Five Healthy Family Favorites

You may love cauliflower crust pizza, anything over zoodles, and have no fear of kale and quinoa, but your family may not be on the same healthy eating page. The last thing you want to do is make multiple meals, and hearing groans when you casually toss in the word “tofu”, gets old fast. But, you don’t want to fill you and your family up with food void of nutrition.

Although it’s just my husband and I, I consider a meal a success when he goes back for seconds (and bonus points when he takes the rest in for lunch!). I don’t know about you, but I could put anything on pasta and it’d be a hit, but I don’t want to cook pasta every night! Here are some healthy-non-pasta recipes that will get the seal of approval from the not-so-healthy eaters in your home.

4-Ingredient Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Theseasonedmom.com

This easy peasy dish only has FOUR ingredients! Save time cooking and shredding the chicken by picking up a rotisserie chicken the next time you’re at the grocery. All you need to do is layer the ingredients and sit back and relax (ha.ha.ha.) while it bakes!

Creamy Caprese Cauliflower Casserole

Theironyou.com

No one will miss the pasta or the meat in this ultra creamy casserole that’s packed with veggies.

BBQ Chicken Tenders

Eatingwell.com

Skip the fast food chain fried chicken fingers and make your own, even better! No fryer necessary, and get creative with the “breading”. I’ve used Panko breadcrumbs, crushed cornflakes, and even Honey Nut Cherrios for a sweet kick!

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Wickedspatula.com

Do not let the word “Paleo” fool you for a second. This very casserole was devoured  by myself, my husband, and my brother-in-law and got rave reviews from a friend and boyfriend! Have fun topping it with whatever you have on hand.

Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

Eatingwell.com

Take it up a healthier notch and use plain yogurt instead of sour cream (I swear no one will know!). This is a great base recipe to use whatever veggies you have on hand (red or green bell pepper, onion, even zucchini), you can also use sweet potatoes for those in the family that enjoy them over regular.

Are weeknight dinners a struggle for you? They are for nearly all of my clients, including myself! That’s why I made Simply Healthy Weeknight Dinners, a month of 5-ingredient meals. Each healthy recipe serves at minimum 4 people, plus it comes with grocery lists, menu planners, and actionable strategies for quick dinners. Click here to grab a copy and be set all month!

Reset Without Restriction:

I recently launched a brand new program I’m super excited to share with you:

 Reset Without Restriction: 14-Day Natural Detox Program!


There are a lot of detoxes out there that focus on fasting, juicing, and expensive shakes and supplements that promise to rid your body of toxins. Spoiler alert: Your body was made to detox itself.

With that in mind – and the fact that no one feels their best on a fast! – I created a healthier approach. One that includes foods that work with your body to help you naturally detoxify with a more enjoyable and long term approach. After scouring cookbooks and online recipe blogs, I came up with 30 drool worthy recipes (10 breakfasts, 10 lunches, and 10 dinners) that all contain detoxifying ingredients. 

Learn what foods to stock up on, what to avoid, and how your sleep, exercise, and stress management habits play a role in the amount of toxins lurking in your system. With my grocery lists and weekly meal planners, “what should I eat” is no longer a stress! Plus, use my goal tracker to keep you motivated and accountable throughout the 14-day program.

To kick things off, I am offering a discounted price of $14 to the first 14 people who purchase this program!

If you’re ready for a reset, click below and enter promo code FIRST14 to snag a discounted program today!

Healthy Swaps

It’s easy to fall into the trap of attempting drastic dietary changes thinking the next one will be that magic thing we needed to get results. Whether it’s cutting out entire food groups – Goodbye bread! No more sugar! Sayonara meat! – or severely restricting calories, we think that big changes will bring big results. However, research shows again, and again (and again, and again…) that any weight loss achieved, is quickly regained when we go back to our regular eating habits.

Maybe you have exceptional willpower, and you stick with these extremes for weeks, but is it realistic to eat this way for a lifetime? Most likely you’re thinking, “A lifetime?! I’m trying to make it to Saturday!”. The truth is, it’s the small changes that bring results.

It's the small changes that bring results. Click To Tweet

Achieving a healthy weight doesn’t happen with weeks of extremes at a time. Achieving a healthy weight happens when you consistently make healthier choices day in and day out. When clients of mine are setting goals, we start small. And a lot of these small goals are little healthy choices they can make every day. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with what you want to change with your diet. This is why I made this handy chart!

Pick 1-2 swaps at a time that you can focus on making a habit. Soon you won’t be debating if you should have air-popped popcorn or chips, because it will get easier and easier to make the healthier choice. Knowing the healthier option is key to not feeling deprived, and in the end, sticking to healthy habits. Otherwise, you restrict and restrict until you say, “forget it!”

What are your favorite healthy swaps?

Working with a professional health coach will help you set meaningful and realistic goals, and help you get there by holding you accountable. I would love to talk with you about where you’re struggling and come up with an action plan to finally get the results you want! Click here to see how you can work with me, and here to start the conversation by setting up a FREE Discovery Call.

Six Spring Flavors to Savor Now

Hello Spring! Even with a mild winter, there is little that excites me more than seeing the first bursts of green on the trees in my neighborhood. Hearing the birds chatter on my early morning walk with the pup (the pup who is 7…), and finally having days that I don’t need my winter coat, are the days I actually dream about. Along with the good mood and good weather, are great ingredients. Here are my top 6 favorite in-season flavors to cook with this spring, along with 2 recipes for each to get you started!

Apricots

Rich in many plant antioxidants, apricots may also protect your eyesight and reduce inflammation, all for under 20 tasty calories!

Seared Chicken with Apricot Sauce
Eatingwell.com

Fresh Apricot Crisp
Healthygreenkitchen.com

Artichokes

This green powerhouse is actually in the thistle family (not a vegetable!), and most notably offers some protection against various forms of cancer. But that’s not all. They help boost your good cholesterol, lower the bad, and help detoxify the body.

Pasta with Artichokes, Tomato, and Feta
Gimmesomeoven.com

Chickpea and Artichoke Pate
 Keyingredient.com

Asparagus


Top ranked for it’s antioxidants, it may even help slow the aging process and could fight cognitive decline. Loaded with fiber, folate, and Vitamins A, C, E, and K, this versatile veggie also helps detoxify the body and can help fight cancers like breast, colon, and lung.

Chicken and Asparagus Teriyaki Stir-Fry
Skinnytaste.com

Asparagus, Spinach, and Feta Frittata
Twopeasandtheirpod.com

Leeks

The antioxidants in leeks are converted to Allicin which are offer anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal benefits to the body. They are also rich in vitamin K and A, all while helping reduce cholesterol in only 60 calories per 3.5 grams.

Creamy Potato Leek Soup
Care2.com

One-Pot Chicken, Leek, and Beans
Olivemagazine.com

Peas

With anti-inflammatory benefits, this small veggie packs a punch against wrinkles, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and candida. They help regulate blood sugar which along with being low in calories (less than 100 per cup), yet hight in fiber and protein, can help with weight management.

Lemon Primavera Bowties
Delish.com

Pea, Tomato, and Bacon Gnocchi
myrecipes.com

Spinach

Spinach is a well known nutritional superfood, as an excellent source of magnesium, Iron, folate, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, E, K, B6 and B2. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits on top of all that!

White Bean and Spinach Burgers
Vegkitchen.com

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Skinnytaste.com

What are you cooking with this spring?

Spring Clean Your Workout Routine!

It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! Even though my winter in Chicago was insanely mild this year, I still am just as excited about spring’s arrival as I was when we experienced the Polar Vortex. Even if you didn’t get dumped on with snow this winter, it’s not exactly enticing to do anything outdoors in 40 degree rain or overcast skies.

At this point in the year, you’re likely getting that cabin fever feeling of a gym rut routine. Here are some tips to mix up your stale winter workouts and breathe some fresh spring air into your routine!

Go Longer, Instead of Harder

If you’re stuck inside on the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike, I always recommend HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to mix up the monotony. Plus, you can get a tough workout in much less time, ideal for seemingly shorter days and when there’s a line for the cardio equipment.

However, when it doesn’t hurt your face to step outside, spending more time exercising can actually be enticing! Of course, this calls for a reduction of effort so you’re able to get through an hour or more.

Long power walks are a favorite of mine once the temps are well into the 50s and the extra time in the sun boosts my mood as much as any endorphins I get from the exercise itself.

If you run, ditch a day normally dedicated to short intervals in favor of a steady state scenic route and let your mind wander as much as your feet. Another option is trading a spin class in for a long bike ride.

Get Outside

Back to that sunshine. The decrease of sun rays effect your melatonin and serotonin levels, both of which directly impact your mood. So imagine how you’ll feel boosting your endorphins while enhancing these natural mood boosting chemicals. We already covered the basics, long runs, walks, and bike rides around town, but the fun doesn’t have to stop there!

Many gyms, athletic stores, and community centers sponsor free outdoor workouts in the spring and summer months. Run groups, yoga in the park, and outdoor bootcamps are often free or a packaged deal so take advantage of what’s in your community! Try them out with friends, or make new ones by attending regular meet-ups.

Commute This Way

Knocking out your commute and exercise at the same time is a big win-win, and much easier to do with more daylight hours and less ice and slush. If you can run, walk, or bike to work, consider yourself super lucky and take advantage! You may not be able to do it every day, but you at least have a clear option 5 days a week making it easy to create a habit.

If you have a 15+ mile or highway dominated trek, it’s not hopeless. Consider all of the common errands you run in a typical week. Can you run to the grocery and take an Uber home? How about going to the amazing local coffee shop a mile away instead of the so-so chain at the end of your street? Bike with your spouse to your favorite brunch spot instead of hopping in the car, or pick a spot equidistant from your bestie so you can both walk to meet up.

How do you exercise differently in the milder months? What are you most sick of about winter workouts?

My Experience With Acupuncture

Although acupuncture has become more mainstream in the past decade, and even though I am fully immersed in the wellness industry, placing high importance on natural ways to heal and enhance your body, it wasn’t until this year that I tried it for myself.

I’ve heard and read how acupuncture can help a host of health conditions, and looked into it for my mom who gets frequent migraines, but didn’t have a big reason to try it myself. Until now. As I wrote about in a post featured on Mind Body Green, I’ve been going through issues with infertility. This is when I took to Google and Yelp to read up on acupuncture and fertility and find an acupuncturist near me.

After reading some encouraging articles from sites like Webmd.com, and reading great reviews and seeing a price that I could manage in my budget, I booked my first appointment with Samara at Division Chiropractic and Acupuncture. I read what to expect and what to wear, and was excited walking to my first appointment.

We spent a few minutes talking about what brought me there, what I wanted to focus on, and she looked at the top then bottom of my tongue and felt the pulse in my wrists. I told her my main focus was getting my body ready and able to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy, and second to that, if she could do anything to help my Raynaud’s which causes my fingers and sometimes toes to go numb even when it’s not frigid outside (oh, it’s reeeeeeaaaaal fun).

Actual photo, actual fingers, actually inside.

The room was quiet and set up much like a massage room with pleasant scents and relaxing ambient music. Samara had me take my socks and shoes off, lay on my back and pull my shirt up a bit so that my abdomen was showing. We chatted while she placed maybe 10 acupuncture needles in various spots; between my eyebrows, inside of both wrists, below my belly button and hip bones, and a few around my ankles.

I don’t have much issue with needles (luckily, because with this whole infertility doctor business I am getting a LOT of blood drawn!), but this isn’t like a shot at the doctor’s office, they are actually about a quarter of the size of a sewing needle. It’s more like a little poke and then you don’t really feel it. You’re also not completely covered in needles.

She then placed a heat lamp above my belly, and I asked her to marry me. Not really, but oh-my-god I need one for my house, it was amaaaaaazing! I said yes to a weighted eye mask and was drifting off about 2 minutes after she left the room. About 20 minutes later (I think) she came in and quietly adjusted a few needles and left again.

I didn’t feel much of anything, but then, I had the oddest sensation in my hands. It was like this energy swirling in my palms and through my fingers! It felt kind of cool, but definitely nothing I had felt before. Then, just as quickly as she left, Samara came back and welcomed me back to the world. I felt so relaxed, kind of like when you leave after a message. I made an appointment for the following week and it’s been a regular part of my week since November.

You’re probably wondering, “does it work?” That’s a tough one. For me, it is fulfilling it’s purpose. I have noticed less Reynaud’s attacks, it’s certainly a stress reliever, and just today Aunt Flow (sorry for that, but it’s the nicest way to put it) made an appearance without Estrace or Provera helping it along!

The biggest selling point for me was that there is no downside. Whether it’s what helps me achieve a healthy pregnancy, or not, there are no obscure side effects like many options out there. So, yes, I am a fan. I plan to continue going throughout my fertility treatments and the first trimester as is recommended by many practitioners, and will enjoy every second under that heat lamp!

Have you tried acupuncture? What for? What do you think?

 

 

The Kamagon Ball

Writing a health focused blog has it’s perks, and one of those is reviewing hot new products! From energy boosting drinks, to protein bars, to workout clothes, I’ve had my share of items sent to me to test out. This year I was selected to work with Hedstrom Fitness and one of the newest additions to their fitness equipment line: the Kamagon Ball.

You’re probably familiar with Hedstrom’s Bosu, the blue dome that takes stability exercises to a whole new level, but perhaps haven’t gotten to workout with the Kamagon Ball yet. I hadn’t until this year, but after receiving one of my own, I took videos of myself doing a few exercises they have on their site.

What makes the Kamagon Ball unique? In one word: Hydro-Inertia. Here is more about what that is, and why you need it, straight from Hedstrom:

Hydro-Inertia™ is: The utilization of water to create an unstable resistance that increases core strength and stability during exercise.

By utilizing Hydro-Inertia™ technology, you take away the limitations that are found in products that are limited to postural instability. With the Kamagon Ball you are able to work instability throughout a full range of motion in routines that engage your entire body.

Think of your daily activities; carrying a toddler, groceries, moving boxes or files at work, packing the car, etc. Dumbbells and machines do a great job of strengthening your muscles to be able to do these things, but they don’t necessarily mimic the unstable movements and objects you regularly perform day in and day out.

Here are a few exercises I tried with my new Kamagon Ball!
(Click image for short video demo)

Alternating Front Lunges with Twist

Squat Jump and Press

Squat and Single Press

Squat Hold and Chest Press


Alternating Front Lunge Pass Through

 The Kamagon Ball is super versatile, and since you add water to it yourself, you can adjust the amount meaning it adapts to your skill level. For more exercise ideas head to the Kamagon blog here, and to get your very own Kamagon Ball, check out all their new colors, here!