Tuesday, October 14, 2014

No Longer A Candy Corn Addict

I have gotten rid of my candy corn addiction. No such thing you say? (if you are not a candy corn addict) Or...Impossible! Nothing can get rid of that addiction! (if you ARE a fellow candy corn addict) Trust me, I'm the most shocked of all...but it's true!

If you have been in Target, Walmart, or really any grocery store within the last month you have seen the abundance of Halloween candy just begging for the taking. For a few extremely strong individuals, the variety of sugar wonderfulness is not a temptation. But for others like myself, it is a test of true willpower and fortitude.

I should explain I am typically a bitter salty girl - meaning I will choose chips and salsa every time over cake. However, as the blog title explains, a weakness at my core (literally), is candy corn. Every fall I get truly giddy when candy corn --- and its scrumptious little friend mellow creme pumpkins --- are available for purchase. I am usually the first one in line to buy in bulk and continue purchasing throughout the month with full intent to overeat and get the classic Halloween tummy ache (and accompanying belly fat!). If you are giggling at this concept or you wonder how one could love a candy that has texture like candle wax, then read this as if it were your favorite candy or holiday dessert because come on people - we all have a weakness or 10 at this time of year!

Seriously - I can't believe it either. What is the difference? First, let's back up to September when I noticed the change. I had remained strong and not purchased any candy corn despite the constant temptations. However, I had not forgotten that a fellow candy corn addict had given me a bag of candy corn at the end of last year's season. I opened it to "add to fall decor" (ya right). I dug my paw in that bowl pretty much right away and thought "hmmmm - not as good as I remember - stale perhaps?" Maybe...but my son says it tastes great and I still have not wanted to eat it! Whaaaaa? Yup, it's true! And as I have gone to grocery stores following this event I have not purchased candy corn (with no real urge to do so)!

So whatever your fall, Thanksgiving or Christmas food temptation is the time to combat those cravings and conquer them!

Stacie Tracy,

Live Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Patra's Top 5 Favorite Things

At least for this week :-)

#5 Starbucks Venti, One Splenda, No foam Latte
This really needs no explanation except why they spelled my name like this, for which I have no answer.

#4 Tarte - Lights, Camera, Flashes™ Statement Mascara
What it is: 
An amped up, ultrablack mascara that lengthens, curls and magnifies lashes for an intensified look, while instantly increasing lash volume by up to 752 percent. 

Why I love it: 
It really does magnify my lashes. And I love the wand. It has a harder bristle than most to help comb out my lashes.

#3 Tarte - Best In Faux Extending Fibers

What it is:
An easy-to-apply, faux lash system with sculpting fibers that enhance lash length and volume to create the appearance of false eyelashes. 

Why I love it:
I really wanted to try that OTHER “Lash Extender” out there on the streets, but I thought it looked just too spidery. I stumbled across this at Ulta and I LOVE it. I love that it looks natural, it’s easy to apply, and that if I run out I can just go pick up some more at the store without having to order it AND the mascara together.

#2 Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

What is it:
ASCP is a decorative paint developed by Annie Sloan for which she is credited in starting the painted furniture revolution in recent times. 

Why I love it:
Chalk Paint® is very easy to work with. It very rarely requires any preparation, such as sanding or priming, and can be used indoors or outside, on just about any surface - from wood to metal, and matt plastic to terracotta. It can revitalise old furniture, walls, ceilings and floors with ease. It's easy, fun and makes amazing results accessible to everyone.

And finally....
#1 Online Auctions!!!

What is it:
Have you discovered online auctions? It's total Crack. I can't get enough!  It's hands down my most favorite thing in the world right now.  I can’t stop. I have filled up our garage with unloved and underutilized pieces that I have high hopes for.  My husband says that our garage looks like a thrift store hit it.  You be the judge:

Why I love it:
I can bid on a piece, walk away, take the kids to the bathroom (they are FOUR, not FOURTEEN), feed them, break up fights, and when I come back I know if someone has outbid me.  The online auction takes place over a couple of days so you don't have to stand out in the heat and bid on something under duress!!!  I take these pieces that need some love and use Ms Annie Sloan's paint to make them beautiful again!

My favorite online auction is Rusty By Design

And there you have it.  My top 5 Favorite Things 

Patra Philips
Live Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Here Comes the Sun!

This is not an article about wearing sunscreen. As a lover of summer and the sunshine that comes with it, I want to put forth some positive press about the sun. Our biggest and brightest star out there tends to get a bad rap because of its harmful UV rays. I would guess most families are headed to the beach this summer (good times!) or are hanging out poolside where there are many good reasons to enjoy the sun. Your body receives and truly needs benefits from the sun that are tough to obtain from just food or supplements.

Please don't get me wrong, in giving three cheers for the sun I am not promoting a lack of sunscreen or use of tanning beds. We should all use common sense and avoid risks such as skin cancer. I just want to remind and comfort this audience that some exposure to the sun can actually boost one's health (there is a reason "sunny days" has a happy connotation)!

The National Institutes of Health recommends 15 minutes in the sun WITHOUT sunscreen a couple of times a week.  Why?  Vitamins, minerals, and hormones oh my!
Our bodies NEED sunshine for the natural use of vitamins. Vitamin D is the biggest benefit (often called "the sunshine vitamin") which helps our bodies in the following ways:
  • bone health 
  • anti-cancer* 
  • immune system support 
  • losing excess fat 
  • decreasing asthma symptoms 
  • strengthening teeth 
  • protection against dementia and brain aging 
  • heart disease 
  • fighting insomnia and depression 
*Optimizing vitamin D levels may actually help prevent as many as 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, breast, ovarian, prostrate and colon cancers.

Vitamin D is like a big brother to Calcium. Your body relies on vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium. If you don’t have enough vitamin D, you cannot form enough of a hormone called Calcitriol. Without this hormone, you’ll have insufficient calcium thereby causing your body to take calcium from your skeleton (no bueno). This, in turn, weakens your bones and prevents growth of new bone, say the experts at National Institutes of Health. Calcium also allows your blood to clot plus optimal function of muscles, heart and nerves. 

While Vitamin D is like a big brother to Calcium, its BFF is Magnesium. When one is low, so is the other. The sun provides vitamin D which in turn gives the body sufficient use of magnesium. And why do we need magnesium? 

  • proper growth and maintenance of bones 
  • best performance of nerves and muscles 
  • neutralizes stomach acid 
  • moves stools through the intestine 

I saved the best benefit for last...that happy natural high one gets from sunshine!

In a recent news story, NBC reported some beach goers having addict like reactions from the sun. They reported evidence of endorphins equivalent to those received from ingesting pain killers such as OxyContin. I believe it regarding the endorphins but addiction, really? Seems a bit extreme to me. Can't a girl get a freckle or two + sunshiny happy without being called an addict?! I say go have your fun in the sun this summer with confidence that you're gaining vitamin d (and calcium and magnesium!) to boost your health. If you are not a fan of the sun's rays, live in a climate where the sun doesn't peek out much, or have to be inside for that pesky thing called work, you can add foods rich in vitamin d to your diet.

OR better yet, make sure you're giving your body the benefits of vitamin D (and its little brother Calcium and BFF Magnesium)

Stacie Tracy 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Let's Talk About ... Candida

If you Google Candida, you will be bombarded with images of yeasty overgrowth in the girly or manly parts.  I want to stress that, although it can certainly manifest this way, this is NOT what I'm writing about today.
"What, on earth, is Candida?"

Candida, or Candidiasis, is a fungus.  It is a form of yeast and a very small amount of it lives in your mouth and intestines.  Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption.  When we die, it helps the body with decomposition.  However, when overproduced, Candida produces very long root-like structures that penetrate intestinal walls leaving microscopic holes which allows toxins, undigested food particles, bacteria and yeast to enter the bloodstream.  This condition is known as “Leaky Gut Syndrome” which can cause food allergies and many health problems.  These root-like structures also cause considerable damage to the walls of the intestines resulting in malabsorption of nutrients.

"Yuck, that sounds terrible!  What are the symptoms??"

The top 10 most common symptoms are:

  • Skin and nail fungal infections. 
  • Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis
  • Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD and brain fog
  • Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
  • Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
  • Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching or vaginal itching
  • Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
  • Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings

"ACK!  I have many of these symptoms.  How does this happen??"

The healthy bacteria in your gut typically keeps your Candida levels in check.  However, several factors can cause the Candida population to run amok: 

  • Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (which feed the yeast)
  • Eating a diet high in beneficial fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles
  • Drinking alcohol 
  • Taking birth control pills
  • Living a high-stress lifestyle
  • Taking antibiotics that kill too many of those friendly bacteria

"How can I test for it to see if I have it?"

Your doctor can order a blood test, stool test or a Urine Organix Dysbiosis test (a fancy name for checking for candida waste product).  You could also drink a glass of red wine at night just before you go to bed. The next morning, when you wake up, go look at your tongue in the mirror. If your tongue is white then there is a very high chance that you have Candida.

OR you can do the Spit Test.
The Spit Test:
Put a clear glass of water by your bed the night you want to do the test.
When you wake up in the morning, before doing ANYTHING else, collect some saliva in your mouth and spit into the glass of water.  Make certain to spit out saliva only, not mucus.  Watch the water for a a few minutes and see if the following starts to occur.

 Look for:
  1. Strings or legs hanging down from the saliva.
  2. Heavy looking saliva at the bottom of the glass.
  3. Gloomy specks suspended in the water.
If, within 3 minutes after spitting into the water, you see “strings” hanging down sorta looking like an octopus with its tentacles or “particles” sinking to the bottom, you most likely have an overgrowth

"HELP!  I have it!!  What do I do?"

You can adapt your diet. This involves changing to a low carbohydrate diet and eliminating as much sugar as possible. Sugar is Crack to Candida. It seriously goes into withdrawals when it doesn't get it. You will start to have severe cravings for refined carbohydrates like candy, desserts, alcohol and breads. Other names for sugar are:
Aspartame, carob powder, corn starch, crystalline carbohydrate dextrin, dextrose, disaccharides, galactose, glucose, levulose, malts of any kind, maltitol, maltodextrin, maltose (malt sugar), manitol, mannitol, mono-saccharides, sucrose, Nutrasweet, polydextrose, polysaccharides, ribose, saccharin, sorghum, suamiel, succanat, xylitol.  
Candida doesn't care.  It sees them all as FOOD.    

Using diet alone could take three to six months before the candida is back under control. Taking a probiotic will help speed this along.  

"Great!  I want to start right away!!!"

A note of caution:
While Candida is dying off, you may experience "die-off" symptoms.  Die-off symptoms are caused by high numbers of yeast being killed off, which releases a high number toxins into the system.  This is also know as the Herxheimer’s reaction, or yeast die-off phenomenon.  Die-off symptoms resemble the flu and can be very uncomfortable.  If the symptoms become too much to bear, it can be temporarily alleviated by taking an Epsom salts bath.  Epsom salts draws toxins out through the skin and helps minimized die-off symptom.
(add two cups, or 500 grams, of Epsom salts to warm bath water)

There are many sites on the Internet to help you with your lifestyle change.  My favorites are:

For more information on Candida, watch:

Articles sources:

Patra Philips,
Live Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy!
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Top 5 Crock Pot Recipes

Five Most Shared Crock Pot Recipes from my Business Page:
(no particular order)

1. Clean Eating Crockpot Chicken Tacos


1 lb (or about four 4 oz) Chicken breasts
1 cup (8 oz) Salsa (I used one with corn and black beans)
1/2 cup (half of a 10 oz) can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies

Optional: 1 tbs taco seasoning 
Optional Taco/Salad Fixings: Low carb/whole grain tortillas, shredded lettuce, avocado, cilantro, black olives, avocado, corn, black beans, plain low fat greek yogurt.
The estimated total time to make this recipe is 4-8 Hours.


Put all of the ingredients (except for toppings) in crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred. Add chicken back to the crockpot and stir to combine everything. Serve over lettuce or on low carb tortillas, and top with veggies and/or suggested toppings. 

2. Slow Cooker Pineapple Beef Teriyaki


1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks in pineapple juice (no need to drain)
1 large onion, chopped
1 (10 ounce) bag frozen broccoli florets
2 and ½ pounds cubed beef chuck stew meat
¾ cup teriyaki sauce
¾ teaspoon ground ginger


Combine all ingredients in the crock pot.
Set to low and cook for 6-8 hours.
Serve over rice.

3. Crockpot Cashew Chicken:
(this one got the most Shares and Likes)


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh tenders or chicken breast tenders
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cashews


Combine flour and pepper in large Ziploc bag. Add chicken. Shake to coat with flour mixture. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side. Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken. Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Add cashews and stir. Serve over rice. Makes 4-6 servings.
If you want like sauce and want to have some to pour over the chicken and the rice, double the sauce ingredients.

4. Chicken Casserole:

Switch up your traditional casserole recipe with a powerful mix of flax, almond milk and cauliflower. These nutritious ingredients will give this meal a hearty and wholesome flavor that will leave you feeling satisfied.


2 cups cauliflower, chopped
2 tbsp ground flax
1 to 2 cups broccoli, spinach, onion and garlic, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheese
8 to 10 oz chopped chicken
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1/4 cup cottage cheese
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 cup almond milk
2 tbsp of brown rice or gluten-free flour


In a slow cooker, start by layering the cauliflower, ground flax, vegetable mix, 1/4 cup of cheese and chicken.
Once you have made the bottom layer, you can finish up by layering the remaining ingredients on top. Add the brown rice or gluten-free flour if you desire a thicker consistency.
Let it cook on high for 4 hours and serve when ready.

5. CrockPot Brisket Tacos/Quesadillas: 


3 lb brisket
Ground black pepper
1 Tbsp chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz Dublin Dr. Pepper (made with real sugar)
Mango Barbecue Sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 – 1 cup)
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp Creole (spicy brown) mustard
1/4 cup mango chutney

8 8-in flour tortillas
8 oz brie, thinly sliced
1 cup monterrey jack, shredded
olive oil or cooking spray, to brush tortillas
cilantro, for garnish (optional)


To make the brisket: Rub the meat with salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic.
Place brisket in the crockpot and pour the Dr. Pepper over the top.
Cook on low for 8 hours.
Remove from the crockpot and let rest for 15 minutes.
Slice against the grain (1/8-1/4 inch thick).
To make the barbecue sauce: Heat olive oil in a 2-qt sauce pan.
Saute onions for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and run until smooth.
To assemble the quesadillas: Heat a griddle or large pan over medium-high.
Lay out the tortillas. Divide the meat, brie, and monterrey jack between the tortillas, placing the meat and cheese on half of the tortilla.
Top with a spoonful or two of barbecue sauce and fold the other half over.
Place on the heated grill (brushing the tortilla with oil or cooking spray will prevent sticking).
Cook until the bottom is crisp and flip over.
Remove from heat and slice into thirds. Serve with extra barbecue sauce. 

So, there ya have it!  Make your list and head to the store. 

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Let's Talk About.. HIIT

Let's Talk About.. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) vs. Hours in the Gym... 

I don't know why this comes to mind when thinking about HIIT...  Maybe because it involves a lot of planking and core strength?  Regardless, I can say that after 3 weeks of doing the Jillian Michael's HIIT 30 minute videos, I'm getting much closer to the top picture vs. the bottom picture from when we first started. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Let's Talk About.. Bulletproof Coffee

I am a Starbucks Junkee.  I go there every day.  I say I don’t need it and I can stop anytime, and then I look up and I’m in the parking lot.  It has some fiendish hold on me and I believe I’ve been bewitched!

One of my co-workers has been drinking Bulletproof Coffee every morning and swears it is the best thing since homemade, gluten-free, sliced bread.   I envisioned coffee that, when consumed, made you bulletproof. Unless you’re a police office (or a drug dealer), I couldn’t see the benefit. 

I asked him what was in it and he said, “upgraded coffee, unsalted grass-fed butter and coconut oil.” Sounded…. fatty.  And what the heck was upgraded coffee?  He said it gave him energy and is helping him lose weight.  I was skeptical.  He added that consuming fat in the morning teaches your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates.

Wait.  WHAT?  (Somewhere, I heard a record needle scratch)  As a diabetic, I immediately perked up.

What sorcery was this??

Friday, May 30, 2014

Let's Talk About... Kombucha

Kombucha is a lightly effervescent fermented drink of sweetened black tea that is used as a functional food. It is produced by fermenting the tea using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or "SCOBY". - Wikipedia
Have you heard of Kombucha?  It's what the ancient Chinese called the “Immortal Health Elixir”. It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a "rich anecdotal history of health benefits like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases". (

Anecdotal means unsupported scientific evidence. I looked it up.  However, nearly everything "natural" or "organic" or just plain good for you is considered "anecdotal".  Natural remedies don't make Big Pharma rich.  There is no money in people treating themselves.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Let’s Talk about… Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

What is it?

Fatty Liver occurs when fat is deposited in the liver. It is the most common form of chronic liver disease in developed countries. Why you ask?

Good question.

A popular theory is that fructose, a simple sugar or fruit sugar, is the cause. Proponents for fructose say that fructose isn’t the problem. It’s the OVER-CONSUMPTION of fructose that’s the problem. I find this funny because the food industry has it in EVERYTHING. Fructose was once only a small part of our diet, about 15 grams a day that came from fruits and vegetables. Today we average 4 to 5 times that amount. It’s in breakfast cereals, pastries, sodas, fruit drinks, and other sweet foods and beverages. And don’t even get me started on High-fructose corn syrup. That will be another post.

While the body can break down glucose for energy, fructose is primarily metabolized in the liver. It is converted to fat in a process called lipogenesis. This process deposits tiny fat droplets in the liver. This build up is called Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, because it looks just like what happens in the livers of people who drink too much alcohol. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Let's Talk About ... Belly Fat

We all have it. Well, most of us.  It’s not something we’re proud of and we’d all like to lose it.  It’s unsightly, depressing as heck, and nearly impossible to get rid of.  And it is VERY dangerous.  Also known as visceral fat, it drives up your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even dementia. (source: WebMD).

Why do we have this visceral fat around our middle region?  Well, several reasons.  Here are the top 10 reasons we gain and hold onto fat:

10. Medications
There are a growing number of people who are depressed or on medication for depression. These medications decrease metabolism regardless of changes to the diet, and the medications can change hormone levels in the body. This impacts our ability to lose weight and keep the weight off.