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April Jay

Food Swaps: Healthier choices same great taste

Food Swaps: Healthier choices same great taste

Happy Friday!

So today I wanted to share some of the food swaps I have been making while still enjoying a delicious meal.

Lets start with breakfast.

Well first let me say that in the past, many of days I would skip breakfast which most of us know is No Bueno! Breakfast is important for weight control and improved performance. So the first improvement I have made is waking up on time to prepare breakfast. The next was actually swapping my higher calorie egg cheese and bacon croissants for a healthier choice. I consume more than 200 fewer calories by swapping to a delicious bowl of oatmeal. As an added bonus I like to add blueberries for a sweet flavor, a good source of anti-oxidants, and a belly fat eliminator.

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Another breakfast swap I enjoy is a fresh fruit smoothy. I always include blueberries for the same reasons I include them in oatmeal. For the smoothy below I also added strawberries, a banana, and coconut milk. Simple, sweet, healthy, and filling.

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Lunch Time

Many of us love a nice juicy bacon cheese burger and a side order of fries. Sounds good right? Well how can I make this meal healthier while still enjoying the savory taste? Check out the swap!

  •  Swapped a beef burger patty for a veggie burger patty ( less fat and calories and more fiber)
  • Swapped pork bacon for turkey bacon (50 fewer calories)
  • Swapped slices of cheese for a sprinkle of shredded cheese (smaller portion)
  • Swapped sesame seed bun for flax wheat flat bread (only 100 calories)
  • Swapped Ketchup for two slices of fresh tomato ( lower calories, less sugar)
  • Swapped french fries for baked sweet potato fries.  (more vitamins)

The star of the show for me was the sweet potato fries because it was my first time ever having sweet potato and it was fun to make the fries from scratch. Plus it was easy!

You peel the potato

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Cut them into french fry shape (make them as then or thick as you like)

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Use a bit of EVOO and your favorite seasoning ( I used black pepper garlic powder, onion powder, and italian seasoning). Then bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

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Then before you know it you have yummy sweet potato fries

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Heres a look at the turkey bacon veggie burger on flax wheat bread

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This was delicious!

Dinner is ready

For dinner I love to swap red meats for salmon or boneless skinless chicken breast this is good for fewer calories and lower cholesterol.

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Grilled salmon over brown wild rice with a homemade lemon sauce.

As a side I love rice especially yellow rice but I found that brown rice is a healthier choice and can be just as good. Brown rice is higher in fiber and promote regularity which is good for the digestive system. Brown rice also prevents weight gain because by eating whole grains you can be more likely to maintain a healthy body weight. “The oil in brown rice has been shown to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as the bad cholesterol, by up to seven percent”( symptomfind).

So heres a recent dinner I made. Its boneless skinless chicken with a Caribbean Jerk sauce and sautéed onions. I served it over brown rice and I had a side of spinach with corn beans and tomatoes.

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So those are some of the swaps that I made recently. Some are more subtle than others but I have been seeing results through execising often and making healthier choices.

What swaps have you made recently? Share them!

April Jay

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NYC World Natural Health and Beauty Expo

NYC World Natural Health and Beauty Expo

This is a fun post for me because it covers 3 of my main categories Natural hair, Wellness, andFashion. Today I attend the NYC World Natural Health and Beauty Expo presented by Taliah Waajid. It was really a good experience that I am happy to share with you.So I hope you find it interesting!

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Left: Orrianne K, Right: April Jay (me)

Natural Hair

There were over 150 exhibitors with tons of samples, products and information. Some were very well known companies such as Carols Daughter, Mixed Chics, Shea moisture and other were up and coming businesses. They all had a lot to offer including great deals and discounts. On stage people were getting styled in mini twists, braids, buns and even BIG CHOPS.

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I love shea moisture so after collecting tons of free samples from everyone I purchased a few products from the brand and it was a great deal of 3 for $25.

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I bought the African Black Soap Body Wash, the Olive and Green Tae Body Butter with Avocado (this product is the bomb) and the coconut & Hibiscus Hold and Shine Moisture Mist.

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Wellness

But more than just hair the event focused on wellness. I attend a workshop called Weigh Less Live More presented by My Wellness Solutions and I received new knowledge on weight loss. Some take away points included that combining Herbal supplements +behavior modifications +meal replacements together help to more effectively lose weight. They also talked about the importance of regular bowel movements 2-3 times a day. I will confess I think 2-3 a day is a LOT but they said that if you are not going that frequently then you may be backed up so it is important to eat fiber.

They also mentioned the importance of having a food policy with yourself in order to stay disciplined. They say that in your food policy if you truely want to get rid of fat, stop eating bread. They also noted that not all veggies are created equal and to stick to green veggies and be cautious about the amount of rooted veggies you eat. During the session they told us that if you stick to your policy and eliminate the foods that are preventing weight loss, then once you get to your goal you can reintroduce good foods back in but with moderation such as healthy breads and moderate levels of rooted veggies like sweet potatoes and plantain.

They also introduced the topic of candida (yeast) which is a fungus that normally lives in your gut without a problem but when the delicate balance is thrown off by the frequent use of antibiotics and a consistent diet rich in refined carbs, we have a major problem! They said that this is what causes us to have sweets cravings because the yeast needs sugar in order to continue to survive. Common symptoms of candida include chronic fatigue, lack of energy, persistent malaise, difficulty concentrating, irritability, bloating and gas. A solution to eliminate this from the body is to follow a diet that eliminates all refined carbs like white rice, breads and sweets.

Fashion

So throughout the day I gained a lot of knowledge but I also enjoyed the fashion. Believe me fros, coils and locs in it self can be a major fashion statements but the ethnic prints that accompanied them brought the room to life. I chose to wear a bit of print myself. Ethnic prints are just so beautiful and expressive in my opinion and I think they definitely work for the season. Here is a look at my yellow and red african safari inspired Elephant high waist harem pants. I love them they are so breezy, comfy and stylish!

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All in all I enjoyed myself. I loved the culture, the music, the ambiance, the knowledge, and if you are in the NY area tomorrow Sunday July 20, 2014 you should attend the second part of the expo located at Time Square Marriott 1535 Broadway NY, NY. Or you can check in your area for upcoming events like this.

April Jay

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Weekend de la Fro : Flat twist + Bantu Knot out = curly fro

Weekend de la Fro : Flat twist + Bantu Knot out = curly fro

This has been a ”weekend de la fro”! Yes I know its only friday but my weekend starts on Thursdays during the summer. Anyway I’ve been rocking my fro because tomorrow I will be attending the NYC Natural hair expo and I thought it would be a good look. I will definitely have a blog dedicated to the natural expo so look out for that. Anyway I have been wearing my hair in a fro and for the past two days I decided to wear it a curly fro and I wanted to show how I achieved this look.

1) So I did this style on freshly washed and blow dried hair so that it would be BIG! The bigger the better right? So if you want the look to be big then first wash and blow dry your hair (or to avoid heat use another hair stretching method)

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2) Next I would section my hair by using my wide tooth comb, hair clips, and pony tail holder. I also used Shea Moisture Hair Milk to moisturize my hair.

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3) Now take a section of hair and two strand flat twist it. (Remember the smaller your section and the tighter the twist, the tighter your curls will be. If you want a bigger fro make your sections/ twist bigger. )

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4) Now wrap the twist around itself into a cinnamon bun shape to create a bantu knot at the end. Secure the bantu knot with a small rubber band.

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5) I usually do this at night so in the morning the I am able to gently take it down and have a cute curly fro.

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Here is a look at a flat twist + bantu knot out that was done with bigger twist in order to have a looser curl and bigger fro. It gave it a more kinky texture

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So if you like it really big in fluffy or full of bouncy curls, the flat twist + bantu knot out is the way to go.

Peace + Love

April Jay

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Fro Love

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Today  was an awesome day, I have great news which I will share in an upcoming post. But for now a part of my good day can be attributed to the fro love I had this morning. I washed and blew out my hair and as I stared upon my reflection I saw a beautiful bountiful afro that was all my own. I love to take time to embrace my texture, my color, my personal beauty; because it is a part of my identity. I love who God created me to be both inside and out and wearing big hair is a fun way to express the pride I have in myself and who I am.

Remember to take time to love who you are!

Heres to Fro Love

April Jay

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Progress is progress. Even small changes are big!

So I have finally been seeing some results. It took me to kick it into high gear in the gym to see this progress. I mean I really have been challenging myself and sweating hard which shows me I am actually doing something. My most recent gym routine has included 20-30 minutes on the bicycle on level 10-12 and this has really got me working hard! Another exercise that I am finding helpful is 60-100 weighted barbell squats. Those are just two aspects from my cardio and strength training routine that has been working for me. But, additional I credit a change in diet as a source of my recent success. I have been preparing all my own foods and eating clean in addition to eating all 5 meals  each day while keeping portion control in mind.

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So here are my results I actually started at 167lb but my pictures start at 165 and in a weeks time  I was down to 162lb ( I understand that this may be water weight but progress is progress). 5 pounds in a week is awesome, but I am quite aware that after this first week that will most likely slow down to maybe 1 pound or 2 per week (sometimes even less). However, that will not discourage me I plan to keep up the hard work! I have a long way to go and I am excited about burning fat!

#OnePound At ATime

(Source: its-minimal, via curly-essence)

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