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! 
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Health, Personal Development, Self Care

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!

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. 

Diet, Health, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss

How to Stay Healthy at Restaurants

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Eating out at a restaurant can sabotage your health and fitness goals, mainly because most restaurants serve HUGE portions and typically use tons of oils, processed ingredients and tons of salt.  While I do believe that you should cook most of your meals, I also do know that we are all human and there are many of amazing restaurants out there.

I tend to take the 80/20 Rule with my eating, where I cook 80% of my meals and go out 20% of the time.  I may not have time to cook or get invited out to eat with friends or family, or sometimes I am just craving a burger from my favorite Pub down the street. However, your progress doesn’t have to ruined, especially if you follow some of these tips that I share with my clients and practice myself:

  1. Preview the Menu before you Arrive: When you are aware of what to expect before you go, you can manage your expectations and set boundaries on what you will order.
  2. Decide on your Indulgence: If you preview the menu and see that they are famous for their Salted Caramel Cake with Cardamom Ice Cream, and you cannot pass that up, then don’t! Just make sure that you stay focused on skipping the appetizers and eating a healthier option for dinner. Think lean protein and veggies, since you’re going to indulge in the sweets/carbs.
  3. Skip the Bread: Seriously, it’s simply a waste! You will fill yourself with bread, rather than enjoying a nice meal out with friends or family.
  4. Eat Veggies Before You Go: Typically, most people don’t get adequate amounts of vegetables when they go out. Each week, I make Veggie Snack Bags, and I like to eat one before I head out to eat. This way, I’m ensuring that I”m eating the veggies I need and it also helps to make sure that I don’t overeat while I’m out.
  5. Drink a Glass of Water Ordering: This just makes sure that you don’t mistake hunger for thirst, plus it helps to prep the body for digestion.
  6. Cut your portions in half: When you order, ask the waiter to serve half of the meal on the plate and to box up the rest immediately.  It’s a great way for you to manage portions and not overeat, plus you have another meal that you can enjoy later.  Or you can share a meal with someone, trust me, restaurants serve huge portions that are meant for two people, not one.
  7. Slow Down: Going out to eat is a social and fun thing, and you should be present with your company and your food (that you didn’t have to cook!)So take your time to enjoy each bite, put the phone away, enjoy the conversations, and chew slowly.  The brain takes 20 minutes realize that you are full. So take your time to avoid overeating.
  8. Listen To Your Body: This piggy backs off of #7, but it’s important to listen to your body. Once you are full, put the fork down.  I repeat, put the fork down. Another thing to keep alert on, if you are full, don’t let anyone guilt you into “sharing” anything or “just one bite”. Also, this is not the time to hear mom or dad’s voice in your head from childhood admonishing you to finish your plate before you can leave the table. Put the fork down. 🙂
  9. Practice Grace: Now, if you ended up ignoring all of the aforementioned tips, then this one is KEY! Remember, tomorrow is brand new day and you can get back on track tomorrow and start over.  Don’t let one meal determine your success on this journey.

I hope this tips help you and give you a bit more of comfort in knowing that you can do this and be successful. 🙂

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, 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!

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

5 Grocery Shopping Tips to Save Time & Money

 

20130109-232155.jpgOne of the biggest complaints that I hear from most of my clients is that they hate grocery shopping, mainly because they get there and spend way too much time and money on foods that the  never eat! Here are my top 5 Grocery Shopping Tips to help you save time and save money, while also making sure that you stay on track with your clean eating & meal prepping.

  1. Eat a snack before shopping. When you are hungry, you are more likely to throw in foods that trigger your cravings.
  2. Make a list (and stick to it!). This is where meal planning and prepping can help you to save money and time while shopping.
  3. Break down your list into categories in the store. So you are not aimlessly wandering around looking for things.
  4. Stick to perimeter of the grocery store. This is where the clean eating friendly items like produce, fresh meats, dairy, and other “real food”. My rule of thumb is 80% perimeter.
  5. Don’t be afraid to shop for convenience. If I am short on time for my meal prep, I will buy pre washed and chopped veggies and fruits, egg whites in a carton, and ask the butcher to season my meats with fresh herbs and spices. You can still keep it clean, but save some time when you get home.

These tips are simple and a way to make sure that your grocery shopping experience is as seamless as possible. For more information on clean eating and more tips on meal prep, visit www.CleanEatingGuide.com.

 

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

Clean Eating Recipe: Rosemary Chicken with Mushrooms & Green Beans

So we all know how much I love finding new ways to eat clean and mix things up with the same old, same old – chicken.  This weekend, I was roaming around in the grocery store hoping to get a little inspiration, when I remembered that my parents have a massive rosemary bush in their garden.  Hmmmm…what goes perfect with rosemary??? Chicken and Mushrooms!   Now the task was to make it quick and #MealPrepLikeABoss – worthy!

Here’s what I came up with – a one dish wonder – Rosemary Chicken with Mushrooms and Green Beans.  

The recipe is super simple and super easy…but most of all…it’s SUPER DELICIOUS!!!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken tenders, diced
  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Crimini Mushrooms (See Link)
  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Organic Green Beans (See Link)
  • 1/2 of Onion, diced
  • Seasoning – I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute and Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic seasoning.
  • 5 Springs of Fresh Rosemary, chop the leaves of 2 sprigs and keep 3 whole

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees
  2. Spray a baking dish with coconut oil or olive oil spray
  3. Place chicken, mushrooms, and green beans into the baking dish
  4. Sprinkle onions, chopped rosemary, and spices over the chicken, mushrooms and green beans
  5. Place 3 whole sprigs on top of dish
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is done and juices run clear.

I meal prepped this by serving it over brown rice!

Clean Eating, Diet, Fitness, Health, Healthy Eating, Motivation, Self Care, Weight Loss, Workout

The Truth About How to Get Abs

20140806-160923-58163235.jpgToday I had a conversation with a good friend and client, told me that she wanted to have abs by Christmas.  As much as I know she wants that to happen, the reality is that there are no quick fixes or short cuts to getting abs.  I can be the first to tell you that, as my abs were the LAST thing to show up! But almost 2 years later, they are still there!  Which makes me super happy, because it goes to show that if you want abs, it will mean COMMITMENT & CONSISTENCY!
Many people are going ga-ga over waist trainers, diet pills, weird diets, and shakes to help them get abs.  The reality is that if you want to get abs, you will need to make the appropriate changes to your diet first.  The saying “Abs are made in the Kitchen” is the most valid statement I’ve ever heard, because it was in 2013 that I made the commitment to focus on my nutrition. I started with the Ultimate Reset and lost over 10 pounds (that I didn’t even know that I had to lose – click here to see my journey), from there I continued with learning more about Clean Eating and realizing that it wasn’t a diet, but a way of life.   That’s why I created the Clean Eating Guide to help people understand more about Clean Eating. Once you have mastered eating clean, you will begin to see the changes happen, but 70% of your results will come nutrition.
The next part, is to be consistent with your fitness regimen and that doesn’t mean just doing 1000 crunches a day. It means, choosing a regimen that will challenge you, but also one that you will stick with and do it consistently.  My friend actually injured her knee by running and weight lifting, when she was not ready for it. Now, she is unable to workout and I’m sure feels quite defeated as Christmas is on it’s way and her abs are not here yet.
The moral of the story is – if you want, abs you have to be committed to do the work to get them.  That means eating clean and training mean consistently.  There are no quick fixes, wraps, shakes, pills, or a crazy “fad diet” that will do for you, what simple fitness and nutrition can.  For some tips on Ab Friendly Foods, check out this blog post and if you are looking for a fitness program that you will able to stick with, click here to set up time to chat to find your perfect program.  
Xoxo!