Rein in Hunger

Rein In Hunger

You would think that hunger is pretty straight forward—you get hungry and you eat, but it is much more complicated than that. After weight loss surgery, many find that hunger is not the strong driving force to eat that it used to be. In fact, many need to find ways to remember to eat. Unfortunately, some find that wonderful respite from hunger that helps you control what you eat can wane over time. But, don’t fear…there are strategies that can be used to keep hunger in line and you in control.

How Hunger Works

Our body gives us signals that tell us it is time to eat and signals to stop eating when we’ve had enough. Here is a very basic overview of how it works. Foods that we eat supply our bodies with energy (calories) from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. When we eat, the stomach expands. This stretching causes the nerves in the stomach and small intestine to send signals to the brain to stop eating. As the nutrients from the food enter the small intestine, more signals are sent to the brain to stop eating. Those nutrients are then absorbed from the small intestine and enter the bloodstream and the brain receives additional stop-eating signals.  Eventually, as nutrients are moved into cells for energy or storage, blood sugar levels drop, hunger signals are sent to the brain and the cycle starts all over again.

This process is controlled by complex interactions between several hormones. These hormones are designed to work in balance to insure that we eat just enough food to fuel our bodies. And for most of history, they have done just that. Look back at pictures from the 60’s or before—it was rare to see someone overweight, much less severely obese.

Our current food environment overpowers the natural systems our bodies have in place and causes us to eat more than we need.  Understanding how our body works, we can learn strategies to reduce the power of our environment and help our natural hunger and satiety controls be more effective.

Hormones 

Looking at the different hormones, you can see just how complex the body’s hunger/satiety system is. Here is a brief description of the major players and how they work.  

Leptin: Reduces Appetite

Leptin is produced by fat cells and notifies the brain that there is enough fat in storage and it is time to stop eating. More leptin is produced as fat cells grow, triggering a decrease in food intake. When fat stores shrink, as weight is lost, less leptin is released and an increase in food intake is stimulated.

Dysfunction can occur when the body becomes resistant to leptin, typically due to obesity or chronically elevated insulin levels, and the signal to stop eating doesn’t register.

Ghrelin: Increases Appetite

Ghrelin is produced in the stomach. When the stomach is empty, ghrelin is secreted signaling the brain that it is time to eat. The secretion stops when food causes the stomach walls to stretch.

Dysfunction occurs when you cut calories by dieting. One study found a 24% increase in ghrelin after a 17% weight loss—it’s hard to keep the calorie intake down with raging ghrelin levels.

Gastric bypass patients benefit from a lower ghrelin level and that may explain the lack of appetite that many feel. One study looked at ghrelin levels in obese individuals before and after gastric bypass surgery and found a 30% decrease after surgery.

With 80% of the stomach removed after gastric sleeve surgery, it is not surprising that ghrelin levels are reduced. Six months after surgery, ghrelin levels were about one half of their pre-surgery level.

Insulin: Regulates Blood Sugar

The pancreas secretes insulin when blood sugar levels rise. Insulin’s role is to move sugar from the bloodstream into the cells where it can be used for energy.

Dysfunction occurs when a food or beverage high in concentrated sugar is consumed. This results in too much insulin being released and once the sugar has been moved from the bloodstream into the cells, a higher level of insulin remains in the bloodstream triggering hunger.

With obesity or chronic high insulin levels, the body can become resistant to insulin—so even if the body produces adequate or excessive insulin, it isn’t able to be used to move blood sugar from the bloodstream into the cells to be used for energy and diabetes may develop. 

Adiponectin: Reduces Appetite

Adiponectin is another hormone produced by fat cells. This powerful hormone improves insulin sensitivity, reduces inflammation, increases the rate at which the body uses energy, and reduces appetite—wow!

It seems, based on what we know, that a higher adiponectin level is desirable for those wanting to reach and maintain a healthy weight. We do know that higher levels of adiponectin are found in those with a normal weight, athletes, and those without diabetes. We do know that adiponectin is increased with weight loss and certain diabetes medications. Unfortunately, there are no legitimate adiponectin supplements available.

But, you may be able to increase adiponectin levels through your lifestyle. It appears that a diet rich in mono-unsaturated or healthy fats, fiber, and lower in simple carbohydrates and saturated fat seems to be associated with a higher adiponectin level. Exercise may also increase adiponectin.

A very interesting study found a fairly wide range of adiponectin levels in gastric sleeve patients 12 months after surgery. Those with higher adiponectin levels had lower appetites. Higher adiponectin levels are also expected after gastric bypass surgery.

Peptide YY (PYY): Reduces Appetite

PYY is a hormone secreted by the small intestine that signals the brain to stop eating. Obese individuals seem to have less PYY than normal weight people. Low Peptide YY concentrations are associated with an increase in appetite and food intake.

Histamine and serotonin: Reduces Appetite

These hormones work to control hunger. Antihistamines may remove the appetite reducing power of histamines. Higher levels of serotonin tend to produce a calm mood, sleepiness and decrease the desire to eat.

Other Factors 

In addition to all of the hormonal influence on hunger, there are cultural, psychological, and environmental factors that also play a role.

Sleep

Sleep, or rather a lack of adequate sleep, affects the hunger/satiety system. Study after study supports the idea that a lack of sleep triggers reactions that lead to weight gain. Researchers have found a decrease in the appetite controlling hormone leptin and an increase in the appetite enhancing hormone ghrelin in those with chronic sleep loss (5 hours of sleep a night). Other studies support this by showing an increase in food intake and cravings following just a single night of inadequate sleep.

Stress

Stress levels can affect hunger. A higher level of the stress hormone cortisol, in those genetically prone to obesity, may cause an increase in hunger. In addition to the increase in hunger, many have learned responses to stress that including eating not-so-healthy foods. Learning new techniques to manage and respond to stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, time management and a change in outlook may reduce stress-induced overeating.

Variety

Variety is the spice of life, right? Well maybe not when it comes to weight control. It seems that variety in the form of taste, texture, color and/or temperature stimulates the senses and increases food intake. And that makes sense—you can only eat so many raw almonds, but if you have an entire buffet of food to choose from, it is hard not to overeat.

Comfort

Food has been paired with the rewards of comfort, nurturing, and positive social experiences over the years.

External Cues

The external cues of time, smells and visual cues can have a huge impact on the desire to eat. Some individuals have a stronger response to external cues than others. Have you ever felt that you could gain weight by just walking by a bakery? You may not be too far off–studies show that in some individuals, the smell, sound and visual cues of a steak grilling raises insulin levels. And when insulin levels are high so is appetite.

Many things in our environment impact our desire to eat–the availability of food (it is everywhere—isn’t it?), social gatherings, mood, fatigue, emotions, and even the temperature.

Strategies for Optimal Food Intake 

You’ve already taken the biggest step to optimize food intake by having bariatric surgery. Nothing else gives you the tool to take control of your eating so you can reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Let’s look at some other strategies that will help you eat the right amounts of the right foods. You’ll need to develop skills, engage in healthful lifestyle habits, and manage high-risk situations to maximize the effectiveness of bariatric surgery.

Choose Healthy FoodsEat balanced meals and snacks of fresh, unprocessed foods that include a good protein source, fiber-rich foods (like fresh vegetables and fruits) and healthy fats. These foods don’t over stimulate the reward center of the brain like highly processed foods can—causing you to crave more and more.

Eat Solid FoodLiquids and many crunchy snack foods empty out of your stomach quickly, leaving you looking for more to eat before you next meal/snack time. A protein supplement may not be the best breakfast if it doesn’t satisfy you until your next scheduled meal or snack. You may feel more satisfied eating solid foods like a scrambled egg with cheese.

Eat Six Small Meals-Small, frequent meals help to keep blood sugar levels even and can reduce hunger. Each meal should include a source of protein and/or fat. For example, put a little peanut butter on an apple to help stabilize blood sugar and prolong the sense of satisfaction. Eat every 2 ½ to 3 hours.

Protein FirstStart each meal with a “firm” source of protein. Firm foods will stay in the pouch or sleeve longer, providing a sense of satisfaction. Monitor and meet your protein goal daily.

Limit Simple CarbsSimple carbs in the form of sweets, crackers, cereals, breads, snack foods, sweetened beverages and juice should be limited. Instead get your carbs from fresh vegetables, low fat dairy, fresh whole fruits, and small amounts of whole grains.

Set Up Your Environment for SuccessStock your kitchen and office with healthy meal and snack options. Put those foods front and center where you will see them first. Don’t bring tempting foods into your home. Meal plan and prep so it is easier for you to eat right. Pay for gas at the pump. Prepare a no-added-sugar treat for celebrations. Invest a little time to think through the circumstances that cause you to want to make less-than-healthy choices and then seek to control those situations by pre-planning.

Use the 5/30 RuleDrink up until 5 minutes before your meal. Stop and don’t resume until 30 minutes after you are done eating. This will minimize pushing the food out of the pouch or sleeve—potentially allowing you to eat more and long-term stretching out the stomach or the stoma.

Take TimeSlow down, take small bites and chew foods to a paste-like consistency. This helps you to get the signal that you’ve had enough and prevents discomfort.

Log itA food log keeps you keenly aware of what you are eating. It also teaches portion sizes and the protein and calorie content of foods.

Adequate Sleep-Life is busy and life is stressful so we go, go, go. Our health depends on taking the time to stop, sleep and refresh. If not, we face mounting health issues. There are times in our lives, like having a new baby, that reduce our ability to get enough sleep. But, beyond those kinds of events, most of us have the opportunity to craft our lives in a way that allows us to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Make sleep a priority to keep your appetite under control and so much more.

ExerciseIt’s a fact, exercise makes you feel better. When you feel better, you are more likely to make healthier decisions. You’ll burn a few calories, improve your insulin resistance, and maybe even bump up your level of adiponectin (Remember that awesome hormone that curbs appetite, fuels fat burning, and reduces insulin resistance?).

Muffin Tin Meals: Enchiladas

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
2/3 cup water
1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 red or orange pepper, finely diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3/4 cup red enchilada sauce, divided
1 pound extra lean ground beef
¼ cup egg substitute
2/3 cup reduced fat shredded Colby Jack cheese

In a small saucepan, bring water and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Place olive oil in a medium skillet and heat on medium. Add garlic, onion, and bell pepper cooking until onions have softened. Place in a large bowl. Stir in cooked quinoa, cumin, oregano, chili powder, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, cilantro, and ½ of enchilada sauce. Mix in ground beef, egg substitute and 1/4 cup of cheese.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the meatloaf mixture evenly to muffin cups.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon remaining enchilada sauce and cheese over the tops of muffins and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes for the cheese to melt. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving:  198 calories, 23 grams protein, 8 grams fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 454 mg sodium.

Muffin Tin Meals: Southwest Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds of extra lean ground beef
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1/2 can of organic black beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons fresh yellow pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons red onion, chopped
1- 4 oz can of green chilies
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sugar-free barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together ketchup and sugar-free barbecue sauce and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine ½ of the ketchup mixture and all other ingredients. Mix well.

Divide the meatloaf mixture evenly into 12 muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, top with remaining ketchup mixture, and cook an additional 5 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 282 calories, 32 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 24 grams carbohydrate, 474 mg sodium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get Set for Success with Increased Activity!

Get Ready For Surgery: Increase Your Activity

Weight loss surgery is a great tool to help you to improve your health and take control of your quality of life. The time from the consultation with your surgeon at Barix Clinics to the time of surgery can vary from a few weeks to several months. Use this time to prepare for post-surgery life and put healthy habits in place.

Roadblocks to Exercise

Discomfort, energy, motivation and time are the most common roadblocks to increasing activity. Most people have an easier time exercising once they have had surgery. Why?

  • Joint pain often decreases very soon after surgery, most likely from a reduction in inflammation.
  • Energy usually increases—for some right away, others take a little time to recover their energy after surgery.
  • Motivation soars after surgery—it’s easier to exercise when you almost immediately see the results of your efforts.

What doesn’t change is time. Before or after surgery, you need to find time to consistently include activity into your lifestyle.

Why Exercise Before Surgery?

Why start exercising now, prior to surgery, if it’s going to be easier once you’ve had surgery? There are many benefits to doing so including:

  • Exercise raises the “feel good” brain hormones dopamine and serotonin. It also lowers stress hormones. Who couldn’t stand to have a few extra “feel good” hormones flowing through their body?
  • An increase in activity will help get your heart and lungs in the best possible shape for surgery.
  • Regular exercise can help you to shed pre-surgery weight, increasing the likelihood that your surgeon will be able to perform your surgery laparoscopically.
  • Figuring out how to find the time and getting in the habit of regular exercise before surgery, sets you up with a healthful habit that will help you to reach and maintain your weight goal after surgery.
  • You’ll give yourself a head-start on your weight loss. You’ll be up and walking right after surgery. If you’ve built up your walking endurance prior to surgery, you will quickly be right back to walking that distance.

Here’s what one patient had to say about her experience starting to exercise before surgery:

I joined a gym six months before my surgery. At first all I could do was the aqua fitness class, but I did it. Eventually, I started walking on the treadmill and increased my time little by little. It was hard! The real benefits came when I was released from restrictions following surgery. Because I was already in the habit of going to the gym and had built up my endurance, I was able to walk longer on the treadmill and add a little incline. I also started riding my bike to the store when I just had to pick up a few things (it has a basket) instead of taking the car.

Before I knew it, I was trying out different machines at the gym and was able to do it! Now, I’ve taken it to the next level with a personal trainer. He works me hard and holds me accountable. I’m doing 30 minutes of strength training and 30 minutes of intense cardio—all without pain or shortness of breath.

I’m 53 and have COPD, fibromyalgia, and Crohn’s disease. I’ve lost 92 pounds in 8 months and I feel amazing!  I am certain starting exercise before surgery built up my stamina and made it easier for me to transition to the level of exercise I am now able to do. Exercise to me is every bit as vital as good nutrition for my success on this amazing life-changing journey!

What if You Have Physical Limitations?

Although you may have physical limitations, chances are that you can find a safe way to exercise before surgery. Check with your primary care physician prior to starting an exercise program. Your doctor may even be able to refer you to a physical therapist if you have special concerns such as a bad back or injured knee. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Track your steps. Did you know that there are phone apps available that will accurately track your steps for you? You can also use a pedometer (look in the sporting goods section for an inexpensive option) or a fitness tracker like a Fitbit.

First, find out how many steps a day you currently take; then set a goal to increase your number of steps each day. Tailor your step goal to your fitness level. You aren’t competing with anyone else, just getting in the best shape that you can.

  • Hop in the water. The buoyancy of water cushions your body and adds resistance for a dynamite workout. Check with your local school district, YMCA, or health club for a water aerobics class or swimming opportunities near your home or work.
  • Search for chair exercise videos online. These seated routines will get your heart pumping and help you move more if your ability to walk is limited.
  • Dance, clean, take the steps, walk to the store – you’ve got the idea-just get moving.

The steps you take now to increase your activity will give you a jumpstart on your exercise plan after surgery and your ultimate goal of reaching a healthy weight. Congratulations-you’re on your way to a healthy you!

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Supplement Before Surgery

Get Ready for Surgery: Vitamin / Mineral Supplements

Weight loss surgery is a great tool to help you to improve your health and take control of your quality of life. The time from the consultation with your surgeon at Barix Clinics to the time of surgery can vary from a few weeks to several months. Use this time to prepare for post-surgery life and put healthy habits in place.

Pre-Surgery Supplements

Getting ready for surgery should include vitamin and mineral supplementation. Let’s face it; even the healthiest of eaters don’t always choose a diet that includes all of the vitamins and minerals their body needs. For that reason, it is in your best interest to supplement before surgery.

Multi-Vitamin and Mineral Supplement

For most, a complete multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is a great place to start. It will fill in the gaps that are lacking in your diet. There are several options for a pre-surgery multi vitamin. You don’t need to spend a lot of money –more expensive doesn’t always mean better. Many store brands have supplements that are equivalent to name brands.

While a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement typically provides a broad range of vitamins and minerals it may not meet all of your needs. There are two main reasons for that. The first is that not everyone has the same nutritional requirements—consider how different the nutritional needs are between a young female athlete and an inactive elderly male. The second reason is pill size—including the recommended amounts of all vitamins and minerals isn’t practical. Calcium, for instance, is bulky so most multi-vitamin and mineral supplements only contain a small amount of calcium–not nearly enough for those who don’t eat or drink calcium-rich foods or drinks.

Calcium 

Many people do not get in the number of servings of calcium-rich foods needed to meet their body’s need for bone-building calcium. If you consume 3 cups of low fat milk or yogurt daily, you’re probably getting enough. If not, you may want to start a calcium supplement (1000 mg) with vitamin D-3 (400-800 IU) daily.

Bones reach their maximum strength or density by age 35. After that, they become more fragile as we age. The loss of strength is accelerated when your diet is lacking in calcium from foods, drinks or supplements. Osteoporosis can develop and often isn’t identified until it’s too late and bones begin to easily break.

Calcium supplements come in two forms, calcium carbonate and calcium citrate—either is well-absorbed before surgery. After surgery, you’ll want to take calcium in the form of calcium citrate for better absorption.

Screenings 

If you plan to see your primary care physician before your surgery, you may want to discuss a screening for Vitamin D (everyone) and iron (females only) deficiencies. These deficiencies are quite common in the general population and can be corrected prior to your surgery if identified.

Bottom Line

Starting vitamin and mineral supplements before surgery can help you to correct any minor deficiencies you have, promote faster healing, and help you start your new life as healthy as possible. Be sure to:

  • Start a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement (pills are fine pre-surgery)
  • Start a calcium supplement of 1000 mg which includes 400-800 IU Vitamin D-3
  • If you are seeing your primary care physician, ask for a vitamin D and iron screening to see if you would benefit from supplementation
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Intentional Living

People who are successful at managing their health, building wealth, breaking records, or other accomplishments have similar habits. As we strive to reach our personal goals in life, it makes sense to acknowledge these habits and perhaps try to incorporate some of them into our own routine.

Go after your dreams

Bring your dreams into focus, turn them into plans and then passionately pursue them. Successful people usually don’t become successful accidentally. They have dreams, make plans, set goals, and work on their goals daily. What dreams do you have? What one thing can you do today that will bring those dreams one step closer to reality?

Be intentional

Each morning starts fresh with an opportunity to get the most out of your day and move you closer to your dreams. Rather than just react to the environment around you, set a schedule and follow it as closely as you can. Intentional living could be compared to a GPS system. You are at a starting point and have a destination. Living intentionally gives you the path to get from point A to point B. It does not mean having a rigid, inflexible plan, but instead having a clear vision of where you are going and being open to different routes, as necessary, to get you there.

One way to do this is to schedule an hour once a week to write down everything that’s on your mind—work, personal, health, family—get it all down. Then make a list, prioritize and schedule tasks for the next day, week or month. Star the tasks that are a top priority—you’ll want to work on those first. Once you have it laid out, it’s easy to adjust if needed. Having this type of schedule typically reduces anxiety, because you can see what needs to be done and the plan to accomplish it.


When you get right down to it, intentional living is about living your best story.

― John C. Maxwell



Start positive

Most successful people get up early and follow a set routine before the distractions of the day begin. These routines vary, but often include time set aside for gratitude, prayer, meditation and /or intentions for the day. A journal can help you structure this time. You may choose to listen to online sermons, read the bible or daily devotionals, watch motivational videos or TED talks, make or recite a gratitude list, and/or mediate on your own or use an app for guided meditation. Consult your goals and determine one important thing to accomplish this day for each goal.

Process information effectively

So much information comes at us from all angles; it is easy to become overwhelmed. You may find that when you think about something that needs to be communicated, it works best to take care of it right away freeing your mind for other tasks.

A second option is to batch communication–opening email, text messages and voice mail only at set times of the day. When you think of something that needs to be communicated outside of this time, jot it down and address it during the allotted time.

Start physical

Morning exercise helps to fuel your brain and body so you get more out of your day. Most highly successful people make time for 30 minutes or more of exercise daily.

Feed your brain

Your brain thrives when you provide it with information that helps it grow and feel inspired. Successful people read regularly. If you don’t have time to read, get audio books and listen to them while you commute or exercise. Read to increase your knowledge, but also consider other sources of positive input that can help you be more creative and inspired—motivational quotes, uplifting music, a thoughtful conversation, meditation, or laughing through a comedy.

Take care of yourself

No matter what your day brings, make self-care a priority. Eat healthy food, exercise, stay hydrated with water, and take short deep-breathing breaks.


You’ve always had the power my dear–you just had to learn it for yourself.

— The Wizard of Oz


Don’t be afraid of no

It’s amazing how freeing a simple two-letter word can be. “No” frees you from obligations that take up your time and energy. Be sure to use that time wisely on people and activities that are important to you.

Build relationships

Hang out with highly motivated individuals. You’ve heard the saying; “You’re only as successful as those you associate with.” And it’s true. Surround yourself with people who are smarter and more successful than you are. If you need to get connected with like-minded people, join a group for people who share your personal or work interests. For example, the Barix Clinics private Facebook page is a great place to get connected to others who are pumped up about changing their lives through weight loss surgery.

In contrast, limit your time with negative, low energy people. They tend to zap the motivation right out of you.

Get your zzzz’s

Albert Einstein knew how important sleep was; he found time to get 10 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is critical to your weight loss efforts—a lack of sleep is associated with food cravings and a higher weight. It will also keep your memory and creative thinking in top working order.

Financial discipline

Money can be a wonderful blessing or a major stressor. People who create wealth learn financial principles and discipline that aren’t usually taught in school. Many parents don’t understand these principles so they are not able to pass that knowledge to their children. It is up to you to make time for reading books, taking classes and learning about financial independence.

Start today

Intentional living can help you reach your goals and find your dreams. It can help you think about your choices, learn to make better decisions, and live a happier life with fewer regrets. Use these ideas as an inspiration to get started designing a live you love today!

Slow Cooker Black Bean and Chicken Soup

2 (15 oz) cans organic black beans, rinsed and drained
3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 red bell pepper, minced
4 oz can diced green chiles
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chile powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 medium green onion, chopped

Blend one can of beans and chicken broth until smooth and add to slow cooker. Add the second can of beans along with tomatoes, bell pepper, diced green chiles, cumin, chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, chicken breast, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Remove cooked chicken, shred and return to slow cooker. Serve warm and top with a sprinkle of chopped green onion and cilantro. Makes 10 1-cup servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 151 calories, 16 grams protein, 1 gram fat, 17 grams carbohydrate, 526 mg sodium.

Roasted Chickpeas

1 can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat dry the chickpeas. In a small mixing bowl, combine seasonings and oil. Add the chickpeas and mix until evenly coated. Place chickpeas in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes stir and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden and slightly brown.  Turn the oven off, open the door a crack and let the chickpeas continue to cook another 20 minutes. Cool and eat. Makes 4-1/4 cup servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 118 calories, 11 grams protein, 3 grams fat, 35 grams carbohydrate, 317 mg sodium.

Kale Chips

1 large bundle curly green or purple kale
1 tbsp. olive or avocado oil
Seasonings of choice
pinch sea salt, or
1 tsp cumin powder, or
1 tsp chili powder, or
1 tsp curry powder, or
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Rinse and thoroughly dry kale, then tear into small pieces, discarding large stems. Place dry kale in a large mixing bowl, toss with oil and seasoning(s) and mix with hands to evenly coat.

Spread the kale in a single layer on 2 large baking sheets. Keep the pieces from touching each other as much as possible. Bake for 15 minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t burn. Lightly toss the kale and continue baking for 5-10 minutes until kale is crispy and slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Enjoy immediately. Store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving without seasoning: 69 calories, 2 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 8 grams carbohydrate, 32 mg sodium.

 

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Fitness Friday

Push harder than yesterday
if you want a different tomorrow.

It’s easy to get a bit complacent, to let the every day tasks and worries keep us from our dreams. Take a moment to step back, look at the bigger picture, and set you sights on a different tomorrow. What might it look like? What would it take to get there? What small step can you take today to move in that direction?

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