Clean Eating, Diet, Health, Healthy Eating

Are you too Acidic? Try increasing your Alkalinity!

Are you too acidic?

The Standard American Diet is SAD and can be putting you at risk for having an overly acidic ecosystem for your body.  Most people are eating foods that are highly processed and refined, packed with chemicals and sugar.  On top of that, we live in a society that is primed to be always on the go, so we are more stressed and our environment is packed with pollution and other irritants.  Our bodies are overworked and under-nourished.

Being highly acidic can be detrimental to your health, because the body is unable to operate it’s optimal level for the day to day functions.  This includes your digestion, your metabolism, and your body’s ability to detoxify itself.  It also can negatively affect your immune system, as an acidic environment, become a field day for diseases, viruses, and bacteria to thrive to create sickness, illness, and pain.

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In order to change the acidic tides in our body’s ecosystem we must add more alkalinity to create more of a balance.  When your body is more alkaline, you will be able to neutralize your bloodstream, increase the oxygen levels in your body, which can results in more energy and improved metabolic functions (which could also help with weight loss).   Your body strives and craves a more alkaline environment and you will feel better when you can achieve it.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by eliminating the junk food, overly processed and refined grains and sugars, and keeping the meat and dairy to a minimum (AKA “Eat Clean”).  Replace more alkaline foods to your diet like dark leafy greens, fruits, vegetables. Think of it as eating your colors and focusing on foods that have a higher nutritional density.  For example, one of my favorite meals is a Kale salad packed with tons of colorful veggies and a lean protein.


Another option is to change your water to Alkaline Water. I recently started using a Tyent Water Ionizer to help me with staying hydrated (because I don’t drink enough water) and to also help with having a more ph balanced body, as I am now doing more marathon training, teaching more bootcamps, and will soon repeat the Ultimate Reset again.  The water unit, is pretty amazing because I am able to select my ph levels for my water. This has been one of the easiest ways for me to stay on track with my hydration and my ph balance. So far, I’ve noticed more energy, my skin has been clearer and I’ve also found that my joints and muscles don’t feel as stiff when I wake up or after a workout.

I’m looking forward to seeing how increasing my alkaline levels will help me over the next few months with my races and my Ultimate Reset. I’ll keep you posted on that!

 

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Clean Eating, Diet, Health, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss, Workout

Plant Based Pre & Post Workout Snacks

Recently, I’ve had a few clients who have a plant based diet and they have asked me for ideas of what to eat before and after their workouts.  Many people get confused on what to eat, so I wanted to share some of my favorite options that are perfect not just for someone who has a plant based diet, but anyone.

What to Eat Before Your Workout: The key is to remember that quality of your workout will depend on how fueled it is before the workout. Your body has to pull energy from somewhere and it’s much easier to pull it from calories that are consumed within an hour of your workout, then pulling stored energy that your body uses for other daily functions. Focus on eating more carbs based foods 30 – 60 minutes before your workout.

  • Oatmeal or Overnight Oats: This is one of my favorites, mainly because I workout in the morning and this “breakfast” food just makes sense to me.  Plus, it’s whole and takes a while to digest, so it can help to keep you fueled, especially if you are working out for longer than 45 minutes.
  • 100% Whole Grain or Sprouted Grain Toast with Pure Honey or Real Fruit Spread: This is one of my dad’s go to pre workout snacks and he swears by it for his long cardio sessions.  The key is to make sure that you choose 100% Whole Grain or Sprouted Grains, which helps with the slow digestion of the carbs coupled with the fast digesting carbs with the honey or fruit spread.
  • Apple or Banana with a Tbsp of Nut Butter: This is an easy pre workout snack that doesn’t feel as heavy as the oatmeal or the toast.  This is my favorite for a HIIT or Circuit Training Strength workout.
  • Kind Bars: I am not a big fan of bars, but I do like Kind Bars because I can recognize all of the ingredients in them, they are easy to take with me on the way to the gym, and they taste like a candy bar. 🙂
  • Fruit Juice or Smoothies: This is typically my last resort, as most fruit juices and smoothies are packed with sugar and don’t give you a lot of substance and I feel really full, but when I’m in a real crunch, I will grab a bottle of 100% Orange Juice or grab a Smoothie and drink half.

What to eat after your workout: The key here is to make sure that you have a mix of protein and carbs.  I know that this sounds crazy, but after a workout, while your muscles are going into repair mode (where protein is key), your body is still burning calories and can burn them with carbs that you use to replenish your body after the workout. I highly recommend that you consume your post workout meal or snack within 30 minutes of your workout.

  • Meal Replacement Shake: As you know, I’m a big fan of Shakeology and this is my all time go to post workout Shake, because it’s more than just protein, it’s a true meal which includes not only carbs, but also minerals, vitamins, adaptogens (which also help with the post workout recovery), super greens (to help reduce the acidic ph levels, which also help with reduction of inflammation), and so much more.
  • Chocolate Milk – This can be Soy Milk or Dairy Milk, both options are a great mix of protein and carbs and easy to digest and great when you are in a pinch.
  • Hummus with Veggies and Whole Grain Pita: This is a great snack, especially if you want something more savory.
  • Green Salad with Lean Protein & Veggies: Your protein options can be tofu, edamame, hard boiled eggs, tempeh, nuts, seeds, or beans.  Aim to use a vinegar based dressing.
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich or a Hummus & Veggie Sandwich: This is the perfect balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Many people think sandwiches are not healthy, it’s a matter of the bread you choice, the condiments/fillings that you use. Here’s my tips on how to make a Healthier PB&J

 

Hopefully, this will give you some ideas of what to eat before and after your workouts! 

Clean Eating, Diet, Healthy Eating, Recipes

3 Ways to Make a Healthier PB&J

maxresdefaultOne of my all time favorite snacks and go to meals when I am traveling is a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich.  I think that its the perfect blend of savory, salty and sweet and the bread provides the carbs and there is a bit of nostalgia that makes this such a comforting treat.  However, the traditional version can pack tons of sugar, calories, and preservatives, and this is where many people make the wrong turn.  So I wanted to share with you how I make mine healthier.

There are 3 ingredients, so the key is to ensure that you choose the best options for each:

  1. The Bread: So, I feel like I shouldn’t have to say it, but i’ll say it anyway…NO WHITE BREAD ALLOWED!   There is really no nutritional value and if you are serving this to kids, you are pumping them full of sugar and preservatives that will do more harm than good.  Instead I opt for a WHOLE GRAIN BREAD.  Unfortunately, just because a bread looks like it’s whole grain, please make sure to check the labels for your bread, as many times the bread manufacturers still add a lot of refined and processed carbs, sugars, and preservatives to the bread. Also, check the labels to make sure that “sugar” (or one of it’s cousins) are not in the top 3 ingredients.  Here are a few of my favorite bread selections – Food For Life Ezekiel Bread, Sprouted Whole Grain, Eureka Organic Bread, Dave’s Killer Bread.  
  2. The Peanut Butter: PB is simply ground peanuts (or other nuts or seeds if you are allergic), so when looking for a healthier option of peanut butter, just look at the label, the only ingredient should be Peanuts. Maybe salt, if you like that extra depth, but if the nut butter has anything else – sugar, palm oil or other ingredients that you don’t recognize – leave it alone.  If you are feeling fancy, you can always make your own at your local grocery store, it’s a bit pricier, but to be honest I’ve found great brands that are tasty and pure peanut butter – Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter, Adam’s 100% Natural Peanut Butter. 
  3. The Jelly: Actually, your first step should be to switch from Jelly to “Jam” or “Preserves” or “Fruit Spread”, where the process is more natural and doesn’t include gelatin or other preservatives to make that gelatinous consistency.  However, there are not many jams on the market that don’t sugar in them, which makes me sad, so I just aim to ensure that the ingredients are minimal, the fruit is the main attraction (#1 on the list) and that the sugar content is less than 8g of sugar. My all time go to is Trader Joe’s Organic Strawberry Fruit Spread, it’s sweetened with grape juice and it’s so good. If you are a Costco member, the Kirkland brand is pretty good, if not just use discretion and check labels.

As I said, this classic trio has been a life saver for me when I’m running around, after a workout, on the road, floating on the Russian River with friends, being snuck into a convention center for the Beachbody Coach Summit, or simply when I want something sweet, savory, and comforting.  The key is to make the best choices possible, check labels to ensure that it truly is “Natural” and not full of junk.  Also, if you are allergic to gluten or peanuts, feel free to experiment with gluten free options and look for different nut or seed butters.   Now go pour a glass of Almond Milk and make a PB&J!

Diet, Fitness, Health, Motivation, Weight Loss

The #1 Reason Why You Should Get Off The Scale

frustrated-with-losing-weight-2Have you ever started a new fitness program or diet and every single morning you would step on the scale to see if it was working? When you saw the number on the scale go down, you were elated and felt proud of yourself. It motivated you to keep doing the workouts and following the diet plan.  But what happened when you stepped on the scale and the number didn’t move? You probably just thought it was a fluke and you immediately begin to replay the last 24 hours to see what you did or didn’t do to cause the number to stay the same.  You try again the next day and still no change, now you’re starting to feel that you are doing something wrong. By day 3 of no progress, you are totally obsessed with finding the culprit for why you are not seeing progress and your motivation to keep going is dwindling by the second. By the end of the week, you are frustrated and feel defeated and quit all together. Sound familiar?

If this is something that you have struggled with in the past, I want to shed a piece of advice for you – STOP USING THE SCALE AS THE ONLY METRIC FOR SUCCESS! 

The scale only shows a small portion of the story and doesn’t reflect the healthy choices and small changes you are making to reach your results.  From my own experience, I’ve also found that the scale is usually the last thing to show true progress. Your best bet is to start to focus on Non Scale Victories which are more qualitative in nature, which can include improvements to your energy, mood, sleep, digestion, skin, hair, nails, etc.   This can also mean taking photos and trying on the same pair of pants each to physically see and feel how your body is changing.

When I work with my clients to help them shift from the short term mindset of the scale to a healthier and long term mindset of Non-Scale Victories, I find they stay motivated to continue with the workout programs and nutrition plans I have recommended and they tend to lose weight and keep it off for good.  Why is this? Because Non-Scale Victories give you immediate feedback on your progress and you begin to notice that you feel and look better.  It gives you a small “win” while you wait for the number on the scale to start to move.

If you are struggling to stay motivated because you are feeling frustrated and defeated by the scale, shift your thinking and begin to celebrate all of the things that are changing for the better as you build a healthier lifestyle that will improve the quality of your life for the long run!

 

 

Diet, Fitness, Healthy Eating, Motivation, Weight Loss, Workout

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!

Clean Eating, Diet, Recipes, Weight Loss

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! 
Diet, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss

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!)

Clean Eating, Diet, Healthy Eating, Recipes

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. 

Clean Eating, Diet, Health, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss

How to eat healthy as a “Picky Eater” 

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I hear this all the time from clients, when we move on to talking about their diet and nutrition. And to be honest, I can’t relate, because I literally love all types of foods!  There is a very small list of foods that I don’t like to eat, which creates a completely different problem. (We will get into that in another blog post! LOL)

When I start working with a “picky eater”, my focus with them is to help them change their mindset and find solutions that will help them stay on track. Nutrition is a huge part of the transformation process and you can’t out exercise a bad diet. So, you have to get this under control if you want to get lasting results.

1.Focus on the foods that you like: I think that a lot of people get so caught up on what “healthy eating” is, and they believe that in order to be healthy they have to stick to a strict list of foods that are acceptable. I once had a client say that she couldn’t eat healthy, because she didn’t like spinach. In her mind, if she couldn’t eat what her friends were eating on their diet, it was pointless for her to even start.  So I asked her, “What foods do you like?” From there we came up with a list of foods that she does like and started to focus on creating a meal plan that included those things. So, if you don’t like kale, don’t eat kale, there are many other healthy vegetables that you can eat to stay on track. 🙂

2. Experiment with new recipes and new preparation techniques. It’s 2016, which means there is an unlimited amount of resources available to find recipes. Once you have an idea of what foods you do like, go to Google or Pinterest and type if “[FOOD YOU LIKE] Healthy Recipes” and voila! You will have a list of options that you can start to work into your daily routine. Also, try new preparation techniques, like using a Crock Pot or trying grilling your chicken instead of baking it.

3. Expand your horizons: Once you have a hang of trying new things with the foods that you like, take a step further and start to add new foods into the mix.  I don’t mean a huge overhaul, but maybe trying one new vegetable, or grain, or new way to prepare your meal.  This is one of the best ways to keep things from getting boring or stale, unless you like that (some people do like eating the same thing, because it helps to keep them on track and relieves some stress).

At the end of the day, just because you are a “picky eater”, it doesn’t mean that you are doomed when it comes to getting a handle on your nutrition.  Try these 3 tips and give it a shot!

If you are looking for a way to get a better handle on Clean Eating, check out my free Clean Eating Guide, which includes a sample meal play and grocery list that you can check out.  Click here to download the guide. 

Clean Eating, Diet, Healthy Eating, Recipes

Mini Meatloaf Muffins 


Mini Meatloaf Muffins are a perfect way to meal prep and watch your portions.  I make the meatloaf mixture then portion then off into 12 balls and bake in a muffin tin. The great thing about them is that they also freeze well! 

Here is the recipe: 

  • 2 Pounds of Ground Turkey, Beef, or other lean meat
  • One bell pepper, chopped
  • One small onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • One cup of rolled oats
  • 21 seasoning salute
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients and form into 12 balls. 
  2. Place each ball into a section of a muffin tin. 
  3. Bake on 400 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Top with low sugar ketchup or tomato sauce and enjoy with a side of veggies. I typically eat 2 muffins per serving.