BYTES of Informationon Motherhood, Food, Fitness & Real Life

4 Ingredient Brownie Dough Dip That’s Actually Healthy!

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Did you know today is National Brownie Day? One of my favorite desserts in the world is brownie batter. I don’t care for cooked brownies as much- just the dough! Of course, it’s not healthy (or safe!) to eat regular brownie batter. That’s why I decided to create a simple 4 ingredient healthy BROWNIE DOUGH DIP to celebrate today’s food holiday! And the best part- it contains absolutely NO ADDED SUGAR!

This brownie dough is actually good for you and safe to eat raw!

This brownie dough is actually good for you and safe to eat raw!

This recipe is incredibly simple and it’s actually packed full of protein and antioxidants, so there’s no guilt in eating it up! If you make it, be sure to let me know what you think!




1 Tbs 100% cocoa powder

1 ½ Tbs oat flour

1 Tbs PB2 peanut butter powder

1 pinch stevia

3 Tbs to 1/4 cup water


In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add water gradually to form the dough. Slowly add water 1 Tbs at a time until reaching the desired consistency. Top with dark chocolate chips if desired and enjoy!


NUTRITION FACTS (makes 1 serving)

Calories 70 Carbs: 8gm Protein: 3gm Fat: 1gm


How to Help Manage the Holiday Sweet Tooth

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On average, Americans consume about 20 teaspoons of added caloric sweeteners daily.1 This is two to three times the recommendation from the American Heart Association, which suggests that most women consume no more than 100 calories of added sugar (about 6 teaspoons) per day, and most men consume no more than 150 calories of added sugar (about 9 teaspoons) per day.2 Increased intake of added sugars can have a negative impact on health, including decreasing HDL-cholesterol levels and elevating triglyceride levels.3

Helping patients reduce their intake of added sugars can be a struggle, especially during the holidays if they experience frequent food cravings. However, food cravings themselves may be brought on by the meal choices your patient makes. One study compared brain activity following consumption of a high glycemic index meal, such as a meal rich in added sugars and refined grains, to consumption of a low glycemic index meal. Eating a high glycemic index meal resulted in lower blood glucose and increased hunger, and stimulated the regions of the brain associated with reward and cravings in the late postprandial period, which could impact food choices at the next meal.4This finding points to the possible value of helping our patients reduce the glycemic load of meals in an effort to help increase satiety and reduce overall cravings. The good news is, working to lower the glycemic index through simple substitutions, such as swapping brown rice for white rice, may be a tool to help manage the spikes and dips in blood sugar that may occur from more refined, starchy carbs.

Researchers are also exploring the role of added sugars in leptin resistance.5Leptin, a hormone released by fat cells, helps signal the brain to decrease food consumption and increase energy expenditure. Leptin resistance has been referred to as the hallmark of obesity.6 A recent study found a significant correlation between plasma leptin levels and carbohydrate cravings.7 This may be especially valuable information for those with diabetes or prediabetes, as insulin resistance has been associated with leptin resistance.8

To help curb cravings this holiday season, one strategy may be to work with your patients to help them reduce the overall glycemic load of their meal choices, while simultaneously working with them to reduce intake of added sugars. This combination may help fight cravings, as well as manage hunger. As mentioned earlier, certain meal swaps may help reduce the glycemic load and limit added sugars without sacrificing flavor. For instance, work with your clients to find whole grain alternatives to common refined grain choices such as whole grain pasta over white pasta or steal cut oats over instant oatmeal. Added sugars can also be reduced by making simple swaps, such as seltzer for soda, 100% juice for fruit juice, and unsweetened teas for sweetened varieties. 

Making a few easy swaps to meals and snacks may help boost satiety, rather than stimulate cravings. When our patients’ cravings are diminished, the goals of improved blood glucose management and reduced body weight may become easier to work towards, and our overall health may be enhanced.


1. American Heart Association. 19 May 2014. Frequently Asked Questions About Sugar. Retrieved from

2. Johnson R, et al. Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health. A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. 2009. Accessed November 10, 2015.

3. Welsh JA, et al. Caloric sweetener consumption and dyslipidemia among US adults. JAMA. 2010 Apr 21;303(15):1490-7. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.449.

4. Lennerz BS, et al. Effects of dietary glycemic index on brain regions related to reward and craving in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Sep;98(3):641-7. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.064113.

5. Shapiro A, et al. Prevention and reversal of diet-induced leptin resistance with a sugar-free diet despite high fat content. Br J Nutr. 2011 Aug;106(3):390-7. doi: 10.1017/S000711451100033X. Full text accessible at

6. Lustig RH, et al. Obesity, leptin resistance, and the effects of insulin reduction. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Oct;28(10):1344-8.

7. Licinio J, Negrao AB, Wong ML. Plasma leptin concentrations are highly correlated to emotional states throughout the day. Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Oct 28;4:e475. doi: 10.1038/tp.2014.115.

8. Fischer S, et al. Insulin-resistant patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus have higher serum leptin levels independently of body fat mass. Acta Diabetol. 2002 Sep;39(3):105-10.

Successfully Managing Diabetes Throughout the Holiday Season

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It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is upon us, and with all of the festivities can come the seemingly inescapable holiday weight gain, or so your patients may think. Although a research study found perceived weight gain throughout the holidays to average around 3.5 pounds, in reality, actual weight gain during the holiday season averaged just under 1 pound.² However, the same study found that individuals who started the holiday season at an overweight or obese Body Mass Index (BMI) gained more weight than those with a BMI of <25.³ This is concerning for overweight patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes, as excess weight is thought to be a significant contributor to insulin resistance.⁴


Although the holidays might seem like the time of year when dietary moderation is the last thing on anyone’s mind, it can actually be a great time to educate patients with diabetes on simple nutrition strategies that can help set them up for a lifetime of well-managed blood glucose levels. By showing your patients some of the factors that may lead to holiday weight gain, and providing them with simple tips, you can help them enjoy a healthier holiday season without deprivation or possible negative health consequences.


Mindfulness Is Key

One factor in holiday weight gain may be the abundance of food offerings within arm’s reach anywhere you turn. From candy dishes at work to cookie platters at home, the temptation can be hard to resist. For those patients with diabetes, overindulging in holiday classics can be especially damaging. Mindless eating of carbohydrate-rich foods may lead to increases in blood glucose levels, which may pose health problems in the short and long-term. To help prevent dangerous spikes in blood glucose, we can encourage our patients to minimize temptation and practice mindful eating strategies. Indeed, research shows that by simply placing goodies in opaque colored containers instead of transparent glassware, consumption can be decreased significantly.⁵ Research also shows that daily food journaling can be an effective strategy to increase awareness of food consumption among patients and help support weight loss efforts.⁶


Encourage Simple Recipe Swaps

Many holiday dishes are packed full of refined carbohydrates and added sugars, which can pose great challenges when it comes to effective blood glucose control. While many patients are aware of these consequences, you may find resistance in regard to altering a traditional holiday recipe. However, by educating patients on the health benefits these ingredient substitutions can offer while also maintaining the taste and texture of the original version, they might just be swayed to tweak Grandma’s apple pie recipe. Try encouraging some of the following simple swaps to help holiday favorites have less of an impact on blood glucose levels:


  • When preparing recipes that call for all-purpose flour, a rich source of refined carbohydrates, try substituting one half of the flour for 100% whole-wheat flour. This swap helps to increase the fiber content and may help lower the glycemic load of the recipe.


  • Substitute one ounce of baking chocolate with 3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder to cut 105 calories from the recipe.


Becoming more mindful of food choices and adjusting favorite holiday recipes to reduce the overall caloric value can help your patients build healthier habits any time of the year!

[1]Boden G, et al. Excessive caloric intake acutely causes oxidative stress, GLUT4 carbonylation, and insulin resistance in healthy men. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Sep 9;7(304):304re7. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac4765.

²Yanovski, JA, et al. A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain. N Engl J Med 2000; 342:861-867.

³Yanovski, JA, et al.

⁴NIDDK. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes. NIH Publication No. 14-4893. June 2014. Retrieved from

Wansink B1Painter JELee YK. The office candy dish: proximity’s influence on estimated and actual consumption. Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 May;30(5):871-5.

⁶Hollis, J. (2008) News release, Kaiser Permanente. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August Vol 35.

My 5-Step Painless Plan to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain… While Still Eating What You Love!

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Did you enjoy your Halloween weekend? We had so much fun seeing Joey Trick-or-Treat for the first time. He really got into it! He went as Cookie Monster this year, but I have to say, I think by the end of the night I felt much more like a Cookie Monster than he did! I have such a major sweet tooth that I always struggle with overdoing candy when it’s around. At least now we don’t have a giant bowl of sweets sitting out all night so I can control myself a bit more (although there’s still plenty left over in the pantry!)


How did you do with your meal plan and nutrition goals this Halloween weekend? If you got a little off track, don’t worry. I am here to help! The holiday season can be one of the most difficult times of year to eat healthy and avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain. I can’t tell you how many clients I have worked with who do wonderful all year long only to get derailed over the holidays and spend the first few months of the New Year undoing the damage that they have done.


But you know what? There are plenty of people who are not impacted at all by the holidays. They can go through the entire season without gaining an ounce (and some even lose weight during this time!) What’s their secret? Well after working one on one with clients for more than a decade, I discovered the specific traits that these seemingly lucky people all have. But it isn’t just luck- these individuals all follow a common path throughout the holiday season (and the whole year) that allows them to successfully lose weight and keep it off no matter what life throws at them.

And guess what? I’m about to share all of these secrets with you! I am going to be hosting a FREE LIVE ONLINE TRAINING: My PAINLESS 5-STEP PLAN TO PREVENTING HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN WHILE EATING THE FOODS YOU LOVE.


FREE Live Online Event: 5 Step Painless Plan to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain … Without Giving Up the Foods You Love!


In this one-hour live webinar, I will show you #1 reason most people gain weight during the holidays, and why it has nothing to do with food or exercise. I will also lay out my simple five-step formula for avoiding holiday weight gain without deprivation to allow you to start 2016 healthier and happier than ever. You’ll learn exactly how to avoid becoming a holiday weight gain statistic, while making sure you still get to enjoy all of your favorite holiday foods. I’ll even be including a live Q&A session at the end of the event so you can ask all of your holiday health related questions!

Even if you have been struggling with yo-yo dieting or gained weight during the holidays last year and have been unable to lose it, guess what? I’m going to show you some incredibly easy yet effective strategies to overcome these challenges so you can start the New Year off healthier and happier than ever.
I am so excited about this FREE training that I will be offering it twice, but space is very limited, so make sure to sign up today! I am offering both a daytime and an evening training so everyone can make it!
CLICK HERE to register for either live event on:
Wednesday November 11th at 12pm EST
Thursday November 12th at 8:30pm EST
If you want to finally enjoy the holidays guilt-free and not feel like you have to waste the first half of 2016 undoing the damage from 2015, then make sure to join me! And don’t forget to share this invite with your friends and family who may benefit as well!


I also want to send out a special invitation to all of the Costco Diabetes Club Members (@CDiabetesInfo). Living with diabetes can be challenging, especially during the holiday season. But I want you to know that it is possible to enjoy your holidays, without guilt, while still keeping your health in check. Deprivation isn’t the answer. You can eat what you love and still keep blood sugar levels and weight in a healthy range. Make sure to join me LIVE on 11/11 or 11/12 and find out how!


And to hold you over while you wait for the training to start, check out some of my tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight while preventing or managing diabetes that I have shared with C Diabetes Magazine:

Eating Mindfully for Successful Weight Loss

Surprising Foods that Can Improve Blood Glucose


I can’t wait to see you LIVE at my event!

I am a member of the Diabetes Influencers Network. I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

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