Beachbody Products, Clean Eating, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss

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.

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! 
Motivation, Personal Development, Self Care

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.

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. 

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

Try this goal setting technique to reach your weight loss goals

64186-we-are-what-we-repeatedly-doMany of my clients come to me with very specific goals, like “I want to lose 15 pounds in one month” or “I want to lose my stomach flab by my trip to Maui in a few months”. While I commend my clients for setting SMART Goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Specific, I often have to have a conversation with them about how “Realistic and Attainable” their goals are. Is it possible to lose 15 pounds in one month? Absolutely. Will it be easy and will they enjoy the process? Absolutely not. Typically, when I lay out the plan of action, their eyes glaze over and they are hit with the reality that the goal they want may require more than they are willing to do to reach that goal in that amount of time.

One thing that I work on with my clients is setting goals that are motivating and actually make them excited to push for. How do I do that? We change the focus from achieving a specific result to adopting a specific habit, which will ultimately lead to their desired results. There is power in forming healthy habits, mainly because once you form those habits, naturally they will lead to results of getting healthier, losing weight, feeling better and more.

When I task my clients to set goals, I give them these specifics and I call them SMART 2.0 Goals: 

  • Specific
  • Meaningful & Motivating
  • Action Oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time Framed

For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose 15 pounds in one month”, your goal would look something like this:

Weight Loss SMART Goal 2.0: I will lose 15 pounds by developing the habit of eating a healthy breakfast and taking my dog on a 30 minute walk every morning for the next 4 weeks.

This type of goal setting provides you with a better aim and focus on developing habits, also it gives you a better idea of what you need to do each day to make that goal become a reality.   You are no longer focusing on the 15 pounds, instead you are focusing on creating a habit to eat a healthier breakfast and to use your dog walking time to be active.  By the end of the month, will you have reached your goal of 15 pounds of weight loss? Maybe or maybe not, but will you be well on your way? Absolutely! Will you feel good about yourself if you are able to make two small adjustments to your daily routine that will lead to feeling better, looking better, having more energy, fueling your body, and spending more quality time with your dog? Absolutely!   If you keep this habit up and make it a lifestyle change, will you eventually lose those 15 pounds? HECK YES!

This type of goal setting is great because at the end of the day you are forming habits that will lead to a healthier lifestyle and the bonus will be the weight loss or whatever result you are looking for.   Aristotle nailed it when he said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” 

If you would like to learn more about how to set better goals to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle, connect with me on Facebook and send me a message. 

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

Sweet & Savory Post Workout Parfaits

Many people ask me about what to eat after a good workout and yes, protein is important, but many of the protein shakes on the market are not the cleanest of healthiest for you.  Here is an option, that I have fallen in love with and it’s a perfect recipe that you can meal prep a few in advance for a nice grab and go snack, that’s as filling as it is fancy!

I typically use plain greek yogurt for my parfaits, but I wanted to try something a little different, especially since my basil plant, Peter (yes, I named him), was started to wilt so I wanted to make use of the basil I had on hand.  So, I figured I’d swap out the yogurt for cottage cheese, which I have never been a real fan of, until now, and figured that strawberries would be a nice pair with the lemony basil.   For added sweetness and depth of flavor, balsamic vinegar and honey round out this recipe.

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  • 1/2 Cup of Cottage Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup of Diced Strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar 
  • 1 Drizzle of Honey
  1. Place cottage cheese at the bottom of a bowl or a mason jar.
  2. In a small bowl, combine Strawberries, Basil and Balsamic together and add to cottage cheese. 
  3. Drizzle with honey and enjoy!

For more of my recipes, I now have a Clean Eating Instagram account – www.Instagram.com/iCookClean. Follow for more recipes and meal prep ideas!

Clean Eating, Diet, Fitness, Health, Healthy Eating, Recipes

Happy & Healthy Cinco De Mayo

It just hit me that today is Cinco De Mayo, mainly because many of my Friday clients have asked to train later in the day to recover from tonight’s festivities. I wanted to share some of the tips that I shared with them and some recipes that I found that can be a great alternative to still celebrate!

This week I made Creamy Stuffed Bell Peppers and they came out delicious (see photo below), so I figured that you could do the same thing and make Bell Pepper Stuffed Tacos. Just skip the tortilla and use a bell pepper. Genius, right?!

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Also, for my Margarita loving friends, your best bet is to aim for a Skinny Version where you keep it simple with Platinum Tequila, Lime Juice & Agave Syrup. Feel free to add fresh fruit puree or a slice of jalapeno for extra punch!

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Lastly, remember one meal won’t ruin your progress, so tomorrow will be a brand new day and you can get right back on track.  I still have 3 spots left in my Make It Happen in May Fitness Challenge, if you want more info just respond to this email and we can chat more about it!

**Click the highlighted links to get the recipes. :)**

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

DIY: Fruit-at-the-Bottom Yogurt

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I remember growing up and seeing all of the commercials of women in active gear eating “Light” and “Fat Free” yogurt, claiming it was a big part of their “diet” and plan to lose weight.  In my teens, I started to follow suit and eat all types of yogurts that were artificially sweetened and flavored to taste like pies, cakes, and chocolate mousses, with the same hopes of being skinny and thin.  Unfortunately, those yogurts tend to be full of tons of preservatives, chemicals, and other additives that aren’t the best for the body and truth be told, do not provide much nutritional value to help create a healthy body.

Now, I love making my own yogurt cups for an easy grab and go breakfast, snack or dessert.  I add this to my weekly Meal Prep time and because it’s so simple, you can mix it up and never get bored.

Here’s my basic recipe:

  1. Choose your fruit(s) of choice.  I like using fresh berries, but also frozen fruits work well, because as they thaw out, they release juices that provide more flavor.
  2. Sweeten with a 1/2 teaspoon of pure maple syrup, agave nectar or honey.
  3. Top with Plain Greek Yogurt (you can add a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla beans if you want more flavor.  Another option is to mix in your favorite Vanilla Protein powder, sometimes I use Shakeology to give it a nutritional boost and make it more of a meal)
  4. I like to use a Mason Jar because it easy to fill, easy to store and easy to clean. Plus it looks cool 🙂
  5. Store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days, especially if you are using fresh fruit.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for flavors

  • Fresh Strawberries with Orange Zest
  • Pineapples & Mangos
  • Frozen Peaches and Frozen Blueberries
  • Cinnamon Apples or Pears (Sauté an apple or a pear in one teaspoon of coconut oil and add cinnamon)
  • Frozen Mixed Berries

 

Toppings – You can also add some additional toppings for more flavor:

  • Nuts
  • Homemade Granola
  • Rolled Oats
  • Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Flax or Chia Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds

The moral of the story is that the possibilities are endless and it’s a great way to save calories, save money and save yourself from eating yogurts filled with artificial flavors, sweeteners and chemicals.  Your body will thank you!