Guilt Free Indulgence

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The weekend is here and you feel like you deserve a treat! I know how easy it is for one cheat meal to turn into an entire weekend of indulgence with the mindset that Monday will be a brand new start. That isn’t the best approach though. It is better to try to find healthier options so that you can indulge without the guilt and without any setbacks in your nutrition and exercise routine. This is a recipe I use often when craving a sweet treat.

1 frozen banana
1 can of coconut milk (just the cream)
1 heaping spoonful of peanut butter
1 handful of cacao nibs
Blend until smooth and freeze for about thirty minutes to an hour. Top with any superfoods you desire – I used roasted coconut flakes, cacao nibs, hemp seeds and chia seeds.

I tend to over buy bananas because I like to keep them on hand for quick snacks and I like to freeze them for smoothies and “ice cream”. As they start to turn brown because I haven’t eaten them in time I just break them into small chinks and throw them into tupperware in the freezer and I always have some on hand when I need them.

Regarding the coconut milk: If you place a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight or about eight hours, the coconut cream will separate from the coconut water. I turn the can upside down to open it and drain off the coconut water for a future smoothie and use the coconut cream for the dessert I am making.

Make sure your peanut butter is organic and just peanuts and salt. Many companies add sugar or high fructose corn syrup which is completely unnecessary. Other than that, enjoy an all natural version of Chunky Monkey ice cream!

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Fuel for the Burn

barsDo you ever feel like you are dragging through your workout? What you eat is what fuels you and there is a very fine line between feeling energetic and having that food sloshing around in your belly. Here are my top five recommendations for pre-workout fuel.

  1. Multi-grain Toast with Peanut Butter: Go for just one slice of bread with a tablespoon of peanut, almond, or cashew butter. Make sure your nut butter does not have added sugar and is organic. I highly recommend Ezekiel bread as it includes no flour and is a mixture of sprouted grains and legumes with all nine essential amino acids. It can usually be found in the freezer section of your grocery store.
  2. Oatmeal with Nuts & Berries: I use a half cup of oats and top with a handful of berries and a tablespoon of walnuts with a sprinkle of chia seeds and hemp seeds. I like to add a pinch of cinnamon, turmeric, and black pepper for their health benefits. Then I just pour boiling water on top until it is the consistency I like.
  3. Dried Fruit & Nuts: This is a good choice if you don’t like the feeling of food in your belly when you workout or if you workout first thing in the morning and need something as quick as possible. You only need about a half-cup to get the fuel you need for your workout.
  4. Chia Pudding: The best ratio is generally 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to one cup of liquid. I tend to use coconut or almond milk but if you aren’t vegan you could use regular milk too. I mix it in the blender with a banana and let it sit for about five minutes before I pour it in a mason jar, give it another stir and place it in the refrigerator overnight. Top with some berries or nuts if you need to change up the consistency and flavor.
  5. Granola Bar: If you are on the go just grab a “KIND” bar or “Lara” bar. Both are whole food options without added chemicals. I prefer to make my own bars so they are fresh, raw and full of the flavors I love. My base recipe is a cup of dates, a cup of almonds, two tablespoons of seeds (chia, hemp, sunflower), two tablespoons of coconut oil and three quarter cups of dried apricots or cranberries. I throw it all in the food processor until it is thoroughly mixed and ready to be spread out and cut into bars.

Maroc Milk

marocmilk (1)Nut milks are part of my daily routine when I eat entirely raw. It satisfies and fills me up like nothing else! This morning I made my normal almond milk by blending up almonds, dates and ginger together in the water that the almonds soaked in and then strained it. After that I put the almond milk in the blender with a banana, four small apricots, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It was delicious and I was full for hours. It was even puppy approved!

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Heavenly Hydration

greenjuice (1)This juice is super cooling and hydrating which makes it perfect for the summer time or after a workout. It is wonderful for your skin, strengthens hair and nails, boosts your immune system, and even lowers cholesterol. It is also extremely soothing on the stomach and would be a way to ease heartburn, indigestion, or acid reflux.

Drink up and let your body enjoy the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants including vitamin A, B6, C, E, K, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid, thiamin, niacin, folic acid, copper, alpha lipoic acid, lutein, glutathione, chlorophyll, choline, calcium, and iron.

Juice Plus

11174879_876527309079290_6652706911885789936_n Many people have written me over the past year to ask for my opinion on Juice Plus. I figured I might as well write a short blog post to explain my thoughts and refer people to in the future. In short, my opinion is that you should not waste your money and should simply add more fruits and veggies into your weekly trip to the grocery store.

Studies of Juice Plus’ effects have very controversial results because the only studies that have been done supporting their claims were sponsored by Juice Plus. Critics have argued that there is no true scientific proof to its many health claims. Three studies which included chemical analysis have indicated nutrient amounts that differ from what is on the product label. Several claims have been filed with the FDA and Better Business Bureau which have made them discontinue certain product lines. Consumer watchdog organizations and government agencies have actually disputed the claims and according to Quackwatch it is “a colossal waste of money”. If you check Juice Plus on Wikipedia and MLMwatch there are several research studies listed proving JuicePlus is not effective.

Concerns have been raised that the nutrients aren’t even bioavailable which means the human body cannot absorb them. There have been a few studies showing adverse health problems caused by JuicePlus but it seems that the most harm is done to your wallet, not your body. I wish people would realize there is no quick fix or magic pill. Fruits and vegetables are delicious and made for our bodies to digest and absorb their nutrients – eat lots of them. Forget the diet and live a lifestyle of abundance. You can eat as much as you want and not even worry about the calories!