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GET YOUR GREEN ON (RECIPE INCLUDED)

Why are smoothies important for breakfast?


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and sometimes it just doesn't fit into our schedule the way it should. How we begin the day will determine how the rest of the day goes. It will determine if we feel energized or if we feel dragging with a lack of energy. What we put in our bellies is directly related to how we physically feel. So if you are a skip breakfast and grab the coffee mug morning person then this blog is totally for you.


We all need and crave energy. I know I do! Sometimes it is so easy to want to stop by the nearest fast food joint or even forget breakfast and just get through the morning on 1-2 cups of coffee for the energy needed to survive the day. I don't want you to just survive through the day though; I want you to thrive through the day. I also don't want you to go on the "crash and crave" roller coaster for the entire day. If you begin your morning with caffeinated coffee and sugar, you will crash, and you will be either too tired to make it through your responsibilities or you will be reaching for another cup of coffee to get through a few more hours.

Smoothies are another quick alternative to a fast breakfast that can help energize us throughout the entire day. When you toss in some greens, a little fruit, and a healthy liquid like coconut water you are bound to feel energetic and ready to take on the day. Starting the day with a smoothie also gives you well needed antioxidants which help protect our bodies from free radicals, and it is a great low glycemic start. Eating a low glycemic breakfast will help curb your sugar cravings for the entire day and it will also help with not crashing.

 

Next time you want a quick breakfast, try a delicious smoothie that will leave you feeling energized and motivated. A morning smoothie will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to produce natural energy and naturally boost your metabolism. So, what are you reaching for tomorrow morning? I know I will be pulling out my blender and getting ready for some long lasting energy.

My go to recipe is: 

  • A handful of spinach or kale
  • A half cup of diced fresh pineapple
  • A half of a cutie (clementine)
  • Two slices of lemon with the rind 
  • 2 scoops of protein powder

During meal prep combine all of the fruits and veggies into a ziplock baggie and place into the freezer.  **This simple step will save you a lot of time in the morning.** 

Add the contents of the baggie to your blender with a choice of protein (greek yogurt, whey protein powder, or plant based protein powder) with ice and water.  You can also use coconut water as an added boost. 

Blend and enjoy!

 

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I am thankful for who I used to be...

Two Sunday’s ago, we decided dusted off our paddleboards for the season and spent the afternoon on the water.  My absolute happy place.

With snacks and water packed all - it was time to throw on our swimsuits and hit the road.

Panic set in…

Truth is… I’ve been less than perfect on my diet and I surely missed more than a few workouts as of late, but I decided to throw on a two-piece anyway.  Let me add this, I am the sporty bathing suit type of girl - I would much rather keep everything in it’s place than spilling out and attempting to be something I am not.

Of course, I had to do a quick check in the mirror to see how my suit was fitting. As I closed the door to reveal our full length mirror I surprised myself.   Rather than see horror on my face, I saw a smile and in that moment I was damn proud of myself.

The last time I felt confident in a bathing suit was some time in my teens. Since the late 2000’s - I’ve rocked tankini’s or shorts & tee-shirts rather than expose myself and the entire beach to my less than ripped midsection, thick thighs and tan-less body. So even leaving the house in this two-piece with the intention of being viewed by the public was an accomplishment on it’s own. 

As we left the house with paddleboards, snacks and cooler in tow I couldn’t get the smile off my face.  I was proud, really proud of myself because endless amounts of blood, sweat and tears made this day possible.  On the way to the lake I thought about who I was in 2006 - bitter, stressed, tired, overworked, no self love and definitely no self care. A girl lost in her own world… scared to death to let go of who she was in order to see who she could become.

I had to give thanks to the girl I once was. It was her that led me on this wild journey of transformation. She taught me to find love within myself.  That my struggles wouldn’t be fixed with the purchase of a new designer bag and/or shoes. She taught to find inner peace through meditation, journaling and exercise. She showed me how to treat food as fuel rather than my only source of comfort.  As her layers shed, her inner strength grew in order to push through all of the mental, emotional and physical blocks that stood in her way. 

All of the emotions and thoughts I’ve carried about who I was always came with negativity and hate.  Never have I, given her any ounce of thanks… and today… I THANK HER!  

 

 

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Are you craving a lifestyle transformation and have been stuck in a hamster wheel turning to quick fixes, crash diets, and telling yourself tomorrow.... We should talk.  I used to be that girl that would opt for every fad diet, pill or potion on the market. I'd promise to get my sh*t together Monday and never did until I enlisted help. 

Working with a coach allows you the opportunity to transform in ways you might have never though possible and even if you aren't 100% ready, sometimes it's better to jump in and find your way than have everything planned out. 

I'm opening 5 Coaching Spots for my 12-Week Signature Coaching Program.  It's the only summer/early fall program that I will be offering and would love to help you transform.  Complete the contact form on my website or sign up for a coaching call.  Together, we will discuss your current challenges and determine if my style of coaching is right for you! 

 

 

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I AM SO GRATEFUL

I AM SO GRATEFUL

Now, I would like to leave you with a moment of gratitude. A blissful, and abundant thank you. I am so inspired by everything you've done for your body, and everything that you're going to do in the future. When you are well, you radiate love & light to everyone around you.

Never forget that your body loves you. I love you, for you are as much as part of me as anyone else. Please know that I'm always here for you - even if we haven't worked together yet. You can call me, email me, or send me good vibes any time that you like. I hope that, from this moment on, you live life abundantly.

Celebrate, rejoice, connect, gather, and embrace.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy every little moment.

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WHEEL OF LIFE (free workbook download)

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WHEEL OF LIFE (free workbook download)

When we feel out of balance it's often hard to see the areas of our lives that are screaming to be nourished, because it feels like our world is crashing down around us. We've become a society that loves to throw ourselves deeper into our work when our personal lives go sideways. Sometimes our work is the exact distraction that we need and other times it's a way for us to disconnect from what is really wrong. 

Personally, I was and am the type of creative that will throw herself into her work when her personal life takes a shit.  I didn't always know this about myself until I did the Wheel of Life exercise.  On the outside, it appeared that I had it all together, but on the inside I was a mess and didn't know how to dig myself out.  By uncovering the three areas that needed nourished the most, I was able to focus set aside time to give those areas extra T-L-C.  For me, my areas of struggle were are: physical activity, health, and spirituality.  

Above is my real time Wheel of Life.  

Personally my three areas that are in need of nourishment are: 

  1. Spirituality: I haven't been meditating or journaling daily. Since reviewing my Wheel of Life - I've been committed to daily personal development in the form of reading one chapter of a personal development book and boy has it been life changing!  I feel clearer throughout the day and in alignment of how I want to think and feel. 
  2. Career: I've been going through a power struggle between launching my coaching business and maintaining my photography business - my goal is to focus on the work that I love doing in both businesses and continue to focus on growth.  Additionally, I am planning to dedicate one day a week to 100% focus on each of the two businesses. 
  3. Creativity: I've fallen into the trap of only using my camera for only business purposes and not having a personal project.  I'm going to use my journaling and meditation time to let a personal project unfold organically.  

How it works.  The Wheel of Life is broken down into a series of wedges that range from personal to professional categories.  You'll place a dot within each of the wedges and depending on the location of the dot, your level of happiness or discontent will be indicated.  

Once you've determined your three areas that are running smoothly and well nourished, you'll dig into the three areas that are begging for your attention.  You'll also make a small action plan of ways to nourish those areas. 

For example, maybe creativity is suffering and selecting a personal project that you carve out 2 - 5 hours per week to work on will make you feel inspired again.  Or maybe you've let your physical activity fall to the wayside and an series of action steps for you would be to 1) determine the type of movement that you would enjoy engaging in 2) scheduling time for those classes or workouts and 3) actually getting off your butt and attending the class or workout.

By keeping the action steps bite sized and attainable you should be able to incorporate the tiny changes into your life without much hesitation or disruption to your life.  

A few tips: 

  • Do try to radically authentic when determining your dot placement
  • Don't try to fix every part of the wheel at once 
  • Enlist help in the form of an accountability buddy or coach
  • Revisit the Wheel of Life exercise once a month to ensure you are making progress 

Once you've downloaded the Wheel of Life freebie and spent time investigating the areas of your life that you are well nourished and those that are screaming for love... leave a comment below with how you plan to take action!  

 

 

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Wait, what? You’re a health coach?

Wait, what? You’re a health coach?

 

When I introduce myself as a holistic health coach, most of the time people are a little confused at what it is that I do exactly.

 The simple way explain health coaching: I teach my clients how to reach and exceed their health and wellness goals by providing support, motivation, accountability, and perspective. You’ll learn how to listen to your body, make minor changes that have lasting impact, and create a foundation that your new baseline or new normal will be moving forward.  

Having a health coach is no different than a professional athlete having a coach to help them reach and exceed their goals.  The only difference is that my coaching revolved around their health and wellness.  

As a certified holistic health coach, I educate and support my clients to achieve their health goals through lifestyle and behavior adjustments.  Understanding that there is no size fits all approach to health and wellness we work together to create a plan that work you, your lifestyle, and your goals.  

During our sessions, I am part listener and part advice-giver, but really encouraging and teaching you how to listen to your own body and decide what is right for you. 

Of course, there are plenty of tiny steps that we can take to make improvements in our lives from drinking more water, eating more greens, or transitioning to a whole foods diet opposed to relying on processed foods.  I will help and guide you into selecting better options, but I won’t push you into a specific way of eating or living.  

As a holistic health coach, I guide you into living an overall happier and healthier life.  We go beyond your relationship with food to include your relationships, physical activity, spirituality, and career.  For many of us having a healthy diet is only a piece of the puzzle and if we are out of sync or balance in the other aspects of our life, we aren’t able to be truly healthy.  In my mind your health doesn’t stop at what you put at the end of your fork!  

To learn more about my 12-week coaching program click here ------> Signature Coaching Overview

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Foundation Foods 101

One of the commonly asked questions by my clients (on a daily basis) is what should they be eating. 

I truly believe that success in transforming one's body, mind, and spirit begins with how the body is fueled.

When we opt for greasy, fast foods our bodies tend to feel sluggish and heavy.  Yet, when we choose lean proteins, veggies, and fruits we feel lighter, happier, and energized.

Have you ever noticed the shift in your mind and body when warmer weather hits? It's because you are soaking up the Vitamin D and enjoying lighter, leaner fresh and grilled foods?

Creating meals with lean proteins, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats will help you feel lighter, leaner, and more energized year round.   To follow this type of lifestyle, you need to create a "go-to" list of Foundation Foods.

Foundation Foods should consist of nutrient dense items like leafy greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.  You'll also want to stock up on protein options to accompany your nutrient dense foods. Some may argue that their idea of a "foundation food" is pizza, fast food, ice cream, and candy bars, I challenge you to ask yourself if those foods are making you feel and/or look the way you desire to feel and/or look.

Foundation Foods most likely won't be found in the aisles of the grocery store, instead you'll be shopping the along the outside aisles of the store.  By passing the bakery, pre-made meals, and ice cream sections.

Instead you'll be filling your cart with the following examples of Foundation Foods:

  • Protein: eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, and beef
  • Veggies: basically all veggies - with an area of caution surrounding corn
  • Fruits: enjoy all types of fruits
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Healthy Fats: avocados, coconut oil, and Kerrygold Butter

A few additional Foundation Foods to consider:

  • beans
  • rice
  • rice cakes
  • cottage cheese
  • yogurts - opt of greek yogurt

Once you're home - creating meals with these foundation foods is easy.  With limited ingredients you can create amazing meals packed with plenty of flavor!

 

 

 

 

 

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MEET ME -

Welcome to my little slice of the interweb.  Allow me to introduce myself; I’m Amanda – a food photographer and certified holistic health coach with a serious love for beautifully plated foods, travel, and great danes!

 

//MY STORY//

 

My journey to health and wellness wasn’t a life long dream.  In fact, my life long dream was to graduate from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and move to New York City and become a fashion photographer.  Graduate from AIFL did happen in June of 2003, but New York would have to wait, the universe had other plans for me.  Shortly after I returned to Pennsylvania I met my now husband and opened a fashion inspired boutique photography business that allowed me to travel the world.

 

Becoming a holistic health coach wasn’t part of the plan, again the universe had other plans for me. When my photography business opened in 2003, I had a lot of quick success and my business grew quicker than I could manage.  Majority of my days were spent sitting in front of computer for hours on end editing- often until the wee hours of the morning.  I ate, slept, and breathed building a photography business that I had dreamed of since I was a little girl.  Workouts had become non-existent with the exception of an eight to ten hour wedding day or running to the door to accept a FedEx delivery. My body functioned poorly on highly processed, packaged, carb-ified foods.  I used my business as an excuse, until the excuses had excuses.  Surrounded in a pile of designer duds that no longer fit, shit hit the fan, and I had an uncomfortable heart to heart with myself.

 

Several weeks later, I found myself walking into a local gym filled with shame, guilt, and embarrassment for the person I had become.  Hidden in layers of fat and excess weight, I knew the women that I dreamed of being somewhere inside.  She just had to fight like hell to reconnect with her. Twelve weeks later, my life changed.  My weight dropped, my business was restructured, and I was beginning to find me.  Two years later, my love for health and wellness continued to increase and I decided to enroll at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and become a certified holistic health coach.  

 

//CURRENTLY//

I’ve merged my love for photography with health and wellness to create a lifestyle that I am incredibly passionate about and created a way to share my message and personal mission.  I want women to exist in their family photographs not by force, but because they are confident, strong, and feel incredibly beautiful with who they are on the inside as well as the outside.

 

On more occasions that I can count; clients or family members of clients have asked me to shove them in the backrow of a family photo, use a child or pet to strategically block their bodies, requested that I  “photoshop the hell” out of them, or flat out refuse to be in a photograph.  

 

Sadly, if this continues we will be missing from the photographs that our childrens, childrens will be looking at in the years to come.  We simply need to exist in our family legacy.  Yet, discovering how to improve our health and wellness in a way that suits our lifestyle, bio-individuality, and aligns with our core beliefs seems to be an on-going challenge.  My mission is to show women how to overcome chronic yo-yo dieting and yo-yo living by transforming their relationship with food, movement, and self care to support their health and wellness goals while becoming their own before and after photograph.

 

//MY COACHING STYLE//

My focus is to help my clients create a “new normal” for themselves and it can be whatever that means to them.  We work together to create a lifestyle that aligns with their core beliefs and desires.  While one client might thrive on a plant based lifestyle filled with yoga and green juices, another might excel following our Live Unboxed whole food paleo-ish lifestyle with crossfit/insanity style workouts.  I meet you where you are and guide, support, and motivate you to where you want to go.  Tough love is applied when necessary!

 

//PERSONAL//

When, I look at photographs of myself from four years ago, I am shocked at who I had become.  I was so unbelievably unhappy on the inside, but became a master of masking it on the outside. My transformation wasn’t  easy, nor did I expect it to be, but the outcome was so worth it to the point that I wish I would have done it sooner!  My entire life changed from a fifty-five pound weight loss, to a new career path, unbelieve amounts of happiness, and a lifestyle that aligns with me instead of one I thought I had to live to be happy.

 

My husband, Patrick and I “Live Unboxed” – which is our version of a whole foods paleo-ish lifestyle.  We can often be found in local cafe’s on Sunday mornings chatting up our upcoming week, planning our next adventure, or hanging out in the kitchen doing a bit of meal prep.  We are proud parents of two great danes, Jax and Winston.  We are stronger together today, because of the fire that we walked through.  

 

//PROFESSIONAL//

Graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale - 2003

Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition - 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creating a meditation space

I love being in my meditation space.  When I fold my legs and sit palms up, I feel instantly at ease, stress begins to melt away. And even if I were spiraling downward into a bad day, a few moments in my space can lift me back up again.

Regardless if you choose to meditate or not, you want a space that feels peaceful, scared and allows you to feel comforted.  Pick an area with natural lighting that doesn't require extra artificial light. 

Choose decor for your space that makes it feel beautiful - hang nice tapestries, place flowers somewhere near, fluff up your pillows, and keep lovely things around at all times. Your space should feel refreshing, bright, and joyous. Eliminate clutter, piles or unnecessary items to come into your space. 

It's also incredibly important to keep the good vibes in, and the bad vibes out. Vow to make your meditation space a “good vibes” only zone. Don’t ever go there to pout, to complain, or to mull. If you’re having a rough day, this is where you can leave all of that behind and fill yourself with positive intentions. Let the energy be light, and spacious, and open – not down in the dumps.

Don’t use your space for anything but mindfulness & meditation. You can find somewhere else in your home to eat or read, or talk to your friends on the phone. Allow your space to be sacred, and pure. Only use it to sit in silence, turning inward, and reflection.

sources:

1 // Dream Catcher Space

2// Boho Collective

 

 

 

 

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Starting a DAILY meditation practice

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Starting a DAILY meditation practice

I recently began an almost daily post-workout meditation.  This block of time has become one of my favorites when I tune out the world around and allow my mind, body, and soul to fully connect. 

If you think I've gone completely crazy - and am starting to get a little crunchy you might be right.  I've found such inner peace and calmness by taking the time to connect with the text I am reading, meditate and then journaling.  Allowing my feelings and thoughts to move from my mind to paper has been incredibly powerful.  I feel free from the heavy weight of my thoughts and more clarity each time I sit with my legs folded, palms up and eyes close. 

 

Maybe you aren't ready for mala beads and chanting just yet -  try dipping your toes into the meditation pool by simply picking a personal development book to read and journal.  Meditation is different for everyone - without set rules or guidelines.  To keep it simple start by reading one chapter a day and put pen to paper.  As you find your flow you can add-in longer journaling sessions, meditation, or yoga. 

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What's the deal with smoothies? (9 Tasty Recipes!)

SO WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH SMOOTHIES and WHY ARE THEY GOOD FOR YOU?

SMOOTHIES ARE: 

  • Chock full of vitamins, enzymes and minerals

  • Easy to digest, which mean optimal assimilation of your nutrients

  • Great for stabilizing blood sugar (you will see each smoothie here has a healthy fat, and fat is key for blood sugar stabilization)

  • A fabulous way to consume a variety of different fruits or vegetables at one time

  • Terrific for cleansing the body of toxicity

  • An easy way to add more fiber to your diet for optimal bowel function

  • Smoothies will give you more energy & are the best on-the-go meal known to man.

WHY IS BLENDING YOUR SMOOTHIE BENEFICIAL?

The health of your body depends on your digestion. When you blend your foods, you are supporting the digestion process. Your body does not have to work so hard to break down the nutrients as they are in a pre-digestible state.

Did you know that 80% of your energy is spent digesting and assimilating your nutrients? So why not support your body to do less work?

Instead of having to prepare and eat cup after cup of healthy greens or fruits, you are packing them into one nutrient-dense smoothie. 

HOW TO CHOOSE A BLENDER:

  • Vitamix is a super-powerful blender with a very strong motor that not only can blend smoothies, but also can make nut butters and even soups; however, it is an investment at around $499.

  • Blentec is another option similar to Vitamix and costs about $350.

  • Nutribullet is an amazing alternative as it costs only $99.

  • A blender at Costco, Wal-Mart or Target will typically cost you around $20.

Remember any blender is amazing because we want you to start drinking smoothies to support your body for ultimate health.

 

MAKING THE ULTIMATE SMOOTHIE

THE BASICS

  1. Choose the liquid – water, coconut water or a dairy-free milk

  2. Choose your greens – kale, spinach, parsley, Swiss chard, collards or lettuce

  3. Choose your fruit – banana, apple, berries, mango and more

  4. Choose your fat/protein – hemp seeds, hemp protein, nut butters, avocado, coconut oil, flax or chia seeds

  5. Superfoods – maca, raw cacao, bee pollen, shredded coconut, goji berries and more

  6. Choose a protein if you are using a shake as a meal replacement/pre or post workout shake

TODAY IS THE DAY TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

I was a chronic breakfast skipper thinking that by skipping the first meal of the day, I’d be cutting calories - instead I was confusing my metabolism causing myself to over eat throughout the day. Once I began to incorporate a morning smoothie I was able to ditch my need for a morning soda and started to see the scale drop!  

 

9 SMOOTHIES THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

 

STRAWBERRY BLISS

  • 1 cup coconut water or almond milk

  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries or any mixed berries

  • 1 banana

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1 Tablespoon hemp seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds

  • Pinch of cinnamon

  • Stevia or raw honey to sweeten

  • Ice (optional)

  • Scoop of vanilla protein (optional)

  • Scoop of Fiberwise (if not using flax or chia seeds)

A GINGERBREAD COOKIE

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds

  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 banana

  • 1 cup of spinach

  • 1 Tablespoon of almond butter

  • Stevia to taste (optional)

  • Ice (optional)

  • Scoop of vanilla protein (optional)

KIDNEY NOURISHING SMOOTHIE (* Cucumbers are a wonderful kidney cleanser and provide you with bounds of energy.)

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1⁄2 large cucumber peeled and sliced

  • 1 cup fresh/frozen blueberries

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon raw, organic honey or stevia to taste (optional)

  • Ice (optional)

  • Scoop of vanilla protein (optional)

CRANBERRY SWEETNESS BLISS SMOOTHIE

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut/hemp or rice milk

  • 1 cup of mixed berries

  • 1⁄4 cup unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate

  • 1⁄4 avocado

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds

  • 1 Teaspoon ginger

  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon

  • Ice (optional)

  • Scoop of vanilla protein (optional)

GINGERBREAD HOUSE SMOOTHIE

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut/hemp or rice milk

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

  • 2 Tablespoons honey or stevia

  • Ice (optional)

  • Scoop of vanilla protein (optional)

CHOCOLATE BANANA BLISS SMOOTHIE

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 1/2 cup kale

  • 2 Tablespoons cashew butter or almond butter

  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey or stevia

  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao

  • Ice (optional)

  • Scoop of chocolate protein (optional)

MOOD STABILIZER

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries

  • 1 Teaspoon maca or moringa powder

  • 1 Tablespoon almond butter

  • 1 handful of spinach

  • 1 Tablespoon raw, organic honey or stevia to taste (optional)

  • Scoop of vanilla protein (optional)

NEED MORE NOURISH ENERGY SMOOTHIE

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut/hemp or rice milk

  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds

  • 1/2 avocado

  • 1 banana

  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds

  • Stevia to taste (optional)

  • Ice (optional)

  • Scoop of vanilla protein (optional)

MANGO DREAM

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1/2 cup coconut water

  • 2 leaves kale or Swiss chard, coarsely chopped

  • 1/4 avocado

  • 1/2 cup mango chunks (the freezer section is great for this)

  • Ice (optional)

 

 

LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME ONCE YOU BEGIN DRINKING YOUR SMOOTHIES – TRUST ME!

 

 

 

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RECIPE: KETO TWICE BAKED CAULIFLOWER MASH

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RECIPE: KETO TWICE BAKED CAULIFLOWER MASH

By far this recipe has become one of our go-to's and I can see this recipe being used at the holidays as an alternative to mashed potatoes. 

It's incredibly easy to make and packs a major flavor punch even for a low-carb recipe! We typically double the batch. 

RECIPE: KETO TWICE BAKED CAULIFLOWER MASH

You'll need: 

  • 1 bag of riced cauliflower or 1 bag of frozen cauliflower steamed and ran through a food processor. 
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese +1/2 cup for topping 
  • 5 strips of bacon crumbled or a generous handful or two of bacon crumbles + handful for topping
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder  
  • 1 tablespoon of chives or parsley

Directions:

Mix all ingredients into a baking dish or foil pan and combine well.  Top with extra cheese, bacon, and parsley.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cheese melts and lightly browns.  

Flavor profile should taste similar to a loaded baked potato or loaded potato soup - you may want to add extra sour cream 

 

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RECIPE: KETO CHEDDAR BISCUITS

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RECIPE: KETO CHEDDAR BISCUITS

There are some weeks that I want meal prep to be completed as quickly as possible and there are other weeks that I could create, cook and photograph all day long.  For some reason, Mother's Day Weekend was just that - A time for me to get into the kitchen and flex what little culinary muscles that I have.  

Our Mother's Day Menu for dinner #2 included twice baked cauliflower mash, smoked pulled pork, and a chocolate silk pie for dessert. Of course, we were missing rolls as part of the meal.  Rather than blow through our carbs and be gluten'd, I decided to make homemade dinner rolls.  

As I was planning the recipe for dinner rolls I began to reflect on one of my favorite childhood memories.  Having lunch at Red Lobster became our thing, we'd go to celebrate an accomplishment at school, birthdays, or just because we wanted to spend time together.  She'd encourage me to order whatever I'd like and that would always be the same thing: Crab Legs.  I'd spend what felt like a lifetime cracking crab legs and nibble on cheddar garlic biscuits.  

My love for food comes from my grandmother who always encouraged me to try everything no matter where we were in the world.  She not only taught me to have a love for food but for new cultures and traveling.  

In honor of this incredible women and missing her so much, I decided to make a batch of Keto Cheddar Garlic Biscuits and from the crumbs, I've nibbled on... this recipe gives the restaurant version a run for its money.

Keto Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

Makes 6

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons of room temp butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley or chives 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease muffin pan 

Directions: 

Mix all dry ingredients until well blended, add melted butter and continue to mix until smooth.  In a second bowl whisk together all 4 eggs and pour into mixture and continue to mix well.  Pour batter into greased muffin pan about 1/2 the depth of the muffin pan.  Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. 

Modifications: 

  • Add bacon 
  • Remove garlic/parsley/chives  from recipe and incorporate diced jalapenos for a spicy alternative 
  • Use a mini muffin pan for a dozen mini rolls 

 

 

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RECIPE: KETO KEY LIME CHEESECAKE

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RECIPE: KETO KEY LIME CHEESECAKE

Truth be told, this recipe came together on a whim.  We had planned an impromptu Mother's Day dinner at my parents and following suit, we put together this plan at the last minute.  With any clean eating, paleo, keto or vegan lifestyle you know it's often difficult to find a product on the shelves at the grocery store that will suit.   Which means, you are spending more time in the kitchen making meals and desserts from scratch.  I walked in the door from the grocery store with heavy cream, cream cheese, a lime, and eggs less than 2 hours before dinner and the pressure was on. 

Thankfully, this No-Bake Keto Key Lime Cheesecake wasn't overly labor intensive and hit a homerun! 

Pie Crust Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup of granulated erythritol 
  • 2 packets of sweet leaf (stevia)
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease pie pan with butter or coconut oil 

Mix all of the dry pie crust ingredients well and then add egg and melted butter to the dry ingredients into a dough ball.  Transfer pie dough into greased pie pan and press into the dish with your fingers.  Once you have the pie crust pressed into the dish use a fork to pierce the dough to keep dough from bubbling.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown.  To keep pie crust from burning - place foil over the edges of the pie crust at 8 - 10 minutes of baking and place back into oven with foil covering the edges for the remaining time. 

No-Bake Keto Key Lime Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese at room temp
  • 1/3 cup of sour cream 
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of key lime juice
  • 1/3 cup of erythoritol 
  • 1 packet of sweet leaf (stevia) 

Combine all ingredients above in mixing bowl and mix well until filling becomes smooth. Depending on the type of erythritol you use, you might notice lumps in the filling.  We used a coarse blend of erythritol which did, in fact, leave our filling a bit on the lumpy or bumpy side. 

Taste the filling as you go as you may choose to add more key lime juice to the filling depending on how flavorful you'd like the cheesecake to be.  If you have fresh limes you can zest one lime to use as garnish on the top of the cheesecake and/or mix some of the zest into the filling.  You could also add unsweetened coconut flakes into the filling or top of cheesecake. 

Once the pie crust has been removed from the oven and cooled, pour filling into crust and place into the refrigerator to firm and cool.  The longer the better and the more the flavors will enhance. Serves 8 - 10 depending on how large of a slice you cut. 

Additional options: 

You could make individual No-Bake Cheesecakes using gluten free nilla wafers as the crust in a muffin tin, make a cheesecake in a springform pan, use the key lime filling in a keto danish, or simply use the filling as a treat on it's own without the crust to keep your carbs low. 

Original Recipe Inspiration found on ruled.me 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Post 5k Recap

Yesterday, I ran my first 5k, a bucket list item that I never thought possible especially since I spent most of my adult life overweight. This morning as I reflect on yesterday, I started to think about what it feltlike to begin my health and wellness transformation. When I started my initial wellness transformation running a 5k wasn't even on my radar. But now, I can completely compare running a 5k to starting a lifestyle overhaul.

When you sign up for the race (aka decide to get healthy) and then find yourself amp'd and ready to go.  You might even have friends or family who join you in the this transformation.  Allow me to add a bit of caution: Don't enroll in a health or wellness program "just" because you feel baited or cornered by someone else and on the flip side don't pull any unwilling participants along with you.  It will drag you down like cinderblocks if you aren't careful. You have to be IN THIS FOR YOU AND NO ONE ELSE!

At first you are surrounded at the starting line with others who on the same or similar journey, you are one in a sea of many and then the gun fires and your off. At some point you'll be within the pack and in the next second you may start to feel alone as the pack thins while some speed ahead and others begin to trail behind.

During a left hand turn in yesterdays race, I saw the biggest hill of my life and started to ask myself "What in the hell did I get myself into?" A question I've asked myself more than once in this journey. It was in the this moment that I connected all of the dots in my life.

None of us are immune to highs and lows. But we all have the option of QUITTING or GOING ALL IN!

We are going to face moments of highs - that are filled with pounds lost, non-scale victories, running races and completing challenges.

But with every high there will be a low leading into a valley when you become sick,  miss workouts, life gets in the way, or we lose interest in our workouts or preferred style of eating.

The rebuild is the hill - The hill with a steep grade that makes you question your drive, your motivation, your will- it's in those moments of the run or transformation that we need to grit our teeth and dig our heels in.

There will be twists and turns when we fail to be clear in goals and vision. This will be water stations along the way - allowing for a momentary pause to regroup and recenter ourselves.  As we see the finish line our push becomes harder and we tap into our reserve, and give it all we've f-ing got. (plot twist: in a wellness journey there will NEVER be a finish line)

And once we cross the line - we'll realize none of what we've gone through is as bad as we thought it would be. It's in that moment that we realize we want to do it again!

I wasn't the fastest in this race nor was I the slowest - I didn't race the person instead I ran my race at my pace that was in exact proportion of the training and effort I had put in leading up to yesterday.

Don't be discouraged as you go through journey or become wrapped up by "success" of the person next to you. Remember to run your race at your pace. I too, have gotten discouraged by watching fellow youtubers, social media influencers, friends and family members in their success feeling that I didn't measure up, yet yesterday reminded me that each of us are in our own race and we can't let anyone else dictate our pace.

For the record: My goal was to finish the race in under 45 minutes. My fitbit tracked me at just over 43 minutes and today I looked at the official results and I came in at 42 minutes and 2 seconds. Sometimes you even surprise yourself

At first you are surrounded at the starting line with others who on the same or similar journey, you are one in a sea of many and then the gun fires and your off. At some point you'll be within the pack and in the next second you may start to feel alone as the pack thins while some speed ahead and others begin to trail behind.

During a left hand turn in yesterdays race, I saw the biggest hill of my life and started to ask myself "What in the hell did I get myself into?" A question I've asked myself more than once in this journey. It was in the this moment that I connected all of the dots in my life.

None of us are immune to highs and lows. But we all have the option of QUITTING or GOING ALL IN!

We are going to face moments of highs - that are filled with pounds lost, non-scale victories, running races and completing challenges.

But with every high there will be a low leading into a valley when you become sick,  miss workouts, life gets in the way, or we lose interest in our workouts or preferred style of eating.

The rebuild is the hill - The hill with a steep grade that makes you question your drive, your motivation, your will- it's in those moments of the run or transformation that we need to grit our teeth and dig our heels in.

There will be twists and turns when we fail to be clear in goals and vision. This will be water stations along the way - allowing for a momentary pause to regroup and recenter ourselves.  As we see the finish line our push becomes harder and we tap into our reserve, and give it all we've f-ing got. (plot twist: in a wellness journey there will NEVER be a finish line)

And once we cross the line - we'll realize none of what we've gone through is as bad as we thought it would be. It's in that moment that we realize we want to do it again!

I wasn't the fastest in this race nor was I the slowest - I didn't race the person instead I ran my race at my pace that was in exact proportion of the training and effort I had put in leading up to yesterday.

Don't be discouraged as you go through journey or become wrapped up by "success" of the person next to you. Remember to run your race at your pace. I too, have gotten discouraged by watching fellow youtubers, social media influencers, friends and family members in their success feeling that I didn't measure up, yet yesterday reminded me that each of us are in our own race and we can't let anyone else dictate our pace.

For the record: My goal was to finish the race in under 45 minutes. My fitbit tracked me at just over 43 minutes and today I looked at the official results and I came in at 42 minutes and 2 seconds. Sometimes you even surprise yourself

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MEAL PREP KIT IN A BOX

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MEAL PREP KIT IN A BOX

My fingers are struggling to keep up with my mind as I share today's blog post.  This post has been a dream of mine for over three years and to see this idea finally take shape is very exciting.

When I first became a health coach, I knew that I wanted to create and launch products that would not only be useful,  but also help my clients create a solid foundation to grow from.  As a recovering product and paper junkie, I knew that whatever I created had to simple to use, sustainable, and beautifully designed.  In late February, I was able to finalize a few of the missing details and now I am excited to announce the official launch of my: 

MEAL PREP KIT IN A BOX 

 

We spend a large part of our day thinking about what to eat for breakfast, pack for lunch, and make for dinner is something that happens daily.  It's on repeat in the back of our minds constantly, and for most, it's a point of contention when trying to determine everyone likes/dislikes, what's on sale, the ease of a new recipe, questioning if you have time to make said recipe and the list goes on.  

WHAT IF MEAL PREP DIDN'T HAVE TO BE AS COMPLICATED?  

 

Five years ago, when we transitioned our lifestyle from processed foods, delivery, and take out we were lost on how to make healthy choices that didn't break the bank or have us spending hours in the kitchen every night.  It took several attempts of trial and error to find a method that was quick, easy, and sustainable.  Thankfully, once we began Sunday Meal Prep Sessions, we haven't looked back AND our waistline and bank account thanked us.  

Now, we are sharing our system with you and let me tell you... it isn't rocket science.  In fact, it is pretty basic, but most allow overwhelm to set in instead of giving weekly meal prep a try.  

So, who are we:  We are a couple who struggled with our weight throughout our entire marriage.  At one point our combined weight would tip the scales at over 500 pounds.  Our meals would rival any holiday spread from massive side dishes to several homemade desserts a week.  It was no surprise that the pounds would pack on.  It wasn't until I [Amanda], had a meltdown on the floor of our walk-in closet that the reality of our lifestyle slapped us in the face.  Yet, we would yo-yo diet and attempt to "start Monday" several times a month, but failed to ever start.  Thankfully, with Patrick's support I reached out for help and transitioned our diet to a clean eating style.  Limited processed foods were included on this plan and the weight fell off.  From there we transitioned to a paleo based lifestyle and have stuck closely to this way of eating ever since. 

Together, we've learned to eat in a way that fuels our bodies, but also provides so much flavor and fun into our meals.  We refuse to eat boring food or endless of amounts of chicken and broccoli.  We have truly created a lifestyle that is sustainable and hope to help you do the same!   

What's included:

The Meal Prep Kit in a Box includes: 

  • a quick guide to help you get started
  • a basic shopping list that is filled with whole foods and easy to source ingredients
  • a quick guide of weekly meal ideas to inspire you
  • 10 meal prep containers
  • a meal/fitness journal for tracking your progress. 
  • and access to our facebook community

Our mission is to help you lose weight, choose the right foods to fuel your body for optimal success, cut out excessive trips to the grocery store or fast food joints, and flex your culinary skills. While still living life, enjoying meal time with your family, and eliminating the struggle of what to eat! 

 

 

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Fatheads and Guacamole - Prepping for Cinco de Mayo

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Fatheads and Guacamole - Prepping for Cinco de Mayo

Have you ever been at work or in class all day dreaming about dinner?  That's me on a regular basis, but yesterday my foodie day dreams were on another level.  It was mid-day when I remembered we had a several ready-to-eat avocados at home and the day dream of chips and guacamole started dancing in my head.

Being KETO eliminates all chips from the picture.  I've made a few Bread/Stromboli recipes in the past, but decided to give fathead crackers a try. 

 

 

I used this recipe as inspiration with a few modifications as listed below:

  • About 1 1/2  cups of almond flour (started with 3/4cup as per the recipe) 
  • 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 1 ounce of cream cheese
  • About 1/4 cup of egg whites (this should have been one egg, but we ran out)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees 

In a microwave safe dish: Combine almond flour, sharp cheddar cheese and cream cheese in the bowl - mix well and then warm for about 1 minute.  Remove from microwave and mix well - return bowl to microwave and heat again for 1 minute.  Then add 1 egg and mix well before rolling out the dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then place dough onto parchment paper and top with a second piece of parchment before rolling out the dough.  Roll dough and then cut into small square bite size pieces before baking. 

Once dough is cut into small squares and pop into the oven for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and flip dough over and bake for another 5 minutes. 

As for the guacamole: 
We used three ripe and ready to eat avocados - a pinch or two of dried red pepper flake, a dash of sea salt and a bit of lime juice. 

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SPA WATER

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SPA WATER

Natural Refreshing Weight Loss Water!

You can flush away toxicity and add vital nutrients and minerals to your water with the following combinations.

Remember, flushing the toxins stored in our fat cells allows us to shed unwanted pounds!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon water

  • 1 grapefruit, sliced (can substitute with one lemon)

  • 1 tangerine, sliced (can substitute with an orange)

  • 1 large cucumber, sliced

  • 10-20 peppermint leaves

  • Ice - as much as you like

 

Directions:

Rinse grapefruit, tangerine, cucumber and peppermint leaves. Slice the cucumber, grapefruit, and tangerine. Combine all the ingredients in a half gallon pitcher. Allow the ingredients to sit as long as possible for maximum benefits.

Let’s keep it simple, because you can make any combination for detox and weight loss. Simply fill a large pitcher or other water safe container with fresh water. Add:

- Fresh fruits (cut the fruit into paper-thin slices or small chunks)

- Mint for extra natural flavoring

- Stevia or pure raw honey (optional) to add sweetness

Refrigerate your Detox Water for 4-6 hours, and serve over ice. You’ll feel like you’re at a spa!

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Let's talk beauty foods (5 items to stock your pantry with!)

ALL FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES CONTAIN MAGICAL POWERS WHEN IT COMES TO SHINY HAIR, CLEAR SKIN, AND STRONG NAILS. HOWEVER, THE ONES I’VE CHOSEN BELOW ARE PERHAPS NOT AS WELL KNOWN FOR THEIR POWERFUL BEAUTY BENEFITS. TRY AND INCLUDE THESE FOODS INTO YOUR DIET IF YOU WANT TO LOOK YOUR BEST WITHOUT THE NEED FOR BOTOX OR OTHER UNNATURAL REMEDIES.

 

  1. Red Peppers. All red and orange colored foods contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Red peppers are particularly beautifying due to the minerals A, C, and K. Vitamins A and C can help prevent cell damage that leads to premature aging, and they can also reduce inflammation, which can cause a puffy-looking face. Pepper also has Vitamin K, which is an excellent property for protecting our cells from damage.

  2. Spinach. All leafy greens are actually very powerful in terms of being a beauty food because of the chlorophyll they contain. There are also loads of other phytochemicals and fiber in spinach that help build blood that is super clean and which will show through in your skin.

  3. Turmeric. This yellow-colored, Indian spice has a load of powerful antioxidant qualities. Turmeric assists in protecting our cells from free radical damage and also contributes towards cleaning up metabolic waste in our systems. It is also great as a liver flusher to get rid of any poisons and chemicals which are stored there.

  4. Pumpkin Seeds. Wow, these really are powerful. What don’t pumpkin seeds have in them?! The humble pumpkin seed contains high levels of zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, and E. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, all essential for healthy cell maintenance. Make a handful of pumpkin seeds a regular part of your diet, and you will definitely notice a change in your appearance.

  5. Parsley. Next time your plate is garnished with parsley, don’t push it aside. This is a pretty powerful herb when it comes to anti-aging, as well as purifying and cleansing the body. It contains vitamins A and C as well as anti-oxidizing flavonoids that protect our cells from free radical damage. Parsley also helps to purify the blood, kill bacteria, aid digestion, and cleanse toxins from the liver.


 

The best thing is that all these foods are easy to incorporate into your diet. Add turmeric to warm almond milk with a spoon full of coconut oil, and cinnamon or combine the other foods with some other fixings to make a great, beautifying salad. Who said that beauty was hard to keep?

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Logging Workouts

I shared my daily food journal with you last week and wanted to give you a little look into my workout journal.  This journal isn't as structured as my food journal but equally as important.  

Prior to becoming a trainer, I didn't log my workouts and walked into the gym more often than not without a plan and therefore found myself always working legs.  It was my comfort zone and what I could remember easily - I wasn't always right on the weight, but close. 

Now that I am back in action and really focused to my training - I wanted to log my workouts, track weights, and make notes/adjustments along the way. 

Using a grid-style moleskin style notebook I am logging each workout to include:                      sets /reps/modifications. While I am sure there is an app available to do all of the logging, this is quicker and gets the job done. 

planner_fitnessjournal.jpg

I can't wait to flip back through these pages at the end of the four weeks to see my progress.  Not shown is the workout schedule and a place for my starting weight, current body fat and starting weight. 

 

 

 

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Getting it all done

A frequently asked question is "How do I get it all done?"  and the answer is... "I don't!"  I have become hyper-selective of what I say "YES" to and if I do say "YES" to a new client, event, family gathering or meeting I am fully aware of what I might have to say "NO" to something else.

When we [Patrick and I] become serious about our health we decided that Sunday will be our non-negotiable day.  Meaning, we sleep in - make a coffee run - stroll the grocery store - and return to meal prep for the week ahead.  We've turned down a lot of invites over the past three years and while it seems a little crazy this is our hard line in the sand. 

We both tend to function better with structure rather than without a plan.  Patrick uses an electronic calendar that connects to his phone, I on the other hand really struggle with electronic planning and use a paper day planner.  

My planner of choice is the Happy Planner from Mambi which can be sourced online or at your local Michael's store.  I am in no way affiliated with Happy Planner or Mambi instead, I am a lover of the product!

The photo below is a sample of my week ahead: 

If you've searched Happy Planner on Pinterest you will find no shortage of beautifully crafted Happy Planners, but that's not me.  I am all about function over a lot of stickers, embellishments, and other things to prettify a planner. 

Each Sunday during meal prep when we have a break in the action I sit down and work on my planner.  The first thing I do is label each of the boxes:

IMPORTANT / TO DO: This box is a combination of personal and professional to-do's, reminders, or tasks that must be completed on that specific day. 

BUSINESS: Within this box - new projects, tasks, photo shoots, calls or events are listed

THE UNIVERSE: I took a manifestation workshop a few years ago and one of the biggest lessons was asking the universe for what it is you want and to be specific.  I recently started to incorporate this box into my weekly calendar - so it's to be determined how effective it is 

You'll notice that Monday / Tuesday are heavily planned because those are the two days currently reserved for my business. The rest of the week is dedicated to my hours at my other gig. Some of my business work does cross into the salon days, but mainly I keep those days open because it's never a guarantee that I'll have time to work on those projects.  

Carving out time for Meal Prep and Fitness: Meal Prep as mentioned above is always Sunday and workouts are typically Monday - Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  Leaving Thursday and Sunday for active rest days. I will from time to time add "workout" to my to-do list, but similar to that of meal prep I've made daily workouts a part of my daily routine and don't need to schedule the sessions. 

Using a planner that is more like a to-do list helps me knock down the list quickly and effectively. If you are struggling to remember events, appointments or tasks I highly recommend that you start working with a planner to help with your mental sanity.   

If you are struggling to make meal prep and self care a priority - you need to schedule these items into your day and into your planner.  Make it a rule that you can't say YES to anything else until you are taken care of first! 

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