Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reader Feature!

So a few nights ago my parents sent me a text message.
It was this picture:



The Skinny Pina Colada that we posted during the Sip Your Way Skinny Series!
(with our shameless Christmas card pic in the background)
But, aren't they cute?

They said they made it with coconut soda instead of coconut water and it was great!
(which is a big deal because they are both fellow Pina Colada lovers)

But, I love that they were using the recipes
AND that they were making their own variations.

I told Kirst about it and it gave us an idea...

Whenever you guys make one of the recipes, take a picture (no need to be professional).
Then, send it to us (sipsetc@gmail.com) and we'll pick some to feature on the blog!
And be sure to let us know when you substitute ingredients or have some additions you found made it better.

We love hearing from you guys,
we aren't just asking those questions at the end of the blogs as a good wrap up...we really do want to know.

So, email us your hard work!  We're looking forward to it!

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Diet Coke Days-- One of my Newest Prized Possessions...


First, last week finished up our Sip Your Way Skinny Series for January. We hope it gave you some good, practical, and motivational ideas on how to maintain your health resolutions this year.

Now, onto today's Diet Coke Days post...

I have been d.y.i.n.g. to show you, my fellow diet cokers, something that I got for Christmas
and now I finally can...

While I was in Philly over New Years, my cousin Ross came over for the family dinner and had this gem under his arm:

...and he says: "Trish, I saw this and figured you had to have it".

!!!!!!!!!. What? Seriously?
It's not very often that your twenty-something, boy, cousin sees a tote bag and thinks of you.
Even more rare, it's something that you really like...

Best. present. ever.


Thanks Rossy! I sport it all over Denver.

Any other diet cokers get some paraphernalia over the holidays? 
Tell us all about it!

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Sip Your Way Skinny- drink round up

We've been loving the chance to share some 'skinny' sips. Of course, we have a whole list of recipes "To Try" that we thought we'd share with y'all-

Cranberry Grapefruit Sparkler
Fresh Kiwi Grape Juice
Fresh Ginger Beer
Citrus Tea Punch
Strawberry Banana and Flax Smoothie
Raspberry Lemonade
Pomegranate Citrus Juice
Three Tasty "Slim Down" Smoothies
Green Vegetable Cocktail

And a little extra credit reading? Fitness magazine has a list of the eight healthiest drinks (love it that green tea tops that list)!

Happy Skinny Sipping, friends!

ps- Do you have a favorite healthy drink recipe? Send it our way!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sip Your Way Skinny: Day 8-Water Sangria

Sip Your Way Skinny is almost over and we have yet to really talk about the most obvious "health drink":
water.
You don't need me to explain to you the health benefits of water.
But I think most of us can admit that water can get a bit boring just by itself all. the. time.
I'd assume that's how soda and juice entered the picture.
But as we already know/have been learning, these alternatives have so. much. sugar.



So how about combining our favorite aspects of the two:
Taking water, adding a few sweet/sour/still nutritious elements, mixing them together and making them look pretty?
We saw a similar idea here, and gave it a try.
We like to call it "Water Sangria" (cause that just sounds more exciting than "flavored water").




Want to know our favorite parts?
1. You can use whatever fruits, herbs, veggies (cucumbers mostly) that you have on hand.
2. It's an effortless yet perfect presentation--the colors are pretty enough without adding any other fancy things.
3. It brings new life and new love to water again.
4. It's a perfect alternative to soda for parties
(or for more of a customized drink feature try our water bar idea)



What about you, what are your thoughts? We'd love to hear!


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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sip Your Way Skinny: Day 7- A Skinny Pina Colada

I would firmly place pina coladas on my top 5 favorite drinks list. 
But a lot of people would never know that. Want to know why?
 Because they're so bad for you that I usually just don't even bother.
It's a sad situation, actually. But I'm almost positive that I'm not alone in this. Right?

This Sip Your Way Skinny series gave me a great excuse to find a pina colada that transported me to a white, sandy beach (AND still left me bikini ready) with each sip.



Ready to show the pina colada some love again?

Here's what you need:
5 oz coconut water (read about it's health benefits here)
2 oz pineapple juice
2 oz coconut rum (you really should use coconut rum, the regular stuff doesn't quite cut it)
**Optional: add extra ice if you want a blended one instead

Here's how to do it:
Combine the ingredients in a shaker. 
Shake it up.
Pour over ice in your favorite glass, or serve chilled.
Throw on your grass skirt and coconut bra
Sip away.




ahhhhh....can't you just smell the ocean?



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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sip Your Way Skinny: Day 6- TheAdams: Health Benefits of Beer

Ok, so even though I am not technically a doctor yet (4 months left), I figured that the SIPS blog needed a little science and health information for all those nerds out there like me.

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I was doing some reading the other day and came across a very interesting article with some different
ideas than I have heard before. I know, I know, everyone has read that drinking a glass of red wine a day is good for your heart/brain/bones….blah,blah, blah, but rarely do you hear much about how beer affects your body long term.

Well, it turns out that beer (and this is only 1-2 drinks per day folks) is just as helpful- and sometimes more helpful- to the body than its more researched counterpart wine. This is good news for those of us out there that would rather drink a brew than grab a glass of wine on any given night- so beer lovers rejoice.

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First off, one big benefit is that having a beer or two per day can actually help lower cholesterol by increasing the HDL levels in the body. The HDL’s are the ones that are good and typically scavenge the blood vessels for bad cholesterol to help clear the flow of blood which eventually reduces the risk of heart attack.

This next benefit appeals to me on two fronts; barbequing and beer combined. Did you know that marinating a steak in beer can reduce the carcinogenic forming HCAs by almost 70%??? What this means is that normally when you grill a steak, and some of the protein is burned causing carcinogens which can long term
cause cancer, beer basically reduces 70% of those cancer causing bad boys which means…..steak on the bbq a little more often for all of us meat lovers out there.

Lastly, and this one was interesting to me, because most people think that if you drink beer you are overweight which means you have higher risk of diabetes, but not so. Apparently drinking 1-2 beers a day can actually decrease your bodies risk of type 2 diabetes by 25%. Type 2 diabetes is the one that is basically epidemic in today’s society with weight concerns and usually comes on later in life (basically the body becomes less responsive to insulin). Well, beer can help increase the body’s response to insulin, thereby reducing your risk of diabetes.


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SOoooo, all this to say; during the NFL playoffs or superbowl weekend, don’t worry if you pick up your favorite brew once or twice because it actually can be counted as a healthy drink alternative.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sip Your Way Skinny: Day 5-The 100 Calorie Cocktail




Have you guys ever heard of Hungry Girl? Her name is Lisa and she's a "foodologist" (she doesn't have a fancy degree and she's not a nutritionist, she's just a fellow food lover) who blogs, and writes cookbooks, and now has her own show on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel!

We think she's fantastic, and even better (or just more applicable on this blog) she does drink ideas and recipes too! We thought we'd share one in particular that we like:



Here's why you should think it's great:
1. it's only 100 calories per serving
2. it doesn't take a mixologist to make it
3. it can be tailored to your favorite flavors
4. it's only 100 calories per serving.

Convinced? We knew you would be.

Here's what you need:
4 oz club soda
1 1/2 oz vodka (she says to use 80 proof)
1 1/2 oz Torani Sugar Free Syrup, any flavor!
(we used Starbucks sugar-free, it worked just fine.
And if you wanted to skip the diet stuff all together, do it!
Just be sure to dance a bit more and those calories will even out I'm sure of it!)
Splash of lime juice

Then just Mix. Pour. Sip!



Easy. Customizable. Perfect.

















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Monday, January 16, 2012

Sip Your Way Skinny: Day 4- The Low Down on Juice

So what is the deal with fruit juice? Is anyone else confused about it?
Is it good for you? Bad?  Packed with nutrients? Contains too much sugar?
First it was good. Then it turned bad.... So which is it?

Well since it's Sip Your Way Skinny month here, I thought it's the perfect time to settle this. So I did some research and thought I'd share the cliff notes in case some of you are like me (spending time wondering about fruit juice...).

Here's what I found:

Top 7 Healthiest Juices:





1. Pomegranate Juice--People are really excited about this one and it's becoming increasingly popular. It has more antioxidants (known to help reduce risk of diseases, anywhere from altitude sickness to cancer) than green tea, and contains potassium and Vitamin C.





2. Blueberry Juice-- Not only is it delicious, it's very high in antioxidants, high in fiber, high in Vitamin C, low in calories, and is good for digestion.


  


     


3. Cranberry Juice--This one probably isn't a surprise. The rumors you've heard are true. This guy is high in antioxidants, high in Vitamin C, and the research does show that it can help reduce the risk and frequency of urinary tract infections. It can be very high in sugar though, because it's so tart, so be sure to read the label. Or if you're brave, try the no sugar added kind.





4. Cherry Juice--Again, high in antioxidants, (sorry if you're sick of reading that one, but it's one of the biggest factors used to determine how healthy a juice is), and it is also great to diminish exercise induced muscle injuries! (who knew?)

    






5. (Red) Grape Juice-- Studies have found that RED grape juice (not white) is good for your heart, has been shown to lower blood pressure, and contains potassium.









6. Tomato Juice--It's a great source of Vitamins A & C, high in antioxidants, it's also been found to strenghten your immune system, to help lower cholesterol, to be high in fiber, and to help prevent heart disease. But watch the labels here again, tomato juice is also known for being high in sodium.






7. Orange Juice--This one seems to be the most controversial. Some sites don't list is as one of the healthiest because it typically is so high in sugar, but on the others say, if it's fortified, and contains pulp, it really is a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, calcium, and omega 3s (linked to helping increase circulation and lower blood pressure, among other things).






Know how to read your labels:
Perhaps some of our confusion about the health benefits comes from the fact that a juice can be labeled as a fruit juice as long as it has 1% of actual fruit juice. Scary huh?

So when your shopping for juices, look for these things:

1. Avoid words like "Nectar", "Cockatil", "Beverage" "Concentrate", or "Drink", usually they're the ones that have a much lower percentage of real fruit juice
2. Try to find labels that say 100% fruit juice
3. Avoid "additives" when possible. The label will call them "addatives" or "flavors" in the ingredients.
4. Go for juices that DO contain pulp or puree. Usually, these juices keep more nutrients in preparation because things aren't being strained out.


Conclusion:

According to our findings, fruit juice is still okay for you ! (YES!) Though it's better for you to eat the actual thing, juice is great for convenience and practicality.

But be very conscious of what you're buying and how much you're consuming. It's still true that most fruit juice contains a lot of sugar so either keep it to an 8oz glass per day, or add water or club soda to dilute it just a bit.




Hope this was helpful!
There's lots more reading if this sparks something.
(See our links below for where we got our research.) 

Done any research on this yourselves? What did you find? We'd love to hear!




Resources: Benefits of Tomato Juice, Nutrition Info for Juice from Real Simple, Info on Cherry Juice, Info on Fruit Juice, Label info 


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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sip Your Way Skinny: Day 3- Cascade Ice Cocktail Mixes

Have you all been enjoying this series so far?
We certainly have enjoyed it from our end.
It's always fun learning new things to try that are good for you too!

Today's post came about because I was watching Good Day Colorado some time around Christmas and they did a special on Cascade Ice's new Cocktail Mixes. Have you seen these? Supposedly, 0 calories. And considering that the average cocktail is hundreds (sorry to be the bearer of bad news) I was QUITE intrigued by these little guys.

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So, like any girl easily pursuaded by good marketing, I went off to the store (I found it at Albertson's) to do a little taste test of my own. I bought two to try: the Appletini, and the Cosmopolitan.
(but there are others like Pina Colada, which was out, sadly, and Margarita, and there might be a couple more.)

Here's what we thought...

First, the Cosmo:

Looks:  Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City, worthy.
Taste: Has a bit of that diet bite.
 But easily fixed by squeezing in some fresh orange or lemon juice.


Cosmopolitan Overall: It's totally worth ditching the calories on days where you have already had one too many Oreos.



Looks: Show-stopper.
Taste: Sour, check. Sweet, check. Delicious, Check!
 TheAdams said it might be a bit diet-y still,
but us Diet Coke lovers didn't notice it at all this time.



Appletini Overall: This could be a real game changer. We would totally prefer this over the real deal any day of the week.
 (the boys might not, and we should be representing a wider audience, we suppose.)


All in all, we liked what we tasted, friends.
 Kudos Cascade Ice, can't wait until our next girls night!

(Let us know if you guys try any other flavors, especially the pina colada...those are my favorites--but are definitely NOT low cal in real life.)


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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sip Your Way Skinny: Day 2- "Green Smoothies"


Who doesn't love smoothies? I like to think of them as milkshake's healthy and better looking twin sister.
They have similar consistencies, are still delish, but are (usually) made with fruits and dairy that we're told that we need!

But what else are we told that we need probably more than anything?
Veggies.

If you're like me, it can be hard to find ways to get those 3-5 servings per day that the good old food pyramid suggests.
(Veggie sticks don't count apparently. Similarly, taking vitamins in the place of veggies isn't ok either, ...or so I've been told)

So, when the Internet started exploding with "GREEN SMOOTHIE" recipes, I had to see what it was all about. 
Adding romaine, kale, chard, collards, or ....spinach to your smoothie?
I wasn't so sure. So, I tried it out.

And I'm happy to report that it was good.
 Really good.
Like, "eating healthier without noticing" kind of good. (my favorite kind).

While there are lots of recipes floating around out there, I'll share what I did with you.
(It's a good starter one, because it's not even green and scary like some).

Here's what you need:
spinach
(I tried spinach because we had it, but really any of the greens listed above are used)
frozen blueberries
strawberries
raspberries
yogurt
(I used Activia, but using greek yogurt would be great to add protein)
ice



Here's how to do it:
Layer it all into your blender/magic bullet. (I mostly just used the measurements of "half spinach, half everything else, + a few ice cubes", there's a lot of flexibility based on your preferences).
Blend until smooth.
and sip your way skinny...


And incase you haven't heard about all the health benefits of greens, I compiled a list for you.
It's just a  few of the many health benefits that drinking green smoothies have been linked to:
1. clearer skin and stronger hair and nails
2. increased energy
3. weight loss
4. regular digestion
5. stabilized blood sugar.

This info was taken from here and here, but there are a lot of articles and more benefits if you want to research a bit more.


There you have it friends... go green!

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Monday, January 9, 2012

"Sip Your Way Skinny": Day 1-Coconut Water


Hope you guys had a great holiday season! We did, but we're glad to be back, we missed you. 

Anyway, it's January 9th, which means we're now 9 days into our 2012 New Year Resolutions. And, if you're like most of America, "getting fit" or "losing weight" made it onto your Resolution list this year.
(but let's be honest, isn't it on there almost every year?)
  
We're right there with you, so we decided the entire month of January should be dedicated to
healthy drinks and "skinny" drink options.
Because most of us are consuming too many liquid calories
 and there are plenty of great alternatives.

 We are calling it Sip Your Way Skinny
and guess what, it starts today! Woo!

Sip Your Way Skinny:
Day 1- Coconut Water


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Have you noticed Coconut Water is all the rage? You probably have seen pictures like the ones above on the cover of US Weekly, or People, in line at the store (or in your weekly subcription if your like me...I'm a sucker for these magazines) and might be wondering what the hype is all about.

We did the research for you to see if its just trendy, or if it's really as great as they say,
 here's what we found:

Health Benefits
(these are just some we've highlighted because they're so many,
if you want to read more, there's lots of info out there, but this is the site we used):
-helps re-hydrate you
-better for you than sports drinks (less sodium and sugar, but more potassium)
-helps boost your immune system and fight viruses
-helps raise your metabolism
 -can reduce risk of cancer
-helps control diabetes 


 After reading all of that good news, we came to the conclusion that it is worth trying.

So we did, and loved it.
Coconut water can be little sour if you're not used to it,
so try adding just a splash of orange juice like what's shown above.
 (don't do too much or it will off set the low sugar/low carb benefits)

mmm...delicious.

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