Category Archives: Clean Eating

Vegan Cafe’ Latte’ Shakeology!

I have been waiting for this since the original version came out!!

Love my morning coffee and I love my Shakeology.  Last year the two were COMBINED!!!! 😍

But, alas, I could not have it because the main protein was whey, and my stomach and whey do not get along 🤢.

I have been finishing up my Vegan Chocolate Shakeology and now my order of Cafe’ Latte’ is on its way 😁

There are a lot of meal replacement and protein shakes available to us now.  And the science behind their development has made vegan versions SO much better in flavor and texture that even non-vegans are switching to vegan proteins for the ease in digestion and increase in plant based protein (i.e. Extra veggies!).

I love this product for myriad reasons,  the main one is convenience.  I get a variety of produce that I don’t usually buy at the store or would have to special order.  I don’t have to think about what is going into the blender to give me a great flavor and texture, that has already been done in the Shakeology labs.  As a parent, it allows me to take care of me quickly, with little effort, while I am busy holding the fort down.

Here’s a little insight into what goes into Shakeology.


This is the ingredient list for Vegan Chocolate Shakeology.  It is a better quality photo of all the ingredients, so imagine no cacao and instead natural coffee flavors!

Every person is different, so their nutritional needs are different.  There is never a one-size-fits-all model, but there are always better starting points.  Many people forget that you cannot out workout a crappy diet, and a true “diet” is not a temporary thing that you do to look good for an event.  A true “Diet” is what you are stuffing in your face on a daily basis.  Is what you are eating helping you with your goals or holding you back from what you want?!?!

If you need help getting your health on track, this is a great place to start

Leave me a comment below or find me on Facebook and Instagram.  Let me know where you are at, what are your goals? What is easy for you, what are your struggles?  The journey is real and it doesn’t have to be alone!

As always, I’ll see you on the other side!

Help reduce exercise-induced inflammation!

“EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!”

We have all heard or said the phrase a million times in our lives.

We all know that produce is good for us, but many people don’t always know “WHY”

I do a lot of research when I am highlighting my favorite foods, and come across many articles that give the information so much better than I could write it.  The following is a portion of one such article written by Trevor Thieme C.S.C.S. A link to Full article below.




… Odds are you, [like many people, have ignored advice to “eat your veggies” at some point or] for even your entire life. Your mom nagged you about eating your broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Your doctor advises you to “eat the rainbow.” And you likely have at least one vegan friend who wants to convert you — or at the very least replace some of the meat in your largely carnivorous diet with plants. Even Michelle Obama has got in on the act, imploring you and every other American to eat more fruits and veggies. And like Murphy (and most other Americans), odds are you don’t listen: Only 1 in 10 people in the United States eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, according to a report from the CDC.

That’s a problem. “If you’re not eating at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day, you’re not building ‘foundational health,’ which is key for preventing disease and supporting athletic performance,” says Susan Kleiner, PhD, R.D., author of The Powerfood Nutrition Plan. If she had her way, you’d eat eight servings.

While nutritionists have long known about the athletic advantages of increasing protein intake, they’re only just beginning to comprehend the fitness benefits of eating more phytonutrients — bioactive (i.e., body-boosting) compounds found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other “phyto” (plant) foods.

“One of the most exciting benefits of phytonutrients is their strong antioxidant potential, disarming free radicals that wreak havoc in the body,” says Kleiner. “But it’s also bigger than that—scientists are learning that some phytonutrients seem go deep into the genetic matrix, turning on and off genes that protect us from disease development.”

That potential of phytonutrients to bolster the immune system is hugely important for athletes, who often run themselves down through overtraining. “One of the biggest things that holds athletes back is getting sick, and research shows that some phytonutrients can act as prebiotics, stimulating the growth of bacteria in your gut, thus helping to boost immunity,” says Kleiner.

Polyphenols — found in abundance in green tea — are among them, according to Japanese researchers.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of phytonutrients — especially as far as athletes are concerned — is their ability to fight exercise-induced inflammation. “The nature of training is to tear the body down, and the body is extraordinary in its ability to repair and rebuild its tissues to become stronger,” says Kleiner. “But part of that process involves an inflammatory response — inflammatory cells rush to the damaged tissue, heat it up, and begin repairing it.”

If you’ve ever felt sore a couple of days after a tough workout (a phenomenon known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS), you’ve felt the inflammatory process at work. A little inflammation is a good thing — it helps your muscles adapt to the demands of training (and you to become more powerful). “But if you don’t have enough anti-inflammatory factors in your body, the inflammation process can proceed unchecked, which can delay recovery,” says Kleiner.

Fortunately, you don’t have to eat every single plant to reap the benefits; you just have to eat a variety of them, according to Kleiner. “And by variety, I mean not only among food groups, but also within food groups,” she says. In other words, while you might love bananas, Amaranth, and Swiss chard, don’t just eat bananas, Amaranth, and Swiss chard. Becoming stuck in a dietary routine is just as detrimental as getting stuck in training rut.
Click for suggestions on what to eat to stay out of a food rut


In short, your mom, doctor, and vegan friend were right — you should eat a greater number and variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. “And whenever possible, skip pills for whole foods,” says Kleiner. “There’s a lot we have yet to discover about phytonutrients, but one thing we do know is that they’re more potent when they work synergistically with other nutrients in foods than when they’re taken [and working] alone.”

Click Here for the full article by Trevor Theime C.S.C.S

As always leave your comments and questions here, or on Facebook or Instagram

I will see you on the other side.

Meal Prep 101

Here is a great article written by Grant Stoddard.

As a working parent I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get the best food into myself and my kids without making all of us wait at the end of a long, grueling day.

These are some of the basic tips in his article.  I will link to the full article below!

Why Meal Prep?

Be prepared. It’s a slogan that’s stood the test of time because the relationship between looking ahead and successfully meeting one’s goals is undeniable. When it comes to what you eat and how you eat, preparedness matters if you want to reach your health and fitness goals. And, meal prepping helps you do just that!

What is Meal Prep?

Amy Shapiro, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. of realnutritionnyc defines meal prepping as preparing, cooking, or packaging food for three to four days in advance so you know exactly what and how much you are eating.

Research published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine saw a link between the amount of participants spent on home food preparation and the quality of their diet. What’s more, meal prepping can be a great time-saver. “I think of meal prepping as a way to put lunch, breakfast, or even dinner on autopilot for the week,” says Atlanta-based dietitian nutritionist Marisa Moore M.B.A., R.D.N., L.D. “You do all of the major chopping, cooking and cleaning on one day!”

(Hello!  Leslie here!  Had to add my 2 sense – This is also my way of getting my kids into the kitchen and teaching them life skills like using a knife properly, How to use the stove and oven, food safety, clean-up, and best of all there is less fighting about meals because when they help they get a say in what we eat as a family!)

 

How to Start Meal Prepping

Start Small

If you not calculating calories yet, but just want to make more healthy food choices, start small by meal prepping a few of those! Planning ahead and prepping your meals can be a great way to make more healthy choices and avoid temptation! …

Stock Up on Meal Prep Essentials

Before we talk about a grocery list, you may need to dust off some other items to set yourself up for meal prep success. Check the full article for some meal prep basics you should have before you begin!

Pick a Day to Meal Prep

Moore recommends starting on a Sunday or Monday. Sundays often work well since most people have a little extra time. She adds that people also tend to be more motivated to engage in healthy behaviors at the beginning of the week. “Meal prep is a great way to carry that enthusiasm throughout the week with just a little effort upfront,” she says.

Come up with Easy Meals to Prep

Planning your meals for the week doesn’t have to be complicated. At first it might seem a little daunting, but it’s surprising how many different meals you can make with just a limited number of ingredients. Beachbody offers dozens of free meal preps that have already done all the heavy lifting for you!  Most are five days long, there are vegetarian, vegan, grain-free options, and even no-cook options. The meal preps are divided by calorie level and most include step-by-step instructions and a grocery list.
More Tips to Make Meal Prep Easy:
Include some no-cook recipes in your meal prep. Snacks like Shakeology and foods that don’t require cooking (like salads and overnight oats) can help save time in the prep process.

(Leslie, back again! Here is a link to one of my favorite pre-made meals, Stuffed Peppers.  They freeze well, fill you up and the stuffing can be used for many things!)

Here is the link to the full article

If you would like access to the Team Beachbody library of meals to prep for free, Click here!

As always leave you questions and comments below or find me on Facebook and Instagram

See you on the other side!!

Get Refreshed!!

I would like to start off with, yes this post has a product you can purchase and yes I make a commission if you do!  There my CYA is here and I can get on with it😉


It’s Refresh time again, and I’m putting it out there because any diet change, even a 3 day cleanse can be challenging for some.

I try to do this cleanse about once a quarter, but more often if I feel sluggish or just “off.”

I love it because it’s only 3 days, the meal prep is easy and I feel better when it’s done.

This time I’ve added a video from Carl Daikeler and his wife Isabelle who developed the Refresh, to give a better understanding of why it was made and some of the scientifically proven benefits.

http://videos.coach.teambeachbody.com/share/shared-video.html?lang=en-US&videoId=9E2fSe8TTe4&coachId=313434

To order Click Here.

If you have questions please let me know here or message me on Facebook

As always, I’ll see you on the other side!!

Something to keep you in Mint Condition!

Something quick and easy to digest (pun intended!)

I have gotten away from featuring healthy foods and would like to get back on track with that.

My feature today is Mint!

Many people associate Mint along with many herbs that they are garnishes for our foods.  When mint is a fantastic food in its own right.  Here are a couple of ways to use mint to improve your day!

1.  Mint and peppermint are great to help with nausea.  A couple drops of food grade peppermint essential oil in your water can help calm a grumbly belly.  I can also be added to coconut oil and rubbed on the skin to gain a long lasting smell! This is great for pregnant mamas!

2. It can help boost your memory. A study presented at the British Psycological Society states that people who sipped peppermint tea before taking a memory test showed higher results than those that did not.

3. It can help provide your body with extra stamina for a long run. According to a study from the International Society of Sports Medicine men adding one drop of peppermint oil per 2 cups of water daily for 10 days ran nearly 15 minutes longer on the treadmill.

4. IBS sufferers can benefit from the cooling properties of peppermint.  In a study from the University of Adelaide in Australia hypersensitive nerves in the gut that trigger IBS pain can be calmed by peppermint.
Enjoy your peppermint!!!  We you on the other side!

Bringing Back the Plant Based Diet

We are now well into the post holiday season.  I have a ton of bone broth stored in my fridge and deep freeze, and now I’m on to my next adventure…bring back the plants!!!!🌱

As a diary free family we have a lot to work around during the holidays and I feel like I’m cooking and baking in all of my spare time, just to keep up with the demands of school, family and sports celebrations.  So I tend to let some of our healthier habits slide, simply because I’m too tired (i.e.:lazy) to keep them up.  One of the things I have let slide is the variety of plant based foods and meals.  Typically we try some new vegetable each month, my kids get to help pick it out and help me find recipes.  Some things we like and add into our regular meals and others, well lets just say my family is opinionated and leave it at that!😂😉

During the holidays, I let that tradition go and resort back to frozen peas, corn and standard mixed veggies and keep carrots and cucumbers in stock, but that’s about it.  So, we still get some serving of veggies, but I’m definitely over it by the end of January.  I star counting the hours until I can plant my garden, spend extra time digging through produce to find the freshest one, and even start pulling out my spring time recipes to kill off some of the cabin fever.

You know me, I love me some research!  I scoured my library for a new take on plant based foods and I’m only 2 chapters in but I’m loving The Plant-Powered Diet by Sharon Palmer RD.


She has a great take on adding in plants to a standard American diet, achieving a “plant based omnivore” diet and how to transition on the “Plant-Powered Diet Spectrum.”  I love that she covers all facets of food consumption, allowing it to be okay that you consume meat and animal products, go completely vegan, or find a comfortable place inbetween.  She give healthy alternatives to the processed foods that we have become accustomed to.  I have flipped through the recipes in the back and have 3 on my list for this upcoming week!

She also has a great pantry resource. This was, by far, my favorite thing in the book.  Many people assume that to eat a plant based Diet you have to go to the store multiple time each week to get the freshest ingredients, and who has time for that?!?!  Most of the things on her list are things I make at home or I can buy with my Amazon Pantry account and have them delivered, SCORE!

There is even a 14-Day meal plan for newbies!!

Just to be clear, I’m not an affiliate for this book or author, I just love sharing great resources that I find work well for myself and my family. But I do give credit where is due!  Here’s Sharon’s blog sharonpalmer.com check her out!

  I have always noticed a huge shift in personality with both of my kids when we eat better, and I have found that I can handle their drama better when I have a better diet. Simple things like being a regular bathroom user💩 can actually have an affect on how your brain works!😱. When your body is a toxic waste dump and it can’t get rid of the waste your body begins to reabsorb the toxins! And that’s just one benefit of simply adding more whole plants into your diet, imagine what else will start to fix itself when your body is working properly!!! 

That’s all I have for now!  See you on the other side!

Turkey Bone Broth!

Alright!  It has begun!  My first Bone Broth recipe from the Bare Bones Broth Cookbook by Katherine and Ryan Harvey.

I am rocking the turkey bones left over from Thanksgiving.  I am extremely excited because my kitchen smells amazing and I don’t even have all of the ingredients in yet.

This broth will get immediate use. We are in the midst of holiday productions in my home, including school and dance shows all falling in the same week, beginning this weekend.  We are experiencing longer nights and earlier mornings just keeping up with the schedule. I am excited to have the immune boosting power at my fingertips to keep us all healthy, and frankly to stave off hangriness during our long days!

The first hour has me skimming fat and “scum” off the top!   Yummy!

As this is a time intensive process I will add a new blog post during each phase.  This is (almost) real time people!!!

See you on the other side!!!

Back in Action with Bone Broth!!

I’ve been MIA from the blog taking care of some family priorities!😉

Now I’m back at it and really diving into Bone Broth this round.

Many people think of Broth or stock as the meat flavored liquid that comes in a box and you make soup with.  The truth is it (kind of) is and can be So. Much. More!

It is one of THE simplest things to make from scratch too.  You throw your ingredients in a pot add some good, clean, filtered water and let it simmer!! Done!

Just to give a shout out I am referencing The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook by Katherine and Ryan Harvey.

Yes! that is a chicken foot you see on the cover!

I make Bone broths a few time a year in big batches and then freeze them for when I need them.  I try to reference a new and updated book when I do. I am a nerd and love the science behind things, and  food science is HUGE and ever changing right now. So this is my book of choice fresh from the library! 📚

Bone broth can help support very common health conditions like digestion, asthma, diabetes, joint injuries, colic, osteoarthritis, RA, inflammation, and the list goes on. Bonus!

It is also a sustainable way to consume food.  By using local suppliers and also using parts of the animal that are typically discarded we are supporting responsible and sustainable food pathways. Double Bonus!

This book goes through the many health benefits in more detail and it also has a chapter on Broth 101 to help you get the basics down if you are new to this adventure!

I am very excited too because this book explains how to use a crock pot to make the Broth over a longer period of time.  To get the most nutrient value out of Bone Broth it should simmer it for at least 24 hours. This is one thing I have never done out of fear of leaving my stove on over night or while I’m away.  The longest I have gone is 8-10 hours (if I was prepared enough to start early!😉). I can’t wait to try the slow cooker method!😍

Another great benefit of making Bone Broth at home is that you know what’s in it!! Many commercial broths/stocks have preservatives and MSG in them. Neither is something you want to consume.

As you know I have kids with food allergies and my own body does NOT appreciate it when I consume certain things. We eat as clean as possible while still living in a kids-go-to-school-with-a-birthday-party-every-other-day world 🌎 

I do my best, as many other parents who work with food allergies and sensitivities, to keep my kids as included as possible when it comes to food.  I love the idea that I have another tool in my belt to help prepare (or recover) their digestive system from something that doesn’t agree with their system.  They are both becoming very active in sports and this same tool can help them train, improve and recover better than any sports pill/powder/drink out there.

The nutrition we can get just from consuming Bone Broth is crazy!

  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Glucosamine
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Chondroiton Sulfate
  • Electrolytes
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Silicon
  • Collagen
  • Gelatin
  • Amino Acids

It is definitely with the effort!!

I am getting my shopping list ready and I’ll let you know how my first ever batch of crockpot Bone Broth turns out!!

Cleaning out the System…

We’ll Fall is upon us and I feel like crap!!!😆. 

I know myself well enough to know when (and, frankly, why) I get off track.  For me it’s summer vacation. And I’m not talking about the week you spend at the beach with the family, I’m talking the whole freaking vacation!  

My kids are super active and therefore I keep them very busy, so our sports and activities usually take us into early July.  With the dairy allergies in the family we are mostly on point with nutrition (cut me some slack for the dairy free ice cream!😍) but once that practice/performance/game routine is broken my personal routine goes right out the window too! And once I stop working out, those little cheats and treats start adding up.

I have noticed in the last couple of weeks I’m craving more sugar filled and processed carb-rich foods 🍞.  I need more than one cup of coffee ☕️in the morning.  The last straw for me was waking up yesterday with my head feeling completely puffed up and swollen and sniffling all day. I made myself have allergies by not taking care of my body!!😡

So back on track I go!  I think this is the hardest part for everyone, getting started!

“What do I do first?” Is a question everyone has. For some it’s getting a movement program going and creating that habit, others it’s cleaning the crap out of the cupboards.  For me however, it’s a digestive reset. I don’t do any major restrictive cleanse or detox, cause frankly I’m a scary person when I’m hangry 😖. So I, instead try to heal my digestive tract for a few days (while cleaning non-essentials from my kitchen).


3 DAY REFRESH LOSE WEIGHT AND FEEL GREAT!

This is the product(s) I use. Yes, this is an affiliate link😉!  But I love it, so I promote it. It’s quick, painless, and easy to use. I typically do it over a weekend and my third day is Monday. 

The biggest thing is finding what works for you and getting a system down BEFORE the holidays get here!  Set yourself up right this fall and winter ❄️ so you aren’t fighting next spring for your swimsuit figure. Work now and develop habits that will have you shedding your winter gear with pride!!

Till next time!😉

Teen Athlete Nutrition – Topic 3 – Food Obsessions

So, our perception of food has been skewed for a long time.  It’s been that way since we began making processed foods.

We’ve gone through the Great Depression, where people would eat whatever came their way. We’ve gone through war times when women had to leave the home and begin joining the full time workforce. The 80’s  and 90’s no-fat, low-fat, fake-fat, any-fat-is-bad craze. There’s been Atkins and paleo, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, (insert allergy) free diets. 

It’s hard to figure out what is best for us and for our kids. Every “diet” that is out there, is there because it worked for somebody. For busy people there isn’t a lot of time to trial and error different eating styles to figure out what the best one is. And I can’t help you!  WHAT?!?!  It takes trial and error to figure out what your body needs and each person is different.  There is no cookie cutter one-size-fits-most option.  The best thing that I can steal you towards is clean eating.

What the hell does that mean?  Again, there are many definitions out there, here is mine.  Eat foods that come from the earth with as little processing and chemicals as possible.  If you eat meat, eat an animal that was allowed to do the same.  We are living in a world of plenty, there are snacks and treats and things we know not to eat, but Just. Can’t. Resist! That is OK, food shouldn’t be a battle, but it is also not your lovey blanket either!  I’ve said it in past posts, you eat to live not live to eat.

That brings me to the obsessions that surround food and food consumption (or lack there-of). Being an athlete and working with athletes, certain ideas are seemingly hard-wired into us.  Some are sports specific and others are general.  I would like to clarify that I am not a dietitian, nutritionist, nurse, counselor, or mediator.  I am a coach, which, by default, means I get to take on these roles whether I want to or not.  My athletes have to be healthy enough to perform at their best in practice and performance, so yes, I pay attention.

Eating disorders are a real thing and can cause serious damage.  From Anorexia to Bulimea, Binging, speed weight loss, comfort eating, and even calorie counting/food measuring OCD. There are many different ways to abuse food.  I know good coaches do their best to prevent any of these, but athletes sometimes take matters into their own hands.  With sports like dance, gymnastics, and wrestling depending on specific physical size, weight and uniform look; athletes in these sports should have constant and consistent nutrition training as a part of their regime.  This not only teaches them healthy practices, but allows us as coaches to stay on top of current research and information on foods that will most help or harm our athletes.

We will unfortunately never get away from “skinny” being thought of as healthy and a goal look for teenage girls.  Media has, however, gotten better about the image of healthy, I don’t think the thought process will change, just ebb and flow with the fashion trends of the time.  Keeping this in mind and understanding that many kids do not get to choose what/when they eat; helping parents understand how to keep their athlete healthy has become a priority.  

As a society we are busy, and most households have all adults working to support the family.  We have gotten away from preparing meals from scratch at home.  So, the best bet is to find a compromise and balance. Get the whole family involved with meal planning, preparing and cooking.  Even if you have one night out of the week where you cook several meals for a few dinners and snacks for the week.  This gets everyone involved and delegates the tasks to all people in the house, making the “burden” of cooking more bearable for all.  I’m a full believer that kids should be in the kitchen helping, not sitting around waiting for the meal to be made.  Sometimes easier said than done, but the earlier you start the better.

I mentioned several eating disorders above, and as I said I’m not an expert, just someone who has been in the dance and gymnastics world long enough, so “mention” is all I will do.  If you do suspect someone is abusing food or harming themselves or others in anyway, talk to someone.  A coach, counselor school nurse, parent or teacher can help.  There is a lot of resources online, get help as quickly as you can.