4 Ingredient No Bake Chocolate PB Bars **Vegan, Gluten & Dairy Free**

Hellllooo!!! Happy Friday to all of you! I hope everyone had a good week and are ready for the weekend. I tried a new little treat this week that I wanted to share with you all. You can thank me later 🙂  I have a new obsession with Beaming Baker. If you do not follow her on social media, you are missing out on some goodness. She make so many yummy treats that are mainly plant based and allergy friendly. WIN!

I recently was drooling over another one of her foodie pictures and decided to try her 4 Ingredient No Bake Chocolate PB Bars. YOU GUUUYYYSSSS! They were so simple, even I couldn’t mess them up and they are pretty delicious. My husband and I can’t stop eating them and I knew I had to share them with you all. These curb a sweet tooth very quickly and another bonus is they are pretty sweet so they are an indulgence that you really only need one little bar at a time and you’re good to go. If you’re looking for a healthier treat at home, try these out. I promise you will not regret it. Ever since having JoMarie, I get a little sweet tooth almost every afternoon. I have been bringing one of these little bars to work each day and grab it when that sweet tooth kicks in and I’m good to go.

One thing we did notice is they are awesome when you first make them but we enjoyed them more the second day after they had plenty of time to chill in the fridge. The PB layer stays soft and the chocolate layer hardens and yum. Just yum. Try it out, let me know what you think! They literally took me 10 minutes to make and they will likely be on repeat in our house. Have a wonderful weekend and do whatever it is that makes your heart the happiest.

4 Ingredient No Bake Chocolate PB Bars **Vegan, Gluten & Dairy Free**

Ingredients

  • PEANUT BUTTER LAYER
  • 1 cup natural unsalted peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • CHOCOLATE TOPPING
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted natural peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Line an 8X8 baking pan with parchment paper
  2. Mix your PB layer ingredients together
  3. Spread your PB mixture in the pan
  4. Combine your chocolate topping ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring between, until the chocolate and PB is all melted together
  5. Spread your chocolate spread over your PB mixture in your plan
  6. Freeze for 30-40 minutes and cut into 16 square pieces
  7. Store in fridge
  8. Enjoy!!
http://mygoodnessblog.com/2017/07/14/4-ingredient-no-bake-chocolate-pb-bars-vegan-gluten-dairy-free/

The Trend Is Turning: The “Clean Eating” Myths That Have Been Researched

Popular topic today: CLEAN EATING!! Nutrition is such a vital aspect of our well-being, so it’s no surprise that it has become such a focus in recent years. The internet has given us all the power to have more control of the food we eat and how it’s sourced than ever before. No longer do we just have to accept what’s on the back of a packet as being good for us – we can go and check, verify, and even test the claims that people make. But just like most popular subjects on the internet, there is SO MUCH information and it can be so easy to have no clue what is healthy and what is not.  

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Being healthy has always been important but it seems to be at a new level these days. How to be my healthiest self, constantly hearing of new healthy things and needing to try it, “fueling” our bodies, pinning hundreds of healthy recipes that we someday might try, this popular interest in healthy eating developed the over used term, “clean eating”. When this term was first thrown around it was all you would see on the popular blogs, all about living out a life with “clean eating”. It dominated the blogosphere which meant in time, it spilled into traditional media as well. Anyone who cared about their nutrition wanted to ensure that they were doing it in a “clean” way; they wanted to know what foods to shun, and what foods they should introduce into their diets. Honestly, as annoying as the phrase “clean eating” can be, because it is overused so much, what a great annoying phrase it is! Just like everything new, sparkly, and exciting, it was a bit over the top but really, what is wrong with people wanting to nourish their bodies with clean food and having a genuine interest in what they are putting into their bodies? The negative perceptions on clean eating in my opinion is not on actually eating clean, its on the annoying term CLEAN EATING. 

The tide is turning. There has been a backlash against clean eating for awhile now, to the point that some of its most famous proponents refuse to use the term. The reasons for concern are primarily psychological rather than in terms of nutrition (though there are dangers in this sphere, also). The idea that some food is inherently bad – i.e. dirty – is not a healthy way to think about food and not how we want our kiddos thinking of it either. Are we gross or bad for eating a cupcake? NO! Eat the darn cupcake, just do not eat 10 of them a day 🙂 

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Does “Clean Eating” work, or is it bad for you?

It’s not bad for you, but it can be if you take it too far. The idea of everything in moderation is one that applies strictly to clean eating, though people tend to forget that. It is not an all or nothing concept. Many people follow a “clean eating” lifestyle but remember that everyone is human and even those perfect eaters still indulge, just in moderation. 

When someone switches to a “clean” diet, they tend to have to throw out a lot of processed, high-sugar, bad-fat type food. Of course they feel better and lose weight when they do that! Anyone who reduces their intake of highly calorific food and replaces it with something more nutritious is going to feel the better. The benefits of removing processed food from your diet is undeniable. 

Why Change If It’s Not Broken?

This is a natural thing to wonder if you have been adhering to the “clean eating” rules for awhile now. The main problem with diving in 100% with the clean eating process is that it’s expensive; especially when you factor in all those “superfoods” we’re meant to want to eat or drink. It’s also time-consuming, which can lead to occasional fall-off-the-wagon moments when you’re rushed and it’s inconvenient to prepare a meal from scratch. This cycle isn’t eating in moderation which – remember – is the key.

What’s Wrong With Superfoods?

The problem with superfoods (as well as supplements and dietary additions) is that they don’t tend to be that well tested. Without scientific evidence, you can spend a lot of money for a benefit you’re never going to get.

Of course, some superfood, supplements, and dietary additions are indeed everything that they claim to be. The nutritional content of these foods can be checked and verified, or can be a solution to a genuine problem. So not all of these things are bad – in fact, some of them satisfy a genuine need, and shouldn’t be eliminated from your diet.

So Which Are Okay?

Again, it doesn’t have to be an all in, 100%, only taking in clean foods and eliminating everything else. This is not realistic and leads to frustration. If you want to supplement a healthy diet, then there are some foods and additions that can genuinely benefit your diet.

  • We know that chia seeds are high in protein, so they’re a fantastic source if you need a natural energy boost. 
  • Dietary additions such as sulfur crystals and magnesium flakes are also satisfying a need; the issues that industrial farming has brought to the nutrient quantity of our fruit and vegetables. This is a known fact, so using these items to try and replace what has been lost over the years is a great idea. I will say I have not personally tried this one but I had to share the research as it is very interesting. 
  • There’s a pretty great chart here which brings together all of the scientific evidence for the various superfoods. Garlic, olive oil, and omega 3 supplements all score well; superfood staples such as acai berries or alfalfa, meanwhile, are struggling. What?!? I thought acai bowls were an awesome thing, that’s what pinterest and instagram post have shown 😉 

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What Should Proper Nutrition Look Like, Then?

So how in the world do we know what is right and what is wrong? The opinions and research are overwhelming and often over the top. If adhering to the core principles of the “clean eating” movement isn’t the best idea and you don’t need to spend a fortune on unnecessary superfoods and supplements… what do you do?

The truth is that nutrition is a complicated science, which means there is no “one diet fits all” available. Instead, you have to listen to your body, especially if you’re trying to solve a health condition. You could try an elimination diet , which can help you identify the foods that you have an issue with. I was having stomach issues years ago and I used the elimination diet to find out that I have a sensitivity to lactose. 

If you just want to eat well for general health, then many of the principles of “clean eating” are good to follow – there’s just no need to call it clean eating, that might just annoy someone 😉 for the love!  Instead, think of it as proper nutrition and keep it simple! 

  • Plenty of vegetables
  • Not so many fruits, as fruits are notoriously high in sugar.
  • Opt for low-fructose fruits such as blackberries and blueberries if you do want to eat fruit.
  • Grains and nuts should be incorporated into your diet.
  • Avoid highly processed food on a regular basis – it’s fine for an occasional treat, but not for a nightly staple.

And there you have it. Clean eating has, to an extent, been busted. The superfoods that cruised on the back of the movement have definitely – with a few exceptions that satisfy other “need” criteria – been busted. You don’t need to spend a fortune on nutrition to feel and look good; you just have to practice moderation, and never let yourself be convinced that anything is inherently “dirty”. Sometimes we need to step back and just do what works best for YOU and ignore all the newest trends. Do your best, stay realistic, indulge in moderation, and don’t be too hard on yourself! 

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you have a great first day of summer 🙂

Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Crockpot)

Crockpot meals?!? YASSSS please! Who doesn’t love easy meals for dinner, that are healthy and take very little effort to put together. I have to admit to you guys (I have a post all about this coming up) what my vision of maternity leave was and what it has actually been are two completely different things. It has been exactly what it needs to be!! Silly me had this vision of being able to prep dinner meals each day and I learned very quickly that JoMarie had other plans for our days and of course she comes first!

Nick and I did a full day of preparing freezer meals before Jo was born and I am now so grateful for these. One of the meals we made was Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken. We agreed these were blog worthy and needed to share with you all. This is so easy to prep, throw in the freezer, and take out whenever you need an easy and healthy meal. We added salsa and beans to our lettuce wraps with the chicken mixture and dinner was ready to go.

We decided to make lettuce wraps out of our chicken mixture, but you could also eat this on buns or have in actual taco shells. This is a go to for us now and I hope you try it and like it as much as we do. The bet part is, this makes plenty and we were able to have it for lunch the next day as well. For our lunches, I just put some rice, the chicken mixture, and beans in a container. Simple. Easy. Healthy. WIN! You can find the recipe below 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today!

 

Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Crockpot)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 taco seasoning packet
  • 1 dry ranch seasoning packet

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together
  2. Place in freezer bag and freeze until ready to use
  3. When ready to cook:
  4. Unthaw over night
  5. Cook your chicken mixture in a crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours
  6. Check your chickens temp
  7. Shred chicken once it is fully cooked
  8. Add chicken to lettuce and add beans and salsa
http://mygoodnessblog.com/2017/01/31/cool-ranch-shredded-chicken-lettuce-wraps-crockpot/

The Truth Behind Diet Trends

Goooood Morning and Happy Sunday!! I hope you all had a great weekend and are starting your Sunday off doing something that makes you happy. Aren’t Sunday’s the best?! Here is a little health post for you on some diet trends that are popular right now, and my take on them. Enjoy 🙂 **knowledge is power**

Most things in our world follow a pattern of trends. The most obvious are fashion, health trends, technology and of course, diet trends. There are different claims and pitches for almost every diet on the planet. Some are backed up by science, while others are merely bandwagons that have gathered a bit of steam. Some have clear and exciting results, while others are tried out for a bit and then shelved. With all this in mind, it can be a bit confusing knowing which one is right for you. Not all diets have to be followed exactly as they are designed, many people take bits and pieces of healthy habits from multiple different diet structures, to make something that works for them. You may just want to incorporate OR take out a certain food or a type of meal from your existing diet, to see if it makes any difference to your health. Here are some popular diet and food trends that you might want to consider trying.

Spices

Adding spices to your food has long been considered one of the best ways to boost your metabolism. Asian and Indian diets are renowned for having some of the most flavorful spicy meals around, so it can be tasty, too. The humble chili pepper is at the root of most spices and spicy dishes, and this alone has some amazing health benefits. Chillies are said to lower blood pressure, help improve circulation and ward off strokes, amongst many other things! Who knew?!? If you suffer from a weak immune system or frequently get colds and flu, adding spices to your food can be a great way to help detoxify your body. It doesn’t just need to be chili, either. Turmeric, garam masala and cumin are also powerful spices that also taste great in stews, curries and broths too. Right now I can’t take in too many spicy foods as I’m breastfeeding and I do not think Jo would appreciate it 😉 but it is nice to know of a natural way to help detoxify our bodies… just spice it up! 😉 

Zucchini noodles

If you haven’t heard about zucchini noodles just where have you been for the past year? This latest food trend involves replacing the typically ‘carby’ parts of a meal – the noodles, the pasta etc – with spiralized vegetables instead. It is regarded as one of the best diets for weight loss. You can actually use many different types of vegetables for this. Eggplant and sweet potato are both popular options too. Just make sure you are still getting some form of carbohydrate into your diet somewhere, as it is not wise to cut them out completely. Just jump on Pinterest and you can find so many recipes for zucchini or eggplant noodles, give it a try! 

Gluten free

Over the past couple of years, there has been a huge rise in the amount of people adopting a gluten-free diet. I’m sure many of you have noticed how the menus we order from now label what is gluten free. I have heard so many people be annoyed or make fun of these healthy options and I just do not get that. I understand that “back in the day” there was no gluten free and “everyone was fine” but times has changed, medicine is more advanced, and if people want to dedicate themselves to a diet that helps them be their best selves, who the heck are you to judge? For some people, having gluten in their diet just isn’t an option at all. A lot of people suffer from coeliac disease, an autoimmune disorder that there is currently no cure for. In order to keep the symptoms in check, sufferers are advised to avoid gluten in their diets. But what does going gluten-free mean for the rest of the population who aren’t coeliac, but who follow a gluten-free diet? Essentially, people who go gluten-free have to avoid any food which contains wheat, rye or barley. A lot of people claim that they lose weight, have greater energy levels and less bloating as a result of going gluten-free, but always check any major dietary changes with your doctor first if this is something you are interested in trying. 

There you have it 🙂 Your little Sunday health post filled with some goodness and knowledge!! Have a blessed day all!

Live Well, Eat Well Even When You’re Busy

Well hello!! Is your week off to a good start? I hope so 🙂 Today on My Goodness I have put together a little health post for you on ways we can live well and healthy throughout our busy life. Enjoy 🙂

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the lifestyle where you could get up and have healthy meals prepared for you each day, meet with a personal trainer, and have ample and uninterrupted time to workout each day? Well for those of you who may be blessed with that lifestyle, I’m jealous and you rock 🙂 But for those of us who are running from place to place, working full time, and trying to find that healthy life balance, how do you live well and eat well, even when you’re busy? Because being busy cannot be an excuse to not be healthy! Here are a few things to think about when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As I try to remind myself and my readers often, living out a healthy lifestyle is SO far from just eating healthy and staying active. It is also about having healthy relationships and a healthy mindset. 

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Dedicate Time

The first step to changing or improving your lifestyle is to dedicate some time to it. But, as already mentioned, this can be difficult when you’re busy. You can’t make a significant change without a plan. So it’s important to schedule some time to think this through thoroughly. Arrange a babysitter for the kids or wait until they’re in bed. Then sit down and go through the following steps.

Assess where you are right now. What is good about your life and what do you want to change? Look at all aspects of your diet and physical and mental exercise. The majority of people will find areas for improvement. So don’t feel disheartened. Just be really honest in your assessment of yourself. Use the tips below to create your plan of action.

Quick Wins

Even the tiniest changes mount up and could have a significant impact on your life. So find areas that you can change with only a small amount of effort. This will vary for everyone, but the following are a few common examples.

  1. When was the last time you visited your doctor? I am that annoying family member always wanting to be sure my loved ones are getting their doctor visits in! If it’s been a while for you, take the step to just schedule an appointment and get it on your calendar. Keeping on top of your health is vital and underpins everything else. If you need to order medication, for something less serious like a sinus infection or other common infection, with many providers you do not even have to go to the doctor anymore.  In fact, you can even order the contraceptive pill online. This makes it much more convenient than standing in line at a busy pharmacy and helps eliminate your excuses to not take care of yourself 😉 
  1. Are there any unhealthy habits you could break? For example, do you grab a coffee each day on your way into work? This is a fairly simple habit to break. You could experiment with reducing this to one or two a week. Or, you could replace it with a healthy drink such as water or a smoothie. Are there any other habits you could break that would help you feel better about yourself and help you be a little healthier? 
  1. We all know that processed food is bad for us. However, like many people, we fall prey to the easy takeout meal. We know they’re not always healthy but after a long, busy day you don’t always feel like cooking. A quick tip is to make your own ready meals and put them in the freezer. You don’t have to spend extra time in doing this. The next time you cook, prepare twice as much and freeze half of it for another day. Or spend some time with your partner meal prepping and preparing lots of freezer meals together! Nick and I recently spent a good part of a Sunday making four different recipes that we froze for easy meals once the baby arrives. 
  1. How much sleep do you get each night? If it’s not enough, you’re likely you have a sleep deficit. This could be affecting many aspects of your life. I know many of us laugh it off that we do not get enough sleep but seriously, getting a good nights sleep is SO important for our health and attitude. When we are lacking on sleep, you’re likely to feel tired and grumpy. You will be less productive. And perhaps most worrying, you could be at greater risk of disease. Take steps to make sure you get a good night’s sleep each night. Don’t just focus on the quantity of sleep, focus on sleep quality.
  2. Exercise

    Each morning you dash out of the house to take the kids to school. Before that, you’re engaged in the hell that is getting everyone out of bed on time. You then work a full day at the office. If you’re lucky you leave at 5:30 and your partner picks up the kids. You then wait for the bus and fight through traffic to get home and prepare a family meal. After that, you have the kids’ homework and bedtime to supervise. By the time they’re in bed, all you’re capable of is lying on the sofa and watching easy TV. And then you go to bed, and the whole cycle begins again. Making time to exercise seems impossible.

    Exercise doesn’t have to be a full session in the gym. It can be simple things like increasing your activity or going for a walk with your family. Start small. Perhaps try getting off the bus one stop earlier and walking the rest of the way. When spending time with family on the weekends, plan some physical activities. Build up slowly. Once you make small improvements to your health, you’ll find you have more energy and motivation. Reducing time elsewhere may free up time to engage in exercise that you enjoy. See info above on freezing meals.

    Change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Before you can begin to live a better life, you need to plan. Take it slowly, finding quick wins first and then building up to greater change. The time will pass anyway, so start right now. 

  3. Thanks for stopping by today for a little health post 🙂 Enjoy your Wednesday!!!

Yeah BABY! **giveaway**

Hi lovelies!! I hope you are all enjoying your week and are ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow if that is a Holiday you celebrate. We are excited to spend tomorrow with family and be one day closer to welcoming our little bundle of joy into this world. She seems to be pretty comfy as of now so we are doing our best to enjoy this time before she joins us. I am excited for today’s post ladies!! I am teaming up with Rodale Books and Jillian Michaels team, who is offering a fun giveaway for one of My Goodness readers. Expecting mama’s, or have a loved one expecting, you will want to enter this one 🙂

I have been lucky enough to be able to workout throughout my entire pregnancy. I really feel this is a huge reason as to why it has been such a great first pregnancy experience. With that, there have absolutely been days when the gym just wasn’t going to happen and working out was the last thing I was about to do. But being able to stay with my fitness routine 90% of the time and doing my best to keep a clean diet during these last 9 months, has helped me a ton! But there is so much more to know about being pregnant and becoming a mother for the first time, than just knowing you should stay as active as you can. As I’m sure many of you mom’s out there can relate, the amount of “research” I have done during this pregnancy has been insane. There is so much information out there that it can be so overwhelming but at the same time, addicting! I have always said knowledge is power but for the LOVE there is so much out there regarding pregnancy and becoming a first time parent.

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I was so excited when I was sent Jillian Michaels upcoming release, Yeah BABY! First of all, I LOVE Jillian!! For anyone who doesn’t know, Jillian is a celebrity fitness trainer who you may recognize from her appearances on The Biggest Loser. Her success is endless and her love for health and fitness is something I admire, so when I was asked to read this book and sponsor a giveaway on my blog to share some of this goodness, I jumped at the chance. Jillian has two seriously adorable children with her partner Heidi Rhoades and Jillian recently wrote this amazing YEAH BABY! book. This book is the modern mama’s guide to mastering pregnancy, having a healthy baby, and bouncing back better than ever. All things I have thought of hundreds of times throughout this amazing process of preparing for our first child.

In Yeah Baby!, Jillian, along with her team of top-notch experts, will change everything you think you know about pregnancy, arming you with the most cutting-edge information available, so you can make the right choices for you and your little one. They will help you navigate the hidden dangers in your immediate environment; understand the check-ups, tests, and treatments your doctor recommends; and provide powerful solutions for all your issues, from heartburn and swollen feet to more serious medical concerns. Also learn how to optimize every facet of your child’s development, from IQ and long-term earning potential to future level of physical fitness and even taste preferences! Yeah Baby! also features a complete meal plan with delicious, nutrition-packed recipes, and a one-of-a-kind, trimester-specific fitness program, to ensure you bounce back stronger and better than ever. You all, this book is amazing and this goodness needs to be shared! I learned so much just glancing through the book at first and then I knew I had to fully dig in.

Rodale Books is offering one lucky winner a copy of YEAH BABY!, and a really awesome HotMilk nursing yoga bra. This is such a great giveaway and I’m pumped for it as I think my mommy readers will love these items as much as I do! All you need to do, to enter is two things

1) Comment on this post and tell me if you would be using the book and bra as a gift or for yourself

2) Go follow Jillian Michaels on EITHER Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. 

The lucky winner will be randomly selected on Saturday and will be announced in my Saturday blog post 🙂 Good luck ladies!! I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of your weekend and weekend with your loved ones!

IdealFit Athlete

Good Morning loves!! What a week it has been, for so many different reasons. BUT today is Friday and I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend as much as I am 🙂 I wanted to dedicate today’s Friday post to sharing some exciting news with MyGoodness family! I set a goal awhile ago to become an IdealFit Athlete and that goal has been reached. I am officially an Athlete for the company IdealFit. So what does this mean and what does this look like for my blog and for YOU as my awesome readers and many of you as my clients?

Super quick for those of you who have been waiting for this post to order your next shipment, you can click this picture to go order now 🙂 You ladies are the best!!! 

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Let’s start by talking about IdealFit for a second or two. Since I started this health and fitness blog, and just with how many options there are these days, I have been approached by a number of different affiliate businesses to join their teams, make money, and promote their products. But it just didn’t feel like my style to jump on board with products I wasn’t using daily and rave about them to my clients and followers when I couldn’t honestly say “these products are awesome!” I came across IdealFit products one day on Instagram and started my research. I made my first purchase, tried my first tub of protein and pre-workout, and have not looked back since.

I did not share my love for this company and products for awhile as it’s important to me to really test out something first, so I can give you all my honest opinion and share the GOODNESS when I find it. I have spent the last year forming an authentic relationship with this company. What do I mean by that? I mean I have been using these products for over a year now, with no kickbacks other than some free  products sent to me to test out, no strings attached. I have recommended only the products I use and can share my personal experience with. I can now genuinely say, IdealFit has been an absolute game changer in my health and fitness journey and a product line I will be using for a long time! What is super cool is how many of you love these products as much as I do!! I have expressed my excitement with this before BUT this line is the first and only clean and lean protein I have tried that is focused on exactly what us as women need to get the absolute most out of our workouts, while providing our bodies tons of clean goodness that it craves and often lacks. I started noticing big differences in my results when I started using these products daily. They help me greatly to maintain a lean body, while building muscle. I started using IdealFit products in the second picture below and pairing hard with consistently using pre-workout, BCAA’s, and protein, I was able to take my results to the next level.

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Becoming an IdealFit Athlete was a goal for me because it’s not something that is just given to anyone. You have to show you are dedicated to a healthy and consistent lifestyle. You have to work hard and be genuine about helping others and making a difference, all things I really enjoy doing. What being an IdealFit Athlete means for me business wise is I just get to strengthen my bond with this great company by continuing to spread the goodness I have found in them and their products. Recently, IdealFit changed up their Athlete program and although nothing has changed for those of you who order through my link already (other than there is a new link now), something has changed for me and I will be 100% transparent with that. I will now get a little kickback from IdealFit when you order your products through the links I provide. I know many of you are ordering often already, feel free to now order by clicking THIS LINK FOR YOUR IDEALFIT PRODUCTS. Also, you can always jump on my blog page and go under the “services” tab and find a link at the top where you can go purchase your products so that you do not have to keep coming back to this blog post 🙂

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I will keep you all up to date with the current sales going on so that you can take advantage when you need to fill up. If you have ANY questions on the products I use at all, I would be happy to talk with you. I will be trying out some of the IdealShape products soon and can’t wait to share my opinion on that with you all!! I will also of course be using this line in full force after I have our first baby girl in less than a month and I am so excited to see these products help me learn to love my new body after the amazing experience of carrying a child. Thank you as always for the support and motivation. It feels really nice to set a goal and reach it!!

Cooking From Scratch!

Good Evening!! Stopping in tonight for a quick health post on cooking from scratch and the importance of meal prep 🙂 Enjoy!! We are always trying new ways to spice up our healthy lunches and dinners and find we feel so much better when we prepare and cook our meals at home.

There’s a common misconception that a) eating healthily is expensive and b) cooking from scratch isn’t doable when you lead a busy life. However, neither of these things are true. Believe it or not, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive if you’re smart about what you buy and how you cook. As for cooking from scratch being too time-consuming, that doesn’t have to be the case. More people than ever are now cooking from scratch and joining this food revolution. Something that shows just how affordable and easy-to-make healthy meals can be.

Want to know what the secrets are to eating healthy foods and always having time to cook from scratch? Then you came to the right place tonight, here are some thoughts I have put together for you:

Planning is a must

The key to success when it comes to cooking healthy, nutritious food from scratch is planning and preparation. Healthy eating can be expensive if you go to the store without a list of meals that you plan on making. As then, you end up throwing random items into your cart. However, if you have a list of the ingredients that you need for each meal, you’re less likely to overspend. To keep costs as low as possible, have more vegetable-based meals than meat-based ones each week.

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Ensure that you have the right equipment

To make cooking easier for yourself, having the right equipment in your kitchen is a must. If you don’t already have a food processor, for instance, get one. Food processors are an incredible tool as they make chopping, grating, and slicing food much quicker and easier. Or, if you prefer to cut up your ingredients by hand, it’s important to have a good quality knife set. As the last thing you need when time is of the essence is crappy knives. Before selecting a knife set, go online and use websites like Cut it Fine, to read up on which makes offer the best quality. After all, if you’re going to invest in new knives, you want to ensure that you get good ones.

We all have those days where we know that we’re going to be nonstop. So, instead of having to prepare your evening meal in a mad rush, cook it in a slow cooker. If you don’t already have one, investing in a slow cooker could just be the best thing that you’ve ever done. There are so many healthy meals that you can make in a slow cooker, making it a must-have tool for every kitchen. Plus, it makes cooking much simpler and easier. As all you have to do is pop the raw ingredients into it, turn it on, and then when you get home, your evening meal should be done. Think soups, stews, risottos, pasta dishes – there are so many things that you can use a slow cooker to make.

The truth is that cooking healthy homemade food isn’t as time-consuming or expensive as a lot of us think. Especially as there are plenty of hacks that you can use to cut costs and make cooking much quicker and easier. Think about it and try it out 🙂

See you all tomorrow for my Friday post! 🙂

Easy Ways To Change Your Kitchen To Help You Lead A Healthier Life!

Good Morning to YOU!!! We are up and going to workout and enjoy a low key day today! But first, I’m bringing you a little health post today, what is new?!? 😉 I think you can say the nesting stage is in full force for me. I have been cleaning out cabinets, getting rid of some stuff, and constantly wanting to reorganize. One thing I have been doing is evaluating our kitchen and what I can change about it to help us continue to live our healthy lifestyles once our baby arrives. Enjoy some of the below tips!!

You might be surprised how important the kitchen is when it comes to your health. It can often be the reason for people’s downfall when it comes to eating healthy. Without the right items in your kitchen and having the wrong foods in your cupboard, it can be hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To help us live out a daily healthy life, you could possibly make some changes to your kitchen to help you out. Here are some easy ways to change your kitchen to help you lead a healthier life!

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Reduce your use of the deep fat fryer

Yes, these are still in some kitchens, and that is okay! A lot of people buy a deep fat fryer for their kitchen. After all, it makes french fries a lot crisper and who doesn’t want a crisp french fry?!? But using a deep fat fryer regularly could soon lead you to put on weight. Once the food is deep fat fried, it increases the content of saturated fat and trans fat, you can pretty much count it as running through the fast food drive thru.  Both of these increase your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease! Also, when you use a deep fat fryer, you are decreasing the nutrients in the food. Therefore, you should put it away and use it occasionally, like when trying something fun with girlfriends or the kiddos like fried oreos! If you miss the taste of fried food, use an unsaturated oil such as sunflower or soybean oil to fry your foods. And keep it at a low temperature to ensure the goodness stays intact!

Limit your use of the microwave

You should also limit your use of the microwave in your kitchen if you’re trying to pick up some easy healthy tricks in your own kitchen. When food is cooked in the microwave, it strips away its original nutrients. For example, the heat can remove vitamin B12 which is essential for keeping you healthy. Also, research has found that eating food once it’s been in the microwave will increase your cholesterol levels. Therefore, it’s better to make fresh food which won’t need to be cooked in the microwave. By making the food fresh, you can also add more nutrients to your dish. A lot of microwavable meals are packed full of unhealthy foods! If you do need to heat the food, use the pans on the oven instead.

Invest in a juicer

One thing you do need in your kitchen is a juicer, and I have been talking about this forever! They are a fantastic way to ensure you are getting your daily nutrients. After all, it’s often hard to fit five portions of fruit and vegetables in your everyday life. But by having a juicer, you can quickly make juice which is packed full of essential nutrients. And you can take it to work to enjoy, instead of your millionth cup of coffee! After all, it’s so hard to stay healthy at work; you can read this previous blog for some tips on how to stay healthy in the workplace! You can even buy some juicers which enable you to make a tasty soup which would be perfect for the Fall season, as well as your daily juice. You can find a good 2 in 1 juicer such as the Tribest Slowstar SW 2000 online which will help you to make healthy sauces and such, as well as juice! This juicer has been recommended to me multiple times and I’m thinking it’s about time to try it! Put one of these in your kitchen to ensure you never fail to have your five a day!

Buy some healthy cooking oils

A lot of people go wrong with their health as they use oils for their saucepans that are not really good for us. It can be hard to find ones that are not full of saturated and trans fat, which can affect your heart health big time! You need to add some healthy cooking oils to your kitchen which are full of fats such as omega-3. Olive oil would be an excellent choice as it contains a small amount of saturated fat. Also, as this article reveals, Canola oil would be an excellent option for your cooking oil as it’s full of omega 3. Put these oils by your oven to help keep it healthy in your home cooking.

Makeover your pantry

The pantry tends to be the place where all the unhealthy food lives. We fill the area with high-fat food and drinks which cause us to not be our healthiest selves. I mean, raise your hand if you have had a secret “junk section” hidden in your pantry before?!? My hand is raised! If we consume too many of this junk food, it will raise your blood glucose level! Stop buying sweets and chips for your home, to help those health and fitness goals out. Use your pantry to hold delicious healthy snacks. With unhealthy snacks out of sight, you will be less likely to head to the store for a snack, and will just eat a healthy piece of fruit from your pantry!

Stock up on smaller plates

I have heard this tip over and over again so I decided to put it to the test and use only small plates for a few weeks. A lot of the time we use large plates, and then put way too much on the plate to fill it up! And becoming overweight is often down to portion size.  As this feature says, and I agree with, if you fill a small plate, it will often trick your brain into thinking you are eating more. That way, you will believe that you are full, even though you haven’t eaten as much as normal and are having much healthier portions! I like this simple tip and it really is a great way to portion control.

Invest in a separate grill

Grilling your food is the best way to ensure it stays healthy. As it cooks, you lose the fat from your food. That way, you are eating a healthy piece of meat. To make sure you are grilling your food more, you should consider buying a compact grill for your kitchen. That way, you can cook a delicious piece of meat without being tempted to fry it instead. It’s the closest you are going to get to a BBQ when it’s raining outside! Don’t be afraid to use it for fish and veggies too; they are both delicious once they have been on the grill!

And do not forget a slow cooker for your kitchen. If you have one hidden away, pull that puppy out! It will ensure you make a healthy dinner during the day so that you don’t just decide on a bad takeaway when you get home, as you want a hassle-free meal! And I mean, it is Fall, it is the time for warm and healthy comfort food straight out of the crock pot 🙂

Pick a few of these tips to implement in your kitchen 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today all and I hope everyone has such a great weekend!!

Pregnancy Health Tips: How To Look After Yourself And Your Baby

Happy Monday!!! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I was on the go between class, having family in town and baby shower #2, it was a really great weekend!! I wanted to do a health related post today on what is currently consuming my world 🙂 PREGNANCY!  I have learned SOOO much from other blogger mommies about pregnancy and being a first time mom, and I wanted to share some of the tips that have helped me have a healthy pregnancy. Enjoy 🙂

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Pregnancy is an incredible feat of nature, I mean that, it seriously is!!  It’s amazing to think that the human body is capable of nurturing another little body inside, and even before becoming pregnant myself, I have always been in complete awe of the entire process, the good and the bad is all just pretty amazing to me. Most women experience many highs during pregnancy, but there may also be lows. Pregnancy can take its toll on your mental and physical health, so it’s really important to look after yourself. Here are some top pregnancy tips to help you and your baby stay fit and healthy throughout your unique journey. 

Rest

Having a baby growing inside you is hard work. Many mamas experience tiredness throughout pregnancy, so rest is essential. I’m still trying to grasp the concept of fitting REST into my life, but I’m getting better at it! Whether you’re working, or running errands all the time, it’s important to take time to relax and recover. Even the simplest tasks can become more demanding, especially in the latter stages. Ask for help when you need it, and take regular breaks. Your body will tell you when you need to slow down, so listen to it. It’s common to suffer from sleep problems during pregnancy. Try using pregnancy pillows to help you get more comfortable. Warm baths have come highly recommended from other moms, soothing music and a massage can also be beneficial. I’m thinking of scheduling my first prenatal massage soon and I’m already excited for it! 

Healthy eating

It’s more important than ever to eat well when you’re expecting. You’ll need plenty of energy and essential nutrients and vitamins. Start taking folic acid supplements as soon as you decide to try for a baby or you find out that you’re pregnant. Eat a balanced diet full of whole grains, fruit and vegetables, and protein-rich foods. Try to avoid fatty, sugary foods. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to eat a lot more when you’re pregnant. An extra 200 calories per day in the third trimester should suffice. I remember my girlfriend explaining to me when I told her she needs to be eating more when she was pregnant, that all of the nutrients and goodness goes to her baby first and then everything extra goes to the Mom, so the “eating for two” saying is a little over the top. 

Dental care

Hormonal changes during pregnancy increase your risk of certain health problems, including gum disease. Dentists like those at SF Dental recommend regular checks for pregnant women. Gum disease is caused by harmful bacteria. It is characterized by bleeding and swollen gums. Mild gum disease can be treated, but severe gum disease causes irreparable damage. Gum disease is the most common cause of adult tooth loss. Studies show that it could also increase the risk of premature labor and complications during birth. If you are pregnant, make sure you see your dentist on a regular basis. If you spot warning signs, such as bleeding gums, call and make an appointment as soon as possible. This is not something I took super seriously until talking with some friends and I’m so glad I got into my dentist while pregnant to be sure all is well! 

Keeping fit

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You may not feel like exercising when you’re tired and struggling to feel comfortable. But working out can make a world of difference. When you’re pregnant, you may not be able to exercise like you used to. But there are plenty of activities you can do. Swimming, yoga, and walking are all great choices for pregnant women. Each Doctor has their own belief on this so just communicate with YOUR Doctor when deciding what you can and cannot do throughout your 9 months of pregnancy. Getting out clears your head, and exercise also helps to keep you fit and strong. Many women lack confidence and feel unattractive when they’re pregnant, I think we all experience this sometime throughout being pregnant. Working out can help to boost your self-esteem, and prevent you from gaining a substantial amount of weight. For me, working out helps my energy levels. When I’m feeling sluggish, a trip to the gym over my lunch hour always helps me have that hop back in my step for the rest of the day. 

When you’re pregnant, you don’t just have your health and well-being to consider. We also always have our baby in mind. Take these tips on board to boost your health and well-being and protect your little one. Thanks for coming by today!! 🙂 Until next time…