The Worst Sodas

Did You Know: Philadelphia is the first major U.S. city to pass a tax on soda—1.5 cents per ounce, which is about $1 more for a 2-liter, Other cities have imposed similar taxes, including Berkeley, CA, San Francisco, Seattle, and Boulder, CO. The truth is that you don’t need to live in these locations to pay the price of drinking soda.

Although we call them “beer bellies,” new science says we ought to call our bloated midsections what they really are: soda bellies. In a study of about 1,000 adults over the course of six years, people who drank soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages gained an extra 1.8 pounds of visceral fat—the fat that sits inside your gut, damaging your internal organs and pushing your belly out into a King of the Hill–style slouch. To put that in perspective, 1.8 pounds is about how much a fetus weighs at 24 weeks. This means you can go from your lean, slim self to looking like you’re in your second trimester just by drinking a daily soda, sweetened iced tea, or fruit punch. (Talk about a punch to the gut!) But instead of carrying a bundle of joy, you’re carrying a bundle of toxic fat; visceral fat has been shown to increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, among other ills.

Why is soda so good at making us who drink it look bad? It’s the sugar. The USDA issued new guidelines in early 2016, recommending no more than 180 sugar calories per day for women (and 200 for men). This is the equivalent of approximately 45 grams of sugar—an amount that many sodas and other sweetened beverages exceed in just one can. And if it’s not sugar, then it’s an artificial sweetener, which can be 180 times sweeter than sugar and just as damaging to your waistline.


 Regular Sodas

sodas

First, I put them by calories, carbs, and sugar. Then, I examined each can’s ingredients and gave demerits to sodas with more chemicals and additives than those that were nutritionally similar. Here are regular sodas ranked from worst-to-best. (Although, “best” still doesn’t mean healthy!)


Fanta Grape

best sodas

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 180 calories, 48 g carbs, 48 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural Flavors, Tartaric Acid, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate (to Protect Taste), Citric Acid, Red 40, Blue 1

Liquefy a bag of Skittles and you’d still have to add 6 grams of sugar to equal the sweetness of this can of corn syrup, citric acid, and artificial colors. In fact, that bag of Skittles has the exact same ingredients, including Red 40, which Canadian researchers found to be contaminated with known carcinogens. Even without its unsettling origin story—the Coca-Cola company created Fanta to profit in Germany when Nazis forbade the importation of USA-made Coke—this would still be the absolute worst soda in America!


Stewart’s Wishniak Black Cherry

best soda stewarts black cherry

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 180 calories, 44 g carbs, 43 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Sodium Benzoate, Caramel Color, Red 40, Blue 1

With more sugar than seven Chewy Chips Ahoy cookies, Stewart’s Black Cherry would be a “Not That!” because of the sweetness alone—it’s the most caloric on this list. And, like many of the soda on this list, it also contains caramel coloring. This additive wouldn’t be dangerous if you made it the old-fashioned way—with water and sugar, on top of a stove. But the food industry follows a different recipe: they treat sugar with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. A Center for Science in the Public Interest report asserted that the high levels of caramel color found in soda account for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually. Instead, keep the soda-sipping to a minimum.


Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry

dr browns black cherryNUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 180 calories, 45 g carbs, 45 g sugar

 

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cherry And Other Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), and Artificial Color (Red 40)

With just two fewer grams of sugar than Stewart’s Black Cherry, Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry would horrify most doctors—and not just because of the sugar. Like Stewart’s—and many of the colored sodas here—this one has the artificial color Red 40, which is it ranks lower than our next entry, despite having less sugar.


A&W Cream Soda

best sodas aw cream soda

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 170 calories, 46 g carbs, 45 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Caramel Color, Citric Acid, Yucca Extract, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caffeine

A&W traffics heavily in the nostalgia of the roadside restaurant—the company created the nation’s first chain of them in 1923. But their cream soda is a car crash of HFCS and artificial colors and flavors. This is not your grandparent’s soda, in the worst way possible.


Mug Cream Soda

best sodas

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 180 calories, 47 g carbs, 47 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness), Citric Acid, Caramel Color, Calcium Disodium EDTA (to protect flavor)

Speaking of cream, you’d have to down 12 servings of Reddi-Wip to equal the calorie count of Mug Cream Soda (distributed by Pepsi)—and would still need to eat 12 Hershey’s Kisses on top of that to equal the sugar count. That sounds like an easy way to sip yourself to a fat belly!


A&W Root Beer

best sodas aw root beer

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 170 calories, 47 g carbs, 45 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or Sugar, Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Natural and Artificial Flavors

You gotta love that ingredients list: This American classic might have sugar and HFCS. Throw in two scoops of vanilla ice cream to make a Root Beer float and you have more than two days’ worth of sugar in one chilled mug.


Mountain Dew

best sodas mtn dew

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 170 calories, 46 g carbs, 46 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Concentrated Orange Juice, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness), Caffeine, Sodium Citrate, Erythorbic Acid (Preserves Freshness), Gum Arabic, Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Protect Flavor), Brominated Vegetable Oil, Yellow 5

There’s flame retardant in your Mountain Dew. That soda with the lime-green hue (and other citrus-flavored bubbly pops) won’t keep your insides fireproof, but it does contain brominated vegetable oil, a patented flame retardant for plastics that have been banned in foods throughout Europe and in Japan. Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, which acts as an emulsifier in citrus-flavored soda drinks, is found in about 10 percent of sodas sold in the U.S. “After a few extreme soda binges—not too far from what many gamers regularly consume—a few patients have needed medical attention for skin lesions, memory loss, and nerve disorders, all symptoms of overexposure to bromine,” according to an article in Scientific American.


Mountain Dew Code Red

best sodas

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 170 calories, 46 g carbs, 46 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Orange Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Benzoate, Natural Flavor, Caffeine, Sodium Citrate, Gum Arabic, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Red 40, Brominated Vegetable Oil, Yellow 5, Blue 1

As we said, Europe and Japan have already banned the flame retardant brominated vegetable oil (BVO) out of their bubbly beverages. Code Red! Dudes, to truly get a six-pack, don’t do the Dew.


Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda

best sodas

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 180 calories, 44 g carbs, 44 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Citric Acid, Caramel Color

With more calories than a Mountain Dew (though with less artificial colors, thus its better ranking), this Cream would make even Prince blush.


Dr. Brown’s Root Beer

best sodas dr browns root beer

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 170 calories, 42 g carbs, 42 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Gum Acacia, Citric Acid, Caffeine Free

You know when you add some Mentos to a two-liter Diet Coke and the whole thing explodes? (Don’t try that at home.) That’s thanks to the Gum Acacia in the candy, which also in this soda—it’s a natural emulsifier. Despite its weird name, is probably this most natural ingredient in this sugar juice.


Surge

best sodas surge

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 172 calories, 46.5 g carbs, 42 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Orange Juice Concentrate, Potassium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Potassium Citrate, Caffeine, Calcium Disodium Edta (To Protect Taste), Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Carob Bean Gum, Blue 1

It’s not uncommon for “sodium and potassium benzoate are added to some diet soft drinks and fruit drinks. Unfortunately—especially because Surge contains OJ—”they can form benzene, which is a carcinogen when combined with vitamin C, the ascorbic acid in juice or soda.


Mello-Yello

best sodas melo yello

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 170 calories, 47 g carbs, 47 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Concentrated Orange Juice, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Calcium Disodium Edta (To Protect Taste), Potassium Citrate, Caffeine, Yellow 5, Carob Bean Gum

This soda is sweetened with inflammatory HFCS which makes for a shocking sugar count. It’s also colored with Yellow 5, a food dye that’s been linked to hyperactivity in children. Luckily, this soda used to contain the preservative sodium benzoate, a potentially cancer-causing substance but has since been removed.


Sunkist

best sodas sunkist

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 170 calories, 44 g carbs, 43 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Modified Corn Starch, Natural Flavors, Caffeine, Ester Gum, Yellow 6, Red 40

What do you get when you combine carbonated water with High Fructose Corn Syrup and a host of hard-to-pronounce chemicals? This citrus-inspired sip. It gets its alluring orange color from Yellow 5 and Red 40. A Neurotherapeutics journal study linked Yellow 5 and Red 40 to hyperactivity in children.


Barq’s Root Beer

best sodas barqs

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 160 calories, 45 g carbs, 45 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Citric Acid, Caffeine, Artificial, And Natural Flavors

Acacia Barq’s Root Beer falls toward the middle of the pack regarding carbs, sugar and has a slightly less horrifying chemical profile than its competition. It’s better than A&W Root Beer but slightly worse than Mug.


Fanta Orange

best sodas fanta orange

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 160 calories, 45 g carbs, 44 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Natural Flavors, Modified Food Starch, Sodium Polyphosphates, Glycerol Ester Of Rosin, Yellow 6, Red 40

I don’t know about you, but after a long day of hard work and play, I like to sit back and relax and crack open a can of Glycerol Ester Of Rosin. The wood resin is added to many fruit sodas to help the fruit-flavored oils mix better with the water. While it’s not necessarily harmful, let us repeat: you’re drinking oil and water, sold to you by Coke.


Orange Crush

best sodas

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 160 calories, 43 g carbs, 43 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Natural Flavors, Ester Gum, Yellow 6, Red 40

Orange Crush has the same nutritionals as the next soda, Mug’s Root Beer, but we’re docking it points for the Yellow 6, which, as I’ve said, is crushing stuff.


Mug’s Root Beer

best sodas mugs

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 160 calories, 43 g carbs, 43 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate (preserves freshness), Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Modified Food Starch, Calcium Disodium EDTA (to protect flavor), Quillaia Extract

Quillaia extract? The best (and worst) part of researching these sodas in the Eat This, Not That! Food Lab is coming across the weird ingredients soda manufacturers (in this case, Pepsi) add to their concoctions. Quillaia is another tree bark, and it helps your root beer foam up. Be more scared of the sugar here—you’re basically drinking four root beer-flavored Dum Dums mixed with additives.


Wild Cherry Pepsi

best sodas

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 160 calories, 42 g carbs, 42 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Sugar, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavor, Caffeine, Citric Acid

Nothing wild here—just the same ingredients as most sodas, and as much sugar as more than three cups of cherries (without containing any real cherries… SHOCKER)!


Crush Grapefruit

best sodas

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 160 calories, 43 g carbs, 43 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Acacia Gum, Red 40, Blue 1

Our childhood nostalgia is crushed: This kid-favorite brand has no actual grapefruit. On the bright side, it has no BVO.


Mist TWST (formerly Sierra Mist)

mist twist

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 150 calories, 39 g carbs, 39 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Clarified Lemon Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Potassium Sorbate and Potassium Benzoate (preserves freshness), Calcium Disodium EDTA (protect flavor)

When it was called Sierra Mist, it was sweetened with sugar and stevia. Now, after being rebranded to Mist TWST, this soda is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup with no natural sugar in sight. This tacked on an additional 30 calories and 10 grams of sugar—far from the pre beverage that we used to rank #1 on this list.


Stewart’s Root Beer

best sodas root beer

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 150 calories, 38 g carbs, 38 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Citric Acid, Quillaia Extract, Gum Acacia, Yucca Extract

If you wouldn’t eat three and a half bowls of Apple Jacks then you should stay away from this root beer. That’s the sugar equivalent of what’s in a 12-ounce can.


Cherry Coca-Cola

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 150 calories, 42 g carbs, 42 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Caffeine

As we come near the top ten, you’ll notice the oils and artificial flavors disappearing and see some of the most popular sodas for what they really are: carbonated water, HFCS, some acids and little else. This classic—once made with real cherry juice—is, unfortunately, a variation on a common blend. It’s like finding out your cool dad worked in accounting all along.


Pepsi-Cola

best sodas pepsi

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 150 calories, 41 g carbs, 41 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Sugar, Phosphoric Acid, Caffeine, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor

The perennial #2 in the cola wars carries 5 grams more sugar than a 3 Musketeers bar and 1 gram more carbs. Let that sink in: One of America’s most popular sodas has that much sugar. Instead of drinking this, make a weight loss smoothie!


Pepsi Real Sugar

best sodas

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 150 calories, 40 g carbs, 40 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Caramel Color, Phosphoric, Acid, Caffeine, Natural Flavor

Sugar is the master of disguise. Maltodextrin, brown rice syrup, dextrose, sucrose—it’s got more alter egos than the Avengers. But its most well-known costume, as you know after reading this far, is High Fructose Corn Syrup. Pepsi’s hoping you forget it’s all the same sweet stuff, heavily marketing this new brand formulated with sugar and no HFCS. But in a 2014 review of five studies comparing the effects of sugar and HFCS, there was no difference found in changes in blood glucose levels, lipid levels, or appetite between table sugar consumption and HFCS consumption. In other words, your body can’t tell one from the other—they’re both just sugar.


Pibb Xtra

best sodas

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 140 calories, 39 g carbs, 39 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Sorbate And Potassium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Artificial And Natural Flavors, Caffeine, Monosodium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Polyethylene Glycol

A “spicy” cherry soda found mostly in the South—or in Coke Freestyle machines—Pibb Xtra contains propylene glycol, a preservative, thickening agent, and stabilizer, also used as antifreeze to de-ice airplanes, as a plasticizer to make polyester resins, and found in electronic cigarettes. The soda ranks well because of its calorie count, but we can’t recommend you drink it!


7Up Cherry

best sodas 7up cherry

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 140 calories, 39 g carbs, 38 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Citric Acid, Filtered Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural Flavors, Potassium Benzoate (preservative), Red 40

No caramel color—ranking goes up! Red 40—ranking goes down.


Coca-Cola Classic

best sodas coca cola

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 140 calories, 39 g carbs, 39 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Caffeine

The company itself is responsible for the HFCS-filled Sprite, Barq’s, Fanta, Dr. Pepper, Fuze Tea, Powerade, Monster energy drinks and more—not to mention the sugary VitaminWater. Yet the company’s flagship drink is less harmful than most of the soda’s on this list. That doesn’t mean you should drink it. It means you shouldn’t drink soda. For a healthier buzz without the preservatives, drink tea.


7Up

best sodas 7up

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 140 calories, 39 g carbs, 38 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Filtered Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Calcium Disodium EDTA (to protect flavor)

The best part of clear sodas: no caramel color. Worst part: They’re still sodas, and otherwise contain the same ingredients as the rest. This classic, now distributed by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, has lost market share since its 80s heyday but remains a crisp drink that’s not much better than a Coke.


Sprite

best sodas sprite

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 140 calories, 38 g carbs, 38 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate (To Protect Taste)

Promoted by the coolest athletes, Sprite has the marketing down—and a calorie count slightly lower than the other citric sodas on this list. But we can’t imagine LeBron and friends guzzling a can of carbonated corn syrup before a game.


Canada Dry Ginger Ale

best sodas canada dry

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 140 calories, 36 g carbs, 35 g sugar

INGREDIENTS:*Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Natural Flavors, Caramel Color

Our moms used to give this to us when we had a tummy ache. Now as adults, we get a tummy ache looking at it. Blame Canada. Their tagline is “Real Ginger, Real Taste” but the main ingredients here are carbonated water and HSFC, which won’t help you lose your belly! But with lower calories than the rest, it ranks well on this ignominious list.


Dr. Brown’s Cel Ray

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 140 calories, 34 g carbs, 34 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Extract of Celery Seed with other Natural Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative) and Caramel Color

The healthiest-sounding soda on this list nearly is. But unfortunately for the fans of Jewish delis everywhere, Cel Ray blends actual celery seed extract with HFCS.


Schweppes Ginger Ale

best sodas schwepps

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 120 calories, 33 g carbs, 32 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Natural Flavors, Natural Colors

Despite being near the top of this list, this soda has as much HFCS-derived sugar as 10 croissants. At least there are any artificial flavors (nor ginger, unfortunately).


Seagram’s Ginger Ale

best sodas seagrams

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 100 calories, 26 g carbs, 26 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate (To Protect Taste), Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Ginger

This is the #2 least-worst soda, with a big caveat: “High fructose corn syrup, which has been shown to increase appetite and, over time, leads to health problems such as obesity and diabetes,” Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group says. Yeah, yeah, you knew it was bad, but hear us again: HFCS is bad! Still, Seagram’s Ginger Ale has a lower calorie count than most.

And coming in at #1

Coca-Cola Life

coca-cola life

NUTRITION (PER 12 FL OZ): 90 calories, 24 g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Caramel Color, Natural Flavors, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Caffeine, Stevia Leaf Extract

Although Coke Life is sweetened with stevia, it’s certainly not a “diet” beverage. A can of this still packs 24 grams of sugar and is 90 calories. Still, that’s much less than other traditional colas on the market. And the ingredients are pretty simple, too—sweetened with cane sugar and stevia, there’s no HFCS, which is a bonus. At less than 100 calories a can, this is definitely the best of the regular sodas (although it that still doesn’t make it healthy!)


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section. If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

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Zero Sugar For Health

Every new year, you’re bombarded with an endless amount of dos and don’ts to eating healthier and becoming the best version of yourself. And typically, there’s one thing that’s always at the top of the naughty list: sugar. But while it’s been demonized for years, it’s actually not quite the monster it’s made out to be. And that brings up the big question: do you really need to quit sugar completely in order to eat healthier?

Because of all the negative headlines, it’s easy to get triggered every time you see the word “sugar.” It’s the ingredient that’s been said to be responsible for the obesity epidemic, and experts have said it’s as addictive as drugs, after all. Here’s the deal, though: In reality, not all sugar is horrible, and thinking so could actually do more harm than good for your health.


All Sugar Isn’t Created Equal

It might come as a surprise, but it’s actually best not to cut sugar completely out of your diet. Even though the world has been trained to see a candy bar and a bowl of strawberries as equally horrible when it comes to their high amounts of sugar, they impact your body in very different ways.

There are two types of sugar: naturally-occurring sugar and added sugar. When we talk about limiting sugar for overall health, we’re really concerned about sugar that’s added. Naturally-occurring sugars—like those found in fruit and even vegetables like sweet potatoes—are important parts of a healthy, balanced “diet” and provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

In fact, getting your daily intake of naturally-occurring sugar is crucial for all the cells and organs in your body: “Our body needs glucose—a simple sugar—which is the only form of energy it can burn. Glucose comes from carbohydrates found as natural sugars in fruit, dairy, vegetables, and as starches in grains. The key is to eat foods that are natural and unrefined to get the healthy sources of carbohydrates and the ‘sugars’ our body needs.

Sugar in bowl and spoon

But while you want those wholesome sources on your plate, Danchi says added sugar should be limited to no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. That’s not just sugar you’re personally adding into your meals, either: It’s also the sugar that companies sneak into processed foods, like pasta sauces, bread, and salad dressing. So yes, checking nutrition labels is actually super important.

Added sugar is refined, provides zero nutrition, and is inflammatory to the body. Inflammation is the body’s normal response to an injury, virus, or bacteria, and unhealthy dietary ingredients like added sugar can cause a chronic state of inflammation that damages cells and is in the seedbed for diseases like Alzheimer’s, hypertension, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Aside from playing a role in chronic diseases, eating high amounts of added sugar can also cause obesity and dental problems. But there’s a daily allotment for a reason: You don’t need to completely forbid yourself from it in order to stay healthy.


How To Actually Eat Healthier—(Some) Sugar, Included

Humans aren’t perfect, and treating yourself to a little sugar isn’t going to kill you. But cutting back to those smaller portions—and instead, swapping in foods that provide sweetness naturally—certainly helps you improve your health overall.

When you limit added sugars, you’re taking in more of your diet from foods that can provide a benefit to your health. An orange, for example, contains naturally-occurring sugar, fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients. But you’re not getting those added benefits from table sugar.

Really, the best way you can better your overall health is to simply eat more vegetables and fruit. Yep, the same thing your mom always told you growing up that no kid ever wanted to hear.

A good rule of thumb is to eat a whole, natural, plant-based diet 80 to 90 percent of the time with healthy fats and low amounts of animal fats and refined foods. Avoiding sugary drinks and daily desserts on the day to day—but enjoying the special celebration food in small portions and only on occasion—is a great and workable strategy.

With a sugary treat every so often—aka not at every meal—you’ll keep yourself sane. Because while some sugar can be part of the big bad, it can certainly be part of a healthy diet as well.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section. If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Bloglovin’ :Amanda Explains It

Bumble Bizz: Amanda

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

 


Why Chocolate IS Popular On Valentine’s Day

Since Valentine’s Day is only 5 days away I thought why not throw in a  Valentine’s post. Today I talk about and discuss why chocolates are so much more popular on February 14th. If you missed yesterday’s post you can click here to learn all about Gluten Sensitivity.


February 14 will soon be upon us, and while many people will choose cards, flowers, or jewelry as gifts to give those they love for Valentine’s Day, chocolates are a perennially popular way to show someone you think they’re special. Heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates are a relatively recent tradition, but the bond between chocolate and love actually goes back thousands of years.

Hold on to your sweet tooth as you read on to find out exactly how and why we give each other chocolate on Valentine’s Day.


It Starts With An Ancient Tradition

Mayan chocolate

The Mayans very clearly appreciated the magic of chocolate as they drank it, first roasting cacao beans and then grinding them into a paste that was mixed with chiles, cornmeal, and water. In addition to using chocolate in religious ceremonies and savoring it at the end of feasts, they were the first culture to make the connection between chocolate and love. Some Mayan wedding ceremonies included a ritual where the bride and groom ceremonially sipped chocolate.

So there you have it, the first big display of chocolate and love coming together.


Introducing An Aphrodisiac

Chocolate in different forms

The Aztecs also prized chocolate and traded with their Mayan neighbors to obtain it in vast quantities. Sixteenth-century ruler Montezuma II allegedly consumed chocolate in vast quantities in order to stoke his libido. Spanish explorers were quick to realize the appeal of chocolate though, and mixed cacao paste with cinnamon and cane sugar to cut the bitterness.


From Britain With Love

Heart box chocolates

Although chocolate became popular throughout Western Europe after its introduction by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, it was so expensive that it was mostly consumed by the wealthy. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that British company J.S. Fry & Sons created the first-ever chocolate bar by combining cacao powder and sugar with cacao butter. Within a few years, filled chocolates became wildly popular, with Fry & Sons competitor Cadbury introducing the first box of chocolates—dubbed the “Fancy Box”—in England in 1861.

Just seven years later, the company produced its first heart-shaped box of fruit, ganache, and nut-filled chocolates in time for Valentine’s Day gifting. Because the decorative boxes could be used to store love letters and other mementos long after the chocolates inside had been eaten, they proved to be thoughtful as well as toothsome gifts.


Thinking inside the box

Box of chocolatesGiving chocolate on Valentine’s Day proved just as popular in the United States as it was in Britain. Hershey’s introduced its petite, romantically named Hershey’s Kisses in 1907, and the iconic yellow Whitman’s Sampler debuted in 1912. Whitman’s even turned to movie stars like Jeanne Crain and Elizabeth Taylor to promote their sweet treats.

Meanwhile, chocolatier Russell Stover began marketing their distinctive line of heart-shaped boxes—which to this day include the petite Red Foil Heart” and the lace-covered “Secret Lace Heart”—across the Midwest in the 1920s before expanding to be the number-one boxed-chocolate brand in the United States.


Chocolate reign

Chocolates and flowers

Wondering what to get your sweetheart this February 14? Go ahead and say you love them with chocolate, because that’s what everyone else is doing. If history is any predictor, chocolate will outshine cards and flowers this V-Day, as it’s always done.

According to data gathered by Nielsen, Valentine’s Day candy generated $695 million in sales in 2017—and chocolate played a major role. In fact, Americans spent $11 billion on chocolate throughout the year.

So, when it comes time to show the ones who make you feel all warm and fuzzy how much they mean to you, there’s a good chance you’ll be saying it with some chocolate. And if anything, you’re just honoring an age-old, very sweet tradition.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section. If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

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Zevia Organic Tea

Quick Note: I have a bunch of keto related posts coming soon. I have another 60 hr. Reboot posts coming, a keto reboot excel post, more keto grocery related content and much more. If keto is your thing or you know someone who is interested (beginners) then my blog is for you (or your friend). Don’t forget to check back daily for all the keto related content that is to come.

Zevia, is the leading zero-calorie, naturally sweetened beverage company, today announced Zevia Organic Tea, a line of eight Ready-To-Drink (RTD) Tea flavors. Like all Zevia products, these items are zero calories, naturally sweetened with stevia, and contain zero sugar. In addition, Zevia Organic Teas are non-carbonated, non-GMO, brewed with Fair Trade Certified Tea, and will carry the USDA Organic seal. The flavors include Black Tea, Green Tea, and herbal flavors, featuring two caffeine-free options.

With this announcement, Zevia’s product lines encompass a broad range of Liquid Refreshment Beverage (LRB) categories, including Soda, Energy drinks, Sparkling Water, Mixers and now RTD Tea. With simple, plant-based ingredients and products for every family member and usage occasion, Zevia has become a favorite among shoppers seeking better-for-you alternatives to sugary and artificially sweetened beverages.

Sugar reduction has rapidly become the number one consumer concern, with 84% of US shoppers seeking to reduce their sugar intake. Zevia was the first zero-calorie, naturally sweetened beverage brand, and they are continuing to build on their leadership with great-tasting new products to support a low-sugar lifestyle.

Almost half of the added sugar coming from beverages, Zevia provides an easy way for consumers to kickstart a sugar reduction program. Zevia Tea will be sold in 12 oz. sleek cans with a suggested retail price of $1.99 each, available nationwide now.

About Zevia

Zevia is the first beverage brand exclusively focused on naturally sweetened, zero calorie beverages, including Soda, Energy, Sparking Water, Ready-To-Drink Tea, and Mixers lines. With formulas that are Non-GMO Project Verified, Vegan, Kosher, color-free and Gluten Free, Zevia is sold at more than 40,000 grocery, natural and specialty food stores in the United States and Canada, including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Safeway, Kroger, Target and Amazon.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Bloglovin’ :Amanda Explains It

Bumble Bizz: Amanda

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

 

How To Reduce Bloating

I just want to take a moment before I get into today’s post to wish everyone A Happy New Year’s Eve. I also want to take a moment and say thank you to every and each one of you for being on this journey with me. I set out to blog every single day and I have. For 2019 I want to include all of you (my followers) (read below). I hope you all have fun and let’s have fun. Remember to have fun but also drink responsibly.

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND I WILL SEE YOU ALL IN THE NEW YEAR!

PLEASE READ: I have been thinking that I wanted to do something different for my blog next year and that Is more content that you want to see. I know that at the and of every post I ALWAYS ask what you would like to see. I MEAN I REALLY want to do more content related to what you want to see. It can be “Diet” related, fitness, nutrition or even advice posts. I post what I post because It means something to mean I won’t post something if I didn’t believe in it. I want to take this blog to the next level and I want you all of my followers (friends) to be apart of the ride. So please don’t hesitate in reaching out with any and all suggestions. You can find all of my links at the end of every post in the “Thank You” section and in the section “Where You Can Follow Me”. 

If you have missed #Blogmas all the links are listed in the section titled Blogmas which will be in right under this.

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 30! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 30 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-30

*I realized that my #blogmas days had repeated tagged posts and that not every post was linked. I caught the mistake and fixed it. Every link should now be clickable and days 1-18 are now linked. If you are new to #blogmas you can catch up below.

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7 Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10 Blogmas Day 11 Blogmas Day 12 Blogmas Day 13 Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15  Blogmas Day 16 Blogmas Day 17 Blogmas Day 18  Blogmas Day 19 Blogmas Day 20 Blogmas Day 21 Blogmas Day 22 Blogmas Day 23 Blogmas Day 24 Blogmas Day 25 Blogmas Day 26 Blogmas Day 27 Blogmas Day 28 Blogmas Day 29 Blogmas Day 30


Most people experience bloating at some point. Exercises, supplements, and massages can all help to reduce bloating quickly, and simple lifestyle changes can prevent it from reoccurring.

Abdominal bloating is when the abdomen feels full and tight. It commonly occurs due to a buildup of gas somewhere in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Bloating causes the belly to look larger than usual, and it may also feel tender or painful. Fluid retention in the body can also lead to bloating.


 Tips to get rid of bloating

Bloating usually happens when excess gas builds up in the stomach or intestines. When bloating occurs right after a meal, it usually resolves itself, but it is often possible to speed up this process.

The best way to tackle bloating is to determine its cause. Common triggers for bloating include:

  • Digestive issues. Constipation, food allergies, and intolerances can lead to bloating. When stool becomes backed up in the large bowel, it can cause bloating and a feeling of discomfort. Excess gas may also build up behind the stool, making the bloating worse.
  • “Diet”. Fizzy drinks, too much salt or sugar, and not enough fiber in the “diet” can all cause bloating.
  • Hormonal changes. Many people experience bloating before and during their periods due to hormonal changes and water retention.

Walking

Physical activity can get the bowels moving more regularly, which can help to release excess gas and stool. Getting the bowels to move is especially important if a person is feeling constipated. A walk around the block can provide fast relief from gas pressure.


 Try Yoga Poses

Certain yoga poses can position the muscles in the abdomen in a way that encourages the release of excess gas from the GI tract.

Child’s Pose, Happy Baby Pose, and squats can all help people to relieve a buildup of gas quickly. Learn more about yoga poses for flatulence.


 Peppermint Capsules

Peppermint oil capsules may also be helpful for indigestion and related gas. Manufacturers usually market them as a treatment for the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but people without IBS can also use them to relieve bloating.

Peppermint works by relaxing the intestinal muscles, which allows gas and stool to move along more effectively. People should always follow the instructions on the packet. Anyone who is prone to heartburn may need to avoid peppermint.

Peppermint capsules are available to buy over the counter (OTC) at drug stores or online.


 Gas relief capsules

Simethicone pills and liquid are anti-gas medications that can help to move excess air out of the digestive tract. It is essential to always take medication according to the instructions on the label.

People can find gas relievers in drugstores or online.


 Abdominal massage

Massaging the abdomen can help to get the bowels moving. A massage that follows the path of the large intestine is especially helpful. People can follow the steps below to do this:

Placing the hands just above the right hip bone. Rubbing in a circular motion with light pressure up toward the right side of the ribcage. Rubbing straight across the upper belly area toward the left rib cage. Moving slowly down toward the left hip bone.


 Use essential oils

A study from 2016 tested the effectiveness of supplements containing a combination of fennel and curcumin essential oil in 116 people with mild-to-moderate IBS. After 30 days, people reported an improvement in their IBS symptoms, including bloating and abdominal pain.

People should not consume essential oils without speaking to a doctor first. This is because some formulations may be toxic or can interfere with medication, and there is no regulation of dosages.


 Take a warm bath, soaking, and relaxing

The heat of the bath can provide relief for a sore abdomen. Relaxation can reduce stress levels, which may allow the GI tract to function more effectively and help reduce bloating.


Long-term solutions for bloating

Quick fixes are not always effective for some causes of bloating. However, people who have frequent bloating may find that certain lifestyle changes can tackle the causes and reduce bloating over time.

People can use these simple steps to try to prevent bloating in the long-term:


Increase fiber gradually

 

Increasing fiber intake may help to treat bloating.

 

Eating more fiber helps to prevent constipation and bloating. Most people in America do not get enough fiber, with only 5 percent of people meeting their recommended daily fiber intake of 25 grams (g) for females and 38 g for males.

However, it is important to bear in mind that eating too much fiber or increasing fiber intake too quickly can cause even more gas and bloat. People may notice adverse effects from eating more than 70 g of fiber a day.

When increasing fiber intake, it is best to start slowly and increase the intake over several weeks to allow the body to adjust to this change in the “diet”.


Replace sodas with water

Fizzy, carbonated drinks contain gas that can build up in the stomach. The carbon dioxide that makes soda and similar beverages fizzy can also cause bubbling and bloating in the stomach.

Sugars or artificial sweeteners in the diet can also cause gas and bloating. Drinking water eliminates these issues and helps to treat constipation as well.


Try to avoid chewing gum

The sugar alcohols in gum can cause bloating in some people. Swallowing air while chewing also may lead to bloating and gas pain. People can use ginger mints or peppermints to freshen their breath instead.


 Get more active every day

Exercise helps your body move stool and gas out of the colon and may make bowel movements more regular. Exercise also releases extra sodium from the body through sweating, which can help to relieve water retention.

It is vital to drink plenty of water before and after exercising to stay hydrated, as dehydration can make constipation worse.


 Eat at regular intervals

Many people experience bloating directly after a big meal. It is possible to avoid this by eating several smaller meals each day, which can help to keep the digestive system moving.

Swallowing food quickly can introduce air into the digestive tract. Drinking from a straw can also lead to people swallowing more air, which in turn leads to gas and bloating. People who have bloating should avoid using straws if possible and try eating slowly to avoid swallowing air during meals.


 Try probiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria that live in the intestines. Taking a probiotic supplement may help to regulate the colon bacteria that can produce gas and cause bloating.


 Cut down on salt

An excess of sodium causes the body to retain water. This can cause a swollen and bloated feeling in the belly and other areas of the body, such as the hands and feet.


 Rule out medical conditions

In some cases, bloating may result from a medical condition. To get rid of this bloating, a person may need help from a doctor to diagnose and manage their condition.

Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, may cause people to experience bloating. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), can also cause this symptom.

Gynecological conditions, such as endometriosis and ovarian cysts, can also cause pain, swelling, and feelings of bloating in the abdominal area.

People with these symptoms should discuss them with a doctor, who will also want to know about any relevant family medical history and other medical conditions. The doctor may order diagnostic tests to look for any problems. These may include an X-ray, ultrasound, colonoscopy, or blood tests.


Consider a low-FODMAP diet

FODMAPs are a type of carbohydrate that occurs in many different foods. A 2012 review article of multiple studies concluded that a low-FODMAP diet might improve symptoms in at least 74 percent of people with IBS. Typical symptoms include bloating, flatulence, and abdominal pain.


Keep a food diary

Food intolerances are responsible for many cases of bloating. They can lead to excessive gas in the digestive tract.

Bloating is common in people who have lactose intolerance and are unable to digest the lactose sugar in dairy products. Autoimmune intolerance to gluten, known as celiac disease, is another potential culprit.

For people whose bloating happens after meals, keeping track of food and drink intake for several weeks should help to determine whether specific foods are responsible.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offer tips for keeping a food diary and provide a template for people to get started.


 Look at supplements and medications

Some supplements, such as iron, can cause constipation and other symptoms of indigestion. This can increase bloating. Potassium, on the other hand, may reduce bloating by helping to balance the body’s sodium levels.

Medications may also cause side effects that affect GI function or cause indigestion. If this happens, a doctor or pharmacist can suggest alternatives that are more gentle on the digestive tract.


When To See A Doctor

 

Although it is not common, bloating and swelling of the abdomen can signify a severe medical condition. Liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, heart failure, kidney problems, and some types of cancer can cause bloating.

Bloating that continues for days or weeks may indicate a health issue that needs medical attention. It is advisable to speak to a doctor about ongoing bloating that does not go away over time.

People whose bloating occurs alongside these symptoms should seek medical advice

appetite changes or trouble eating, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, fever, severe abdominal pain, bright red blood in the stool, black or dark maroon stools.


Ultimately, the outlook for bloating depends on the underlying cause. Most of the time, bloating is due to minor issues that lifestyle changes or OTC treatments can resolve.

People should see a doctor if bloating is ongoing or occurs with other symptoms. Determining the underlying cause of bloating and other digestive issues is the first step to getting treatment and feeling better.


 

Final Thoughts

Bloating depends on the underlying cause. Most of the time, bloating is due to minor issues that lifestyle changes or OTC treatments can resolve.

People should see a doctor if bloating is ongoing or occurs with other symptoms. Determining the underlying cause of bloating and other digestive issues are the first step to getting treatment and feeling better.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

 

 

How To Use Leftover Candy Canes

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 20! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 18 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-19

*I realized that my #blogmas days had repeated tagged posts and that not every post was linked. I caught the mistake and fixed it. Every link should now be clickable and days 1-18 are now linked. If you are new to #blogmas you can catch up below.

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7 Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10 Blogmas Day 11 Blogmas Day 12 Blogmas Day 13 Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15  Blogmas Day 16 Blogmas Day 17 Blogmas Day 18  Blogmas Day 19


Twinkling lights, the smell of Christmas trees, and Winter Cocktails are among the most welcomed delights of the season,(Besides all the good holiday related junk food) 🙂 Oh, and let’s not forget candy canes—who doesn’t love,  love those! Which is why we stock up on the stuff the one time each year every store seems to carry them. But buying 10+ boxes of the minty, sweet treat has a downside: the leftovers ( you would only have that many boxes if you put candy canes on your Christmas tree)? There are often buckets worth—even after they’ve been hung on the tree, stuffed in everyone’s stocking, and fastened to all of your holiday cards. Sound like your yearly struggle? Rest easy; I’ve got you covered with some great candy cane crafts and recipes.


Spike Your Whipped Cream With It

Whipped cream

Shutterstock

Whether you’re dolloping it over fruit, a bowl of ice cream, or into your latte, whipped cream can benefit from a minty makeover. Whip your own cream and sprinkle the swirled candy bits at the end before using it as a creamy topping.


Make Candy Cane Pops

Candy cane oreo pops

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Insert decorative sticks into Oreo creme, dip the Oreo into melted white chocolate, and then coat with crushed candy canes for the perfect holiday treat you haven’t thought of making yet. The subtle vanilla flavor of the cookie met with the refreshing zing of peppermint will make a sweet snack the whole gang will love.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


 No-Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Truffles

Chocolate candy cane truffles

Courtesy of Your Cup of Cake

Use leftover candy canes by crafting decadent truffles dusted with the wintry sweet. This recipe starts with cream cheese, peppermint extract, and chocolate base before it’s refrigerated until set and then rolled in the crushed candies for added color and flavor. You can even wrap these cute little treats in cellophane and gift to your best pals.

Get the recipe from Your Cup of Cake.


Make Minty Marshmallows

Marshmallows in a bowl

Shutterstock

You’ll need to top off your hot cocoa with a giant marshmallow, but why settle for store-bought when you can easily make your own? Start with food genius Alton Brown’s marshmallow recipe on Food Network, and then dust the crushed candy canes on top of the ‘mallows before cutting them into perfect squares. You can even gift leftovers to friends and family.


Napkin Holders

Candy cane on plate

Shutterstock

Rather than opting for your usual holiday napkin rings, use twisted candy canes instead. If you have any leftover candies that are still intact, try hooking the arch over the middle of a rolled-up napkin before placing on your holiday table for some festive flair.


Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes

Chocolate candy cake cupcake

Courtesy of Your Cup of Cake

All you need is a quick devil’s food cake mix and a few other pantry staples to create a rich chocolate cupcake that serves as a perfect base to peppermint frosting. Psst: the frosting is 100 percent homemade, so you know it’ll be just as delicious on its own as over the cupcake. This recipe calls for adorning the frosting with crushed candy canes for a delectable and decorative twist.

Get the recipe from Your Cup of Cake.


 Chocolate Snowflake Candy Canes

Chocolate snowflake candy canes

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Got some extra candy canes that aren’t broken? Continue ringing in Christmas spirit by whipping up these white chocolate snowflake candy canes. All you have to do is dip half of the candy cane stick into a mixture of white chocolate chips and shortening before sprinkling over some white pearl and snowflake sprinkles and allowing them to cool and harden. Yum!

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


Craft Candy Cane Oreo Pudding Cups

Candy cane oreo pudding cups

Courtesy of Lil Luna

These cute little pudding cups are perfect for entertaining or a cozy night in. All you need is a white chocolate pudding mix, candy cane Oreos, candy cane bits, and Cool Whip. Then, you layer all of your ingredients into mini cups and voila!

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.


 Bath Scrub

candy cane scrub

Shutterstock

Instead of eating your leftovers, use them to make a candy cane-infused scrub. To make a batch, pour four cups of white sugar, one cup of olive oil (or another non-comedogenic oil with a similar consistency), a few drops of peppermint essential oil, and a quarter cup of finely ground candy canes into a mixing bowl. Then stir it up!


Bake Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Peppermint sugar cookies

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Sugar cookies are great on their own, but any tried-and-true classic can use a little makeover from time to time. These sugar cookies benefit from a thick vanilla frosting that’s bejeweled with candy cane pieces.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.


Bake Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint brownies

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Everyone (well, almost) loves the combo of mint and chocolate, and these peppermint brownies embrace the duo to the fullest extent. Warm, fudgy brownies are met with an invigorating crushed candy topping that adds crunch and texture.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


Reindeer Ears on Cookies

Candy canes in glass

Shutterstock

Nothing marks the beginning of the holiday season better than the grocery store invasion of peppermint-themed treats. That’s why we’re loving the idea of decorating homemade holiday desserts with the candy.


 Candy Cane Soap

candy cane soap

Shutterstock

In the mood to channel your inner Martha Stewart? Whip up some homemade candy cane soap! (It’s easy to make—promise!) Start by melting a block of clear glycerin and a block of white glycerin in separate bowls. Then, mix in red food dye and peppermint essential oil into the clear glycerin. (A few drops of each work.) After that, pour a thin layer of the melted white glycerin into a cake mold or small pan and let it sit for about two to three minutes. After it’s somewhat solid, pour a layer of the red glycerin on top and then continue alternating with the red and white glycerin every few minutes until the mold or pan is filled. Then top off your soap with a generous coating of crushed candy cane, which is a great exfoliant.


Throw Back a Candy Cane Cocktail

Shutterstock

If you’re looking to up your bartending game, forgo serving up basic drinks like spiked eggnog and opt for surprising your guests with a round of candy cane vodka shots. Luckily, you only need three things to prepare this festive elixir: candy canes, a small bottle of vodka (about 25 ounces), and a coffee grinder or food processor. Here’s what you need to do: grind 12 candy canes until they’re eroded into superfine crystals. Then, pour the candy powder into the bottle of vodka, make sure the cap is tightly screwed, and shake away! (You can even save some of the crushed candy to rim the glasses with later on!) Then, let the vodka sit for a half hour, shaking every now and then. Once the liquid is candy-cane-red, serve it up in shot glasses or a sleek martini glass.


Peppermint Hot Cocoa

candy cane hot cocoa

Shutterstock

This winter, spruce up your favorite hot beverage with some minty goodness! To make a mug of decadent hot cocoa, add one cup of your milk of choice into a saucepan with two ounces bittersweet chocolate, and simmer over low heat. Once the chocolate is melted, add one tablespoon sugar and a ½ teaspoon peppermint extract to the pot and stir. Once it’s all dissolved, pour it into your fave mug, swirl on some whipped cream, and then garnish the top with crushed candy canes. If you prefer taking the easier route with premade hot cocoa mix, choose my best Hot Chocolate.


 Peppermint Popcorn

peppermint bark popcorn

Courtesy of Cooking Classy

What’s better than binge-watching all of the Home Alone movies in one sitting? The answer: having a big bowl of peppermint popcorn beside you! Spike your popped kernels with a layer of melted white chocolate and some candy cane crumble. Oh, and you might want to whip up an extra batch because you’re totally not going to want to share this!

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy


Crack Fudge Peppermint Bark

peppermint bark

Shutterstock

Give your gingerbread cookie and peanut butter blossom recipes a break, and concoct a batch of crunchy peppermint bark instead. The best part—aside from the taste? It’s beyond easy to make. All you have to do is melt dark chocolate, slather it onto a sheet of parchment paper, and let it solidify in the fridge. Once it’s hardened, drizzle on a layer of melted white chocolate and then drop a handful or two (or three… no one’s looking!) of candy cane chunks for fresh flavor and a festive pop of color. Easy peasy!


Try Pink Peppermint Bark Macarons

Pink peppermint bark macarons

Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

Besides croissants, macarons are the next best thing the French bestowed on us. Give your favorite fancy dessert a wintry twist by adding crushed candy canes into the creamy ganache.

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.


Rim Glasses With Candy Canes

Green holiday cocktail

Shutterstock

Remember that martini we suggested shaking up and that hot cocoa recipe you jotted on your list? Well, if these two beverages have anything in common, it’s that you can easily jazz them up by rimming the glass or mug with crushed candy canes. Just pulverize the candies in the blender, use your finger to coat the rim with a syrup (like maple syrup) and dip into the crushed candy.


Scoop Into Homemade Nice Cream

candy-cane-ice-cream

Shutterstock

Adapt your favorite nice cream recipe into a delicious, holiday-approved dessert by sprinkling crushed candy canes into the blender. Whether you choose to go with banana and cocoa mix or a traditional vanilla bean dessert, you’ll want to scoop it into a cone and toss some candy canes on top for a refreshing twist on rainbow sprinkles.


Bake Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Death by chocolate peppermint cookies

Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

If you love devil’s food cake, you’re gonna love this recipe idea. All you have to do is bake up a decadent chocolate cookie, dip it in dark chocolate, sprinkle it with some crushed peppermint candies, and drizzle with white chocolate. The minty peppermint will help cut the richness of the dark chocolate.

Get the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.


Make Homemade Thin Mints

Peppermint bark cookies

Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

Instead of unwrapping a thin mint, try DIYing your own this holiday season. The chocolate sugar cookies are super easy to make, and they come out of the oven extra thick while the white chocolate coating gets a double dose of peppermint from the extract and crushed candies.

Get the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.


Make a Minty Milkshake

Candy cane chocolate milkshake

Shutterstock

Got a tub of vanilla ice cream, milk, and leftover candy canes? Blend the three ingredients into the best milkshake ever. You can even add some unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolatey boost and garnish the cup with a mint leaf. Mmm!


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.

Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

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The Best Christmas Products That Come Out Every Year

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 19! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 18 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-18

*I realized that my #blogmas days had repeated tagged posts and that not every post was linked. I caught the mistake and fixed it. Every link should now be clickable and days 1-18 are now linked. If you are new to #blogmas you can catch up below.

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7 Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10 Blogmas Day 11 Blogmas Day 12 Blogmas Day 13 Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15  Blogmas Day 16 Blogmas Day 17 Blogmas Day 18

 


Just because you can’t always bring yourself to say “no” to the limited-edition gingerbread cookies and holiday candy you see at the store, it doesn’t mean your belly must start resembling Santa’s. It’s totally possible to get in the spirit of the season while maintaining your trim waistline; you just need to know which packages to grab and which ones to leave at the grocery store.

Since no one wants to spend time reading nutrition panels in the supermarket’s overcrowded holiday section (seriously, it’s a scary place to linger), I’ve done all of the research for you. Commit some of my top picks to memory so you can get in and out of the store unscathed. Or better yet, snag them online!


LÄRABAR Snickerdoodle & Gingerbread

 

Nutrition: 1 bar, 190 calories 8-9 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0-30 mg sodium, 25 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 17-18 g sugar, 4 g protein

Thanks to Larabar, you can finally indulge in your favorite holiday cookie flavors without a massive sugar rush. While there are 17 to 18 grams of the sweet stuff per bar, the sugar is all the naturally occurring kind from things like dates and raisins. Plus, these things are beyond tasty—nab ‘em while you still can!


Birch Benders Gingerbread Spice Pancake Mix

 

Nutrition: 1/4 cup mix (two 4” pancakes), 120 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 390 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 3 g protein

While this ginger-infused pancake mix is a bit high in sugar, thanks to the addition of cassava starch there’s a bit fiber and protein, too. To even the fiber to sugar ratio a bit further, go light on the syrup and top your hotcakes with finely chopped pecans or walnuts and enjoy a scrambled egg or two on the side.


Goldfish Fun Holiday Colors Baked Cheddar Crackers

 

Nutrition: 55 pieces, 140 calories 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 240 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 1 g fiber, <1 g sugar, 3 g protein

While these cute little crackers don’t offer much in terms of nutrition, they won’t do your body much harm, either. To give their tiny fish their vibrant holiday hues, Pepperidge Farms used things like turmeric extract and watermelon juice concentrate—not chemicals. With that in mind, this is definitely a salty snack that gets the green light. To boost its staying power of your snack, mix the fishies with some raw nuts and pair the mixture with a small piece of fibrous fruit.


KIND Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spice

Nutrition: 1 bar, 200 calories, 15 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 5 g protein

With so many delicious, low sugar bars on their roster, it’s easy to see why—and this seasonal snack is no exception. Flavors of hazelnuts, cashews, chocolate, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon join together to create a snack bar that will delight your taste buds while fueling your body right. Get a box for you and a second one to use as healthy stocking stuffers. The gift of health is one that everyone on your list is sure to love.


Enjoy Life Foods Gingerbread Spice Cookies

Nutrition: 2 cookies, 120 calories, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 95 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 1 g protein

The healthiest gingerbread you’ll have this season will likely be homemade. But in the packaged food realm, these come pretty darn close. Despite the fact that most of these cookies are filled with sugar (as is the case with almost every cookie), they still have less than 5 grams of the sweet stuff a pop—which is pretty impressive. I also love that Enjoy Life uses ingredients like millet and buckwheat flour to sneak in a bit of nutrition.


Tic Tac Christmas Candy Cane

Nutrition: 1 piece, 1.9 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein

Since you have to constantly chomp, gum can make your tummy bloat. I  rely on mints to freshen my breath. These super-cute candy cane Tic Tacs are sure to brighten your day and your smile every time you pop one into your mouth. And for less than 2 calories each, they can’t be beat—so long as you don’t down too many at once, at least.


BoomChickaPop White Chocolate Peppermint

Nutrition: 1 1/4 cup, 140 calories, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 75 mg sodium 18 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 1 g protein

Compared to things like candy and cookies, this peppermint and chocolate topped popcorn isn’t half bad. And the divine flavor makes it totally worth its not-exactly-low sugar count. This is definitely a must-try but probably not something you want to go back for seconds of.


Walkers Shortbread Festive Shapes Pure Butter Cookies

Nutrition: 2 pieces, 150 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 85 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 2 g protein

The only things that go into these low-sugar cookies are wheat flour, butter, sugar, and salt making them an obvious Eat This!


Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea

Nutrition: 1 tea bag, 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein

The only thing better than a cup of belly fat-incinerating Tea? One that’s infused with orange peel, peppermint, cinnamon, and vanilla bean, that’s what! The super cute box is definitely a bonus, too. Just look at those bears hard at work in Santa’s workshop!


Califia Farms Pure Almond Milk Egg Nog

Nutrition: 4 fl oz, 50 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 90 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 1 g protein

 It does have about fifty percent fewer calories than the typical eggnog, I can’t deny that eggnog in general just isn’t a great pick. Sip it if you must, but know that you’re better off eating your calories than sipping them.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.

Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

The Best Christmas Chocolate

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 15! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 15 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-15

Blogmas Day 1Blogmas Day 2Blogmas Day 3Blogmas Day 4Blogmas Day 5Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7  Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10  Blogmas Day 11  Blogmas Day 12   Blogmas Day 13 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14 (Popular) Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15 (Very Popular)

To be ranked a “best” Christmas chocolate, you had to be under 21 grams of sugar—the sweet stuff’s been linked to weight gain, as well as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. While calories and fat also factored into our rankings, having more natural ingredients (and fewer ingredients, at that), earned certain chocolates that may have had higher calorie and fat counts more points. Having more quality calories will benefit you far more than fewer calories loaded with artificial additives, especially when those calories are from antioxidant-rich cocoa.


REESE’S SNOWMAN

REESES SNOWMAN

PER ¼ SNOWMAN (35 G): 180 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (1 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 3 g protein

Reese’s lovers rejoice—although Reese’s Bells got axed from the Nice List, there’s two ETNT approved holiday varieties. The first is this Reese’s Snowman, which is free of trans fats and nutritionally superior to the Bells (when you eat ¼ of the Snowman that is—that’s the serving size, and stick to it).


REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER TREES

REESES PEANUT BUTTER TREES

PER 2 PIECES: 170 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 4 g protein

And your best Reese’s option is… these Reese’s Trees! You can indulge in one for just 90 calories, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of sugar!


LINDT MILK CHOCOLATE SNOWMEN

LINDT MILK CHOCOLATE SNOWMEN

PER 4 PIECES: 220 calories, 15 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 3 g protein

If you’re one of those people who love giving oversized holiday-shaped chocolates as presents, try downsizing it this year. These mini Lindt Milk Chocolate Snowmen are just 55 calories a piece. Whether or not the recipient decides to eat the full serving is up to them, but at least the nutrition comes from quality ingredients. 


GOLD EMBLEM CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS

GOLD EMBLEM CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS

PER ⅓ CUP (38 G): 200 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 2 g protein

Despite a lengthy ingredient list, these Chocolate Covered Pretzels are low in calories and won’t tap out your fat and sugar banks. They’re the perfect treat for any salty and sweet fan.


GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK

GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK

PER 3 PIECES: 190 calories, 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein

Peppermint bark may be a festive holiday staple, but unless you can limit yourself to just a square or two, it’s a slippery slope–especially if you’re trying to survive the holidays without love handles. Just three squares have nearly as many calories as an entire bag of Reese’s Pieces and an extra gram of saturated fat.


KIT KAT MINT MINIATURES

KIT KAT MINT MINIATURES

PER 5 PIECES (43 G): 210 calories, 12 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (2 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein

Take a break from shopping with one of these Kit Kat Mint Miniatures. They pop right into your mouth and contain peppermint oil, a weight loss superfoods. In fact, researchers conclude that by adding mint to your diet, more of the fat you consume will be metabolized, as opposed to steadily making your pants tighter.


HERSHEY’S MILK CHOCOLATE SANTA

HERSHEYS MILK CHOCOLATE SANTAS

PER 1 BAR (34 G): 170 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein

Not a fan of mini? Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Santa is perfectly portioned so that you can indulge with boundaries.


GHIRARDELLI HOLIDAY IMPRESSIONS CHOCOLATE MILK & DARK

GHIRARDELLI HOLIDAY IMPRESSIONS CHOCOLATE MILK AND DARK

PER 3 SQUARES (39 G): 210 calories, 12 g fat (7.5 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 3 g protein

Although we have listed the nutritional profile of three Ghirardelli Holiday Impression squares in order to keep our comparisons uniform, the actual packing serving size is only 1 square. If you have the self-control, that’s just 70 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 7 grams of sugar per individually wrapped square.


GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK WITH DARK CHOCOLATE

GHIRARDELLI SQUARES PEPPERMINT BARK WITH DARK CHOCOLATE

PER 3 SQUARES (39 G): 200 calories, 15 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (2 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein

You already know that peppermint is a lethal weight loss weapon, but did you know that chocolate can actually help you burn fat? Chocolate boasts powerful natural chemicals called flavanols that have been found to help lower blood sugar and also decrease body fat, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


RUSSELL STOVER CARAMEL SANTA

 

PER 1 PIECE: 160 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 1 g protein

I doubt Russell and Clara Stover were making these caramel Santas when they began their candy business in their home in Denver, Colorado in 1923. However, they’ve become a popular festive treat that would earn Mrs. Claus’ approval.


THEO DARK CHOCOLATE NUTCRACKER TOFFEE

THEO DARK CHOCOLATE NUTCRACKER TOFFEE

PER ½ BAR: 210 calories, 15 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (3 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 3 g protein

This Dark Chocolate Nutcracker Toffee bar is made with organic, wholesome ingredients—aka food that was not made in a lab. According to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, regularly consuming small amounts of high-quality chocolate fights stress that can lead to weight gain.


RUSSELL STOVER MARSHMALLOW SANTA

RUSSELL STOVER MARSHMALLOW SANTA

PER 1 PIECE: 100 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 18 g carbs (14 g sugar)(all other nutritionals unavailable)

Your best Santa chocolate bar option is this Russell Stover Marshmallow Santa. It’s just 100 calories and has just 14 grams of sugar. Plus, marshmallow and chocolate? No brainer.


THE #1 CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE IS… MADELAINE CHOCOLATE COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS CALENDAR

MADELAINE CHOCOLATE COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS CALENDAR

PER 1 PIECE: 50 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 1 g protein

It’s rather fitting that at the top of my Nice Chocolate List is this Chocolate Countdown to Christmas Calendar. Each window reveals a 50 calorie milk chocolate wrapped like a Christmas present. It seems a little counterintuitive, but to really take control over your cravings you’ve got to indulge in them—slowly, one day at a time! And to blast even more belly fat, pair the cup with a cup of Tea. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells). The tea’s combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) seems to set fat cells up for defeat.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

Winter Cocktails

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 14! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 13 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-12

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6  Blogmas Day 7  Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10  Blogmas Day 11  Blogmas Day 12   Blogmas Day 13 (Popular)


6 Cozy Winter Cocktails That Aren’t Belly Bombs

 

When the holidays roll around, it’s basically inevitable that you’ll lose gym time or end up splurging on “just one more” piece of pie or cake—no matter how close you are to your goal weight. And although it’s more a season of splurging (you only enjoy the holidays once a year) than it is of giving for many of us, you don’t have to let home-cooked feasts every few weeks and holiday office parties stop you from making healthy choices.

That’s why I’ve come up with wholesome alternative recipes for your favorite boozy indulgences. Made only from good-for-you ingredients, many of these creamy, cold-weather cocktails are high in protein and healthy fats while being low in sugar. While you can sip on a gin and tonic any time of the year, make a point of rotating in these cozy drinks designed for the colder months.


Tom & Jerry (Egg Nog With A Shot of Brandy)

tom & jerry ‘egg nog with a shot of brandy’

Per 8-oz serving: 250 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (2 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 9 g protein

Next in line behind Starbucks‘ red cups to signal the start to the holiday season is eggnog. Even though traditional nog packs a protein punch from eggs, it’s high in calories, fat, and sugar. By swapping the heavy cream for almond milk and keeping the added sugar to a minimum, our recipe saves you 3 grams of saturated fat and up to 8 grams of sugar. Plus, it contains anti-inflammatory spices like cinnamon, which are good for both your head and waistline.


To Make It

Yields 5, 8-oz servings

40 ounces Original Almond Breeze Unsweetened
6 large eggs
¼ cup granulated sugar
2½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
7.5 oz brandy

HOW TO MAKE IT

Crack the eggs into a medium bowl. Beat the eggs until they appear lighter in color. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until dissolved. Set aside. Place the milk and spices in a medium-sized saucepan and whisk to combine. Heat over medium heat—whisking occasionally so it doesn’t burn—until steam begins to appear, about 5 minutes. Then, temper the eggs by slowly pouring ½ cup of the hot liquid into the egg bowl, whisking to combine. Make sure you do this slowly so it does not cook the eggs. Once tempered, you can add the rest of the liquid. Transfer mixture from egg bowl back to the saucepan and cook until warmed through. Remove from heat, add brandy.


Mulled Apple Cider With Shot of Rum

mulled apple cider with shot of rum

Per 8 oz serving: 195 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 0 g protein

By cutting the apple cider with water, you save yourself a staggering 15 grams of sugar per serving, which will ultimately help your stave off a hangover (as sugar is one of the main contributors to queasy mornings-after). The added ginger will also help soothe your bloated tummy after a holiday meal and the addition of pungent fresh spices and tart lemon zest mean you won’t be compromising on flavor.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Yields 5 servings
4 cups freshly-made apple juice
1 cup water
2 each whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise
2-inch chunk fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
½ orange, thinly sliced
7.5 oz spiced rum
Dash of sea salt


HOW TO MAKE IT

Place all ingredients besides alcohol into a large pot over low-medium heat. Warm slowly for 20 minutes (boiling will decrease levels of beneficial antioxidants). After 15 minutes, add orange slices. Once done, strain through a fine mesh sieve and pour into individual glasses. Add your preferred alcohol.


Switchel With Bourbon

switchel with bourbon

Per 8-ounce serving: 210 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein

It might be marginally unpronounceable, but the combination of ingredients in this drink are the stuffed diner’s best friend. The mix of juiced ginger, apple cider vinegar (ACV), and maple syrup is an anti-inflammatory trio that is sure to cut through that post-dinner bloat. Better yet, since ACV is one of the 30 Best Fat Burning Foods, it’ll help your body jumpstart the digestion process and breakdown of fat. Add a hint of bourbon for the perfect after-feast treat.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Yields 6, 5.3 oz servings
6 ounces of freshly grated ginger
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Grade A pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 cups boiling water
6 shots liquor


HOW TO MAKE IT

Grate the ginger until smooth. Add ginger to tea steeper and allow to steep for at least 8 minutes. Add maple syrup and stir until the maple syrup dissolves. Next add the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and alcohol. Serve warm.


Mexican Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps

mexican hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps

Per 8-oz serving: 200 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 130 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (2 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 8 g protein

Hot chocolate is an old-time childhood favorite that always made its way into your kitchen whenever the temperature went down. Unfortunately, traditional mixes usually involved heavy milk and sugary chocolate additions. This spicy Mexican hot chocolate is an after-dinner treat that won’t leave you with guilt because it’s made with 100% raw cacao (with no added sugars) and metabolism-boosting cayenne pepper.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Yields 2 servings
2 cups organic, 2% milk
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
½ heaping teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 oz peppermint schnapps


HOW TO MAKE IT

Combine all ingredients (except alcohol) in a blender for 30 seconds. Pour into a saucepan and gently warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Taste for more cayenne, and add if you want more spice! Pour into mugs, add your liqueur, and enjoy!


Pumpkin Spice Latte With Vanilla Vodka

pumpkin spice latte with vanilla vodka

Per 8-oz serving, with 1.5 oz vodka: 210 calories, 4 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (1 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 7 g protein

If you still haven’t had your fill of all things pumpkin, this drink is for you. Because the orange fruit is sweet on its own, you won’t have to bother with any added sugars in this latte. An added bonus? You might even feel full enough from the healthy fats and satiating Protein to stick to just one drink. I like serving mine with vanilla vodka, but you can also try Amaretto for a spiked treat.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Yields 2 drinks
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-⅔ cups organic, 2% milk
⅓ cup coffee
2 shots vanilla vodka
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

HOW TO MAKE IT

Cook pumpkin puree, spices, and a splash of water in a very small saucepan over medium heat for a couple minutes—stir constantly. Add milk, stirring occasionally until warm. Once warmed, using an immersion blender or hand-held blender, whip pumpkin-flavored milk mixture until frothy. Pour coffee and vanilla vodka into two mugs. Top each with frothed milk and freshly grated nutmeg.


Hot Toddy

hot toddy

Per 8 oz mug: 100 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (0 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 0 g protein

Mixing whiskey with a tea bag, water, honey, and lemon is an obvious waist-friendly pick. If you’re craving a second round, ditch the whiskey and brew up a cup Of Earl Gray


WHAT YOU’LL NEED

1 oz (2 tablespoons) whiskey
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 lemon slice
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
1 cup hot, brewed English breakfast tea

HOW TO MAKE IT

Add honey and spices to the bottom of an 8- to 12-ounce mug. Add whiskey and top off with hot tea. Stir until honey is dissolved. Top off with a squeeze of lemon and lemon slice.


 Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

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Twitter: Amanda Explains It

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How To Bake The Perfect Fruit Cake

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 13! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 12 days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-12

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6  Blogmas Day 7  Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10  Blogmas Day 11  Blogmas Day 12


Quick history lesson! Before your grandma graced the Christmas table with a fruitcake centerpiece, the ancient Romans shaped pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, barley mash, raisins, and honeyed wine into a fruitcake-like concoction they named “satura.” And according to the New York Times, the Romans’ sweet and sour satura cake actually inspired the word satire. Pretty cool, huh?

While most folks have a love-hate relationship with this treat, everyone can basically agree that it certainly embodies tradition. Boasting a slew of festive ingredients like dried or candied fruits, rum, and butter, many families’ Christmas dinners are incomplete without fruit cake for dessert. So, why not make it a hit with everyone at your table—even the skeptics—with these tips?


Swap Brandy

Brandy

While brandy’s hints of oak and plum notes marry well with the cake’s fruity sweetness, folks who aren’t too fond of the booze can definitely switch it up. If you fancy vino, opt for using red wine instead. Or if you want to keep your cake alcohol-free, feel free to use your favorite fruit juice.


Coat Your Mixins With Flour

Flour

Before you add your dried fruit and nuts to the batter, coat them in flour first. This will ensure that all the good stuff won’t sink to the bottom of the cake when it bakes—and it will leave your guests wondering how they shoveled in the perfect bite each time.


Use Quality Spices

Cinnamon Sticks

Since fruitcake is sometimes spiced with warm seasonings like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, you’re going to want to use the freshest spices possible to ensure your cake is worthy of a second helping.


Make Equal-Weight Substitutions

Dried Figs

If you’re not a fan of the candied fruit that traditional fruit cakes call for, you can totally swap it out for some yummier alternatives. We especially like golden raisins, cranberries, dates, and figs (Which are HIGH in potassium). If you’re swapping out any fruit or nuts, make sure you’re adding the same amount as the original recipe calls for. So if the OG recipe requires one cup of candied cherries and you’d prefer dried cranberries, substitute the cherries for the same weight (one cup, in this case) of crans.


Don’t Overfill The Pan

Overflowing cake

Make sure you’re filling your tins only two-thirds of the way with batter. Pouring past that mark can cause your fruitcake to overflow the rims of the baking dish—which means extra clean up time for you.


Set the Oven to the Perfect Temperature

Hand opening oven

Never bake your fruitcake at a temperature higher than 325 degrees Fahrenheit. (250 degrees to 325 degrees is best!) Baking your cake at a lower temperature ensures it will cook through evenly without drying out. To ensure it is done before you pop it out of the oven, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. It should come out moist but not raw or doughy.


Keep Your Cake Moist

Applesauce and apples

Along with setting your oven to the right temperature to ensure your fruitcake doesn’t end up unpleasantly dry, try adding a cup of applesauce to the batter. And to further prevent your cake from drying out, keep a pan of hot water on a lower rack in the oven to add moisture while it bakes. Genius, right?!


Prevent It From Burning

Fruit Cake in baking pan

Since fruit cakes take their time to bake in the oven (about two and a half hours or more), line your baking pans with double layers of brown paper or waxed paper before you pour the batter; this will prevent the cakes from browning too much in the oven. Once it’s done, say hello to a perfectly moist and golden fruitcake!


Practice Portion Control

muffins

If you have trouble sticking to just one slice of the sweet stuff, opt for baking your fruitcake in muffin or cupcake tins for a perfectly portioned bite. Just remember to adjust the baking time; fruitcake muffins will take a shorter amount of time to bake. (You can use our toothpick trick mentioned above to test them.) 


Age it

Fruit cake

Just like good wine and cheese, a fruitcake must also age in order to reach its full potential. After your cake is baked and cooled, first wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap followed by foil paper, and then stick the entire thing in an airtight container. This will ensure that your fruitcake won’t take on any funky smells or flavors. Store it in a cool, dry place (not the fridge or freezer because the super low temperatures will halt the aging process, which you don’t want!) like your pantry or cupboard. I recommend aging your fruit cake for one to three months, if possible so that all of the ingredients marry well. In fact, with the right preservation methods and a quality air-tight container, an auction house was able to sell a 27-year-old fruitcake for $6,000!


If You’re Aging It…

Sliced Fruit cake

Make sure to also “feed it” every week. Feeding, or moistening the cake with alcohol, will ensure your cake ages properly and doesn’t go dry. (The alcohol is also the reason a fruitcake can last without going bad!) Simply coat the cake evenly so that you don’t end up with any soggy parts.

I like pouring the liquor of choice (from brandy to rum to whiskey or cognac) into spray bottles, poking evenly-spaced holes into the cake, and then spraying away. This will ensure the cake is evenly fed. Repeat this weekly. Speaking of booze, if you like to hit up cocktail parties and happy hours.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂