk indoors…..instead of burning in the heat.

Don’t Deprive Yourself. Find healthy alternatives for the treats you love. I recently found a GF chocolate cookie mix and I’m going to try it out.

Try Dry Packaged Soup Mixes. These are not only healthy for you, but they are easy to make and keep you full for longer while supporting your weight loss goals.

Never Compromise on Sleep. People gain weight when they are stressed. Cortisol levels rise and the body goes into hibernation mode. This stems from the early man having to weather all kinds of hardships to survive – like harsh winters, famine and only God knows what…maybe fighting off dinosaurs? LOL! At least 7 to 8 hours will do great for your body, your mind and your emotions. If you can’t afford to sleep that long, consider taking short 30 minute to an hour-long nap during the day. That will help tremendously.

Get Your Fiber Intake Up. A diet rich in fiber helps with weight loss and an overall balanced diet. The times I’ve seen myself pack on the pounds was when I was eating a lot of high carbs, starchy and sweet foods. Fiber helps speed up your weight loss.

Stay Positive. You are what you think and if you believe you can, you will. Real and healthy weight loss takes time and is not a quick fix. It slowly gives your body time to adjust instead of the shock the body receives when you cut corners. Unless its life threatening, I’m really concerned about surgeries, or those trips people make to developing countries to get all kinds of procedures done.

Having Courage to Deal with Emotional Baggage. Sometimes, weight gain may be due to natural causes – a slow metabolism, thyroid issues or more. Other times, it could be due to an unresolved issue that triggers incessant snacking, binge eating or not eating at all. Doing the best to face up to any emotional issues clears me of any reasons I have to not lose weight or maintain a healthy body and instead focus my attention on resolving any medical issues or underlying conditions.

Folks, it’s so nice to be back home and writing again. Please like, comment and follow. Until I come your merry way again, I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Getting Back on the Wagon!

Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing great in your corner of the world! Its Mother’s Day in the States so I am wishing a happy celebration to all the Mums out there …most especially mine. The good Lord knows that many of us would not be alive today without our mums and it’s something we ought to be grateful for. It’s been a busy time but I’m glad to be back and writing again. We are in the month of May and it’s time to check in on my weight management plan.

Drum Roll!!! Drum Roll!!! Drum Roll!!!!

Let me just say that the scale was not very friendly to me when I stepped on it. I fell off the wagon with my diet even though I remained gluten free…. like that helps any. It started off slowly, skipping workouts, snacking a little later each night, not tracking my meals, not moving, not swimming…NOTHING! All I could do was scream…..NOOOOO!!!

Not today…..!

It’s funny that I didn’t notice the symptoms of weight gain…. Well, I take that back. I thought I could cheat, and my body would do what it has always done and bounce back from all those calories and bad habits, but this was not the case. This makes me think of all those people who get on those extreme diets and loose the weight but somehow the old habits slowly creep in and before you realize, it’s a downward spiral all the way down to the bottom and they are in some cases heavier than when they started off. Well, I felt exactly the same way. I knowingly did it to myself. These were some of my habits:

  • Excessive snacking – buying salty and sweet ‘gluten free’ snacks when busy, working or traveling. Come to think of it, gluten free snacks actually have more calories than a lot of regular snacks. I think this happens because manufacturers have to add ingredients that hold the condiment together which ends up with more calories in what appears to be the same quantity of food.
  • Heading to the couch and grabbing the remote after getting home – instead of heading out to the gym – even if for just an hour of cardio, Zumba or a couple of laps in the pool.
  • Late night meals, snacks, sweet treats. Guilty as charged.
  • Not being active…. ENOUGH!
  • Not getting enough sleep.
  • Poor stress management.

Getting Back on the Wagon Again!

Not a real wagon..lol!

Just like everything in life, when you get into a funk, its ok to be down, feel down and to just soak in it for a bit. The end goal is to not stay there forever. Get back up and get back into the fight to be and stay (in my case) healthy and at a healthy weight. Life happens folks and every now and again it’s easy to get out of sync when we are balancing so many spinning plates. But checking in on myself every now and again was very helpful. I find that there will always be something going on somewhere and our control as human beings is very limited. So, I had to re-strategize. Here’s what I came up with.

  • Take stock of where I’m at. How I arrived here. What I did right or didn’t do enough of; and how I prioritized my time on a daily basis.
  • Admitted failure especially in areas that need improvement. Admitting wrong is the first step of growth. Denial keeps us stuck.
  • Came up with a healthy plan – a positive and sustainable way forward.
  • Sticking to it – No more excuses.

I know this looks easier than it actually is but less is more. I’m off to the gym to do a couple of laps in the pool and get my body back in shape again. Until I come your way again, no matter where you’re at in your life or how long you’ve fallen or neglected vital components of your life, you can always make a determination to get back on the wagon again. Rome wasn’t built in a day and anything that is rushed is very rarely sustainable. Be happy, stay safe and healthy. I’ll be back before you know it. Please like, follow and comment.

Periwinkle Starr

Frozen Desserts That Don’t Expand Your Waistline!

Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world. My heart goes out to the readers in the Ukraine. I hope you and your family members are safe and you make it out in good shape. Folks, it appears as if the world is going to hell in a hand basket. But we cannot lose hope because evil never triumphs over good…long term. Let’s stay positive, keep our hope up and pray for an end to the chaos; the pandemic was bad enough.

The temperature is warming up one Fahrenheit at a time and it’s been a huge relief. We’ve had more sunshine over the last couple of days so it’s time to get the plants out of the house, repotted with healthy soil and unto the deck. As the weather warms up, cold desserts are definitely a necessity. Being a sweet tooth, it’s so hard to not indulge especially when you have options…lots of them. Being conscious about fueling my body instead of just filling it with dead calories, my goal is to consciously invest in items that enhance my diet and overall health while sharing my findings with y’all. So, it had been a couple months and I had been scouring the internet for a healthy, homemade and affordable alternative to soft serve ice cream which has been a lifetime favorite of mine. A couple months back, I found a device that matched my criteria of being affordable, easy to use and with great results. I was skeptical at first and decided to research a bit more into it.

Its A Yonana!!!

It sounds like ‘Yo Mama’ only with an ‘n’ but that’s the name of the device. I looked up the reviews and they were all good. Besides, if it didn’t perform as expected, I could always send it back. There was nothing to lose. I was pleasantly surprised because it delivered the same day of my order. It was also very easy to assembly and safe. There weren’t any visible sharp edges especially for child safety; and it is compact and would fit nicely on any counter. It also came with a dessert book…with lots of options including recipes for cookies and cream, splits, cannoli fillings, sorbets, mojitos, liqueur etc.

Ingredients: Frozen Fruits Ex. Bananas, Berries, Pineapple, Mango etc. Natural or Sugar Free Sweeteners (if you’d like). Toppings (nuts, chocolate, crumble, cake). A serving bowl or waffle cones will do. And an ice cream spoon. Thats all she wrote! It’s ready to serve.

As the weather warms up, my Yonana will come in handy with keeping up with my health goals and not feeling like it’s a chore to get those nutrients in. If you’d like to look it up. You can find it on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Yonanas-902-Original-Delicious-Alternatives/dp/B005083ECS/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=yonana&qid=1646160681&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyM1FXQlpGQ0NDN05KJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNzcxMTQ2OE9MT1c1UjFDNzY3JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAwOTkyNzgyNDFETVM5WTkyWkYxJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==). Until I come your way again, stay healthy, upbeat and positive. The best is yet to come! I remain

Periwinkle Starrđź’•

Chocolate Brownies…The Other Way!

Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world? Boy, I’m I glad that this month is over. It was A-L-O-T but here I am in zen mode watching reality TV and getting this post completed. It’s beginning to look more like Fall in North Texas…Thank God! But I still haven’t gotten around to changing out my closet yet…ha ha! I’m a fan of the 90 Day FiancĂ© franchise on TLC and recently, they branched out into 90 Day FiancĂ©e – The Other Way. Its literally the same show but now the partners go over to foreign countries to meet and marry their significant others within 90 days. Well this post is about making brownies but not the way you’ve always known. This post is about making brownies the other way, the gluten free way. Enjoy!

Ever since I began this journey, I have been on this path searching for food substitutes that I can enjoy eating…It has been a challenge! I would find items that were gluten free but had high sugar contents and vice versa. I don’t how people who have adopted this lifestyle have survived for years because ‘difficult’ is an understatement when trying to find foods that are as close to normal everyday items; items that are gluten free with low to no sugars – and still taste like food. Its like searching for a needle in a haystack…..with so much hay (literally lol). But not to whine too much, there are pluses of going gluten free.

These Are Some of Them.

I’m a better planner…when it comes to food. Before now, I just ate whatever was readily available and easy to get my hands on.

Clearer skin. I have a better understanding now that all skin issues aren’t necessarily hormonal although hormones play a huge part in it.

Being able to burn stubborn fatty areas and loose weight without doing anything different from what I have always done prior.

I stumbled on a website!!! My search led me to this brand named Lakanto (www.lakanto.com). They have a variety of sugar free and gluten free items which range from snacks, spreads, baking mixes, powdered drinks…need I say more. I was so excited, I decided to try their brownie mix which is keto friendly, sugar free and gluten free amongst other plus points. I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised… given the fact that I thought I was going to eat bland foods moving forward.

Ingredients: Brownie Mix, 2/3 melted coconut oil and 2 eggs. I added almonds and chopped walnuts to the mix to give it some texture. How to bake: Turn your oven on to 325F. Pour the mix into a bowl, add the melted butter, eggs and mix. Fold in the almonds and walnuts. Grease your pan and pour in the mix. Bake for 20-25 minutes with constant toothpick checks.

It came out really good although being without gluten, it didn’t really rise as it baked. But it was good. I plan on continuing my search for brands that cater to those of us on this path. Until I come your way again, Happy New Month!!! I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Healing Your Body…Post Pandemic!

Hello Y’all! I hope you are fine and doing great in your part of the globe. Its been a minute since my last posts and it’s been fun but also very intense. The weather is soooo nice in North Texas. I almost don’t want to say it before we wake up one morning and it’s literally back to hell again. LOL. From what I heard, we should be gearing up for another very cold winter and I just cannot wait to layer on. There’s literally a countdown to swapping out my summer wardrobe for Fall but I’m not quite there yet.

We made it to the ember months and it’s something to be thankful for. With the pandemic, the craziness of life and all the other things in between, if you’re reading this post, you’re here and that matters. Looking back at the past months, I would say that 2021 has been a year of getting healthy-er and doing right health wise. I began by making minimal changes. These changes were difficult and still are but the longer I stick to it, I must say that it gets better. Just because it looks like the world is ripping to shreds doesn’t mean we take our focus off living life and doing the things we must to remain in tip top condition all around.

It’s almost baking season! I’m not sure if there’s any such thing as healthy baked goods but I’m going to try. And if you happen to have discovered a way to enjoy baked good that don’t make your body pack on the pounds, please send them my way.

Still staying safe despite the pandemic. Folks, it’s not over and staying in good health, taking your vitamins and being physically active is the way to go.

Get out more…in open spaces. Go hiking, work out in the park, go golfing. Being out in nature exposes you to negative ions that are good for your body and overall well being. Have you met anyone that went to the beach or a waterfall or lived out in the country that didn’t feel at ease or calm-er than us city people? Trust me, it wasn’t the farm animals LOL. Don’t just take my word on it, look it up for yourself.

Get back into your hobbies. Doing things that you really love. Getting back into reading, baking, kayaking, taking dance classes, learning to cook, visiting coffee shops with outdoor seating if you’re not comfortable being indoors. A friend of mine told me about couple who haven’t been seen in over a year. I kid you not. They both work from home, have everything delivered and use facetime for E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. No judgement here. I can understand the fear but if the world was ending, it would have ended a long time ago. We truly live when we do the things that we love, so take baby steps if you must but you’ve got to keep on living life…or a semblance of it as you once knew.

Take a deep breath. A lot of times people think that once you’re healthy you’re good but being healthy is a broad term that encompasses every aspect of life. Rome wasn’t built in a day and no one wakes up in tip top health just because they made a decision the day before to take action. Folks, it takes baby steps, little tweaks, cheat days until you no longer feel the need to do so (hehe…myself included). So until I come your way again be safe, have fun because the festivities are just around the corner!! And…it will only be a little while before its another Christmas. Smile…because you’re still here!!!

Please like, comment and follow for more. I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Breakfast Muffins Without the Top!

Happy new month folks! I hope your are doing well in your part of the world. It’s been a fun and frenzied start to this years Summer. Just when we were all getting back to living life as we once knew it…here comes the variant. And Guess what? The vaccine is just about useless to it. So we are on the precipice of either going back to masks or lockdown. If you ask me neither of these options look promising but we’ll have to wait and see.

We’re in July and I felt it was time to check in on my yearly weight and health goals and so far, so good. I haven’t attained my goals but I’m also not where I used to be so that’s a good thing in my book. I like looking out for new trends in health, wellness and fitness and after scouring the internet for the next best weight loss trend that is natural, low budget, requires no equipment and no payment plan, I came across a Youtuber named Wanyo Mori who has developed a unique exercise that sheds belly fat FAST! It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a gal, this exercise works and the results are unbelievable so stay tuned for a link at the end of this post.

Growing up in a society that idolized soccer, I remember a phrase that said ‘Bend it like Beckham’. For the younger generation, David Beckham is an Englishman and one of the best professional footballers who started out playing for Manchester United. He was good at kicking the ball in such a way that it curved and miraculously landed in the opponents goal post. Well…that was when he was young. The older we get, we’re not going to be able to ‘Bend it like Beckham’,…anymore…literally. Then comes the need for exercise, a change in diet, and moderation applied to E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. One of the things I have recently had to do is cut back on artificial sugars. At first, it was extremely difficult but as time went on, I adjusted and now, in a weird way, it’s my new norm. I named this post ‘breakfast muffins without the tops’ because you can still enjoy these muffins and not worry about gaining a massive amount of weight. These muffins keep me full until lunch time and keep the cravings down for four solid hours and counting. Now, if you’re a nibbler, you know that four hours is a long time to go without rummaging in the pantry for a quick treat.

Healthy Breakfast Muffins for Weight Loss!

Ingredients: 2 Cups of Oats (Original), 1 Cup of Flour, 2 Tbsps. of Baking Powder, 1 tsp of Cinnamon, 2 Tbsps. of Chia Seeds, 2 Tbsps. of Vanilla Extract, 1 Cup of Blueberries, 1/2 Cup Apple Sauce, 1/4 Cup Semi-Sweet/Unsweetened Chocolate Chips, 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries, 2 Tbsps of vegetable oil and 1-2 Cups of Water.

Add baking spray to your muffin pan and scoop unto baking pan. Bake at 325F for 20-30 minutes. P.S: Oats do not need to be overcooked because they dry out very easily so constant checks are recommended. Sorry I forgot to take photos this time.

Trick Your Body Into Loosing A Few Pounds By…

  • Cutting out artificial sugars from your diet as much as possible.
  • Move. Whether it’s via walking, hiking, running, going to the gym or Zumba. The key is to be active the best way you can.
  • Get out in nature. There is a calmness that comes from being out in nature. This helps relieve stress, reduce cortisol and in turn your body relaxes and lets go of stored fats.
  • Laugh…a lot. Find amusement in everyday living.
  • Eat the rainbow.
  • Make smoothies from real fruit and veggies.
  • Maintain a healthy, peaceful environment as much as possible because a toxic surround will up stress levels, which will affect your sleep, what and how you eat (we tend to crave sweet, salty and greasy foods when we’re stressed) and your bodies overall rhythm.
  • If you have an issue with your gut, find a great probiotic that works for you. Eating fermented foods such as pickles, kimchi or sauerkraut can help.

Check out the link here and don’t just laugh. Do it. It works! (2) A 13 minute workout collection! Lead you to exercise – YouTube

Folks, I hope you have a great month ahead!! Until I come your way again with another post, do like, follow and comment. Your insight is not only valuable but helpful to all. I remain,

Periwinkle Starr

A Food Lovers Paradise!!

The ultimate goal of any food lover is to be able to enjoy the foods we love, not compromise on taste and not gain weight. A Perfect World right? These are three things that are almost impossible to attain because the mantra we’ve all heard is “whatever taste good is probably bad for you…and may cause damage to your body or even shorten your life span”. Disclaimer!!! This post is based on my experience with diets over the years and the things I learned along the way. I am not a medical professional by any long shot but I’m here to give you my experience from an avid dieters perspective so stay with me.

Now, any food lover knows that weight gain is almost inevitable without the aide of exercise, cosmetic procedures, stimulants, food deprivation or weight loss supplements, especially as we get older. Your energy levels reduce, your metabolism slows down and all the signs of aging start to pop up. You notice that your are eating probably the same portions of food but you start packing on weight and don’t know why. There are a couple of people who are blessed with not being able to put on weight no matter what they eat and we envy your metabolism – so you might as well log off now because this post is not for you (just kidding)!

The rule is – There are no rules when it comes to weight loss!

Sorry, I just busted someone’s bubble. This is the reason why some get surgery thinking its going to be the end-all-be-all fix and before you know it they’ve doubled in size – even worse off than before they began their weight loss journey. Lets not even get started on the diet pills and supplements – some of which do work only for as long as you take them, or in other cases may have side effects that have not undergone approved testing. I find that the same way you fool kids into eating their veggies is the same way you can trick your body into not gaining weight by swapping a few ingredients without compromising on taste. Having health conditions like thyroid issues and other underlying ailments might be a reason why diets may not work for some but I believe that all diets should be tailor fitted to a persons body type, specific to their metabolism and guaranteed to work specifically for them. Here are a few things I realized over the years…

Every persons body is unique including the way we burn calories and our bodies reaction to certain food groups. I follow a lot of food bloggers and one of them (Plantiful KiKi) adopts a high carb diet and is as slender as a stick. I tried the exact same diet and gained 6ibs in a week. She later provided a disclaimer several videos later that she is of Mayan descent – and guess what the Mayans ate? GRAINS! Well, my weight loss diet was trashed plus I just added six extra pounds of weight I had to loose.

Eating food in its natural form will help you loose weight…FASTER. I know, late night frozen dinners and Pizza deliveries have saved lives in more ways than we can be thankful for but if you want to loose weight fast, you will need to cut back or cut out processed food and eat fresh. Opt for zero calorie sodas instead or regular soda. I guarantee you, the scale will be kinder when you step on it and yes, you can thank me later.

Food portions matter. Diets always limit what you can and cannot have but that just deprives the dieter until they can’t take it anymore and find themselves gorging insane amounts of food with promises to restart the diet the next day. Or waking up and finding yourself on the pantry floor and not knowing how you got there LOL. Trust me, we’ve all been there and done that or similar. The key is to eat whatever you want but in controlled amounts while bulking up your servings with veggies so you stay fuller longer.

Replace sweet and salty snacks with fruit and veggies. This will literally be painful on your taste buds the first week but by week two, your body will begin to adjust if you stick with it. Instead of buying a tub of your favorite ice cream, swap that out by making your own blend of frozen dessert while keeping portion control in mind as you go. To feed your sweet tooth, make your own granola or bake your own cookies or cake from recipes that are low in calories.

Exercise for an hour EVERYDAY. It doesn’t matter if it’s Zumba, running, dancing, walking, swimming laps, going to the gym or jogging on the spot. When you get into a rhythm of working out, it will be easier for your body to burn the fat instead of letting it sit overtime, making it more difficult to get rid of.

Stay hydrated with water, teas and homemade fruit juices and drinks. You can make your own juices, smoothies, etc. A lot of processed drinks have high sugar or sodium contents along with only God knows what. Make yours and sweeten with honey, maple syrup or other natural sweeteners.

Cut back on fast food or figure out a way to substitute certain items for healthier alternatives. I’m sorry but I had to go there. I love me a juicy burger and hot salty fries any day but that didn’t help my weight or my health. You can swap out the bun on your burger for a lettuce wrap. Instead of getting salty fries, you can get an unsalted, kid size portion or better still bake or air fry your own. I recently came across a story where some lady found a happy meal – burger and fries, that were 24 years old and surprisingly, did not disintegrate. It looked like a week old meal…that should tell you something.

Get enough sleep. Need I say more.

Folks, weight loss is such a passion for me because I have struggled with weight all my life. I believe that the solution does not always have to be life threatening or insanely expensive. The benefits of getting your weight under control far out weigh the temporary discomfort of not giving in to cravings. When your body is healthy, you feel and look better, your confidence increases and you are in a better position to improve your life. Let me know what your thoughts are on these pointers. Until I come your way again, be happy. healthy and upbeat!

Periwinkle Starr

A Blessing In Disguise?

Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world? It’s been a trying couple of months, but we are going to find a way to be all right and make it work – whatever it takes. The year 2020 has been interesting to say the very least. With the COVID-19 pandemic and being forced to stay home with limited movement for the first couple of months, a lot of us had to get used to this ‘new normal’ in order to make it through. I found myself dusting off my old recipes including my Great British Bake Off cook book and looking up recipes and YouTube videos to create some variety in meal prepping. Don’t get me wrong, trying out new recipes whenever I get a chance to do so is something I have always done but this time, I had more time on my hands, so I decided to dig a little deeper. Since we couldn’t go out, I could feed my eyes by watching food and travel blogs including my all time favorites which are Mark Wiens and High Carb Hannah.

A Health Reset!

In my attempts to find healthy and quick recipes online, I stumbled on several bloggers who figured out a way to reset their bodies, loose weight, repair their health, and turn their lives around just by making tweaks starting with their food intake and an upgrade to their exercise routines. All these amazing feats they did without surgery, expensive treatments or anything weird. Before I dive into the information gleaned from these individuals along with the tweaks I incorporated into my daily routine, I’m making a quick disclaimer that ‘I am not a certified nutritionist or a medical practitioner’, so please check with your primary care physician before incorporating any of these tweaks into your lifestyle. As I started with tiny tweaks here and there, before you know it, I began loosing a few pounds. My love handles (and yes, I said ‘love handles’ LOL) started disappearing. I also noticed I wasn’t as out of breath when I got to the top of the stairs as I usually did and my mind became clearer and my thoughts fog-free. What I am sharing below are some of the things I did to get me to where I’m at today. Should you choose to embark on this journey with me, please feel free to share your process and what worked for you. Here it goes!

*I got myself a smart scale. One that not only gives you your weight in pounds or kilograms but also gives you your BMI, water weight, fat, muscle mass and required caloric intake. With that info in hand, you can track your progress as you go along.

*I did a 3-day colon cleanse. There are so many out there. Opt for the safest, most natural and verified solution that fits your body type.

*I slowly cut down and cut back on artificial sweets (chocolate, ice cream, gelati) and slowly began to replace these sweets with fruit. So when I would get cravings, instead of reaching for a Snicker or Kit Kat mini, I would have a pear, guava, peach or any fruit on hand. It’s Summer y’all, you have multiple options right about now.

*Choosing zero calorie soda over regular soda and choosing natural fruit juices with little or no added sugar.

*I started making a conscious effort to ‘eat the rainbow’ or parts of it at every meal.

*I cut back on cooking oils. Not until very recently did I realize that cooking oils contain an insane amount of calories even when used in small quantities. So I cut back on how much oil I slathered on and in my food especially when prepping.

*I began looking for healthy alternative ingredients to my favorite recipes. I love making pancakes from scratch (not out of a box), and so instead of using flour, I have incorporated oat flour instead and use a little bit of white flour as a binder. Its a much more healthy option and has a lower caloric value.

*Incorporating an hour of exercise into my routine for a minimum of 5-7 days a week. Track your steps, do Zumba, HIIT, take walks, swim.

I tend to be a ‘late night snacker’ but after a couple of weeks incorporating these changes, my night cravings reduced considerately and right now, I’m at a point where, I seldom snack as much at night like I used to and I am looking forward to a time where I don’t need to snack at all. Folks, 2020 has been rough to say the least but we have to be able to count our blessings and be optimistic for our future because that’s the only way we are going to come out on top on the other side. I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day celebration and got to enjoy the fireworks amid the ongoing social distancing enforced in Texas since we got the spike in new COVID-19 cases. Be safe, healthy and upbeat until I come your way again! I remain

Periwinkle Starr

Happy New 2020!!

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Happy New Year Y’ all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world? If you are reading this post, you made it!! I woke up to a freezingly cold morning in North Texas and all I wanted was a hot cup of tea, pancakes and my laptop.  It was too cold to sit out on the porch so my work desk with an ample view of the outdoors had to suffice. Looking back on the last ten years, I must say that it’s been one long ride and being thankful that I made it is so important because so many others did not.

When it comes to the first day of the year, I like to hit the ground running every time. If you are Starr reader and have been with my blog through the years, you know that I am not a fan of new year resolutions.  In my mind, I feel like we make those resolutions just so we can break them. I mean, who on earth do you know that follows through 100% on their resolves till the end of the year? That’s right – no one.

For me, with every new year comes tweaks – to be and do better. I feel like its easier to incorporate little changes than lists things that deep down I know I won’t  even keep before the weeks end LOL!

MY New Year Tweak or Mantra is “Effective Management”!

♦Time Management: Whether its reading one book in a week, to working out daily, or making a conscious effort to stay in touch with friends, meeting work deadlines, managing my time better is the goal. We have 24 hours in a day. The plan is to use it wisely.

♦Diet: Having a refrigerator filled with food and still eating out defeats the purpose in and of itself. The aim is to be intentional with meal prepping for a couple of days during the week which will help keep our budget from spiraling out of control.

♦Health & Fitness: Taking health and fitness to a whole new level this year is the goal. Whether its trying my hands at weights, swimming longer laps at the pool, joining one of those boot camps or just eating healthier and incorporating intermittent fasting into my regimen (Intermittent fasting is a whole other blog post on its own). The bottom line is to challenge yourself to get healthier and fit this year.

♦Career: Get on top of your goals, aspirations and dreams. Get started on whatever it is you planned on doing. Always remember that you are happier when you do what you are meant to do deep down in your soul.

♦Mental & Emotional Health: For some people, this is letting go of things that don’t make you happy, those things that drain you and take away your peace. Sometimes we believe that by burying our head in the sand or pushing things down under layers of activities will make certain  issues go away. This is not always the case. 2020 is the year to confront things, to speak your truth and uncover what’s in the dark. Life is too short – don’t waste it.

♦Manage Relationships: We all need somebody…anybody will not do. Make up your mind to clean house when it comes to relationships this year. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and not the LESS in you.

♦Manage Your Screen Time: Being a reality TV fan, I seldom have time to watch anything else because I can’t stand the wait or the suspense of watching a series. But every now and then, vegging out on my TV or phone is something we’re all guilty of and I feel we can all do better.  There’s been a study I came across that people are developing eye problems from the blue light emanating from phones and other electronic devices.

♦Give Back! Whether its volunteering, donating food to your local food bank or community store or religious center is awesome! We live in a self-indulgent society but stepping out of your sphere to affect someone else life makes a world of difference.

I hope you had a fun celebration. Its time to hit the ground running folks. If you fail to plan, you’re ultimately planning to fail. It’s going to be an amazing year so get ready. Do Like, follow and comment on your tweaks for the new year! Until I come your way again, be safe, upbeat and healthy!!

 

Periwinkle Starr♥