Category Archives: Diet Questions

Low Carb Chocolate PB Waffle Stack

I was seriously craving some waffles today, so I went to a trusty low carb waffle recipe, & tweaked it a bit. This recipe is floating around all over the internets, & the great thing about it is that you can use it as a great base for ANY type of macro plan (high fat/low carb/high protein) etc. I’d just add to it in whatever way you need, and voila! I wanted a chocolate + PB combo, so I used my Ideal Lean Chocolate Brownie protein powder as my base.
MUNCHER CRUNCHER CHOCLATE PB WAFFLE STACK

MIX TOGETHER:
1 scoop of Ideallean chocolate brownie protein powder 
1 tsp of baking powder
1 egg
a couple of splashes of water (to make the consistency how you like it.

If you are eating #keto, I’d add some heavy cream here instead)
a dash or two of cinnamon
Pour into your waffle iron (make sure that it’s greased or sprayed so it won’t stick.) BE CAREFUL HOW MUCH YOU ADD! The baking powder REALLY makes this “grow” once it starts baking. My waffle iron is small, so i split my batter into two waffles & then stack em up.
I also would recommend you make sure they are kinda crispy. I think it makes the texture better. Top them however you’d like!! I topped mine with some Kroger Natural PB (It’s the lowest in net carbs) & some low carb syrup, & then I enjoyed every bite! 😊  For just the base of this recipe it’s 152 calories 4.8 F | .6 C (.4 net carbs) | 26.3 P

 

Eat Fat to Lose Fat? Ketogenic Eating Part 2

It’s been about 4 months since I started down this ketogenic path; well…4 weeks & 10 days to be exact. I’ve eaten this way through my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I tell you this not to brag, (by any means) but to let you know I’m still alive…and still sticking with it…and still quite happy with the process. 🙂

I’ve had a LOT of you who have questions regarding this method of eating, and quite a few of you who’ve decided to take the keto plunge yourself. If you haven’t read my first post on WHY I decided to start eating in a ketogenic way, and the method behind the madness read HERE first. It will help give you a proper introduction into this post. I hope that through my past few months of experience, trial & error, & researching, I can give some support, information, and answers to those who might be seeking it.

What I’ve learned thus far in the process…

  1. I personally, am prone to NOT eat enough fat. As far as my macronutrient percentages, I shoot for 80% fat in my diet. For someone who is used to eating high protein, (and who doesn’t naturally have an affinity for things like cheese…) I find myself still reaching for those lean options. It’s a total mindset change for me to be sure to get fat in first with regards to meal prep. It makes a HUGE difference. It is key to get enough fat. It is THE key.
  2. It is VERY beneficial to properly test your ketones. Without testing, you don’t have a way to know if you’re eating correctly. I would recommend testing with a blood glucose testing meter like THIS ONE. If your ketones are low, you know you need to switch something up in your diet. There are other methods of ketone testing (breath & urine strips) However, they tend to be less accurate.
  3. It is FAR better to stick to REAL healthy food options, even though there might be a barrage of “low carb” no calorie, artificially sweetened options. I see a lot of people get really excited about how easy eating Keto is going to be because they see a lot of options for “low carb” treats. Yes, they can be a great OCCASIONAL way to curb the sweet tooth, but the less artificial sweeteners the better. It’s better to just stick to real food, and not try so hard to fit in all the extra “treats.” Those are the foods that tend to lead to what is called “carb creep..” a few carbs here a few there, and before you know it, you’re not in ketosis. Things are called “treats” because they should be a treat…not an every day occurrence. Even things like gum or sugar free candies might surprise you with how the carb count adds up.
  4. This process has allowed me to decrease my body fat, and lose weight. So, yes…I’ve been eating fat in order to lose fat. As I explained in my first post, despite the fact that I am cutting out carbs to a high degree, it’s necessary to have fuel still. I’m just trading where my fuel source is coming from. Instead of using glucose to fuel my body, i’m using fat. I’m trying to re-train my body to become fat adapted…and it’s working. I won’t give you my exact number of lbs, mainly because it will be different for everyone according to what you have to lose.
  5. There are SO many different methods of eating this way when you search info on ketogenic eating on the internet. I would highly recommend working with someone who knows what they are doing to make sure you are doing it correctly. It can save time and misspent effort. I offer meal plans to those who are interested.
  6. Salt replacement is ABSOLUTELY KEY. This is especially true for those who are working out. With cutting out processed foods, salt intake is cut down dramatically. Insulin signals salt retention in the kidneys. When insulin levels aren’t elevated, the body doesn’t retain that salt, it actually excretes it. That being said, your body NEEDS salt to function. So, you must replace it. Drinking broth is a great way to do this. Those who start out eating this way might experience what is called the “keto flu” initially as the body is becoming depleted of it’s glucose stores, and the best way to combat this is through salt replacement.

The questions that I get on a regular basis…

  1. So..what’s the next step? Are you going to eat like this forever? My answer…I’m honestly still not sure. I’m over 4 months in, and i’m really taking this process a week at a time. Each week I test my ketones, reevaluate what needs to be shifted, and keep moving forward. I’m not where I want to be yet, goal-wise, so I’m still focusing on getting there. However, I’ve been studying a lot on ketogenic carb cycling for the future, and that might be a route I take if I feel like it might be beneficial to me. I guess I don’t fully have an answer there, but in the mean time I’m enjoying the processes I am in. I’m hoping to correct some health issues, and get my body working properly again.
  2. But, I thought eating fat was bad for your cholesterol…heart…insides…etc. Turns out a LOT of the information that we’ve had through the years telling us to fear fat may be a bit off. The more I study this information, the more I realize that it is the combination of excess calories & sugar (coming from actual sugar as well as carbohydrates) WITH the large amounts of fat that people are eating that are causing most of the problems. I’m eating a low carb, high fat diet, and my health stats are great. In addition to that my weight is decreasing, as well as my body fat.
  3. Are you still able to go out to eat?? Absolutely. I have simply had to figure out ways to ditch the carb heavy options for other low carb substitutions. For example…I’ll order chicken fettuccine alfredo, but instead of noodles I’ll have them sub broccoli or brussel sprouts. I’ll check w/the location on their salad dressing stats, and if it doesn’t contain sugar i’ll get a cobb or cesar salad. Those who like beef could order a steak w/a side of veggies topped with melted butter. Fajitas are a great options with the meat, cheese, veggies, guacamole, & sour cream…just ditch the tortillas. You get it. I will say that I have found myself cooking at home a lot more because I like to know exactly what is going into what i’m eating. I’ve found a ton of awesome recipes on pinterest, and pinned them on my Ketogenic board HERE.
  4. What do you eat all the time? My day typically goes like this
    • 8 oz heated up chicken broth + 2 tbs heavy cream in the morning (This tides me over until lunch, & helps with the intermittent fasting, which drives the ketones up)
    • Lunch: Low carb chocolate protein shake with added fats (heavy cream & MCT oil)
    • Snacks: (if hungry, a lot of the time i’m not) string cheese, veggies dipped in low carb ranch, cheese wisps, hard boiled egg, fat bombs, pickles, 1/2 a questbar if i’m really in a pinch.
    • Dinner: some combo of a hearty amount of fat + protein … Chicken Alfredo over zoodles, chicken broccoli & cheese bake, green chile chicken soup, cauliflower crust pizza, etc.
  5. Do I think this way of living is maintainable. I actually do. Does it require some effort, and some mind set changes in some areas…absolutely. However, Once you get into a routine it’s really not that difficult to maintain. HOWEVER…and this is a big however…It’s not something I think you should do for a couple days and then ditch on the weekends. In order for your body to actually enter into nutritional ketosis, you need to eat this way consistently. You need to decide to make it a lifestyle change, and not just a day to day decision.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say on the topic in the future. This is still a learning process for me as well. I’m just happy to share with you as I go along, and hopefully help some along the way as I do! 🙂

CREAMY GREEN CHILE CHICKEN SOUP

I have always been a lover of all things Mexican food…There is just something about the flavors that call to me, I guess. I would say that prior to switching over to a Keto way of eating, I was probably eating some sort of Mexican food like 4-6 times a week, and that might be an underestimation. I realized the other day that I miss those flavors! I have enjoyed the new palate that I’ve been eating these past few months. However, I was in the mood for something Mexican…SO, between that thought process, & the mounds of snow piling up outside my window…I decided to come up with a new soup recipe. I was pumped with how this turned out. (I will also say that I fed this to my friends, and there wasn’t a drop left…so keto or not, I think everyone was on board.)  CREAMY GREEN CHILE CHICKEN SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

  • two 4 oz cans of Hatch’s green chiles (I used mild, but if you like spicy food you could use medium)
  • one 12 oz bottle of Victoria Green Taco Sauce (again I used mild here)
  • two 12.5 oz cans of Kirkland brand chicken breast (you could use a rotisserie chicken or cook/dice your own chicken if you would rather)
  • 8-12 oz chicken broth (depending on how thick you want your soup to be)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 2-4 tbs heavy cream (again depending on how thick you want it to be)

Combine all of these ingredients into a crock pot & cook on high for 1-2 hours. All of the ingredients are cooked, so it’s just a matter of everything combining, & the flavor coming together. If you were needing to leave this to cook while you are doing other things, you could put it on low for longer.

Top this with shredded cheese, avocado slices, sour cream, or whatever else you might like!

For those who are trying to keep this meal ketogenic, check the chiles and taco sauce you are using. Some brands sneak some sugar in there. You want yours to only have 1-2 carbs. Enjoy!

 

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Zoodles

Since I’ve started this Keto eating process, I think this recipe has become one of my favorites. It’s SO easy, filling, & very versatile as well. CREAMY CHICKEN & BROCCOLI ZOODLES

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups of broccoli florets
  • 3-4 cups of cauliflower florets
  • 2 TBS coconut oil
  • chicken broth (if needed)
  • 1/2-1 TBS basil
  • 1/2 -1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4-1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 7-8 oz of cooked chicken (you can use a Costco can of chicken breast if you want to speed things up)
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 4-6 cups zoodles (1 medium zucchini makes about 1 cup of zoodles)

In a large saucepan, combine broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, & coconut oil. Add to that the basil, garlic salt, onion powder, & ground pepper. Cover & cook until broccoli & cauliflower are cooked through. If you need more moisture, add some chicken broth to the veggies. You really could add any vegetables here, making this dish super versatile. While the broccoli & cauliflower are cooking, cook the zoodles in a separate saucepan. Combine the butter & zoodles over medium heat. Season with some salt and pepper. These don’t take too long to cook, so be sure not to cook them too long. Once they start to become see through, take them off the heat, & they’ll finish cooking while the rest of the dish finishes.

Once the broccoli & cauliflower are almost completely cooked, add in the chicken, cream cheese, heavy cream, & parmesan cheese. Stir together, until combined. Do not over stir, or the veggies will become mush. Taste, and add more of the seasonings if need be.

Serve up the creamy veggies & chicken over zoodles, & enjoy! g This dish actually reheats really well. It’s a crowd pleaser! Low carb, gluten free, full of flavor, keto-friendly, & SO delicious!! 

Insulin Resistance & Ketosis…Part One

Well. As promised…I’ve finally collected some of my thoughts on this process I’ve been going through. I hope it answers some of your questions. Chances are it will raise some new ones for some of you, which I hope to be able to answer. Here goes nothing. 😉 muncher_cruncher

I’ve taken my time writing this post for a variety of reasons. One, I wanted to be sure I had a firm grasp on the process that I’ve been going through for the past 9 weeks. Two, I wanted to understand the science behind it. I hate fad diets. In fact, I actually HATE the word, “diet.” I believe in lifestyle changes; in sustainability. If a crazy attempt at weight loss isn’t sustainable. I won’t endorse it. End of story. Lastly, I wanted to wait and see how my body responded to this process before I gave you the full rundown. I can tell you honestly, I feel like this lifestyle might be the answer to many problems, weight loss issues, & overall health concerns for a lot of you. I’m still in the thick of it, no question, but I want to share at least this first part of my journey.

Let’s fast forward to about ten weeks ago. I made an appointment to see my doctor, which is unusual in and of itself. I rarely go to the doctor. I have been lucky to stay healthy enough that I haven’t had to go in often. However, I was about at my tipping point. Having been in the health and fitness field for over ten years, I feel like I’ve been forced to get to know my body very well. It has always been stubborn. I’ve never been one of those people who could eat whatever they wanted, & “get away with it.” While some might not believe it, I’m actually naturally drawn to healthy foods. I have always really loved fruits and vegetables. I was the weird kid that asked my mom if I could bring cut up veggies, & salads in my packed lunch. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all sorts of sugary junk food too…I have a sweet tooth like you wouldn’t believe, but for the most part, a lot of my favorite foods are naturally healthy ones. I have also been through ups and downs with my weight, and in coming to know my body I have found what feels comfortable for me…at my height, and with my build.

SO, back to 10 weeks ago…prior to my making my appointment I’d seen some drastic changes in my body over the past year. Things that had changed for me…my weight increased, my body fat increased, I was feeling exhausted, I wasn’t sleeping well, I felt like I was extremely snacky, and I had some weird dizzy/almost blacking out spells. A lot of it I brushed under the rug because…I get up early…being tired is kind of part of that. Not sleeping well tends to run in my family…etc It’s easy to try and push those types of things away. However, the weight gain I was not ok with. I workout pretty hard as it is, and I was eating very clean. The fact of the matter is that my caloric intake hadn’t increased, my sugar intake hadn’t increased, and my exercise hadn’t decreased. Scientifically, the math just wasn’t adding up. In fact, I started to add in MORE exercise and tracked & restricted my calories more, desperately trying to make my body do what it SHOULD have been doing. Turns out I’m in the fitness industry, and there is a lot of pressure on me to look a certain way. Like I said, I knew my body was stubborn prior, but this was different. Not only were things not responding positively, they were responding negatively. Which might makes sense as to why I was at a bit of tipping point…

I had done a lot of research on what the problem could be, and decided that I should at least get my blood work done to eliminate some possibilities. So, it was to the doctor I went. I had a full check up…blood work and everything. The results came back to show that all my hormone levels were normal. No signs of thyroid issues. However, my blood glucose levels were abnormally high. My doctor went on the tell me that my results were showing that I had somehow become insulin resistant, and that he wanted me to go and work with a specific dietician who he thought could help me reverse this issue.

At this point I will be honest. I was one hundred percent skeptical. I have studied a LOT about food and dietary intake. While I’m not a registered dietitian. I have put a lot of time into learning about how the food we eat affects us. I was actually quite curious as to what this dietician might have to say that I hadn’t heard before. Turns out I had a fastball coming at me.

I sat down and learned that I wasn’t alone in my current state. It’s actually thought that about half of the United States is insulin resistant, due in LARGE part to our common diet. The program that was introduced to me was completely based around controlling my insulin levels, similar to the ketogenic diet, the goal was to retrain my body to become insulin sensitive again…and in doing so to re-train it to utilize fat as the main source of energy.

I instantly began studying the topic. What I was hearing made sense. However, for me, making any health or lifestyle change has to be backed by reason and understanding…and for the record, “So and so just lost 10 lbs in 5 days,” is not what I’d call a reason. I need to know the science.

So… here is a snippet of what I learned..Insulin resistance means the body has stopped responding to the hormone insulin. Insulin’s role in the body is that of storage of glucose and fat. It also helps our cells function as they should. If there is too much insulin in the body (commonly a result of the food we eat) the body starts to become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance very likely means inefficiency in how the cells of the body are working & excess fat storage. Sugars & carbohydrates are the foods that will spike insulin.

Let me try & break it down simply…We eat food. The food that we eat raises our blood sugar to a certain extent (depending on the sugar/carbohydrate content) The pancreas responds to raised blood sugar by releasing insulin. Insulin tells the muscle, liver, & fat cells to take up the blood sugar and remove it from the blood. If this process happens excessively, the muscle and the fat cells stop listening to the pancreas…and all gets sent to fat storage. This is insulin resistance. The longer this goes on, the “louder” the pancreas tries to get the point across…releasing more & more insulin. This makes the body extremely inefficient. Anytime the blood sugar is raised, the pancreas will give an exaggerated insulin response. Elevated insulin levels stop the body from utilizing fat as a fuel. IN SHORT: insulin keeps fat in the fat cells, where they are NOT utilized as fuel. This isn’t good…in fact it is the gateway to a HANDFUL of other chronic & deadly diseases, but that is another post for another day.

So, I was told, that in order to reverse this spiking, I needed to maintain a consistent diet of foods that don’t increase insulin levels, (namely fats). This was to the be the start of reversing my insulin resistance issues.

What did this look like for me?

Well…this is where the curveball came at me. I was told that I needed to base my diet primarily around fat. I needed to focus on eating in a low carbohydrate, high fat way. In doing so, I would stop my body from eliciting an insulin response. This would put my body in a state of ketosis.

Many people stress at hearing that word because they confuse it with ketoacidosis. Nutritional based ketosis is controlling the body’s insulin response, resulting in a the generation of fatty acids, known as ketones. This means the body is in a state of burning fat. Diabetic & alcoholic ketoacidosis is a metabolic state of toxicity. It occurs when the body fails to regulate ketone production and those ketones become out of control. The blood becomes acidic, and can be deadly. A nutritional state of ketosis will not default into ketoacidosis because the body has regulatory feedback loops that will prevent it from doing so.

When eating in a nutritional, ketogenic way, ketones are measured. A high amount of ketones denotes a low amount of insulin. this is what is desired with this process. So, is eating this way safe & healthy? Yes.

Whoa…that’s a lot of sciency talk…I just want to try and give the background explanation as to why this process made sense to me. I wanted you to understand why I felt like this was a process I wanted to pursue.

Now on to what you really want to know? How is going..

I’m happy to say that I have really enjoyed eating the way that I am, and it’s been a very positive experience for me. The first couple weeks were definitely an adjustment. It’s common for people to feel what is considered a “keto flu,” lethargic/tired/low energy/etc…which I did. It makes sense. You are basically starving the body of carbohydrates for a few days, which it is NOT used to. I had to allow for time for my body to make the shift to relying on fat stores for fuel.

I had to re-set my habits. I had to build my meals around fat. This was a change for me, mostly because I’m not a lover of high fat foods like cheese & butter that many people are MORE THAN HAPPY to eat. However, I’m adapting…and I’ve come up with some BOMB recipes.

My energy levels have returned, which means my body is working toward utilizing fat as fuel. I have become more of an intuitive eater, and less of a snacker. This actually is the most insane part to me. I never thought that this would be the case. Fat is a satiating food. So, eating mostly fat, means that I don’t feel hungry as often. I feel satisfied when I eat. In turn, I’m learning to listen to my body more. The people I have been working with challenged me to stop tracking my food, and to listen to my body. (From someone who could give you a record of my tracked macronutrients for the past…i don’t know…10 years…this seemed unbelievable.) I have actually let go of my journaling…it’s been so incredibly freeing. I don’t feel bloated like I used to on occasion. I am sleeping better…and I’ve dropped weight and body fat, which THRILLS me. I’m starting to feel like myself again, and I almost didn’t believe that was possible.

I’m still in this process, still learning, and still working to be where I want to be. However, I will absolutely say that I’m loving the path I’ve gone down so far. I’m excited to continue to learn more, and I hope that this will be something that I can utilize to help my clients, readers, & followers in the future! xoxoxo Megs

Chocolate Silk Pie (ketogenic + gluten free)

As I started this process of ketogenic eating, I knew that I was heading into the holidays. I knew that it would be a change to not have the option to be able to eat all the sweets. I usually am good at moderation, but I knew that sugar wasn’t an option regardless…SO I was so excited to find that there were some alternative options to the normal holiday goodies I usually enjoy. It actually became kind of fun to decide WHAT exactly I was going to make to go with my family’s Thanksgiving meal. I finally decided I was going to attempt to make something chocolate, and for whatever reason…a thick, creamy, chocolate silk pie just sounded perfect. I found a recipe on Ruled.me and adapted it to my liking. I’m not going to like…I was PLEASANTLY surprised with how this turned out. My family even liked it. 😉 PLUS, it’s gluten free for those of you who need it to be.

MUNCHER CRUNCHER KETOGENIC CHOCOLATE SILK PIE

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup swerve (or your choice granulated stevia/erythritol sugar substitute)
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • butter for greasing the pan

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 16 oz full fat cream cheese @ room temp
  • 4 Tbs full fat sour cream
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs vanilla
  • 1/2 cup swerve (or your choice of granulated stevia/erythritol sugar substitute)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3-4 tsp powdered swerve (or your choice stevia drops/sweetener for whipped cream)
  • 2 tsp vanilla for whipped cream

First you will need to make your crust. Preheat your oven to 375. Prep a 9 inch pie dish by greasing it. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients FOR CRUST. mix together. Soften butter, & add to dry ingredients. Mix it in w/a whisk or a fork until combined. It will be crumbly. Add to this mixture the egg & vanilla. Stir with fork until this dough becomes a firm ball. Work dough into pie crust. If the dough is sticking to your fingers, wet them with water slightly. Poke crust  several times with fork to prevent bubbling, and cook for about 10 mins. Remove from oven, and cover edges with tin foil to avoid them burning, return it to the oven to cook for about 6-8 more minutes, or until the crust appears to be golden brown. Set the crust out to cool completely. **As a side note, this crust was delicious. I actually don’t even usually like pie crust, & I’d use this again as a base for a dessert**

For the filling, place cream cheese, sour cream, butter, vanilla, swerve, & cocoa powder in a bowl. Mix together until the filling is fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together whipping cream until it thickens and forms peaks. Add to the cream the 3-4 tsp swerve, & 2 tsp vanilla. Continue to beat until the cream forms stiff peaks.

Fold a few spoonfulls of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and mix GENTLY, allowing the air bubbles to remain in the cream. This helps the pie to maintain a thicker consistency. Continue this process until all of the cream is folded in, and the mixture is mixed through. Scoop this filling into the pie, and smooth the top out. Cover completely, and allow this pie to chill in the fridge for a few hours. I made mine the night before, and it was PERFECT for dinner the next day. Top with whipped cream, and enjoy…very happily. For those who want to know, if you slice the pie into 10 slices…each slice has about (7 net carbs.)

Muncher Cruncher Crockpot Healthy Ranch Chicken

The crockpot can be one of the best tools for busy people trying to eat healthy. It require very little effort to dump some ingredients into a crockpot, & let it do the work for you while you are running around all day. We had this super easy, and very delicious, healthy ranch chicken this past Sunday for dinner. It was a hit!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

CROCKPOT HEALTHY RANCH CHICKEN : (serves 6)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 dry ranch dressing packet
  • 1 can of Healthy Choice cream of chicken soup
  • 8 oz of neufchâtel cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 dash paprika
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp parsley flakes

In a large crock pot, combine 4-6 chicken breasts with one dry ranch dressing packet. Cook on low for 4 hours, or until chicken is cooked through & falls apart.

Add in 1 can of Healthy Choice, Cream of Chicken soup, 8 OZ of neufchâtel cream cheese, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1 dash paprika, 1/8 tsp dried oregano, & 1/4 tsp parsley flakes. Cook for another 20-30 minutes until all ingredients combine.

Serve over brown rice or quinoa. We paired ours with some oven roasted veggies, & it made for the perfect meal!

NUTRITION BREAKDOWN: (for 1 serving) 25 g protein/12 g fat/6 g carbohydrates

Muncher Cruncher Chocolate Cinnamon Protein Balls

Whenever I’m really trying to be good with my eating, the hardest thing for me is always the snacky moments, those times in-between meals when all I want to do is walk in the pantry & eat all the things I see. These protein balls are a great way to help with those “I need a snack,” moments. Clean, full of good stuff, & delicious.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Muncher Cruncher Protein Balls: (makes 20 servings)

  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats (can use gluten free if needed)
  •  1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 TBS chia seeds
  • 2 TBS sugar free maple syrup (could use agave/honey/real maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup carob chips

Mix all ingredients together until combined completely. Use 1 TBS to scoop up balls. Place in fridge if you plan on eating them right away, or in freezer if you want them to last a bit longer.

Nutrition Facts: (per 1 ball) 82 cals, 4.7 g fat, 7.7 g carb, 1.5 g fiber, 2.1 g sugar, 3.2 g protein

Get the Summer Body You Meant to Get in April…of 2014…

I know that so many people have goals for their, “summer bodies.” It always makes me laugh a little because, while I realize you want to look awesome in your swimsuit, I always wonder why you don’t want to look and feel great all year round. I don’t know about you, but I find it a LOT harder to keep up the motivation in October-December when it’s cold & dark, & pumpkin flavored everything sugary seems to be raining from the sky. Maybe the goal shouldn’t just be to look great for 3 months out of the year, but to get that Christmas Body, one that can translate easily into your Valentines Body, your St. Patricks Day Body, that will roll nicely into your Easter Body…and will more than likely have you feeling fantastic when your 4th of July Body is on display. 😉 iloveit5

I guess what I’m saying is maybe it’s a better goal to strive to have a healthy attitude & healthy habits year round, that will translate nicely into helping you to look AND FEEL the way you want ALL YEAR ROUND. The following are some tips that will help to make this possible, because it is!

1. Make some LASTING dietary changes. Instead of going as strict as can be for 21 days…or 30 days…or whatever amount of days seems to be the magic number of the diet of the moment, make some changes in your life that will be lasting. For example: Decide to make a meal plan for the week, and structure your meals around healthy options, do some meal prep to make those meals happen. Choose to quick buying the vast amounts of processed foods/treats that always sounds like a good idea at the time. Include more fresh produce in your diet. Cut out the sugar.

2. Which brings me to #2….cut out the sugar. If there is ONE thing that I preach/and will continue to preach until i’m blue in the face, it’s to CUT OUT THE SUGAR. Excess sugar usually means excess caloric intake, which means excess fat storage, and more than likely means excess body weight. If you cut your sugar intake down, you will be doing yourself a BIG favor.

3. Increase your water intake. If you are drinking full-sugar drinks, stop. Drinking your calories is a terrible idea because it will not fill you up in any way, and it will increase your sugar intake a GREAT deal. Replace that sugary stuff with water. There are so many benefits of drinking water, one of which is assistance in weight loss. Try to drink 100 oz per day. I dare you.

4. Make exercise a regular habit, no questions asked. I know it’s not always fun, and I’m sure there are a long long list of reasons why you’d rather not…but the benefits that you’ll receive from a regular exercise routine are exponential. There are SO many different things you can do to be active. Find one that works for you. Find something that you will stick to. Find something that you can make a long lasting habit, not that you will be able to “handle” for two weeks.

5. Decide to make your LIFE healthier. Quite often when people are only trying to achieve a certain “look” it’s very short lived. It is far more likely that you’ll be able to create a routine you will stick to if you seek to really change your habits.

6. Stop lying to yourself. This might be the most important thing, harsh as it may seam. Stop sneaking bites, eating crappy food, having too many desserts, giving %50 to your workouts, skipping your workouts altogether….and pretending like it’s not going to effect you. I HATE to break it to you, but you can’t think yourself into a different way of life….without putting in the effort. Actually I don’t hate to break it to you. YOU CANNOT THINK YOURSELF INTO A DIFFERENT WAY OF LIFE WITHOUT PUTTING IN THE EFFORT!! I wish I could scream that from the roof tops. I work with a lot of people that want results without putting in the CORRECT amount of work/effort. It is just not going to happen. Period. The end. Stop skipping from one fad diet to the next, wanting an easy out. If it sounds too easy/too good to be true/too effortless…IT IS. If it was SOOOOO easy, do you think we would have such an unreal problem with obesity? Just some food for thought.

 

The Truth: No, I did not just wake up like this. My thoughts on motivation.

I have had a lot of people ask about what keeps me motivated, consistently making healthy choices, and on the track of health that I’ve made my lifestyle…so, I thought I’d address the topic. muncher_cruncher

My favorite (insert a GREAT deal of sarcasm here) things that people say to me are similar to the following…

  • “You are so lucky to be born with legs like that.”
  • “I wish I just only liked healthy food like you do. It’s not fair that you don’t crave unhealthy stuff. That must be SO much easier for you.”
  • “You are so lucky to have all the time in the world to work out. I bet if I had all the time you did, I’d be healthy too.”
  • And one of my personal favorites…”If only I was naturally fit like you are. You are really lucky to have those genetics.”

And on and on…you get the point. Now, let me just clear some things up real fast: I’m not writing this post to pat myself on the back, nor to say that I’ve reached some picture of fitness that is to be strived for. I still have LOTS of room for improvement & I have goals that I’m continually working for. I’m writing this post because I want to clear up some misconceptions about, “being fit,” and living a healthy lifestyle in general.

No, I was not just “born with legs like that,” I don’t “only like health food,” I certainly don’t have, “all the time in the world to workout,” & I am not just blessed with “fit” genetics. All of these things couldn’t be further from the truth actually.

Making exercise a habit is a choice. I hate to break it to you people, but most people are busy. Everyone could come up with some excuse or another as to why they don’t have time to workout on one day or another. Just to put things in perspective; I work full time most mornings I start 6 AM. When i’m not doing private training sessions with clients, running boot camp classes, and working with distance clients…I am writing programs, creating meal plans, answering an influx of questions, researching, and working on new healthy recipes. I’m telling you this so you understand that despite my schedule, I CHOOSE to work out 6 days a week. Some days I LOVE my workouts. It’s therapeutic, it feels awesome, and I feel accomplished.  Other days. I feel tired, it sounds hard, and I’m not as thrilled about it. HOWEVER, I have made it a habit. I have learned something. Exercise is like medicine for me. I need the daily movement. I think most people are the same way, or would be if they would get into the habit. I’m not saying you have to be %100 hard core all day, every day. I am saying that making time and effort for exercise is an absolute choice, and one that is worth making.

If you want results, you have to put in the time. I laugh at those shirts I see that say, “I just woke up like this,” because I think some people think that about those who are in shape. No. Actually, I didn’t just wake up like this…it’s not genetics. Unfortunately, society has allowed this notion that “genetics” is to blame for their weight gain, or their lack of muscle tone, etc. This is a misconception. Science actually will tell you that while your genetics will determine WHERE you gain weight, or where your body fat is distributed…but every choice YOU make for good or for bad is what is determining how you look/how healthy you are. Your decision to get up and work out or to skip your workout for some TV determines that. Your decision to eat an unhealthy meal vs your decision to eat a healthy meal determines that. I really try to teach my clients to take control of their decisions, own up to the truth and reality of their situation, and move forward making positive decisions…realizing that THEY are in complete control of how they look and feel. Or at least they can be. It is a choice. The truth, is that you are not just going to wake up like that. You have to wake up, and CHOOSE to be that way. eating4

Eating healthy is also a choice. I get asked all the time about if I ever just binge on crappy food. There are definitely occasions where I will eat things that I don’t consider, “healthy.” If you know me, you know how much I LOVE candy. I love sugar. I love cereal. I love ice cream. I love all sorts of foods that taste delicious. I’m a human after all. However, I really do choose to limit the intake of crap. The truth is, I’ve learned that eating whatever I want doesn’t bode well for me. I CHOOSE to eat healthy regularly. Truthfully, I also genuinely really do like vegetables, salads, grilled chicken, and other healthy options. I was the weird kid in elementary school that brought bagged veggies & salads for lunch. Weird, I know. However, just because I like healthy foods, doesn’t mean I don’t like the unhealthy stuff. I actually like it quite a bit.

So, how do I stay motivated? How do I consistently make healthy choices? I don’t have some healthy super power. Wouldn’t that be awesome though? Creating a healthy lifestyle really is a possibility for everyone if you really want it. The following tips may be helpful if you are wanting to create that healthy lifestyle for yourself.

  1. Start small. You might not be able to change everything all at once, but you can certainly start with one thing. Pick something to focus on: cut out the sugar, increase your veggie intake, stop eating out at unhealthy restaurants, drink more water, set a goal to workout for 30 mins every day, etc. Once you’ve mastered one thing, add in another positive habit. Establish habits, not just blips at attempts to change.
  2. Be consistent. One week of making good decisions is awesome, but most likely won’t show a ton of results right away. You have to be consistent for a while in order to see changes. Unfortunately, being consistent during the week can even be blown by three days of unhealthy habits on the weekends. Consistent…means consistent all the time.
  3. Find support. Get a workout buddy, enlist a significant other in a challenge, get your family on board, join a gym, find a group fitness class that you love….having a positive support group can be life changing when it comes to sticking with something.
  4. Make eating healthy taste good. You don’t have to dread all of your meals because they are “healthy” foods. Find ways to flavor & prepare foods that taste good to you. Don’t be afraid to try new options.
  5. Realize that eating out & eating healthy actually can be in the same sentence. It’s all in what you choose.
  6. Stop thinking that your current state is “just the way you are.” Change is always possible. It just depends on how willing you are to work at something.
  7. Make healthy a habit. One thing that has helped me consistently make positive choices is the fact that the changes that I have made are a lifestyle, not a 30 day program I’m gritting my teeth through…which will be followed by a lot of binging. Choose to live your life a different way. You may surprise yourself at how well you adapt.
  8. Do something to move every day. Even if it’s small. Your body will appreciate you for it.
  9. Realize that you aren’t just going to wake up like that…and that’s ok. However, you can wake up and choose to be “like that,” whatever that means. Fit people choose to be fit. They work at it. It’s also important to understand that “Fit,” isn’t a size, or a weight, or a certain shape…it’s an effort and a lifestyle. It’s a possibility for everyone.
  10. Consistency allows for more freedom. I realize that consistency sounds restrictive, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Because I am as consistent as possible the majority of the time, my body allows for treats every now and then, days off when I need them, and it doesn’t send me flying of course. I feel like this is the level of fitness that most people want to reach, a level where you feel great, where you are fueling your body well, where exercise is a habit, but where there is also a little wiggle room….where you can still live!

So, no…you probably won’t ever just, “wake up like that,” with no effort, but you surely can wake up and CHOOSE to be whoever you want to be! You have to find the place where your motivation comes from consistently making healthy choices.