Tag Archives: healthy-living

BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza

BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza Banner
Leftover food is common in my home. With two picky kids who don’t always like to eat what I cook and the fact that I enjoy cooking, there is always hanging around.

Last fall during one of my clean eating jump start groups, I shared a recipe for a “Clean” BBQ Pulled Pork and knew that everyone would have leftovers, so I came up with this BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza as a quick a simple Sunday lunch that the leftovers could be used up with.

This recipe is kept “clean” by using Stubbs BBQ sauce, which is one of the cleanest, bottled bbq sauces I’ve found. It contains no high fructose corn syrup, it’s gluten-free and they pride themselves on using high quality ingredients. It also comes in about 7 different flavors, which are all pluses, especially when you don’t have the time (or desire) to make your own from scratch.

(If you know of another clean bbq sauce, please share with me in the comments below. I love trying new things!)

BBQ Pizza

— Slow Cooked Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza —

Ingredients:
Whole Wheat Pizza dough
Leftover BBQ pulled pork
½ cup sliced red onion
1 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, Monterey jack, whatever you prefer)

Directions:
Follow oven temperature directions for your pizza dough.

Roll out the dough to fit your pan. Top with BBQ pork, onion and cheese.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes, depending on pizza dough and oven temperature.

— Slow Cooked BBQ Pulled Pork —

2lb pork roast
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 ounces of beer (I used Angry Orchards Cider Beer)
32 ounces of barbecue sauce (Stubbs BBQ sauce has a pretty clean ingredient list but you may need to add some water to thin it out a little if it’s very thick – you don’t want it to burn in the

Directions:
Season pork with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add to slow cooker, add beer and 24 ounces of barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours, tossing once or twice if desired. After 8 hours, shred and add remaining barbecue sauce. Toss to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to absorb everything. Serve as desired.

As you can see, the beauty of the pork is that it is cooked in the slow cooker, which means you can set it and forget it…and who doesn’t like that?!

Simply pop it into the slow cooker on a Saturday morning, run your errands (make sure to pick up some soft rolls to serve it on), come home and enjoy! Then the next day, you can enjoy the leftovers as a super yummy pizza, that takes less than 30 mins to prepare. Score!

I don’t have exact 21 Day Fix container counts for this since BBQ is technically a no-no. After you complete your first round of the program, you can be a little more adventurous with a few meals and give this a try. It’s still clean eating, just not 100% Fix approved.

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Cashew ‘n’ Oat Hotcakes {21 Day Fix Extreme}

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By now, you all know that I LOVE pancakes!

I eat them almost everyday for breakfast and I’m always posting my latest creations on Instagram.

{Click here for the post I did with recipes for National Pancake Day}

When I received the 21 Day Fix Extreme in the mail, the first thing I did was crack open the nutrition guide to see what kind of recipes they added and I was over the moon excited to see these Cashew ‘n’ Oat Hotcakes.

In all honesty, I never thought of using nuts in my pancake batter but I think it’s a great idea. I’m also a HUGE fan of cashews so I knew I had to try them.

Check out this video of Autumn showing you how to make them, or you can just skip down to the recipe…totally up to you!

 

 

 

Please note, this recipes makes 10 pancakes and each serving is 2 pancakes, so these would be good for meal prep. Simply make a batch of them, store them in ziptop freezer bags and heat them in the mornings. Simple, right?!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1 dash Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp . coconut oil , melted
  • 1⅓ cups distilled water
  • 1 tsp . vanilla extract
  • cup mixed berries

Instructions

  1. Place oats, cashews, and salt in food processor or blender; pulse until coarsely ground.
  2. Add egg, oil, water, and extract; pulse until well blended. Batter will be thick, but if it is as thick as paste add 2 to 3 additional Tbsp. of water.
  3. Heat medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  4. Spoon about ¼ cup batter into skillet for each pancake; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbles form on top.
  5. Flip with spatula and cook for 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat with remaining batter.
  7. Serve pancakes topped evenly with berries.

Containers 1 Yellow – ½ Blue – 1 tsp

Now while I like these,  they will not be replacing my Healthy Pancakes. I just find them super simple to make and I like that I can cover more containers with them than this recipe does. The Healthy Pancakes also taste better to me. I like the banana flavor of them and the sweetness that offers. These tasted more like baked oatmeal to me, which I know some people will love…I’m just not one of them.

These are still definitely worth making to see how YOU like them. They can offer a nice change of pace from time to time!

So…the burning question of the day is…. Do you call them pancakes or hotcakes?! Rumor has it that it depends on where you live as to what you call them.

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Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Smoothies

Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Smoothies
It’s that time of year! The Girl Scout mafia is out pedaling their sweet treats that none of us can resist. You know, the ones that come in colorful boxes that seem to get smaller each year but the price gets higher?

Yes, I know I sound bitter…it’s how an addict sounds when they’re trying to resist temptation.

At this current time in my life, I have to avoid these tempting morsels because I am doing the 21 Day Fix Extreme and there is no container for them. Wouldn’t it be great if the color of the box the cookie came in dictated which container you could count these sweet delights as?

  • Tagalongs in Red
  • Samoa’s in Purple
  • Thin Mint’s in Green

A girl can dream, right?

Sadly, that is not the case and I have 2.5 weeks until I can shove my face full have a taste of my favorites.

Until then, I will satisfy my cravings for them with these Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Smoothies using Shakeology!

Tagalongs Shakeology

Samoa Shakeology

Thin Mint Shakeology
These recipes have really been satisfying my Girl Scout cookie cravings without feeling guilty.

I truly have the worlds biggest sweet tooth, which is why I love Shakeology so much. It truly helps me to keep it under control, while getting lots of the nutrients I would be missing if I was just shoveling cookies into my face all day.

If you don’t use Shakeology, these recipes can absolutely be made with any protein power…not just Shakeology. The flavor will vary based on the brand you use, so you may have to adjust things a little.

Want to bump up the nutritional value of these even more? Add a handful of baby spinach to them. It won’t alter the taste but it will up the goodness!

I know there are a lot more Girl Scout flavors but these are the only ones I’ve messed with. Honestly, these are the only Girl Scout cookies I really like, so I haven’t tried to mess with the others.

If you have any healthy shake recipes for any cookie flavors not shown here, please share them in the comments!

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Beachbody On-Demand: It’s Here!

Beachbody On-Demand Me
How many times have you heard someone talking about a new workout program or seen an infomercial for one? Heck, if you’ve been following my blog for awhile, I’ve mentioned enough programs to make your head spin.

When deciding to commit to at-home fitness, there is definitely pressure. How do you know which program to choose? Will you like it? What happens if you hate it?

One of the reasons why I recommend Beachbody products and I ended up becoming a coach is because I BELIEVE in their products. I’m a walking testimony that they work. I lost over 100 pounds using their products and there is no doubt in my mind, you WILL get results if you commit to whatever program you choose.

(Note the last 8 words of that sentence. As a matter of fact, go back and reread it. They’re very important.)

The other thing I love about them? They offer a money back guarantee on all of their products …even Shakeology! You can use the entire bag and decide you don’t like and they will refund your money as long as it’s within 30 days.

Who does that?!

Since I have completed so many programs I understand why people have a hard time deciding which one to choose. There are A LOT of them. In all honesty it also doesn’t help that there are so many coaches out there and they’re all hyping up the newest program to hit the market. I get it, it’s new, there’s excitement about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Ya know? From P90X to PiYo, there truly is something for everyone and of every fitness level… but which one is right for YOU?

Well, if you decide to purchase a program, I recommend you find a coach that knows the programs and can guide in choosing the one that’s right for you. They should ask you questions about your goals, fitness level and then give you some options to check out. If they only talk about how much they love the program, how awesome everyone says it is, that’s it’s the newest thing and they don’t ask you questions, chances are your best interest in not what they’re focused on and you might want to find someone else to help you.

Now, if you get bored easily, still aren’t convince that a specific program is for you or if you just enjoy variety, I’d like to introduce you to the brand new Beachbody On-Demand!

On Demand 2

 It’s a new feature that Beachbody is offering within The Team Beachbody Club membership and it’s truly the most valuable tool I could share with you at the moment.

I had the opportunity to be apart of the test group for this new feature and I absolutely LOVED it!

With this Premium Team Beachbody Club membership, you’ll automatically have access to unlimited streaming of hundreds of workouts from Beachbody’s collection of fitness programs as well as the Nutrition Guides,  personalized meal plans, support videos from REAL celebrity trainers, a 10% discount on ALL Team Beachbody products (including Shakeology) and most important, a FREE coach, like myself!

So what programs do you have access to with this Team Beachbody Club Membership? Allow me to tell you…

On Demand

Beachbody On-Demand: Programs Available At Launch

  • P90X & P90X Deluxe
  • P90X2 & P90X2 Deluxe
  • P90X3 & P90X3 Deluxe
  • P90X ONE on ONE Volume 1
  • 10 Minute Trainer
  • INSANITY & INSANITY Deluxe
  • INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Volume 1
  • TurboFire
  • Brazil Butt Lift & Brazil Butt Lift Deluxe
  • ChaLEAN Extreme
  • Hip Hop Abs

Beachbody On-Demand: Your Purchased Programs

Later this March, there will be another big perk added to Beachbody On-Demand. If you’re a paid Team Beachbody Club member and you purchase select DVD programs that are not in the Member Library, you’ll be able to exclusively stream those programs as well. Just look for “Purchased Programs” in Beachbody On-Demand.

That means if you travel a lot, you no longer have to worry about packing your DVD’s with you! You’ll have them at your finger tips from any device that supports internet access. You’ll be able to access these workouts from your smartphone, tablet, laptop, PS3, XBox 360, PS4, XBox One, Smart TV, Chromecast or Apple TV! How awesome is that?!

(Update 3/12/15: After receiving a message from someone having issues getting it to work on their PS3, I found that despite having Flash, the site works but the video does not load on the PS3 & XBox 360 game systems. It did work on my PS4 and I spoke with someone who uses it on their Xbox One and helped a customer use it on their Smart TV. I am looking into this more to see why this is happening and I will update again when I have more info.)

The first set of programs that will be available for streaming later in March as part of the Purchased Program section are FOCUS T25 (which is on sale this month), 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME. This library of available Purchased Programs to be streamed will be growing over the next few months, too.

Beachbody On-Demand: Try Before You Buy

Another huge benefit of becoming a Premium Team Beachbody Club member? Exclusive access to try workouts from many of the newest programs along with some other noteworthy programs. Just look for “New and Noteworthy” in Beachbody On Demand.

This section will allow you to preview select single workouts of some of Beachbody’s newest and best-selling programs. In other words, now for the first time, you will be able to get a sneak preview of the program and try before you buy with one full length workout from the program.

Here are the programs you will have exclusive access to starting in March 2015:

  • 21 Day Fix – Total Body Cardio Fix
  • 21 Day Fix EXTREME – PiYo Fix Extreme
  • PiYo – Sweat
  • FOCUS T25 – Alpha Cardio
  • INSANITY MAX:30 – Sweat Intervals
  • P90 – Sculpt A
  • Body Beast – Build: Chest/Tris

As you can see, Beachbody On Demand can help many people in different ways. From those who need variety or can’t decide which program or trainer they will like best, to those who travel often, there are benefits for everyone.

How Much Does Beachbody On-Demand Cost?

The Beachbody On-Demand digital program will only cost you the price of a Team Beachbody Club membership, which is a risk-free cost of $2.99 a week, billed $38.87 quarterly (that’s less than $40 for 3 months). And you can cancel any time in the first 30 days for a full refund.

As I mentioned above, with Team Beachbody Club Membership you also gain access to nutrition information and guidance, personalized meal plans, support videos from REAL celebrity trainers, a 10% discount on ALL Team Beachbody products (including Shakeology) and most important, a FREE coach, like myself!

March Promo:

If you purchase a bag of Shakeology, you can get 3 months of Beachbody On-Demand for only $10! If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, simply contact me so we can discuss you goals and figure out which program you should try first!

If you are unsure about Club Membership and do not already have a FREE Team Beachbody account, contact me and you can make one and I’ll be assigned as your coach!

So what do you think of this new feature? Is it something you think you could benefit from?

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Filed under 21 Day Fix, Body Beast, Focus T25, Health & Fitness, Insanity, P90X, Products I've Tried

Hearty Beef and Butternut Squash Stew {21 Day Fix Extreme}

Hearty Beef and Butternut Squash Stew
The first thing I do when I get a new program is to dive into the nutrition guide and see what recipes they have to offer. I’m a total nerd when it comes to meal planning and I love cooking, so new recipes truly excite me. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m always posting photos of what I’m eating or meal prepping. Food has always been a passion of mine and I’ve finally found a healthy way to use that passion. Whoop! Whoop!

I was very happy when I cracked open the eating plan for 21 Day Fix Extreme and saw the recipes that were included …even if some of them were borrowed from Body Beast and tweaked a little. The lack of recipes is the one thing that I think was lacking from the 21 Day Fix. I absolutely LOVE that program and but it definitely needed recipes, especially because so many people who are starting it are beginners who need inspiration, direction and simplicity. Thankfully there are TONS of recipes on Pinterest with the container counts and it’s one of the reasons why I share what I try on this blog. I want to make planning for this program as simple as possible!

The newest recipe I tried from this program is the Hearty Beef and Butternut Squash Stew …it’s simple, tasty and a great item for your weekly meal prep!

Just chop up all of your ingredients, follow the direction and let it do it’s thing while you prep some Egg Muffins for breakfast, measure out your carrots and hummus for snack or make some Turkey Meatloaf for quick a quick and healthy dinner.

hearty beef and butternut squash stew prep

Tell me the colors of this dish don’t have you drooling. I dare you!

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds raw lean beef stew meat, boneless, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium organic beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add beef; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until beef is brown.
  3. Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  4. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  5. Add tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, salt, pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 40 minutes.
  6. Add squash; cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 12 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and beef is fork tender.
  7. Remove bay leaf; serve topped with parsley.

CONTAINERS: 1 red 1 green

This stew was awesome as is, but would be even better if you have a yellow container available for potato, rice or a slice of bread….something to soak up all of the tasty liquid and fill you up a tiny bit longer. I found myself getting hungry a little before the 2 hour mark, but that could just be me. My body always performs better when it has a truly balanced meal, which means adding some carbs.

Listen to you body and adjust things as you go. However, make sure you know the difference between your body truly needing that carb and your brain just thinking it needs it. There is a difference and if you struggle with emotional eating at all, I highly recommend a book called “Life is Hard, Food is Easy” by Linda Spangle. It was a very informative read that address our thought process when it comes to food and how we tie our emotions into it.

If you give this recipe a try, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, especially if you tweak it all.

As always, I have new accountability groups starting every few weeks for 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme. If you have been wanting to try them and have questions about them, I’d be more than happy to answer them for you and help you see if it would be a good fit for YOUR lifestyle.

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Meal Prep 101

MEALPREP101b
Meal prepping is a life saver for me. It allows me to stay on track with my nutrition goals and it helps to save a lot of time during the week.

By taking some time on a Saturday to make a meal plan for the week and then go grocery shopping, I not only form a plan for my week, but I save money! When you sit down and plan out what you’re going to eat for the week, you take the guess work out of grocery shopping and cut down on impulse buys.

Sundays are typically my prep days. I take the plan I’ve created along with the recipes and go to work in the kitchen. On average, this takes me about 1-2 hours (including clean up) depending on what I am making for the week. That’s not a lot of time when you consider that you’re prepping your entire week. By taking the time to prep, you’ll also never stand in front of the fridge, staring inside of it, wondering what you’ll eat when you’re hungry. That’s in itself makes prepping totally worth it!

MealPrep101

 

Here are some Meal Prep 101 tips to get started:

1. Find what works for YOU.  Some people will shop and prep all of their food for the week in one afternoon. Others find it more manageable to prep the night before for the next day. Meal prepping is all about making YOUR life easier, so experiment and see which method fits your lifestyle best. Personally, I prep enough food on Sundays to make it through to at least Wednesday or Thursday, then I repeat.

2. It’s okay to start small.  If you’re new to food prep, begin with prepping just one series of meals. Think about which meal for the day is your toughest (which one will you most likely skip or grab drive-thru for?) and start there. If breakfast is your downfall, consider whipping up a batch of these Egg Muffins or making some Overnight Oats. Does lunch send you to the drive-thru? Consider prepping some Mason Jar salads or a big pot of Turkey Chili to get you through the week. Once you have mastered that one meal, add on one more!

3. Prep BEFORE putting the groceries away.  If you begin your prep work as soon as you get home from the grocery store, you can save yourself the hassle of having to put everything away twice! You’ll be more motivated to prep foods while they’re still sitting on the counter then you will to have to pull them all out again after you just put them away. I like to wash and chop my vegetables, breakdown family packs of meat (buying family packs is a money saver!) and ration out nuts, fruits and other snack items. By doing this I have snacks and recipes ingredients ready to go when I’m hungry!

4. Keep your meal plan and recipes within arms reach.  This is a habit I got into during my first round of 21 Day Fix. I began hanging my meal plan for the week right on my fridge so I could see it whenever I walked into the kitchen. This kept me organized and on track. If I was hungry, my next meal with right in front of my face (and prepped and waiting in the fridge) and it allowed me to double check I had everything I needed for the next days meals. (Let’s face it…sometimes we think we have garlic or chili powder but we don’t!) 

Click here a printable meal planner to get your started.

5. This is not an all-or-nothing task.  Don’t think you need to wash, chop and pre-cook everything for an entire week in one shot. It’s best to ease yourself into this new habit. Maybe your first step with be making a meal plan and just shopping for it. Next you’ll conquer that one troublesome meal and then maybe you’ll graduate into a half week prep. Prepping and portioning food for cooking later, or even for one weeknight meal is better than doing nothing at all.

If there is one thing I’ve learned over my last five years of trial and error, it’s that mastering one small change before moving on to the next one is key. When you try to change too much at once, you can become overwhelmed and give up on everything.

kitchen tools

Some items you’ll need to successfully meal prep:

  • Glass or plastic containers with lids: Wide mouth mason jars are great options. If you opt for plastic, make sure they’re BPA-free!
  • Ziptop bags: These come in many different sizes and they even make colored sandwich size ones which are PERFECT for 21 Day Fix.
  • Basic Cookware: A skillet, soup pot and at least 2 saucepans should be enough for you to prep. Baking trays /cupcake pans will also come in handy.
  • Measuring Cups/Spoons: These are needed for most recipes and will be important for portion control.
  • Knives/Vegetable Peeler/Grater: Those veggies aren’t going to chop and peel themselves!
  • Aluminum Foil/Plastic Wrap/Parchment Paper: These help to cut down on clean up and as well as storing your prepped meals.

Of course as you embrace working in the kitchen more, you’ll look to add items like a good blender (not the $10 one you can get at Target when Back-to-School dorm life items roll around) and food processor (doesn’t have to be top of the line) as well as a cast-iron pan, griddle or grill pan. Oh and a zoodle maker would be good too….if you’re into that type of thing. The world of kitchen gadgets is never ending and I’d own a lot more if I had a larger kitchen!

I could go on and on about meal prep, seriously! There is so much that can be discussed, but I think this is a really good starting point. I can always do another post with some step-by-step advice as well as some meal prep hacks if you’re short on time. If you would like more info on meal prepping, comment below and let me know!

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10 Ways Yoga Can Reduce Stress and Make You Happy

10 ways yoga can reduce stress and make you happy
I have always had a love hate relationship with yoga but there are two things I can’t deny: When I do yoga I feel less stressed and as a result, I feel more happy. There is also the realization that I lack flexibility and might be a descendant of the Tin Man’s, but that’s another topic.

Here are 10 Ways Yoga Can Reduce Stress and Make You Happy:

1. Increase Your Happiness. Yoga increases the production of serotonin (happy feelings) and decreases cortisol (stress) production. As a result, you get an extra boost of happy feelings and the stressful feelings seem to magically go away. This can help you to be a happier, healthier , more positive person.

2. Decrease Mood Swings. Yoga can help regulate hormones, lowers your blood pressure, and connect you to your emotions with heightened mindfulness. By practicing yoga you can reduce the likelihood of negative emotions sneaking up at you out of nowhere.

3. Decrease Anxiety and Stress. During yoga, you are encouraged to relax, slow your breathing, and focus on the present moment. This shifts you from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) to the parasympathetic system (relaxation response). The result? A slower heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and lowered cortisol. (See how all three of these tie in together?) Focusing on the present moment also reduces all of the “what-if’s” that can bring on stress and anxiety.

4. Get a Better Night’s Sleep. Yoga increases the production of melatonin in the body. Melatonin helps to give you a sense of calm and well-being so when your head hits the pillow, you can drift off to dreamland.

5. Lower Your Blood Pressure. Yoga is a marriage of movement and breath. Research has proven that exercise, meditation, and breath exercises can all help lower blood pressure without medication. With yoga, you’re getting all three for the price of one…Score!

6. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone. Yoga is a great way to learn what your body is capable of. If you keep up your practice you will be amazed at what your body can do. I was always afraid of trying “Hot Yoga” but it was an amazing experience…one I need to get back to.

7. Lose Weight. You can drop pounds by practicing yoga and let’s face it, that can bring on feelings of happiness and reduce stress. Yoga regulates hormones, including the stress one called cortisol, which is the culprit behind that stubborn belly fat. It also helps you to release trapped emotions, so you are less likely to emotionally binge on a bag of chips, pint of ice-cream or other processed foods.

8. Create A-ha Moments. Yoga allows you to relax your mind. When we do this, we are able to block out all of the things we think we “need” to do. As a result, the mind quiets so that all the thoughts and creativity that are sitting on the back burners of your mind can float to the surface.

9. Learn Discipline. By starting a consistent practice, you teach yourself the art of discipline. When you map out a specific time of day for your practice, you begin to schedule your life and as a result, a lot of stress disappears because there is less “unknown” throughout your day.

10. Meet New People. Yogis can be some of the most nonjudgmental, relaxed people you can meet. They tend to take responsibility for their bodies, minds, and emotions, so it really cuts back on the drama. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is very important, especially if your goal is to reduce drama and negativity in your life.

These are just a few of the benefits that yoga has to offer and why I plan on incorporating more of it into my routine.

Want to start reducing your stress and bring on the happiness? Check out this 10 Minute Yoga for Stress video by Erin Motz (and check out her other videos on YouTube…she’s got some great ones!)

 

 

Do you have a favorite at-home yoga DVD that you use? Is there a yoga class that has changed your life? Please share with me below so I can check them out!

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5 Reasons Why I Prefer Working Out At Home

5 Reasons Why I Prefer Working Out at Home

The gym has never been my thing. I’ve always wanted it to be, but I just don’t feel comfortable there.

This “gym fear” of mine, most likely stems back to a bad experience I had back when I was overweight and joined a gym in an attempt to do something about my habits. The classes were filled with fit women who had rhythm and I was the polar opposite, so I never attempted a class. I would go and walk on the treadmill for awhile before going over the machines to try and figure them out.

One day, I was on the treadmill doing my thing and I noticed a few of the ladies looking and me and snickering. I began to feel self conscious and with good reason. I lowered the music playing through my headphones and heard this group of ladies making fun of my weight. I was absolutely mortified and couldn’t wait to get out of there.

You would think the fact that I was at the gym trying to correct my weight would be commended, but that was not the case. Looking back I hate that I let these shallow ladies get to me. I allowed their close mindedness stop me from ever returning to a gym. As a matter of fact, I drove to the grocery store on my way home and bought a container of ice-cream to drown my sorrows in.

However, the silver lining to this story is that I eventually returned to my mission of getting into shape…but this time I did it all at home!

Here are my top 5 reasons why I prefer working out at home:

1. You don’t have to deal with shallow people who will judge you. When you workout at home, it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a neon green polka dot sports bra with striped leggings. No one will snicker that your hair looks like a squirrel made a nest in it. Hell, you can wear your pajamas if you want to. All that matters is that you show up and focus on your workout.

outfit woes

2. When you’re done with your workout, you can lie on the floor like someone just shot you and curse all you want. Well…as long as your children aren’t around for that last part. I can’t tell you how many Insanity or leg day workouts I completed and then just collapsed onto the floor and stayed there for awhile. You can’t do that at the gym. You’d be in people’s way, you’d get stepped on and if you cursed like I do during some parts of my workouts, you’d probably get thrown out.

post workout

3. You don’t have to clean anyone else’s sweat off of the equipment before you use it. Let’s face it, people are rude and don’t always think about the person who will be using a machine after them. Despite complimentary towels and signs everywhere telling people to use them on the machine and to wipe them down when they’re done, most don’t listen. Working out at home means you only have to deal with your own germs….unless you workout with your spouse, but that’s a totally different circumstance, right?

sweat equipment

4. You never have to face the bitter cold early in the morning or get soaked by the rain. I don’t know many people who want to leave their warm bed, get into workout clothes, scrape off their windchill and freeze their ass off in order to go get their sweat on. If you do enjoy that, hats off to you…you’re my new hero. When you workout at home, you can’t use the weather as an excuse. Ever.

ain't nobody got time for this

5. Class schedules don’t dictate YOUR schedule. This is hands down my main reason for working out at home. When you workout at home, your schedule is just that, YOURS. You don’t have to check with the gym to ensure the class you’ve been wanting to do is still on. You don’t have to wake up extra early to do it because it’s only available at a specific time or worse yet, put your workout off all day because the class you love is only offered at night. Let’s not even get started on gym hours. Why do they close early on weekends?! Bonus reason: If you’re a mom, you can fit your workout in around your child’s nap time and not have to worry about gym childcare and what germs may be lurking in there.

gym closed

I know that my gym experience isn’t the case for most people and many love going and feel very comfortable. This is just my experience and as bitter as I may sound about it at times, I’m actually really grateful it happened. It allowed me to try something I always felt skeptical about and completely changed my life.

If it wasn’t for my experience at the gym, I may have never tried P90X or any of the other programs I went on to complete. I may have never lost over 100 pounds and decided to become a personal trainer, as well as an on-line accountability coach. My life took a path I never expected it to take and it may be because of that experience. Who knows! All I know is that everyone has a fate or destiny in life and we are introduced to it in many different ways.

Have you ever wanted to try an at-home fitness program but didn’t know where to start? If so, I would love to speak with you more and help you find one that would be a good fit for your goals.

Comment below or shoot me a message on Facebook and I’d be more than happy to help you. I host monthly accountability groups to keep you on track and I’ll also guide you through making a meal plan, too!

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Filed under Fitness Inspiration, Health & Fitness

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip Banner
Let’s face it, the best part about making chocolate chip cookies is licking the spoon. I don’t care that there is raw egg in it and I’m willing to roll the dice on getting sick. It’s just that good.

On the flip side, I can truly live without all of the sugar, butter and other “evil” ingredients that go into chocolate chip cookies.

That my friends is where this recipe comes in.

I’m sure you’ve seen this on Pinterest a million times and much like the Energy Bites I blogged about yesterday, you’ll find tons of variations on this too.

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip a

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter. almond butter – or allergy-friendly sub
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • heaping 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Drain beans, rinse extremely well, and pat dry. Process all ingredients except chips in a strong food processor until completely smooth. Stir in chips. Cover leftovers and store in the fridge.

 

Who knew the chickpeas could be so versatile?! I certainly never would have thought to turn them into a cookie dough dip. Hats off and a million thanks to the genius who did!

I enjoyed this as a dip for my apple…and I may have shoved a few spoonfuls into my face as well. I think this is a great, protein filled alternative to actual cookie dough and it would make a great dessert dip for parties too!

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Have you tried making Healthy Cookie Dough Dip before? Did you a recipe like this or one that uses oats as well? If you’ve tried both, which did you enjoy more?

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Filed under Health & Fitness, Recipes, Snacks & Treats

Energy Bites

Energy Bites.jpg
Every afternoon I find myself looking for something…

A cup of coffee? A cookie? A nap?

I don’t know what it is but 2:30-3:00 pm is a tough time of day for me. I try my hardest to avoid that cup of coffee, because as good as it will taste, I will kick myself come 9:00 pm when I’m trying to relax for bed and my brain is going a million miles a minute thanks to the caffeine that seems to linger in my body. As for the cookie… well… most days I do have my Banana Oatmeal Cookies on hand, but they don’t always satisfy my craving.

Thank goodness Pinterest was invented. A while back I found a recipe for Energy Bites and they became a staple in my fridge. Then I got lazy and stopped making them.

Last week I was heading to over my friends house to help her take some photos and she told me to bring something to photograph for my blog as well. (As you can tell from most of my photos, I use my phone to take them. While I’m getting better at it, it’s not the same as using a DSLR.) As my brain started scrambling for something I could quickly “make & take” I remembered these little life savers.

Much to my dismay, the link I had on the old post no longer worked and while Pinterest has tons of these gems, I couldn’t find one that looked right. Thankfully I rarely clean out my junk drawer, so I dug through it, hoping to find the piece of paper I had scribbled the recipe on…and I did, but it was ripped, so I tried to fill in the gaps and came up with these, which were perfect to me.

Energy Bites Square

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  2. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  3. Makes about 20-25 balls.

Don’t be afraid to have fun and experiment with these. Swap out the chocolate chips for some dried cranberries or raisins. Toast the coconut or add some chia seeds to the mix. Changing the type of nut-butter you use will change the flavor profile too!

*If you are doing the 21 Day Fix, you can use these as a yellow container treat. I would count 2 of them as a serving.*

Have you ever tried making Energy Bites? There are sooooooo many different versions of these out there, I would love to hear of variations you’ve tried and liked.

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Filed under 21 Day Fix, Health & Fitness, Recipes, Snacks & Treats