Monthly Archives: January 2014

Real People Eat Real Food: Black Bean Burgers


I’m starting a new series that showcases a bunch of recipes that I’ve tried.  I’ll try my best to incorporate non-processed foods in the recipes, with a few exceptions. My point is that, as Americans, we have become accustomed to eating processed food and encouraging gluttony on our plates. Incorporating real foods into your diet helps to ensure that we get all the right nutrients and not starve our bodies of things that are necessary for healthy functioning bodies and immune systems. I also want to show that you don’t have to eat like a bird in order to eat healthy or lose weight. Moderation is key, but filling up on good nutrients will lead to better health.

My first recipe is Bri’s Black Bean Burgers ( how ’bout that for alliteration?!). I found this recipe online, but made a few alterations (some by accident).

Items needed:

2 large eggs

1 cup bread crumbs

2 15 ounce cans of black beans (drained after opening)

1 large red onion (chopped)

1 green bell pepper (chopped)

1 tablespoon chipotle chile pepper

A hand full of mushrooms

3 cloves of garlic (chopped)


Instructions: Preheat oven to 375

1. In a large bowl, mash both cans of black beans until thick and pasty. 


2. Place the onions, garlic, green bell pepper, and mushroom into a blender or food processor (Food processor is probably better. We used a blender because that’s all we had). This mixture should smell like guacamole when blended. 


3. In a smaller bowl mix the two eggs and chipotle chile pepper.

4. Place the blender mixture in the bowl with the beans. Mix together. Now pour and mix in the egg mixture and bread crumbs in the bean mixture. Now you should have an “everything mixture”.


5. Form patties with the everything mixture and place on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake on one side for 11 minutes and then flip over the patties for another 11 minutes.  

But is it tasty?

Don’t expect them to taste like burgers, because it is not made out of meat. While cooking, it smelled so much like a Korean restaurant, and the kick of the chipotle chili pepper powder reminded me of the kick in kimchi. This kick was unexpected because the original recipe called for just chili pepper powder, not CHIPOTLE chili pepper powder. However, without this kick, I have a feeling these burgers would be really bland.  Overall, this was VERY tasty! My husband loved them too! Next time, I would probably add more bread crumbs to hold them together better.  

Try them and let me know what you think!


Flat Belly Challenge


Looking to for a great workout experience with out going to the gym? Here’s one I’ve done personally before and totally enjoyed. I’m headed on a road trip for a week and this challenge is perfect for getting an effective work out. Don’t forget to drink your protein shakes either before or after you work out.  Who’s with me?


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Healthy Smoothie Recipe!

The Beauty Books

Hi everyone! Hope everyone is enjoying the first month of 2014! 🙂

Today I’d like to share a healthy smoothie recipe that is so good for you. If you’re consistent with these ingredients, you will notice the changes physically and internally within weeks. Honestly, this smoothie gives me an energy boost instantly! It has such great vitamins and nutrients to detoxify your body and is great for drawing out any impurities on the skin.

To get the best results, the keyis to be consistent with it (I wish I was!)


  • Blueberries – high antioxidant, reduce cancer risk, brain food
  • Strawberries – biotin (helps build strong hair & nails), fibre, nitrate (promotes fluid & oxygen which supports weight loss)
  • Kale – high iron, vitamin k (helps bone health, protects cancer, prevents blood clotting), antioxidant
  • Orange – vitamin C, calcium, potassium (boosts heart health)
  • Banana – improves mood and energy

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What happens when you have BIG healthy eating desires and a LITTLE budget?


It’s the New Year and your plan is to be healthier than the last year. The only problem is that you’ve also made a resolution to save money this year (or you have no choice but to have a small food budget).  Here are a few tips for people (like me) who don’t have much money to spend on healthy food.

1. Plan your week’s worth of food.  Have you ever gone to the grocery store hungry? I have, and I nearly bought up the whole store thinking that my cart was my stomach.  It’s better to plan your meals and your grocery list ahead of time so that you don’t waste additional money on things that you won’t even eat.


Monday: Eggplant Parmesan for dinner; Eggplant, Parmesan Cheese, Pasta Sauce, Olive Oil

Tuesday: Veggie Lasagna; Eggplant, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, mozzarella, tomato, pasta sauce

2. Buy things that you can use for multiple meals: If you notice in the schedule of things above, you will see that I’ve used some things more than once for meals.  Buying several staple items like chicken breasts, whole grain pasta or rice, bulk veggies and sauces can help to stretch your healthy food supply.

3. Canned Food: If you’re short on money AND time, canned food might be your best bet for veggies. They are generally cheaper than the veggies in the produce section and already come cut up and chopped.  However, look at the label when purchasing. Some canned foods have high levels of sodium and preservatives.

Here are a few examples of some healthy canned foods:

4. Grocery Store Brand/Grocery Store Sales: It is worth investing in a grocery store MVP or “Valued Customer” card. Most stores offer these cards for free. Weekly in store sales help to stretch your budget. The picture above shows the results of a sale last week for yogurt; 20 yogurts for $10.00! Many stores now provide their weekly circulars online. It is a misconception that store brand items are of lesser quality than name brand.  In my experience, most of the items taste the same or better. Your savings will increase even more if you have coupons. 

5. Buy more veggies:  I tend to spend the most money per item on meat. For example, I spend about $10.00 per packet of chicken breasts. $10.00 can get me about 10 canned veggies and 2 or 3 different fruits. My husband and I have found it more reasonable to fill up on two or three veggies per night rather than having mostly meat on our plate.  This is also based on recommendations.

6. Farmer’s market freeze:  One of my favorite things about the farmer’s market is the fact that I can freeze much of the leafy green produce.  I bought a $5.00 5 lb bag of kale last November.  We are still eating that kale.  Best $5.00 I’ve ever spent in my life!


My grocery list favorites: I don’t buy these every week, but I make sure that they are stocked in the house!

Lettuce: ($1.25 per head. Lettuce is not only good for salad, but is also good for sandwiches and lettuce wraps)

Chicken Breasts (about $10.00 per pack. This usually lasts us about a week and a half. It can be used for a variety of meals. My husband and I have chosen to eat mostly poultry. We try not to eat red meat or pork.)

Kale (about $2.00 per bunch, cheaper during farmer’s market season.  Kale is not only a super food, but it’s full of protein and can be washed and frozen.)

Eggplant (about $2.00 each. One large eggplant is enough to last 2 or 3 dinners between me and my husband.)

Granola (about $2.50 each. My fave kind of cereal)

Natural Peanut Butter (about $3.00, a good source of protein to eat in moderation)

Ground Turkey Meat ( about $3.00 per pound. I love using this for meatloaf, pasta meat, or just adding a little something special to a different dish)

Broccoli: ( about $1.50 per frozen bag, This is healthy roughage that is tasty when sauteed with a garlic and olive oil)

Sweat Potatoes ( price depends on the season. This is a complex carbohydrate and its so tasty and filling)

Oatmeal ( about $2.50 for a box of ten packets or $2.00 for a tall container of instant oatmeal.  This is a very filling breakfast meal.  It is heart healthy.)

Brown Rice (about $2.00 for a 2 pound bag. This is a better alternative to pasta or potatoes.  Whole grains are better than processed  grains at managing your weight and preventing chronic diseases). 

Black Beans ($1.25 per can. This is good for protein)

Almond Milk ($.300 per gallon. I cannot really tolerate animal milk, and my husband is allergic to soy, so this is a tasty alternative)

Tomatoes ($2.00 for a 4 pack/ great for adding seasoning or color to a dish)

Onions ($5.00 for a 5lb bag. Great for seasoning and an alternative to salt)

Bananas ($.50 per pound. Everyone’s favorite fruit and something sweet to snack on)

Apples ($4.00 per 5lb bag. Great for a quick snack and sweet tooth.)


Well, I hope this helps. Make a budget and go shopping!

The science of willpower: Kelly McGonigal on why it’s so dang hard to stick to a resolution

TED Blog

By the second week of January, that resolution that once seemed so reasonable — go to the gym every other day, read a book a week, only drink alcohol on weekends — is starting to seem very … hard. As you are teetering on the edge of abandoning it all together, Kelly McGonigal is here to help. This Stanford University psychologist — who shared last year how you can make stress your friend — wants you to know that you’re not having a hard time sticking to a resolution because you are a terrible person. Perhaps you’ve just formulated the wrong resolution.

McGonigal has, for years, taught a course called “The Science of Willpower” through Stanford’s Continuing Studies program and, in 2011, she spun it into a book, The Willpower Instinct. The TED Blog spoke to McGonigal this week about how willpower is often misunderstood, and what we each can do…

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Great Public Health News about Tobacco Control Programs

Great Public Health News about Tobacco Control Programs


Now a new study in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association – which has devoted its entire issue to tobacco and smoking – estimates that tobacco control efforts since the first Surgeon General’s report have added 20 years of life for 8 million Americans. Without tobacco control, half of those Americans would have died before the age of 65.” Please click the link for the article from


January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

“1 in 147 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in their lifetime.” HPV causes about 99% of all cervical cancer cases.

About 79 million Americans have the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV, an STD and a major cause of cervical cancer. It is transmitted through skin to skin contact, not via bodily fluids.

Risk factors for getting cervical cancer include:

“Smoking, multiple sex partners, sexual intercourse at an early age, chlamydia, weakened immune system or HIV”.

The bad news is that about 80% of women will be infected with some type of HPV before the age of 50.  It can remain dormant for years and can take up to 10 to 20 years to develop.  Therefore, it is possible to transmit the disease to multiple partners without knowing that you have HPV.

The good news is that Cervical Cancer can be detected early by going to your GYN doc for yearly PAP smears to test for pre-cancerous cells. It is also highly preventable. 

Ways to prevent cervical cancer:


Vaccinations (helps to prevent against the two most common types of HPV)

Proper use of condoms


If you haven’t scheduled a well woman check-up in a while, do yourself a favor and schedule yearly pap smears. It could save your life. If you are a sexually active male, be mindful of how your actions can affect your current and future partner. HPV has also been linked to oral, head and neck cancers.

Here is a cute and informative video: