Three Amazing Quick And Healthy Breakfast Choices

  1. Avocado Toast- This is one of my favorite breakfast/ snack foods- I love to use Ezekiel bread and then add mashed avocado with a splash of olive oil, red pepper flakes, and top with hemp or flax-seed

2. Protein Oatmeal Bowl- This is another one of my healthy go to meals- I like to use a single serving of organic oats, scoop of your favorite protein, 1 tbsp of almond butter, handful of organic blueberries and top with flax-seed.

3. Spinach and Egg Breakfast Quesadilla – These are quick, healthy, and can be made ahead of time to warm up if short on time. Simple recipe includes – scramble eggs in tbsp of avocado or olive oil , toss in any optional veggies and then place on tortilla. Top with cheese and heat until cheese melted. Delicious!!

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Two Ingredient Healthy Juicing

Juicing can be a great way to get your daily recommended serving of fruits and vegetables. If you’ve tried juicing before, you’re probably aware it can be time-consuming and costly.

Most organic fruits and vegetables tend to be quite more expensive than non-organic and it takes a lot of produce to make just one glass of juice.

Additionally, you have to factor in the food preparation such as the washing, cutting, and peeling required for just ONE GLASS OF JUICE

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Luckily I stumbled upon V8 Healthy Greens juice a couple of months ago in the grocery store.

I’ll admit I don’t like the taste of most green juices but I was delighted that the Healthy Greens V8 Juice was low in sugar and contained healthy ingredients.

Also, I decided I could easily boost the veggie content of the juice by simply adding a handful of pre-washed organic spinach. And presto; I discovered my new two ingredient green juice and it’s nutritious, quick, easy, and delicious.

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Here’s my Two Ingredient Healthy juice:

One cup of organic spinach

8 oz of V8 Healthy Greens

Add ingredients in blender, add optional ice cubes and blend

So delicious, healthy, and easy. Doesn’t get any better than that…

Now if only my workout was that easy 🙂

No Resolutions New Year’s Challenge

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Ditch the resolutions and start the new year off with an easy plan for success. Try my No Resolutions New Year Challenge that will help you improve your health and fitness level in thirty days.

Resolutions often fail because most people don’t fully understand the commitment required to create new habits. Change is often uncomfortable, and when things get hard, it’s easy to give up and revert back to old habits. However, adding small changes to your daily routine can lead to big results. Instead of setting unattainable resolutions for the new year, try this thirty-day challenge that works by adding small steps each week to get you on track to a healthier lifestyle.

Always check with your physician before starting any new diet or exercise program

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Try to begin the challenge January 1st. Week one will start with two goals and you will add two new steps each week to help you create new healthy habits. At the end of the thirty days you should feel lighter, stronger, more energetic, and be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

Hopefully by the end of the month you will continue some or all of the new habits you developed during the thirty days.

LET THIS NEW YEAR be your turning point to self care and better health! Let me know how you like it. LET’S BEGIN –

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WEEK ONE

  1. DRINK 20 oz of lemon water before breakfast, lunch, and your evening meal.
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2. Add exercise each day by taking a brisk walk/ jog 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. Or you can try this 15 minute workout video two times per day.

WEEK TWO (Continue week one goals and add these two goals to your daily routine)

  1. Track your sugar grams and keep them under 30 grams per day
  2. Add a green vegetable to your lunch and evening meal each day

WEEK THREE (Continue week one and two goals and add these additional goals to your daily routine)

  1. Add 15 minutes of yoga to your calendar twice a week-

2. Try a green smoothie for breakfast each morning- Use your own recipe or try this Delicious Green Protein Smoothie

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WEEK FOUR (Continue with week one, two, & three goals, and add these two new goals to your final week of the thirty-day challenge)

  1. Add a salad to your meal each day this week ( try these make a head salad in a Jar) recipes: Mason Jar Salad ideas
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2. Make one day of the week a NO MEAT day – Here are some ideas for vegetarian meals: 58 Best Vegetarian Recipes

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Five Tips to A Great Morning Routine

 

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A good morning routine is vital to our mental and physical health.  Quite often our mornings are filled with stress as we rush to get out the door and start our day.  Although it’s nice to hit the snooze button a couple times, it can create a cascade of events that can impact your day in a negative way.

That extra sleep robs you of valuable time that could be better spent fueling your body with a healthy breakfast,  grooming, meditation and family time.  Then of course you have to deal with traffic that can cause anxiety, anger, and elevated blood pressure before you even get out the door.

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What if those extra minutes of sleep could be much better spent on a healthy routine that could make a dramatic impact on your day?

Try the following tips to improve your daily routine and set you up for a fabulous day.

  1. Get up 20 to 30 minutes early to allow enough time to avoid the stress and anxiety of being late. Splash some cold water on your face and brush your teeth. Extra time is always a good thing when unexpected things happen like when you spill coffee on your outfit or suddenly remember you need to stop for gas. You will welcome the extra time and avoid the anxiety or running late.
  2. Try a short stretch and meditation sequence when you first get out of bed.  This is a great start to your morning that will clear your thoughts and get you energized to start your day.

3.  Drink 20 oz of lemon water.  Hydration is key for beautiful skin.  Lemon water will boost your metabolism and get you energized for you day.

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The benefits are endless including vitamin C to boost your immune system and also aids in digestion.

4. Eat a healthy breakfast and spend some time with your family.  Family time is priceless and just a few minutes in the morning to chat with family to tell them you love them is time well spent.  Stock up on food items that are easy to eat for breakfast such as protein bars, smoothies, fresh fruit and yogurt.

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5.  Get out the door 15 minutes early for your commute to offset any unforeseen incidents.  Instead of listening to the news or blasting music, try tuning into positive affirmations on your ride. This 20 minute meditation is an amazing way to start your day with a positive mindset and gratitude.

 

 

Three Reasons Your Workouts Aren’t Effective

You may be surprised that although you workout consistently and typically make good food choices, you may not be as healthy as you think.  Check out my blog post below to find out what may be affecting your “so called healthy lifestyle.

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  1. You Think “Organic “Always Means “Healthy”   I’ve seen many clients I train who claim they eat a healthy diet, but when I ask them to put it on paper it’s a different story.  Food products are plastered with deceptive advertising such as fat free, reduced sugar, organic, and all natural.   One of my clients swears she makes healthy meal choices, however,  she snacks all day on “organic snacks.”  It’s important to always read the ingredient list on packaged products even if they are labeled organic. You may be surprised that the ingredients are not really that healthy.

Per Danny Deza’s article, 16 Most Misleading Food Labels

A label that says made with organic ingredients must have a minimum of 70% all ingredients that meet the standard.

Keep in mid that organic is not synonymous with healthy. In fact, it may be anything but. Organic food can still be packed in fat, calories, and sugar. “Companies like to add magnetic words on products to make you think it’s healthy,” says Taub-Dix.

Always check the ingredient list on packaged foods and if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t buy it. Try to journal your food intake for a couple of weeks and determine the amount of whole foods you are actually consuming. Set a goal to eliminate all packaged foods and stick with organic fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.  It’s also important to choose a quality protein source such as organic chicken, grass-fed beef, fish, raw nuts, cottage cheese, and yogurt.  If you choose occasional packaged snacks make sure to read the ingredient list to determine what is actually in the product.

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2. You perform killer workouts in the gym but sit the rest of the day.  New studies are pointing out that although we may be exercising 5-6 days a week, what we do afterwards may be even more important for our health. In the article, Sitting Will Kill You Even IF You Exercise

Our entire modern world is constructed to keep you sitting down. When we drive, we sit. When we work at an office, we sit. When we watch TV, well, you get the picture.  And yet, a new study that’s running in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that this kind of sedentary behavior increases our chances of getting a disease or a condition that will kill us prematurely, even if we exercise.
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Therefore, it’s important to keep moving during the day.  Park further away from your destination or walk to lunch.   If you have a desk job, try getting up every hour and taking a short walk break or consider purchasing a “standing desk”.   Thomas B. Trafecanty with the Huffington Post reports,

Sitting too much can kill you. It sounds dramatic, but it’s true. An emerging base of research points to the detrimental effects of something that most Americans do without much thought on a daily basis (for nearly six hours per day, research finds).

Though experts are still trying to figure out exactly why, it’s commonly understood that sitting for prolonged periods comes with a host of negative health effects. Whenever possible, office workers are advised to get up and take movement breaks throughout the day. It’s not always easy to just walk away from the task at hand, though, so in some cases workers are combining the best of both worlds by installing standing desks.

The styles vary from stationary surface areas that look like raised tables to floating standing desks that transition from sitting to standing with a few swift movements. There are manufactured versions of standing desks, and those that workers have devised on their own. In all cases, the end goal is the same: reduce the amount of time spent sitting during the workday.

Some studies have concluded that standing desks can promote better posture and reduce the risk of obesity and diseases such as cancer.

In addition to a standing desk, pedometers are great gadgets to help you track your activity levels.   Setting a goal of 10,000 steps per day can be a great motivator to help you stay active and improve your health.

The pedometer, a small, inexpensive device that counts the number of steps walked per day, could be key to ramping up a person’s physical activity. An article from Stanford Medicine reports: 

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that the use of a pedometer is associated with significant increases in physical activity and weight loss and improvements in blood pressure.

“Much to my surprise, these little devices were shown to increase physical activity by just over 2,000 steps, or about 1 mile of walking per day,” said the study’s lead author, Dena Bravata, MD, MS, a senior research scientist in medicine. “This goes a long way toward helping people meet the national guidelines for daily physical activity.”

3.  You Don’t incorporate a recovery day in your workout program – Exercise causes a breakdown of  the muscles and tiny tears in the muscle fibers.  Recovery time is needed to repair the muscles and replenish energy stores.  Therefore, recovery days are needed to help increase your muscle mass and get stronger.  It can be easy to fall into the trap of over-training especially for athletes and the novice exerciser. Some of the signs of over-training can include poor workout performance, decreased appetite, depressed mood, fatigue, increased resting heart rate, and insomnia.

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You can ensure you are truly living a healthy lifestyle by eating whole foods and avoiding packaged and processed foods.  Don’t be fooled by deceptive advertising and eat mostly fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.  Be sure to incorporate a rest day into your schedule each week and consider purchasing a pedometer to track your daily activity levels.

Dark Chocolate Chickpea Brownies

I’ve been wanting to try these since I found the recipe a couple of weeks ago on facebook

The thought of chickpeas in brownies did not sound appealing but definitely sounded like a healthier version for a higher protein snack.

To my surprise, they were delicious. Make sure you rinse and drain the chickpeas and process until smooth.

Dark Chocolate Chickpea Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15oz/425g) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ⅓ cup almond butter
  • ⅓ maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips + 2 tbsp for the top
  • Coarse salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350℉/180℃.
  2. Line a 8in x 8in (20cm x 20cm) tin with parchment paper.
  3. Add the chickpeas, almond butter, maple syrup, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla and egg to a food processor container or a high-powered blender. Pulse 5-10 times to break down the chickpeas, and then process on high until smooth.
  4. Gently mix the dark chocolate chips into the batter with a spatula.
  5. Pour the the batter into the lined baking tin. Spread the batter with spatula so you have one even layer covering the bottom of the tin.
  6. Sprinkle the batter with the remaining chocolate chips and a pinch of coarse salt.
  7. Insert the tin into the oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes until the batter no longer jiggles. Your blondies should be golden brown around the edges of the tin.

Makes 9-12 squares.

Your Health Is Wealth

How many of us wake up everyday and truly understand what a blessing it is to be healthy.  I’m sure you know of a loved one, friend, or acquaintance that may not be so lucky.  Think of the many people who suffer from diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, or are disabled in some way.  The truth is we take our health for granted; but if we walked in the shoes of those less fortunate for one day, or even an hour our mindset would most likely change.

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Make your health a priority by making healthy food choices, exercising, and reducing stress in your life.

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The key is to develop discipline by understanding the benefit of healthy choices versus the downside of processed food and inactivity.  Our daily choices when it comes to nutrition and exercise significantly affect how we feel.  We’ve all given in to cravings and had days where we splurged on fast food and maybe too much sugar or alcohol.  The key is to remembering how you felt afterwards or the next day.  It’s likely you paid for it with an upset stomach, headache, and a major lack of energy.

 

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Is it really worth it?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about being so rigid that you never eat a piece of cake or enjoy a glass of wine.  But the key is moderation!

 

 

Learn to practice gratitude on a daily basis.  Wake up each morning and give thanks for your health, your loved ones, and having food and shelter.  There are those in this world that are so much less fortunate.  YOUR HEALTH IS WEALTH!  Learn to make it a priority.

Practice taking care of yourself by making healthy food choices and staying active. Consider keeping a journal and writing down what you are thankful for each day. Take an hour each day to reduce stress with meditation, yoga, reading,  or simply some quiet time to reflect on your blessings.

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Five Steps To Getting Lean

Have you noticed there are many people who seem to work out all the time but their bodies never change. In order to get results from your workouts; you need a specific plan of action. How many calories should you eat? How many times should you do cardio? Should you lift heavy or light, high rep or low rep? It’s a lot to think about and can be confusing. However follow these tips to help increase your lean muscle and reduce body fat.

  1. You can’t get lean with a bad diet– You know the quote, “what you eat in private, you wear in public” is true. Your body composition is majorly affected by your food choices. Processed foods/ junk foods lead to increased body fat. If you want to get lean you need to eat good quality protein, fresh vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats.

  1. You don’t have enough protein in your diet. Protein is the building block of muscles. Good sources of protein include grass-fed beef, chicken, fish, beans/legumes, quinoa, greek yogurt, nuts and eggs. WebMD states adults in the U.S. are encouraged to get 10% to 35% of their day’s calories from protein foods. That’s about 46 grams of protein for women, and 56 grams of protein for men.It’s not hard to get this amount if you eat two to three servings of protein-rich foods a day, according to the CDC.

  • A small 3-ounce piece of meat has about 21 grams of protein. A typical 8-ounce piece of meat could have over 50 grams of protein.

  • One 8-ounce container of yogurt has about 11 grams of protein.

  • One cup of milk has 8 grams of protein.

  • One cup of dry beans has about 16 grams of protein.

  1. You need to have a well balanced plan– In order to get lean, you need to lift weights to build muscle. Make sure you are working all the major muscle groups. You need to lift heavy enough weights to fatigue the muscle and advance to heavier weights when you no longer feel the challenge in your current routine. You should also do some sort of cardiovascular exercise to strengthen the heart and burn fat. High intensity interval training is a great way to burn fat in a short period of time.

  1. Make sure you give yourself a recovery day. Your muscles actually break down when you work out and recovery allows them to rebuild, repair and get stronger. Always allow a rest day to help build muscle and to ensure you are well rested for your next workout.

  2. Find ways to reduce stress– Stress can cause an increase in cortisol. chronic stress can lead to higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:

  • Impaired cognitive performance

  • Suppressed thyroid function

  • Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia

  • Decreased bone density

  • Decrease in muscle tissue

Try yoga and meditation to reduce stress. Allow some time each day to relax and unwind. FInd what works for you such as a quiet walk outside to appreciate nature or just some alone time to listen to your favorite tunes.

Perfect Post Workout Snack- High Protein Smoothie Bowl

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Here is a great recipe for breakfast and/or the perfect pre-workout or post-workout snack. This healthy snack is loaded with protein from the Greek yogurt and the SunWarrior protein powder which helps fuel your muscles and aid in recovery. It also contains berries loaded with antioxidants and nutritious healthy fats from the walnuts and flax.

Oatmeal Protein Smoothie Bowl

1 cup of plain Greek yogurt

Individual Package of organic oatmeal

1/4 cup of raspberries and blackberries

1 scoop of Sunwarrior Vanilla protein powder

1 tbsp of organic flax

1 tbsp of walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS:

Prepare your package of oatmeal and stir in 1/2 scoop of protein powder. Place prepared oatmeal in one section of smoothie bowl. Combine the other 1/2 scoop of protein powder with the cup of Greek yogurt; mix until smooth and place in one side of smoothie bowl. Finally add the raspberries and blackberries into the last section of the bowl. Sprinkle flax and walnuts on top and enjoy!

No Excuses Thursday, Let’s Do It!!

“You can make excuses or you can achieve your goals, but you can’t do both.” 
― Andrea Gogelein

Ok I must confess, I’m on winter break and I have not been very strict with my eating or exercise routine.  I mean when you’re on vacation, it’s definitely a challenge to resist the temptation of going out to eat every week.

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Also, as a fitness instructor, I normally teach 8 to 10 classes per week but since I’m on vacation my activity level has dramatically dropped.

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To top that off, I bought a new pair of running shoes and after a short run on the treadmill last week, I woke up with a stiff and swollen knee.  I’ve never had knee problems so this is something new for me.  My new shoes felt very stiff and seemed to change my gait during the run.; I should have listened to the same advice I give my clients and stopped my run right away.  My new shoes were trail runners, perhaps that was a factor.  Nevertheless, now I’ll have to lay off my runs for a week or more until I recover.

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But wait there’s more.…. I just found out  that they have closed our gym at the resort for renovations.  Therefore, I won’t have a place to workout for over three weeks.  I think I’m being tested 😦

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I decided to look at the bright side and so far I’ve had a pretty good week.  I’m actually pretty proud of myself for easing off my usual routine and enjoying some different restaurants we don’t get a chance to try at home.  Now don’t get me wrong, even though it’s nice to take a break from exercise and clean eating; my body begins to feel sluggish and lethargic until I get back on track .

I came to the conclusion that even though my workouts and food choices won’t be perfect while on winter break, I’m determined to not go overboard.  Therefore, although the gym is closed and I’m still resting my knee, I took a long walk on the beach this morning. The weather and the view was awesome!!

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Since I don’t have access to the gym, I decided to exercise at the condo with dumbbells and worked up a really good sweat!!

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Finished my workout and had a delicious  Sunwarrior Dark Chocolate Protein Smoothie

 

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Chocolate Sun Warrior Protein Smoothie Recipe

The Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (almond, coconut, hemp, raw milk)
  • 1 fresh or frozen medium banana
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cacao nibs (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 serving chocolate Sun Warrior protein powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • A little honey, maple syrup, or stevia to sweeten (optional)

The Add-ons

  • A handful of mint leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon maca
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Show Time

Place the ingredients into your blender and blend away (usually 30-45 seconds) until the desired consistency is reached.

 

 

“You can make excuses or you can achieve your goals, but you can’t do both.” 
― Andrea Gogelein