Thursday, October 24, 2013

Clean Eating Chicken Salad

        Chicken salad sounds like it would be healthy choice, but most recipes are total calorie bombs made up of mayo and sour cream served on sourdough bread. All are wonderful things in their own right, but when combined greatly increase the calorie content. There was a time in my life when eating healthy all the time wasn’t something I thought too much about. But the older I get and more educated I become about foods effect on the body, the more I strive to “healthify” my favorite recipes.

         This chicken salad recipe would fall under the clean eating category. Clean eating is classified by eating foods as close as possible to their natural state. Avoid processed and packaged foods with preservatives and chemicals. A clean eating diet consists of fresh produce, lean meats, nuts and whole grains.

        To make Clean Eating Chicken Salad, you’ll need two cooked chicken breasts (cut into cubes), celery, onion, red grapes and Greek yogurt. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and season with sea salt & pepper (full recipe below). I could eat it just like this, but I turned it into a sandwich with a 100% whole wheat pita. An easy mistake of clean eating is not looking at labels. Many breads will say 100% whole wheat on the package but when you read the list of ingredients and refined white flour is on the list, put back the bread and find something else.

         I use a healthy chicken salad recipe because I can’t live my life with out eating it! Greek yogurt is an easy & tasty substitute for mayonnaise. There is a nice crunch to this salad from the celery and onion. My favorite part are the red grapes! It gives this chicken salad an element of sweetness and by using chicken breast meat, this recipe is loaded with protein and very little fat.

Clean Eating Chicken Salad
  • 2 cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts - cut into cubes
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of sea salt
  • 2 100% whole-wheat pita halves (optional)
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, mix all of the salad ingredients. Chicken salad can be eaten as is or eat as a pita sandwich. Recipe serves 4.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Say what?...I should be drinking how much water everyday?

More than 50% of your body is made up of water, so knowing that can help you realize the importance of keeping it hydrated. You can live a couple of weeks without food, but you would only survive a couple of days without water.

Most people don't drink enough water throughout each day, which can lead to headaches, dizziness, and sluggishness.

Did you know?


So, if I weigh 140 lbs, divide that by 2 = 70...that means I need to drink 70 oz. water daily.
Calculate your own and see if you are properly hydrated, if not keep reading...

Here are 10 reasons why you should drink more water each day:

1. Perfect For Weight Loss
(water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar and can help act as an appetitie suppressant)

2. Keeps Your Heart Healthy
(if you drink adequate water each day, studies have shown that it will decrease your chance of a heart attack).

3. Keeps You Energized
(being dehydrated can zap you of your energy and make you feel tired)

4. Natural Headache Cure
(some headaches are caused by lack of water; drink more to prevent and treat headaches)

5. Healthier Skin
(many celebrities swear that one of their best beauty secrets is drinking a lot of
water each day for clear and glowing skin)

6. Cleansing Effects
(water is used by the body to flush our toxins and waste)

7. Be More Productive
(water helps your body perform at it's best, including during exercise. Dehydration makes it hard to be as productive and active as you can be)

8. Digestion
(not only does water help organs to absorb nutrients better, it can also help with stomach acid problems)

9. Helps prevent/treat constipation
(sufficient hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don't get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration -- and the result is constipation)

10. Protects and cushions your vital organs, including your heart.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So...if you eat clean...What do your kids eat??

That is a question I get a lot! Transitioning into a cleaner diet meant that my kids and my husband had to go along with me! They didn't have much of a choice! I do the grocery shopping. Although my kids and husband have more "treats" thrown into their week....I would like to think that we all eat a fairly clean diet.

I want my kids growing up with healthy ideas about food. I don't want them to stress about every bite that goes into their mouth....worrying if it is healthy or bad for them. I want them to understand what it feels like to be hungry and what it feels like to be satisfied. They drink water most of the time, and they know they are not allowed to drink soda or sugary beverages, and you know what, they're ok with that.

More importantly...I let my kids be kids! I don't keep junk food in my house but if they are out and cookies or ice cream are given to them....I don't stress! As long as they eat a clean and healthy diet 80% of the time....I am happy with that!! :)
****Banana Almond Butter Wraps with mini dark chocolate chips****

Here are some things that my oldest 3 (ages 6, 5, & 2) eat on a regular basis
  • Fruit and more fruit (strawberries, bananas, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, mango, mandarin oranges, peaches, pears, apples, watermelon, pineapple )
  • Bread (Ezekiel toast or Whole grain pita pockets) 
  • Organic applesauce
  • Greek yogurt (Plain or organic vanilla) **I add fruit and honey**
  • Organic string cheese or cheese sticks
  • Cascadian Farms Organic Honey Nut O's
  • Peanut butter sandwich (Ezekiel toast with all natural peanut butter)
  • Cucumbers or Carrots
  • Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Water/Almond milk or Skim
  • Granola Bars
  • Raisins
  • Raw almonds
  • Popcorn 
  • Whole grain crackers or organic crackers (Triscuits)
  • Cheese Quesadilla (Whole grain tortilla and low fat part skim cheese)
  • Annie's White Cheddar Cheese Mac and Cheese
  • Frozen Banana Ice Cream (Frozen bananas pureed in blender with milk) or Shakeo ice cream
  • Pancakes made with 1 small banana and 1 egg- Cooked like a pancake and topped with fruit and pure maple syrup
  • Egg Salad or Tuna Salad on Pita Bread (one of their favorites)
* I try to buy Organic as much as possible.

I make a variety of different healthy dinners and I serve the kids whatever I cook! Often I substitute turkey products in my old hamburger recipes (also turkey bacon in place of regular bacon). If they are hungry they will eat it and they almost always gobble it up!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Grocery Shopping - My Clean eating Must-Haves

I get asked all the time what are those staples, the things you get every week that I should keep on hand if I want to eat clean? Well here are my Top 10, in no particular order.
1. Almond Milk

This is everyone's must-have, I am sure!  I usually drink Almond Milk and the brand that I love is Silk Unsweetened Vanilla.  Silk is the only brand that I have seen that doesn't have Carrageenan in it. Carrageenan is a known carcinogen so I like to stay away if I can!  

2. Ezekiel Bread:

I LOVE this bread!  I use the Regular bread with Sesame Seeds, English Muffins and the Raisin Cinnamon Bread.  They are in the freezer section at the grocery store and they need to be kept in the refrigerator or freezer once you get them home!  My kids also eat this bread.

3. Fruits:

My grocery cart includes lots of fruits. We love bananas, apples, strawberries, blueberries, mango, grapes, clementines....the list goes on and on!  I try to buy organic when available, and I always wash everything thoroughly.

4. Nut/Seed Butters:

Seriously I couldn't go half a day without these. All natural Almond butter, Peanut Butter and Sunflower butter are my favorites.  Just check the ingredients.  Some brands try to sneak in other ingredients.  It should just be the nut or seed and maybe some salt.

5. Greek Yogurt

I love Greek yogurt.  I used to get the brands that were sweetened with fruit but about 6 months ago I read about all the added sugar and questionable ingredients added to the flavored greek yogurts so I quit cold turkey.  I love plain, all natural Greek yogurt . I usually buy Chobani brand.  My favorite mix-ins are apple/cinnamon/honey and grapes/walnuts/Stevia. YUMM!

6. Veggies:

I try to get as many veggies as I possibly can during the day.  I love salads and roasted veggies. Baked sweet potatoes and roasted green beans are an every other day occurrence!  Some of my other favorites are cucumbers, carrots, peppers, brussel sprouts, asparagus, baby spinach, lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower.  I either get fresh or frozen for veggies. 

7. Tortillas

Now these are where I have a hard time being 100% clean.  It is VERY hard to find a really good brand of whole grain tortillas that don't have a million ingredients.   I usually eat them with some almond butter, a banana in the middle, and rolled up!  For corn tortillas, you can't beat Trader Joes.  They have a corn tortilla with only 3 ingredients!!  They are great for making your own chips!

8. Flax Seed Meal:

I could use all kinds of crazy words to describe the benefits of flax seeds.  The best way to put it is that it is high in Omega 3's and lots of great fiber!  Basically there is every reason in this world to add this to your diet.  I love it in my raw oat cereal and sometimes I blend it into my Shakeology.  That is my all time favorite way to eat it!

9. Hummus

I absolutely love Hummus as a dip for my raw veggies, or as a condiment with baked chicken. My all time favorite is the Roasted Red Pepper by Sabra, but they are all good.

10. Old Fashioned Oats

I was never a big fan of oatmeal growing up.  It wasn't until I started "eating clean" that I fell in love with oats. I love raw oat cereal, overnight oats, and oat muffins.   I eat oats almost everyday!!  Let me just add that these can lower cholesterol too!! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Are you really ready to commit to getting healthy and fit?

Do you believe it's simple to lose weight and get in shape? If you been exposed to the weight loss industry, you've heard over and over how easy it is--just take this pill, follow that diet or buy this piece of equipment and everything will melt away in a flash. In fact, we spend over billions each year on weight loss products and services, yet we're still overweight.

Its no secret that the idea behind weight loss is simple--burn more calories than you consume. This can be accomplished by replacing a couple of sodas with water and adding 20 minutes of walking each day. Sounds simple...and it is. If it's that simple, why can't we seem to do it?

It's not just about finding time to exercise or choosing the salad over the burger--it's about genuine commitment to make healthy decisions every single day....REGARDLESS of what's happening in your life. If you're not ready to make some changes, losing weight will be difficult. Here are some things you'll need to consider in order to be successful at becoming health and fit.

Attitude. If you're only on a health kick to lose weight or look a certain way, it will be hard to lose weight permanently. Why? Because, what happens if you don't see results quickly enough? You give up. Weight loss is a great goal, but unless you have something else to motivate you, what's to keep you going if the scale doesn't budge? It takes time to lose weight--how will you motivate yourself in the meantime? Find more reasons to be healthy--having more energy, dealing with health problems or wanting to live longer to be around for your kids. Can't beat those reasons, right?

Your Workouts. If you don't workout consistently, it's hard to lose weight. Yes, it's possible to lose weight through diet alone, but you'll likely hit a plateau. You don't need to spend hours in the gym, you only need to follow a reasonable workout schedule and stick to it. It's not about killing yourself with workouts--it's about finding something you like and that you'll continue with for the rest of your life. You have to be willing to be more active on a regular basis--not just for a week here and there. Start small and work your way up. The most important thing is just to start. A Challenge Group is a great way to transition into this new healthy lifestyle.

Your Eating. Changing the way you eat is another thing you're going to have to do for long-lasting weight loss. You need to be willing to replace unhealthy foods with healthier choices--every single day. Following a clean eating nutrition plan is extremely effective in promoting a sustainable diet that will still get you results. Clean eating is about eating foods in their most natural state.  This means avoiding processed foods, foods with loads of preservatives, foods with lots of added sugar, and foods with high levels of bad fats (some saturated fats/all trans fats).  Alternatively, you want to avoid foods that have been stripped of their nutritional value and/or have been injected with a heaping dose of six-syllable chemicals. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Keep a food journal
  • Spend more time in the grocery store reading food labels (plan ahead and shop once a week)
  • Spend more time preparing meals (Do this 1-2 hrs. at the beginn
  • Saying no to extra portions
  • Unrefined, whole-grains.
  • A diet with an abundance of fresh, local, organic fruits and vegetables.
  • Free-range and grass-fed meats and dairy.
  • More vegetable-centered meals than meat-centered each week.
  • Plenty of water or other no-calorie drinks (NOT diet soda)
  • Making healthy cooking choices, such as baking, steaming, and light sautéing whenever possible.
  • Consume healthy fats from natural sources such as nuts, avocados, organic coconut oil, e

For permanent weight loss, you need to pay attention to what you eat and make good choices more often than not. The problem with structured diets, is that they eventually end. But healthy eating is a lifestyle that never stops...there will never be a time when you're done eating healthy. You might feel you're sacrificing the good stuff (pizza, fast food, etc.) and your life won't be fun if you can't have those foods. Guess what? You can still have them...just not whenever you want. Are you ready to make these changes? Are you ready to stop giving your body the most convenient thing available (and often the most fatty) and, instead, spend time planning what and when you'll eat? Because that's what it takes to get healthy...permanently.

Your Lifestyle. If you want a healthy life, you have to be willing to change how you live. It doesn't mean changing everything overnight, but simply being open to new ways of doing things. Some things you might need to change for a healthy life are:
  • Daily Routines. You may need to get up earlier to prepare your lunch or squeeze in a workout, use your lunch hour for exercise or go for a walk after work instead of watching TV. Are you willing to do this?
  • Limits. You might need to set new rules for yourself limiting how much TV you watch or how long you sit at the computer. You'll need to pay attention to how you spend your time and where you're out of balance so you can add more movement.
  • Your Pantry. I'm the kind of person who will eat an entire tub of ice cream if its in the house. That means I don't keep it in the house. If you want to be healthy, you may need to get rid of those foods you just can't resist.
  • Your Schedule. If you're not willing to sit down and change the way you live each day to include exercise, time to prepare meals and time to nurture yourself with sleep, it's hard to lose weight. People use busy schedules as an excuse not to be healthy...are you one of them? If you're not ready to take responsibility for the schedule you've created, it will be hard to lose weight. You can be busy and healthy, you just need to prioritize.

Your Surroundings. Sometimes, you can't control the things around you. At work, you may be surrounded by temptations--donuts, vending machines and the like. That's just one thing you have to deal with...but what about your home? Surround yourself with things that will support you in your efforts to get healthy. That might mean spending some money on home workout equipment, setting up a corner of the house for your gear or commandeering the TV a few nights a week to do an exercise video. Set up an environment that encourages those healthy choices and reminds you of them--just walking into my kitchen and seeing that bowl of fresh fruit is often enough to remind me of all the healthy choices I'll need to make that day.

Your Support System. While getting healthy may be something you're doing on your own, it's a big help to have a support system. At the very least, family members who understand what you're doing and are either willing to participate or help. If you have a spouse who wants to continue eating the kinds of foods that tempt you, you need a plan to deal with that so you can still reach your goals and keep your relationship together. Try to surround yourself with people who support what you're doing and avoid those people (like that co-worker who always offers you a donut even though you refuse on a daily basis) who don't. A challenge group is an excellent source of support and motivation.

Your Spiritual and Mental Health. If you have other reasons for being overweight--past hurts that you've used food to deal with, depression or other problems, it's hard to lose weight. For many of us, food is a comfort and something we've relied on all of our lives to help us deal with emotional problems. If that's the case for you, pinpointing those behaviors and what drives them is important for becoming aware of what you're doing and why. A counselor can help you with this or take some time to read about emotional eating. Be willing to learn why you make the choices you make and to confront them.

Your Goals. If you've set impossible goals, you are guaranteed to fail. Weight loss becomes hard to achieve if you feel like a constant failure...who wants to feel like that? If that's how your weight loss experience is, it's no wonder you keep quitting. The key is to set reasonable goals. So what is reasonable? That's going to be different for each person depending on your genetics, eating habits, exercise, and metabolism to name a few. You're better off setting a long-term goal (whether it's to lose weight or compete in a race) and then focusing your attention on daily or weekly goals. Your weekly goal might be to get in 5 cardio workouts, minimum. Pick things you KNOW you'll achieve so you're always successful. It can be as small as you like, as long as it's reachable.

Your Flexibility. You hear a lot about lifestyle changes, but it's daily choices that really test you. What happens if you have to work late and you can't get to the gym? Or what if you get stuck in traffic and miss your fitness class? Any number of things can happen in a day that may throw you off track. The trick is to be flexible. It helps if you're always prepared--keep some workout shoes in the car so you can stop off at the park for a quick walk. Keep some food handy so if you get stuck in traffic, you get a snack in before your workout. Often people skip workouts because something comes up and they simply aren't ready for it or they aren't willing to give themselves other options--can't do 45 minutes? Why not just do 10? Something is always better than nothing.

Your Willingness to Fail. You will not be perfect every day. As a perfectionist, I have to say that is a frustrating concept for me but, the truth is, everyone (even perfectionists) has good days and bad days. On the good days, you'll eat all your fruits and veggies, say no to that pizza and do your workout even though you're tired. On the bad days, you'll wake up late, forget to bring your lunch, have an extra piece of cake at your friend's birthday party and skip your workout. The bad days will happen if you're a human being. The trick is to never give up, even when you mess up. You're not a loser just because you make some're simply a person trying his or her best to make good decisions.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

❤ Shakeology- (my second love) ❤

Shakeology is now a staple in my diet, its non-negotiable. I ❤ it because the nutritional value in it alone tops every other meal that I could possibly prepare in 2 minutes, while still tasting great. Drinking my shake is normally my breakfast, as I am busy in the morning getting my workout in, getting the kids up, and driving them to school. It has also helped to curve my cravings, which are practically non-existent these days. You may wonder how I prevent myself from getting bored with the same old flavor...its simple, I like to constantly try new Shakeology recipes. These can be found in the Shakeology tab at the top and are broken into the 4 base flavors: Chocolate, Tropical Strawberry, Greenberry, and Vanilla Shakeology. While you may not love every single one, there are bound to be some that taste so good, it feels like you’re being bad.

Shakeology Recipe Tips

~Texture and consistency can be tricky in the beginning if you are new to Shakeology, so its important to play around with the ingredients until you find something you like. For example, I prefer a thick consistency, and my husband prefers more of a runny shake. If you’re looking for more of a smoothie texture, then feel free to add 1/2 to 1 cup of ice to any of the following recipes or even nonfat plain frozen yogurt for a summery treat.
~Also, I also always have at least two different flavors of Shakeology in my kitchen. That way, I don’t get sick of one flavor for the entire month. With the addition of the new Choc/Vanilla Combo pack available on HD, this is easy to do.
~Always try to use the most natural ingredients you can find, including pure maple syrup or various types of milk (unsweetened almond milk is my favorite) without any added sugars. You can also swap out any of the ingredients for something you would enjoy more… 
It’s amazing what you can come up with!