Wednesday, November 26, 2014

4 Tips To Avoid The Holiday Sugar High!

Hey guys!  With the holidays upon us, many people may be wondering how to avoid packing on the extra pounds with all the festivities going on... but still enjoy their favorite holiday treats! I'm super excited to have Andrea Szebeni as a guest on my blog today! She is  a registered nutritionist and dietician with the Lighthouse Recovery  Institute. Here are some of her expert tips on how you can still enjoy all your favorite holiday treats without going overboard!

4 tips to avoid the holiday sugar high: 

 Between gifts of cookies and fudge to attending abundant holiday parties to dinners full of holiday favorites, it can be easy to justify a few extra treats here and there during the holiday season.

But sugar is the most abused drug in the United States, responsible for making us the second most obese country in the world (second only to Mexico), and the primary negative factor to many health issues, says Andrea Szebeni, a registered nutritionist and dietician with the Lighthouse Recovery Institute(

Neurologically, sugar is a stimulant that keeps us craving it the more it is eaten, says Szebeni. "This is why during the holidays once we overindulge once, it leads us to believe we have failed once again and we may just as well start the diet after the holidays," Szebeni says.

Szebeni, who helps young women overcome eating disorders, provides these four tips for enjoying your favorite treats this holiday season without going overboard:

   1.  Be realistic - Telling yourself you will never have another candy cane when it is your favorite holiday treat is probably not realistic, Szebeni says. The key is setting guidelines. For example, if you have three holiday parties in two days, don’t try every dish and every cookie at each party. 

  2. Plan ahead - Have a light snack before you leave the house so you are not hungry, which could make it easier to justify bad choices.

  3.  Make things easier for yourself - Instead bringing wine or more sweets, bring a dish that’s healthy and delicious, Szebeni suggests. Be the hit of the party by bringing a pumpkin dip with vegetables or freshly baked parmesan kale chips with apples, cheese squares and blackberries.

4.  Detox your taste buds - 
Over time we adapt to eating foods that are high fat, high salt or high sugar, which literally erode our taste buds, Szebeni says. The good news is that you can renew your taste buds. Try abstaining from processed foods and hyperpalatable choices even for just one week. “As you begin to incorporate back certain foods that you enjoy but know should be limited, you’ll see that by only eating them periodically you will still enjoy them without feeling the need to overindulge,” Szebeni says.

Inconsistent nutritional habits also contribute to sugar cravings, says Szebeni, who has a master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition. “Eat every 4 to 4½ hours and watch those cravings go away,” Szebeni says.

About Lighthouse Recovery Institute
Lighthouse Recovery Institute ( is a licensed drug, alcohol and eating disorder treatment center in Delray Beach, Fla., specializing in recovery for women. At the Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our mission is to help each client attain peace, happiness and permanent sobriety. With more than 30 years of experience in the treatment of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, eating disorders and trauma, our passionate team of doctors, therapists, and specialists provide nothing but the highest quality of care for every woman who walks through our doors. 

Thank you so much to Andrea for providing her helpful tips!
I hope this was helpful for all you to enjoy a healthy, balanced, and happy holiday season!



Monday, November 24, 2014

Top 5 Reasons To Drink More Water in The New Year!

Hey guys! How's your resolution (from last year...) to drink more water going?  Not to well, you say? Ya, I  thought so...

 Whether you want shinier hair, younger skin, or a healthier body, drinking more water is probably on your list of New Years resolutions... I know it's on mine!

There are so many benefits to drinking more water, and that's why I'm so glad to be teaming up with Jeju 16 Water!

Jeju 16 Water is an amazing beauty elixir. Jeju 16 Water travels through 16 layers (1,400 feet) of purifying, mineral-rich volcanic bedrock inside Mt. Halla, resulting in an 18-year puriļ¬cation process. Consumption of Jeju 16 Water has numerous health benefitsand as an added plus, it has no calories, fat, carbohydrates or sugar and is full of essential minerals. 

Here are Jeju 16 Water's Top 5 Reasons to Drink More Water in the New Year:

 1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids.  
Your body is composed of about 60% water. Jeju 16 Water has alkalinity similar to the body's pH balance (-pH7.8) which is perfect for body absorption. 

2. Water Can Help Control Calories & Promotes Weight Loss.
 For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. By substituting water for higher calorie beverages it certainly helps by removing by-products of fat, reduces you're eating intake, reduces hunger, raises your metabolism, and has zero calories. Even if not trying to lose weight, water is a much healthier replacement for sugary juices and soda!

3. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good
Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Jeju 16 Water contains beneficial micro components like Silica (effective for arteriosclerosis, anti-aging).

4. Increases Energy & Relieves Fatigue
Jeju 16 Water contains high levels of Mg(Magnesium) and Ca(Calcium) levels which is important for energy metabolism. Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better and be more alert. Also, cells that don't maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue.

5. Boosts Immune System
Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu, and other ailments. Jeju 16 Water contains beneficial micro components like Vanadium (effective against disease including diabetes).

Watch this video to see how Jeju 16  is purified!

I hope this gave you all some more reasons to drink more water this New Year! Please check out Jeju 16  Water and let me know what you think!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Five Friday Favorites

Hey guys! It's Friday... that means it's time for another Five Friday Favorites! Here's some things I've discovered this week and have been absolutely loving:

1. Becca Mineral Powder Foundation

A few weeks ago I  tried out the Becca Perfect Skin Mineral Powder Foundation while I was at work, and I've had my eye on it ever since. I finally caved, and bought it. And I'm not disappointed. I've worn it every day this week! I'm usually not a huge fan of powder foundation, but this one is amazing. It actually gives really good coverage, and has a smooth, not cakey, finish. It keeps my skin matte, not dry, and lasts all day. It's perfect for early mornings when you don't want to spend the time on liquid foundation. I think this is the perfect, easy, every day, natural looking foundation.. (let's see, how many adjectives I can use for this product?) 

2. Almond Milk Hot Chocolate

I've been making this healthy hot chocolate almost every night before bed! It's the perfect sweet, hot treat at the end of the day! It's sugar free, and super easy to make. 

You'll need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbs. cocoa powder
  • Stevia
1. Whisk/mix all ingredients together.
2. Heat on the stove top or in the microwave.
3. Enjoy! 

3. English Toffee Stevia

I always sweeten things with stevia because it's a natural sugar free sweetener. I prefer the liquid kind by Sweet Leaf because they taste the best, are natural and mix well. I usually stick to the vanilla or plain flavor.. but this time I picked up the English Toffee. Game changer. It makes your coffee taste like a caramel latte. And it's amazing in oatmeal too!

4. Joey Kidney

Omg. This guy is one of my new favorite YouTubers. Seriously. I came across his videos a few days ago, and basically watched all his videos. He is so funny and such a nice person. He is encouraging and really puts a smile on my face every time I watch him. He ends every video with "Stay you, stay beautiful." Ahhhhh my heart melts. He's honestly one of the most sincere guys I've seen on YouTube, and doesn't try to be obnoxiously funny. I can't believe he's only been making videos for about a year! He's just himself- and I love that! Here's a few of my favorite Joey videos:

5. "Try" Music Video by Colbie Caillat 

The first time I saw this music video, I literally cried. I've loved this song since it came out, and I can't believe I just now watched the music video. Now I love the song even more.  I love the message that it gives and words cannot describe how amazing this video is. I think it's a message that more women need to hear every day... 

Okay! So those are my Friday favs! Let me know what you loved this week! Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @beautyandbananas and tag me if you try out any of my recommendations! 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Healthy Brownie Recipe!

Who likes brownies? 
Ya.. I thought so.
I like brownies too. A lot.

I'm excited to share this recipe with you guys- my healthy, gluten free brownies! I know the words healthy and gluten free don't make brownies sound very appetizing...but these taste like the real deal. I have tried many "healthy" brownie recipes but usually they have a very "healthy"'s fine but it just doesn't taste like a real treat. Ya know? Well, this isn't that kind of recipe. These brownies really are fudgey and moist and sweet. Just like a real brownie. Plus- they're gluten/dairy free and only about 60 calories each! The perfect healthy treat! Here's how to make them:

  • 1 scoop MCT Lean Chocolate Vegan Protein Powder
  • 2 Tbs. almond flour
  • 1/4 coconut flour
  • 3 Tbs. cocoa powder
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • *Stevia ( I used about 20 drops of liquid SweetLeaf Stevia)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

*If you don't have stevia, use a natural sweetener like coconut sugar or honey

(Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees)

1. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients: protein powder, almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and cinnamon

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and stir in the mashed banana and stevia.

3. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry mixture.

4. Stir in almond milk, add more if needed.

5. Fold in chocolate chips.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

7. Let cool, cut and enjoy!

(Makes 10)
Nutriton Facts: (for 1 brownie)
62 calories
2.5 g fat
7.5 g carbs
3.5 protein

I hope you guys try out these brownies and enjoy them!
 If you do try this recipe tag me on Instagram @beautyandbananas and use the hashtag #beautyfood! 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Spiritual Sunday- Repainting White

"Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body..."

Hey guys! Today I wanted to talk about something a little more personal- my faith! If you don't know, I am a devout Christian, (Greek Orthodox Christian to be specific) And I would love to start incorporating my faith into my blog. Even if you are not a Christian or religious at all, I hope these posts can still be of interest to you. Today I wanted to talk about some pieces of scripture that really stood out to me this past week. I totally believe that God can speak to you through scripture and touch on exactly what you need in your life at the moment. And I believe He brings certain people into your life for a reason. Sometimes, He does it when you least expect Him to...

Recently I re-connected with an old friend, Gabriel. Gabriel and I took a class together a few years ago, but sadly we lost touch. That's just how life goes sometimes. But, Gabriel and I recently found each other's Instagram and you could say that sparked our instant connection. Gabriel has a blog, Repainting White. She started her blog during her recovery from Anorexia. The name "Repainting White" represents painting over a messy picture with white paint and starting over. Not on a new canvas, but on the same one- and repainting a new beautiful picture. Just like with life- not giving up on your life that you've lived thus far- but starting over and building a positive one from negative experieneces or choices. She uses words so beautifully and God speaks through every word she writes. 

I love this that she wrote a while back:

"Compliments make me feel awkward.

Which is ironic because I adore giving compliments.
It's just when it comes to receiving compliments that I turn into this awkward Zooey Deschanel squirrel scrambling to change the subject. I usually wind up singing a song or telling a story about how I got toothpaste in my eye that morning. To conclude, compliments are hard for me.

From time to time I'm told that I have "such a love for God".
This makes me squirm.

Though its something that I can confirm to be true, I do love God, I don't let it be that simple.
I take that compliment and subconsciously use it to measure my characteristics, self worth, performance, and so on. I make it all about me.

It wasn't until recently that I've realized something big:
My "love for God" as it were, is nothing but an excited, reckless, messy response to His perfection. It's not about me.

You see, I have some troubles with narcissism. I try to earn things. In my brain, everything is a star system and life revolves around worth and getting what I deserve. Thus, the first 17 or so years of my life have been a desperate race to make myself worthy. Whether it was academically worthy, physically worthy, worthy of God's love, worthy of people's love, worthy of attention, etc. But the conclusion was always that I'm not good enough. 

When I began this blog, I was beginning a new chapter. I was emerging from the depths of anorexia and was dusting off the cobwebs that had grown over the rational part of my brain from being neglected for so long.
I was moving forward with a new understanding of life, an understanding that was born out of loneliness, total confusion, and in the end, a second chance.
What I learned about worth is that even after years of denying, restricting, and criticizing myself, I never once felt more worthy.
At 86 lbs, when I was at deaths door, I didn't feel one bit worthy of love. Some image I had chased, something I had poured every ounce of myself into (literally) had yielded nothing?
This mirage I had at last attained brought me nothing but empty hands.

I concluded that nothing, no status, no person, no material possessions, no philosophy...there is nothing on this broken planet could I pour myself into that would in turn help me gain a worth that was already mine to keep. Likewise, there is not a thing in this world that could steal from me a worth that was already mine to keep.

You see I had worth already, I just didn't know it. In fact, I would later discover that my worth is so secure that nothing I will ever do can change it.

I have worth because I'm unconditionally adored by God.

I have worth because God's forgiveness and my actions are two completely separate issues. 

I have worth because He will never love me any more or less than He does right now...because He loves me's outside of our realm of thinking. 

Paul says to the Galatians that "Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law."(Galatians 5:1)"

We recently met up for coffee and just talked about everything. Eating disorders, life, God, fashion, food... We have so much in common and we both believe God brought us together for a reason. We discussed the control an eating disorder can have on you and the toll it can take on your life and relationships. It controls your mind. It's like a constant voice in your head telling you to be perfect. You become obsessed with the control. You try justify your behavior. Something so irrational seems rational in your malnourished mind...

We talked about how in these two specific pieces of scripture- God speaks about anxiety over life. He literally says "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food.." 

Wow. If that doesn't hit home I don't know what will. Jesus may not be talking about eating disorders, literally, but I believe God tells you things that apply to you. After I met with Gabriel I came home and opened up my Bible.  I wasn't looking for this specific verse, so I decided to look for the reading of the day- and it was this. I was shocked (in a good way). I felt like God was telling me "stop worrying about what you eat." It was crazy that I had just been talking about this with Gabriel.

Here's the entire reading:

  "At that time, while Jesus was teaching one of the multitude said to him, 
 "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me." But he said to him,
 "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?" 
 And he said to them, "Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." 
 And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. 
For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.   
Of how much more value are you than the birds!
And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life?
If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 
The lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown   into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith! 
And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind.
 For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need  them.
 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well."
         -  Luke 12:13-31

I texted it to Gabriel as soon as I saw it, and she sent me this back: 

"They may be in such pain that they even hate food,
    even the very best meal.
Their body becomes so thin there is almost nothing left of it,
    and their bones that were hidden now stick out.
They are near death,
    and their life is almost over.

“But there may be an angel to speak for him,
    one out of a thousand, who will tell him what to do.
The angel will beg for mercy and say:
    ‘Save him from death.
    I have found a way to pay for his life.’
Then his body is made new like a child’s.
    It will return to the way it was when he was young.
That person will pray to God, and God will listen to him.
    He will see God’s face and will shout with happiness.
    And God will set things right for him again.
Then he will say to others,
    ‘I sinned and twisted what was right,
    but I did not receive the punishment I should have received.
God bought my life back from death,
    and I will continue to enjoy life.’

- Job 33: 20-30 

God may not be literally speaking about those suffering from eating disorders, it could just be referring to the sick in general, but it sure does sound like it. It speaks directly to those suffering. It states "They hate food.... their body becomes so thin there is nothing left." It paints the picture of an eating disorder perfectly.  You forget what your favorite foods taste like because you fear them. Your bones stick out and you don't even see it. But it gives hope at the end "God brought my life back from death and I will continue to enjoy life." 

No matter what you are going through, God can ease your worry. "Do not have anxiety over your life.." Whether you have ever suffered with an eating disorder or not- I hope these two pieces of scripture can help you like they help Gabriel and I. They can apply to any struggle in life. Big or small. I believe through Christ anything is possible.

And please check out Gabriel's blog, and follow her on Instagram @anaenotann! She is so inspiring. Don't worry- she'll be back on the blog soon! ;)

XoXo, Stephanie


Friday, November 14, 2014

Five Friday Favorites

Here's a quick roundup of 5 things I've been loving this week... Random little things, favorite songs, favorite videos- whatever I found to be particularly awesome the past seven days... So I have for you: my Five Friday Favorites:

1. THIS VIDEO! - "When an Obsession With Healthy Eating Becomes a Dangerous Risk"

Omg. Two of my favorite health bloggers Jordan, from The Balanced Blonde, and Jenni, from Of Mouth and Mind, were on a segment of ABC News this Wednesday. I was ECSTATIC when I saw this!!! They opened up about their struggles with Orthorexia Nervosa- the obsession with healthy eating- and gave us a look into their world and recovery. I can totally relate with this, and I know it'll be helpful to thousands of viewers. Thank you Jordan and Jenni!

2. THIS POST! - "Nutrition is NOT a Religion"

Cassie Ho, aka Blogilates, posted this video/blog post yesterday and I had to include it in this week's favorites. It's so true that the whole health community/industry has turned into lots of little bickering cults, criticizing each other's beliefs and food choices. Paleo people getting death threats from extremist vegans is just not cool. And the other way around. Everyone is different- and "healthy" is different for everyone. You have to find something that you can stick to, long term. I'm so happy to see such a respected figure in the health & fitness community address this issue. With Cassie's millions of followers, I hope this video makes an impact and settles down some of the "haters." I've always respected Cassie for advocating a healthy, balanced, lifestyle and this just affirms my love for her even more! 

3. Nick Jonas' New Album

Okay, well actually just him in general. (Yep. 5th grade crush still going strong...)
I love every single song on his new album. Jealous is a favorite of course, but especially Santa Barbara... ahhhhh. I've had this album on repeat all week.
(insert heart-eyes emoji here...)

4. Blank Space by Taylor Swift

I love all of the new 1989 album, but this song is for sure my favorite! I love the music video too! Haha I don't why I find it so funny! 

5. Becca Lipgloss in Palm Breeze

And lastly...a beauty favorite! I just posted my October Beauty Favorites (click here to view it!), so I didn't want to mention a lot of makeup. But this lipgloss had to make it in! I bought this lipgloss last week and I have worn it almost everyday. It's a perfect everyday color- pink, but not too pink. The formula is lightweight, long lasting, and moisturizing. The packaging is sleek. It looks great on its own or over any neutral lipstick. Plus- it smells like vanilla cupcakes. What more could a girl want in a lipgloss?

And if I could add a 6th favorite, it would be all of YOU! Thank you so much for watching my videos, reading my blogposts, liking my Instagram pictures, sending me emails, and all your support! Beauty and Bananas would be nothing without you guys. Let me know if you check out any of my Five Friday Favorites or let me know some of your favorites. Tag me on Instagram @beautyandbananas and if you try out any of my recipes use the hashtag #beautyfood! I love you all so much!