Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Community Action Plan For Childhood Obesity In America

Community Action Plan
Brianna M. Cua
BIO201 - Public Health and Environment.
Colorado State University – Global Campus
Curtis Wright
December 23, 2016

Community Action Plan

A public health issue in America today is childhood obesity. Obesity is at an all time high with the national average at 20 percent (Carroll-Scott, Gilstad-Hayden, Rosenthal, Eldahan, McCaslin, Peters, & Ickovics, 2015). Populations all across the country are being affected by childhood obesity. To decrease childhood obesity would help the overall public health of the United States to be happier and healthier.

Public-Health Issue and Community

Childhood obesity is a public-health issue that has affected every population in America. The top six populations that are most affected by childhood obesity with children between the ages of ten and seventeen are Mississippi with 21.7% of childhood obesity, South Carolina with 21.5% of childhood obesity, District of Columbia with 21.4% of childhood obesity, Louisiana with 21.1% of childhood obesity, Tennessee with 20.5% of childhood obesity and Arkansas with 20% of childhood obesity (The State of Obesity, 2011).


Childhood obesity is measured by the body mass index (BMI). Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex. Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex. A child's BMI is calculated by dividing the child's weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters. BMI is age and sex specific percentile for BMI rather than the BMI categories used for adults (CDC, 2015a).

Children in America that are affected by obesity are going to not only be affected now but they will also be affected as adults, if childhood obesity does not receive treatment. The effects that are happening to children with obesity right now are at risk for factors of cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. "In a population-based sample of 10- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease" (Freedman, Zuguo, Srinivasan, Berenson, & Dietz, 2007). Children that are obese are more likely to have pre diabetes and a greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems, such as poor self-esteem and stigmatization.

Long-term effects that obesity have on children are an increased risk of different types of cancer; including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate; as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Children that are obese have many risks for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis (CDC, 2015a). "One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults" (Freedman, Kettel, Serdula, Dietz, Srinivasan, & Berenson, 2005). If children do not get the help they deserve, their already unhealthy state will continue to get worse as they age.


In today’s world there are so many unhealthy options that have made children eat worse and exercise less. The most common cause of childhood obesity are genetic factors, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits (Benaroch, 2014). Weight problems do run in families but this does not mean that children are obese because of the family history. Factors in the home such as parents or siblings who are overweight or obese could lead to an increased risk of the child being overweight because of unhealthy shared eating and activity habits.

The American society has become characterized by environments that promote increased consumption of less healthy food and physical inactivity. Today there are more advertisements for less healthy foods. Children spend a lot of time in school but nearly half of U.S. middle and high schools allow advertising of less healthy foods which impacts students' ability to make healthy food choices, while advertising for healthier foods is almost nonexistent. America has also build itself so that many communities are built in ways that make it difficult or unsafe to be physically active. Half of the children in the United States do not have a park, community center, and sidewalk in their neighborhood. America has limited access to healthy affordable foods. The inexpensive food people can afford is also the food that is killing Americans (CDC, 2015a).

Diet and activity level play a huge role in a child’s weight and how healthy they are. Children in today's world have become sediment. “The average child spends approximately four hours each day watching television” (Benaroch, 2014). Computer and video games are becoming more and more popular and with that also show that this inactivity could increase which could lead to even higher levels of obesity in children.

Other Countries Suffering From Childhood Obesity

Greece is the number one country in the world that had the highest rate of obesity in children. With 44 percent of boys and 38 percent of girls in the Mediterranean nation.The OECD pegs Greece’s childhood obesity to its draconian austerity measures, which have led to tightened household budgets. With less cash for healthy fruits and vegetables, Greek families are turning to inexpensive processed and prepackaged meals (Dwyer, 2014).

Health officials in Athens, Greece are setting up a campaign to fight growing childhood obesity. The Health Ministry plans to educate children to eat better and make good choices with their foods. There is also a plan to distribute fresh fruit to students.They are planning an observatory that will compile data on weight-gain patterns among different age groups and conduct studies on the nutritional habits of different segments of the population, examining how they make their food choices (The National Herald, 2015).

Italy has the second highest rate of obesity in children. Italy’s Mediterranean diet, is known to people around the world. This nation’s citizens are increasingly turning away from the traditional produce-based, slow food regimen that’s kept them fit for centuries. Italy has a newfound love of fast food and couch-potato tendencies. 36 percent of Italian boys and 34 percent of girls are overweight or obese (Dwyer, 2014)

Italy has set up programs such as Giocampus which is an effective public private alliance that fights against childhood obesity. “The prefix ‘gio’ in Giocampus stands for ‘gioco’ – ‘play’ in Italian” (Vanelli & Finistrella, 2011). Giocampus has put together a team of pediatricians, nutritionists and psychologists that can offer information on improving children’s diet and encouraging physical activity and also family communication. Giocampus is a formidable tool to promote effective strategies that can improve knowledge of nutrition and engender positive lifestyle changes (Vanelli & Finistrella, 2011).


Obesity is preventable and treatable. The main solution for childhood obesity is for children to have healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity. Parents are a huge step in this solution. Children learn from their parents and adults around them. Adults in America are part of the problem of childhood obesity. "More than a third of adults or 34.9 percent were obese as of 2011 to 2012. More than two-thirds of adults were overweight or obese or 68.6 percent" (The State of Obesity, 2011). The adults of America need to step up and realize what their obesity is doing to younger generations.

"The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries" (CDC, 2015b).

Schools also need to step up and be a part of the solution. Children spend more than 30 hours a week in school while most the time they are just sitting at a desk. Most children only get to have gym class for 45 minutes about twice a week and only get 20 minutes of recess. That adds up to only 3 hours of running around just being a kid. "This does not even include the time that children spend behind a computer playing video games.

"We are teaching children from a young age how to get fat" (Cann, 2015). Schools play a critical role in a child's life by establishing a safe and supportive environment. Schools should increase exercise time to a healthy 30 or more active minutes a day and also increase the nutritional value of school lunches. Schools are a place for children to learn so we need to teach them about healthy eating and physical activity behaviors while giving them a safe place to practice these skills.


Preventing obesity to affect child is really up to the parents, teachers and adult figures in their lives. Adults can help children by encourage healthy eating habits. Start with small changes to a favorite recipe or a fruit instead of a calorie rich cereal bar. Just one small change can make all the difference. Make sure to provide plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products. Start buying low-fat or nonfat milk or dairy products. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils and beans for protein instead of high fat. Do not serve large portion sizes. There are many tools that can help make sure children are getting the right portion sizes. Encourage more water drinking and less sugar-sweetened beverages. Also, stop buying high processed foods and opt for snacks such as fruits and veggies (American Heart Association, 2015).

Adults should educate children. Teach them about healthy eating and how to be physically active. Also help them to understand the benefits of what 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity can do to their body. Teach them they can strengthening their bones and decreasing blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing self-esteem and help to maintain a healthy weight. Get out and play with your kids. Go for a walk, play tag, jump rope, play soccer, or dance. Just do something to get kids moving and make sure they are not staying sedentary throughout the day can make a whole world of difference for their health (American Heart Association, 2015).

Ending childhood obesity in America would be a huge step for our nation. American children would be saved from health issues now and later on in life. Which, would also save them a lot of money on medical bills. In 2008, $147 billion was spent on medical bills associated with obesity so eliminating childhood obesity would save billions of dollars in medical bills in the future (CDC, 2015b). They would also live longer, be happier, and be more productive. Today there are statistics showing that parents could outlive their children (Carroll-Scott, Gilstad-Hayden, Rosenthal, Eldahan, McCaslin, Peters, & Ickovics, 2015). Preventing future child from being obese and ending obesity in children today would make America a more
healthy and productive country.

Key Partners

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. The Director for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tom Frieden has been the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since June of 2009. Dr. Frieden has worked to reduce the leading causes of death and illness such as obesity and physical inactivity. “Strengthening public health & healthcare collaboration - by aligning, coordinating and integrating public health and health care to improve health outcomes” (CDC, 2013). Dr. Frieden has intensified the CDC’S 24/7 work to save lives and protect people, this including, reducing childhood obesity (CDC, 2013).

Frieden would be a huge asset to this project because of his vast experience with improving health security at home and around the world, reducing the leading causes of death and illness, and strengthening public health & health care collaboration. Friden would benefit from partnership with this project because one of his main goals is "Helping Americans to reduce childhood obesity through focused programs" (CDC, 2013).

Janet Collins, PhD, Director Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity for the CDC. Collin received her job for DNPAO in March 2013. This Division provides national leadership on nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention.Dr. Collins recently published a book that focuses on policy interventions including reducing childhood obesity through policy change and using health impact assessment to influence public health policy (DNPAO, 2015).

Collins would be a great asset to this project because her division of the CDC works to improve dietary quality to support healthy child development and reduce chronic disease, increase health-related physical activity for people of all ages and decrease prevalence of obesity
through prevention of weight gain and maintenance of healthy weight. The DNPAO also promotes healthy food and activity choices through environments that ensure the availability of free, good-tasting water, safe locations for physical activity, and healthier foods including affordable fruits and vegetables (DNPAO, 2015).

Timeline For Action Plan

The community action plan is on a nine year timeline with the campaigning for the plan starting in January 2016 and going till May 2016. A countrywide education plan will be started on June 2016 and go until May 2017. Funding for the project will start on June 2017 and go until September 2018. Building will start October 2018 and run until December 2019. The implementation of the community action plan will start in January 2020 and go till January 2025. After this date, the project should see how things are going and what needs to be changed or adjusted to continue to fight childhood obesity.


A public health issue in America today is childhood obesity. Obesity is at an all time high with the national average at 20 percent (Carroll-Scott, Gilstad-Hayden, Rosenthal, Eldahan, McCaslin, Peters, & Ickovics, 2015). Childhood obesity is a public-health issue that has affected every population in America. Obesity is preventable and treatable. The main solution for childhood obesity is for children to have healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity. Parents are a huge step in this solution. America as a whole needs to come together to help decrease childhood obesity which in turn would help the overall public health of the United States to be happier and healthier.


American Heart Association. (2015). Preventing childhood obesity: Tips for parents and caretakers. Retrieved from

Benaroch, R. (2014). Preventing obesity in children, causes of child obesity, and More. Retrieved from

Cann, K. (2015, September 16). Childhood obesity: Can we stop it before it starts? Retrieved from

Carroll-Scott, A., Gilstad-Hayden, K., Rosenthal, L., Eldahan, A., McCaslin, C., Peters, S. M., & Ickovics, J. R. (2015). Associations of neighborhood and school socioeconomic and social contexts with body mass index among urban preadolescent students. American Journal Of Public Health, 105(12), 2496-2502. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302882

CDC. (2015a). Childhood obesity facts. Retrieved from

CDC. (2015b). Combating childhood obesity. Retrieved from

CDC. (2013, May 17). The CDC Director. Retrieved from

DNPAO. (2015, October 27). About Us. Retrieved from

Dwyer, L. (2014). Childhood obesity in Greece. Retrieved from

Freedman, Kettel, Serdula, Dietz, Srinivasan, & Berenson. (2005). The relation of childhood BMI to adult adiposity: The Bogalusa Heart Study.Pediatrics, 115, 22-27. Retrieved from

Freedman, Zuguo, Srinivasan, Berenson, & Dietz. (2007). . Cardiovascular risk factors and excess adiposity among overweight children and adolescents: The Bogalusa Heart Study. Journal of Pediatrics, 105(1), 12-17. Retrieved from

Jackson, R. J., & Sinclair, S. (2012). Designing Healthy Communities (1st ed ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

The National Herald. (2015). Greece goes after childhood obesity. The National Herald. Retrieved from

The State of Obesity. (2011). State briefs. Retrieved from

Vanelli, M., & Finistrella, V. (2011). Italy’s Giocampus – an effective public private alliance against childhood obesity. Health Delivery, 56(2). doi:10.1016/s1361-3723(02)00318-4

In a Dark, Dark Wood By Ruth Ware

I just got done with this one and I have to say that this is one of the best books ever! I usually take my time when I read a book but with this book I was done in two days. The main character Nora she hasn’t seen her old best friend Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back. Until, Nora gets an invitation to Clare’s hen party. She reluctantly agrees to make the trip. 

What should fun-filled weekend in the English countryside takes a very dark turn into her worst nightmare. Only forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead but she doesn't know who. She wakes without her memories of what happened. Nora tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, motives, and find real answers. This means Nora must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong. But she finds out fast that some things can’t stay secret for ever.

Find it here on Amazon 


Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Holidays - Tips to Staying Healthy Over The Holidays

Happy Holidays!! I can't believe that the holidays are right around the corner. The holidays are a time to see family and friends and get together to have a great time. During this busy time everyone could use some tips for how to stay healthy with the travel and tasty treats and just being busy.Here are some tips to help you stay on track with your healthy lifestyle over the holidays. 
Been Aware and Fair to Your Body

Over the holidays a lot of people just go all out and don't even realize what they are doing to their bodies. Yes, I know it is a time to enjoy and there are lots of tempting treats to help you enjoy it.

Most of us can get away with some treats or indiscretions to our usual eating habits. Going all out through can make your body suffer with consequences such as you getting sick. Know your body and find a balance.
Deepen Your Connection With Loved Ones Not Food

During the holidays it is a time to enjoy and be with family and friends. When you give your body emotional nurturance you feel satisfaction. This will allow less emotional eating and avoid the excesses of the holidays. Get your family involved. Show your love for each other by taking care of each other.Give it a try and your body will thank you.
Get Creative Over The Holidays

Instead of just eating bad food and sitting around over the holidays do new things to improve your health. Try new healthy foods or treat yourself to a massage. November is a great time to clean out the fridge and cabinets and get rid of all the unhealthy food and fill them food to nurse your body. Start the new year off right! 
Maintain Your Cornerstones Of Your Health

Make sure that you are eating a good diet, getting regular exercise, getting adequate sleep, and minimal stress. Know your body and what works for you.

Here is what works for me :

Not eating too late in the day. We eat dinner at 4:30pm and then usually don’t eat again.

Drink plenty of good water. I drink at least 62oz of water per day.

Exercise regularly and stretch. I get about 1 hour of exercise per day & 10 minutes at least of stretching.

Eat slowly. It takes me about thirty minutes to eat dinner. I chew my food super good so my body can digest it right.

Sleep enough. I slept at least eight hours a night sometimes more.

This is what my body needs to run the way it is suppose to. Listen to your body. It will tell you what it wants and needs.
Exercise Is Crucial

Just because it is cold outside doesn't mean that you can't find exercises that you can do inside.Pick up a new workout dvd and do your workout at home. I love Jillian Michaels workout DVD’S. They are great for when I don’t want to leave the house to go to the gym. There is something great about being able to workout at home. It is my favorite!  Get at least 
30 minutes a day of moderate-intense aerobic exercise you set your body up for optimal health.
Enjoy Safe Travels By Preparing
Avoid dehydration and eat well. I pack healthy snacks and bring my favorite water bottle when we travel anywhere. This way I can eat my healthy choice instead of junk and I can just fill my water bottle up when I need. Always take a few key supplements such as vitamin C before you travel. This will help boost your immune system. Also bring hand sanitizer and watch what you touch. There are a lot of germs!

Take care of yourself, you are worth it!

Enjoy the Holidays! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why The Number On The Scale Shouldn't Be Trusted

After doing sixty days of the program Piyo it was time to step on the scale and measure my body to see how I did with the program. 

I was so disappointed when I stepped on the scale and it said that I had gained five pounds! I was like what have I been doing wrong. I was faithful with the workouts and I ate super healthy. I was so upset, until I looked at my before and after pictures and saw the change that had happened. 

The number on the scale does not tell the whole story behind your health. Here are some reasons on why you shouldn't trust the scale. 

1.Trust Your Clothes

Take a step off the scale and look at how your clothes fit. If you clothes fit great, then the number on the scale is not important. 
2. Weight Fluctuates Daily

For the people who weigh themselves everyday. You probably notice that the number fluctuate each day. This can be due to many different reasons from water retention due to hormones, or holding water due to consuming excessive sodium. Drink lots of water and lower your sodium intake so that you can avoid this. And stop weighing yourself everyday!

3. Weight Does Not Always Show Health

Just because you are thin does not mean that you are healthy. Someone heavier could actually have better health markers due to genetics and lifestyle choices. Don’t think you are health just because of a number. Practice healthy habits so you can live a healthy life!

4. Again, Muscle Weighs More Than Fat

If you start working out you may notice that you are gaining weight. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It could actually be a great thing. It could mean you are building muscle which weighs more than fat so realize if your clothes are bigger but the scale is the same, this is because of the lean muscle you have built. Did you know building muscle will help boost your metabolism so you can burn fat even at rest? Get lifting to a leaner you!

5. Body Composition Changes 

Muscle ways more than fat. So step back and take a look at your muscle to fat ratio. If you have a lower body composition ratio, you must have less fat and more muscle. That is really what counts not the number that the scale says. 

6. It Can Ruin Your Day

It can be a hard hit when you notice that the number on the scale is up higher than expected. Focus more on how you feel about yourself not your weight. Worry more about adopting a healthy lifestyle.

7. Scale Doesn’t Count Everything

Realize the scale does not account for everything and the numbers do not show the bigger picture of your fitness and health. Like me you need to focus on how you look and feel and how far you've come and not what annoying number is on the scale.
Just keep working hard on your health and fitness goals. I recommend making weight training a regular part of your fitness routine and aim for at least 3 sessions of cardio each week. HIIT cardio sessions are the best. Eat a clean diet and avoid high-fat, high-sodium, highly processed foods. Don't let the scale get you down!! 


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

We Created, Produced and Published Our Winter Story With Over 135 Schools From Around The World

This is the newest post from my mom's blog, The Library Voice.  Since we work together on projects for Cantata Learning....and this has been one of the best projects we have ever worked on together...I just had to post about it too.  
Over the last month, children, teachers, communities and families around the world have created winter stories, songs, poetry, recipes, books, art work, personal narratives, maps and so many other beautiful projects to add to the Winter Around The World project.  
You can read all about the project on our Winter Around The World Project Tackk.  

We used the Cantata Learning book Winter...The Coldest Season of All as our inspiration for this will be just the first of many wonderful projects supported by other Cantata and Capstone books and resources.  

We can't wait to tell you more about the upcoming projects which include birthday celebrations and nursery rhymes.  
I pulled all of the posts, pictures and other resources being shared about theWinter Around The Project here on this Padlet.  

We can continue to share on this with the special news, sharing and creating from your school community too.  

With all of the special winter projects being created, it was time to produce and publish an eBook so it would be shared with everyone around the world.  
For this project, I used two of my favorite digital tools....eduBuncee and FlipSnackEdu.  These are both digital storytelling tools with a few features that make each unique. 

Using eduBuncee, Brianna, who is an intern for Cantata, and myself created a Happy Holidays Buncee from Cantata and Capstone.  We picked several projects from around the world to include in this one, along with a fun video from our team too.  
Next it was time to pull together all of the winter projects for our global story.  Everyone who participated in the project added their winter stories to the collaborative Google Presentation using as many slides or pages needed.  This one was very very large with almost 500 pages.  

My friend Molly Chester helped me by condensing this Google Presentation and turning it into a clickable PDF.  It was awesome because the links within the slides stayed embedded. 
For this one, I used FlipSnackEdu.  It worked out perfect with the size and allowed me to upload the clickable PDF that Molly had created.  

I used a few of the slides I had created within eduBuncee....and just love the way these two smashed together so nicely.  
Brianna also created the Index For Our Global Winter Around The World Story to make it easier to search through the amazing projects.  This is located in the front of the FlipSnackEdu too. 

So here it is, friends.  The global story that we all had a voice in and one that will be very special when teaching others around the world about what winter means to us.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Featured On The Padlet Blog For The "Hour Of Code" Padlet We Created!

I have been working with my mom as the Co-Director of Creative Projects and Bookings for her educational consulting and speaking business, The Library Voice. It has been so fun learning more about technology and digital tools from my mom.  

Recently we worked together to make a few very special Padlet's. Padlet is a digital tool which created an interactive wall that you can add comments, links, videos, photographs...anything with an url.
Padlet is a great place for anyone to go and share. 
First, we created a Coding Padlet. It was first created for Hour of Code but we have continued to add to it. This Padlet is a great way for teacher librarians and teachers to share how they are integrating coding into their library, classroom, and home.  And so fun for students to get ideas from too. 

It is really great and interesting learning more about how people are using coding in different ways all across the country. I learned a ton about by creating this with my mom. 
The second Padlet that we worked on was for bringing together Winter & Holiday Picture Books

I loved working on this Padlet. I put at least six hours into it and loved every minute of it!  I have such special memories of my mom sharing lots of Christmas picture books with us every year.  
After I created this one, we thought it would be fun to create one for Winter & Holiday Chapter Books too.  
To make all of this creating, sharing and curating even more exciting, Padlet featured my mom and I's Coding Padlet on their blog Graffiti yesterday!  I was very happy to see this. 

I was honored they would share my story in this post too.  

Padlet can be used for a wide variety of things within any occupation, organization or even just for personal organizing and sharing.  

Think about ways that you could use Padlet in your life.  I can't wait to hear your ideas too.  

Apple Pie Oatmeal

I have oatmeal every morning for breakfast and sometimes it can get a little boring and needs some spicing up. I love this easy way to add a little spice to my oatmeal in the morning. A healthy breakfast can really set the tone for your entire day. 


1/2 cup old fashioned oats

2 cups water or skim milk

1 cup chopped apples

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Just Combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until fully cooked. This recipe does make two servings. 
This oatmeal is really great too because you can add things and really make it to your liking. You can add more spices if you like a more bold flavor or add some honey if you want it to be a little sweeter. I would try it with honey though. It makes it super delicious.


Old-Fashioned Cornbread

Cornbread is the best. I love it. My favorite way to eat it is with a little drizzle of honey right when it comes out of the oven. Yum!!! So, here it is my recipe for cornbread. It is delicious, easy and of course nutritious! Hope you enjoy. :) 


2 cups cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 3/4 cups low-fat buttermilk

1 egg, slightly beaten


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a pan with a little sunflower oil. I like to use either a 8" cast iron skillet or square baking pan. Make sure to grease the pan very well so that the cornbread doesn’t stick. While you prepare the cornbread, place the skillet with oil into the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl. In a small bowl whisk together honey, buttermilk and egg. Add to dry ingredients and stir just to combine.

Remove skillet from oven and pour hot oil into the cornbread mixture, stir. Sprinkle the bottom of the skillet with 1 teaspoon of cornmeal.Pour cornmeal mixture into the skillet or pan, place in the oven on the middle rack and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden in color.

Corn meal is a whole grain. Whole-grain foods contain the bran as well as the germ and endosperm of the fruited grain. Which, of course is where all of nutrients are at. 

Corn meal is a great food that provided needed fiber into your diet. Fiber can absorb cholesterol and lower blood sugars as they move through the digestive system. 

A 1-oz. serving of cornbread contains 1.8 g of fiber. And because fiber is not digested, but simply passes through the digestive system, it is basically like you get to eat this delicious food that fills you up without the added calories. ;) 
Corn meal has several very important nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folic acid, folates and vitamins A, B-6 and B-12. Newer studies also show that corn meal has 10 of the essential amino acids, building blocks for proteins that control growth, cellular processes and organ function.

So enjoy a little corn bread once in awhile it actually has health benefits!


Monday, December 14, 2015

9 Healthy Things To Do Before 9am To Start Your Day Off Right

1. Set A Sleep Schedule And Stick To It

Setting a sleep schedule for yourself may seem like you're back to being a child again and mom and dad are telling you it’s time for bed. But, honestly having your body be on a sleep schedule is so important. Without a sleep schedule our bodies get out of whack. Having your body out of whack drains your energy. Set a time you are going to go to sleep and a time you are going to get up and stick with it! Ours is 9:30pm-5:30am. Your body will thank you by quickly adapting to the new routine. Remember to get at least eight hours of sleep as well!
2. Wake Up Early..Like 6am Early

I love getting up early and being able to take my time in the morning and have my morning routine. We get up at about 5:30am since my husband has to be at PT in the mornings. I love this time I have to myself in the morning. I get to accomplish my morning goals, make the bed, read, drink my coffee (of course), snuggle with Sancho, workout, unload the dishwasher, and whatever other small tasks I need to get done before I am ready to officially start my day. This time really changes the entire rhythm of my day. Doing little things like making your bed as soon as you get up helps to build your momentum to accomplish things throughout your day. I would not of seen this awesome sunrise if I wouldn't have been up early! :) I accomplish much more on mornings I get up early!
3. Drink A LOT of Water

You need to rehydrate yourself in the morning. You haven’t had anything to drink for hopefully around eight hours so you need to rehydrate yourself. Water also helps to fire up your metabolism and give it a kick start for the day.
4. Exercise Before The Day Gets Going

Oh how I love exercising in the morning. It gives me a boost of energy, and also a sense of accomplishment! You might feel tired at first when you exercise in the morning. Give it five minutes and you will perk up and feel great! My two new favorite workouts I have been doing are Turbofire and ChaLean Extreme. Love them! Wearing your workout clothes to bed is a great way to keep yourself accountable for a morning exercise. Just do it and you will feel good about yourself all day. And you will be ready to kick your days butt!
5. Eat a Hearty, Balanced Breakfast

Your body doesn't want sugary cereal or a dought it wants something that is going to help it get started for the day and give it the energy it needs to get through an active day. My breakfast every morning is first carbs with ½ cup of old fashioned oatmeal and 1 teaspoon of honey. Later after I workout I will get my protein and fruit in with a protein shake and an apple. This really gives me the energy my body wants and needs.
6. Read

Reading in the morning has many benefits. It allows you to chill out and take a break while getting ready to take on your day. It also helps to create space for yourself to relieving stress to even getting your brain into work mode. I love to read for about an hour in the morning while I drink my coffee and snuggle with Sancho. It really helps me to get into work mode and start my day.
7. Write In A Journal
I know, it sounds kinda silly. But there are a number of benefits to keeping a journal. Writing in a journal each morning will actually help to spark your creativity. While also helping to strengthen your self-discipline and confidence. Which helps you throughout your entire day and life.
8. Listen To Music

Music in the morning helps to light up your brain and reduce stress and anxiety. Music brings your mind to a positive place while lifting you up.
9. Tell Someone “I love you”

Showing your gratitude and love can be very powerful for your health. Telling someone you love them daily can have many benefits. It can actually boost your immune system. It also helps to ease stress and put the rest of the day on the right path. And it just makes you feel happy and loved! <3

These are nine great steps to start your day off right and ensure for a great day full of success and confidence.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Perfect Sunday Meal

I love having meals like this on Sunday. Reminds me of home. This week for our Sunday dinner I made baby back ribs, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts! It was delicious. And guess what? I am going to share how to make this entire meal with you guys. Happy Sunday!

Melt In Your Mouth Baby Back Ribs


3 lbs baby back pork ribs

¾ cup organic coconut sugar

1 teaspoon hickory smoke salt

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ground red pepper

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

5 tablespoons all natural liquid hickory smoke

1 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce (check out my healthy homemade bbq sauce)


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Peel off tough membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs. Then cut the ribs into about three pieces per rack.

Mix together the sugar and spices to make the rub.

Apply the all natural liquid hickory smoke to the ribs then rub the sugar and spice mix generously on all sides of the ribs. 

Lay two rib pieces on two layers of foil, shiny side out and meaty side down. So I end up with about six foil packs. Roll and crimp edges tightly with the edges facing up to seal.

Place on baking sheet and bake for 2-2 1/2 hours or until meat is starting to shrink away from the ends of the bone.

Remove from oven and heat the broiler.

Remove ribs from the foil and arrange on broiler pan, bony side up. Brush on bbq sauce. Broil for 1 or 2 minutes until sauce is cooked on and bubbly.Turn ribs over and repeat on other side.

That's it!
Sweet Potato Mash 


2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

1 large sweet red onion, cut into bite sized pieces

4 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon salt


Heat a skillet to about 400 F. Add the coconut oil and melt. Next add in the sweet potatoes and the onions.

Cover the skillet with a lid and let cook for about seven minutes.

Flip the sweet potato and onion mixture over and cover and let cook for another five minutes.

Uncover the pan and continue to flip the sweet potatoes and onions as needed until they have started to brown.

Add a sprinkle of salt and serve!
White Wine Brussel Sprouts


1 lb of brussel sprouts, cleaned and cut lengthwise

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup chicken broth 

1/4 cup white wine

1 teaspoon of salt and pepper


Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the brussel sprouts. Let cook for about three minutes.

Add in the chicken broth and let cook for another ten minutes

Add the white wine and the salt and pepper and cook until tender and get a little crispy on the outside.

Ready to serve! 
Cheers! Hope everyone has a great Sunday. 


Homemade Maple BBQ Sauce

BBQ is a great condiment that can be used in so many ways. I have used this before on pulled pork and of course on my Melt In Your Month Baby Back Ribs. This BBQ sauce is simple to make and of course all natural!

It is both sweet and tangy. You can easily add or take out ingredients to make it to your liking. This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of BBQ sauce.


5 oz of organic tomato sauce

3 oz of organic tomato paste

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1.5 tablespoons organic coconut sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon all natural liquid hickory smoke

1 tablespoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


In a medium saucepan mix together all ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.

Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Pour into a glass jar and keep in the 


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Creamy Chicken and Corn Chowder

It is cold and rainy today here in Belgium so I decided to make my husband's favorites soup creamy chicken and corn chowder. He is actually the one that introduced me to this recipe from his childhood. I love to make it on a Saturday or Sunday so that then we get to enjoy leftovers for lunch almost all week. Yummy!! Here is what you need to get started.


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded

1/4 cup organic grass feed butter

3 large yellow peppers, diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups organic white flour

12 cups low-sodium chicken broth

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced slightly less than 1/2-inch thick

4 bay leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn

2 cups fat free half and half

Some options for topping are bacon, cooked and crumbled, green onion, shredded mexican blend cheese and tomato.


In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add yellow bell pepper, onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour, and cook 1 minute stirring constantly. While stirring, slowly add in chicken broth and whisk until well blended.

Add potatoes, bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil stirring frequently, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes or just until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Add in cooked chicken, corn and half and half and simmer, uncovered 10 - 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Serve warm and add any toppings you like!

This recipe makes a ton of soup. I estimated about ten servings since we have it for leftovers for at least four days.
This is also a great recipe if you are wanting to enjoy some chowder but don't want to break your diet. It was rated at a B+ on Calorie Count. The worse thing in this recipe is of course the butter. If you are wanting to substitute this with something else try olive oil or coconut oil. Portion control is key! You can enjoy recipes like this if you practice portion control. 

The first time I made this recipe my husband informed me that it was the best with cornbread. So if you make this recipe try making it with cornbread. It is the best!

Keep an eye out for my next recipe for healthy cornbread. :) 


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Coffee-Mate - Natural Bliss - Pumpkin Spice Flavor

Yes, I am aware that the other day I posted just how bad coffee creamers are for you. Yet, when I was at the store the other day I couldn't help but buy this. This beautiful creation is Coffee-Mate's new Natural Bliss Pumpkin Spice flavor. 

Every week I walk past the coffee creamers and I tell myself to just keep walking. Well, with all the pumpkin spice flavors I had to look. I noticed the Natural Bliss products. Which, yes I have bought before. ;) I saw that there was a pumpkin spice flavor where the vanilla usually is. I had to get it! I mean it is the holidays and this is a limited edition flavor. 

The Natural Bliss line from Coffee Mate is a great option if you are just dying to have some store bought coffee creamer. It only has four ingredients nonfat milk, heavy cream, sugar and natural flavor. 
The only ingredient I don't like in the creamer is the natural flavor since you can't really tell what it is. But, honestly I will take my chances and you should too. This creamer is an amazing way to enjoy some pumpkin spice flavor without having to drink a 500 calorie Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. Sometimes you have to splurge and enjoy a guilty pleasure. Coffee is mine and this creamer made it even better.

I don't like when the pumpkin spice flavor is really bold and with this creamer it is the perfect mix. I can taste the pumpkin spice but it is not overpowering in any way. It is a very settle taste of pumpkin spice. 

Get out there and get some of this creamer before the holiday seasons are over and it is gone. You won't regret it. I promise! Just remember to have this product in moderation. You can enjoy treats just make sure it is in moderation.