Crockpot Curried Lentils with Ground Turkey & Spinach 

Hold the phone! How come no one told me about how good lentils are?!? I’ve always wanted to cook with Lentils but wasn’t sure how to incorporate them or how to cook them properly. This time around I used Trader Joe’s ready to eat Lentils and they worked out great in the crockpot. 

Since it was cold and rainy, I added ground beef for additional meatiness and the spices to warm me up. It was the perfect comfort food and confession, I went to bed dreaming about how good they were that I ate them for breakfast! 


Here’s the recipe: 

  • 1 package of cooked lentils (I used Trader Joe’s brand) 
  • 1 pound of ground Turkey 
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes 
  • 1/2 bag of Frozen Peppers & Onions 
  • 1 bag of Chopped frozen spinach 
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, chopped 
  • 1 cup of water 
  • 3 Tbsp of Curry Powder 
  • 1 Tbsp of Cumin 
  • 1 Tbsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice 
  • 1 Tbsp of Tumeric 
  • 2 Tbsp of Salt 
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of ground Cayenne – depends on heat preference 

Throw into a crockpot and cook on low for 6-7 hours. 

Serve with whole wheat naan, chopped jalepeños for more heat and a dollop of Mango Ginger Chutney.

What to do when you are not seeing results?

frustrated-with-losing-weight-2I know how frustrating it can be when you are on your health and fitness journey, you are working out and eating healthy, but it doesn’t seem like things are moving. This is typically when people get frustrated and want to give up or try an extreme measure to
speed up the results.

The first thing that you should realize is that this will take time and extreme measures will only make it worse for you in the long run. Instead, here are some tips that I have used for myself and share with my clients who are struggling to see results.

 

1. STICK WITH IT! I know that this is not what you want to hear, but it is true. Consistency is key to getting lasting results. If you are not seeing results, chances are you have not been at it long enough, so keep going. If you have been at this for awhile, maybe you should ask yourself “Am I giving this 100%?” or is there an area where you can step it up a notch? Add higher weights or maybe you are eating more sugar than you should or maybe you don’t need that extra glass of wine at dinner?

2. Track Your Activities: If you are not sure what to change or tweak, take a week and track EVERYTHING! I use my Fitbit and MyFitnessPal to track my food, my steps, my calories burned, and my sleep. I also journal about my mood and stress levels. When I track my activities I have a clear view of what I’m doing well and what I”m not doing, this is huge. You can take that information and figure out things that you want to change.

3. Test & Analyze: Once you have an idea of where you can improve, make a small change and test it for 2 – 3 weeks. If you upgrade a current habit with an even better habit, usually that will shock the system enough to get some things moving right along. Maybe you add more intensity to your workouts or you cut out the after dinner snack or get one additional hour of sleep or take a yoga class on sundays. See if that makes a difference, if not, keep that good habit going (remember consistency is key and it may take more time) and add another better habit.

4. Focus on Non Scale Victories: As you go through this journey and adjust your habits, don’t focus so much on the scale. The scale doesn’t always tell the full story and can leave you feeling defeated, even though you have improved your sleep habits, increased your workout intensity, meal prepped like a boss, and have less anxiety. These are all pluses and just know that you are focused on improving yourself, soon you’ll feel so great, the weight loss will be a bonus, not the priority.

This process takes time, so be patient and trust the process. If you have been on this journey for a long with no significant changes, then it may be time to consult with a fitness professional, nutritionist, or your doctor for additional support and help.

If you would like to speak more about how to work together to help you reach your goals, comment below!

5 Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

funny-pictures-winter-weight-loss-snowmanDid you know that the average American gains 5 – 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve? That’s not too surprising given all of the festivities and holiday indulgences, plus added stress with work, family, and travel.  Our schedules are out of whack and then there is always that one co-worker who brings in the treats and sweets!

This time of year, can wreck havoc on your current fitness and clean eating regimen and can also set you back in your goals for 2017. A lot of my clients have been asking me how to help them, so I wanted to put all of my best tips that have worked for my clients and me.

  1. Just Say No: This is definitely a no-brainer, but it just has to be said.  Many times, it’s all about having the willpower to simply say no to full indulgence.  For example, do you need to eat that piece of cake or indulge in a second plate of appetizers at the company holiday party? Probably, not.  One thing that I do to make it easier, if I know that i’ll be in a place where I’ll be tempted, is to eat a healthy snack or meal before attending an event. That way I won’t be starving and less likely to overindulge.
  2. Focus on Healthy Snacks: Remember, “FOOD IS FUEL” and if you are not able to have healthy meals for lunch or dinner, focus on making your snacks healthy.  Aim for foods that are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, lean protein and healthy fats.  Lately, I’ve been snacking on an apple with a tablespoon of almond butter or whole grain pita with hummus and cucumber. I also keep Kind Bars and healthy trail mix in my bag for an easy grab and go option while I am out and about.  Protein shakes or green smoothies are also a great in the clutch snack. The focus is to find snacks that can fill you up, fuel you up, and help to keep your metabolism revved up.
  3. Find Healthy Alternatives: Tis the season to be creative and opt for healthier alternatives to your holiday favorites.  You might be surprised at how tasty and delicious an apple crumble can be in place of a traditional apple pie or even swapping a mixed drink or beer for a glass of champagne (which is lower in calories and carbs). It’s all about balance, but if you are looking for more options, check out my Healthy Holiday Recipe Pinterest Board. 
  4. Commit with a Buddy: People who have an accountability system in place can help them stay on track with their health and fitness goals.  Connect with a co-worker or a family member or your best friend and commit to taking a fitness class a few times a week or committing to logging your food in MyFitnessPal or even committing to eating a healthy breakfast and snacks each day.  Knowing that you have someone else in the same boat as you and that you have to check in with them, will help you to be more mindful in what you are doing and what you are eating, which sometimes is all you need to make better decisions.
  5. Establish a Reward: I don’t know about you, but I am all up for the new “Treat Yo’Self” movement and I have been very good about rewarding my good behavior.  One of my clients just told me that she booked a trip to Puerto Rico because she made a commitment that she would get a trainer and workout 3 times a week for 6 months. Not only did she meet that commitment, but she has lost 23 pounds since we started training and she has definitely earned her trip! Think of a reward that you can do for the beginning of the year if you avoid gaining weight by making the best decisions. Maybe it’s a trip, a new dress to wear on New Year’s Eve or a new toy or appliance!

Hopefully, these will help you to stay on track this year and if you have any other questions, feel free to contact me.  I am hosting a January Fitness & Clean Eating Challenge starting in the New Year and if you are interested in joining click here to submit an application! 

3 Clean Eating Breakfast Ideas

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Breakfast is one the most important meals of the day, mainly because it provides your body with the first dose of nutrition (or lack thereof) to start the day. Unfortunately, most people either skip breakfast all together or choose less than optimal foods that are high in sugar and fats, leaving them feeling exhausted and out of energy by mid morning. This is where the spiral of bad choices continues, when are energy is low mid morning, we opt for more cups of coffee (typically loaded with dairy and sugar) or grab something quick like a muffin or pastry (again more fat and sugar). This back of forth of sugar kick to sugar low, puts the body in a very fragile state.

However, when we start our day with a nutrient dense breakfast that has a mix of complex carbs, fiber, healthy fats, and protein, our body has the right kind of fuel to help us have the energy we need to take on the day.  Our desire and need for sugar and caffeine subside, because we have natural energy and I’ve found that most people make better food choices for the rest of the day.

When I am not drinking my daily Shakeology, which is a superfood meal replacement shake that is perfect dose of dense nutrition that tastes like a dessert, I am aim to eat one of these breakfasts:

  • Eggs and Whole Grain Toast: Eggs are a great source of protein and the whole grain toast is a great source of fiber and complex carbs.  This helps to balance blood sugar and keep you feeling fuller longer in the morning.  When it comes to the type of eggs, I like egg white scrambles with veggies or mini egg muffins with turkey bacon or even poached eggs to accompany my toast.  If I want to make breakfast a bit more indulgent, I’ll add avocado to my toast, which provides a nice dose of healthy fats which the body needs to function and helps with weight loss, or I’ll add some 100% fruit preserves or honey for a touch of healthy sweetness. Here’s a simple recipe for mini egg muffins. 
  • Oatmeal and Fruit: Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast because it really does help you to feel full, thanks to the fiber and complex carbs that take longer for the body to digest and give you sustained energy. Depending on how I’m feeling I’ll go for traditional hot oatmeal made with almond milk with a few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg.  I may even add a tablespoon of almond or peanut butter for added healthy fats. Sometimes, I opt for the cold version – Overnight Oats – which are a perfect meal prep breakfast that you can make days in advance and just grab and go.  See my favorite recipe here. 
  • Green/Superfood Smoothies: As I mentioned, I typically drink Shakeology every single morning to start my day, as I like knowing that I’m getting a big chunk of my nutrients, vitamins and minerals into my body first thing.  Another option, would be to make a Green Smoothie. The biggest mistake people make with their “Green Smoothies” is that they are packed with more fruit and sugar, than their greens. They add sugar packed yogurts, super sweet fruit juices and tons of fruit, which can cause you to max out on your daily amount of sugars and carbs in one sitting.  Instead, focus on using 2 cups of greens to 1 cup of fruit, use coconut water instead of juice or unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of yogurt, and add a tablespoon of healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, almond butter, coconut oil, or an avocado, to help you feel fuller longer. See my post on how to make the Perfect Green Smoothie. 

 

The key is simple. One – make sure that you eat breakfast. Two – make sure that your breakfast is one that will fuel you and set you up to have a successful, energized and productive day.

5 Steps to Making a Perfect Green Smoothie

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When I’m not drinking my daily dose of nutrition with Shakeology, I also like to incorporate Green Smoothies into my day as a way to ensure that I get more greens into my diet.   These smoothies are a great way to incorporate more nutrition into your diet in a tasty way. Most people, however, make one crucial mistake when they make their smoothie – they add way too much fruit (which means way too much sugar) and they don’t add a healthy fat.
 
Here is what I would recommend for making a Green Smoothie that is filling, tasty, and has a good balance of nutrition.
  1. Add 2 cups of leafy greens into a blender. I like using Kale, but if it is too bitter, you can use spinach.
  2. Add 2 cups of liquid to the blender with the leafy greens. I like using coconut water or unsweetened almond milk.
  3. Blend the leafy greens and liquid until they are purified…THEN ADD YOUR FRUIT & HEALTHY FATS to the blender.
  4. Add 1-2 cups of fruit to the blender – I am a fan of adding a banana and a cup of frozen berries.
  5. Add a Tablespoon of Coconut Oil or Nut Butter or even a 1/4 of an avocado to the blender and mix it all up!
Bonus: I like to add in ginger, herbs, spices, nuts, or oats to my smoothies to add more oomph and create a more power packed or satisfying smoothie.
 
The benefit of adding the healthy fats to the smoothie is that it provides some satiety, making you feel fuller longer, plus healthy fats help with fat loss. Also, by limiting the servings of fruit to two, it keeps your blood sugar balanced, especially when you combine the healthy fats.
 
The beauty of blending the greens and liquids first, makes sure that there are no clumps and that the greens are blended perfectly.
 
Hopefully, this helps you with creating the best green smoothie you can make! 

5 Self Care Tips to Reduce Anxiety

When you find yourself stressed out and full of anxiety, life becomes harder and can make every day activities like your job, your sleep, your interaction with your loved ones and community, debilitating and may create even more stress.

Here are 5 tips that I have applies to my life and have shared with my clients to help them to reduce their own stress and anxiety and I hope that one or all five of these help you as well!

  1. Focus on your Breathing: Your breath is the key to your balance and can make a huge difference in how your body responds.  I’ve found that most people don’t even know how to properly breathe.  One exercise that I would encourage you to do is to place one hand on your chest/heart and one hand on your belly.  Inhale for 5 seconds, focusing on filling your belly/diaphragm with as much air as possible, then exhale completely for 10 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 2 minutes, working your way up to 5 minutes at a time.  Trust me, this one is a game changer! I do it before I go to bed after a long and stressful day.
  2. Listen to Music that Creates Good Vibes & Feelings: Music is such an emotive thing and can evoke positive feeling or negative feelings. You can change how you feel by listening to music and I’d suggest that you listen to songs that make you feel happy or that evoke happy memories. Create a playlist and listen to it daily, especially on your way into stressful situations/environments like a meeting or even family dinners (in the event that all of your family dinners come with a side of family drama :))
  3. Exercise and Move Your Body: Sometimes transferring the heavy, stressful, and anxious energy that you are holding inside into something physical can be an amazing thing.  Physical activity can release feel good hormones that combat stress and make you feel better, even if your situation doesn’t change. Try going for a walk or taking a workout class or just putting on some music and dance like no one is watching!
  4. Spend Time with Good People:  Do you have people in your life who make you smile or laugh until you almost pee your pants? Do you have people in your life who make you feel better and loved by simply being in their presence? FIND THOSE PEOPLE AND SPEND AS MUCH TIME WITH THEM! Don’t use this quality time with them to whine and complain, instead focus on the good – laugh until you pee your pants, embrace and hug until you release your tears, enjoy a meal that fills your heart and your belly.
  5. Fill and Fuel your Body with Healthy Food: When you’re stressed, your body and digestive system may not be working as properly as you would want and I know it may feel good to indulge in foods that don’t support and fuel your body, but try your best to eat healthier options.  Support your body and help it to maintain balance by fueling it with healthy foods. Check out  my free Clean Eating Guide ebook for recipes and ideas and you’ll also get access to my free Clean Eating Accountability Facebook group where I share some of my healthiest recipes.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful for you in managing your stress and anxiety.

Fall Harvest Crockpot Chili 

Fall is officially here and I am thrilled about it! It’s my favorite season mainly because most of my favorite foods are fall staples!

Last week, I made Mashed Sweet Potatoes in the crockpot and had A little bit extra so I decided why not throw the rest into my Crockpot Chili?!?

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how it came out. It was filling and delicious. I also added some green peas for an extra dose of protein and Zuchinni, which along with the peas, adds some extra immunity boosting phytonutrients.

Here is the recipe below:

  • 1 pound of Ground Turkey
  • 8 ounces of Fresh Salsa
  • 8 ounces of Fresh Pico De Gallo
  • 8 Ounces of Green Peas
  • 8 ounces of Frozen Corn
  • 8 ounces of Frozen Bell Peppers & Onions Mix (or 1/2 cup of each fresh)
  • 1 Zuchinni, Chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons of Taco Seasoning
  • 8 ounces of Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Throw it all in the crockpot and and let it cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

I served mine with Green Chili Cornbread. (Hint: Add 2 tablespoons of Green Chili Salsa to cornered mix and enjoy the sweet heat!)

3 Tips to Get Out of Your Funk

I don’t know what is going on these days, but I’ve been speaking with a lot of my clients and friends who have said they are feeling “Blah!” when it comes to their jobs, their relationships (or lack thereof), their finances, their family, and their health/fitness. I don’t what it is, but I wanted to share my 3 tips that have helped me and I’ve already heard back from a few who have said my tips have helped them.

In the video below, I break it down into the following:

  1. Get Clarity in what you want.  If you are unhappy, it’s important to know exactly you are unhappy about and what exactly you want to change.
  2. Get Organized and clear the clutter. When our life, house, minds, fridge, etc is packed with clutter, it can create more anxiety and stress about the current situation and it can prevent us from seeing opportunities and possibilities to change ourselves, our situation or our perspective.
  3. Get a Goal that you can use to focus your attention and energy.  Once you know what you want to change and you have created space for change to happen, you have to take action by moving forward in a positive direction.

Watch the video to get a bit more about these tips and to help you get on track to getting out of your funk!

10 Tips to Successful Self Care

Happy girlHappy September, did you know that this month has been dubbed #SelfCareSeptember? I personally thought that this was so fitting as this month, I am focusing on Self Care and doing a the new online yoga program, 3 Week Yoga Retreat, and the 21 Day Ultimate Reset detox program. So, I figured that I would also do my best to focus on other areas of Self Care and want to challenge you to do the same.

You don’t have to do all 10 of these, but you should definitely think about adding a few these into your daily regimen, because taking care of yourself is critical.  Most people think that “Self Care” means being selfish, but I promise you, it’s the complete opposite. If you are stressed out that opens up the door to a bunch of things like poor sleeping patterns, poor eating and fitness habits, negative emotions, strained relationships and finances, and the list goes on and on. When you make self care a priority, you will find that your life is more balanced, you have more energy, and you are finding that your health, finances, relationships, and everything in between will improve!

Here are my tips for Successful Self Care

  1. Start your day with Gratitude: Gratitude is a big part of living an abundant life, when we focus on things to be grateful for, I believe, that we receive more things to be grateful for.  Find 3 things each day that you can be grateful for and if you can’t think of anything, simply waking up, having a sound mind, and an opportunity to make a positive impact in the world.
  2. Take a Morning Moment: Each morning, I take a moment to reflect on the day ahead, it helps to remove any anxiety about what is to come, but it gives me a chance to plan a head, set my intentions, and remove any negativity. My morning moment typically includes prayer, journaling, meditation, or reading the bible. Try to do one thin
  3. Eat Healthy & Nourishing Meals: The food that you put into your body is the fuel that runs your body and if you are putting junk and crap into your body, you can’t expect to have high energy to run your day.  I personally ensure that every morning my breakfast is healthy and nourishing, because that sets the tone for the rest of the day. Try adding more greens, lean protein, whole grains to your diet and limiting the processed, refined junk food for September.
  4. Fill your brain with Positivity: There is so much “crap” on the news, media, and on social media that can bog us down, but I am challenging you to fill your mind with positivity.  Each day, I read or listen to Personal Development to make sure that I’m developing myself.  You can find a podcast or audio book to listen to on the way to work or while you’re walking the dog, you can read 10 pages of a book, or even watching more positive movies and TV and listening to more positive radio stations.
  5. Drink Water: Hydration is a big part to feeling and looking great, your body uses water for a ton of reasons and a few years ago when I struggling, drinking water was a big part of feeling better.  You should aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. To spice it up, add fresh fruit to your water.
  6. Move your body for at least 30 Minutes: The idea of being holed up in a gym for hours is not necessary for getting great results, I tell my clients to simply move your body doing anything that gets your heart rate up and that you enjoy, can have the same benefits.  Find a dance or zumba class, go for a walk with a friend, or try a new fitness program. Exercise helps to reduce stress, blood pressure, and increase bone density, improve your mood, and make you feel better.
  7. Spend some time alone: In a time where we are always connected, it’s nice to be able to disconnect and spend some time with yourself to check in with yourself. It doesn’t have to be a long time, even 5 minutes of alone time can help to clear your mind and provide a bit of peace in a stressful day.  I like to sit outside and have a green tea or take a bath for 20 minutes or sometimes I take myself out on a date, yup a movie or dinner for one and just enjoy myself!
  8. Spend quality time with loved ones:  There is emphasis on the world “quality” when you are spending time with your family, friends, spouse, etc, it’s important that you are present in that moment. Solid connection with people, when you are present in the moment, can lift your spirits like none other. So put the phone away, let work be done with for the day (or at least that moment) and focus on the people that you are spending time with.  Take time to share about your day (the highlights), laugh over funny moments and memories, eat dinner together, or lay on the couch and watch a funny show together. Call up a friend and chat for a bit and be focused on enjoying the moment.
  9.  Spend Time In Nature: Nature recharges me and living in San Francisco, with so many beautiful hikes and trails and the bay surrounding me, has done wonders for my peace of mine.  But even if you don’t have access to a breathtaking trail, you can find a nice park or take the scenic route home and roll the windows down to enjoy nature.  One of my clients, before coming into the house after work, she sits on the hood of her car for 5 minutes to simply listen to nature – birds chirping, the insects buzzing.  Another one of my clients can witness the most perfect sunsets in the WalMart parking lot by her house. Find your way to connect with nature and let it recharge you.
  10. End your day with Peace: How you start your day and end your day matter. Ending your day with peace is a surefire way to have a restful night of sleep where your body can regenerate and you wake up feeling ready to tackle the day.  Set a “shut down” time where you turn off the TV, the phone interactions, and other connections with electronics.  Start to unwind and relax. You may want to lay out your clothes for the next day, or create your to do list for the next day so your mind isn’t buzzing about what you have to do, because you can have peace that you have a plan for tomorrow, or simply lay in bed and read a book or do a guided meditation.

Give one or all of these a try for the month of #SelfCareSeptember and see how your life changes!

Shrimp & Mango Skewers with Blackberry Sauce 

Every month my friends and I have a themed dinner night. We draw two cards out of a bag full of different themes and this month was Seafood and Your Favorite Color. My favorite color is purple, so here is this recipe. 

Spicy Shrimp & Mango Skewers with Blackberry Glaze 

1 pound of Shrimp, deveined & raw

1 Mango, diced 

3 Tablespoons of seedless blackberry jam 

4 Tablespoons of soy sauce 

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp of Sriracha 

Old Bay Seasoning 


1. Alternate Shrimp and Mango on a soaked skewer and lay on a cookie sheet. Pat the skewers dry. 

2. Season skewers with Old Bay Seasoning 

3. In a bowl, combine blackberry jam, soy sauce, garlic and Sriracha into a bowl and brush on skewers on both slides. Save any left over sauce and place in a saucepan. 


4. Broil skewers on high for 4-5 minutes on each side. 

5. While the skewers are cooking, reduce the remaining sauce in a pan on medium heat until it thickens. 

6. Once skewers are done, drizzle the thickened sauce over the skewers and top with green onions and serve with orange slices. 

7. Squeeze orange slices over the skewers and enjoy! 

I saved the leftovers and combined with brown rice for a tasty and healthy lunch.