What’s your motivation? 

As 2018 is right around the corner it’s important for us to set our intentions for the new year. In the video below I discuss motivation and why it’s essential in helping you meet and exceed your goals.

Watch the video and then I’d love to hear from you…what are your goals for 2018 (health related or not) and the motivation behind them?

 

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5 Holiday Mindfulness Tips

Mindfulness

Happy turkey day Honey Crunchers! We’re back once again to that oh so awesome time of year.  A time for celebrating the three F’s: great food, friends, and family. While the holiday season is filled with joy there is an undeniable sense of stress and anxiety that seems to come along with it.  But it doesn’t have to be that way…

Today’s post is  centered around one simple concept: mindfulness. What exactly is mindfulness? According to Merriam Webster mindfulness can be defined as:

  • the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something
  • a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

So therefore mindfulness means being truly present. While both of those definitions sound great, it’s a lot harder to actually put those words into practice. Whether you are visiting family, hosting family, or just spending time to relax on your own, here are 5 top suggestions for putting mindfulness to action:

  1. Be present when visiting family – put away your phone, make eye contact and really listen to what others are saying (this one is hard for me!)
  2. Eat mindfully – not only will this help you not over indulge, but will heighten your senses and allow you to be present in that moment
  3. Take deep breaths – Feeling extra anxious or stressed?  Take 3 deep breaths, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
  4. Take a walk through nature – Bundle up and get outside, even if it’s a walk around the block. Observe your surroundings the sounds, smells, and sights
  5. Stretch or do yoga – Even 10 minutes will force you to focus solely on what stretch you are doing or pose your holding.  Not only will this help your body but your mind as well.

 

Are Scary Cravings Haunting Your Halloween?

halloween candy

Halloween is just a few days around the corner and I don’t know about you but anytime I even pass my dining room table I get a strong whiff of chocolate coming from the candy bags I have sitting there awaiting the big event. I will say yes it is totally hard to resist opening up the bags early just to have “one”. Not to mention if I do open the bag the rest of my family takes that as a sign the candy is free for all!  Then next thing I know I’m out of candy before the trick or treaters even arrive!

No joke, short story… last year I had the candy neatly set in a bowl by the front door and I was diligently working from home at my computer that day in the other room.  My daughter who was 7 at the time was watching Halloween movies on tv.  An hour goes by and it’s time to go trick or treating and she’s like “my tummy hurts”.  Ok… so why does your tummy hurt you haven’t eaten a bunch of candy yet.  I shit you not, she comes clean and shows me a hidden garbage can with 10 FUN SIZE SNICKER wrappers!  WTH?!?  No wonder the tummy ache… needless to say the candy will NOT be placed anywhere near the room my child is in this year.  The little thief!

Anyways, my point for today is to let you know that it is OK to have Halloween candy and not sabotage your diet. In fact denying yourself the candy actually could cause more harm but causing unnecessary stress….  Now this does not give you the license to eat the whole damn bowl but 1 or two “fun” or “bite-size” treats will not destroy your world.  If I was counting calories then I’d say 100 calories in candy on Halloween would be a good budget just eat clean for the rest of the day/calories AND – this is important – do not continue to eat candy daily until you finish what your trick or treaters did not!!  Get rid of that shit, take it to work, give it to a homeless person, or just dump it.  The faster you remove it from your house the less temptation there will be.

Did you know that according to a study from the journal Appetite the actual mood boost you obtain from eating that snickers or reese’s is a whopping 3 minutes???  Yup 3 minutes of pleasure…so knowing that make sure you ask yourself is it really worth it?  Again maybe the answer is yes for the first piece, but do you really need that 2nd, 3rd, 4th?

So now, we cleared the air about what is and is not acceptable in the realm of candy eating habits.  Let’s look closer at if you are going to indulge your top choices to go for:

The below calories are for 1 “fun size” treat:

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter cup – 110 calories
  • Butterfinger – 83 calories
  • Twix – 80 calories
  • Snickers – 80 calories
  • M&M’s – 73 calories
  • Kit Kat – 70 calories
  • Nerds – 50 calories

If you’d like to see the full list, check it out in this Pop Sugar article: Calories in Halloween Candy

Keep in mind a lot of these candy favorites also have a “bite-size” version.  That would be the smarter way to indulge in let’s say a snickers and butterfinger with minimal guilt.

To sum it up, don’t stress, enjoy the holiday and treat yourself as long as it’s in moderation!

What’s your favorite Halloween candy???

 

 

Workout Review: 21 Day Fix Extreme

21 Day FixExtreme

It only takes 21 days to create a habit.  By now many of you are well familiar with Autumn’s first life changing program, 21 Day Fix.  The 21 Day Fix fitness program has been sweeping the nation helping everyday people get back on the horse through cleaning up their nutrition and exercise habits.  But for those of you that maybe are in the been there done that stage, or perhaps are wanting something a bit more challenging, a bit more extreme, Autumn released the second training series based on 21 Day Fix called 21 Day Fix Extreme.  And it’s no joke.

The title says it all.  This, my friends, is not for the faint of heart.  If you found yourself in a pool of sweat during the original 21 Day Fix prepare yourself as this program will have you literally sweating buckets and blasting through plateau’s.  Much like 21 Day Fix, Extreme features the best of cardio, resistance training, and those feel good classes like pilates and yoga for a full body transformation. The eating plan is similar to  21 Day Fix with the containers however it’s even more strict cutting out loving elements like your wine and guilty pleasure of dessert.

What are my thoughts?  I LOVED it.  In fact after completing the program two years ago I still incorporate at least one of her workouts like the lower body workouts, cardio fix extreme, pilates etc within my weekly routine. I really like how she diversified the timing for each exercise.  Before she primarily used the one minute interval approach, which that’s fine but i get bored easily and need changing interval times, exercises etc to keep me engaged.  21 Day Fix Extreme included that.  She mixed things up with one minute intervals, 30 second intervals etc.  Bottom line, if you have been working out on a somewhat regular basis for >6 months this is an excellent workout for shaping up for that wedding, bikini season, or a random trip to the islands.

Let’s take a deeper look into the workouts and nutrition, shall we?

# of workouts included: 6 main workouts, 3 additional workouts

Cardio workouts:

  • Plyo Fix Extreme – jumping, jumping, and more jumping…. oh but with weights, like 10lb weights!
  • Cardio Fix Extreme – cardio intervals mixed with strength intervals
  • the Fix Challenge – no equipment, 13 moves in a pyramid style routine
  • ABC Extreme – Abs, Butt and cardio to finish you off

Resistance Routines:

  • Lower Body Fix Extreme – Every muscle in your lower half will feel it 5 minutes in, sooo good.
  • Upper Body Fix Extreme
  • Dirty 30 Extreme – upper, lower and abs
  • Power Strength Extreme

Flexibility and Core: 

  • Pilates Fix Extreme –  pilates on steroids with bands
  • Yoga Fix Extreme – dynamic yoga flow
  • 10 Min hardCORE abs

I’m not going to go into crazy details on the nutrition plan. Fact of the matter is, I love the containers. I use them daily to transport things to and from work or anytime i need a quick measurement on something but I do not live and die by this plan. If you do not eat the cleanest or are trying to diversify your eating habits then I do recommend you give the nutrition program a chance as it can really help you understand the fundamentals of what you are eating and why and it takes the guesswork out of prepping meals for the week.

Want more insight into the program itself or the nutrition?  There are a lot of great reviews out on the web.  Here are a few of my favorites I recommend checking out:

21 Day Fix Extreme – A Review From a P90X Junkie and Marathoner

How do I get ripped?

The Dysfunctional Parrot – Review: 21 Day Fix Extreme

So did you try this program?  If so what are your thoughts and would you recommend it to a friend?

 

Turkey Chili Mac

This week we had some cooler temps for September which got me in the mood for fall.  I even started pulling out fall related decor for my house.  I love this time of year!  And what comes with fall?  Warm, amazing smelling comfort foods!  However as someone who tries to consciously healthify everything I eat I decided to make my favorite Turkey Chili Mac, ooh soo good.  It must not be too healthy tasting as my husband and daughter love it too!

Turkey Chili Mac (serving 1.5 cups makes 5 servings) Total cooking time: approx 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1lb 93/7 ground turkey (you can use lean beef here too)
  • 1 chili seasoning packet (or you can make your own with oregano, cumin, paprika, chili powder, black pepper)
  • 1 cup elbow noodles
  • 1/2 can kidney beans
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 yellow onion diced
  • 1/4 red pepper chopped
  • 1/4 green pepper chopped
  • garlic (to your liking)

Optional Toppings:

  • greek yogurt (for sour cream on top)
  • reduced fat cheddar
  • Oyster crackers
  • 1/5 avocado

Directions:

Heat pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Brown turkey and drain fat.  Add to pot onion, red pepper, green pepper and garlic and saute for a few minutes.  Add back in ground turkey and stir for about 5 more minutes. Add in the beans, cans of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chili seasoning, and broth (you can also sub out the broth for water as well). Stir and let simmer about 15 minutes.  Lastly add in the uncooked elbow noodles and cover.  Let cook until noodles are done making sure to stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the pot (approx 15 minutes).

Once noodles are cooked turn off the pot and let rest for a few more minutes to thicken before serving.  Scoop into bowl, add in your optional toppings: cheese, greek yogurt, oyster crackers, and avocado.

Voila!

20170806_185112

The Power of Naturopathic Medicine

power of naturopathic medicine

There comes a time in one’s life where stress gets the best of us, people get the best of us, life gets the best of us. Sometimes this comes on suddenly like a thief in the night and other times things progressively head south over an extended period of time.  Whether this is a mental issue, or a physical issue is indifferent they both lead to the land of blah. We try to self medicate with exercise, wine, sleep etc but nothing seems to be able to reset us back to that once calm, centered state we were in before.

I’ve been there and back.  I’ve tried numerous avenues to reset myself like mentioned above but none of which gave me any solid results. It was frustrating and draining. After my failed attempts I decided to try a holistic approach as I had heard numerous friends talk about the power of acupuncture, supplements and oil.  All sounded like voodoo to me…  but I decided if this has been around since ancient times let’s give it a try.

I started visiting a Naturopathic doctor last summer. What I loved immediately is she addressed the whole of me. She didn’t just go straight to what my issue at hand was she dug deeper and instead analyzed the whole.  After a bout of blood work and various other less invasive tests we sat down and went through the results.  What was really interesting is that what we found were areas of weakness in the body.  But those areas of weakness were not what my perceived issues were.  What I learned though is how closely related functions of the body are.  If one is weak it can affect a whole different part of you.

After review we started acupuncture to balance out my body and strengthen my pulse. I proceeded to get accupuncture treatments twice a month for about 5 months.  It was like a glorified nap for 20 minutes while I “baked” with needles stuck in me.  Seriously though they don’t hurt and if positioned right you can almost feel the energy circulating your body.  In addition I started taking what I now consider essential supplements with a myriad of benefits: Magnesium Lactate, liquid Vitamin D3, supplements to balance my blood sugar levels (they were a bit wacky), and L-theanine in liquid form to help with stress.  At first I was a bit skeptical as supplements are not cheap.  But as I started taking these I could literally feel the change.  My mood was lifted (thanks to the Magnesium), I felt stronger, less ornery and less stressed.  In addition to the supplements, I also carried my lavender essential oil everywhere…. you can never get too calm when you have a Type A personality!

Finally after those 5 months were up I decided to discontinue the acupuncture (for financial reasons… it is not cheap…) but I have continued to use the supplements with great results.  I am nowhere near that funk I used to be and just feel more balanced and ready to take on the world.

Moral of this story is, sometime life throws lemons at you.  Use that opportunity to dig deeper and explore other options. You don’t have to live feeling less than great.  What is awesome about naturopathic medicine is it is natural… you are not adding chemicals or other crap into your body to try to band aid a deeper issue. You are healing yourself from the inside out.  Balance. Strength. Power. Beauty.

Have you tried Naturopathic medicine? What was your experience like?  Would you recommend it?

 

 

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

stuffed portobello mushrooms

I love a good hearty dinner especially if it’s packed with protein and ooey gooey cheese.  However, I also try and maintain an 80/20 clean eating lifestyle every week.  Because of that of that I constantly look for ways to re-invent variations of foods I love in a healthier way so that they fit into my week and I never have to feel guilty eating them.

The following recipe is one I am still perfecting.  The flavors are great, the meatiness of the mushroom cap really shines, and oh yea of course the cheese is on point!  However where I fail is with the cooking of the mushroom cap.  It always ends up overly liquidy.  So I definitely am looking for any pointers on how to drain out some of that excess water from the cap.

However without further ado here is my recipe for Portobello stuffed mushroom caps:

Ingredients – Makes 8 servings

  • 1lb chicken breasts
  • 8 Portobello mushroom caps
  • 8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1 can diced black olives (optional)
  • 1 diced red pepper (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Oregano (some to sprinkle on each cap)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Wipe off mushroom caps (check out this video: how to prepare portobello’s)
  3. Brush mushroom caps lightly with olive oil and set on parchment paper on baking sheet
  4. Place baking sheet in oven to cook mushrooms about 30 minutes
  5. While mushroom caps are cooking, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in pan, add chicken
  6. Cook chicken until no longer pink/internal temperature of 165 degrees
  7. While chicken is cooking dice red pepper
  8. Take cooked chicken and dice up
  9. Combine in a medium bowl chicken, red pepper, black olives, seasoning, and tomato sauce
  10. Spoon the chicken mixture into each of the portabella caps
  11. Sprinkle cheese over the tops of the stuffed portabella’s
  12. Pop in oven for about 10-15 minutes

I like to serve these with a side of steamed vegetables but they would also just be good by themselves.  Enjoy!

What stuffed mushroom variations have you made? I’m always looking for new, fun ways to dress these up!