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how i’m staying healthy while pregnant

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Oh the pregnancy struggle.. The one time in your life when everyone else gives you complete permission to do nothing and eat whatever you want.. but is that really the best choice for your body?  In my first pregnancy I started out trying to run 4-5k as much as possible, but that quickly became a bit of a joke.  Runs turned into walks, which turned into skipping it altogether.  Not this time!  I don’t want that feeling of absolutely dying when I try to play my first game of ultimate, or spending a year + wishing about my pre-pregnancy clothing.

I’m at 20 weeks now, and am doing pretty well!

Fitness
This time around, I have a plan for fitness.  I’ve jumped into the PiYo workout program, and have found that it’s PERFECT for pregnancy.  I’d never been into yoga or pilates, but this is faster paced and upbeat, plus I just plain feel GOOD after I do it.

It’s easy to modify!  In the videos, there’s a modifier that is so easy to follow.  I just love her.  You bet I’m modifying already, and will likely be a whole lot more as the weeks go on, but I’m not just going to quit.  I don’t want the terribly hard road back to fitness when I have this baby. I have high hopes that it’ll be easier than last time because I’m not spending a year or two inactive.

Other bonuses: No impact, increased strength and flexibility, and I can do it whenever I have a bit of time at home. No heading to the gym.  I still try to get it done when the little one’s sleeping, but sometimes she just has to sit and play or eat while watching me. Even better is seeing her attempt the moves along with her mama!  Plus, some of those workouts are less than 20 minutes long!

Nutrition
I have a nutrition plan too, although let me tell you, this has been a STRUGGLE for me.  My cravings are strong and my willpower doesn’t exist right now.  Do I want to make a million cookies? Totally.  Do I do that sometimes, and then eat most of them? Yep.  Still, I keep pulling myself back towards my plan, which has got to be better than no plan at all.

This is where the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan comes in (the workouts are amazing too, but I’ve delved deep into PiYo).  There are easy to use containers for portion control, and food lists.  I have so much fun combining foods and making delicious meals that work with the plan.  Healthy can be good.  My favourite part is that there’s room for things like chocolate! YES!

Want to join my next challenge group for either of these programs, or have any questions? Send me a note here.  I’d love to help get you started on your journey too!

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P90 giveaway

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You may or may not be familiar with my fitness journey, so I’ll give  you a quick recap…

I’ve always played sports, but never done anything extra, so I couldn’t ever say I was fit.  The thought of going to a gym seemed like craziness to me growing up. Whyyyy? Then, before we got married, my husband challenged us both to a round of P90X, and I started to lose weight, get in shape, and feel stronger!  It was great, but short lived.  Kids came along, so you’ve gotta be crazy if you thought I had time for those intense LONG workouts!  The yoga one was like 90+ minutes!  Insane.

I’ve always loved Tony Horton, his kindness and passion for what he does.. plus his over the top cheesiness kind of grows on you.  I’m pretty excited for his latest program – P90. It’s a complete overhaul of Power 90, and my team’s so excited about it that we’re giving away a free copy!

Whether you used to be in shape and feel fitness has now passed you by, or you’ve never worked out a day in your life, Tony Horton’s P90 workout is your easy-to-follow way to lose substantial weight, have the energy to run and play with your kids, and feel better in everything you do—without the agony of high-intensity exercise.
In as little as 25 minutes a day, P90 will help you completely change your body—not by working you harder—but by keeping it simple. Simple cardio. Simple resistance training. A simple approach to portion control.  This is what we all need!

I’m not saying it’s all easy, but it IS doable.

To enter:

  1. Make sure I’m your coach. If I’m not, sign up here.
  2. Fill out this google form. We will make sure you get added to the group with updates and more details on the upcoming release!

healthy pumpkin spice latte

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The leaves are changing and it’s getting to be fall. OK, so maybe the leaves here are just falling off because we had such a hot dry summer.. but still, I’ve been itching to wear boots, jeans, and scarves, and sipping on a yummy pumpkin spice latte, and I know they’re at Starbucks now.. but I really don’t want whatever yuckiness they put in theirs, especially not when it’s super easy to whip up at home. You can even skip the pumpkin puree in my recipe and it’ll still taste great. All unprocessed, all-natural ingredients, if you’re fine with coffee.

It’s sweet, decadent, and tastes like fall in a warm mug.

healthy pumpkin spice latte

Recipe adapted from beachbody
serves 1, easily doubled or more

3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons maple syrup, or 2 –3 drops liquid stevia (I used syrup)
1 – 2 shots espresso or 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
dash of nutmeg or cinnamon to taste (optional)

In a mug or saucepan, stir together the almond milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup, then heat in the microwave or on the stove until quite hot but not boiling.

Remove from heat and froth or whisk well.

Pour espresso or coffee into a mug, then pour milk mixture on top.

Sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon.

Enjoy!

tips to start and keep working out

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We’ve all been there.. With a workout program sitting there collecting dust on the shelf.. Maybe you’ve never even opened it, or maybe you got a few weeks in and then life happened. Right? Lots of excuses.

You work too many hours, your kids keep you from working out, you’re too tired, it’s too hard, you don’t love it, your nutrition sucks too, so why bother.. Yup, lots of excuses. You should be able to counteract ALL of those with some great little tips and tricks.

4 ways to set yourself up for success long-term:

1. Remember your great big goal. Where do you want to be? Do you want to lose weight? How will it FEEL to fit into that cute dress? Or how will it FEEL to be able to keep up to your kids, or be able to run 3 miles? Pretty amazing, right? Stick a picture of what that goal looks like to you somewhere you’ll see every day.

2. Not enough time? Try a short run or bike ride. You can just get out there and go! Or try one of Beachbody’s awesome 25-30 minute workout programs, like T25 (I got crazy results with this program, as you can see above!), the 21 Day Fix (30 minute workouts and fabulous nutrition tools), P90, and P90X3. There’s something nice and short for everyone!

3. Kids? Get them involved too. You can do this outdoors, or even at home using a fitness DVD. From an early age, I’d set my daughter up with a snack or breakfast, and get going. Yes, there were some interruptions, but I always found a way to get the workout done. The best part is you’re modeling great healthy behaviour, and seeing your kids start mimicking you.

4. Too tired, or it’s too hard? I don’t know anyone who regretted working out. If you’re feeling wiped out, just start. Tell yourself you’ll do at least 5 minutes. You may surprise yourself and get through the entire thing. If not, wrap it up but know that you at least tried! You’ll feel better than if you hadn’t.

8 tips to get that workout started each day:

1. Set out all of your workout clothes the night before. Put them where you’ll see them when it’s time to work out. I put mine in the bathroom so they’re the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning (after the stumbling steps down the hall).

2. Home workout program? Pop that DVD into the player and set out whatever other gear you’ll need so there’s no wasting time and no excuses! You don’t want to be running around at 6am searching for your sneakers or trying to find your beloved water bottle. Those seem like silly little excuses, but I hear people use them all the time.

3. Play some energizing music. If you’re just not feeling it, pop in some energizing music and bop around the room. That should get you going enough to get started.

4. Take it 5 minutes at a time. Like I said above, start with 5 minutes. If it still seems hard, just go for another 5 minutes. See how far you can get.

5. Stick your calendar on the wall. Make a workout schedule, or use the one that came with the program, and stick it on the wall or fridge. Mark off each day after you’ve completed it. This feels so good and is great motivation to keep going

6. Schedule it in your calendar just like an appointment or something else important. Make sure you schedule it in for a time that actually works for you!

7. Tell someone. Tell a workout partner, friend, significant other, or accountability partner. When someone else expects you to do your workout, you’re more likely to do it! Get them to make sure you check in each day

8. Join a challenge group. I’ve got lots of different challenge groups on facebook that are great for motivation, support, and accountability. Others are on their journey right along with you. Send me a message if you want to join a group!

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

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I find it oh-so satisfying making my own vinaigrettes from scratch. It’s one of those ways in which I feel like I’m taking an extra little step in nourishing my family, and it’s super easy! Often all you need is a jam jar to shake shake shake.

This recipe requires a blender or food processor, and the result is a tangy-sweet strawberry delight that livens up any salad. I love making it with blueberries (frozen even, if that’s what you have!) too. I had it the other night on a yummy kale salad mix. I’ve been making batch after batch of this with fresh local berries, while I can still get them!

Fresh Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (or blueberries)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Blend everything together in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.

Source: slightly adapted from Karma Chow

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spiced peach quinoa muffins

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Mad carb cravings, that’s me!  I’ve been dreaming up ways where it’s ok to eat an entire pan of brownies, or 2 dozen cupcakes, with extra icing, of course.. Um no, that probably wouldn’t be the best idea, plus I needed a healthy(ish) snack for my daughter to take to preschool next week. 

I searched a bit and found various quinoa recipes.  So these guys still have brown sugar (yes, that’s processed), and white flour in them, so they aren’t exactly Clean Eating approved, but they’re tasty, and they’re definitely healthier than your average cakey muffin. Bonus, they’re one of very very few healthier muffins that my little one will actually eat!  I cut them in half and froze them for many future snack times (after I ate half of them myself, fresh and warm and peachy, of course).

For the quinoa… I like to make a big batch, then use some for breakfast quinoa bowls, and save some for these muffins. They’re great with other fruit too, like apples, strawberries, or plums.

spiced peach quinoa muffins

recipe adapted from Egg & Dart
makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups peaches, pits removed, and diced (plus extra slices for topping)
6 tablespoons softened butter, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmet
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375F. Heat 2 tablespoons (1oz) of the butter over medium low heat in a sauce pan.  Add the spices, stir, then stir in the peaches. Coat them with your spice concoction, then remove from heat to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg and beat until fluffy. Beat in vanilla, salt, and baking powder until combined.

Gently fold in the peaches and quinoa into the butter mixture. Add half the flour and fold until just combined, then half the milk and fold again. Repeat. Don’t over-mix. You might still see some flour streaks.

Grease a muffin tin and scoop batter evenly into muffin cups (mostly full).  Top with peach slices if desired, then bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean (about 20 minutes).

Let cool 5 minutes in the tin, then remove to finish cooling on a cooling rack.

vanilla toasted coconut cashew butter

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Oh yummm.. yum yum yumminess. I made this weeks ago and then promptly forgot to share, as I consume more and more of it. I know, I’ve been holding out! This stuff’s amazing, and really not that tough to make. You just need either a food processor or a great high power blender, then you too can enjoy the coconutty vanilla-ey cashewey amazingness. It’s fabulous on toast, and even better on waffles.

vanilla scented toasted coconut & cashew butter

Slightly adapted from The Suburban Soapbox

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
2 cups unsalted raw cashews
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the coconut out and bake for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, as you don’t want it to burn. Just let it get golden brown. Set aside

Toast the cashews in the same way (about 10 minutes), until golden.

Dump all your ingredients into a food processor or blender and just keep on blending until it’s nice and creamy.. Depending on the power of your machine, this could be 5-10 minutes.

Pour or scoop into an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks (OK, I’ve had mine in the fridge for a few months now, because I FORGOT ABOUT IT (not sure how!), and it’s still fine.. but best to stick to the 3-week guideline.

quick and clean snack ideas

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Snacking.. good or bad? I’m a strong believer in it being a very good thing, as long as it’s intentional. You know those moments when you’re out trying to madly get some errands done and the bear in your stomach rears its head, telling you that you need to eat ALL THE THINGS, and right now?! Yeah, that one.. We really want to avoid it, and the number 1 way is to have a healthy snack planned, plus a few extras always available in your car or purse.

My #1 healthiest option is a shakeology, but here are some more great options that I love.

Toast with avocado: mash 1/6 of an avocado on a slice of whole grain toast, add a sprinkle of salt, a squeeze of lime, and some red pepper flakes. I can’t get enough of this!
Nuts: Seriously.. I don’t go anywhere without a little bag of nuts. They’re my emergency on-the-go snack food. Protein and healthy fats. Boom! Just be aware of how many you’re eating. 15 almonds is 100 calories.
Hard boiled eggs: I like to cut one or two in half, sprinkle with salt, and add a bit of salsa. These are even decent on the go.
Edamame: Boil or steam one-half cup of unshelled edamame with a pinch of salt for a fiber-rich snack.
Greek yogurt and berries: Top 1/2 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt with berries (defrosted frozen blueberries have lots of delicious juice to mix in). You can add a bit of high protein whole-grain cereal, seeds, or granola for crunch.
Veggie sticks and hummus: A few tablespoons of hummus and 10-15 baby carrots, or celery sticks. Yum.
Apple and almond butter: Slice up an apple, sprinkle with cinnamon, and dip into a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter.

What are your favourite snacks to keep you fuelled throughout the day, or stop the hungry bear while on the go?

21 Days to lose up to 15 pounds?

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Beachbody has a new fitness and nutrition program that helps you lose weight, and fast. It’s so effective that people are losing up to 15 pounds (ok, some even MORE) in 21 days! Yeah, I was floored by it!

The 21 Day Fix combines easy portion control with 30 minute workouts, getting you great results in a short amount of time. There’s no guessing, no fiddling with a scale, and no counting calories or points. The best part is that you don’t have to deprive yourself by completely cutting out some of the treats you love. There’s room for chocolate, and even wine! (Yes, ladies, I’m with you. I need my chocolate!)

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The workouts are easy to follow, with a modifier, so no matter what your fitness level is, you’ll see amazing results. Plus, there’s lots of variation, so you won’t get bored after 3 days!

I will be hosting a 21 Day fix Challenge group/boot camp to keep you motivated and on track. You’ll have others doing the program with you, so you’ll never be alone, yet you get to do this from the convenience of your own home.

I recently got the opportunity to do a live workout with the 21 Day Fix celebrity trainer, Autumn Calabrese (in the photo above!). It was AMAZING! Every single move was easy to follow, and she knew just what to say to make me work harder. The story behind the simple nutrition system? It’s still possible to overeat when you’re eating healthy food. The 21 Day Fix gives you super easy portion control. You fill coloured containers. You get to eat what fits in the right containers each day. Simple.

So if you want to get started on your journey to better health with me fill out the form below and get ready to change your life!

easy and flexible no-knead bread

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I want to stuff my face with all the toasts made from this bread! Seriously. Stuff. I’ve always loved homemade bread but don’t want to have anything to do with kneading it, or multiple risings/proofing, all that jazz. No thank you! Enter this crazy flexible no-knead bread recipe. You just stir it up and leave it for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours, then bake. It works around YOUR schedule. LOVE.

I made this one with some whole wheat flour and some 10 grain cereal because hey, why not make it healthier than plain ol’ white, right? This recipe has been slathered all over the internet in various forms, but I like this version the best for its flexibility, and not having to cover with flour or re-rise or any of that jazz.

no-knead bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup 10 grain cereal mix or bread mix
1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, whisk together everything except the water, then stir the water in until it all comes together nicely. This may take a few minutes of stirring.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap of a plate and just leave it for anywhere between 12-24 hours in a warm place.

When you’re ready to bake, place a cast iron pot into your oven, then preheat the oven to 500F. Leave the pot in there for 30 minutes, even though the oven will be at temperature before then. You want the pot to get nice and hot too!

Carefully remove the pot and use a bowl scraper to scrape the dough out and into the pot. You won’t be able to move it around once it’s in, but don’t worry if it’s not centered or looks a bit funny. Pop the lid on and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake uncovered for another 2-3 minutes to brown a bit more.

Remove from oven and cool. If loaf is stuck to the bottom of your pot, let it cool a bit longer until you can remove it, then cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.

Enjoy with fresh made jam.. yummy!

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