Wednesday, November 27, 2013


HAPPY {BLACK} WEDNESDAY!! Beachbody has decided to start the savings a little early...can't complain about that!!
{This offer is valid for a LIMITED TIME ONLY starting Wed. Nov. 27th until Monday Dec. 2nd. Offer quanities are limited and we're expecting that some items will sell out quikcly!}
So...what you have been waiting for!!!
{TIP- Click on the YELLOW to bring you directly to the dealski!}


Stay on top of your health and fitness goals during the holidays!
Get ready for P90X3 by starting with the original program P90X. P90X is a total body transformation. Free chin up bar with purchase!
Turbo Fire is one of MY FAVORITE programs!!! Kickboxing, awesome music, and intense calorie burn! 2 different options available. Complete System OR Deluxe DVD's with Tracker Journal
The Asylum is the Insanity graduate program- and it's even MORE insane.
Maximize your skills with this 30-day program that builds speed, coordination, agility, and power. Shaun T preps you to WIN with sports-specific training inspired by pro athletes. The result? Game day becomes your day to excel. Also Free chin up bar with purchase!
Tai Cheng will help you gain range of motion along with helping your joint and muscle pain.
Create ab definition without sits ups with Shaun T's Hip Hop Abs
Click here: Black Friday sale.

Give yourself, a friend or a loved one the gift of health and fitness this holiday season.
Energy and Endurance seriously gets me through my workouts! Especially as a stay at home mom, I'll take the extra (natural) energy. It's really good for early AM workouts.
Fuel Shot- Have this energy drink before, during, or after a workout to maximize performance.
Blow past fatigue with a few sips of performance-enhancing calories. This dextrose- and maltodextrin-based energy drink is designed to drive nutrients into muscle fiber for greater strength during workouts and help replenish the glycogen and electrolytes lost after workouts.
MAX Creatine- gives you a blast of extra strength, and builds muscle with the most proven supplement in the industry. With M.A.X. Creatine, you get high-grade pure creatine monohydrate—without fillers, preservatives, or untested ingredients. Use daily to help build strength, with increased energy and stamina. This one is on my list since I'm doing ChaLEAN Extreme.
Click Here: Black Friday sale


Perfect additions for at home gyms
STEP WITH 4 RISERS- This height-adjustable and shock-absorbing step is a weight bench, cardio-conditioning tool, and a targeted sculpting platform, all in one piece of equipment.
Jump Mat- Get high-impact results without high-impact injuries.
This is essential to getting through intense plyometrics workouts like the ones in Focus T25, P90X®, INSANITY®, TurboFire®, and INSANITY: THE ASYLUM™,. Your body will thank you for this super-shock-absorbent mat that protects your knees, back, and ankles. No home gym should be without it! Perfect if you workout on carpet!
Squishy Ball- Tighten and tone your abs and sculpt your inner thighs with this amazing little resistance tool. It'll also improve your coordination and flexibility!
Medicine ball and Stability ball COMBO- These balls are sturdy enough to balance on during certain workout movements and heavy enough to help you sculpt your abs and other muscles and strengthen your core by using this premium inflatable stability ball to add an unstable platform from which to work.
Click Here: Black Friday Sale.

Keep your skin healthy and vibrant during the cold winter months with Derm Exclusive. It's the perfect stocking stuffer.
Fill and Freeze instantly plumps lines and wrinkles while reducing the appearance of dark circles. Dr. Ordon's breakthrough discovery gives injections and fillers a run for their money!
Intense Repair Serum helps undo years of premature aging—like dark spots and discoloration—as it speeds up skin's natural DNA repair process. Powerful enzymes accelerate recovery from everyday sun damage, while antioxidant vitamin C helps fade spots and even out skin tone. Use twice daily for brightening results equal to a photo facial.
Micro Peel Resurfacing Pads are iinspired by professional chemical peels, Micro Peel Pads gently remove dead surface cells to exfoliate, refine, and polish your skin. Now you can reveal a smoother, brighter, more even-toned complexion.
Collagen life moisturizer will give you the look of a laser firming treatment at home. Boost collagen production for firm, lifted skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles with astonishingly powerful results. Hmm should I try for my baby stretch marks?!
Click Here: Black Friday Sale

I want one or more of each!! Haha. Please email me at with ANY questions you may have! You can also message me on Facebook

Yours Truly,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving: Roasted Cauliflower Mash

A non-starchy veggie, no cream and butter—and yet it's every bit as yummy as your traditional mashed potatoes.

Total Time: 50 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 45 min.


  1. 1 (2-lb.) cauliflower, cut into small florets, discard stem
  2. 4 tsp. olive oil
  3. 1 tsp. sea salt
  4. ¼ tsp. granulated garlic (optional)
  5. 2 Tbsp. low-sodium organic vegetable broth


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Wash cauliflower and pat dry.
  3. Place cauliflower in large baking pan. Drizzle with oil; toss gently to coat.
  4. Season with salt and garlic.
  5. Bake, stirring halfway through, for 40 to 45 minutes, or until tender.
  6. Place in food processor; add vegetable broth. Pulse until smooth.
(Makes 8 servings, ¼ cup each)
Nutritional Information (per serving):
CaloriesFatSaturated FatCholesterolSodiumCarbsFiberSugarProtein
463 g0 g0 mg319 mg5 g2 g2 g2 g

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thanksgiving - Glazed Yams with Cinnamon & Nutmeg

Why wait until the new year to start making healthier choices, when you can start now and be that much further ahead in the Spring of 2014!! Most folks worry that they will "miss out" on the meals that they look forward each year. But, believe it or not, it's entirely possible to put together a mouth-watering feast that allows you to maintain your nutritional integrity—while keeping your Great Unlce Sal coming back for seconds. Many people overindulge and pack on the pounds over the holidays, but I want to share a mini series giving you healthy alternative preparations of the traditional American holiday staples. Of course, I don't necessarily suggest you use this as an excuse to gorge yourself, and its still important to be portion conscious Thanskgiving will be her in just under 2 weeks, so its the perfect time to prepare.
Glazed Yams with Cinnamon and Nutmeg 
    (Makes 12 servings, 2/3 cup each)
Total Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 60 min.


  1. 2½ lbs. medium yams, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
  2. 1 tsp. sea salt, divided use
  3. 2 tsp. grated orange peel
  4. 2 Tbsp. 100% orange juice
  5. 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  6. 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  7. 2 Tbsp. raw honey
  8. ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  9. ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  10. ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Arrange yams in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Season evenly with ¼ tsp. salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine orange peel, orange juice, lemon juice, butter, and honey in a small bowl; whisk to blend.
  4. Pour orange juice mixture over yams; toss to coat.
  5. Sprinkle evenly with remaining ¾ tsp. salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  6. Bake yams, stirring occasionally, for 50 to 60 minutes, or until fork tender, enjoy!!
Nutritional Information (per serving):
CaloriesFatSaturated FatCholesterolSodiumCarbsFiberSugarProtein
1383 g2 g8 mg198 mg27 g4 g3 g1 g

Friday, November 15, 2013

Shakeology Cleanse

What makes the Shakeology Cleanse stand apart from the others is that the Shakeology cleanse is not a true "cleanse". The Shakeology Cleanse is a calorie restricted, nutrient rich cleanse. There are no strange drinks made of maple and lemon or apple cider. With Shakeology you will be satisfied and you won't be a zombie or feel like you are starving your body of vital nutrients, because you aren't! The main point of the Shakeology Cleanse is not calorie restriction but nutrient richness. The aim is to get the most nutrients into your body with the fewest calories consumed. These calories are to fuel your workouts and rid the body of toxins and hydration into homeostasis. The result with this cleanse to have your body run more efficiently and the weight loss is just an added benefit that most experience (you can lose anywhere from 3lbs to 10lbs in just 3 days!!).
The Benefits of the Shakeology 3-Day-Cleanse:
  • Rid your body of fat
  • Detoxify your body
  • Jump start your weight loss and fitness routine
  • Body rejuvenation

How does the Shakeology Cleanse work?

With the Shakeology Cleanse your daily food structure remains close to the same as you’re everyday eating. You will still be eating every few hours with meals that are balanced and nutrient rich which will make up for consuming fewer calories. This means that you can still continue with your workout routine. Adding fruits, nuts, seeds, and the Shakeology fiber supplement can be done as you see fit. Your one solid meal a day, your salad, can also contain fruits, nuts, and seeds, legumes, and veggies along with four ounces or less of a white protein. The point is to keep you satiated and to avoid anything that is artificial - including your salad dressing. The Shakeology Cleanse is designed to optimize your body’s performance. You want to have enough food to fuel your day and your workout. By eating foods that are high in fiber and nutrients it is virtually impossible to overeat. With the high fiber, digestive aids, and enzymes, your body will be ridding itself of excess food and fat and flushing out waste.

Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse Explained:

The Shakeology 3-day cleanse is an innovative way to use Shakeology as a cleanse. It's very simple to follow and is unlike any other cleanse out there today. One of the things that makes it so different from other "cleanses" is in fact that the Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse is a "performance" cleanse. This is because it is designed to be done along with a workout or fitness program. Here is how it works and how to follow:

Once again, this cleanse is meant to be done in conjunction with your regular fitness routine but best to schedule during your recovery weeks if you are doing an intense program like P90X or INSANITY. It is also a GREAT way to jump-start ANY fitness routine and weight loss by doing the cleanse the week before you begin and getting your body healthy!

Reasons why you might not lose weight:

First, most people WILL lose some weight but weight loss is not the goal of the Shakeology Cleanse. People with a lot of junk in their systems tend to lose the most weight from this cleanse. If you've been eating clean then there are less toxins and food left in your system to be rid of. While you may not lose much weight while doing the cleanse, your body will be ready to lose once you have finished and continue your fitness program.

Second, restricting calories can be stressful. Stress in the body releases the hormone cortisol and inhibits you from losing weight. This is the reason why you don't do the Shakeology Cleanse no longer than 3 days.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How many calories per day?
800 - 1,100 per day

How often can I do the Shakeology Cleanse?
Ideally you should do it once per quarter (every 3 months)
When you start a new workout program
When you feel you need help breaking through a weight-loss plateau

Should I/Can I still do my workout during the Cleanse?
Depends on the individual
You will have less energy, so consider doing it during your 'recovery' week
Don't do it in the middle of P90X or INSANITY

Can I do a 1-day or 2-day Cleanse?
Yes, some people see results in 1 or 2 days!
It is NOT recommended doing the Cleanse for longer than 3 days!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Barley Soup

Mmmmm, The cold temps are here and I was looking for a soup to warm up! Here's a fabulous recipe that I found from and it was super easy to put together and delicious.

Okay so tell me who here doesn't love a good slow cooker recipe?

    I know I do and hello?, it makes cooking so much easier!
I also know how good the grain barley is for us but I have been having a hard time finding recipes that I like that include it as an ingredient. Well now I have one that satisfies my taste buds.
32 oz low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon basil
1/2 tablespoon cilantro
1/4 tablespoon dill
2 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (uncooked)
1/2 cup uncooked black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
1/2 cup barley
1 medium sweet onion, cubed
20 oz potatoes, peeled and cubed
10 oz carrots (3 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
Fill a slow cooker with broth, 8 oz water, garlic, herbs and pepper. Add chicken, peas and barley, then layer onion, potatoes and carrots over top. Liquid should just cover vegetables. Do not stir.
Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Remove bay leaves and stir before serving.
Nutrients per serving
(1 cup chicken barley soup):
Calories: 230, Total Fat: 2.5 g, Sat. Fat: 0.5 g, Carbs: 3 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 4 g, Protein: 21 g, Sodium: 240 mg, Cholesterol: 40 mg

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Shakeology

Blueberry Sunshine

  • 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology®
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • Asian Chicken- Healthy Version

    If you are having a craving for Chinese food, this is so what you should replace it with!! My ENTIRE family loved with this meal! Its relatively simple to prepare too...
    1.5 lb chicken
    1 1/5 Tbsp minced garlic
    4 Tsbp Brown Sugar
    2 Tbsp EVOO
    4 Tbsp Soy Sauce (low sodium or use braggs liquid aminos)
    4 Tbsp chicken broth (low sodium)
    1/2 tsp brown sugar (light)
    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
    2 Tbsp corn starch (in 2 tbsp water - do not add until you add sauce to mixture)

    Cut raw chicken into 1 inch cubes and bake in oven @ 350 degrees for 25 min...
    While thats baking, make sauce:
    In a mixing bowl, add EVOO, chicken broth, soy sauce, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, crushed red pepper together.
    Then put chicken in large pan and add minced garlic and 2 Tbsp brown sugar...Cook on medium high, add sauce (Don't forget to add the corn starch mixture after adding the sauce to thicken your sauce!) and cook on low heat for 15 min. or until thick
    Serve over brown rice or Quinoa! Oh, and definitely broccoli as a side!!  Voila, Dinner is served


    Wednesday, November 6, 2013


    Having 4 kids makes me a busy mom...Then add being a teacher, a bakery owner, a wife, and health and fitness coach, and that makes me a super busy mom!

    I need to be honest here with a confession, even though I am committed to getting fit and healthy and helping others, working out does NOT always come easy to me.
    Sometimes I don't feel like it. Sometimes I stay up too late, and have to drag my butt out of bed in the morning to get it in. Sometimes I wish we didn’t need it. But reality is, we do, and though I may not always feel like starting a workout, I NEVER regret it afterwards.

    I don’t want you to think that I'm the exception and feel like going 110% every day, all the time. I'm human, I have good days and bad days just like you!

    Taking the time you need for yourself is extremely hard, especially with young kids and babies.
    I did not loose all my baby fat as quickly as I wanted. My body did not want to bounce right back to where it was. I still have to workout HARD. I had to learn to the importance of good nutrition. I had to realize that it was going to take a complete 180 to maintain my new body, it requires a lifestyle change...not a temporary solution, followed by reverting back to all my old ways.

    How could I possibly incorporate that when I have more to do, less energy, less time, but an insane desire to look and feel better? I needed to do something!
    So here are some tips to help you get it done.

    1. Put Yourself on the Calendar

    The first and most important thing you can do is make time for yourself! I didn’t say this was the easiest part. Actually, it can be the hardest thing to do and this is why most people don’t even start. We make time for our kids’ swimming lessons, ball practices, art classes, etc. but where do we fit in our workouts? You need to make time for yourself. With 4 kids under the age of 6, I struggle with this sometimes. Consider these options for making your workout non-negotiable. You've got to schedule it.

    Early Morning Workout
    • Do you wake your kids at the same time each day? Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier. Pop in a workout DVD, and PRESS PLAY.
    Lunch-Time Workout
    • No matter where you work, you always have a break for lunch! How long is it? I know you are probably really hungry, but why not postpone it for 10-20 minutes? Keep a pair of dumbbells in your office or car (or wherever you work) and focus on 2 body parts (1 lower body and 1 upper body)–a different set each day. For example: Lunges and bicep curls, squats and shoulders, knee lifts and triceps, push-ups and outer thigh, etc. Alternate them or do compound moves (upper and lower at the same time) to get more in. Remember to put on your music to get you through it. Get in at least 3 sets of each, then go have your lunch :)
    “Happy Hour” Workout
    • After work, you want to hang out with your children! I totally get it…but what can you do together that is active? Ride bikes? Take a walk to a neighbor’s house or to pick up a snack? Jump rope? Play catch, basketball, tag, kickball, make up a racing game, etc.?  When I run, I usually have my 2 older kids biking in front of me while I push the younger 2 in my double jogging stroller. This works for us.(Yes, we make a parade, lol!) Now you’re doing it together and you are demonstrating the importance of moving your body. Double Bonus!!!
    Active Playtime
    • In this stage in my life, I have found that playing and doing activities with my kids can sometimes count as my workout! Does your child ever want you to “watch” them do chalk on the driveway, play with bubbles, dig in the dirt or sand, keep an eye on them at the park playground? What can you do in lieu of sitting in a chair or on a bench observing? We live in the era of multi-tasking…jog in place, do jumping jacks, squats, lunges, hover over your chair for 30-second intervals. They will probably think it’s funny and want to join in! 

    2. At-Home Workouts

    Workout videos! These have been my life saver. I know a lot of mom’s that love at-home videos. You can pop a tape in while your kids are napping, after they go to bed or even before they wake up (my preferred time)…. OR, they can workout right next to you! They come with multiple DVDs to enable you to change up the routine. When I first started working out after Adley, I used Chalene Johnson's Turbo Fire program, and now have transitioned to Insanity. I absolutely love that they come with a calendar that tells me what to do guess work involved and best of all, they WORK!

    3. Fitness PlayDates

    Do you have other mom friends that like working out? You can plan fitness playdates with them and their kiddos!  I have another friend with children close in age to mine, so we have fitness playdates to connect, stay active, and have fun. Every evening, after we finished supper, we met at a local park with a walking trail and allowed the big kids to play on the equipment, while we power walked or jogged with the younger ones.

    4. Find What Motivates You

    Only YOU know what motivates you. You see, I like to have fun so if working out isn’t fun to me, I will probably not stick with it. Variety is important to me. You might like doing the same workout everyday and crossing off your exercise list as you go. You might enjoy the challenge of racing and compete in competitions.  I don’t know what will get you moving but figure it out and go do it.

    5. Set Goals

    Like everything in life, you need to set goals! So what are your goals? Oh, you want to lose weight? Nice answer but you need to get detailed. Like, do you have a certain pair of jeans or size that you have been dying to wear again? Set your goal of fitting into them by a certain date and try them on each week. Once they fit, reward yourself. Maybe get yourself a new workout outfit or running shoes that you had your eye on.   But no food rewards allowed.

    We all have responsibilities we must attend to, but it’s so important to carve out time for our own needs. This way we feel better, and ultimately we see benefits such as improved moods and more energy. Plus, we are setting a positive example for our children on how to lead healthy, active lives.


    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    Ask the Expert: When Should I Listen to My Cravings?

    Cravings can be intense—and often they go way beyond minor hankering. Surely, it can't just be that you want chocolate. There must be some reason that you need chocolate. Come on, please! Just a taste.
    Dark Chocolate

    Unfortunately, you probably don't. In most cases, cravings aren't a physiological function telling you what you need. In fact, it's much more like that that they're a dysfunction.
    You might be aware of an infographic floating around the Interwebs featuring foods that people typically crave, along with micronutrients that (supposedly) trigger those cravings. If you desire bread, toast, or pasta, the graphic suggests you need more nitrogen in your diet. Salty foods mean you need chloride, chocolate suggests a need for magnesium, etc. You may notice a complete lack of references at the bottom of this chart. That's probably because there's no science backing up these claims—whatsoever. While the craving might stem from something more obvious—sugar, for example—it's highly unlikely that your yen for chocolate means you need more magnesium in your diet.

    Why Do I Crave Chocolate and Other Foods That Aren't Good For Me?

    Cravings are far more complex than this cause-and-effect chart suggests. While a subtle nutrient need may be partly to blame, cravings arise for several reasons—and tend to include a tangled web of psychology, hormones, and other physiological issues.
    Let's go back to the chocolate/magnesium connection. By the time chocolate gets to the milked-down form most Americans consume, there's not much magnesium left. One ounce of milk chocolate contains just 4% of the recommended daily value for magnesium. Dark chocolate has 16%.
    CandyWhy would the body seek out a food for a specific nutrient when that food has very little of that nutrient? Wouldn't it make more sense that your body would crave foods richer in magnesium, such as nuts, leafy greens, or beans? Your chocolate cravings probably exist for more insidious reasons. Some research shows similarities between chocolate cravings and alcohol addiction, in that both alcohol and cacao contain similar neuroactive alkaloids (chemicals that tweak your melon).1 In other words, research suggests that chocolate is addictive.
    Another reason you could be craving that brownie is because of your emotional history with it. It's one of the great American comfort foods. We're brought up identifying chocolate with birthdays, Halloween, post-soccer game ice cream outings, and all those magic moments when you were a good little boy or girl who deserved a reward. If you can't see how that would etch a positive association neural pathway deep into your gray matter, we need to get Dr. Freud on the horn, stat.
    Furthermore, unless you like chewing on cacao nibs (and some people do!), the chocolate you consume is filled with sugar—and sugar cranks up the "feel good" hormone serotonin (among other chemicals) levels in your brain, giving you a feeling of mild euphoria. When it's gone, you want more.2 Combine this sugar hit with the emotional issues and you've got one powerful craving.
    I'm not ruling out the possibility of a causal relationship between cravings and micronutrients—but the key word here is possibility. For instance, when I first began road cycling seriously, I found myself with an irresistible craving for potato chips. It was only when I started adding sea salt to my recovery drink that those cravings passed. Similarly, pregnant women often crave foods that are high in nutrients they need. For example, she might crave cheeseburgers—an obvious source of calcium and iron.
    If you're convinced that your particular craving stems from a micronutrient deficiency, there's an easy way to test this: supplement the vitamin or mineral you have in mind. Getting back to chocolate, if you buy into the magnesium thing, try supplementing Beachbody® Core Cal-Mag™. Another angle would be to embrace the psychology aspect of cravings and instead grab a bag of Chocolate Shakeology®, so that you can indulge yourself, but in a healthy way. (Not to beat a dead horse, but a serving of Shakeology contains 20% of the recommended daily value of magnesium.)

    So I Shouldn't Trust My Cravings?

    Maybe sometimes. With all this talk of micronutrients, we've overlooked another possible root cause for your craving—a macronutrient deficiency. You could be craving certain foods—or certain food types—because your balance of carbs, protein, and fat is off. While it's a stretch to assume your body desires a food because it contains trace amounts of a certain mineral, the causal link between foods and macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) is obvious. Eat a piece of carb-heavy cake and you're going to spike your blood sugar.
    AvocadoIf you think this may be the case, feed the craving with healthy food. If you're craving sweet things, increase your fruit and veggie intake. If you crave greasy foods, increase your raw nut or avocado (good fats) intake. If you find yourself craving meat and cheese, increase your lean protein intake with chicken, fish, eggs, and legumes. If you do this and it doesn't work, odds are that your cravings are more psychologically based.
    If you're deliberately eating at a calorie deficit, this method can be a problem. Ultimately, you're not getting enough of any macronutrient. In these situations, it might be useful to adjust the balance of carbs/protein/fat in your diet. So, for example, if you're in the middle of phase one of P90X® and you're jonesin' for sweet stuff, try switching to phase two, which features a carb increase.
    Cravings suck. And when you're trying to lose weight, they suck even more, as calorie deficits tend to increase cravings.3 In our most frustrated, give-me-the-donut-before-I-kill-someone moments, we'd all like a simple solution. Unfortunately, it doesn't exist. Finding your way around cravings requires a little patience and experimentation. It's just a matter of finding a healthy substitute, a little willpower—or some combination thereof.

    By Denis Faye

    'Clean' Homemade Granola

    I tweaked this recipe slightly from the one I found on The Gracious Pantry website (which btw, is a FABULOUS resource if you haven't checked it out yet!)... I love adding this to my plain greek yogurt for a delicious snack.

    Homemade Granola[Clean Eating]
    Makes about 9 cups.

    6 cups oats [or mixed grains...our krogers didn't have them]
    1 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
    1 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
    1/4 cup flax seed meal
    1 cup unsweetened applesauce
    2/3 cup honey
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg

    Preheat oven to 325F.

    Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl.

    Whisk wet ingredients in a small, separate bowl.

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients
    & mix with a spatula until everything is well coated.
    Spread on two lined [foil or parchment paper] cookie sheets
    and bake for 45-60 minutes stirring every 10-15 minutes.

    Mine took right about an hour checking it every 15 minutes.
    You want it to be dry and slightly golden.
    Let it cool and store in an airtight container.

    In the original recipe pecans, flax seed, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg were not called for...but I like to put my own spin on recipes. I would consider this to be a basic recipe, with lots of  room to adapt it to your liking. I want to try adding raisins, cranberries, dried apples, maybe even a pure maple syrup or agave nectar instead of honey. So many varieties to try!

    Friday, November 1, 2013

    So what is a Challenge Group?

    You have made a commitment to join a group of like-minded individuals with similar goals to transform your lifestyle. You are ultimately going to learn the value of proper, balanced nutrition and the importance of staying physically active for both your mind and body. You've taken the first step by joining us in the Challenge and I will be with you every step of the way. Unfortunately, I can't physically be with you each and every day, though we will check in daily throughout the challenge.

                 I'm going to be sharing my time and energy to help you succeed, and in return I'm asking you to post in the Facebook Challenge Group daily, or at minimum, every other day. You may be thinking that is redundant as the majority of your posts will be similar, or perhaps you are wondering why it is important?

    Here are a few reasons:
     1.   It helps me as your coach stay informed of your progress and your          challenges so I can help you through them. Its important to be  
           honest and ask for help when you need it.

     2.   It inspires others in the group. (For example- maybe you are 
           thinking of skipping your workout today and can come up with a            million reasons why you deserve a day off...but then you get tons
           of notifications throughout the day and read all about Suzy, and              Jimmy, & Jenna, each one posted about how they just worked 12           hours and were exhausted and still came home to workout and               actually felt great afterward or maybe they posted they had a
            headache but pushed through it only to find that by the time they finished their workout, the
            headache was gone. I bet after reading posts like that, you are much more likely to suck it
            up and get that workout in. I can guarantee you the only workout you will ever regret is the
            one you didn't do.

    3.    For your own accountability- just knowing throughout the day that you will be updating
            us on your efforts that day, may be enough motivation to make good choices.

    And just to clarify, I am not asking you to post a book or even a paragraph every day. A simple line or two highlighting your successes and/or your struggles that day is perfect~ Did you stay on track with your clean eating? Did you drink your shake? Did you do your workout?  Have you consumed half your weight in ounces of water today?
    This is so important to your success. Even if towards the end of this challenge every other challenger has fallen off the face of the earth, it should still be you and I posting back and forth every single day, all the way to the end. Deal?

    Now lets talk a little more about commitment. No one is forcing you to do this right? I did beg you to join me on my journey to happy and chose to engage yourself in this group because you want to change. You want results. Maybe you want to lose 50 lbs, or only 10? Maybe you are diabetic and would really like to eventually be able to come off your meds? Maybe you are out of shape and want to get active, perhaps even check that 'run a marathon' off your bucket list! Whatever that reason, you should be able to clearly define it at all times. Keeping your WHY in front of you at all times is important to staying on track. Know your goal, write it down, post it everywhere (on your fridge, on the dash of your car, in your bathroom on the mirror, on the bed stand next to your pillow) You should be constantly reminded of why you are in this Challenge.
    If you're ready for change, ready to meet the New and IMPROVED you, and are willing to do whatever it takes you must adopt the "No Excuses, Just Results" attitude. Remember, if it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you. Here's my promise to you...

    Click the link ---> Challenge Commitment and Goals, and submit this to me prior to our first official day on Monday. I can't wait to take this journey with you!

    Clean Eating- What do I need to know to get started?

    Changing your eating habits is not easy. Actually, changing any habit is not easy but it seems that we have the most difficult time with the foods we put into our mouths. Agree? Personally, I think this has a lot to do with the emotional attachment we have to food. We celebrate with food. We comfort ourselves with food. We relieve boredom with food. You name it and I bet food is involved somehow. Don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting we need to leave food out of the celebrations. Believe me I need chocolate just like the rest of you. However, I do think we need to shift our focus to the quality of food we attach ourselves with.

    Enter clean eating. Clean eating allows you to enjoy foods that are delicious yet still nutritious and satisfying. Within the three months or so I have transitioned to a clean eating lifestyle. My goal is to eat clean 90% of time that way I can have some flexibility and don’t feel deprived. Below are some of the clean eating strategies I have used and now recommend when helping somone who is just starting out.

    “Clean up” the recipes you already eat

    Believe it or not, you’re probably not too far off from a clean eating lifestyle. I know when looking to make changes to your diet it is easy to think you need to completely switch up the foods you are eating. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes you just need to make a few tweaks. Let me give you an example. My family eats a lot of tacos. Prior to clean eating I did not pay much attention to the quality of ingredients I purchased. It is not that I wanted to feed my family sub-par food I just didn’t think it mattered. Well the quality of the food we eat does matter. Therefore to clean up tacos I now use 97% Fat Free Ground Turkey Burger with other organic ingredients. You probably don’t need to purchase all organic ingredients – unless you want to – but focus on where quality matters the most.

    The main take away point is to control the ingredients as much as possible in the recipes you enjoy. You can do this by making more of your recipes from scratch or by making substitutions like brown rice for white rice, whole grain pasta for white pasta, and wheat flour for white. For example, if your kids eat a lot of boxed macaroni and cheese try making a homemade version. Sure it takes more time but you can easily make it ahead of time and I guarantee your kids will prefer homemade over boxed very quickly. I could go on and on just on this topic so I will write more about this in a future post. if you're having trouble tweaking a family favorite recipe, let me know and I can help.

    One change at a time

    I really believe in making healthy changes slow – it is what has worked for me – and clean eating is no exception. I know some people just wanted to jump in and make drastic changes. That might work for some but in my experience, drastic usually is not sustainable.
    When I started clean eating I made 1 -2 changes at a time. For example, I started with focusing on getting more whole grains into my diet. Then once I had that down I focused on reducing my sugar. Then I started introducing more fruits and vegetables. For me it was helpful to take diet changes a little at a time. Not just for me but for my family as well. In my experience, when I try to make changes fast my family revolts and I begin to feel overwhelmed and defeated. This always lead to healthy lifestyle sabotage. Once I figured it all out and began introducing changes gradually I was able to successfully adopt a clean (er) eating lifestyle.

    Menu plan and plan ahead

    I am sure you already knew I was going throw this in here. However, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a plan. In my experience, the absolutely only way to create sustainable changes is to plan for it. Without a plan chances are you will find yourself falling back into old habits – especially when life starts to get busy, and trust me, it will.
    Planning ahead means a couple things. First it means putting together a weekly menu plan so you know what groceries to purchase and what to eat every day. It also means prepping your food ahead of time. This is especially important when you eat clean. Many of the clean foods you purchase are going to be part of recipe and not necessarily ready to eat like their prepackaged counterparts. So taking the time to prepare ingredients in advance will make it much easier to eat the healthier clean foods you are now buying. Believe me, I am more likely to grab peppers and hummus if I have my peppers clean and cut up. If not, they usually will just sit lonely in my refrigerator.

    • Make an effort to spend an hour once per week preparing clean eats for the week. I like to hard boil and peel a dozen eggs, cut up raw veggies (organic bell pepper, cucumbers, carrot sticks, etc.) for the week, make a batch of hummus, bake some boneless skinless chicken breast I can use for clean chicken salad, and pre-portion your snacks.
     I know that at first it may seem daunting to meal plan, prep and shop. However, after a few weeks it will be second nature and take up less of your time and mental bandwidth.

    Read labels

    Reading labels is not new information. In fact, it is probably some of the oldest weight loss advice in the books. However, I found label reading to be different when it comes to clean eating. For instance, while I am still concerned with the calories and portions I am now just as concerned with the ingredients. I want to make sure that if I do purchase a processed or boxed item that it is not filled with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, or any other artificial ingredients. Of course, the goal is to purchase more of the foods that don’t have a label like fruits and vegetables but most likely you will still buy some convenience items.
    Personally, I have found reading food labels to be a real eye opener. Marketing companies have become genius at making you think you are purchasing a nutritious item when it is actually filled with sugar, artificial colors, and hydrogenated oils. At the end of the day it comes down to educating yourself on the foods you are purchasing. Don’t depend on what marketers tell you is in the box. Turn the box around and see for yourself.
    Two blogs that do a great job at exposing the nasty ingredients that are in some of the popular foods we eat are Snack Girl and 100 Days of Real Food. Believe me after reading some of their finds I guarantee you will think twice before purchasing and putting certain foods in your mouth.

    Don’t think it is all or nothing.

    The thought of eliminating all processed foods is a bit overwhelming for people – I know it was for me – so that alone can prevent them from eating clean. Honestly, that is one of the main reasons I HATE putting “a label” on an eating style. I feel as soon as you attach that label you immediately feel like you are under a microscope and have to do everything “perfect” or why even bother. Well, you might be happy to know that I don’t view cleaning eat as an all or nothing lifestyle. Sure some people might disagree with me and that is fine because we all have the freedom to do and eat what we wish. However, I feel it is unrealistic to think that you can (or should) remove all processed foods from your diet forever. I mean if I had to go the rest of my life without a Reese PB cup or potato chip, in my opinion, would be a very sad existence. I like to live by the Two Bite Rule: If I am faced with the opportunity to eat something "off plan" and I just can't pass it up, I employ this rule. Allow yourself two bites of that food- "The first bite is good, the second is best, therefore you don't need the rest!" You still get to have a taste of the yumminess but don't have to feel guilty about it. 
    Be sure to give yourself some grace. You will face obstacles. You may feel like having a few glasses of red wine and dark chocolate. The most important thing about eating clean and healthy living is consistency. Strive to be clean 90% of the time  to achieve weight loss in this phase and you will see results. Allow yourself one "Cheat Meal" a week (not an entire day, just one meal lol). If you know you have a birthday party, family picnic, dinner out with friends, or other event that could be challenging coming up this week, plan that as your cheat meal so you can relax and enjoy yourself, but afterwards, get right back on track.   

    Clean Eating-What to buy at the grocery store?

             It’s time to clean house and clear out ALL the unhealthy food and beverages (including your secret stash). If the food isn’t aligned with your goals—toss it! Because the reality is, if the “treat” isn’t around to eat when your cravings hit, you CAN’T eat it. And chances are, your urges will pass long before you drive all the way to the store. Now click below to check out the shopping list with basic staples you'll want to have on hand and stock up on the good stuff...