Understanding Food Cravings: Beating Silent Self-Sabotage

Sugar Cravings

Uhhh…sugar cravings are hideous self-sabotagers that hinder success!

This week in a word has been complicated.

From the minor ankle injury I suffered from doing intense workouts (I blame myself, not the workouts!), to ridiculous food cravings, I’m feeling a little exhausted.

So today I’ve decided to do some research on what my food cravings means and how to beat them.

See the chart below.

I’ve spent some time attempting to diagnose my own cravings.

Usually I crave:

  • Sweets
  • Chinese food (aka pasta, salty foods)
  • Fast Food (aka oily & fatty, salty foods)

Now I know what foods I can add more of to my diet in order to keep my cravings under control.

This will cause me to revamp some of my salad in a jar recipes as well as some of my green smoothie recipes.

I’ll keep you posted as I create new recipes!

Enjoy this cool video on fighting sugar cravings:)

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Salad in A Jar

salad in a jar

Mason jar salads (aka salad in a jar) is the easiest way to make salads ahead of time!

A few days ago I came across the coolest thing…

Salad in a jar!

Now granted it’s been trending on Pinterest for about a year now, but I’m just getting wind of it (I don’t really use Pinterest alot), but I’ve found it to be an absolutely ingenious way to stay on my eating plan and help with portion control!

Check out pics of some of the salad I’ve made.

salad in a jar  1

Pictured here are two chickpea salads I made!

salad in a jar 2

I made chickpea salads, BBQ Chicken salads, and taco salads!

salad in a jar 3

These are the lovely taco salads!

salad in a jar 4

My fav so far has been the chickpea salad.


In total I made six salads.  Two taco salads, two chickpea salads, and two BBQ chicken salad.

I used 24 oz. jars that I got from the local craft store for $1.99 each.  When I brought them home I ran them through the dishwasher to sterilize them before using.

Ever since making these salads I’ve been browsing the internet to try and find great recipes.


Before I get into those recipes, you first need to know how to properly layer your salad in a jar.  Check out this tutorial for awesome instructions:

Now, here are some recipes that I’ve found that I definitely want to try.

I hope you love all these recipes!

Don’t wait try a salad in a jar today:)

Here’s a great video of salad in a jar recipes!

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Day 4 Atkins – Atkins Products Save the Day!

Atkins Products Save the Day!Daily Recap:

To describe today in one word, it would be insane!

I was up early and worked late with very little time to prepare my usual meals.

Aside from breakfast (which was scrumptuous!) I had to rely on Atkins products to get me through the day and keep me on track.

In terms of net carbs (NC), I was totally on track, finishing the day at 18 g NC.

However when it came to getting enough net carbs from veggies, I missed the marked.

I only had about 1 g NC from fresh veggies today!

Oh  well, there’s always tomorrow and I’m definitely preparing my food for tomorrow before I go to bed.

In terms of noticeable changes, I feel my jeans getting loser and my waistband is far more comfortable on my work pants:)

I must admit, I’ve come to see Jell-O Sugar-Free snacks as lifesavers and a great 0 g carb food to fill in the gaps of the day.

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Food Diary:

Meal #1:

Spinach Cheesy Eggs

2 large eggs,

1/4 C. Kraft Naturals Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese (1 g NC)

1 C. fresh spinach & baby kale, fine chopped (1 g NC)

3 links Banquet Original Brown ‘n Serve Sausage (2 g NC)


Meal #2:

Atkins Advantage Frozen Meals – Crustless Chicken Pot Pie (5 g NC)


Meal #3:

Atkins Advantage Frozen Meals – Italian Sausage Primavera (5 g NC)


Meal #4:

6 links Banquet Original Brown ‘n Serve Sausages (3 g NC)

1 Atkins Advantage Ready-to-Drink Shake – Strawberry ( 1 g NC)



Today was another fabulous day doing yoga!

I really enjoy doing this in the mornings.

My ankle is feeling much better and I plan to add on some cardio tomorrow.

Signing off until tomorrow:)

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Day 3 Atkins – Optimum Day!!!

BreakfastDaily Recap:

Today was wonderful!  I started my day a little later than planned so therefore I started eating a little later than planned.

Due to that fact I ate more for my first meal including a higher protein intake.

I actually achieved (finally!) staying under the 20 grams of net carbs AND getting of those net carbs from vegetables.

I made this awesome roasted brussel sprout & chopped spinach salad.  Since some items were raw and some cooked, I call it a 50/50 salad. I’ll definitely get around to posting the recipe once I take the time to write down all the steps.

See the pics of my lovely salad below.

2014-03-03 21.07.28 50/50 Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Chopped Spinach Salad



Today I finally got up and did something!  Since I’m still rehabbing a strained ankle, I decided to do yoga.  I’m totally new to yoga, but a dvd that I enjoyed was Yoga Foundations with Travis Eliot.  It wasn’t too airy fairy or too abstract for someone new to the practice of yoga.

The instructor was calm, clear, and relaxing.  It was just challenging enough, I got a good stretch for my ankles (and the rest of my body), and I felt wonderful afterwards!

I’ll definitely be continuing with this yoga practice!

Signing off until tomorrow:)

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Day 2 Atkins – Energy Crash & A Bit of Thirst

energy crashWaking up this morning I felt great.

A little groggy, which I attributed to the overcast weather here in my fair city, but otherwise I felt great.

I wasn’t hungry, not overly so, but I was excited to eat breakfast at 8a.m.

So after a delicious breakfast of soft scrambled eggs with Boursin cheese (I’m seriously obsessed with this stuff) and a few links of sausage, drank my cup of hot green tea, and I was ready for the day!  I had an appointment from 12-4p.m. so I spent the rest of my morning tidying my place and getting ready for my appointment.

All was well until about 10:30a.m.

There were some scheduling changes and my appointment was cancelled, so when the waive of tiredness hit me, I headed back to bed.  I thought it was just a little nap I needed, so I decided to lay down for about 30 minutes.

The next time I opened my eyes, it was 2p.m.!!!!

I had a serious energy crash, but I’m sure glad it happened over the weekend.

When I got up at 2, I went and ate another meal, and drank about 40 oz. of water.

thirstyThe rest of my day went well after that.  Oh well, maybe this is just something that’s do to the body adjusting to the consumption of such a low amount of carbs.

The one thing I was a bit frustrated about today was my not consuming enough of my daily net carbs from vegetables.

I am happy to say that I did drink about 120 oz. of water today, but I find that I’m still thirsty?!

Signing off for now, wish me luck for tomorrow!

Oh, and I haven’t started to add exercise yet, that’s coming tomorrow as well!

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Day 1 Atkins – Menu Rewrite

Ok, so I’m here to let you know how my first day went!Atkins 30-Day Challenge

Actually it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I woke up early this morning and went to my local Wal-Mart to stock up on everything I would need.

Much of my shopping list was based upon the sample menu, I created yesterday.

That was all well and good until I realized that the sample menu I created WAS NOT within the guidelines of the Induction Phase!


In my defense, I did create the sample menu at about 3a.m. this morning and was only partially lucid from a particularly grueling week at work.

Anywho, I noticed my serious error when I tried to actually follow the menu today.

The problem with my original sample menu is that the net carbs (NC) for the day was about 13.6 g and I wasn’t taking in a sufficient amount of (12-15 g NC) from the foundation vegetables mentioned on the Atkins website.

With that error recognized, and easily rectified (since I had the correct vegetables on hand) I’ve created a revised sample menu.

Check it out!

Sample Atkins Phase I Menu
Breakfast Net Carbs
2 Eggs, large
3 Brown ‘n Serve Original Frozen Sausage Links 2 g
1 Tbsp. (28 g) Kraft Naturals Shredded Cheese 0.5 g
1 C. Herbal Tea
1 Atkins Advantage Shake 3 g
1 C. Herbal Tea
1 Sugar-Free Jell-O
Turkey or Beef  Soup
   -1 C. Low-Sodium Chicken Broth 1g
   -1/2 C. Water
   -1 C. Bok Choy 0.8 g
   -1 stalk celery, diced 0.8 g
   -6 oz. ground turkey or beef, sauteed
6 oz. ground turkey or beef, sauteed
1 C. Brussel Sprouts, roasted 9.6 g
1/2 C. Kale, roasted 2.4 g
2 Tbsp. Kraft Greek Vinaigrette with Feta Cheese OR
Kraft Blue Cheese Dressing OR
Kraft Caesar Italian Dressing
2 g
19.6 g NC
(13.6 g NC from foundation vegetables)

Atkins 30-Day ChallengeDaily Diary:

Drinking lots of water throughout the day greatly helped me retain a feeling of fullness, stay hydrated, and not have any cravings.

The only thing I noticed that was really strange was as serious case of the chills this morning after breakfast.  Now granted, it’s still Winter and I live in the northeast of the US, but I found that I couldn’t get warm no matter what this morning! I finally got sick of it after about an hour and took a hot shower to see if I could warm up.  It worked!

Other than that, nothing else wayward or strange occurred.

My energy levels are about the same as normal.

Chat with you tomorrow!

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31 Day Slimdown Challenge: Atkins Attack – Phase I Induction

Lose weight nowUhhh…This last month has been quite slow when it comes to me losing weight.

A few weeks ago, I had a bit of a slip & fall on a frozen cobblestone road while I was trying to get out of the way of an oncoming vehicle.  I have fast reflexes, so I fell backwards and was able to catch myself on my left hand.  But I felt something twist and clench in my right ankle.

It wasn’t bruised or broken, but a bit swollen and overextended.  I was able to move it in all directions, but it was painful!

All I did was ice it, elevate it and wear an ankle compression for about a week.

Next, I started doing yoga so I could get back into exercising.

So I’m about 3 weeks off track and struggling with getting back on track.

Therefore, I’ve decided to try Atkins.  I’ve heard good and bad things about this plan, but two things I really like:

  1. I can get quick results and
  2. Exercise isn’t mandatory

Since starting doing yoga to rehab my ankle, I’ve actually found some other benefits (like more control over my thoughts and emotions) so I really want to develop a daily yoga practice to see where this thing goes.

Being on a program where I won’t have to worry about exercise will really work well for someone trying to develop a yoga practice.

Also, I’m going to get some Ketosis strips to see when exactly my body actually enters that phase.

I’ll use my blog as an online daily journal to let you know how I feel and my progress.

Protein & VegetablesIf you’re familiar with the Atkins diet, then you know the first stage is Phase I Induction.  This is the extreme phase where the majority of the weight is lost.  It’s meant to be an initial two-week phase with a person staying on longer as they see fit.

You can only have 20 grams net carbs (meaning carbs minus fiber and/or sugar alcohols) in a single day.  It’s stated on the Atkins website that 12-15 grams of net carbs are to come from vegetables.  There’s alsoo a specific list of vegetables that best fit this stage.

Here’s the sample menu I’ve come up with:

Sample Atkins Phase I Menu
Breakfast Net Carbs
1 Egg, large
3 Brown ‘n Serve Original Frozen Sausage Links 1 g
2 Tbsp. (28 g) Kraft Naturals Shredded Cheese 1 g
1 C. Herbal Tea
1 Atkins Advantage Shake 3 g
1 C. Herbal Tea
1 Sugar-Free Jell-O
Turkey or Beef  Soup
   -1 C. Low-Sodium Chicken Broth 1g
   -1/2 C. Water
   -1 C. Bok Choy 0.8 g
   -1 stalk celery, diced 0.8 g
   -1/2 C. mushrooms, diced 1.2 g
   -6 oz. ground turkey or beef, sauteed
1 Atkins Meal 7 g
1 C. Broccoli, steamed 3.2 g
19 g NC

All I have to say is today I had fast food for dinner in preparation for the next 31 days of food shock my body will be in.

Wish me luck!


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Easy Low-Bake Carrot Cake Chewy Chia Seed Energy Bars Recipe

Chia Seed Energy Bars Recipe 1Last night I was surfing the web hoping to find some easy recipes for chia seed energy bars.

I came across countless recipes but none of them really appealed to me because one of three reasons:

  • The recipes required too many ingredients
  • The recipes were too high in fat because they used a nut butter
  • The recipes included the addition of sugars which (in my opinion) defeated the purpose!

The whole point of my search was to find something easy!

So, unable to find a chia seed energy bar recipe that actually looked doable, I decided to come up with my own:)

This recipe came to me in a flash of inspiration when I was feeling low on energy as well as craving one of my favorite desserts…carrot cake!

The recipe takes about 15 minutes to mix up and about 2 hours of baking/dehydrating (yeah, I know that’s a lot, but it’s so worth it and makes the bars last longer as compared to when I did a raw version), and isn’t overly sweet (which is a huge plus to me).

The only tools you need are a glass bowl, a rubber spatula, a box grater, and a high-powered blender.

Chia Seed Energy Bars Recipe 2Easy Low-Bake Carrot Cake Chia Seed Energy Bars Recipe


  • 2 apples, grated
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/4 C. Quaker Oatmeal, Quick Oats, (pulsed in blender to become oat flour)
  • 1/2 C. Raisins (or golden raisins)
  • 1/4 C. Raw Almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. Walnuts, fine chopped
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. Cinnamon (optional)

Chia Seed Energy Bars Recipe 3Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 °F (which is 121 °C )
  2. Put 1 C. of water into a small sauce pan, add the pure vanilla extract, and bring the water to a boil
  3. Once water is boiling, add raisins, cover and remove from heat
  4. Place oats in blender and blend until it’s a flour consistency
  5. Grate apples and carrots on a box grater, take half the mixture and put into blender and blend until a chunky applesauce consistency
  6. Add oat flour + blended mixture of apples and carrot to glass bowl
  7. Drain raisins and add to blender, add raw almonds, and 2 Tbsp. water from raisins
  8. Blend well until a thick paste like consistency is formed
  9. Add this to the bowl of at flour
  10. Add the chia seeds
  11. Blend all ingredients together until a slightly watery dough-like consistency is formed
  12. Spread mixture in a thick even layer in a shallow baking dish
  13. Place basking dish in preheated oven and allow the bars to bake for 2 hours
  14. Remove after 2 hours, allow to cool uncovered
  15. Cut into 4-5 long squares and enjoy!

This healthy indulgent recipe is perfect for a mid-day pick-me-up!  Enjoy with steaming cup of green tea in order to make the effects of the energy and fullness last longer!

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Spicy Sour Cream Avocado Sauce

Spicy Sour Cream Avocado Sauce

Urban Health Goddess Tip: This is a versatile sauce that can be used as a dressing, marinade, or sauce!

Oh the joys of cooking!

I’m learning to really get back into the kitchen and let my creative juices flow.

With my new health initiative for the year, I’m really focusing on creating versatile, tasty, and healthy recipes.

My newest creation is a fantastic sauce/dressing/marinade I made to use in a Doritos Nacho Cheese Casserole I made (yes, I know Doritos aren’t healthy, but this recipe lets you get the taste of Doritos without the guilt).

Check it out and let me know your thoughts!

Spicy Sour Cream Avocado Sauce

  • 1 16oz. Sour Cream (I used Kraft)
  • 1 jar Jalapenos, drained (I used Great Value aka a generic brand)
  • 1 Avocado  (slightly overripe)
  • 1 8oz. block Cream Cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 clove garlic


Place all ingredients in a high-powered blend (at least 1000 watts) and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Trust me, it will have a kick!

Refrigerate it and then use it as a sauce, marinade, or dressing.

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My (Almost) Perfect Shirataki Noodle Pad Thai

My Almost Perfect Shirataki Noodle Pad Thai is a tasty way to get to (and maintain) your ideal weight!It’s a wonderful Sunday afternoon, and I’m having friends over for dinner.

Now like most people who entertain, I want to enjoy my time with my company as much as they enjoy themselves.

That means a no stress menu that’s also healthy.  For that, I’ve decided to go with my version of Pad Thai.

Instead of using traditional pad thai noodles, I’m going to use shirataki yam noodles (the most popular brand is “Miracle Noodles“).  This recipe has minimal carbs and a very simple peanut sauce.  Admittedly it has a bit of a higher fat content.  However this recipe serves 6 with reasonable portions or serves 4 heaping portions.  I plan on having 5 friends over so I’m not worried about the fat as much.  And, fyi eating fat doesn’t make you fat, but that’s a subject for another post:)

My (Almost) Perfect Shirataki Noodle Pad Thai

Serves 6

Peanut Sauce – Basic Version

  • 2 bunches scallions, thinly chopped

Peanut Sauce – Advanced Version

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed & finely chopped
  • 2 tsbp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 C. Fresh Cilantro or 1 Tbsp. Dried Cilantro

Pad Thai

Cooking Instructions

For Peanut Sauce:

1) In a large non-stick pot with a lid, combine all ingredients and allow mixture to simmer over low heat.  This step is the same no matter which version of the peanut sauce you’re making.

**Be sure you’re stirring this occasionally throughout the entire cooking process so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot!

-For Pad Thai

1) In a medium skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat.  After the oil is melted and you get a slight sizzle in the pan, add in the chicken breasts and use seasoning on the side facing up in the pan.  Cover the pan with a glass lid and drop heat on stove to medium heat.  Allow the chicken breast to cook for about 5 minutes on that side.

2) Flip chicken, season other side, and cook for about 5 minutes covered again.

(The glass lid helps the chicken breasts to retain moisture so this is important if you don’t want your chicken to come out tough and dry.)

3) Remove chicken from pan and put in completely cover with foil (or in a glass dish with a lid).  Allow the chicken to cool like this for at least 10 minutes before attempting to handle.

4) Once the chicken has cooled, cut into small-to-medium sized cubes.

5) Cut peppers into thin strips.

6) Add cooked chicken (which has been cubed) and peppers to the large saucepan where the peanut sauce has been simmering.

7) In a colander, drain both packages of flat shirataki noodles and rinse well.

8) Once rinsed and noodles, transfer noodles into a large dry sauce pan.  Heat stove to medium heat in order to dry noodles off.

9) Using a wooden spoon, continue to stir the noodles around in the sauce pan until dry.  You’ll know they’re dry because they’ll begin to make a squeaking noise when you stir them.

10) Once they squeak, transfer the noodles into the pot where the other peanut sauce, chicken, and peppers are all simmering.

11) After about 15 minutes, it’s ready to serve.  Enjoy!

*Please note, to keep dishes low-carb, I use Shirataki Yam Noodles made with Konjac flour NOT Shirataki Tofu Noodles which are higher in carbohydrates.

I love this version of pad thai, so try it out and let me know what you think!

Any ideas of ingredients I should try next time?

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