Thursday, January 31, 2013

50 pounds gone forever



I've been looking forward to this day for a long time! 

I had been feeling like I was really in a rut the last few weeks. So, I decided to really clean up my eating this week and see just how much of a difference it made. 

Well GUESS WHAT??? It made all the difference in the world! I broke through my plateau and hit my 50 pounds gone forever goal! I am BEYOND excited! I am blown away.

I've only been on this weight loss journey for 4 MONTHS! Holy crap!!! I lost 50 pounds in 4 MONTHS!!!

And here's the best part! I didn't starve myself! I didn't workout 4 hours a day like a crazy person. I ate around 1600 calories each and every day. I made sure the food I was putting into my body was actually FUELING my body. I drank a TON of water - literally! I drank my shakeology every day. I worked out 30  - 50 minutes, 6 days a week. I lifted HEAVY! I built MUSCLE!

I know what you are thinking. She's one of these people who loses weight easily. She has all the time in the world to work at it. She has a lot of money to fuel her body right. Shakeology and good food isn't cheap. 


If I can do this, then anyone can. We don't have a lot of money. We are live off of two teachers salaries and I am on unpaid maternity leave right now. I've struggled with my weight my ENTIRE life. I had HORRIBLE eating habits. I was LAZY! 

I made the decision to not be that person anymore. I made the decision to commit to a 90 day program. I did whatever it took for 90 solid days. I succeeded!

Here are a few things I have learned in the past 4 months:
  1. I am stronger than I ever knew possible. Both mentally and physically. 
  2. Getting fit and healthy is a MENTAL game. Your body can go so much further than your mind thinks it can.
  3. An hour workout is 4% of your day. I'm worth taking at least that much time to myself each day!
  4. I am making a POSITIVE impact on my children by becoming a healthier and fitter version of me.
  5. I can and will help others achieve these same results.
  6. I cannot do it on my own. My family are my pillars. I couldn't do this without their support. 
  7. I can't look at my end goal every day. It's good to know where I want to be, but when you have A LOT of weight (over 50 pounds) to lose, that end goal looks SOOOOOO far away in the beginning. So, I set small, achievable goals. 5 pounds here, 10 pounds there, a new pants size, just getting through the day w/o eating junk! Little goals work!
  8. I am worth it. I need to feel good about myself. I DO feel good about myself!
  9. I am making a positive impact on my children. I am showing them how to eat right. I am showing them that daily exercise is a part of their life to look forward to, not run from.
  10. I am not even close to being done yet!
How many of you want to get fit? How many of you are scared to try? I was scared. I even asked my coach about how many people fail. She was honest with me. She told me that participation was the KEY to success. So, I decided to participate in the challenge group EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. It was non-negotiable. I had to do it. It kept me motivated. It kept me on track.

I would LOVE to help YOU achieve the same success I have had. All you have to do is reach out to me. Message me on Facebook HERE. Find me on Instagram and Twitter (klevere623). Shoot me an email. Sign up for a free Team Beachbody account HERE. All of my contact information is in my business card at the end of this post. I even linked my FB profile for you. Send me a message and LET'S DO THIS!!!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Homemade Guacamole

Ok. I'll admit it.

I'm addicted to avocados. 

This isn't something that I just discovered in my healthy new lifestyle. I have ALWAYS loved avocados. I can eat an entire one in a sitting.

I know. That's probably not the best idea - but - DANG - they are good!

Our local grocery store, Giant Eagle, had avocados on sale this week for a dollar each. That's a steal for these parts. So I bought a bunch. My first thought was to give one to my daughter instead of her green beans or peas for dinner. 

Then we went to my dad's house for dinner on Sunday night. He and my step-mom served us wonderful homemade spaghetti and meatballs. As an appetizer, they had guacamole and Stacey's pita chips. I was in heaven! I asked my step-mom where they got the guac and she told me that they made it. Of course, being the nerd that I am, I had to know how she did it.

When she told me, I WAS FLOORED! It was sooo easy! Why hadn't I made this before?

I made some and it has been my topping on my shredded salsa chicken wraps this week. Oh, you don't have the recipe for the shredded salsa chicken? I'll give you that one tomorrow!

Are you ready for your mind to be blown with this recipe??? 

  • 1 ripe acocado
  • 2 Tbsp salsa
  • A squirt of lime juice
  • Pit the avocado.
  • Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a bowl.
  • Mash up with a fork to whatever consistency you like.
  • Add the 2 Tbsp salsa to the avocado.
  • Mix together.
  • Add in the squirt of lime juice.
  • Mix all ingredients agin.
  • EAT IT!
Seriously. It's that easy. And it tastes WAY better than anything you could buy in the store!

Now go out and make some GUAC!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I've been in the hunt for some new recipes. I tend to find ones that I like and make them A LOT! I was getting sick of the same old chicken and tuna recipes.

I found this one and I think it will be amazing with some steamed broccoli and brown rice!

(makes 74 meatballs)


  • 2 lbs of lean ground turkey (preferably turkey breast)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple in 100% juice, drained
  • 1 cup green onions
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp ground ginger


  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium, low-fat chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup chili sauce
  • 6 Tbsp rice vinegar (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil. 
  4. Shape meatballs and place on the cookie sheet. Make sure they are spaced far enough apart that they do not touch.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until completely cooked. 
  6. Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.
  7. While the meatballs are cooking, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan.
  8. Stir until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.
  9. Place saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally until the mixture is boiling.
  10. Reduce heat to low and stir for another minute or until the sauce thickens.
  11. Pour hot sauce over the meatballs and gently toss to coat meatballs.
  12. Serve with toothpicks as an appetizer OR over a serving of brown rice for dinner!
  13. Enjoy!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weeks 1 and 2 - CLX/TF hybrid

Week 1 and 2 are in the books. I am SO glad I switched out my programs. I love Chalene. I missed her. I need to workout with her every day.

There is a "real" hybrid schedule for ChaLEAN Extreme and TurboFire, but I'm not following it. I like to have my weight lifting and rest days to be the same days each week. So, I do my weights on Mon, Wed, and Fri followed by my rest day on Sundays. I thrown in cardio/abs on Tues, Thurs, and Sat, sometimes taking one of those days off to rest.

This is what my schedule looked like this past 2 weeks:

Monday - Burn Circuit 1
Tuesday - Fit Club (Total Body Core Class)
Wednesday - Burn Circuit 2
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Burn Circuit 3
Saturday - TurboFire HIIT 15 and Ab Ripper X (P90X)
Sunday - Rest
Monday - Rest (I was sick)
Tuesday - Burn 1
Wednesday - HIIT 20 and Ab Burner
Thursday - Burn Circuit 2
Friday - Fire 45
Saturday - Burn Circuit 3 and Ab Igniter
Sunday - Stretch 40

I liked this schedule. I don't like missing workouts on Mondays but it just kinda happened. I guess you can't choose when you get sick. Luckily I can switch out my rest days pretty easily. I really need to add in more ab work. Like, 3 times a week. If there's one area that I need the most help with, it's my midsection. Two babies and an extra 80+ pounds have not been nice to my middle!

So, here's what I'm planning on doing this upcoming week:

Monday - Burn Circuit 1
Tuesday - Fire 30/Ab Igniter
Wednesday - Burn Circuit 2
Thursday - Fire 45 EZ and Extreme Abs
Friday - Burn Circuit 3
Saturday - HIIT 20 and Ab Burner
Sunday - Rest

Week 3 - HERE I COME!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Almond Sunflower Crusted Cod

Holy yummy dinner! I had a few extra calories to eat yesterday because of an amazing TurboFire workout, so instead of just baking my dinner in the oven, I decided to spice it up a bit. I didn't start with a recipe, just my on-hand ingredients!

When I normally bake fish in the oven, I wash it, clean it, pat it dry. Then I throw it in a glass baking dish with some all natural OJ and stick it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Here's what I came up with for tonight's dinner! The nutrient breakdown is JUST for the fish portion of the picture above. It doesn't include the quinoa or veggies.

(makes 2, 4 oz servings)

  • 2, 4 oz filets of fresh, wild caught Cod
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

  • Directions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Rinse and dry the cod. Trim off anything that needs to go. I'm REALLY picky about trimming my chicken and fish.
    3. In a blender (I use my magic bullet), combine the bread crumbs, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
    4. Blend until everything is the same consistency.
    5. Put the bread crumb mixture into a shallow bowl.
    6. Lay each cod filet in the bowl, coating all sides with the mixture. There should be JUST enough mixture to cover both filets.
    7. Place cod filets into a glass baking dish, I used a 9 x 9 Pyrex dish.
    8. Add the lemon juice to the baking dish.
    9. Bake the fish in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the fish is flakey and cooked the entire way through.
    10. Serve with your favorite veggies and/or pasta. I used peas and carrots and a serving of quinoa.

    Serving details:
    (1 filet of fish)

    Calories = 200
    Carbs = 14
    Fat = 7
    Protein = 24
    Sugar = 2
    Calcium = 3


    Friday, January 25, 2013

    8 weeks to a better diet

    As I was checking out this morning, I saw THIS article. I think it's awesome, so I thought I'd re-post it. Ya'll know me by now, I'm not gonna reinvent the wheel just to say it's mine, so I re-post articles that I find interesting.

    In this article, Steve Edwards talks about easing your way into a new lifestyle. I jumped right into the deep end of clean eating and never looked back. That isn't for everyone. Some people need a more gentle approach. So, here it is. An 8-week plan to get your eating on track! The ONLY thing I would do different, is instead of a cheat DAY in week 8, I would switch that up to a cheat meal. I think that the cheat meal does more good for your body than the cheat day, but that's just my opinion based on MY body.

    Enjoy the read!


    The 8-Week Transition Diet

    By Steve Edwards
    Transition diets are one of the easiest ways to become a healthier eater.
    I've been doing them since the '80s and, in fact, one of the first articles I ever wrote for Beachbody, in January 2001, was a 6-week transition plan. They're not only great for first-time dieters but are also great for any time you feel like cleaning out your system after a period of slacking off. That's why I do a variation of this plan almost every year. Here's my latest creation.

    Woman Eating a Carrot

    It's often said that no one diet works for every individual. While this is true, you may have noticed that all Beachbody eating plans target a similar goal: Eat more natural, whole foods and less junk. That's because there are no secrets to healthy eating. There are strategies that can lead to various performance benefits, but 99% of the goal of eating healthy is to minimize junk and get your diet to consist of real food (you know, the stuff nature makes). With this in mind, our Beachbody nutrition guides use various strategies, all designed to lead you to the same place.
    While those nutrition guides tend to be detailed, the 8-Week Transition Diet is for those of you who want simple. Outside of a small list of what you can't eat, you're free to chow down on anything. How hard can that be? You should also find that by making your transition gradually, the road to healthy eating is pretty easy.

    Week 1

    No junk. Eliminate junk food from your diet. That's it, just junk. Other than this, you can eat whatever and whenever you like. The definition of junk is obvious stuff, like potato chips, candy, ice cream, cake, etc. You may be stricter if you'd like, but for Week 1, don't be too hard on yourself. Just stay out of the 7-Eleven®. For many of you, this step alone will reap huge benefits.
    Cheat Days: 2. Since no one's perfect, you get two days to cheat. That's right, two days where you can eat anything you want! A trick on cheat days is to listen to your body. At first, it'll probably tell you it wants whatever you've been denying it. However, over time, it'll start to crave nutrients you're deficient in. Learn to read your body's subtle signs. If you're craving ice cream, you may be short on essential fatty acids. If you crave a hamburger, your diet may lack protein. By listening to your body and learning what it really needs in this way, you can make better food substitutions. It's a way of getting in tune with yourself that will benefit you for your entire lifetime.
    Man HydratingWeekly focus: Water. Not swimming in it, though that's good, too, but staying hydrated with it. "They" say you should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, but I say you should drink more. Shoot for a gallon (though don't worry if you fall short). Yeah, that probably seems crazy but almost all of us walk around dehydrated for most of our lives, which not only hurts the way we function but also makes us hungry when we're actually thirsty. A glass of water when you feel hunger pangs both staves them off and helps you fill up faster when you do eat. As for other drinks, juices and sugary sodas also (obviously) fall into the junk category. And alcohol should be kept to a minimum. We tend to forget (purposely or not) that alcohol has calories. A lot of them: 7 calories per gram. Mixers can be even worse—not only can they add calories, but these sugary calories influence the way alcohol reacts with your body. When you do drink, try and follow these guidelines.

    Week 2

    Each week's rules are cumulative, so the "no junk" rule from Week 1 will apply until the end, as will each subsequent week's rule. Remember that this is a process. Treat it as though you're in school and the subject is your own body.
    Eat small, eat often. Eat every couple of hours while you're awake and try not to eat anything for about three hours before you go to sleep. Following these rules will keep your blood sugar levels more static and your energy level will stay consistent. Try to keep each snack or meal balanced. Something like a 30% protein, 40% carbohydrate, and 30% fat ratio, though you don't need to worry too much about it. Just realize that you need a bit from each macronutrient group. Eat based on what you'll be doing for the next few hours (if you're working out, eat a little more; sitting at a desk, eat a little less). The three-hours-before-bed rule is important, especially for fats and carbohydrates. By allowing time for all the carbs you eat to get into your bloodstream, your body will sleep in fat-burning mode, rather than in calorie-storing mode. This is important because undigested carbs in your stomach at night are stored as adipose tissue (fat).

    Cheat Days: 2

    Weekly focus: Carbs are not the enemy. Your body needs them, just like it needs proteins and fats. The trick is to choose the right carbs. As a society, we eat too much refined sugar. Complex carbs, like whole-grain breads, whole-grain rice, sweet potatoes, and legumes are outstanding foods. Even fruits, which have simple carbohydrates wrapped in fiber, are exceptionally healthy. While you don't want a diet based on nothing but carbs, making the right carb choices will maximize your body's potential. Try to avoid white rice and flours. Read labels, and try to avoid ones that use the word "enriched," because this means these products have been stripped of their natural nutrients, overprocessed, and then fortified with a few random nutrients.

    Week 3

    Fruit JuicesEat some colorful, low-density food at every meal. These are foods that take up a lot of space without a lot of calories. Veggies are the most obvious example. You can eat a salad bowl overflowing with lettuce and veggies and you most likely won't exceed 100 calories. By eating low-density foods like veggies and fruits, you'll keep your portions under control naturally, because they have very few calories for their size. Conversely, high-density foods, like chocolate and butter, are loaded with calories in even the smallest amounts. So beware of salad dressings and other things you add to salads and veggies. Only add enough for flavor; don't fill up on them. When it comes to live foods, the richer the colors, the fresher the products tend to be. Try to eat a variety of colors in your diet. This simple-yet-random-feeling act will help ensure that you're covering all your nutrient bases.

    Cheat Days: 1

    Weekly focus: Protein at every meal. This becomes even more important as you eat more low-density food, because protein tends to be high-density. Many veggies have a lot of protein, but the quantity you must consume starts to become prohibitive. Try to get some protein—meat, dairy, legumes, nuts, or seeds each time you eat, especially when you're working out hard, because you need to repair broken-down muscle tissue. Since your body can only utilize a certain amount of protein at once, do your best to eat small amounts often (starting to see a theme?) Reading labels is a simple way to learn how to estimate your protein intake. You'll notice natural foods don't have labels but once your diet is comprised mostly of these you'll no longer need them. More on this later.

    Week 4

    Cook at home. One of the best ways to control your eating is to prepare all your meals yourself. Eliminate all fast food (which hopefully happened in Week 1) and most other restaurant food. You may still eat food from certain restaurants where you can be sure of the ingredients (most will be savvy enough to make a point of how healthy their food is). As you may have seen in the news, restaurants tend to use alarming quantities of salt, among other things. This single step will often bring your body closer to homeostasis (its desired state of balance). This can be hard for many of us because we now have to plan our meals and prepare ahead of time, but try to treat it like vocational school—you don't learn a new "job" without a little retraining.

    Cheat Days: 1

    NutsWeekly focus: Fat is essential. Remember that fat is a vital part of your diet, not just something that makes you fat. What is not vital is junk fat in processed foods. Healthy fats come from fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, etc.—natural sources. You need to be careful about that amount of fat you eat because it's very dense. At 9 calories per gram, it contains more than double the calories of carbs and protein.

    Week 5

    Reduce starchy carbohydrates. Starches include rice, bread, potatoes, corn, beans, and other legumes. While many of these are in no way bad foods, most of us eat too much of them. The goal here is to cut way down on them, if not totally out, and then add them back in when your body feels like it needs energy. This will teach you the relationship you have with carbs. They are vital for energy but eating too many of them leaves us lethargic (and eventually fat). Once you figure this out, your entire relationship with food will change.

    Cheat Days: 1

    Weekly focus: Sugar is only beneficial after a hard workout or during a long one. Your body doesn't need processed sugar. But if you really enjoy it and can't avoid letting some sneak into your daily diet, the one-hour period after you exercise is the best time to indulge. During this window, your blood sugar is low, because you've used it up to finish your workout (assuming you pushed yourself), and eating sugar during this time will help you recover faster because it speeds into your system and initiates the recovery process. Adding a little protein, but not too much, will enhance your recovery even further.

    Week 6

    Mixed Fruits and NutsIf man makes it, don't eat it. This is likely to be the hardest week of your diet. You want to eat onlywhole foods and eliminate all processed foods, even good ones, for the week. This includes breads, most salad dressings, all cereal, luncheon meats, cheese, dried fruits, anything with preservatives, and alcoholic beverages. What you can eat are whole foods such as fruit, raw or steamed vegetables, meat (sans any type of sauce), natural whole-grain rice, poached eggs, etc. Since your eating habits have been slowly changing, this shouldn't be that big a shock to your system, but it will still likely be hard. Try and get creative. There are now many raw and whole food "cook" books that can help keep you entertained.

    Cheat Days: 1

    The "cheat day" mentality is a good one. Decadent desserts, a night at the buffet, drinking with friends, etc., can be good for you as long as they are rewards and not habits. Studies proving this have been steadily appearing for about as long as we've been studying things. All work and no play does, indeed, make Jack a dull boy.
    Weekly focus: Nuts and seeds make great snacks. A handful of raw almonds or cashews is a quick and easy snack that goes a long way. Don't be put off by the high fat count of nuts, because this means it takes fewer of them to satiate you. Nuts and seeds are loaded with important phytonutrients, as well as good fats, proteins, and fiber.

    Week 7

    Be yourself. No rules—just try and eat as healthily as you can and do it by feel. Trusting yourself might seem like a lot of responsibility, but by now you'll be up to it. Learning to eat by feeling what your body needs is an important step in your transformation. Consider the way you've been eating over the last six weeks, but don't worry about what you should and shouldn't do. Just fuel yourself. The point is to take a mental break. Relax and allow yourself to eat in a way that feels normal. You may be surprised to find yourself craving something healthy instead of a candy bar or soda. You'll be better at listening to your body because it'll tell you what it needs to eat, as opposed to what you're used to eating. Your body should feel somewhat transformed.
    "Reward for a Life Well Lived" Days: 1
    Weekly focus: If you're so hungry at night that you can't sleep, try a protein shake. A recent study confirmed what's been a focus of this diet for two decades; that protein before bed can raise amino acid activity for a full night of rest.

    Week 8

    FruitsEat a perfect diet. Let's get after it. No one is better able to tell you what you should eat than you. Our bodies are all different, and the key to your own perfect diet is learning about how your body reacts to different foods under different circumstances. Your journey over the last seven weeks should have brought you to a new understanding of how food affects your body, both for good and for bad. The time has come to test it. See how well you can eat for a week. In fact, see how well you can eat for the rest of your life. Live and enjoy.
    Reward Days: 1, of course!
    Weekly Focus: Don't bonk. Bonking is a state when your body runs out of blood sugar and glycogen for energy. If you feel like your workouts are going backward instead of forward, this is a likely culprit. Use your energy level as your gauge. As soon as it starts to drop, start adding carbs back into your diet until you feel energized all day long. When you feel energized during your workouts and the rest of the day, you'll know you've found the right balance between carbs and other nutrients. Also, remember that as your body puts on more muscle, you will need to eat more. Muscle weighs much more than fat, so as you gain muscle and lose fat, your body shrinks without losing weight. You will also require more calories in order to maintain your muscle. So, when you're working out hard, don't be afraid to eat more carbs than you do otherwise.

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

    I've been bad

    I'm gonna admit it. I've been bad. I haven't written a blog post in 3 days! That's really unusual for me. I like to write one every day if I can and if not, every other day. I apologize for being a bum!

    I haven't blogged too much about my workouts lately. Or my clean eating. Truthfully, January has been hard. My husband's grandmother passed away on New Years Eve. We dealt with that for a week. We buried her on Saturday, Jan. 5.

    On the 9th of Jan, we got the horrific call that our two little cousins had been killed in a car accident. It was no one's fault. It just happened. We buried them both on Saturday, Jan 12. Exactly one week after we buried their great grandmother.

    All the while I was trying to give P90X a go. I decided that it just wasn't working out. I was beginning to associate the workouts with this horrible time in my life and I didn't want that to happen. Plus, I really missed Chalene.

    So, I went back to what I love. I am doing a modified ChaLEAN Extreme/TurboFire schedule and I am BACK! I look forward to working out each day. I continue to push myself to "lift heavy or go home" and I'm now doing rows with 25 pounds in each hand. In fact, I have to use wrist straps to help me hold the weights because my forearms give out before my legs and back! It's kinda cool!

    I have also gotten back to my clean eating routine. I am doing my best to eat every 3 hours, without fail. I am making solid food choices. In fact, we went out to dinner last night. Of course, it was to my favorite restaurant, The Texas Roadhouse. The rolls were STARING at me. The were BEGGING me to eat them. But, I didn't. I haven't come this far and worked this hard to give in to a stupid little craving.

    I also made the conscious choice last night to order the healthiest thing on the menu that I could find. Grilled chicken breast with some BBQ sauce, a naked baked sweet potato, and green beans. The chicken was DELISH and the baked sweet potato was out of this world. I didn't need anything to sweeten it. It was perfect as is! I ended up not eating the green beans because they put this funky sauce on them and I didn't like it. That in itself is funny to me because before I started this journey, I had to drown my veggies in butter and "good stuff" just to get them down. Now I appreciate them for the goodness that they are all on their own!

    Officially I am down 48 pounds since starting this journey on Oct. 1. If you go back to the day I delivered my daughter, I am down 83 pounds. Yes, 83 pounds since June. However, I don't like to go by that number because that was me at my heaviest pregnant weight. I want people to know that I lost this 48 pounds AFTER I had lost all my baby weight. So, yeah. I'm gonna say 48 pounds officially. (the pic below was taken at 45 pounds down.)

    There it is. An update on me. I will post pictures for you soon. I just bought a pair of size 10 pants. Yes, I am proud of a size 10. Remember those "new jeans" I blogged about a few months ago? If not, HERE is the post. Well, those were a size 14. I can no longer wear them by themselves. I HAVE to wear my belt and my belt is on the TIGHTEST hole. If I don't wear my belt, then they just fall off even if they are completely buttoned and zipped! If that's not progress, I don't know what is.

    So, I am making a promise to you that I will take some pics of me in my new "new jeans" and post them for you. Maybe I'll get to it tonight. I try to get my beachbody stuff done but sometimes playing with my kids is just more important. Our family learned that the hard way this month. I refuse to live with any regrets. I will hold my kids and love on my kids every single chance I get because there is one thing that I know. Tomorrow is NOT guaranteed!


    Monday, January 21, 2013

    Crockpot Mexican Chicken

    I love my crockpot - especially when I'm working full time! Since I'm headed back to work on April 4th, I figured I should probably dig out the slow cooker recipes and try to clean them up a bit. That way, instead of trying to do everything myself (impossible!), I can let my crockpot do some of my work while I'm at work! Woot woot!

    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 cup reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 cup frozen corn
    • 1 small jar of all natural salsa
    • 1 Tbsp Cumin
    • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
    • 1/2 cup 0% plain greek yogurt (optional)
    • 2 cups cooked brown rice
    1. Add all of the ingredients, except the brown rice, to your slow cooker.
    2. Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.
    3. Add the greek yogurt to the crockpot for the last 1/2 hour if you want the sauce to be thicker (optional).
    4. Serve 1 breast over brown rice. 
    5. Enjoy!
    This recipe also works REALLY well if you shred your chicken, like in the picture at the top of the blog post. Then you can eat it like a chicken taco salad or even wrapped up in a tortilla like a chicken taco! If you want some "sour crea," with your Mexican Chicken, try subbing in some 0% plain greek yogurt! YUM!


    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    Peanut Butter Banana Toast

    Ok - this might seem like a cop-out, but I always forget about this breakfast/snack. I love my carbs and will never give them up. So, this is a great treat for myself!

    • 2 slices of Ezekiel 7 Grain Bread
    • 1 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter, divided
    • 1/2 medium banana, sliced

    1. Toast your Ezekiel bread. Mine comes frozen and luckily there is a "frozen" option on my toaster!
    2. Top each slice of bread with 1/2 Tbsp of peanut butter.
    3. Top the peanut butter with the sliced banana.
    4. ENJOY!
    Seriously - great, clean snack!


    Friday, January 18, 2013

    Summer Slim Down Challenge

    So, you have all seen me posting about my upcoming Jan. 28th Challenge Group. Preseason starts on the 28th with our workouts starting on Feb. 4.

    I picked this particular date (Jan. 28) for a few reasons:

    #1 - It's a Monday. I love to start challenges on a Monday.
    #2 - It's the end of the month. Why does EVERYTHING have to start at the beginning of the month. Let's be different.
    #3 - We will be finishing the challenge on May 4th. YES, May 4th. HELLO bathing suit season!

    If you are SICK and TIRED about not being comfortable in your own skin and clothes in the summer - NOW IS THE TIME to do something about it. Don't wait until March or April or even May! DO IT NOW!

    Now is the time to eat right.

    Now is the time to be accountable.

    Now is the time to commit to working out.

    Now is the time to drink Shakeology daily.

    Why keep waiting? If I had put it off one more day, I never would have started. I am now down 47 pounds! DID YOU HEAR THAT??? 47 POUNDS! I couldn't be happier! These results are REAL! I'm REAL! If I can do this, then you can too! Can you see the results below? Seriousl?!?! That is ME! And, I'm down another 5 pounds since then!

    Please, take the time and do something for YOURSELF. Be the person you have always wanted to be. Don't hide inside yourself anymore! I FINALLY feel like the person on the outside matches the person on the inside - and I'm not done yet!

    Is it gonna take hard work - YES!
    Is it gonna take dedication - YES!
    Is it gonna take some money - YES!

    But - aren't you worth it? I think you are!

    Click on the picture below sign up for a FREE Team Beachbody membership. I will be your coach. I will help you succeed! There are TONS of tried and true programs to commit to. I will help you pick the best one for you!

    Please send me a message via FB or leave a comment here if you want in on the challenge or even just want help cleaning up your diet. I want to help you be the best version of yourself! Inside and out! LET'S DO THIS!


    Thursday, January 17, 2013

    Orange Honey Cranberry Chicken

    Oh mama did I find me a keeper!

    I went shopping with my mom today and came home with a bunch of chicken breasts. I am sick and tired of the same old chicken recipes. So, I turned to my good friend, Mr. Google, for some new ideas. I couldn't decide on just one recipe, so I made my own from a few! Here's what I came up with:

    • 4 servings of Brown Rice, cooked (2/3 cup cooked is one serving)
    • 1 lb. chicken breast, sliced thin
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (no sugar added) OR 1 cup fresh/frozen cranberries
    • Zest of one orange
    • Juice of one orange
    • 1 tsp Paprika
    • 1 tsp Sea Salt, divided
    • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (can be omitted if you choose)
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 Tbsp Organic Honey
    • 1 tsp ground mustard
    • 1/2 cup natural orange juice
    1. Cut and trim chicken breasts. They need to be on the thinner side for this recipe. 
    2. Cook the brown rice.
    3. Combine juice from one orange, paprika and 1/2 tsp sea salt.
    4. Pour the juice combo over the cooked brown rice.
    5. Chop cranberries and set aside. 
    6. Add oil to a large skillet and heat.
    7. Place chicken in skillet and brown on one side for 3 minutes.
    8. Flip chicken over and brown on the other side for 3 minutes.
    9. Add the orange zest, cranberries, remaining sea salt, water, honey, mustard and natural orange juice to the chicken. 
    10. Reduce heat to med-low, cover, and let simmer for 12 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure there is adequate liquid in the pan. 
    11. Make sure the chicken breast is cooked thoroughly by cutting through the thickest part of one of the breasts. 
    12. Serve 4 oz of chicken with 2/3 cup brown rice and 1 Tbsp of the cranberry mixture from the skillet
    13. Enjoy!
    This recipe was AMAZING! I literally just had it for dinner and I can't wait to make it again!


    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Scary Food - GMO's and 13 other things to avoid

    I found this eye-opening article today via facebook. It took me to and an article by Cristina Goyanes. Click HERE to get to her article. I also have it copied at the end of my blog post.

    The one thing I was surprised that didn't make this article was Genetically Modified Organisms, or for short, GMO's. If you haven't heard of these nasty little buggers, it's time for you to do some research. 

    The following excerpt is taken directly from

    What are GMOs?
    GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
    Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
    Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

    Are GMOs safe?
    Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In nearly 50 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.

    Are GMOs labeled?
    Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.

    Where does the Non-GMO Project come in?
    The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization with a mission of protecting the non-GMO food supply and giving consumers an informed choice. We offer North America’s ONLY third party verification for products produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance (for more info, click here). Our strategy is to empower consumers to make change through the marketplace. If people stop buying GMOs, companies will stop using them and farmers will stop growing them.

    Do Americans want non-GMO foods and supplements?
    Polls consistently show that a significant majority of North Americans would like to be able to tell if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs (a 2008 CBS News Poll found that 87% of consumers wanted GMOs labeled). And, according to a recent CBS/New York Times poll, 53% of consumers said they would not buy food that has been genetically modified. The Non-GMO Project’s seal for verified products will, for the first time, give the public an opportunity to make an informed choice when it comes to GMOs.

    How common are GMOs?
    In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. Click here for a current list of GMO risk crops.

    What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment?
    Over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. GMO crops are also responsible for the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs:’ which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange). GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture, and are developed and sold by the world’s biggest chemical companies. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment these novel organisms cannot be recalled.

    How do GMOs affect farmers?Because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents with which to restrict their use. As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. GMOs therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown, including the United States.

    GMO's are found in most of the foods on America's grocery shelves. GMO crops are altered to be resistant to pesticides or they cause the bugs that eat the crop to die by blowing up its stomach. How many of you want to eat food that has caused other living creatures' stomachs to explode? Not me!

    The following is from an article I found: "In 1996, GMO foods were showing up on plates in American Homes. And over the next nine years, multiple, chronic illnesses in the U.S. nearly doubled,from 7% to 13%, while allergy-related E.R. visits did actually double between 1997 and 2002. Food allergies, especially among young kids, skyrocketed as well, adding that the country "witnessed a dramatic rise in asthma, autism, obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders, and certain cancers."

    As recently as this fall, the state of California tried to get GMO's LABELED. Not outlawed, just labeled. Unfortunately, the referrendum didn't pass. I'm not really sure why. Actually, I am. A lot of very prominent food manufacturers paid a LOT of money to insure that it didn't pass. They don't want us to know that their money makers are filled with these horrible little organisims. Isn't it our RIGHT as citizens of this country, to know what we are putting into our bodies?

    I, myself, have started buying only foods that are organic in nature or have the non-GMO certified label. Everyone in my family laughs at me but I refuse to risk my childrens' health. Now, after looking at this article, I will be checking my food labels even closer. I might even start making the hour and a half round trip to Whole Foods each week to do my shopping. My family's health is worth it.

    A HUGE question that I had when I started researching GMO's was "How the heck do I figure out what foods are non-GMO certified?" Luckily I am armed with my iPhone so I was able to download two different apps that help me choose my food. The first one is the app designed by the non-GMO project. It's literally called nonGMO. Another one is Fooducate. I love this app. It actually gives your food a grade. It takes a LOT for a food to be rated an A or A+, so I love using this when I shop. It also tells you right on the screen if the food you are looking up is likely to have GMO's in it. The last app, called ShopNoGMO, is one I don't use too often. It's a great app, I just use the other two more frequently. Below is a collage of all three apps. They really could save your life!


    You think the FDA has your back? Sure, they recentlyproposed two new regulations to up food safety measures, specifically how food processors and farmers can work better to keep their fresh products free of dangerous bacteria (remember that killer cantaloupe outbreak from 2011?). But while it may seem like the government is out to protect us from bad—even fatal—food-borne illnesses, which cause some 3,000 deaths a year, they don't completely have our best interest—or health—in mind.
    “For numerous suspicious and disturbing reasons, the U.S. has allowed foods that are banned in many other developed countries into our food supply,” says nutritionist Mira Calton who, together with her husband Jayson Calton, Ph.D., wrote the new book Rich Food, Poor Food due out this February.
    During a six-year expedition that took them to 100 countries on seven continents, the Caltons studied more than 150 ingredients and put together a comprehensive list of the top 13 problematic products that are forbidden by governments, outside the U.S., due to their detrimental effects on human health.
    “If you see any of the following ingredients listed on the nutrition label, don’t buy the product,” Calton warns. “Leaving these banned bad boys on the shelves will speak volumes to grocery stores and food manufactures about what informed consumers simply won’t tolerate.”
    Ingredients: Coloring agents (blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, and yellow 6)
    Found In: Cake, candy, macaroni and cheese, medicines, sport drinks, soda, pet food, and cheese
    Why the U.S. Allows It: We eat with our eyes. “Recent studies have shown that when food manufacturers left foods in their natural, often beige-like color instead of coloring them with these chemical agents, individuals thought they tasted bland and ate less, even when the recipe wasn't altered,” Calton says. This may explain why the use of artificial dyes—the most popular being red 40, yellow 5, and yellow 6—have increased five-fold since 1955.
    Health Hazards: Back in the day, food coloring came from natural sources, such as saffron and turmeric. “Today most artificial colors are made from coal tar, which is also used to seal-coat products to preserve and protect the shine of industrial floors,” Carlton says. “It also appears in head lice shampoos to kill off the small bugs.”
    Ingredient: Olestra (aka Olean)
    Found In: Fat-free potato chips
    Why the U.S. Allows It: Procter & Gamble Co. took a quarter century and spent a half a billion dollars to create “light” chips that are supposedly better for you, Calton says. They may need another half a billion bucks to figure out how to deal with the embarrassing bathroom side effects (including oily anal leakage) that comes with consuming these products.
    Health Hazards: “This fat substitute appears to cause a dramatic depletion of fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids, robbing us of the vital micro-nutrients," Calton says, adding that many countries, including the U.K. and Canada, have banned it.
    Ingredient: Brominated vegetable oil (aka BVO)
    Found In: Sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas
    Why the U.S. Allows It: BVO acts as an emulsifier, preventing the flavoring from separating and floating to the surface of beverages, Calton says.
    Health Hazards: “Because it competes with iodine for receptor sites in the body, elevated levels of the stuff may lead to thyroid issues, such as hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, and cancer,” Calton says. That's not all. BVO's main ingredient, bromine, is a poisonous chemical that is considered both corrosive and toxic. It's been linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss, which explains why it's been nixed in more than 100 countries.
    Ingredient: Potassium bromate (aka brominated flour)
    Found In: Rolls, wraps, flatbread, bread crumbs, and bagel chips
    Why the U.S. Allows It: This flour-bulking agent helps strengthen dough, reducing the amount of time needed for baking, which results in lowered costs, Calton explains.
    Health Hazards: Made with the same toxic chemical found in BVO (bromine), this additive has been associated with kidney and nervous system disorders as well as gastrointestinal discomfort. “While the FDA has not banned the use of bromated flour, they do urge bakers to voluntarily leave it out,” Calton says.
    Ingredient: Azodicarbonamide
    Found In: Breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods
    Why the U.S. Allows It: While most countries wait a week for flour to naturally whiten, the American food processors prefer to use this chemical to bleach the flour ASAP.
    Health Hazards: It's not enough to just ban this product in Singapore. You can get up to 15 years in prison and be penalized nearly half a million dollars in fines for using this chemical that's been linked to asthma and is primarily used in foamed plastics, like yoga mats and sneaker soles.
    Ingredients: BHA and BHT
    Found In: Cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer
    Why the U.S. Allows It: “Made from petroleum [yummy!], these waxy solids act as preservatives to prevent food from becoming rancid and developing objectionable odors,” Calton says. A better solution may be natural rosemary and sage. In a 2006 study, some organic herbs and spices proved to be efficient at preventing oxidative decay in meat, which ultimately could improve the shelf-life of these products.
    Health Hazards: California is the only state that recognizes the U.S. National Institute of Health's report that BHA is may be a human carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent.
    Ingredients: Synthetic hormones (rBGH and rBST)
    Found In: Milk and dairy products
    Why the U.S. Allows It: Gotta keep moo-ving things along. Dairy farmers inject cows with genetically-engineered cowgrowth hormones to boost milk production by about 10 percent, according to Calton.
    Health Hazards: “Cows treated with these synthetic hormones often become lame, infertile, and suffer from inflamed and infected udders,” Calton says. Humans, who consume these cows byproducts, are in no better shape, she adds: “The milk is supercharged with IGF-1 (insulin growth factor -1), which has been linked to breast, colon, and prostatecancers.”
    Ingredient: Arsenic

    Found In: Poultry
    Why the U.S. Allows It:
     Big brother FDA permits arsenic in chicken feed to promote growth, improve efficiency in feeding the birds, and boost pigmentation. “The arsenic affects the blood vessels in chickens and turkeys, causing them to appear pinker and, therefore, fresher,” Calton says.
    Health Hazards:
     The European Union has outlawed the use of arsenic since 1999, Calton says, and the Environmental Protection Agency classifies inorganic arsenic as a "human carcinogen."
    Take matters into your own hands by sticking to organic birds only.