REST EASY: SLEEPING WELL

Sleeping is overrated, am I right?!

We live in a world where to get ahead you must sleep less and work more. People view sleep as a waste of time. There’s not enough hours in the day so the first thing to go is our sleep.

Well, reality check: SLEEP IS NECESSARY! Sleep is a pillar of health, right along with nutrition and exercise.

On average, as an adult, 7.5 hours to 9 hours of sleep is what your body and mind needs. Inadequate sleep directly leads to fatigue, but it also important to note that too much sleep also leads to fatigue. 

Sleeping is so important. It is vital for your rejuvenation and for your overall health and well-being. I get it…a lot of you work long hours, you are raising families, getting a degree, or the million other things you have to get done in a day. You are busy, so sleep is always the first thing to go. I simply encourage you to try and get a little more sleep over the next week, and to pay attention to any differences you see.

Adequate sleep will improve all aspects of your life from your diet, to your performance, to your relationships with others. You need to sleep for so many reasons, and here is a list of reasons why you should focus on getting adequate sleep!

 

10 Reasons Adequate Sleep is Necessary:

  1. Adequate sleep sharpens your attention. When you get enough sleep, you are more attentive to detail and have a better over-all awareness. You will also be more productive. 

  2. Healthy weight. Those who sleep more tend to have a healthier weight than those who do not. Research has even linked adequate sleep to a healthier weight. If you are struggling to lose weight, try sleeping more. Lack of sleep even makes you hungrier. 

  3. Reduces stress. Sleep more, stress less. It is as simple as that.

  4. Protects you from heart disease and diabetes. If you continually wake up groggy from a lack of sleep, over the years this can really pay a toll on your health. 

  5. Improve your immune system. When you are sleep deprived, your body’s emergency stress system kicks in. Sleeping better helps you to keep illness away. Don’t fall behind on sleep, especially during flu season! 

  6. Reduces inflammation. You have to give your body the time (sleep) it needs to fight inflammation and recover. 

  7. YOU WILL LOOK BETTER! Baggy eyes? Groggy? Yeah…you probably don’t want to look in the mirror when you are not sleeping enough. Sleep not only makes you feel better, but also look better. 

  8. MOOD. Sleep improves your mood. We have all been irritable and we know how toxic this can be to not only our own life, but also everyone in our lives.  

  9. Athletic performance. Adequate sleep will not only increase your motivation to go to the gym, but a good night’s rest will also enhance your performance at the gym. 

  10. Improve your memory. Getting more sleep and quality of sleep will help you to remember and process things better.

 

10 Tips to Improve Sleep:

 

  1. Stop taking naps. Not napping will help you to sleep better at night. Nix the nap and swap it out for a tall glass of ice water or a short walk to revive you. 

  2. Sleep and sex. Only use your bed to sleep and for sex. Don’t do work in your bed, don’t talk on the phone or watch TV in your bed, and don’t even read a book while in bed. Sleep and sex. Make your bedroom a relaxing environment. 

  3. Go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time. Create consistency. You will even find your body getting into a routine and waking up around the same time on its own. 

  4. No caffeine after noon. I get it, I love coffee too…but nixing it after the noon hour will not only help you to fall asleep faster, but also it will improve the quality of your sleep.

  5. Turn off your electronics. Power down at night. If you can, turn off all electronics one hour before you go to bed…this will tremendously improve the quality of your sleep and help you to fall asleep way faster. 

  6. Beware of alcohol. Yeah, yeah…I know. “It makes me tired.” That is great, but be cautious because it also causes you to wake up more frequently during the night (hint, hint- you are not reaching your deep sleep!).

  7. Block out the noise. Use earplugs or turn on a fan or some type of white noise to avoid interruptions of sleep from loud noises.

  8. DIM THE LIGHTS. Lower the lights in your home a few hours before bedtime. This signals your brain to start producing melatonin, the sleep hormone. 

  9. Sleeping pills may not be the answer. Sleeping pills should only be used as a short time solution. Pay attention to any side effects.

  10. See a doctor. If you absolutely cannot sleep at night, it might be time to go see a doctor. Sometimes sleep issues can be linked to health problems. Always be aware and cautious. 

 

Lastly, a nighttime formula can be a very beneficial supplement for getting a better night of sleep. Nighttime formulas are made using all natural ingredients to relax your body and help achieve a more restful night full of R.E.M. sleep where your body really recovers. They will promote a deep sleep leading to you waking up more refreshed and not to mention, suppress cortisol levels! (Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes fat to be stubborn – no bueno.) Unwinding and getting a relaxing night of sleep will promote optimal metabolism throughout the night and the rest of the day.

Thank you for reading!

Sleep tight. 

YOUR BODY’S POWERHOUSE: THE CORE

“Abs, Abs, Abs!” 

“Swimsuit Season is HERE”

“Foods to Eat for a Flatter Belly”

“Do More Crunches”

We see titles and sayings like this EVERYWHERE! Does seeing these titles and posts actually motivate you? Yeah, maybe looking good in a bikini or shirtless does motivate you…but having a strong core goes far beyond looking good at the pool. Having a strong core is crucial, and here is why! 

 

THE POWERHOUSE:

Your core is the powerhouse for your entire body. Your core facilitates all movements for your body. Not only that, but it is also the home for all of your internal organs and your central nervous system. All movements begin with your core, so essentially your core helps you to do EVERYTHING! Strengthening your core helps to strengthen your back (your back muscles are a part of your core) which helps to reduce back pains. 

Being strong does not necessarily mean you have a strong core. It is important to start from the inside out and BUILD A STRONG CORE! It is all about the foundation.

 

Core Strengthening Exercises: 

Not sure where to start? Below are some simple core exercises plus a chart of core workouts. Check out Pinterest for more core workout ideas, there’s plenty out there! 

 

Side Plank Hip Dips:

  1. Start in a side plank, resting on your right forearm, body forming a straight line, left foot stacked on top of right.

  2. Lower your hips a few inches, lift hips to return to starting position. 

  3. Do 15-20 reps on each side.

 

Oblique Pulse Crunch:

  1. Start lying on your back, knees bent. Crunch to bring shoulders off the ground, with your left arm reaching toward your left foot and right hand supporting your head.

  2. Do 20 pulses, bringing your left-hand closer to your left foot with each pulse.

  3. Repeat in the other side. 

 

Upper Abs Pulse Crunch:

  1. Start lying on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.

  2. Engaging your abs, lift your chest forward into a crunch, bringing shoulders off the ground.

  3. Reach your arms forward in between legs. Pulse, reaching forward and lifting higher off the ground with each rep.

  4. Do 20 reps. 

 

CORE STABILITY:

 

What is Core Stability? 

Stability is defined as remaining unchanged even in the presence of forces that would normally change the state or condition…just apply this definition to the core region and there you have it, core stability. It is important to constantly be challenged and switching it up when it comes to anything, but especially your core. Simply, the more balanced and coordinated your muscles are, the less likely you will be injury-prone because of a certain pressure or force.

An awesome tool you can use at the gym to help build your core stability is a workout ball. When using a workout ball for core strengthening, it is pretty self-explanatory. You can pretty much do any plank or crunch exercise on the ball. I seriously suggest giving it a try, it can be really challenging if you never have before! 

Another great tool is called a bosu. A bosu is a half-shaped ball, attached to a flat surface or frame (Pictured at the beginning of the Core Stability section). A bosu is great for core strengthening because it can be extremely challenging to balance on the bosu. Simply start by standing on one leg on the bosu for 20 seconds. Be sure to work both legs and build up to more extended periods of time. 

Other great ways to strengthen your core are by doing yoga or Pilates. They are both awesome practices that require you to engage your core. Give it a try! 

 

COMMIT TO IT!

Having a strong core is not something that is going to come easy. It is going to take time and it is going to take A LOT of discipline. This does not mean you have to do a thirty-minute ab workout six days of the week. No, not at all. Simply start small. 

Do you watch TV? During commercials drop down to the floor and do some crunches or a plank set. Get your significant other or your whole family in on it too! It does not have to be extensive, just commit to it. If you only have five minutes that is great. JUST DO IT! Tack it on to the end of your workout at the gym or do it after you go for a run or walk. You just have to start somewhere! 

Taking care of your core is important for the entirety of your health. Stop neglecting those abs! 

We all need to have a strong foundation. It is time to crunch it out! 

Thank you for reading! 

TAKE YOUR WORKOUT OUTSIDE: TRACK WORKOUTS

FINALLY! The weather is only getting nicer, and you have possibly been hitting the gym all winter…it is time to GET OUTSIDE! Go and get a change of scenery. Get some fresh air, switch it up, and get creative. 

A great place to go for a good outdoor workout is a track. Here is a list of awesome workouts you can do at a track to switch up your routine!

 

10 Great Workouts to do at a Track:

  1. SPRINTS- 50 meters, 100 meters, 200 meters, or even 400 meters! However short or far you want to go, mix some sprints into your workout routine.

  2. HILLS- Most high school tracks (at least most around St. Joseph, MO) have a nice, steep hill around them. Hill sprints are a great way to get your heart rate up and going! Do some hill repeats and your glutes will thank you later.

  3. STADIUM STAIRS- Do you like to use a stair stepper machine at your gym? Does it ever get old, but you keep doing it because you know it is a great workout?  Why not try it outside?! Walking or running some stairs at your local track is a great workout and such a refreshing break from the stair stepper machine. 

  4. STRAIGHTS AND CURVES- Dreading running? Try running the straights and walking the curves! It is a great way to learn to better control your heart rate and a nice gradual build up to learn to better enjoy running. Too easy for you to run the straights and walk the curves? Try sprinting the straights and jogging the curves! 

  5. LUNGES- Common sense, right?! You have plenty of room, you do not have to do lunges in place. LUNGE IT OUT! Side lunges, front lunges, back lunges…DO THEM ALL! 

  6. AGILITIES- agilities are a great way to prevent injury, improve your balance, and give you a better mind-body connection. Agilities is a broad category, but it is all so good for you. Do some shuttle runs, high knees, butt kicks, tuck jumps…do it all!

  7. CORE WORK – A track is not the worst surface to drop down on and do some abs, and it is hard to beat a little core work out in the sun! Crunch it out! 

  8. WALK- Simply walk around the track! It is an easy way to keep track of how far you have walked if you do not have a watch or device. Start in lane eight and each lap switch lanes working down to lane one. It makes for a mindless way to keep track of how far you have gone!

  9. THE CLASSIC MILE– Throw it back to high school or middle school! Run a mile! Time yourself and try to beat your personal best each time. Running is such a great source of cardio. Come on…it is just one mile! You can do it! Work up towards it if you have to! Just do it!

  10. BAREFOOT WALK- Saving the best for last! Barefoot walking is so good for you. Take off your shoes and socks and walk around the inside, grassy part of the track. It is so good to allow your feet to breath and walk in their most natural way, barefoot! (Try to do it on fresh, green grass. Dead grass can be uncomfortable.)

ENJOY YOUR TRACK WORKOUT! As always, I advise you to find a friend to enjoy your workouts with. Accountability is GOLD! 

Thank you for reading! Comment with any other track workout ideas. 

Go and get the day!

STRESS, STRESS, STRESS

Are you ever just overwhelmed by the demands of life? Stress has such a negative connotation, but it actually can be a good thing…if in small doses. Stress, or being under pressure, can help you to perform better…so stress truly is not always a bad thing! Recognizing good and bad stress in our lives is crucial. It is important to pay attention to our levels of stress, to pause and look at what in our lives is causing us this stress. 

In the last year, I heard someone say the following quote about stress and it has really helped me to manage the stress in my life in a new light… “Our bodies can’t tell the difference in where stress is coming from. The body sends the same stress signals to the brain whether if we are stressed from work, school or relationships, stressed physically from a workout, or stressed because we are running from a bear.”  When we are stressing, our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode, known as the stress response. Too much of stress can be extremely harmful on our minds and bodies. Are you over stressing?

AM I STRESSED?

THE SYMPTOMS

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Headaches

  • Irritability

WHY IS STRESS HARMFUL?

THE EFFECTS OF STRESS ON YOUR BODY

  • Stress can lead to or intensify headaches. If you regularly get headaches this could be a result of stress in your life. 

  • Chronic, or ongoing stress can be emotionally draining and lead to an increase in depression. 

  • Stress even affects your digestive system and can lead to nausea and stomach problems.

  • INSOMNIA. Do you ever have trouble falling asleep at night? Stress can make it difficult to fall asleep or even to stay asleep. 

  • Stress causes your body to release extra glucose (sugar) leading to high blood sugar.

  • Long term stress leaves you more vulnerable to infections and weakens your immune system.

  • Stress increases your heart rate and in time this could increase your chance of heart attacks.

  • Rapid breathing. Stress can leave you with a shortened breath.

  • Stress and the fatigue it comes with can lower your sex drive.

  • Muscle tension. Stress even causes your muscles to tense up which leads to aches and pains.

TIPS TO MANAGE STRESS

  • BREATHE. First and foremost, breath. Take a big, deep breathe. 

  • Identify. Identify what it is in your life that is causing this stress. Maybe it is unavoidable, and this might be the case…but it could also be something you can rid from your life. Ask yourself the tough questions.

  • Cut (or minimize) the caffeine. I know…no one ever wants to hear this one, but caffeine is not helping your stress levels. 

  • TALK ABOUT IT. Don’t bottle it up. Share your stresses with a friend, loved one, or even a doctor. More likely than not they will be able to offer you some advice or support that you are looking for. 

  • Learn how to say “no.” It is okay to be human and not be able to do everything. Remember this, saying yes to one thing is saying no to something else. What are you giving your time to, and where else could you be giving your time? Asking questions like this can help to prioritize what in our lives we are saying yes to.

  • Look at the big picture. You can’t control the uncontrollable. Stay positive. Focus on yourself and the way you react. 

  • Be grateful. When stress is weighing you down, think of all of the people and things in your life you are thankful for. Focus on what brings you joy.  

Health is so much more than working out and eating right. Taking care of our minds is arguably more important (or equally… it is all SO IMPORTANT!) than our physical health.

Don’t stress the small stuff!

Thanks for reading and please share with friends and family! 

Much of this post came from the links below. For additional information, see below:

https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/145855.php

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes.htm

SAY “NO” MORE!

More likely than not, you probably categorize yourself as a busy person. You probably ALWAYS have a list of “XYZ” things to do by tomorrow, and you always have a place you have to be. Your free time is minimal. It is safe to guess your calendar is always full. Honestly, it probably feels like your life is even dictated by your calendar or schedule. If this relates to you, then it is safe to say you are probably one of those people who say yes to everything. 

Well, it is time to start saying NO.

WHY SAY NO?

Saying no to something good gives you the space and time you need to say yes to something great. All too often we say yes to things because we feel obligated to do them or even almost guilty. When you have so many events, meetings, hobbies, activities – whatever it may be – going on in your life it is difficult to be great at the things you are doing. 

Ask Yourself: Am I good at many things, or am I great at a few things? 

Stop trying to do everything, and do a few things very well. 

Simply use your gift and talents to grow as people, doing what you are passionate about. 

BE GREAT, not good. 

Too often, we are spreading ourselves too thin. We are conditioning ourselves to be average at a lot of things rather than being the best we can be at a few things. 

We are limiting our own capabilities by being average. 

Variety is a good thing for sure. No one really wants to do the same exact thing over and over and over again…but if we have too much on our plate, we are holding ourselves back from doing what we want and what we love to do, and holding ourselves back from doing it well.

We were not made to be average. 

PRIORITIZE!

What do you love? What are you passionate about? What are your goals for life?

Do you desire to be a great parent?

Do you want to write a book?

Do you want to own your own business?

Do you want to compete? Run a marathon? Lift competitively? 

You must say NO to the things that are holding you back from doing what you love to do. We all need to “check ourselves” every now and then. We need to look at where we are giving our time, money, and talents. Are we giving of ourselves in line with what matters the most to us?

Be honest with yourself. Start now and reprioritize your life around what really matters. 

PRACTICE!

Start by saying no to the things holding you back from being a better version of yourself. Stop people pleasing. I know it is hard, but you have to make decisions for you and the most important people in your life sometimes. 

Like anything, saying no is going to take practice. Practice saying no to the small things so you will be prepared to say no to the bigger things that don’t align with your passions or values.

If you are indecisive, ask yourself, “What is the next right thing to do?”

Practicing saying no to things in your life holding you back from doing what you love will not only positively affect you, but also the people in your life. 

Saying no will free you up to give the people you love the most the time and energy they deserve from you.

Say yes less and no more. 

Thanks for reading!

ARE YOU MAKING GOALS OR ARE YOU MAKING WISHES?

We all have hopes, dreams and wishes. Hopes, dreams and wishes are all great to have, but if we want them to become a reality it requires action. It can be easy to live life with our head in the clouds. Honestly. Don’t get me wrong, dreaming is good, but I would go as far as to say dreaming BIG is good, but day dreaming…not so much. Dreaming big is a productive way of thinking and motivating ourselves while on the latter, day dreaming can be a waste of the precious 24 hours we have been given in a day. Our hopes, dreams, and wishes require action to become a reality.

TAKING ACTION

How do you make your dreams come true? It is simple, really. MAKE GOALS…but don’t just make goals, WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN. If your goals are written down and visible so you can see them every day, the likelihood of you achieving them is so much higher. It is said that those who write down their goals are 80 percent more likely to reach them…Write them on a napkin, a sticky note…get your goals framed, tape them to your bathroom mirror…whatever works, just WRITE THEM DOWN! If you wake up every day, look into the mirror and glance at your goals, you are going to make them happen. You are going to be cognitive of what you are after and you are going to have a new sense of focus or even purpose. Read your goals, out loud. Recite your goals daily. ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY. Writing your goals down helps you to remain focused on what you are striving to accomplish. It helps you to keep your eye on the prize. Be a visionary!

The word is: STRIVING

I am a realist and we are not perfect nor will we ever be perfect. We are human and the quicker we grasp this reality the better off we will be. The quicker we learn we are going to fail the better people we will become. When we realize we can learn something from our failures we are going to be so much better off. Buzz word: STRIVING. When you make goals, you have to realize you are striving to achieve them. You have to understand you are going to fail in some shape or form, but when you are striving, you wake up the next day ready to get after it, ready to strive for your goals again. 

EMBRACE YOUR FAILURES

In an inspiring book called, Perfectly Yourself, Matthew Kelly shares three truths to remember when we come across failures or shortcomings: 

  1. Other people before you have successfully overcome the obstacle you face; seek them out and draw strength from their stories and example.

  2. All of your past failures leave you better equipped than ever before to succeed in your next attempt.

  3. It will never be easier to break that pattern of defeat than it right now.

There is never going to be a perfect time to start something. 

The time is now. 

Take action and make your dreams a reality. 

Write down your goals. 

STRIVE AND EMBRACE YOUR FAILURES. 

Thanks for reading! Share with family and friends who need to hear this too! 

FORGET FOOD COMAS, WALK IT OUT

What is your favorite thing to do after eating a big (or even small) meal?

NAP?

… or maybe sit down to watch some TV, a movie, or read a book.

RELAXATION IS GOOD AND NECESSARY! It is good to give our body the rest it needs and deserves. You should always listen to your body and when it is telling you to rest, by all means…REST! 

It is a New Year, and it is time to start a new post dinner tradition. I am here to offer you an alternative…a small change to your habits that can have a great effect on your overall health in the long run. It really is the frequent, small changes you make to your lifestyle that will lead to big changes in the long run.

SUGGESTION: After you eat, go for a short walk.

Now, I am not telling you to walk five miles, a fifteen-minute walk will do just fine! 

WHY?

Walking after you eat not only is a great way to burn some calories, but it also helps you to better digest the food you just consumed. Walking after you eat lowers your blood sugar. It helps to clear the glucose (sugar) from your blood stream because more of it is taken up by your muscles. Walking and being active of course improves your mood as well, and it is always a good opportunity to get your creative juices flowing! You really can’t go wrong with choosing to take a walk after dinner. Make it a habit, make it a tradition! 

This does not have to a new habit for just you. Get the whole family bundled up and out the door, take the dog out for a walk, go for a walk with your significant other, or call up a friend and set up an evening walk tradition! People need other people.  Be intentional and form good habits with others to live a better life!

 

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Important food for thought: Taking care of yourself is also taking care of others in your life. When you are good to yourself, you will find yourself more easily being good to others. 

Take up a new tradition and try out a post dinner walk! 

Thanks for reading and please share with family and friends! 

REPLENISHING WELL: ELECTROLYTES

Knowledge is wealth. The more you know about your body and how it works the better off in life you will be. So I have to ask, how much do you know about electrolytes? 

You probably know a great way to get electrolytes is to drink Gatorade. This has been engraved in our minds for years. Electrolytes are a little more complex than simply drinking Gatorade, so here is a post about everything you need to know about electrolytes! 

 

WHAT ARE ELECTROLYTES? 

We need electrolytes in order to live! Electrolytes provide your body with a more or less charge, or an electric current, in order for your body to function. Electrolytes are chemicals that conduct electricity when mixed with water.  They have many roles in helping the body to function such as hydrating the body, regulating nerve and muscle function, rebuilding damaged tissues, and balancing blood acidity and pressure. 

Electrolytes include potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, and bicarbonate. The body needs a mixture of the electrolytes previously listed in order to perform various functions. For example, our muscles need calcium, sodium, and potassium in order to contract. When it comes to hydration, electrolytes are responsible for directing nutrients and water to the areas of your body it is needed the most, all while maintaining fluid balance inside our cells. 

 

HOW DO I GET ELECTROLYTES?

If you are following a proper diet, you should have no problem getting all of the electrolytes you need naturally. Fruits and vegetables are LOADED with nutrients. It is best to avoid relying on sports/energy drinks if possible, mostly due to their high sugar content. One of the best ways to get electrolytes is to drink coconut water. Coconut water is loaded with potassium, sodium, and magnesium. 

Other great sources of naturally getting electrolytes are almonds, kale, chia seeds, broccoli, and oranges. these foods are specifically great sources of the electrolyte calcium.

TIP 1: EAT MORE BANANAS AND DRINK MORE COCONUT WATER! It is common to be deficient in potassium and magnesium. 

TIP 2: Throw a teaspoon of chia seeds in with coconut water and your muscles will be good to go and ready to contract and relax. It is a great remedy in order to avoid muscle cramps and stay hydrated! 

TIP 3: Most Americans get PLENTY of sodium from their diets, so this is not a common electrolyte deficiency in the US. 

TIP 4: Counter to Pro Tip 3, if you sweat A LOT it is very important to make sure you are getting adequate sodium. It doesn’t hurt to sprinkle a little extra salt on your food after a tough, sweaty workout! 

TIP 5: Water, water, water. We all tend to overestimate the amount of water we take in on a given day. Drink more water! 

 

WHAT IF I AM NOT GETTING ENOUGH?

It is so important to listen to your body. Your body gives you signs and will let you know when something is off, you just have to pay attention! Symptoms depend on which electrolyte is out of balance and whether the level of the electrolyte is too high or too low. 

Common symptoms of imbalances include: 

  • Twitching

  • Blood pressure changes

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea 

  • Thirst 

  • Extreme muscle weakness 

Now, PLEASE do not go and self-diagnose yourself for all of the above. I am simply encouraging you to pay attention to your body, especially after a strenuous workout. 

 

One last very good source of electrolytes worth mentioning are a good Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) supplement. These will help your body remain in an anabolic state, helping with muscle recovery! They come in many flavors, taste great and help keep you from getting bored with water, all while including electrolytes and NO sugar or unnecessary calories.

Replenish your body well! 

THE MORE YOU KNOW. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

Thank you for reading! 

EAT PASTA FOR EVERY MEAL!

What? YES! You read correctly. Eat. Pasta. For. Every. Meal. 

You probably have many questions right now like,

“What?” 

“Do you mean this?”

“How can I do this?”

Oh, and I know, I am sure this question is eating at you…” but what about all of the carbs?”

Stop worrying about it, I have an answer for you! 

One word: ZOODLES. 

What are they?

Zoodles are the new rave. This low carb food is the answer for all of the pasta lovers out there wanting to cut back on the carbohydrates. What is a zoodle? Zucchini noodles!Zoodles are the perfect substitute pasta. If you don’t have a vegetable spiral it is time you invest in one! Don’t worry, you are not limited to just using this appliance on zucchini. A spiral works great with sweet potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, but if you are looking for a substitute to for pasta, zoodles are what you are looking for. The process is quite simple. There are many different types of spirals, I have one from Target that works great. The nicer ones are more expensive of course, but a ten-dollar spiral does the job just fine for me! 

Once you have your spiral your dinner options are limitless. Think of any of your favorite pasta dishes…spaghetti, fettuccini, pesto…. quit depriving yourself from your favorite dishes! Just substitute in zoodles. 

TRY SOME TODAY!

If you are nervous about trying this out and investing in a spiral before you even know if you will like it…we have you covered! 

Come in and try our Zucchini Delight (pictured below). 

Is your mouth watering yet? This meal is so simple yet so tasty. Ingredients are minimal-zucchini, ground beef, tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream, paprika, and ground pepper. I am not lying when I say zoodles are a great low carb option…this meal contains 8 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of protein, and only a total of 271 calories. Now that is efficient eating! 

Come in and try it for yourself!

Once you love it, invest in a vegetable spiral for yourself. It is another kitchen appliance game changer.

Thanks for reading! 

EAT MORE NUTS!


I don’t know about you, but peanut butter has always been my go to when it comes to nuts. The thing is if I am being politically correct, peanuts are actually not classified as a nut, but as a legume. Along with beans and peas, peanuts are grown underground while nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pecans are grown on a tree. Even though peanuts are not technically a nut, they are still great for you so keep eating them! Peanuts (beans and peas too) have the most concentrated amount of protein in the plant kingdom so don’t stop enjoying your PB&J!

Even though peanuts do not belong to the nut category, classified nuts such as almonds and walnuts have so many benefits and are great to incorporate into your regular diet. It is pretty well known that nuts are an excellent source of protein, but here is a guide to help you to tap into the many benefits of the most popular nuts you can find in most grocery stores! 

 

ALMONDS

Whether you like to eat your almonds in the form of milk, butter, raw or flavored (Try Blue Diamonds Wasabi Almonds, SO GOOD!), you are doing your body a great favor by snacking on this nut. One ounce of almonds contains 3.5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and a high amount of Magnesium (20% of the recommended daily amount). Almonds also contain many antioxidants and are among the world’s best source of vitamin E. SERIOSULY!! One ounce contains 37% of the recommended daily intake. Almonds also assist with blood sugar control and the magnesium found in almonds helps to lower cholesterol levels. 

Yeah, I know it…that’s a lot of information on almonds.

If you aren’t convinced yet, almonds also reduce your hunger, lowering your overall calorie intake.

Bottom line? EAT. MORE. ALMONDS. 

 

CASHEWS

Honestly, cashews are probably my favorite nut. Cashews have this sweet, buttery taste…they are DELICIOUS, especially when seasoned with a little bit of salt! Cashews are one of the lowest nuts in fiber, but they are packed with nutrients. They are high in Vitamins E, K, and B6 and are naturally cholesterol free. Cashews can help to reduce blood pressure, and like carrots they are excellent for your eyes, protecting against cataracts. 

 

WALNUTS

Sometimes the simplest foods are the best for your health, and this holds true for walnuts.  Simply eating one fourth of a cup of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommendation for omega-3 fats plus high amounts of copper and manganese. Studies have also shown that walnuts help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and breast cancer as well.  Adding healthy amounts of walnuts can also help with weight control. Walnuts even improve sperm quality, and offer support for brain health along with type 2 diabetes. 

So basically, EAT MORE (WAL)NUTS! 

 

PECANS

I once heard the quote, “pop a pecan, not a pill.” PECANS ARE GREAT! Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including calcium, potassium, and zinc. Pecans are also great in age defying antioxidants. THAT IS NOT ALL, pecans also help to lower “bad” cholesterol. 

I don’t know about you, but I have a new appreciation for pecan pie on Thanksgiving…

 

PISTACHIOS

Just like almonds, one ounce of pistachios contains 6 grams of protein. Pistachios are high in Vitamins A and E, and contain Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 tends to be a vitamin difficult for us to get enough of, so go ahead and ENJOY SOME PISTACHIOS! You will be doing your body a great favor. 

 

BRAZIL NUTS

When you buy your typical container of mixed nuts, Brazil nuts are those larger, smooth ones, and there’s typically only a few of them in the container. I always used to avoid them and pick around this nut until I found out this: Brazil nuts are the number one food source of selenium (selenium helps to fight inflammation and actually boosts your mood). Seriously, this nut is a happy pill. Brazil nuts help to lift your mood and help to prevent depression! Brazil nuts also make the list for cancer fighting foods. 

SIMPLY EAT ONE A DAY! THAT IS ALL YOU NEED!

 

HAZELNUTS

If you enjoy coffee, you probably know the great smell of hazelnuts. They taste pretty darn good too.  One of the greatest benefit of hazelnuts is its neuroprotective qualities. Hazelnuts are excellent brain food! In addition, hazelnuts are also loaded with vitamins and nutrients your body needs and craves. Eat 4 or 5 of these nuts every now and then…it only takes a few to reap the health benefits of hazelnuts. 

So there you have it…although this is only a handful (pun intended) of some of the greatest nuts out there, I encourage you to give them a try. Try incorporating nuts into your regular diet and let your body enjoy all of the amazing benefits! 

 

IMPORTANT 

When it comes to nuts, eating proportionally is extremely important. I get it, it is so easy to slam a few handfuls of nuts. I just advise you to be careful about this. Nuts are truly an excellent source of natural fat, but pay attention to the labels and recommended servings so you don’t overdo it. 

Lastly, these make a GREAT low carb, nighttime snack!

ENJOY SOME NUTS!

EAT MORE FAT! AVOCADOS


Are you one of those people who is obsessed with reading labels? When you are at a grocery or convenience store do you check each and every label? Or are you someone who could really care less and you don’t give food labels the time of day? No matter which side of the spectrum you are on, it is important to know that the best foods for you do not have labels. The best foods are wholesome and loaded with nutrients. You don’t have to check if real foods are good for you, just eat them! 

But if you are a label reader, I bet there is a good chance you are constantly checking the fat content of foods… Well, reality check: You do not have to avoid fat like the plague, simply just eat the right kinds of fats. 

THE GOOD FATS! Fat is a nutrient that is crucial for your overall health. What is considered to be a “good fat?” So many foods are good fats! Fish, oils, eggs, flaxseed, peanut butter, and other nuts are all great sources of “good fats”. You really can’t go wrong eating any of those in moderation… but here’s a little about one of my personal favorite fatty foods, AVOCADO.

AVOCADO is a monounsaturated fat, a fat that is known to improve blood cholesterol levels which reduce your risk of heart disease. 

Eating avocado (IN MODERATION*) is indeed a great way to improve your cholesterol, but the benefits go far beyond JUST lowering your cholesterol! 

 

10 REASONS TO EAT MORE AVOCADOS: 

  1. NUTRIENTS: Avocados are loaded with nutrients your body craves: Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E AND MORE!

  1. FIGHT FOOD: Avocados are fighters. Eating avocado helps to fight inflammation. Inflammation in the body is connected to most of today’s modern diseases such as asthma, allergies, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. Eating avocado can only help you, especially when it comes to the longevity of your health!

  1. ABSORBER: Well that is great…avocados are loaded with vitamins and nutrients. Awesome right?! Well…it doesn’t matter how much nutrients we are getting if our bodies are not absorbing the god stuff! Adding avocado to your meals can help to absorb all the nutrients your body is craving! 

  1. SHINE:  Avocado gives you that glow! A complete bonus of eating avocado is that it helps your hair and skin. Eating avocados is a great way to fight aging! 

  1. EYES TOO!: By now most of us know carrots have quite the reputation of helping out our eyesight, but go ahead and add avocados to that category too! 

  1. BONE STRENGTH: Every little bit helps, right?! Avocados can’t do it alone, but they definitely contribute to building and retaining stronger bones. Avocados contain bone-healthy nutrients such as Vitamin K, Copper, and Folate. 

  1. DIGESTION– Fiber. You have probably heard all about the importance of getting plenty of fiber in your diet in order to keep your digestion system moving smoothly. One avocado actually contains 54% of your recommended daily fiber intake! Most Americans are not getting enough fiber even though most fruits and veggies are loaded with it. Eat more avocados to keep everything in check!

  1. IMMUNE BOOSTER: Eating avocados helps you to fight illness and infection! As mentioned, avocados are a great source of Vitamin B which specifically fights illness and infection, along with Vitamins C and E which are both natural immunity boosters.

  1. ENERGY: Eating avocados can help to give you the pep in your step you have been missing. The healthy fat provides you with a slow but steady stream of energy so you can kill it all throughout your day! Fat is the most concentrated source of energy for your body! 

  1. THE TASTE!: Yeah, there’s so many benefits to eating avocados, but don’t forget how great they taste and how versatile they are! Add avocados to anything and everything!

 

GREAT WAYS TO EAT AVOCADOS

Whether you choose to slice them, cube them, scoop them, or smash them, there are many ways to enjoy avocados. Here are a few of the trendiest ways! Recipes are easy to find online:

  • GUACAMOLE 

  • Avocado Toast

  • Avocado Dark Chocolate Truffles

  • Avocado Pesto Sauce

  • Avocado Hummus

  • Avocado Mango Smoothie

  • Avocado Ranch

  • Fried Avocado 

+ Add avocado to anything and everything! Avocado goes great on top of salads, with your burger, add some to your smoothie, or simply eat them plain! 

 

GUACAMOLE RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe Avocados

  • ½ cup medium Tomato (diced)

  • ¼  cup red onion (minced) 

  • ¼ cup Cilantro (finely chopped)

  • 1 tbsp lime juice 

  • 2 tsp Sea Salt

  • 1 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions:

Easy! In a big bowl, add the peeled avocados and all of the ingredients and simply use a fork to mash and stir! I like mine really chunky so I try to not overdo the mashing. ENJOY! 

Add the guacamole to your burgers, scoop with tortilla chips, or throw it on some tacos. Heck, eat it plain. SO GOOD!

Thank you for reading!

 Enjoy!

COOKING GAME CHANGER


Oh, you are too busy to cook? Yeah, we have all been there. 

Maybe it is work

Maybe it is school and studying

Maybe it is raising a family

Or maybe it is even all of the above…

Whatever it is, it does not matter…it is all an excuse standing between you honing in on living a healthier lifestyle and encouraging the people in your life to live healthier lives as well. 

I get it, we all wish there were more hours in the day…a few more hours to take care of ourselves and cook a meal rather than running through the drive thru lane on your way home from a long day. Take a minute and think of how much money you waste by not preparing meals for the day or a week. I guarantee there are people reading this who go through the drive thru three times a day on a regular basis. It is fine; we have all been there…do not beat yourself up about it too much because yet here we are again, beginning a new year. Maybe you did not make the changes you hoped to make back when we started 2017, and I am sure you have great excuses for why you did not follow through. 

But let’s cut to the chase. The time to start is now. Today, right now, in this very moment. Make the decision to do something different and make yourself a better person. Live the healthier lifestyle and empower the people in your life to believe they can do it too.

It is January, and I am going to offer you many practical ways to transition into a better, healthier life throughout the next few months…but let’s first start simple…start with investing in a slow cooker, or using the slow cooker that just sits in your pantry or closet collecting dust all year long. 

 

A good slow cooker (Crockpot) costs anywhere between 25 to 50 dollars, and you can literally run out to the store and pick one up at Walmart, Target, or Kohl’s, really wherever. 

A slow cooker simply makes cooking easier. It saves you time AND money. You can literally throw a bunch of ingredients into the pot in the morning before heading to work, turn the dial on low, and come home eight hours later to a meal ready to enjoy. IT IS SO SIMPLE. Whether you are cooking for your family or meal prepping for the week for yourself, utilizing your crockpot is definitely a game changer. If you need a meal done in two hours and you have to do laundry, clean, workout, or whatever is on your to do list, simply put all of the ingredients into the crockpot and turn it on high, and you will have a meal ready in less than two hours. 

Utilizing a slow cooker is an easy way to get you on the right track to making better food decisions…it is little time, little effort, and so much cheaper than continually paying for your poor quality drive thru food. 

START NOW! Stay tuned for great slow cooker recipes to come soon! 

RECIPE ALERT: IT IS ALWAYS CHILI SEASON!


Hopefully by now you have read all about the Cooking Game Changer, and you have your crockpot and you are ready to rock out some awesome recipes with minimal time! Following are three delicious recipes, perfect for these winter months. Everyone loves a good bowl of chili, and these recipes are not your ordinary chili. It is always good to switch things up. Give them a try and enjoy all of the time and money you are saving!

 

CHICKEN QUINOA CHILI:

This is a must try! Loaded with protein, this recipe will leave you satisfied! I highly suggest putting avocado slices on top. It is the perfect topping for this delicious bowl of goodness! Add cheese on top too if you desire! 

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cooked chicken

  • ¼ cup uncooked quinoa

  • 1 can black beans

  • 3 small/medium sweet potatoes (cubed)

  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes

  • 3 cups kale

  • 1 tbsp chili powder

  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 tbsp sea salt

  • 1 tbsp black pepper

  • 3 cups water

  • avocado for garnishing

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa in a pan and fill with 1 cup of water. Cook the quinoa for about 10 to 1 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.

  2. Chop all of the veggies in to as small or as big of pieces as you desire! 

  3. Drain the black beans using a strainer.

  4. Slice chicken (raw) and place in the bottom of the crockpot 

  5. Add all of the veggies, sweet potatoes, black beans, chicken, spices, and quinoa into a crockpot, ADD 3 CUPS OF WATER, and cook on high for 1.5 to 2 hours.

  6. Garnish with avocado and ENJOY!

 

TURKEY TACO CHILI

Who doesn’t love tacos?! This crockpot chili recipe is a game changer for taco lovers. Try the final product on a bed of lettuce, or if you are wanting traditional tacos then stuff this delicious meal into a shell or tortilla! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey

  • 1 can black beans

  • 1 can kidney beans

  • 1 can corn

  • ¼ cup chopped onion

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes

  • 1 package taco season

  • 1 head romaine lettuce 

  • 1 cup water

Toppings (optional):

  • shredded cheddar cheese

  • sliced avocado

  • sour cream

  • salsa

Instructions:

  1. Place ground turkey (raw) in crockpot and use a spatula to break it up

  2. Add corn, beans, tomatoes, onions, seasoning, and water

  3. Stir well!

  4. Cook and cover on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 or 4 hours

  5. Serve meal on a bed of lettuce (or in taco shells!!!)

  6. Top with your desired toppings and enjoy!  

 

PUMPKIN CHILI

Yes, I am well aware it is not “pumpkin season” but this recipe is too great to not enjoy year-round! This chili is a perfect mix of spicy and sweet. Enjoy it on a Sunday or double the recipe and enjoy it all week!  

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds ground beef

  • 1 can pumpkin puree

  • 1 can diced tomatoes

  • 1 can black beans

  • ½ can tomato paste 

  • 1 large chopped yellow onion

  • 1 medium chopped green bell pepper

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

  • 3 tbsp minced garlic

  • 2 tbs chili powder

  • 1 tbsp cumin

  • 2 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Place ground beef in crockpot and use a spatula to break it up

  2. Drain black beans using a strainer

  3. Add all of the ingredients to the crockpot and stir well!

  4. Cook and cover on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 or 4 hours

  5. Top with your desired toppings (avocado is a great option) and enjoy! 

Enjoy some chili and share these recipes with your friends and family! 

FIGHTING THE CRAVINGS IN THE SEASON OF SWEETS (ENERGY BITES)

With December in full swing, it only means one thing: CHRISTMAS COOKIES. Not only are there Christmas cookies everywhere you go, but along with the cookies comes the STRESS of the holiday season. Next thing you know eating only on cookie has turned into devouring half the platter. Yeah, cookies are so good and Christmas only comes around once a year, but there are also your health and fitness goals you have been working on all year. In the moment it can seem totally worth it to eat a cookie or four, but don’t forget that feeling of waking up the next morning, the feeling of regret. YOU GOT THIS!

Now, by no means am I about to tell you to not have Christmas cookies this holiday season…but if you want an alternative, something to help your cookie cravings, there is another option.

The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth and cravings is with energy balls. They taste great (like a dessert) and they are full of nutrients your body needs.

If you have not tried our Muscle Bites, you are missing out! They are made with a few, easy ingredients. Muscle bites have 101 calories each and are made with six simple ingredients: Peanut butter, honey, Quaker oats, isolate protein, mini chocolate chips, and mini M&M’s. They are the perfect bite size and a great solution to all of your sweet cravings this holiday season.

We must say, half of the fun of Christmas cookies is spending time with family or friends baking cookies; so below are two easy energy bite recipes for you to try this Christmas season for a healthy “cookie” substitute. Hope you enjoy!

 

NUTTY CHOCOLATE CHIP BALLS:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup Quaker oats

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or oil of choice)

  • 8 pitted dates

  • 4 tbsp almond butter (or nut butter of choice)

  • 2 tbsp flax seeds

 

PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BALLS:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • 1/4 cup almond pieces

  • 1/4 cup organic, uncooked oats

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (vanilla tastes great!)

  • 1 tbsp flax seeds

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tbsp raw honey

INSTRUCTIONS:

This is too easy….

  • Put all of the ingredients into a bowl

  • Mix well- Really well!

  • Roll “dough” into one inch balls

  • Place balls in a storage container

  • REFRIGERATE

THEY TASTE SO GOOD CHILLED!

2017 WRAP-UP: THE POWER OF A THANK YOU

As the end of the year 2017 approaches, it is always a good idea to slow down and reflect, to look back on the year and maybe even reminisce a little. Sometimes it can be helpful to write down all of your major events or memories throughout the year…write down the places you traveled to, your achievements, the goals you reached, anything that sticks out to you from the past year. Doing this hopefully makes you smile and leaves you a little more grateful for the year of 2017.

I am sure there were ups and downs in this past year. Maybe it was a great year for you, maybe your best year of life yet…or maybe 2017 has not been so great, and you are as ready as ever to enter into a new year. Regardless of how you define this last year, I hope you can at least bring to mind a few events or memories to smile about and bring you some joy. No matter what this last year was like for you, every day is a new beginning, a fresh start, and of course a new year is right around the corner.

As you reflect on 2017, I encourage you to think of those people who influenced you this year. Maybe you will think of the person who pushed you outside of your comfort zone, the person who loved you and supported you, the person who forgave you, or the person who inspired you. Simply think of five people in your life who made you a better person this year. Think of those five people in your life who were there for you when you needed a little pick me up or a little push to not give up. These are the people we need on our team in life.

I encourage you to take the time to write these five people a thank you. Handwritten letters are such a rarity, and a written thank you can really go a long ways. Thank those five people for the role they have played in your life this year. Odds are they probably have no idea how much they have influenced your life. Just do it, take the five minutes to say thank you…you will not regret it. It is so common to give gifts during this Christmas season, but don’t forget the power some kind words play in our lives. Pass it on.

A little kindness can go a long way.

Kill everyone with kindness this holiday season.

And thank you for all of your support this year! We are so grateful for all of our customers and will continue to strive to have a healthy impact on the fast food industry!

We appreciate you a ton & look forward to an awesome & healthy 2018!

Happy New Year!!

STIMULANTS

There are three methods to burning fat:

  1. Stimulants

  2. Non – Stimulants

  3. Nighttime Formula

STIMULANTS:

Stimulants, in my opinion, are probably the most falsely advertised product out there. They can definitely help accelerate results if you are doing everything else right: diet, exercise, sleeping, etc. but they are not magic pills.

There are three main benefits of stimulants:

  1. Gives you energy, providing you with sustained energy throughout the day.

  1. Suppresses your appetite, reducing/eliminating cravings.

  1. Raises your core temperature about 1 degree, causing you to sweat more during your workout, and throughout the rest of the day, which will help burn more calories.

Stimulant products have a variety of levels and specific benefits:

If you are looking to try a stimulant for the first time, many people like to go with a product with lower strength, containing 100-150 mg of caffeine, for example, which would give you good sustained energy throughout the day.

(Suggested Product: Thermo Evolution.)

Another great aspect of stimulants is that many contain an ingredient called dendrobium. Dendrobium helps to release the serotonin in your brain, which serves sort of like a happy pill. Companies use this ingredient to fight the hangry feeling people get when dieting. If you are looking for a mood enhancer, increased energy and good value, try something like this.

(Suggested Product: Black Orchid or Flyte Burn)

Powdered stimulants can be a great, healthy alternative to coffee or energy drinks. These can be drank a couple times per day.

(Suggested Product: Motiv8 Burn)

Something else worth noting about stimulants is that most stimulant products contain ingredients such as Raspberry Ketones, Garcinia Cambogia, and Green Tea Extract. These ingredients have been discussed by Dr. Oz and are very popular but are actually combined in many products. Since these ingredients are already mixed into the stimulants, you don’t have to worry about going out and buying each separately, which can become more expensive.

Important: If you have high blood pressure, it is best to NOT take stimulants or proceed very cautiously.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF PROTEINS


You may not be aware, but there are many different types of proteins out there. When you can distinguish how they are different from one another, you will understand the times when it may be more appropriate to take one versus the other.

WHEY PROTEIN:

This is the most common type of protein you will hear about in the supplement world. It is the fastest digesting protein, therefore the one that you want to consume when your body is craving nutrients immediately [Post-Workout], but it isn’t a great option for a meal replacement due to the fact it digests so quickly. It is in your body for roughly 30-60 minutes.

Whey Protein does come in a few forms:

  • Concentrate [Cheapest, most basic form. ex: NutraBio Whey Concentrate]

  • Isolate [Faster digesting than concentrate due to being more purified, can be free of carbs, fat, etc. ex: NutraBio Isolate]

  • Hydrolyzed [$$$, most pure, high quality whey with an extremely high and quick absorption rate. Ex: 1st Phorm Phormula-1]

CASEIN PROTEIN:

This is an extremely slow digesting protein that goes to work in your body in a strange way. After it is consumed, it forms a gel in your stomach and is absorbed by your body over 6-8 hours. Sounds freaky, but casein protein has its place. It is the ideal protein to take before bed so your body doesn’t become catabolic overnight, and due to its slow digestion it is great when dieting to lose weight because it acts as an appetite suppressant.

[Note: most of the protein in milk is casein]

These are the main two types of proteins you will find yourself using. Yes, there are many others out there such as egg protein [digests in about 2 hours] or soy protein. I personally, don’t suggest using soy protein due to all of the controversial studies out there of it lowering testosterone. It has its perks as it is heart healthy, etc… but it doesn’t impress me enough to recommend.

When protein shopping you will come across many tubs that are a blend of multiple protein types. I like them and highly recommend them! Proteins such as NAN Matrix or Level-1 are ideal for getting your body the fast digesting whey it needs to satisfy your body in the moment, but also includes the slower digesting proteins to mimic the digestion of real food & keep you full for hours. This makes proteins like these an excellent meal replacement and very versatile protein powder since they can be used any time during the day!

PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN OVERNIGHT OATS


Peanut Butter Protein Overnight Oats

I am not sure why, but breakfast seems to taste so much better in a jar. Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. I am always looking for fun ways to switch it up because it is so easy to fall into a routine of eating the same thing every morning. This morning’s breakfast of Peanut Butter Protein Oats IN A JAR really hit the spot. I think it tasted even greater because all of the work was done the night before! If you are someone who skips breakfast in the morning because you feel you do not have enough time, then this recipe is for you.

Not only are overnight oats super EASY, but they are also cheap to budget for. All of the ingredients you can get at a reasonable cost. Overnight oats are easy, cheap AND so good for you. Overnight oats are a great way to start your morning out by giving you the macronutrients your body needs. Give Overnight Oats in a Jar a try and I promise you will not be disappointed!

Below is the recipe for my favorite overnight oats:

Peanut Butter Protein Oats:

  • I used a 4 oz mason jar and I was plenty full and satisfied, but any jar will do.

-1 serving of uncooked rolled oats (approx. 1/3 of the jar)

-1 tbsp of all natural peanut butter

-1/2 a scoop of your favorite vanilla Protein Powder

-1 tbsp of flax seeds

-1 tsp of honey

-almond milk (fill jar to the top and secure lid)

Shake the jar after the lid is secured, and then refrigerate the oats overnight.

For extra flavor, add some toppings to the oats in the morning. This morning I chose to slice half of a banana and I sprinkled some chia seeds on top. Any fruit makes for a great topping! Peaches are super good too.

LKCO. ROASTED BROCCOLI RECIPE

CAUTION: You may get addicted to this!

I am a big fan of vegetables cooked on the grill & eat them very frequently in the summer. But to switch it up & to have a delicious vegetable recipe that can be cooked inside when it’s freezing out, I highly recommend trying your broccoli like this. This is how we prepare our roasted broccoli in Lean Kitchen meals.

  1. Preheat oven to 425* F

  2. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart.

  3. You should have about 8 cups of florets

  4. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tbs over olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

  5. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of the florets are browned.

  6. Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tbs of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parmesan

  7. Serve hot

I have been enjoying this recipe for the last couple years & everyone I make it for insists on having the recipe. It is very simple & a great fit for prepping meals.

Put foil on the pan to make cleanup easier. I do skip the pine nuts in the recipe. I also use minced garlic in the jar to avoid my hands stinking and having to cut up garlic cloves. I recommend lots of lemon juice at the end; it really brings out the flavor. Leave it in the oven until a majority of the florets are blackening. And lastly, I recommend you make a lot because you and everyone you make it for will be eating a ton.

[Curveball: This same recipe can be done with asparagus and tastes great too!]

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy!

STOP DRINKING YOUR CALORIES


Stop Drinking Your Calories

I’m not writing this post to tell you that you need to micromanage your calories throughout the day, but it is important to know where your calories are coming from.  I know that many people don’t realize the number of calories and sugar that are hiding in their morning Frappuccino or big gulp soda they drink daily!

It can be so easy to fall into a bad habit without even realizing how bad it truly is for you. You might be someone who goes to the gas station every morning to grab a Big Gulp cup & fill it up to the top with soda, or maybe it is in your daily routine to stop by Starbucks for a Frappuccino before you head to work. If you are trying to lose weight or even just be healthy, you have to be aware of the calories in these drinks! This habit is setting you back.

So how loaded with calories & sugar are these fancy coffee drinks and soda? For example, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), the recommended sugar intake in a day for women is 25 grams, while the recommended intake for men is 38 grams. A Big Gulp cup of Coca Cola contains 91 grams of sugar… Do I have your attention yet?

Soda and Frappuccino’s are not the only problems… If you are trying to lose weight, or get back in shape, many people have this romantic idea about smoothies; They believe they are cutting calories by not eating real food or because it is “Made with REAL fruit!”.

Do not be easily deceived; many smoothies are loaded with calories and sugar. By the time you throw your banana, apple, peach, raspberries, blueberries, yogurt or milk, and orange juice into your blender, you are looking at drinking 400 to 600 calories of which almost all come from fruit, which equals carbs. Your smoothie is a sugar bomb.

Of course, not all smoothies are bad, but you need to be cautious of how much sugar you are taking in. Try having a homemade lower carb protein shake.  For example, throw some ice, water or almond milk, a low carb protein powder, and a scoop of peanut butter into a blender. If you want a little bit of sweetness minus all of the carbs, throw half of a banana into the blender as well, and add fresh spinach or kale for added fiber & vitamins.

The bottom line is this: fruit comes with a high dose of sugar; and without balancing your smoothie out with a controlled number of carbs and more protein and fats, they will get you!

So really pay attention and try to minimize the number of calories you are drinking day to day!

Tips on How to Make a Better Drink Choice:

  • Water is always the safest, best choice – and many of us don’t get enough of it daily.

  • Go for the smallest size if indulging on a smoothie, coffee, or other beverage.

  • If you can enjoy it, drink your coffee black.

  • If you can’t drink your coffee black, try adding unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk, and naturally sweeten it with a little bit of honey or agave.

  • Always ask to see the nutrition information, steer clear it if it can’t be provided.

  • Flavor your water with slices of lemon, lime, or cucumber.

  • Avoid stocking your fridge with sugary beverages.

  • Always carry a water bottle with you, and refill it throughout the day.

 

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Thank you for reading!