Friday, February 28, 2014

What is in your food?

Have you ever looked at the little label on your favorite food package and wonder how in the world you are supposed to know if it is healthy or not? Well if this is you, it is your lucky day! As of yesterday, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally proposed to change the nutrition labels on packages to not only reflect American’s eating habits and health concerns but to also take notice of things such as added sugars.

The new labels will clearly (in big bold font) illustrate the caloric content, the serving size, and change the placement of percent daily values to give Americans a better insight into what they are really eating. Food labels have been around for more than 20 years but they do not accurately depict how we eat today. For example, a 20-oz of soda really contains 2.5 servings per bottle so if you were to drink the actual serving size (8 oz) you would consume 110 calories, 31 g carbohydrates, and 30 g sugar. BUT if you drink the whole bottle, as most people do, you are actually consuming 275 calories, 78g carbohydrates, and 75 g sugar… the equivalent of 17 teaspoons of sugar!!
Old Label versus the new proposed Label

Additionally, when it comes to reading food labels it is important to know that the ingredients that are listed first are the most abundant in the product. For example, on Justins Almond Butter, I thought it was a healthy alternative to raw almond butter because heck, almond butter is almond butter right?? WRONG! Sure the first ingredient is dry roasted almonds but you wanna know what the next ingredient is? It is evaporated cane sugar! Or how about Prego tomato sauce…. Yes the first ingredient is tomato puree, but then comes sugar, vegetable oil (corn and/or cottonseed and/or canola) and then salt. What the heck is cottonseed oil? That doesn’t even sound edible! But we see tomato sauce and think that it is healthy. Do not get me wrong, not all tomato sauces are created equal but I hope you become more aware of what is actually in your food.  Better yet, aim to eat foods that do not even have a label! J

Now for Friday’s treat! I have been craving Mexican food for a long time but most places around here are not so diet-friendly. I am not thinking about fried chimichangas or drunk, smothered burritos. I want fresh chunks of tomatoes, avocadoes, pico de gallo, and yummy shredded chicken. So what’s a girl to do?! Improvise and make it at home! The menu will look something like this: fresh guacamole (made with avocadoes, fresh lemon juice, onions, pico, and cilantro), shredded crockpot chicken, fresh chips and salsa, and fiesta rice. Fiesta rice looks like a party and I am hoping it tastes like one too! I will have to update you come Monday how it turned out but for now, here is what it will look like (hopefully).

Take care of you,


Thursday, February 27, 2014

No Gym...No Problem

This week has flown by and I do not even know what day it is. Just kidding. I know what day it is. No it’s not ‘Hump Day’ (visualize the camel from the Geiko commercial). But really, it is almost the best day of the week. Its Friday’s eve! With that being said, it is time to set your mind to an activity that you will pursue this weekend. If it is nice outside, head to a local walking trail and go for a stroll. Try a new activity or look in your local paper and see what is happening in your area. For instance, this weekend is the Hot Chocolate Run in Seattle. It sounds like a great time and you can choose between the 5k and the 15k. Not to mention, the chocolate goodness that is at the finish line.
But what happens when the weather is not cooperating with your outside activities and you may not have a gym membership or if you do, you just cannot make it because of your crazy schedule? That’s when you put on your big girl (or boy) gym pants and bust out a home workout. But you might be thinking “I don’t have any equipment”. No worries! I have created a workout that you can do right in your living room with no gear needed. So here is the nitty gritty!
o    15 jumping jacks
o    10 body weight squats
o    5 push ups
o    30 seconds skip rope (no rope needed, just pretend you have one)
Circuit One (Perform 3x):
o    20 Squats
o    10 Incline Pushups (use your couch or a chair pushed against the wall)
o    10 Chair Dips
o    15 crunches
Circuit Two (Perform 3x):
o    20 Sumo Squats
o    10 Pushups
o    10 Lunges (10 per side)
o    30 Second Plank Holds

Perform circuit one, rest for 30 seconds, and then perform circuit 2. Rotate through the circuits three times each. 

 Now on to the rest of the goodies! I have seen this over and over on Pinterest and the Betty Crocker inside of me has been dying to try it, well that or the country girl inside of me. It is Overnight Oats in a Mason jar. I love my oatmeal and sometimes wish I could eat it for dinner. I love trying new things and plan to make baked oatmeal this weekend (recipe to come). If you are anything like me, then you have tons of mason jars in your cupboards. It might sound unusual but it is because that is what we used for beer mugs at our wedding. Anyways, back to the oats! So here is what I did:

Take care of you,


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What does strong mean? According to Websters Dictionary, strong is: having or marked by great physical power; having moral or intellectual power; and not easily injured or disturbed (there are about 8 more definitions). Strong will mean something different to each and everyone of us. Strong might be the scar staring back at you after a battle with a life changing event. It might be conquering a fear that has always held you back. It might be carrying in so you don't have to make two trips. It might be carrying your kiddo around for hours on your back. It might be lending a shoulder for your best friend to cry on. It could be ANYTHING.
What does it feel like to be strong?

To me, being strong is having the ability to look at myself and truly accept everything I see. I have battled body image issues and I know what both sides of the light look like. Feeling strong is watching the men at the gym stare because I am lifting more weight than they are. That is not only strong, that is pure awesomeness! Strong is being able to pick up and move objects around my house without any help (although I do have my husband open those stupid jars that are sealed so tight I feel like I may get Carpel Tunnel from attempting to open them).

The point is, when you believe in yourself and push out of your comfort zone, there is a whole world awaiting for you! If you are afraid to start at a new gym, use a trial period to see if it is for you and take a group fitness class. If you have been wanting to start your journey to a healthy lifestyle reach out to someone you trust and ask them to help. Do not be afraid to try something. You will be stronger for it!

Switching gears... I have been using Advocare products for over a year and have seen a big difference in the way I feel. There a few challengers out there kicking booty on the program! They melt my heart and I absolutely love helping individuals feel better, physically and mentally! I have come up with a new recipe that is 'Challenge Friendly'.

Take care of you!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Dream Big...

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world" -Harriet Tubman

Be that dreamer who wishes to change the world. It may be your own world that is changed or by following your dream you may find that you change the lives of others. One dream can lead to another and the next thing you know, you are creating the life you always imagined. Passion, patience and strength are key components that each and every one of us has, it may just take a little to pull them out and put them to work in order to achieve great things. I challenge you to chase one of your dreams, no matter the size, and I bet you will discover a new side to yourself! It may take time and your patience may wear thin, but when you reach that milestone whether it be running your first 5k, fitting into a pair of your old favorite jeans, or feeling healthy and happy from the inside out, do not ever give up. The time will pass anyways so you might as well buckle in for this crazy ride and make it worth your while!

Today is another Monday <insert a moan of dread> but that is ok! I'm labeling it move it Monday! I challenge you to get out, either at lunch or after work or somewhere in between for a 10 min walk. It can be around Costco or the grocery store on your way home or your neighborhood after dinner with your spouse. Just get movin! Today is another dreaded leg day. I love to hate legs because it is hard, I sweat, I curse my husbands name (who trains me on leg days), and I can not walk for the next 3 days. Sounds terrible right? Well it is not that bad especially when you put on a pair of shorts and think to yourself "Dang my legs look good!" I hate shorts but will make it a point to wear them come summer (whenever that may be) to prove hard work is worth it.

My leg routine for today will look something like this. I will try and capture some quick video clips to demonstrate some of the lifts I highly utilize to build my lower half, especially my behind! :)

Barbell Back Squats: 1 warm-up set with the bar, 1 warm-up set with a 25lb plate on each side, 3 working sets of 8-10 reps: 1 with 45lbs each side, 1 with 55lbs each side, 1 set as heavy as I can go for 6 reps.

Alternating barbell forward lunges with push back- I start with a straight weighted barball on my back and step forward into a deep lunge before explosively push myself back to the starting position and alternate between sides for 4 sets of 25. This is a bootay killer! It is very effective on working the glute-hamstring tie-in.

Leg Press- The hip sled (leg press) at my gym is at an incline so it works hamstrings, glutes, and quads depending on foot placement. I usually use it for more quad dominant workouts so I keep my feet close together and keep my feet and  knees in line with my hips. I start with 4 plates on each side and work up to 8 plates for 8 reps. (This is where you can insert the cursing and wanting to punch something)

I will then choose 2-3 more exercises depending on if it is a quad or hamstring workout. I love to use the lying leg curl, hyperextensions, reverse hyperextensions, and weighted hip thrusts for hamstrings. For quads, I use the leg extensions machine, front squats, or sissy squats.

It is a big Monday folks and I will be digging deep to get through legs! Now here is a quick little treat I think yall will love especially when you have a sweet tooth!

Take a Pinapple, cut it into 2 1/4 inch thick rounds (this will be about 1 cup) and grill it on the Foreman or saute it on the stove for about two minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle it with a dash of cinnamon and enjoy! It is sooooo divine!!

Take care of you,


Friday, February 21, 2014

A Friday Full of Favorites!

It is finally Friday! I thought it would be the perfect day to share some of my favorite fitness products, whether that be clothing, accessories, or the gizmos and gadgets that I use to get me through the day. I absolutely adore cute gym clothes that no one else has. I like to find deals at Marshalls or TJ Maxx on tank tops, sports bras, and training tights that no one else will be wearing because yes I have shown up at the gym wearing my cute top from Target to have 4, yes 4!, other girls wearing the same one. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this but I like to be different! :) So here it is folks, my list of favorites!
  • Versa Gripps- I like to feel the iron in my hands. I like when I have a callous from a grueling back workout. I get excited when I chalk up my hands before I attempt my pull-ups. But I also like knowing that the heavy weight I am about to pull is not going anywhere. I love my Versa Gripps and use them frequently! They come in all sizes and a couple different colors. They can be found here: Gripps.
  • Jawbone UP 24- Curiosity killed the cat...just joking! But I am a curious person and I always want to know how active I am throughout the day, from the gym to work to cleaning the house. I monitor my activity as well as my sleep by my Jawbone UP 24. It is similar to the Nike Fuel Band or the FitBit but what I like about it is that I can simply open the app on my phone and it syncs wirelessly with my band revealing the amount of time I have been active, the longest time I was idle and even monitors how long I was in light sleep compared to deep sleep. 

  • Foam Roller- I love to hate this thing. I pack my mini one around to in the back seat of my car so I know I always have it. I take it on road trips, especially long ones and I even have two more at home (one upstairs and one downstairs) to ensure I use it. When you lift weights, you tear muscle fibers and the outter covering (called the Fascia) can sometimes become adhered to the muscle itself (I will go more in depth on this at another time). These "trigger spots" can be quite painful and my legs have a tendency to feel mighty cruddy when I do not take the time to roll and stretch, especially since I am doing 2-3 heavy leg sessions a week. 
  • Lululemon Pants- THESE ARE MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PANTS! Yes that is me shouting because I love them so much. They cost an arm and a leg (not really but kinda) however they fit really good, are very comfortable, can be dressed up :) and everyone that I have ever seen in these pants looks fantastic! The material very durable and if you do not dry them, they last for a very long time. I utilize gift cards and the outlet store or Ebay to score sweet deals on these suckers. 
  • Smart Shaker- I love my Smart Shaker and I recently saw that they were selling them at Costco!! Woot woot! They are awesome for putting pre- and post-workout supplements in them especially when you are on the go like me, and pack all your stuff the night before or the morning of. I put my pre-workout powder in the main shaker compartment, my pre-workout pills in the next compartment and my post-workout powder in the last compartment. It fits perfectly in my gym bag, it cuts down on plastic baggie use (what I happened to do before) and it fits just the right amount of liquid in the shaker cup. 
Now it is time for a delicious recipe to kick start the weekend! This is one of my husbands favorite dishes and he tells me every time I make it that he could eat it every. single. day! I like to call it "Make-it-up-as-you-go" Quinoa Salad but for the purpose of today, I will call it "Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. It is super easy to make and like I said, you can really add any ingredient to your liking.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Soo Many Types...

My first thought this morning was 'It is almost Friday!' <insert happy dance here> My second thought was about food, which most of my daily thoughts are about. I love food. I love to eat and I love the way my body feels after a week of solid clean eating. Nothing feels better than a digestive system that is working properly, clear vibrant skin, strong full-bellied muscles, and ample energy to get through the day. Growing up and studying nutrition, the term vegetarian and vegan were commonly used when discussing types of diets. In today's world, however, there are several types of diets that are followed, some you may have heard of and some that seem like a foreign language. If you have ever heard of Crossfit than you sure as heck have heard about the Paleo diet. If you have ever looked around a food co-op, than you most definitely have seen Raw foods advertised. But what do all these mean? That is where I come in! My goal is to break these diets down and give you examples of the types of foods you might eat when following a particular plan. Let me begin with how I eat!

Clean Eating- What is clean eating? It is a lifestyle centered around eating unprocessed foods, fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Foods include ALL fresh fruits and veggies, organic lean meat (beef, turkey, chicken, fish), nuts and seeds in addition to natural nut butters. Whole grains including brown and wild rice, quinoa, farro in addition to whole grain breads, oats and pastas. Do not forget eggs, organic greek yogurt, or almond/rice milk. Most clean eaters avoid fast food, fried food, processed foods, dried fruits, canned vegetables, white bread and rice, in addition to other things.

Paleo- The Paleolithic diet, also known as the 'Caveman' diet, has been around for thousand of years but has increased in popularity over the last couple years, especially among Crossfit athletes. The principal behind the Paleo diet is that you eat foods in their most natural state, such as meat, eggs, vegetables, berries, fruits, nuts, seeds and healthy fats (like coconut oil). An individual following this diet avoids eating dairy, legumes, all grains, and processed foods. This is because they are not in the most natural state, like a hunter/gatherer could obtain in the wild. This diet also promotes eating all organic foods, grass-fed beef, free-range poultry and eggs and eating ample amounts of healthy fats.

Vegetarian- Vegetarian diets have been followed by many for many years. A (strict) vegetarian diet follows a meal plan that eliminates all types of meats including pork, turkey, chicken, beef, fish, and wild game. This type of diet still incorporates eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt or any other animal byproduct. This type of diet also incorporates a lot of grains, tofu products, nuts, seeds and legumes.  

Vegan- Friends explain to me that the vegan diet is about the lifestyle, not just the diet. True vegans abstain from using or consuming any animal products or byproducts. They do not wear any type of product (lotion, hair dye, clothing) made from animals (leather, fur) or that has been tested on animals. A vegan diet consists of fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, soy-based products and fermented foods.

Raw Foods- A raw foods diet contains foods that are 100% raw, so primarily fruits and vegetables. This also includes foods that are not heated about 118 degrees. Raw food diets can follow hand in hand with vegan diets but some individuals following a raw food plan still consume raw, unpasteurized organic milk, organic eggs, and raw meat.

It is best to find what is suitable for you, your lifestyle, and your goals. When it comes to nutrition, there is no "cookie cutter" plan, it is about you as an individual. What works for some may not work for you.

Take care of you!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rise n' Shine Sleepy Head!

Well top of the mornin' to ya! Sorry for the belated post...I got caught by that nasty little bugger that is going around but don't yall worry, it can't keep me down for too long. How many of you consider yourself to be a morning person? Lets see a raise of hands. Yep that is what I thought, I only see about 2 maybe 3 hands high in the air and that other 1/2 a hand in the corner that wants to be. That is great! That means the rest of you are out and about after work and hit the gym when you can right?

I am that annoying woman you see bouncing around getting a crap load done before 6 a.m. It is to the gym for a lift and cardio, home to shower dinner prepped, breakfast and lunch made, snuggles with the 3 bullies and coffee for the husband before heading to work at 6:45am. Most mornings, it is easy to get up and once I am moving, I feel good. There are times however, I hit the snooze...again....once more... Then crawl out of bed and wonder what the heck I am doing. On those days, I find if I prepare the night before, it is much easier to move my unwilling feet towards my running shoes and out the door. It does not matter if you enjoy the gym at early in the morning or late late at night, getting some type of physical activity in is the most important thing! Here are a few tips that will keep you on track, whether it be your first workout in 4 years or an unmotivating dreary winter day.
  1. Fail to prepare or prepare to fail- This is my absolute favorite quote! Prepare yourself for your workout by setting out your clothes, shoes, iPod and/or packing your gym bag the night before. It only takes a couple minutes (you can squeeze it in during a commercial break of The Voice) but it avoids wasted time in the morning searching in the dark and risking a stubbed toe for your favorite socks. It also allows you extra time in the morning to have a couple more sips of coffee before you head out for your sweat session.
  2. Gear up and Get Ready- charge your iPod, update your playlist, get your yoga mat or your weight lifting gloves together and packed so you do not have any excuse NOT to work out. Also, I find it very appetizing to work out with cold water so fill your water bottle half way with water and place in the freezer. The next morning, all you need to do is fill er' up to the top and as Emeril would say BAM! Cold water all day.
  3. Snickity Snack- Grab a little snack pre-work out to get your metabolism going and to up your energy levels. Pack it the night before and keep it in the front of the fridge so you can grab and go. Awesome pre-work out snacks include half a slice of whole-wheat toast and 1 TBSP peanut butter, a scoop of protein mixed with water, or apple slices with almond butter. 
  4. Hit the sack early- Try and get to bed early so you are well rested. If you are a night owl, try to get in bed 1/2 hour earlier than normal every night for a week and see how that goes. Do not forget to set your alarm! If you tend to hit the snooze button way too many times, try putting your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you HAVE to get your booty out of bed.
  5. Set a date your calendar- We all make 2-hr hair appointments, lunch dates with friends, doctors appointments, nail appointments and fitness should be no different! Write it down in your day planner and make it a point to make time for your health.
  6. Post-workout treat- Plan something special for when you have completed a week of work outs! I always grab a special coffee (for me that means a little nonfat cream) for me and my husband and make it a point to sit and chat before the day really gets going.
Get out there and make it happen!
Take care of you!



Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Heart Day

February is Heart Disease awareness month and the American Heart Association advocates awareness for women’s heart health through research and education and for good reason. Did you know that Heart Disease is the #1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year? (Heart Disease). Did you also know that the symptoms are different for women than they are men? Heart Disease affects the blood vessels and cardiovascular system and can take on many forms including atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arterial walls), Heart failure, abnormal rhythms of the heart (Arrhythmia), and problems involving the hearts valves. There are several factors that can put you at risk for Heart Disease, some you can control and some you cannot but with proper care and education, heart disease can be prevented and treated. Here are ways you can take control of your heart health:

  • Know your family history- It is true we cannot pick family but we can take charge and know if risk factors exist among them. The risk of heart disease is strongly related to our family history. For example, if your family member has had a heart attack, you are more likely to have a heart attack.
  • Do not smoke! Smoking dramatically increases your risk for Atherosclerosis, damaging your blood vessels and increases your risk for clotting. Also, the Carbon monoxide and tobacco rob your heart, arteries and brain of oxygen.
  • Get your blood pressure checked- The normal numbers for a healthy individual are 120/80. When you have high blood pressure it forces your heart to work harder and can damage your arteries, increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Lower your Cholesterol- Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like material that is found in your blood. Over time, cholesterol can build up and harden, forming plaque which in turn can narrow the artery walls and reduce the amount of blood flow through them. There are two types of cholesterol, LDL (Low-density Lipoprotein aka the BAD TYPE) and HDL (High-density Lipoprotein aka GOOD TYPE). A healthy total cholesterol reading is less than 200 mg/dL. There are no symptoms with high cholesterol, even more reason to get your levels checked!

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share how to keep your heart healthy and now how to make it happy! I am THAT girl who wakes up early to make goodies for the special men in my life. I was up at 4:30 am baking cookies for my brother and husband.  I have been dying to try these cookies and what better reason than today?

*picture from

Take Care of YOU!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Women of Iron

It is a very common for women and men to approach me while at the gym and ask me my ‘secret.’ Usually if I am with my husband, I look at him and say I try to lift as much as he does and let me tell you, my husband is a big ol’ buff dude with super hero strength. All jokes aside, that really is the way to build muscle and create the canvas for your physique. Lift weights, eat properly and you will be amazed at what you can achieve. There is a very big misconception that some women have when they think of weight training. The most common remark I hear is “I don’t want to look bulky or like a man.” Ladies, we do not have enough testosterone in our bodies to look like a man and build the muscle that they are able to. Yes, our bodies do possess lower levels of testosterone that allow us to build muscle, increase our metabolism, and burn body fat if fueled adequately. I lift my tush off (not literally, I am actually trying to build that area lol) and I do not look anywhere close to a man. I will tell you what, if you start strength training and end up all “big, bulky and manly” even with having a healthy level of body fat, give me a call and we’ll meet up so you can scissor kick me to the head. That’s how confident I am. So what now? If you are wondering where to start with strength training, I have compiled my top 8 strength training tips that I tell my clients when they first get started.
  1.  Learn proper form- This is the most critical advice I can give! Devote the time to learning how to properly execute a lift versus copying someone you may have seen doing it. Not only will you prevent injury but it is much easier to learn properly from the beginning than try and break bad habits later on. I would recommend seeking the help of a trainer or doing your research using a strength training manual for women.
  2. Do not be intimidated- I often hear that the gym can be intimidating to women who are new. Do NOT be frightened by a weight room filled with men. If anything, they will admire you for being a woman of iron. Do your very best and know that you are there for a purpose…you are there for YOU. Best thing I can say is Suck it up Buttercup :)
  3.  Learn the equipment- It is good that you know what machines to work for each body part and even more important that you know how to adjust the equipment so that it is fit for you in order to prevent injury and achieve results. Nothing worse than putting in the effort at the gym and not reaping the benefits because the equipment is ill-fitted for you. Most gyms provide equipment orientation, just ask.
  4. Start slow- If you are a beginner, you should most certainly follow a beginning strength training program. If you seek help from a trainer at your gym, they should set you up with a proper program. If you are trying to do this on your own, please do your homework.
  5. Set goals- Set achievable goals that are motivating. Staring at the wall while riding the bike 4 times a week does not sound motivating. Challenge yourself with goals that sound like fun and that you will WANT to do. For example, if you are unable to perform one push-up on your toes, set a goal to do 5 on your knees 3 times a week. Next week, increase that number by 2. Pretty soon you will be able to do 15 pushups on your knees so up the ante and try a push up on your toes! When you see the results, it will keep you motivated. Keep in mind proper form while performing all moves.
  6. Stay consistent- Consistency is key! As a society, we want instant gratification and want to see results within hours of starting something. A goal of mine is to do 10 wide-grip pull-ups unassisted.  I have been consistently strength training for 3 years and still cannot do all 10 in a row. But it sure gives me something to shoot for every time I perform a pull –up.  Start with strength training 2 times a week or that according to your beginning plan. Stay consistent and celebrate the small accomplishments as you work your way up to the big ones!
  7. Ask questions- If there is an exercise that you have seen and are dying to learn, find a trainer or seek out a friend with strength training experience. If you do not know how to do something or how something works, find someone and ask. There is no such thing as a silly question if it prevents you or others from getting hurt. You might just find that it is your new favorite exercise or piece of equipment.
  8.  Have fun- This is critical! Weight training is uh-maze-ing not only for your body but for your soul. Weight training can help you build confidence, lose weight, up your energy, feel stronger and reveal what you are really made of. I was always a “cardio girl” meaning I would much rather go for a run or jump on the elliptical than lift cold iron. When I found weight lifting, I found my happy place. I love the challenge, the feeling of a great workout and the looks I get when I out lift the guy next to me!

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact me. I am here for you.
Take care of you,



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Breakfast of Champions

We have all heard the saying "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" but how many of us really stay committed to eating a hearty meal on our way out the door to work, school, the gym or wherever your day may take you. I used to be that girl. I used to have coffee in the morning, eat a skimpy meal around 2 pm, and eat another wimpy meal for what I called dinner. Who was I kidding?! What was I telling my body, that in order to reach my goals I needed to eat less? This kind of thinking is more common than y'all might think. You restrict eating throughout the day but when 4 pm rolls around, you feel like you could eat everything in sight, including the package it came in. Not only do you rob your body of the nutrients needed for health, but you may also lack the energy to get through a grueling day. In order to fuel your body and metabolism properly, you must commit to eating clean, eating often, and eating breakfast gosh darn it! Here are just some of the reasons why "breakfast is for champions."
  • Break Fast- that's exactly what breakfast does! It breaks the fast that your body has been on over the last 6+ hours since your last meal and while you were asleep. In order to get your metabolism going, you must feed it to fuel it! 
  • Smarter choices- Research shows that if you fuel your body with a balanced breakfast, you tend to make healthier choices throughout the day. Your blood sugar levels remain stable throughout the day and that late afternoon craving to eat the chocolate bar from the vending machine may be subdued. 
  • Cognitive thinking- Your brain needs glucose from food – especially good carbohydrates – in order to work well. Your brain only uses glucose for fuel, so if you have ever tried a very low carb diet, you may have experienced a 'foggy' feeling or that it is harder to concentrate. 
I have only shared a few benefits of eating breakfast, for there are way to many to list. Whats even better... The numerous options of food items you can incorporate for your first meal of the day! My absolute favorite breakfast that is high in protein, contains good clean carbohydrates, is easy to make, and best of all is kid friendly happens to be Protein Pancakes. They are very simple to make and can be made a head of time and stored in the fridge or freezer. Add-ins such as chopped apples, bananas, chocolate protein powder (or flavor of your choice), or chia seeds can also be incorporated into the mixture before cooking. I usually add cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or a sprinkle of stevia to the top of my pancakes. Additional topping ideas include: 
  • 2 TBSP PB2 (powdered peanut butter) with 1 TBSP sugar-free jam
  • 2 TBSP 0% Greek yogurt (flavor of your choice) 
  • Sugar-free Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (or berries of your choice)
  • 2 TBSP sugar-free cool whip with 1 TBSP mini chocolate chips

My hope is that you get as excited as I do about eating breakfast! 

Take care of you!



Monday, February 10, 2014

Easiest Chicken Ever!

If you are anything like me, you are busy busy busy! There are days I am up at 3:30 am and do not step foot into my house until after 7 pm just in time to eat a quick dinner, crawl in bed and do it all over again the next day. The best solution I have found in order to stick to my goals and still have a delicious meal is....Ta-da My crock-pot! My slow cooker is always sitting on my counter staring at me just waiting to be used, so I figured let's see what happens when you cook chicken with Salsa Verde. It is fantastic and can be placed on top of a bed of romaine lettuce with black beans, cilantro, bell peppers and onions or if you prefer, you can place on top of warm quinoa or brown rice. If you love tacos, place the chicken on top of warm tortillas with a sprinkle of low-fat cheese and a dollop of non fat sour cream, just the way my husband prefers it! 

Take care of you!



Friday, February 7, 2014

News Flash Friday

It is always a wonderful feeling waking up on a Friday morning knowing you are close to the weekend, and my to-do list suddenly grows out of control for Saturday morning chores and Sunday food prep! I have decided to dedicate this day to "News Flash Friday" in which I will update you on a trending topic in the health and fitness world that I find interesting or fascinating or controversial or anything of the sorts. I truly believe that you should know what is in your food and I hold strong to this belief for there are way too many false claims and advertisements surrounding the products we put in our bodies. For example, many have heard of Vitamin Water whose labels use words like defense or energy, making claims that these products help. But did you know that although Vitamin Water does include the vitamins it lists on the labels, the advertising glosses over the fact that all of its 125 calories come from sugar, that is equivalent to Soda. How about Gerber Graduate Fruit Juice Snacks. The box is covered in brightly colored images of fruits, claiming to be made with fresh fruit juice but in reality, research shows that the product is actually made with high fructose corn syrup and sugar, and these are for preschoolers?? A hot item I recently read involves Subway and their bread. What does an avid yogi and Subway have in common?? They both use yoga mats! Yes, you read that right... According to CNN, Subway (as well as other facilities) use a 'dough conditioner' called azodicarbonamide, a chemical that is also found in yoga mats and shoe soles. Subway is not the only food chain using this particular chemical in their food. According to the article, other food chains such as McDonalds, Arby's and even Starbucks sell items that also contain azodicarbonamide. The article is here: Subway Bread Conditioner. Sounds appetizing huh? Even more reason to stick to clean, whole foods that you prepare! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ginger Baby!

Now I am not talking about a cute little red-headed infant like my brother was when he was little. I am talking about the wonderful aromatic, pungent, spicy root that is available all year round at your local supermarket. On millions of dining tables in India, you’ll see matchsticks of fresh ginger that have turned a soft pink from being soaked in lemon juice and salt: a zingy accompaniment to any cooked meal. That is because Ginger is one of the greatest Super Foods! If Ginger could wear a cape, it would and it would have a big 'H' on the back for HEALER. Ginger is a multitasking food and the list I am going to provide is only part of its wonderful benefits. 

  • Gastrointestinal Relief- Ginger can relieve nausea and vomiting because of its ability to disrupt and expel gas in the intestine. Can’t stop the toot-a-thon? Ginger Helps!
  • Nausea- Ginger can help with motion sickness and sea sickness including symptoms like dizziness, cold sweats, and headaches. Ginger is also safe for women and used as a treatment in pregnancy-related nausea!
  • Anti-inflammatory- Ginger contains gingerols which are potent compounds that inhibit the formation of free radicals such as Nitric Oxide in the body, alleviating chronic joint pain caused by inflammation in the joints. Ginger can be beneficial for suffers of Osteoarthritis because not only do ginger's compounds aid in reducing inflammation, they are also a natural painkiller. 
  • Exercise Induced Muscle Pain- Since I am a weightlifting nut, I found this to be very interesting. I have read that ginger reduces inflammation such as ibuprofen or aspirin would. A study here discusses ginger and muscle pain related to exercise.
  • Blood Circulation- Ginger powder induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells.
  • Colon Cancer Prevention-  Scientific research shows that ginger may slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells and reduces the inflammation markers in the colon.
  • Ovarian Cancer Treatment- Ginger powder has been shown to induce cell death in ovarian cancer cells.
All this talk about ginger and this is where it comes in to play, cape and all! Last night for dinner, I decided to be creative...More like I was starving after leaving the gym and needed a quick meal that was easy to throw together in a hurry! I settled on Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Here is the recipe :)

 Take care of you!



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Health Equals Wealth

Welcome to J's Daily Dish! Here you will learn the nitty gritty details about my lifestyle as a health nut and how to find balance between staying on track with your nutrition and fitness goals and enjoying life... because life is meant to be enjoyed! My goal is to show you whats happening inside my kitchen, how to prepare foods for an utterly crazy lifestyle, my (and your!) favorite recipe modifications, and answer any questions you might have. I will also share my favorite workouts and exercises, awesome playlists, and my favorite fitness gear.

There is no better quote than the one posted above. It is absolutely astounding the numerous benefits whole nutritious foods supply for our mind, body and spirit. Did you know that just by implementing small changes in diet can reduce high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety, acid reflux, skin issues... I could go on forever! Nutrition is THE most important component to looking and feeling great. You must start from the inside and work your way out, for health equals wealth!

Take care of you!