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Tips For Busy Moms & Raw PB&J Protein Bar Recipe!

Healthy Tips for Busy Moms!

Here are a few tips to make it a healthy week for your family, without too much effort!

#1. Stock up on groceries!

Prepare for the busy week ahead by stocking up on healthy groceries- if you have healthy stuff around, your much more likely to make good food choices.

#2. Prepare food in advance on Sundays

Take some extra time on your Sunday afternoon to make your food for the upcoming week. Pre-portion some items in tupperware and zip lock baggies so its readily available.  For example, grill  a bunch of chicken, pre- chop fresh veggies & fruit, make a large salad, greek yogurt, some baked oatmeal, bake a bunch of sweet potatoes , ect.  This way you can grab food on the go!

#3. Get the kiddos involved!

Sit down with your kids for a few minutes to plan out the menu for the school week.  This will help to teach them early how to choose healthy meal items and organize what to put in their lunches.  Plan for 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% grains and 25% protein.

#4. Take a multivitamin.

These are no substitutes for eating a balanced diet- but they do help to fill the gaps! Other good supplements to consider include vitamin C, flax seed oil and/or  fish oil and a probiotic.

#5. Make time to eat & hydrate!

Always have a water bottle handy & snacks such as an apple, a protein bar (healthy, whole food ones!) almonds or granola in your purse for when you are on-the-go. Remember : you have to be well & take care of yourself in order to care for others!

PB&J Protein Bars!

Makes 4 Servings

1 &3/4 c Oatspb&j

2 scoops protein powder (I used vanilla – Blue Bonnet Whey Isolate- but chocolate would be awesome too!)

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup unsweetened Almond Milk

1/2 cup dried fruit of choice (I used Trader Joe’s dried blueberries but raisins, dried cranberries ect would be good as well!)

3 TBSP all natural PB (or almond butter, sunflower seed butter, cashew butter ect to make peanut free)

If you prefer extra sweet add 1/4 cup baking stevia, 2 packets of stevia or a few drops of liquid stevia to taste…

Mix all the dry ingredients then add the rest…press down hard into a brownie pan, put in fridge/freezer for a few hours to harden then carefully cut into 4 servings.  This makes a great on-the-go snack!

Enjoy!!!

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Blackberry Muffins, Brownie Cake Squares & health benefits of raw cacao!

Hope everyone is having a great week!! I wanted to share my latest healthy recipes I made for my mom’s birthday!  Who doesn’t love brownies & muffins?!  😉 Spring/summer is a great time to get fresh berries for the muffins, especially if you pick them yourself….also a cheap way to stock up on some organic fruit! (make sure you ask if pesticides are used where you go berry picking!) I also included some awesome benefits of raw CHOCOLATE & reasons why to include it into your daily diet below…

Fresh Blackberry Muffins

1/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I did half coconut sugar,  half baking stevia)

2 cups flour of choice (I always prefer sprouted grain flours such as spelt – you could do organic wheat, oat, spelt ect…I get all of my sprouted flours from www.bluemountainorganics.com )

1/2 cup liquid organic egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)

2 cups fresh blackberries (blueberries, strawberries, or other fruits would work as well!

Mix all the dry ingredients, add the wet then fold in berries.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

 

Brownie Cake Squares

1 1/2 cup flour of choice (gluten free, whole wheat, oat, spelt, ect- I used a mixture of sprouted spelt and organic unbleached white wheat)

1/2 cup sugar (I used stevia for baking)

1/3 cup raw cacao powder (unsweetened cocoa powder would work too- I just love the many health benefits of cacao! See below!)

1/2 tsp baking sodabrownie

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup vanilla low fat or fat free yogurt of choice (I used regular organic fat free vanilla yogurt from Trader Joe’s…soy, coconut or almond yogurt would work to make this vegan!)

2 TBSP Coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

 

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or cow or coconut milk)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used the Enjoy Life vegan brand)

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the wet.  Pour into a greased small square pan & bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

Health benefits of raw CHOCOLATE- AKA Cacao 😉 …

Cacao beans are rich in natural antioxidant compounds with many health benefits.   They contain natural chemicals called flavonoids, a type of antioxidant compound that promotes general health and might lower your risk of several diseases. Research has compared the antioxidant capacity of black tea, green tea, red wine and cocoa, concluding that cocoa has the highest antioxidant activity among the four products and the greatest potential for health benefits.

Minimally processed raw chocolate contains many vital vitamins and minerals such as:

  • Magnesium, and other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
  • Polyphenols, antioxidant rich flavonoids
  • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, E
  • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
  • Protein
  • Fiber

 

A few health benefits raw cacao can provide include…


1) Raw Cacao can help lower blood pressure & improve circulation

Flavanols, theobromine, and other components found in cacao may lower blood pressure and enhance circulation by promoting dilation, strength, and health of blood vessels


2) Cacao promotes cardiovascular function & health

The antioxidant power of flavonoids and essential minerals and vitamins found in cacao can support healthy heart functioning by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, lowering LDL cholesterol, and reducing plaque buildup on artery walls.


3) Neutralize free radicals!

High levels of antioxidants protect the body from a buildup of free radicals from many environmental factors we come in contact with on a daily basis. Free radicals may damage healthy body tissue giving rise to cancer and cardiovascular disease. Our bodies need antioxidants to get rid of free radicals that can damage our cells.


4)Raw Cacao can improve digestion

Cacao has a ton of fiber and it also stimulates the body’s production of digestive enzymes.


5) Cacao can improve physical and mental well-being

There are many components of cacao including alkaloids, proteins, beta-carotene, leucine, linoleic, lipase, lysine, and theobromine, that all work together to improve physical and mental health. For example,it can help  to stimulate the central nervous system, relax smooth muscles, and dilate blood vessels, giving the body a boost of energy.Cacao can also  help improve mood and fight depression.

SO how can I add raw chocolate to my daily diet?!  EASY!!! One of my favorite ways is adding 1 TBSP to my smoothies- I normally will blend 1 BIG handful of spinach with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 TBSP cacao powder (NO COCOA powder which is processed cacao) 1/2 to 1 scoop of Blue Bonnet whey isolate protein powder, 1 cup frozen berries & a bit of extra water/ice! Sometimes I will throw in 1/2 TBSP cacao nibs as well.. YUM!

You can also stir in cacao powder to your oats, sprinkle over yogurt, fruit, ect.. Use it in place of cocoa powder!

Don’t forget to eat your chocolate today!! ;))

XO!
T

 

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Breakfast Casserole

breakfast casseroleHope everyone is having a great week! I wanted to share this super easy breakfast casserole my husband loves… ( & I love it because he has breakfast for a few days, saving me from having to make his eggs every morning!) Try to use all organic ingredients since they all are part of the foods that contain the highest amount of JUNK…I added a list of the “dirty dozen”  &  the foods that are most important to buy organic below;)

Ingredients:
8 eggs
2 cups milk
3 cups veggies- I used potatoes (spinach, peppers, onions, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini/squash ect)
1-2 cups cheese
1 lb meat ( I did turkey)
1 TBSP dijon mustard
2 tsp parsley flakes
salt/pepper to taste

Cook meat then combine remaining ingredients & pour into a greased (I use coconut oil) 8×10 pan… Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes. Done!

THE DIRTY DOZEN!  If you are on a budget and need to prioritize your organic purchases, I suggest you just buy the 12 most contaminated organic if possible :)

12 Most Contaminated (has the highest pesticide residues)

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

Furthermore, your meat, dairy and eggs should be organic. These products have the combined risk of pesticide, anti-biotic and cancer causing growth hormone exposure.

12 Least Contaminated

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya
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Chocolate Coconut Protein Balls!

Happy Thursday! Hope everyone is having a good week & start to the New Year!

I wanted to share this quick & easy snack my family and clients love! Its great to have on hand to grab and go before or after workouts…. Remember dried fruit is calorie dense so only 2 per serving :) Recipe makes 6 balls! Just throw all these ingredients into a food processor, blend until a thick dough forms (will be pretty oily since walnuts are loaded with all those healthy omegas- but putting in the fridge will help with that), roll into balls, sprinkle/roll with coconut and put in the fridge!

1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dates
1/4 cup raisins
raw cacao powder or chocolate protein powder to taste (I do 1/2-1 scoop)
Optional: You can also add in some chocolate chips or cacao nibs!

You can sub any nut such as pecans, almonds, or even sunflower seeds are good! Instead of the raisins you can do any dried fruit such as cranberries or cherries. If your batter gets too dry from too much protein powder then you can add a bit of honey or nut butter to make it sticky again.

ENJOY! XO!

T

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Healing A Broken Metabolism

I have been getting quite a few questions about “metabolic burnout” lately, so thought this would be a good topic to blog about. (Tying to write quickly as Kinslee naps so forgive any typos!)
This subject is quite popular in the fitness industry. After months and for some of us, years of continual overtraining and dieting, our bodies can really begin to suffer. Your body has just had it and it’s putting its foot down- or God is simply smacking you in the face telling you to chill out 😉 . No amount of caffeine will get your energy going and no amount of extra cardio or dieting will get you leaner. You may retain extra fluid (or gain weight), menstruation may stop or become way irregular, your hair may be falling out, skin is dry, low sex drive, insomnia, intolerant to cold, felling weak and just straight up feeling like CRAP.

I think a lot of us are so programmed with structured dieting, two a day cardios, stimulants, ect…that we do not pay attention to the subtle warning signs our bodies give us. It does not matter how lean we are or how many shows we win if we are feeling like crap and are unhealthy….QUALITY of life and correct PRIORITIES is what matters! And believe me- I am often preaching this to my clients nowadays!

A brief summary of my story for those who don’t know… after competing for several years straight with little breaks and after the biggest show of my life (Olympia 2010) my body was done. I ignored the fact I haven’t had a period in YEARS, I had to always take sleeping aids and was exhausted if I didn’t have caffeine. I generally still felt ok. However, one day I woke up, my hair was falling out, I was exhausted and freezing all the time, my insomnia was horrible, my skin was thin/dry and I was just not feeling right. It took months to figure out what was going on. Lots of blood test, time off work, doctor appointments, ect. Long story short, your girl (like many other women who just do NOT realize until it’s too late) is the poster child for the female athlete triad and metabolic/adrenal burnout! The female athlete triad is a combination of three conditions: disordered eating (not necessarily bulimia or anorexia but basically not eating enough to support your body’s needs- like staying too lean for too long), amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. A female athlete can have one, two, or all three parts of the triad. There are also other things like infertility and thyroid disease that go along with the triad…and I definitely experienced these things as well! I am now on thyroid medication and we had to do months of fertility treatments to get pregnant … our precious girl was SOOOOO worth every shot and pill though… haha 😉

Even after that rough year, I am beyond grateful for the amazing career I had as an IFBB professional Figure competitor and for each experience I went through afterwards. It has allowed me to help other women and my clients train correctly and SMART. Most importantly, it has opened my eyes to what really matters in life…”God is good” is an understatement!

Everything happens for a reason! Looking back…I can honestly say I thankfully have learned SO much. Being on stage is not always the “picture of health” as many people think.

Nowadays …Thanks to these life changing experiences and my beautiful growing family, my love for fitness is renewed. God, family & friends are priority, my diet and exercise regime is balanced (and kicking a@# five months postpartum might I add … lol 😉 , we eat organic and use organic products (cleaners, beauty products, ect) and I have a healthy outlook on life.

Anywayssssssss… quite a few women have asked me what I did to regain my health, so I thought I would share some things I did as the competition season comes to a close this year. (You definitely do NOT need to be a competitor to experience any of these things or to take these tips BTW)……

If you find yourself feeling like you are “stuck” and the things you were once doing aren’t working anymore, (or just feel like crap and you know your metabolism and adrenals are suffering) here are some tips to give your metabolism a makeover!

*Quit the “diet”. Forget low carb, low fat and low calories. Fuel your body with nutrient dense foods to help your body heal.

* De-Stress! Stress can really hinder your metabolism. It’s a hormonal and chemical reaction involving cortisol and glucose. Find ways to relax and prevent chronic anxiety and stress to help your metabolism get back on track.

*Eat 5-6 small meals per day. Unlike the typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner routine, eating several small meals can prevent your metabolism from slowing down throughout the day.

*Cut out the sugar. This includes all processed foods and artificial sweeteners. These make your body work extra hard to digest and process. Eat as close to nature as possible.

*Switch up your workout routine and let your body rest when needed. If your body is accustomed to doing long steady state cardio sessions, switch it up to intense 20 minute workouts. If your body is telling you to not workout at all and rest to rejuvenate…then rest! LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!

* Drink more water! Most of us are walking around dehydrated. When you are dehydrated, your whole body functions less efficiently. Make sure the water is nice and cold. Theoretically, your body works harder to bring cold water to your body temperature, which is an extra boost for your metabolism.

*Ok…here is a tough but super important one…SLEEP!!!! We are one sleep deprived & “running on empty” nation! Getting adequate sleep can really help reset your body and metabolism by allowing it to heal.

*Caffeine… This is known to jump start the metabolism…. I feel caffeine is too taxing on the adrenals if taken in access and for too long. A bit is ok but I would stay away from too much and switch to some green tea- lots of antioxidants and less caffeine than coffee & energy drinks! Also- if taking fat burners…stop! These can really take a toll on your body overall and be very damaging in the long run. Your heart and liver will thank you . My girls know I do NOT like them 😉

I hope these tips may have helped some of you! Enjoy the holidays that right around the corner! Stay thankful, happy, healthy & safe! xo!!!
T

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Healthy “Reeses” Chocolate Balls!

These vegan treats are super easy & great as a healthy treat for all those peanut butter/chocolate cravings! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Filling:

3/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (choose an all natural one without added oils/sweeteners- you could also do almond butter, sunbutter, cashewbutter, ect)
1/4 cup agave
1/2 cup coconut flour
pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Coating:

4 oz. Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (or you could just organic dark chocolate but these are vegan friendly)
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Directions

Mix the PB, coconut flour and agave, roll into balls and place on parchment paper. Set them in the freezer to harden (about 15-20 mins) Melt the chocolate and oil in the microwave then roll the PB balls in the chocolate to coat. Place back in the freezer for another 15 minutes or so…DONE! ENJOY!

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The Best Protein Pancakes!

1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 TBSP coconut flour
1/2 scoop whey isolate protein powder
Stevia to taste (maybe 1 packet)
Cinnamon to taste
1/3 cup organic liquid egg whites
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

Combine the first 5 ingredients then add the egg whites & almond milk. You can also add some blueberries, chocolate chips, crushed walnuts, canned pumpkin, mashed banana, ect! Cook on a griddle greased with a bit of coconut oil or my favorite…the green perfect pancake pan! LOVE it!  Optional toppings: coconut oil, ghee, almond butter/jelly, coconut butter, pure maple syrup…

ENJOY! XOXO!

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Protein Cookies!

I love these! Such a super easy & healthy treat! Enjoy!

PROTEIN COOKIES
2 cups Oats (I use Bobs Red Mills GF Oats)
1/4 cup Protein powder
1tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tbs Coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 Egg
1/2 cup Baking stevia
1/4 cup Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use enjoy life vegan mini chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper, and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place 1/2 of the oats (1 cup) in a food processor, and grind until oats are ground into a flour. (if you want a completely smooth batter, you could also grind the other half of the oats here.)

In one bowl, mix together the oat flour with the rest of the oats and the rest of the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry, and stir until combined. Roll cookies into balls and place on the cookie sheet. (These cookies don’t spread much, so you don’t need to leave a lot of space in between them!)

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are set and firm and only lightly colored. Store in an airtight container. Cookies may be wrapped and frozen.

Makes 16 cookies- serving size 2-3.

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Why I eat sprouted grains & Buckwheat Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe (vegan, GF, fat free)

This morning I decided to use up some pumpkin I had in the fridge and gotten sick of my normal GF oats/ cinnamon flax seed oil breakfast- so my favorite cooking buddy and I -Kinslee- decided to put on some baby Einstein music & make some sprouted buckwheat pumpkin pancakes! I’m teaching my sweet/beautiful/goofy lil girl early on how to cook healthy 😉 I just LOVE her! Anywaysss….

I always use sprouted flours for many reasons…Sprouted flour is easily digestible and more nutritious than unsprouted grains and flours. Sprouting increases the vitamin C and B vitamins of the grain. It also increases the carotene up to eight times and the enzymes which makes it easier digested. Furthermore, sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, which is a substance present in the bran of all grains that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. It also taste wayyyyy better! The natural flavors of the different sprouted grains are more pronounced. Conventional flour is often bleached and/or refined and can be rancid due to the high temperatures used in processing. The grains (such as the buckwheat I used here) are transformed into a living food when sprouted. Convinced to switch to sprouted grains yet?! 😉

I order all my flours (sprouted millet, buckwheat, quinoa, coconut flour ect) from my favorite company, Blue Mountain Organics. Their stuff is great quality, priced & the employees are just awesome people- which let me say… I’m all about supporting good, honest companies who also have a great passion for health! Check out their store- http://www.bluemountainorganics.com/store/index.htm (and NO, I do not get paid or anything like that to “promote” their products- I order their flours, kale chips, sprouted nut butters, cooking ingredients, ect – I know you will love it so wanted to share! 😉

So, I used the sprouted buckwheat flour here- it taste much better than regular store bought buckwheat flour so I wouldn’t recommend using that…Store bought buckwheat has a very strong flavor & I just don’t care for the taste. You could also use gf oat flour or something similar. Its a super easy recipe – I topped with Almond butter! Hope you enjoy!

Sprouted Buckwheat Pumpkin Pancakes
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup sprouted buckwheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 1 tsp baking powder
pich of salt
2 TBSP sugar (you can do coconut sugar, baking stevia to make sugar free which I did, ect)
1/2 heaping tsp each of cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice

Makes 4 pancakes…& yes you can eat them all!

Mix all ingredients then cook on a hot pan greased with coconut oil. Top with coconut oil/butter, almond butter, ghee, fresh maple syrup, ect….

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Paleo Coconut Flour Bread

Coconut flour can be tricky to bake with but this is the best banana bread I have had in a longggg time!! (I only made half the recipe since I only had two bananas)… Enjoy!!!

4 ripe bananas
1/3 cup coconut oil
4 organic eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Mash the bananas then add all the other ingredients & bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until the top is golden :)

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