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2015 March

Archives for March 2015

Horrible. Yes I said it. Who thought this no carb thing was a good idea? I don’t know what I was thinking. I can understand minimizing the amount of carbs you eat, but completely stopping has left me feeling blah. I don’t know if it is because I stopped cold turkey or what, but this just isn’t going to work for me.

low carb-1

I missed my quinoa and brown rice. Last week I only ate chicken, wild salmon, eggs, nitrate free turkey bacon, dairy (eggs and cheese), and vegetables (spinach and whole green beans). The food was delicious, but I just felt bloated. In hindsight, maybe I should have gone off the carbs gradually. I do know one thing, and that is I am never doing that again. Or maybe I should do more research…

bloating

After doing some research, I realized that I was missing something key in my diet that I get from my carbs and that is fiber! I came to this revelation after reading this Live Strong article about gas and bloating.

fiber

Benefits of Fiber (Source)

1. Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it.

2. Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon.

3. Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.

4. Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

5. Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Here is a list of foods that are high in fiber from MayoClinic.org

  1. Raspberries
  2. Pears (with skin)
  3. Apples (with skin)
  4. Bananas
  5. Whole wheat pasta
  6. Bran
  7. Oatmeal
  8. Whole wheat or multi-grain bread
  9. Lentils
  10. Black beans
  11. Lima beans
  12. Almonds
  13. Pistachios
  14. Artichoke
  15. Green peas
  16. Broccoli
  17. Sweet corn
  18. Brussel sprouts
  19. Carrots
  20. Baked potatoes (with skin)

 Most of the items were essential parts of my diet. I don’t know what I was thinking this week. I know not to have those thoughts anymore lol. I guess the real reason is that I wanted to drop 2-3 lbs before my trip, since I know I will gain about 5lbs lol.

I think I get in my own way. I know what I need to do, I just need to rid the urges of immediate results and become comfortable with delayed gratification. I know I said I won’t ever do that again, but who knows…now that I know the foods that have fiber and are low carb, I may feel better. Maybe I didn’t let my body get used to the change. Whatever it is, I don’t want to ever feel like this again..=

If the low-carb thing works for you…God. Bless. You.

Have any of you ever tried these diet fads?

I. HATE. PACKING. I really do. I can never decide what I want to bring and I always end up leaving something important or not bringing enough of something. The story of my traveling life. So in an effort to alleviate some of my stress I created “The HGB Packing List” to make sure I pack everything I need for any trip.

packing101

In addition to the packing list, I will also share some packing tips that will help prevent overpacking with all of these baggage fees.

1. Use travel size toiletries– I know when traveling you want to feel like you are at home, but full-size products are very bulky. Buy travel size items or the travel size bottles from places like the $.99. I pour my full size products into the smaller bottles when traveling. Use ziploc bags to keep all of your toiletries together.

2. Don’t pack what is already there. Make sure your hotel has the amenities to make packing easier. So things like a blowdryer and iron aren’t needed.

3. Be strategic of what goes in your carry-on. Do not put in your luggage that you check important things like medication and important documents (passport, credit cards, etc). That should be in your carry-on. In my carry-0n I always pack an extra outfit and my toiletries and other essentials like my contact lenses and solution, just incase the airline loses my luggage.

4. Pack things that are multipurpose. Before I would pack a different pair of shoes for each outfit. I don’t think that is necessary for me any more. Especially since I don’t want to lug around heavy bags.

5. Pack in layers. Roll your clothes and stack them in layers. This will save space as opposed to folding. If you are really trying to save space, do the bundle method. Check out this video here

What are some of your packing tips?

In less than one week I will embark on a 13-hour flight to the UAE. If you couldn’t tell before, I am super excited! I’ve been doing lots of research for my trip and decided to look into some apps to download. First, I must say, PLEASE BE SURE TO CALL YOUR WIRELESS PROVIDER TO FIND OUT THE FEES ASSOCIATED WITH INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL. Yes I had to put that in caps. There is nothing worse then coming back to home and getting a phone bill for hundreds of dollars because you did not find out about those fees. I don’t plan on making any calls during my trip so my app game must be on point so that I can stay in contact with my family in case of emergency. I will be disabling my data and using strickly wi-fi because it is free and I won’t be charged for anything.

So after doing a little research and playing around with the apps (some of them I use already) here are are 5 apps that you should download before your next trip. All apps are compatible with iPhones and Androids.

1. Foodspotting

travel-foodspotting

Yes I had to put a food app as number 1 because I. LOVE. TO. EAT. I can’t help it, but I love food. This app is great because it gives you pictures of food that people took nearby and the place to get it. I downloaded this app the other day and did not realize how many great restaurants are only a few miles from me!

2. TripIt

travel-trip

This app is a travel organizer. I’ve already plugged in my flight and lodging plans. It keeps your trip itinerary in one location. You can do an auto-import from Gmail, Google Apps, or Yahoo Mail. It scans your email for all of your trip itineraries and adds the information for you. You can add information about car rentals, and other modes of transportation, restaurants, tours, concerts, meetings, and other activities. I’m a list/detail-oriented and I always have my information in multiple places, so this app is a life saver.

3. What’s App Messenger

travel-whatsapp

I use this app all day everyday. It is a free messaging app that can be used anywhere as long as you are connected to wi-fi. One of my line sisters (Hey Robyn) is from St. Lucia and frequently goes back home to visit and that is how we communicate because it is free. It is like sending imessages or text messages. I use it for individual chats and group chats with my family and friends.

4. Globe Converter

travel-converter

This app is a quick tool to convert your money. I’m sure it will be ok to use USD, but some people may try to cheat you. Use the converter to make sure you are paying the right price for items at markets, fairs, and also for taxis.

5. Trover

travel-trover

Similar to FoodSpotting, Trover is like the Instagram of travel. People post photos of places they have visited all over the world. All you need to do is type in your destination to see the places that people have visited and you can add that to your itinerary. I’ve already checked out the UAE on trover and a few of the places that are on their are already on my list.

Honorable Mention: Uber-

travel-uber

You never know when you will need a taxi service. Uber serves over 55 countries. Check to see if your next destination is on the list.

What are some apps that you all download for your trips?

We’ve been having some pretty decent weather lately. One day last week we hit about 60 degrees. Some people were ridiculous with their attire though. It is not time to shed all of your warm clothes, but here is a little spring time outfit inspiration.

Style Files: Spring Blossom

I love pastels and florals for spring. This look here would be great for work, church, an early afternoon date, and a fancy brunch with your girls.

Click the image for outfit details.

Last week I told you all that I will be going to the UAE for a little vacation in the coming weeks. In anticipation for this trip, as I do with other trips, I needed to figure out what we could do while on vacation. When I told people that I was going some were excited because they want to travel there, others were like “What are you going to do out there?” So here is your answer.

At this point in my life, I’m not all about the “turn up” anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to party and have a good time, but I also want to see the world. I’m always down for a good excursion or sightseeing. If I have the means to travel to certain places I don’t just want to be posted up with a drink in my hand, I want to experience different things. So here is what my boyfriend and I plan to do while in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This is the final version of the list. It went through many revisions because he gave me the, “babe you’re doing too much” look when he saw my first list.

1. Yas Island Ferrari World– I’m super excited to visit the place with the world’s fastest roller coaster. I probably won’t get on it lol. My tolerance for rides has decreased significantly, but there are tons of activities to do. We will probably spend a lot of time on Yas Island because there is tons to do.

yasisland

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World

Ferrari World

2. Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque- This is the largest mosque in the UAE and took nine years to build. The late president of the UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan wanted to create a place that united the cultural diversity of the Islamic world.

Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

3. Gold and Spice Souks- A souk is an Arab market or market place. This is where you haggle your prices. No price is definite at the souks. I think I’m more excited for the spice souk than the gold souk, because I’m starting to love experimenting with different spices in my cooking, and I can see a plethora of these spices from the Bible…I mean who wouldn’t want some  frankinsense and myrrh?? Lol, I know I can find those here in New York, but visiting the souks would definitely be aesthetically amazing.

Gold Souk

Gold Souk

Spice Souk

Spice Souk

4. Desert Safaris- Camel rides, sandboarding, henna, belly dancing, sunset bbq? Please sign me up.

Camel Riding

Camel Riding

Henna

Henna

Desert Safari

Desert Safari

5. Burj Khalifa- The tallest building in the world. I mean how can you go to Dubai and not visit this place? The observation decks are at level 124 and level 148 of the 163 story building. They have tours that typically take up to 1.5 hours.

burjkhalifa

Burj Khalifa

6. Dubai Underwater Zoo and Aquarium- Located in the Dubai Mall, it is one of the largest suspended aquarium’s in the world. It houses thousands of aquatic animals. There are a number of things you can do here including the Aquarium Tunnel, Underwater Zoo, Glass-Bottom Boat ride, fish feeding, and various dive packages including caged snorkeling.

dubaiunderwaterzoo

Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

I would also like to visit the Al Ain Palace Museum and Emirates Palace, but that’s only if there is time.

alainpalacemuseum

Al Ain Palace Museum

Emirates Palace

Emirates Palace

As far as travel, we will probably take taxis most places. Taxi Fare Finder is a great website to get estimated prices for your travel without getting cheated. They give you prices with no traffic, light traffic, and heavy traffic.

Also I’ve been using the Google currency converter to convert AED prices to USD, just so I can get an idea of how much we are going to be spending.

*Keep in mind that on Fridays many places do not open until mid afternoon (around 3pm) because Fridays is known as Jumu’ah or day of prayer. That should be kept in mind when planning your vacation.*

Has anyone been to the UAE, what places did you visit?