Goodbye 2014!

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It is almost time to say goodbye to 2014 and start a fresh new year! My favorite part of a new year is that everything is fresh.  The things of the past get to remain in the past and we get to start a new clean slate! With that being said, many people make resolutions for the new year, however I am not a believer in that.  Why should you promise yourself to do something that most of us know we are going to forget halfway through the year?  Instead, I like to make goals for myself and hope to reach them by the end of the year. When you set goals you are envisioning a certain result, therefore it may be easier to reach rather than making a promise to yourself.  You can not break a goal, you just would not reach it in the time frame you gave yourself.  You can, however, break your new year resolution, which many of us do on a year to year basis. 

When you make your goals for 2015, think about some things in your life from 2014 that you want to improve, whether it is eating a little healthier on a weekly basis, running or exercising more often, or cooking more meals for yourself.  After you figure it out, set a time frame that you would like to do these things in, and make sure to make them realistic for yourself.  If you are a person who likes to eat out most of the week, but would like to start cooking more at home, set a goal of cooking for yourself two times a week and see where you go from there.  When setting them in a realistic time frame, you won’t end up disappointing yourself, or feeling as if you can not succeed because you were trying to do it all at once.

Some of my goals for the upcoming new year are~

– Getting back into an exercise routine once Baby B is here

– Trying to cook more of a variety than I do these days

– Once Baby B can eat solids, I want to try to make most of his food, but I will be prepared if I can not always do it and I will be ok with giving him other pre-made foods.

– As I am embarking motherhood, I would like to try to just go with the flow and realize I can not plan everything because those plans will change

– Enjoy everyday, because you never know what can happen.

Whether or not you chose to list goals for the new year, or just go into it the same way you are ending 2014, the choice is yours!  Just remember to stay safe and healthy!  Wishing all of you a very happy and healthy 2015!!!

 

Indulge this Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  This year I am thankful for my husband, family, friends, and my health!  To stay healthy, I believe it has something to do with the foods I consume on a daily basis, and the fact that I do not deprive myself of foods that my body may be craving and foods that I do not eat on a daily, or even monthly basis.

With this being one of the most feast-ly holidays for people, I want to share some of my go-to tips to have a healthy, yet satisfying Thanksgiving this year.

~When cooking or baking, try using some of these substitutes to keep your foods healthier~

– Plain Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream-  More protein, not as much fat and same consistency!

Veganaise for Mayonaise- You will get pretty much the same flavor but because it is not made with eggs, you will be consuming less cholesterol.

– Coconut oil for butter- coconut oil is just overall great for everything! It may even aid in weight loss.  Find out more next week when I write about the benefits of Coconut Oil!

– If you still want a buttery taste, or using it for something like an apple crisp, try Earth Balance– which is lactose free, gluten free, and a vegan choice.

Coconut Sugar instead of regular sugar or brown sugar-  You won’t be consuming the same amount glucose and fructose as you do with the white and brown sugars and it is natural.     Keep in mind, brown sugar is just as bad as white sugar! (You can also use Agave or Honey)

– Organic Apple Sauce instead of eggs when baking-  Three tablespoons of apples sauce for one egg.  It will help bind whatever it is you’re baking and you will not have the cholesterol from the eggs and it keeps the recipe moist.  Make sure whatever applesauce you are using is organic and you read the ingredients, because many companies sneak things in that you do not want in your body.

– Almond milk in place of regular milk- however, start off with a little less than recipe calls for since Almond Milk can be a little more watery than regular milk.

– Rice Pasta instead of regular pasta- Who needs all that gluten and wheat? Can we say tummy ache and lethargic afterwards?!

These are just some substitutions to start with.  Most people can not even taste a different when switching ingredients around, however when doing this, you do need to go in with an open mind because some things do not taste as heavy or thick as you may be use to.  And don’t tell people, I promise you will still get a great reaction to whatever it is you make, and people will not even know they are eating something so much healthier!!

Now I know you won’t be cooking everything, so when it comes time to eat, be conscious of what your putting in your body.  Start with a salad, and always make sure to have 75% vegetables and 25% of everything else on your plate.  And when it comes time for dessert, I am all for it, but be aware of what you are eating.  Take small bites. Chew slowly. Savor the flavor. And be done with it.  No need to eat three different pieces of of pie, maybe three bites of the three pies you want to taste and call it a day! You do not want to leave with your stomach bulging out of your pants!

When using healthier alternatives and paying attention to what you are eating,  your body will notice the difference and thank you for it!  So not only will your waist be thankful this Thanksgiving for eating more consciously, so will your insides! 

Have a safe, happy, healthy, and warm holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Guilt free and allergy friendly Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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I had way too many bananas this week in the house, and before I knew it, they were over-ripe and I was not going to use them.  You know the one’s I am talking about.  Too mushy to eat, too old to freeze, yet you’re not ready to toss them yet!  Perfect thing for bananas that fall into this category?  Banana bread!  I absolutely love it!

It is a bread that is healthy enough for breakfast- by itself, or toasted with butter/peanut butter, and it is sweet enough for all those dessert loving people, like myself.

It is easy to make, not a lot of ingredients, and takes about an hour to prepare and bake!

You can enjoy this guilt free as it is gluten free, dairy free, egg free and the chocolate chips are allergy friendly being that they are dairy free, soy free and nut free!

Ingredients-
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3-4 over ripe bananas
**1/3 Cup Organic Coconut Oil- melted
**3/4 Cup Organic Coconut Sugar
3 Tablespoons Organic Applesauce- make sure to always read ingredients when choosing an applesauce because many brands add ingredients you do not want to put in your body!
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Organic Vanilla
1.5 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
*.5-1 Cup Enjoy Life allergy friendly chocolate chips
*.5 Cup walnuts

*Optional

**If you can not use

-coconut oil replace it with Applesauce or Earth Balance Vegan friendly buttery spread

– coconut sugar, you can use organic Agave, Local Honey, or other sweetener of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oil into mashed bananas with a wooden spoon. Add in sugar, applesauce, vanilla. Mix until blended. Add baking soda and continue mixing. Slowly, add flour. Mix until everything is blended together. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts if using. Pour into 4×8 loaf pan and bake for 30-45 minutes- Stick tooth pick in at around 30 minutes to see if baked through. If not, continue baking for additional 10-15 minutes- or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool and enjoy!

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When you take the time to make your own foods, you know exactly what is going in your body, and for that your body will thank you!! Remember to always eat for you body!

Stay warm and healthy!

Pumpkin-Chai Cupcakes for Halloween!

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With Halloween right here and Thanksgiving not too far after, it is most definitely that pumpkin time if year now.  I love pumpkin everything,  especially pumpkin donuts and cupcakes.  However, more often than not, the pumpkin we are purchasing and consuming is not made up of real pumpkin.  So this past weekend my friend and I decided to bake our own pumpkin cupcakes and whip up some chai frosting~ a healthy version, of course! Healthy treats right in time for Halloween!

Pumpkin is good for the body in more ways than one.  Pumpkin benefits our eye sight because of the carotenoids, which gives pumpkins their very orange appearance.  The carotenoid can also keep the skin wrinkle free, which is always a plus! It helps in weight loss due to the fiber found in them.  In one cup, there is 3 grams of fiber, which will help us feeling full longer.  And with 564 milligrams of potassium, it is a perfect after work out snack to help restore electrolytes.   So with all these benefits pumpkin’s contain, when eating it I want to know I am eating the real thing to help my body, and skin, shine!

Pumpkin- Chai Cupcakes (Gluten and Dairy Free)

Cupcakes-

1 3/4 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

1.5 Teaspoons Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Powder

1.5 Teaspoons Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon Cloves

1/2 Cup (or a little less) Organic Coconut Palm Sugar

4 Egg Whites

1 Cup Organic Pumpkin Puree

1/3 Cup Almond Milk

1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Their are two choices for what to add next-

1

1/4 Cup Organic Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup Organic Apple Sauce ( Be sure to always read ingredients with Apple Sauce-

You can be surprised with what you read!)

OR 2

1/2 Cup Apple Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease muffin tin with coconut oil or line them.

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In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

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In a medium bowl, beat together sugar and egg whites.  Add pumpkin puree, apple sauce and coconut oil (or just apple sauce depending on recipe)

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Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and stir together.

Pour into muffin tin- 3/4 full and bake for 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out dry.

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                Applesauce             Coconut oil and Applesauce

Let cool and add  Chai Frosting

Chai Frosting-

1/8 Cup Almond Milk

.5 Cup Organic Earth Balance Butter Spread

2 Teaspoons Chai Powder- your choice

1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1.5 Cup Organic Coconut Palm Sugar

1 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Arrowroot Powder

Blend together coconut palm sugar and arrowroot (or use grinder) until powdery like confectioners sugar.

Mix Butter with the sugar mix slowly.  Add spices.  Last- Slowly add milk.  Keep mixing until fluffy and smooth.

Add to cupcakes and Enjoy!

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When we make our own foods, we know exactly what we are putting into our bodies!  Enjoy and have a safe, HEALTHY, and Happy Halloween!!!

CKO Health and Wellness Fair

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Come join me and other health and wellness professionals share tips and encouragement today from 11AM-4PM at CKO in Peekskill for their Health and Wellness fair.  You can also try out a kickboxing class for those who haven’t yet~ they will provide you with gloves!  They are great classes and a killer workout!  Stop by my table afterwards and try a Pina~Kale~ada smoothie! 

Have a great Saturday ad weekend, and remember to always eat for your body!

Healthy Tips with Kacey from 100.7 HUD

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Two weeks ago I mentioned on Facebook that big things were happening.  Well I am now ready to let you all in…  I was interviewed by Kacey from Kacey and Mike on 100.7 HUD- a Hudson Valley radio station.  We discussed the best foods to eat pre and post workout, eating with the seasons, going gluten free and why it may not be best for you, and making your own baby foods!  Even Piper, my talkative pup, made a vocal appearance! 

Now it is your turn to listen- http://kaceyontheradio.com  I come on a little after the 17 minute mark, right after Pastor Rob Bell from Monday October 13’s post.

Fall in Love with this Autumn Salad!

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This time of year happens to be my favorite. The crisp air, the color change of the trees, and most of all the vegetables and fruits we can get! Summer was all about tomatoes and fresh lettuces of different sorts, now it is time for the kale, the sweet potatoes, and the beets. You can also get different types of squash this time of year and be guaranteed they are super fresh because now is the time for them to be harvested.

Kale is the superfood people are going crazy for, but many people do not know all the benefits Kale has to offer. It is a bitter green, that yes- is good for your bones- it actually has more calcium than milk! It is also good for cardiovascular health, is low in fat, high in fiber, high in iron, and has zero fat! Beets have an earthy flavor, and may not be a top choice for everyone- but they happen to be a favorite of mine! They are good source of betaine and trytophan that can help improve your mental health. They are also loaded with fiber and can help lower blood pressure.

Red peppers will help absorb iron- so goes great with the Kale. If you are iron deficient, when you combine the red pepper with any iron source it will help your body absorb the iron needed. They contain almost 300 percent of your daily vitamin C intake for the day. They are also low in calories- one cup contains about 40-45 calories!

Sweet potatoes contain vitamin E to help protect against heart disease, Potassium to help with muscles, bone health, and to regulate blood pressure. It has more potassium than a banana. Sweet potatoes also assist in producing collagen that helps the muscles stay healthy and help keep the skin firm!

Can’t BEET this salad!

Autumn salad

Bunch of Kale- ripped up into pieces

2 Beets- roasted, peeled, diced (you can buy roasted or roast yourself)*

**1 Large sweet potato- diced and roasted (peeling is optional)

1 small red onion- diced

1 red pepper- diced

Handful of feta cheese

1 tablespoon EVOO

1 tablespoon Thyme

* To roast beets- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets in foil with oil covering them fully. Wrap tight and let cook for 30-45 minutes- until you can insert fork smoothly.

** You can substitute butternut squash for the sweet potato. It will just have to roast a longer than the sweet potato- 30-40 minutes.

Preheat over to 350 degrees. After dicing up sweet potato- add to a bowl and mix with EVOO and Thyme. Place on cooking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

Rip up kale, and place in a bowl. Add diced beets, red pepper, and onion. Once sweet potatoes are done, let cool and add to salad. Top with feta cheese and enjoy with favorite dressing- or add some balsamic vinegar with EVOO and enjoy!

Eating with the seasons has never gotten better, and your body will always thank you for eating good foods that are growing right now!

Watermelons- more than just water!

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I am sure everyone has been seeing loads and loads of watermelons at the stores lately, and as much as people love them- many believe that all watermelon contains is water and sugar.  But that is not true, it has more health benefits than you think, and it makes the perfect snack, dessert, or juice!

High in lycopene- super antioxidant found in most red fruits and vegetables, it helps with the immune system and can help fight heart disease and certain cancers.

It contains natural substance called citrulline- which can help lower blood pressure and improve artery functions. It can also help relieve muscle soreness after a workout- Drink it as a juice before or after to help!

Packed with water- helps with dehydration.  Ever get a bad headache or feel very tired? It could be due to dehydration.  Snack on some watermelon and load up on the water your body needs!

Can help with impotence due to the Arginine, which is found in watermelon- it is beneficial in curing erectile dysfunction, and the stimulating nature of the chemical can boost libido, reduce frigidity and give a kick start to your love life- so eat some after dinner with your significant other and get it on!

There are many more benefits of eating or drinking watermelon- so pick one up today and enjoy it, by yourself or with a loved one!

**Tip- the heavier they are, the more water there is- which is something to look for when picking out a watermelon!

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Place chunks of watermelon in blender.

Blend until smooth. Pour over ice and enjoy!

~When you eat for your body, your body will thank you!  Enjoy some watermelon today!~

Fueling up post-workout

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I love to workout. It’s my form of meditation and it keeps me fit. It’s also what keeps me and my lifestyle healthy. A healthy lifestyle is not just what you are eating- it is what you are doing to stay physically active as well. After a workout though, it is VERY important to eat something, or drink a smoothie, to help rebuild those muscles you just pounded on, as well as replenish the electrolytes you just used during your workout. The best time to eat something is right after the workout- up until an hour after. I know- many people aren’t starving after coming back from the gym, a run, or whatever it is you do, but your body will thank you in the long run for it. You need to get certain nutrients in your body to help your body after working out.

Proteins help your muscles rebuild and recover from a workout.  Your muscles do not receive the full benefits of growing if you are not eating proteins 20-60 minutes after any sort of workout, and you have a higher chance of pulling, ripping, or tearing a muscle when not consuming enough protein afterwards.  Proteins that are good include- Eggs; Cheese; Fish- Tuna, Salmon, Halibet; Chicken/Turkey breast; Greek Yogurt; Nuts and nut butters.

Potassium helps restore electrolytes in the brain- which regulate our nerve and muscle functions.  Potassium also helps regulate the heartbeat after raising it, as well as helps the body retain calcium, which is necessary for the bones to remain healthy and not break.  Potassium products that are good choices include- Bananas; Avocados; Fish- Salmon; Dark leafy greens- Kale, Spinach, Collards; Coconut water- which has a natural source of electrolytes and is better than any sports drink to consume after a heavy workout.

It is necessary for your body to consume these nutrients to fully benefit any workout you have just done.  Because I know how it feels not to be hungry for a full on meal after hitting the gym or class, I have posted my favorite post-workout smoothie below.  Not only will give you the nutrients your body needs, it will refresh you after being physically active and it tastes DELICIOUS!

Pina-Kale-Ada Smoothie

Makes enough for 2, or for one big smoothie that will keep you full for hours!

1 Banana

1 Cup Pineapple

1/2 Cup Coconut Water

1/2 Cup Coconut Milk

1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt- Plain or Vanilla for some added sweetness

1/2 Avocado- For the smoothie to be extra smooth

1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds

Handful of Ice

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Blend together in high speed blender.  Start on a low and add speed.  Blend until fully smooth.

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ENJOY!

Sweet Potatoes Fries!!

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I love, love, love potatoes- especially french fries.  I use to get them as a side every time we went out for dinner.  However, I do know how they really are not the healthiest of choices considering potatoes do not contain the best nutrients for our bodies.  In fact, they are a starch which, when consumed, turns into glucose and triggers an insulin response in our bodies.  In other words- potatoes are a simple carbohydrate (sugar); or, as most people would understand, the bad carbs most try to avoid.  So, next time you want that potato, reach for the sweet potatoes instead.  They are more beneficial to the body, and they are super delish!

Loaded with vitamins- High in B6- which can help prevent heart attacks; good source of Vitamin C- which helps ward of cold and flu viruses, as well as produces collagen to help maintain your skin’s youthful elasticity, and Vitamin D- which is primarily found in sunlight- so during those winter months when people tend to be sunlight deficient, load up on some sweet potatoes to help with energy levels and moodiness.

Sweet potatoes also have good sources of minerals such as Iron; Magnesium- which can help you de-stress and relax; and Potassium.

Last night when I really wanted to have french fries, I made these baked sweet potato fries instead, and they satisfied every taste bud on my tongue!  Try them next time you are craving those plain, old, boring french fries!

Recipe-

1 Large Sweet Potato- Peeled if you want- I like the skin, so I did not peel- sliced into fry shaped pieces

1.5 Tablespoons EVOO

.5 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 Teaspoon, or a little less depending on how much spice you like, Ground Cumin

Dash of salt and pepper

photo 1Sweet potato cut into slices

      photo 2With seasoning and ready to be baked!

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Add oil and spices to big ziplock bag or bowl.  Mix oil and spices, then add potatoes pieces and cover evenly.  Let sit in mixture for a few minutes.  Add to baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Flip over and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  Broil for extra crispiness for last 5-10 minutes.  Enjoy~

photo 3Crispy and delish!!

Making your own foods is easy and not always time consuming.  Try it tonight- you may be surprised and continue cooking on a weekly basis!

Remember to always eat for your body~ it will thank you!