health’s role in a family.

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There was a time not too far back when my husband and I would eat crappy, greasy dominos pizza…sometimes more than once a week, oof. A time when we both thought our cravings could only be fixed by the worst version of a comfort food. The idea of eating a “healthy” pizza was ridiculous, and there was no such thing. We didn’t think we could enjoy it the same way we enjoyed the grease and cheese. Besides we were young and it didn’t matter, right? I would always play it cool like I wasn’t horribly affected by my choice to eat that grease bucket, but the truth is I ALWAYS felt horrible inside and out afterwards, but I thought, “that’s just how it is…and this habit won’t last forever.” Well, the habit lasted long enough for me to really feel it in my body and my mind…to a point where I didn’t even want the crappy food but it was such a routine that I couldn’t stop, and again I thought..”that’s just how it is I guess.”

That is not how it has to be. It’s never too late to stop, flip it, reverse it, as Missy Elliott would say.

Now, years later, and through my journey as a health and wellness coach, I’ve broken those habits and I have learned that the healthier version of my favorite comfort foods are not only great to eat, but leave me feeling great too. I don’t feel like I’ve swallowed a loaf of bread, or inhaled a block of cheese. I feel like I enjoyed my food and fueled my body with all of the good nutrition it needs to give my body energy, life, and love. I’ve learned that you can have your cake and eat it too…you just have to get creative with it.

This is even more important to me now that I have a little one, who by the way, is starting to eat solids. Dun dun dunnnn! But now more than ever I’m paying attention to my food and what I eat. I want to be a good roll model for him, and I feel like it’s my duty for my roll to include the food we eat! I don’t want my son to grow up drooling over the quick fix foods that hide a bunch of sugar and high fructose in them to make him act like he’s on crack. I want him to grow up LOVING food, but the right version of it.

A lot of people think it’s too hard or inconvenient to eat healthier..but it doesn’t have to be at all. It all depends on priority honestly, and especially with children in the house, priorities should include food and a healthy diet. It’s all about getting creative! Finding fun ways to make healthy food DELICIOUS and exciting.

Above is a foodie before and after. A version of a pepperoni pizza I USED to eat on the left, and a Thai chicken pizza I just made the other night on the right (if you’re on my program a whole pizza counts for 1 lean and green meal + a healthy snack). Habits are hard to break…I know, I’ve been there, but think about your body, your mind, and how you want them to feel. Who’s ready to learn how to fuel their body with all of the good stuff without feeling restricted? Honestly, I wasn’t…not until I realized it wasn’t just about ME anymore, but about my family and how I want my kids relationship with food to be. So, I took the chance to change my mindset and learn how good healthy could taste and feel. I fell in love with it so much I decided to become a health coach to help others feel good too. So, the change is so worth it guys, and you don’t have to walk the path alone, but it’s all up to you…as I have learned.

P.S I’m totally terrified, but I’ve decided to be more present with bringing health and food into my blog, since that is what I do, haha. So let me know if you would like to learn more about my optimal health program and/or the pizza recipe I made! It’s totally yummy, and surprisingly easy to make, I promise!

slugging back into shape postpartum.

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Let’s just admit it, trying to get back in shape after months of moving like a sloth is so hard to find motivation to do no matter how athletic you claim to be. Before getting pregnant I was an avid boxer and runner with a pretty disciplined schedule, but as soon as that morning sickness and fatigue kicked in and the nesting and comfort food cravings arrived my exercise routine quickly dwindled. I didn’t beat myself up about it though, after all I was creating a tiny human, which is hard and exhausting work in itself.

Now that I am no longer carrying a large sack of potatoes in front of me and can once again see my toes, I have been trying to find the motivation to get back to working out. However, I do think it’s important for all mama’s (myself included) to remember that you did just pop out a human and it’s completely normal for your body to be exhausted. It’s also ok for it to take a while to get back to a full workout routine, or even have the strength and energy to do so. There are days I get up and don’t even know if I slept…night time is a blur and that morning cup o’ joe is my only true friend I look forward to seeing. So, there should be ZERO expectation for any of us to hit the ground running after waddling around for so many months.

Those celebrities who are running around a week after giving birth and looking like they never even carried a child is not a reality most of us have the luxury of experiencing. Hence, I have decided to block that shit out and start out slow, with small goals to achieve–the first one being to just get my ass on a walk. Not setting any expectation as to how long or far to go, just get out and go, that’s the only expectation.

I figured slowly as time goes on I would walk farther, longer, and more strenuously.

Easy enough.

This week was my first week back at it, and it’s been challenging to say the least. Some mornings the very idea of moving my body makes me want to throw a tantrum, so I stand there staring at the ground trying to convince myself that sitting on the couch breastfeeding all day and watching HGTV burns calories and builds muscle too. Then I realize my lazy attitude could easily become a pattern and a year from now I could still be staring at my feet and having the same daily internal battle–so, I finally get up and put on my running shoes.

So far each day I have walked a little bit farther and longer and have felt great doing it. The routine feels like it is sinking in. So, yesterday morning I decided I would try to run a bit. Once again not setting any expectation, just running as much as I felt comfortable with while pushing a baby in a stroller, it couldn’t be too hard I thought–HA!

Note to any new moms out there with the same naive ambitions as me: running with a jogging stroller is not the same as running by yourself and for me it requires mental and physical strength and determination to get through it without breaking down.

To every mom out there who can jog a stroller up a hill and make it look like it’s a skip in the park, I envy/loath/admire you. I felt like I was DYING. Huffing and puffing, panting and sweating, dodging curbs, cars and obstacles while a senior citizen walked passed me. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into and I quickly retracted my cocky attitude and replaced it with passive defeat…none the less I pushed through and survived, but realized I have some work to do and it is going to take me a while to do it, which secretly sucks.

This morning physically hurt, but the good kind of hurt where you actually consider putting yourself through the pain again. Hopefully the pain will morph into gain and eventually I’ll be one of those cool moms who can effortlessly jog with their baby…or not we’ll see how these next few days ago.

They say it takes 3 months to make a habit a lifestyle..so here’s to a long, painful three months of kicking my ass back into gear.

 

Good luck to all my fellow mama’s out there busting their butts to get back into shape. It is no easy task.

Please feel free to share successes or failures you’ve experienced so that I don’t feel so alone in this transition back to reality. Also if anyone has any tips or suggestions about how to run with a stroller I would love to hear them, because right now it terrifies me.

 

feeding your candy gremlin

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I love this time of year, Fall is full of the best weather, movies, and of course FOOD. However a lot of the food and delicious treats out there are really bad for you and can bring on the tummy wars like no other. I love being a healthy clean eater, mostly because I am highly sensitive to dairy and processed foods, but also because it’s just the lifestyle I prefer. However during my whole pregnancy this little kiddo inside of me has brought on the sweet tooth candy gremlin like no other. I eat a meal just so I can have dessert… seriously, who’s with me? When I walk into a grocery store I have this overwhelming impulse to run to the candy isle and grab all of the shitty treats I can carry. This all sounds well and good until I’m 3 snickers bar and mini twix bags deep and feel HORRIBLE. Then I remember why I don’t eat that stuff.

I love healthy good foods that make the body happy, and I love cooking them even more, but sometimes I don’t have all day to make this elaborate creation that also empties my bank account just to get the ingredients…sound familiar?

Sometimes I just want something simple, easy, and quick to take care of my unhealthy cravings. This is why I have started searching for easy, cheap and healthy alternatives to take care of my candy gremlin, and yours too!

I have posted a few simple recipes I found that are easy to make, with ingredients you mostly have, or won’t cost you much to get.

 

Reese’s peanut butter cups:

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First up I have the very simple and allergy sensitive (dairy free, nut free, soy free, egg free, shellfish free, gluten free) Reese’s peanut butter cups, because they are amazing. This recipe is super easy and is perfect for those lazy days.

All you need is:

  1. A jar of peanut butter, like this one (or if you’re feeling fancy and less lazy make your own by just blending peanuts and salt in a blender with a little bit of oil.)
  2. Chocolate- I use Enjoy Life chocolate chips, when I am not in the mood to make my own chocolate. These are the BEST chocolate chips I’ve had that are allergy sensitive. They can be found at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and some general grocery stores depending on where you live, or you can always order them online.
  3. Himalayan salt (optional).
  4. If you want to get really crazy add a layer of jelly to make them peanut butter and jelly cups.

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate chips and use mini cupcake trays and or liners and fill the bottom with desired amount of chocolate, I don’t usually put too much since there is more to come on the top. Put tray in the freezer until chocolate hardens.
  2. Add in layer of desired amount of peanut butter. Put in the freezer once again until peanut butter has hardened. This will help avoid a messy treat where the peanut butter oozes out of the sides and down the front of your shirt, which is what will happen if the butter doesn’t harden.
  3. Add last and final layer of chocolate and sprinkle a little salt on top (if desired). Put back in the freezer until everything has hardened and ENJOY!

 

Next up is snickerdoodles:

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Ok, so these ones are not so healthy because after all, they are sugar cookies…but I had to post them because they are such a hit! You can however make them so that there isn’t any dairy in them, and you can always substitute with gluten free flour and flax for the egg.

I’ve tried several recipes and none of them tasted as amazing as these ones from here.

Things I learned and modified:

  1. Use earth balance or ghee instead of butter
  2. If you don’t have cream of tartar (like most people) you can substitute with using baking powder in equal amounts (1:1) for both baking soda and tartar.
  3. I did use egg in mine, but if you are vegan, for the egg you can use flax meal as a replacement as well as 1/4 cup whipped tofu for added volume if desired.
  4. For the holiday season I also liked to add pumpkin pie spice to the mix, but its totally optional!
Serves: 20 large cookies
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature–or dairy free butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, plus 1 yolk–or flax meal 
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda–or 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar–or 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2¾ cup flour
Cinnamon Sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper, set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. With mixer on medium speed add in egg, yolk and vanilla and beat for another minute, scraping the sides as necessary.
  4. Turn mixer to medium low and mix in baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and 1 tsp cinnamon. Mix for 30 seconds, scraping sides as necessary.
  5. Turn mixer to low and add in flour, mixing until just combined.
  6. In a separate small bowl make your Cinnamon Sugar by mixing together cinnamon and sugar, stirring until evenly combined.
  7. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, measure out about 2 Tbsp of dough and roll into a ball. Then roll each cookie dough ball into the Cinnamon Sugar mixture.
  8. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning cookie sheet halfway through baking.

I have also had my eye on these coconut flour snickerdoodles from Goop, but have not made them yet, but obviously suggest them since they look amazing! 

And a holiday favorite, cornbread:

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This is a simple and easy vegan recipe I found from here. The recipe is great, but a few things I changed/modified:

  1. If you are cooking them in cupcake liners also cook at 350.
  2. Use coconut oil instead of canola oil–it’s so much better for you!
  3. You can use any form of dairy free milk from almond to coconut to rice… I have been really enjoying Cashew milk lately because of how creamy  it tastes…but it’s up to you!
  4. If you want them to be sweet, which I usually do, add about 4 additional TBSP of maple syrup/or agave to the recipe..and taste to make sure it’s up to your sweet tooth standards, you can always add more and it won’t change the outcome of the bread.
  5. You can always add a little bit of corn kernels in the blend to make it sweeter too…it’s up to you how much.
  6. They are already pretty moist, but if you want them to be even more lush add 1/3 cup dairy free yogurt.
  7. Follow the instructions exactly–making sure that the milk is room temp and the coconut oil is melted otherwise it will solidify.
  8. Make sure you spray the pan!! I forgot to do this and mine stuck to the sides, which is never fun.
  9. If you love coconut as much as I do try this coconut butter spread with your cornbread, you will not be disappointed.

Makes 12 to 16 squares

2 cups cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil–try coconut oil!
2 tablespoons maple syrup/agave–or at least 6 for sweet bread
2 cups soymilk–or any non dairy substitute, try cashew!
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar–you can also use lemon juice in the same amount
1/2 teaspoon salt


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350, line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper or spray the bottom lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, wisk together the milk and the vinegar/juice and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt).
Add the oil and maple syrup/agave to the milk mixture. Wisk with a wire wisk until it is foamy and bubbly, about 2 minutes.

Pour the wet ingredient into the dry and mix together using a large wooden spoon or a firm spatula. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Slice into squares and serve warm or store in an airtight container.

 

And there you have it, three great yummy treats to keep that candy gremlin away a little longer. 

What are some of your favorite sweets to make?