Monthly Archives: December 2014

Saving Cookie Monster

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As promised, I’ve converted some of your favorite recipes into healthier versions of the classics. Some of them will taste very similar to what you know and love…some will be vaguely inspired by the former.  Either way, these recipes will offer you more nutritional benefits and still allow you to participate in the festivities.  Doesn’t mean you can eat the whole batch 🙂 But don’t beat yourself up over the occasional treat 🙂

I’ll start with my personal favorite:

No Bake Cookies

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 cup turbinado, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, 3 cups oatmeal, 1 tsp vanilla

Directions: Stir the oil, turbinado, almond milk, and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium/high heat.  Bring to boil, reduce and simmer for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in oats, peanut butter and vanilla.  Drop in rounded spoonfuls on wax paper or spread in bar pan.  Refrigerate.  Because the coconut oil liquifies when warm, keep these cool.  I prefer to keep them frozen.  They thaw very quickly.

These cookies are loaded with fiber, antioxidants and lots of healthy fat.  We’ve cut the sugar in half, but there is still plenty of sugar in there, so be mindful of that.  Also, these are rich and calorie dense, so a 1″x1″ serving would be a good “treat” size 🙂

Lemon Squares

So, there are ways to make lemon squares “healthier”, but I wanted this to be REALLY healthy…which means it’s not EXACTLY lemon squares, but should satisfy the craving.  This is Lemon Curd Crumble, which is basically lemon square filling topped with homemade granola. 

Filling Ingredients:

1 tsp arrowroot powder, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup honey, 1 cup silken tofu, zest of 1 lemon

Filling Directions:

Blend all ingredients together in blender or food processor.  Pour in baking dish lined with wax paper and bake for 25 minutes at 350°.

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Top with this (really simple) granola recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups oats (whole, rolled), 1/2 cup flaked coconut, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla, add one of the following:  cinnamon OR dried cranberries

The cranberries make it very festive looking, but if you don’t have any, cinnamon gives it great flavor.

Directions:

Toss all ingredients together and bake in the oven for 60-75 min, tossing every 20 min or so.

Once you pull it out of the oven, if you’re going to serve the whole pan of lemon squares at once, then sprinkle granola on top and pop back in for just a few min.  If you are just having a serving, save the granola in a separate container and sprinkle about 1/4 cup on top of a 2 inch square.

I must add that I have some of this in the oven right now as I’m typing this and my house smells amazing!

Peanut butter blossoms/Peanut Butter Cup cookies/Choc Chip

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These cookies will use the same base.  The cookie batter is flourless and is made like this:

Ingredients:

1 Cup peanut butter (or other nut butter), 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking soda.

Mix all ingredients together well.  For the peanut butter blossoms, spoon the batter on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes at 375°.  Remove from oven and press a small chunk of 70% cocoa dark chocolate into the center.

For peanut butter cup cookies, I call these Inside Out Peanut Butter Cups.  In a muffin tin, put a small amount of batter in the bottom of each tin, then put a small dark chocolate chunk on top of each half filled tin.  Top each tin off with another spoonful of batter and pop in the oven at 375° for about 12-15 minutes.

For classic chocolate chip, you guessed it, stir in chocolate chips, then spoon batter onto non-stick sheet.

If you are allergic to peanuts but other nuts you’re fine with, you can swap the peanut butter for any nut butter.  I love using almond butter!  A serving size is a cookie that’s about the size of a rounded tablespoon with the batter is raw.

 

 

 

The Ab Workout You’ll Love to Hate!

It’s only because I care :D…

Many of my clients had the grand experience and evil genius of my favorite ab workout this week.  About halfway through it, I was asked a variety of questions including but not limited to:

“Why do you hate me?”

“Are you a psycho?”

“You want me to do what??? Again???”

And a variety of threats that I won’t repeat, because i’m a lady!

Anyhow, I know you’ll all thank me later 🙂

Want to know what they did and why they’ll want to do it again?

The “why” is simple.  This sequence of exercises trains the core muscles that hold the abdominals in tight.  Instead of focusing on overtraining the same muscles that build us out, we’re tightening and toning deeper than that and paying attention to the entire abdominal wall (and some other muscles as well 🙂 Plus, we’re getting the heart rate up a tad to maximize your efforts and burn some fat.  I’m not a crunch hater, but crunches alone are a big ole’ waste of your time.

Ready for the “what”? You go through “Part 1” including the repeat, then “Part 2” including the repeat, then you repeat the entire thing.  This is great on it’s own, but add it to the end of your workout for even greater results!  Strong Calm Sexy members, stay tuned for “Your AB-solute best abs in 2015” bonus video coming in January to help kick start your New Year goals.

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Give it a try!  Let me know how you do 🙂

Could you repeat the question?

Being in the fitness industry I’m asked questions about exercise and nutrition all of the time.  I’m dedicating this post to one of the most popular questions that I’m asked on a regular basis:

What should I eat after I workout?

Believe it or not, this answer is not so black and white.  There are many elements that factor into this equation.  For instance: What type of workout did you do and for how long?  Did you eat immediately before your workout?  Do you plan on having a meal soon after your workout?  Some common sense will have to be factored in here.  Don’t over consume for the sake of getting a post workout snack/meal in.  Try to time your workouts to fall within the space between meals so that you aren’t adding an extra meal (unless you’re a competitive body builder).  Don’t force food down if you don’t want to eat.  Always drink plenty of water!

With those things considered, I’m going to go ahead a give you some great options that are generally universal and certainly fit within the Strong Calm Sexy guidelines.  I like to do things in 3’s, so how about I’ll give you 3 post workout snack recommendations for EACH type of workout in the plan. That means 3 post yoga, 3 post barre and 3 post SwanFIt!  Of course, if you’re following your Strong Calm Sexy meal plan, you can merge these with the snack options on the plan.  BONUS MATERIAL :)!!

Post Yoga

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So you got your zen on and now you need to refuel.  With yoga having that whole mind-body connection, you’ll want to put something soothing in your body post-practice.  Have something that’s healing to your adrenal system.

Yoga Option 1: Dried apricots w/ pistachio (about 1/4 cup pistachio and 3-5 apricots)

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Pistachios contain Vitamin K and potassium as well as vitamin B6.  They have about 6 grams of protein per serving and because of the healthy fat and protein that they contain, they will digest slowly, keeping you fuller longer.  The apricots are a great source of Vitamin A, which support eye health, skin tone, teeth, bones and soft tissue.  Because Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, having the pistachios with the apricots will allow your body to absorb and utilize those nutrients.

Yoga Option 2: Matcha Latte.  You can have this frozen and blended or hot.  I prefer making mine with unsweetened soy milk, but if you don’t do soy, you can use an alternative milk.

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(Pictured to my right, one of our very own Strong Calm Sexy members, Melissa!)

To make your own Matcha latte at home, just take about 8oz unsweetened soy milk, 1 cup crushed ice and 1 TBSP Matcha tea powder.  Blend until smooth.  For a warm latte, heat and froth the milk and whisk in the Matcha powder.  If you must have a little sweetness, a teaspoon of honey goes a long way 🙂  To learn more about the amazing benefits of Matcha tea, click here for a previous post with all of the wonderful details!

Yoga Option 3: Apple w/ Almond butter:

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1 apple and about 2 TBSP of almond butter will be right around 240 calories of delicious nutrition.  I prefer green apples, but any apple will suffice.  Click here to read about how apples can help you build lean muscle tissue!  Almond butter is a great source of vitamin E, so while it’s making your skin look fabulous, it’s also protecting your cells from free radical damage.  The healthy fat will help your body absorb all of the amazing nutrients in both the apple and the almond butter.  The apple will offer you an instant burst of energy and the almond butter will keep you satisfied for hours.

Post Barre

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With barre being a little more intense and fatiguing than yoga, you’ll want to have a post workout meal/snack that includes a faster absorbing protein and carb.  Avoid too much fat (even the healthy fat) because you want your muscles to utilize the macronutrients more quickly.  Here are 3 examples that will work well post barre:

Barre Option 1: Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

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This is one of my favorites! I don’t usually recommend the PB2 (which is just defatted, dehydrated peanut butter powder), because the fat in PB is part of the benefit, however, when you’re keeping calories in check and trying to keep your protein moving quickly to the muscles, this is a fabulous smoothie add-in.  This smoothie is 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop strawberry Designer Whey (whey is the fasted absorbing protein), and 1 cup frozen spinach (which will act as your ice, but offers way more nutrition).  You can toss this together for less than 200 calories and 25 grams of protein!! Woo!

Barre Option 2: Egg white pancake with berriesIMG_1137

(never mind my shadow in the image 8-I)

I’m not anti-egg yolk, but again, we are focusing on lean protein right now.  Take about 4 egg whites and 1/4 cup oats, whisk them together with some cinnamon.  Spray a pan and cook this mixture just like you would a pancake.  Top with about 1 tsp of organic maple syrup and a handful of raspberries.  That will give you a great balance of protein and carbs.  This would also make an awesome breakfast.  When making it for breakfast, leave a yolk in for some added choline and B vitamins.

Barre Option 3: Grilled Chicken & Pineapple

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If you have the time or are pre-prepping your meals, keeping grilled chicken breast on hand will give you quick an easy access to some savory lean protein.  Adding pineapple will give you a quick recovery carb that includes bromelain.  Bromelain is great for reducing inflammation and aiding in digestion.

Post SwanFit

SwanFit is intense, but quick.  Your recovery meal should be the same.  You may find that a grab and go drink or a simple snack does the trick.

SwanFit Option 1: Iced espresso topped with your favorite milk

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Music to my ears!  I love a refreshing latte before or after an intense workout!

SwanFIt Option 2:  Grapefruit and yogurt w/ honey

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Peel and slice a grapefruit for tons of vitamin C (great for recovery), plenty of phytonutrients and quickly accessible carbs.  Mix into a 6 oz container of plain greek yogurt with 1 tsp of honey.  The greek yogurt will provide you with plenty of protein as well as calcium and probiotics, to keep your digestive system healthy and strong.  This is a great “flat belly” snack (so long as you aren’t lactose intolerant).

SwanFit Option 3:  DIY Power Balls!

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I have a variety of power balls that I like to make, but this is one of my favorites.  So simple, 1 cup of natural peanut butter, 1 cup whole oats, 8 pitted dates, 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I use the vegan protein that I get from Arbonne) and cinnamon (several dashes).  Put it all in the food processor until well blended.  You may want to give the dates a head start so they aren’t so chunky.  Roll into one in balls.  It’s make TONS, so you could cut the batch in half or make them and freeze them or share them with friends!  Consider a serving size 2 1″ balls.  If you make these on your food prep day, the rest of your week will be a breeze!

 

 

Standard Procedure: a morning in the life

Your Daily Ritual

I’m not really a routine girl.  I like a little variety in my life. That’s probably one reason I was drawn to the career I chose.  I don’t have the exact same schedule every day. While I love variety, I do have habits, or daily rituals that I practice each day. The reason I love them so is because I feel better and I function better when I prepare my body and mind properly each day. I won’t walk you through every step of my day…that would be silly.  But, here are a 3 things I do each morning that I think everyone can benefit from.

1) Upon waking, Drink 12-16 oz of water (with lemon).  There are so many reasons you should do this!  I take my vitamins at this time too.  While everyone may have slightly different needs when it comes to supplements, lemon water is universally beneficial (unless you’re allergic to lemons-then plain water will do), and it’s dirt cheap! Click here for a list of benefits from EarthRemedy.org.

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2) A little quiet time while I stretch.  I used to grab my phone immediately upon waking to see what I missed while I was sleeping.  The harsh lights from the screen would jump through my eyes into my brain and get my nervous system fired up before my feet even hit the floor.  We do live in an exciting time where information is always accessible and staying connected is easier than ever.  I’m a huge fan of that, but give yourself a few minutes in the morning to sit in a peaceful spot in your home.  As you sit quietly, allow yourself 5-15 minutes to honor your day.  I use this time to pray, meditate and breathe.  I also go through a series of stretches the loosen the neck, shoulders, spine, hips, hamstrings and ankles.  When I’m finished I feel calm and energized, ready to face the day.  Try this for one week.  See how it feels.

There are so many different ways to stretch.  I encourage you to start with a classic yoga series called Sun Salutation A (in sanskirt: surya namaskar).  Going through this sequence 5-10 times in the morning will improve circulation, carrying oxygen to all of the organs in the body.  It increases flexibility and strength.  It calms the mind and generates heat (cleansing the body).

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If you’re a Strong Calm Sexy member and you’ve done the yoga video, you may have noticed we include these near the beginning of the practice.  If you need another visual of this flow, click here to follow along.

3) I wash my face in ice cold water!  Why ice cold water?  First, it tightens your pores that have expanded while you were sleeping.  Pores also expand as we age, so anything that reduces there appearance gives us a youthful glow.  Cold water also increases circulation to the face, giving us a bright, rosy glow.  It wakes you up!  No explanation needed 🙂

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Of course, I have other routine elements that I practice each morning (brush, floss, get dressed, healthy breakfast, etc.), but these 3 take little time with huge impact.  I find that I’m more pleasant when I complete my morning rituals (ask my kids :).

Baby It’s Cold Outside

I practically live in gym clothes.  It’s part of the gig.  I don’t usually mind it, but I still want to be cute and love what I’m wearing.  I know many people don’t have to wear gym clothes to work (may even be frowned upon), but many prefer it.  I’m all for it!  Stay suited up for an impromptu workout as often as you can!   Now that winter is settling in, running out in a tank top and running skirt is not an option.

Here are my 3 favorite jackets to toss on with your activewear to take your look from Fit GIrl to It Girl:

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Pure + Good by Anthropologie

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Hardtail at Londomondo

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The Lively jacket from Strut-This

The last one is on sale, plus you can get an extra 20% off when you provide your email address!

A cute jacket can be a great way to warm your heart to cooler weather, so consider it an investment in your mental health as well!

Your turn!  Tell me what morning rituals you value the most.  Share a selfie with us of you in your favorite cold weather gear!  Use #StrongCalmCozy on Instagram and Twitter @omnoshedidnt or on Facebook.com/strongcalmsexy  I love hearing from you!