Creamy Chocolate Power Smoothie

 

This is one of the best shakes I’ve ever made. It was smooth and creamy and tasted just like a delicious chocolate milkshake.

Here’s the recipe:

8 oz of organic almond milk

1/2 banana

1/3 avocado

1 scoop plant-based chocolate protein powder

2 tbsp of organic cocoa

1 tsp of flaxseed

2 tbsp of organic tahini or nut butter

ice cubes

Place in processor and blend until creamy; top with blueberries to add antioxidants!

 

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No Coffee, No Dairy, No Meat – Day 10

 

Day 10 update on my Alkaline Diet Challenge. Although I haven’t been perfect in selecting all non-acidic foods, I’m pretty proud of myself. I’ve been able to cut out all meat, coffee, and processed foods. I’ve cheated a little when it comes to dairy; I’ve eaten cottage cheese due to the fact I had purchased a new container of it prior to starting the challenge.

I thought for sure that it would be rough coming off coffee but surprisingly it hasn’t been difficult. I haven’t had any headaches or crazy cravings for my morning brew. I’ve substituted hot tea with turmeric which is perfect for taking the place of my coffee.

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Results so far:

  1. Down 4 lbs
  2. Abs/Arms appear more defined
  3. Allergy symptoms gone: No more mild headaches/ eyes watering
  4. Cravings gone
  5. Energy increased
  6. Skin looks better

I’m very pleased with my results so far; I plan to definitely continue this for thirty days. After that, I plan to re-evaluate and decide if I want to continue with this new lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Too Acidic?

I’ve gradually cleaned up my diet over the past few years and also transitioned to more raw fruits and vegetables in my meals. However, I still suffer from mild headaches, sinus issues, and eye irritation. I recently stumbled across an article on the benefits of an alkaline diet and discovered I have many symptoms associated with being too acidic. That being said, I did some research and to my dismay, coffee is top on the list to cut out. I love coffee and look forward to it every morning to jump-start my day. Needless to say, cutting out my java is going to be a major challenge. Next on the list was chocolate. I love having a piece of dark cholate after dinner; of course two of my favorite things would have to be on the list.

Check out this picture below that details acidic symptoms:

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“You will know if you are too acidic if you get sick often, get urinary tract infections, suffer from headaches, and have bad breath and body odor (when you do not use antiperspirant). Acidosis is the medical term for a blood alkalinity of less than 7.35. A normal reading is called homeostasis. It is not considered a disease; although in and of itself it is recognized as an indicator of disease. Your blood feeds your organs and tissues; so if your blood is acidic, your organs will suffer and your body will have to compensate for this imbalance somehow. We need to do all we can to keep our blood alkalinity high. The way to do this is to dramatically increase our intake of alkaline-rich elements like fresh, clean air; fresh, clean water; raw vegetables (particularly their juices); and sunlight, while drastically reducing our intake of and exposure to acid-forming substances: pollution, cigarettes, hard alcohol, white flour, white sugar, red meat, and coffee. By tipping the scales in the direction of alkalinity through alkaline diet and removal of acid waste through cleansing, and acidic body can become an alkaline one.― Natalia Rose

A measure of acidity and alkalinity of a solution that is a number on a scale on which a value of 7 represents neutrality and lower numbers indicate increasing acidity and higher numbers increasing alkalinity.
Going on a more alkaline diet means I will need to also cut out meat and dairy. Although I’ve reduced my meat consumption, I love yogurt and cottage cheese. Therefore, it’s going to be a challenge to find optional protein sources. This picture shows some examples of acidic and alkaline foods.
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I’ve decided to experiment with an alkaline diet for the month of August. I’ll keep you updated on my meals and results.

Super Coffee Creamer

I love coffee and believe it or not, it’s actually a great incentive for me to hop out of bed early most mornings to get things done.  Also, if you’re like me and you drink a lot of coffee, you may want to read my article,  Is Your Coffee A Healthy Brew?

Therefore, needless to say, I’m always on the lookout for new brands and flavors of coffee and creamers. I recently found this coffee creamer in our local grocery store.

 

 

It contains MCT oil and monk fruit for a super boost of creamy flavor to your morning coffee. Per Healthline.com

Monk fruit, or lo han guo, is a small green melon native to southern China and named after the monks who first cultivated it centuries ago. The health benefits of the fruit have been well-known in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for decades, but its sweet little secret is finally making it into the wellness mainstream. It’s a sweetener that has zero calories and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Per Medical News Today

Medium-chain triglycerides are a type of fat that is found in certain oils and dairy products. MCT oil is a supplement made of these fats.

MCTs have many potential health benefits, and taking MCT oil supplements may also be beneficial.

While MCTs may not lead to dramatic weight loss, they may be able to play a role in overall weight management. They may also help boost energy and endurance, although more research is needed to prove this benefit.

A growing body of research also suggests that MCTs may improve a person’s ability to think and fight the effects of conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

I never add sweetener to my coffee and most creamers have unhealthy ingredients.  This creamer is a big hit with me, with natural ingredients that add a delicious, creamy- slightly sweet flavor. And best of all, I might be imagining this but I felt a boost of energy for my workout.

 

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Basic Strength Training Workout

 

 

 

This is a well-balanced basic strength routine. Begin with light dumbbells and transition to heavier weights when the exercise is no longer challenging. Consider using heavier weights for larger muscle groups such as back, chest quads, and glutes.

Perform this workout 2x a week on non-consecutive days so that your muscles can recover and rebuild.

ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW EXERCISE PROGRAM.

Don’t forget to hydrate before, during and after the workout.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Functional Warm up 7-10 minutes-

 

 

 

CIRCUIT ONE:

  1. DB Chest Press – 10-12 Reps

2. Glute Bridge (10-12 Reps)

 

3. Abdominal Cross hand Crunch (10-12 Reps)

REPEAT CIRCUIT ONE 2-3 X

CIRCUIT TWO:

  1. DB Row (10-12 Reps)

 

 

2. DB Bicep Curl (10-12 Reps)

3. DB Deadlift (10-12 Reps)

REPEAT CIRCUIT TWO 2-3 X

CIRCUIT THREE:

  1. Squat Bodyweight (10-12 Reps)

2. Tricep Pushups on Knees (10-12 Reps)

3. Elbow Plank (Hold for 30-45 seconds)

REPEAT CIRCUIT Three 2-3 X

Post Workout Stretch

Weekend Six Pack Ab Challenge

It’s important to fuel your body if you want to get the most from your workouts. This morning, I started with a glass of lemon water, grapefruit, and a protein smoothie. This provides me with the proper nutrients for instructing a calorie torching circuit workout. I plan to finish my class with my weekend ab challenge – the 300. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Smoothie: 8 Oz of organic almond milk, a handful of organic spinach, 1/2 of organic banana, 1 tbsp of organic flaxseed oil, 1/2 cup of organic raspberries and blueberries, 1/2 cup of greek yogurt

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No- It’s Not Too Expensive To Eat Organic

“Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We are demanding that our children be protected from harm. We all need to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done—buy organic whenever we can insist on organic, fight for organic and work to make it the norm. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.”
― Maria Rodale

Although organic fruits and vegetables are typically pricey, I’ve discovered good produce options to buy each week that are very affordable. Here is a list of budget-friendly items I purchased at the grocery store this week: Organic Carrots ($1.99), Organic Celery ($2.69), Organic potatoes ($2.99), Organic Gala Apples ($3.99), Organic Cucumber ( 99 cents), Container of Organic Spinach ($2.99), Organic Cherry Tomatoes ($2.99), Organic Bananas (79 cents/lb)

 

The quality of the food we eat is vital to our health. Why are food items that contain no salt, less sugar, and fewer ingredients more expensive? It’s frustrating that the food items promoted on television and in our grocery stores are loaded with harmful toxins and chemicals. However, the answer is educating yourself and making smarter food choices. If you are unable to afford organic prices, avoid items on the “dirty dozen” list and consider shopping for more affordable organic items like those I purchased above

Here’s the full list of EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) “Dirty Dozen” for 2019: This is a list of fruits and vegetables that have a substantial amount of pesticides and should be avoided unless you purchase organic varieties.

StrawberriesSpinachKalenectarinesApplesGrapesPeachesCherriesPearsTomatoesCelerypotaotes

 

The “Clean 15” are fruits and vegetables that contain fewer pesticides and can be purchased non-organic if desired.

lean Fifteen™
EWG’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

1. Avocados

2. Sweet Corn*

3. Pineapples

4. Sweet Peas Frozen

5. Onions

6. Papayas*

7. Eggplants

8. Asparagus

9. Kiwis

10. Cabbages

11. Cauliflower

12. Cantaloupes

13. Broccoli

14. Mushrooms

15. Honeydew Melons

Clean Eating, Red Wine, & Chocolate

“There are those people who can eat one piece of chocolate, one piece of cake, drink one glass of wine. There are even people who smoke one or two cigarettes a week. And then there are people for whom one of anything is not even an option.”
― Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir

Here is a sample of my meals during the week. I try to eat clean most of the time but splurge occasionally on a glass of wine and dark chocolate.  Take advantage of your cheat meals, but remember it’s all about balance and moderation.

 

Breakfast: Pick One

  1. Avocado toast- smash 1 tbsp of avocado, add egg, 1 tsp of shredded mozzarella plus  a small organic apple
  2. Package of organic oats (make sure you check sugar grams on nutritional level (opt for less than 15) topped with 1/2 cup of organic blueberries and 1 tsp of walnuts
  3. Lara bar or Quest Bar and 10 raw almonds

Lunch: Pick One

  1. Two cups of organic spinach- one small grilled chicken breast (sliced) – top with 1/2 sliced avocado and 1 cup of fresh strawberries or mandarin orange slices. (Dressing – 1 tbsp of greek yogurt mixed with 1/2 tsp of avocado oil).
  2. One can of tuna- mixed with 1/3 sliced avocado (smashed) and 1 tbsp of greek yogurt. Add sliced boiled egg, sliced cucumbers, celery, and tomato. Side of organic apple slices topped with 1 tbsp of nut butter.
  3.  Veggie burger (Beyond Burger, Quorn, Etc) Cook according to directions: Make an open face burger using one slice of organic bread/ or (Ezekiel) add veggies, sliced avocado, onions, tomato, fresh spinach and a thin slice of real cheese. Side of baked sweet potato, and spinach salad.

Snacks: Pick Two

  1. Serving of Greek yogurt- top with berries (optional add-ins – one scoop of protein powder, top with nuts
  2.  Boiled eggs, 10 raw almonds
  3. Organic Baby Carrots and hummus
  4. Apple slices and nut butter
  5. Plain rice cake with sliced turkey or chicken plus a serving of grapes
  6. Rice cake with almond butter and sliced banana

Dinner: Select one serving of meat (palm of the hand), One complex carb, Two Green Veggies

Pick one: One serving of grilled chicken breast, grass-fed burger, or salmon

Pick one Complex Carb: One serving of rice, sweet potato, 1/2 baked potato, or side of pasta

Pick two: Asparagus, fresh spinach, broccoli, zucchini, cucumber, green beans, kale

Please Tell Me What To Eat

So it’s our discomfort – and even disgust – with the joy of eating that frightens us. And that’s because of a culture that tells us, in a thousand ways, from the time we first start solid foods, that this comfort cannot be trusted. That we cannot be trusted to know what and how much to eat. We must outsource this judgment to experts who know better – first to our parents, then to teachers; then to food gurus and big brands, who sell us on diets, cleanses, food dogmas, and “lifestyle changes.” We cede our knowledge, our own personal relationship with food, to an entire world built on the premise that we don’t know how to feed ourselves.~Virginia Sole-Smith

Our anxiety about food leaves many of us overweight and never satisfied. We define food as good, bad, healthy, and unhealthy. Many of us have a destructive relationship with food that’s a constant source of anxiety and frustration.

There are those of us who spend most of our adult life in search of the perfect diet. Many people have jumped on the bandwagon to follow the Keto diet or intermittent fasting in hopes of finally reaching that perfect number on the scale. And there are those more desperate who try diet pills with the promise they will magically transform their bodies without changing eating habits or exercising.

Our bodies are amazing, complex machines that are designed to provide us with true signals of thirst and hunger. But the truth is we’ve destroyed our natural hunger cues. We associate food with our emotions and stuff ourselves with processed foods containing foreign substances our bodies don’t recognize.

Many of us eat while watching television, commuting to work, talking on the phone, and a multitude of other distracting activities. We’ve lost the experience of savoring and enjoying meals. Many of us scarf down our food in less than ten minutes and wonder why we are still hungry when we’re done?

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Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Have you noticed most grocery store displays are cleverly positioned in the middle of the aisles, stocked with junk foods designed to catch our eye and make our mouths water? Our bodies are bombarded daily with chemicals from manufactured foods that have left our taste buds numb and with little desire for “real food.”  Therefore, we find ourselves unsatisfied and craving junk food that is shoved down our throat every day via food product marketing and the media. And how many commercials do we see on a daily basis filling our brains with images of mouth-watering junk and processed foods?

Wouldn’t it be nice if grocery stores flooded the main aisles with fresh fruits and vegetables?

food healthy vegetables potatoes
Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Medical News Today reports:

Many processed foods have been engineered to be so incredibly “rewarding” to the brain, that they overpower anything we might have come across in nature.

We have complicated mechanisms in our bodies and brains that are supposed to regulate energy balance (how much we eat and how much we burn) which, until very recently in evolutionary history, worked to keep us at a healthy weight.

There is quite a lot of evidence that the reward value of foods can bypass the innate defense mechanism and make us start eating much more than we need, so much that it starts to compromise our health

Another interesting study reported the significance of nutrient intake and cravings,  Changing perceptions of hunger on a nutrient dense diet

-Joel Fuhrman, reports:

One of the common barriers to weight loss is the uncomfortable sensation of hunger that drives overeating and makes dieting fail, even in those who are obese from over-consumption of calories. Over the past two decades we have worked closely with approximately twenty thousand patients in a private suburban family practice in New Jersey specializing in nutritional interventions for weight loss and disease prevention/management. Our experience is that enhancing the micronutrient quality of the diet even in the context of a substantially lower caloric intake dramatically mitigates the experience of hunger. A diet high in micronutrients appears to decrease food cravings and overeating behaviors. Sensations such as fatigue, weakness, stomach cramps, tremors, irritability and headaches, commonly interpreted as “hunger”, resolve gradually for the majority of people who adopt a high nutrient density diet, and a new, less distressing, sensation (which we label “true” or “throat” hunger) replaces it.

 

This study suggested that a diet high in processed foods resulted in inflammation causing sensations of “toxic hunger” which resulted in withdrawal symptoms, and overeating. Those on a nutrient dense diet more often experienced true hunger and a decrease in overeating and cravings.

Please Tell Me What To Eat

As a personal trainer, the majority of my clients want to know about the latest diet craze and want me to tell them what to eat. Although it’s a good idea to track nutrients to assure you are getting sufficient amounts of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats; the truth is, there is no perfect diet. Many who lose weight on diets often gain the weight back once they return to old eating patterns. The key is to get back to basics and retrain your brain by adding more nutrient dense foods and gradually decreasing processed foods. Our bodies need real food to stay healthy and function properly. You can’t go wrong by going back to nature for the PERFECT DIET containing fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Therefore, it important to make gradual dietary changes to increase the likelihood of adapting to a more healthy plant-based diet. Drastic dietary changes are often unsuccessful and leave us more obsessed with labeling foods as good and bad. Instead of subtracting unhealthy foods you currently enjoy, try adding more fruits and veggies to your current meals. Learn to enjoy the experience of planning meals, researching new recipes, and cooking real food. Begin to train your brain to pay attention to real hunger cues by practicing mindful eating. Before you know it, your body will respond by craving nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables instead of junk and processed foods.

 

We don’t need others to tell us what and when to eat. Our bodies are designed to tell us when we are hungry and what nutrients we need. There is nothing wrong with occasional splurges of your favorite dessert, pizza, or fries, but learn to enjoy these foods in moderation. Getting back to our true hunger can be accomplished by practicing Mindful Eating- 10 Simple Ways To Celebrate Your Meals.

Food is a large part of our lives. It should be enjoyed and celebrated. Learn to make peace with food by practicing these following tips for mindful eating:

  1. Plan your meals– Search for recipes and make a grocery list- explore new foods, herbs, spices.
  2. Make your plate colorful- Prepare a beautiful plate. Use your best china. Many people save their best china for a special occasion. Make every meal a special occasion. Celebrate food, celebrate each day of your life.
  3. Turn off the television, take a break from your phone– It’s hard to be mindful and tune into your meals when on social media, watching television or texting. Put your phone away and turn the TV off.
  4. Take time before your meal to be thankful- Take a moment before your meals to realize how lucky you are to have a place to sit, a roof over your head, and food to eat. There are much less fortunate who don’t.
  5. Chew your food– Don’t gulp down your food. Slow down and chew it completely.
  6. Take small bites- Use a fork and knife and cut small pieces.
  7. Really taste it. Savor the smell, the taste, the texture.
  8. Enjoy a glass of wine– If you like wine, experiment with different types and explore and research pairing your wine with different foods.
  9. Make it a celebration– We all love celebrations. Make this family time or just time alone to relax, unwind and enjoy your meal. Make your meal something to look forward to every day.
  10. Don’t rush it!- Take time to cook! Get the family involved cutting up veggies, setting the table and then turn onto mindful eating. As you experience the wonderful meal you prepared, think about all you have in your life to be grateful for!

 

Elevate Your Situation

“Feed the mind good wisdom, the body good nutrition, the soul good vibes, and the heart good love. Elevation for your situation.”
― T.F. Hodge

It was pouring rain this morning when I woke up and I didn’t particularly want to get out of bed. I didn’t sleep well and I had a headache that felt similar to a really bad hangover without the fun. I’m sure it was most likely due to the thick pollen all over our deck and front porch. On days like this, I try to make a decision to make the best of my day by focusing on the good things in my life. I dig down deep and REACH FOR MY FAVORITE THINGS to help “elevate my situation.”

“Regardless of Sunshine or Rain, Be Thankful for another GREAT day…and treat Life as the ULTIMATE Gift…. Because IT IS :)”
 Pablo

  1. Favorite Way To Start My Morning -COFFEE

I had to teach an early class, so I jumped out of bed and went down to the kitchen for coffee. Ahhh coffee makes everything better! I decided to go for “bulletproof coffee” so that hopefully the caffeine would kick in and help me forget about my headache.

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I drank a large glass of lemon water and by the time I finished the bulletproof coffee, my headache was gone.

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”
― Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

2. One Of My Favorite Workouts

Workouts always make me feel better. I prepared a workout for a small group training class. I decided to start off the workout with a treadmill run and added an incline challenge. The run was a great way to get the endorphins to kick in quickly and helped the class to get pumped for the weight circuit to follow. The circuit was total body compound exercises that were completed three rounds.

Jessie's Friday WOD

 

3. Put On My favorite shoes (BOOTS) They always put me in a good mood!  I love cowboy boots and wear them all year no matter how hot it gets.

“She wore trousers, because skirts were stupid, and boots, ‘cuz stuff needed to be kicked.”
 Brandon SandersonShadows of Self

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4. Love to cook! My Favorite Meal-is almost always- Healthy and Home Cooked!

This was such a delicious and easy meal to make. I placed a couple of organic chicken thighs on a roasting pan and seasoned them with a store-bought Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce and sprinkled the thighs with chili powder. Roasted carrots are a healthy, quick, and easy side that requires very little preparation. I scrubbed the organic carrots and basted them with olive oil.   

Roast the chicken and carrots in the oven on 375 for approximately 60 minutes. I paired the baked chicken and roasted carrots with a spinach salad, sliced avocado, and mandarin orange slices.

 

 

“Oh, I adore to cook. It makes me feel so mindless in a worthwhile way.”
 Truman CapoteSummer Crossing