Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why I Am Going To Succeed Even Though All The Cards Are Stacked Against Me

Here We Go.... 

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Tomorrow I am taking it back to my old school favorite workout program. The program that got me started on my own fitness journey and my quest to lose my muffin top after having my little one. Tomorrow starts the original 21 day fix. Why you ask - because I have a group starting tomorrow with many of my old 21 day fixers who had fallen off the wagon and I want to join them on the fun. I feel like I will be a better coach because I will be "all in"right there along with them. Since I did the fix last year I changed the way my brain thought about food. I use the 21 day fix system still to this day when it comes to eating but I have gotten a little bit lax in the last few months.

However, I will be really honest and say that all of the cards are stacked against me being successful at this round. WHY? Well let me explain:

1. I start another round of clomid tomorrow for infertility. It's awful - it makes me sick, lethargic, hot and grumpy. I found that during the last two rounds I had no energy to exercise but I refuse to make that my excuse.

2. I leave for the beach on June 12th. My round of the fix won't end until June 21st so I will be doing it while on vacation. I will plan ahead and do some grocery shopping while I am there. Thanks to Beachbody on Demand I will still be able to workout too - the best part will be my workout scenery will have a much better view then the basement.

3. I have several graduation, birthday and end of the school year parties to attend. Lots of unhealthy temptations.

But you know what - I am going to do my best and I am going to put forth all of the efforts I can. If I slip up here and there that's okay because I know I am in it for the long haul. The timing is never going to be perfect. Summers are busy and just in general life is busy. If I keep waiting for a time when I am not going to have something going on I would be waiting the rest of my life. So tomorrow I go all in. Meal are prepped, groceries are bought. I got this so stay tuned!

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Some fresh foods to feed my family during week one! 
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Breakfast, lunch and snacks for day one - packed and ready to go!

I am excited to also say that on June 22nd (the day after I finish this round) I will be hosting a Stripped Challenge group - How to drop the last 10 lbs. This is going to be a motivator for me while I am doing this round of the fix knowing that I am going to be participating in that next with my clients.

That group will be focused on really cleaning up their nutrition and cutting out the foods that are preventing you from getting to that goal weight you might have been pushing for. I am going to follow some of the curriculum from the Eat Clean Stripped plan that Tosco Reno has written. In addition we will be exercising daily, incorporating Shakeology and also really kicking it up a notch and doing the 3 day refresh at the start of the challenge. We are not messing around in this group!

What you can expect from me is support, accountability and motivation. I am excited to get started with those who are looking to say you know what, so what if all the cards are stacked against me, I am going to give it my best anyways.

Summer is crazy busy but it is not an excuse to give up on your health.

Please fill out the application below if you would like to secure your spot on the June 22nd Stripped Challenge Group.

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Tropical Strawberry Banana Sunrise

Tropical Strawberry Banana Sunrise 

Shakeology, Tropical treat, Tropical Strawberry, Sarah Griffith, Vegan formula, meal replacement, healthy breakfast,

Obsessed sums up how I feel about vegan tropical strawberry Shakeology. I had held off for almost a year to try it. It just didn't seem like my thing. I was not a fan of regular strawberry flavored Shakeo so I didn't think I would like this either. Well when I was on the success club trip to Cancun this past spring they had a Shakeology bar there for us. I decided to give the vegan formula a try since I wasn't going to have to buy lots of it just to try. Much to my surprise,  I LOVED IT!! As soon as I got home I actually switched over my home direct to this flavor so I can enjoy it all the time! Worth trying! 

10 ounces of ice
10 ounces of water
4 ounces of vanilla almond milk 
1 ripe banana 
1 scoop of Tropical Vegan Strawberry Shakeology 

In a shaker cup combine ice, water and almond milk 
Pour into the blender 
Add in one scoop of Shakeology and the banana 
Blend for one minute 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Natural Living - Homemade Soaps

Evanley Naturals - Meet Tori 

Some of the fantastic samples she sent me to try out! 

This past fall when I learned that my thyroid was off the charts and out of whack my doctor talked with me about removing anything that I could from my lifestyle that contained chemicals. She talked about using all natural soaps and lotions because many of the products you buy in stores can cause an imbalance in hormones. She also suggested removing many other environmental factors that could take effect on my condition. My doctor is what I would call organic and natural and I sort of love that about her. She is very into clean eating and holistic wellness. She's a great fit for me since I am too.

I began my quest this past fall to get rid of the "bad stuff" and it has been a gradual process and I have lots of ways to go before I am where I want to be but all in all I am getting there. I did little things like switch out our household cleaning products and I try my best to store all of our foods in glass dishes along with switching out my water bottle to glass. Little things...and now some of my soap products.

Well now it's time to talk about Tori and how we connected. We were in a moms group together on Facebook. I had noticed that she had been fighting breast cancer and her story resonated with me since I went thru my own struggle back in college. (See my past blog post) Why I Wear Pink

We didn't really connect until later this year she had posted about wanting some help with meal planning. I messaged her and let her know that I would be willing to help her. It never turned into anything in regards to my business that I run on the side but it did turn into a friendship over a shared belief in products. She told me about her soap business. I talked with her about my interest in switching over to organic natural soaps and just like that things sparked from there. She ended up sending me a boat load of samples to test out. She is too sweet! I absolutely love them and especially love that she uses such high quality ingredients. Not only does she do soap but many other luxurious products too! I am a huge fan of the lip gloss she sent me! I asked her to share her business story with me so that I could feature it on the blog. Here is a little bit  about how she got into the soap business.

"My love affair with soap began an unusual way. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2013. What was the worst day of my life, has taught me so much about health and the important things in life. There are many things I cannot control in life, but what I put in and on my body is not one of them. Shortly after this diagnosis I was given another one of a pulmonary embolism. My life was spared from this blood clot, but it precipitated a lot of research on healthy living. As my chemotherapy progressed so did my knowledge of what we put in and on our bodies. As life would have it, I was given a miracle baby which ultimately led to the name of my business- Evanley Naturals. Evanley is a combination of my children's names...thought it was fitting.

I have spent hours upon days of researching soaps and their beneficial properties. The most important ingredient in my soap is an ingredient that is not tangible...research. I use only organic oils, butters and essential oils. I do not use GMO's and I only purchase from reputable suppliers. All of my soaps are palm free...I love nature and harvesting palm oil or kernels is not good for the environment (this is debatable with some).

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In order to make soap I use goats milk, a lot. Goat's milk is packed full of essential nutrients and vitamins like vitamin D, C, B1, B6, B12, and E. These feed the skin and are absorbed into the body. I also use olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, castor oil, Shea and mango butters, clay's for color, and essential oils for scents. I never use fragrances or mica's (synthetic materials). In some specialty soaps I use rice bran and hemp oils. I also love to use the resources around me such as dandelions and mint (grown in my yard)."

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If you are interested in purchasing some soaps from Tori you can contact her thru email  or check out her like page on Facebook. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Plant Your Own Garden and Make Your Own Sunshine

My Lifelong Memorial Day Tradition - Gardening

Sweaty, Dirty and Happy! Nothing like spending time in your garden! 
For many people Memorial Day means picnics and BBQ's and honoring those who served! For me it was always about honoring those who served but it was also always the day that we planted our garden. I cannot remember a summer growing up that we did not have one. My parents would plant them with us and everyone would always help. When we moved out to our Christmas Tree farm when I was in the 4th grade gardening took on a new meaning. We have 28 acres where I grew up, while most of those acres are planted with trees there was still plenty of land all around our home. My great grandfather loved to visit our farm. He often would come up and stay the entire winter with us and always made a trip in the spring to help us put in a garden. He insisted that we had to wait until Memorial Day because of that chance for frost. The gardens we planted were always HUGE and some years we even would have two of them. We had so much fun all summer long "harvesting" all of the veggies we grew. Looking back I really didn't like to eat them all that much but I sure loved picking them. 
For the last two years I have made sure I took my son back to my dads house for the weekend to help him put the big garden in at Papa's house. Carter loves helping and I am sure he is making some memories that will last him forever! 

When it came time to move away when I got married Kevin and I packed up and moved to State College. We had a house that we rented with a decent sized back yard. I twisted his arm and talked him into putting one in for me. Coming from having a huge garden all my life I still wanted that. So we basically planted the whole backyard up :) He would complain all summer about how big it was but I think secretly enjoyed watching it grow as much as I did. 

Once we moved into our "real" house that we built I still wanted the garden but the trouble was the yard was a bit smaller and he wasn't so keen on the idea. I held my ground and that first summer we lived here we bought raised bed gardens. I have two of them. They are a bit of an eye sore but that garden means something to me. My little man now looks forward to our garden every year. He checks it daily with me and helps me pick everything. Some days I catch him picking before I ask and we end up with a few green tomatoes. For as long as he will be able to remember he will always grow up with a garden. I want to be able to teach him where food really comes from and to appreciate all of the hard work that goes into growing something. I want him to have his own when he goes off and raises his own family someday too and hopefully he will look back on all of his gardens growing up with fond memories. 

My husband helping me get the new dirt mixed in. He claims this isn't his thing but he's always a great help always! 
Today as I stood outside under a cloudless sunny sky ripping out weeds and planting new beautiful green plants I couldn't help but think of my "Pap" and how glad he would be that I am carrying on his tradition. I smiled knowing he was looking down on my garden and me and around mid summer I will make his famous zucchini bread with the zucchini from our garden! I love being able to honor his memory! Every year on this day I really think a lot about him!

This year we are growing tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe. green beans, green and red peppers, jalepenos, banana peppers, lettuce, basil, and rosemary. Probably a little too much for two raised beds but as usual I always try to grow more than I have room for. 

If you don't have a garden it is a tradition worth considering for you and your family. There is nothing more fun than watching something go from seed to harvest to your table. The work that goes into it is nothing compared to the rewards! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Summer Corn Salad

Fresh & Healthy and Delicious - Summer Side Dish 

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If you are looking for a new side dish for your upcoming picnic season you may want to give this fun recipe a try. I actually got it out of the Wegman's summer magazine they send home to all of their customers. I was nervous about trying it because cold salads like this are not really my thing but we were having ribs for dinner and my hubby thought it would go well. It was actually a huge hit and much to my surprise it was very popular with my little one. I thought for sure he would be out on this one but he ate it right up! Worth a try if you are sick of your tradition sides! 

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar 
1/4 cup sugar 
1 bag of thawed sweet corn 
1/2 cup of olive oil 
1 red sweet pepper diced 
1 cup diced sweet onion
2 jalapeno peppers seeded and diced. 
1 cup diced celery 
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed) 
Sea salt to taste

In a microwaveable bowl combine vinegar and sugar. Heat for one minute, until sugar is dissolved. 
Add remaining ingredients, stir and move to the refrigerator to cool for 1 - 2 hours. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

3 Day Refresh Results

He Survived.... My Hubby's Take On The 3 Day Refresh 
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I love my husband, like A LOT but he makes me crazy when it comes to what he eats. He has gotten better by a long shot since I started our families clean eating journey but he still won't let go of white bread and likes his occasional Pepsi. He goes thru phases where he does really great but them falls off the wagon. I tease him that he is my most difficult challenger, but you see when it comes to your health nobody can want it for you. You have to be the one who wants to change. I cannot force him to do it. He decided that he wanted to give the 3 day refresh a try to see if he could do it. I won't lie, I really didn't think he would stick with it but I ordered it for him anyways.

Upon getting it and him realizing he would have to be a vegetarian for three days I figured he was going to change his mind, BUT he said he would do it. I was also worried because he lives off of Crystal Light (makes me crazy) and does not drink plain water. I told him if he was going to do it he had to be all in so no Crystal Light and no cheating. He had to drink half of his weight in ounces of water each day. He was also able to drink green tea. Last Sunday night we prepped for him to do day one on Monday. His meals consisted of the following listed below:

Day 1
Greenberry Shakeology & Banana - Breakfast
Fiber Sweep - Mid morning
Peppers & Hummus with the Vanilla Fresh Shake -Lunch
More Peppers and Hummus - Afternoon snack
Spinach Salad with peppers, onions and tomatoes & Vanilla Fresh Shake - Dinner

Day 2
Chocolate Shakeology & Banana - Breakfast
Fiber Sweep - Mid morning
Peppers & Hummus with the Vanilla Fresh Shake -Lunch
More Peppers and Hummus - Afternoon snack
Steamed veggies with coconut oil & Vanilla Fresh Shake - Dinner

Day 3
Chocolate Shakeology & Greenery - Breakfast
Fiber Sweep - Mid morning
Peppers & Hummus with the Vanilla Fresh Shake -Lunch
More Peppers and Hummus - Afternoon snack
Spinach Salad with peppers, onions and tomatoes & Vanilla Fresh Shake - Dinner

He kept his meals simple because he is not a huge veggie fan so he didn't want many of the options fro the list. The fiber sweep he said needed to be taken down like a shot - quickly because it got thick the longer it sat. He was totally fine on day one and I even tempted him with a pizza that first night. Not on purpose but the timing of when it would be ready and when he was home from work kinda met up. He was okay though!

Homemade pizza for me and salad for him and the vanilla fresh shake! 

The second day, I noticed he was sleepy and kinda cranky for real food that night, but that is kinda normal for a cleanse. Green tea was helpful that night to help with cravings. He went to bed early that night.

Day three he took like a champ and said he was used to it. At work he even had to go pick up lunch for everyone but didn't even cave. I was pretty impressed.

I know you probably are wondering if he had to go to the bathroom a lot since some people think thats what a cleanse does but he did not. I know TMI but it's a question most people ask me about this.

He started out at 151.2 lbs and ended at 144.4 and that was actually the day after the cleanse. I was busy the morning after and didn't get a change to take his afters or his weight. He lost a total of 6.8 lbs. I was thinking on 6.4 when I made the picture so it's actually a little more than the picture says.

When I asked if he would do it ever again he said sure because it really was not all that bad! He was also very surprised that he lost that much weight in just three days!

If you are interested in learning more about the 3 day refresh or any other programs to help you lose weight please fill out the application below. 

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Get Mom What She Really Wants This Year For Mother's Day

Flowers?? Nahhh I Would Rather Learn How To Be Healthier & More Confident For Summer... 

First I want to wish all of you mommas out there a very Happy Mother's Day. You (whoever you are reading this post) are one of the hardest working and caring woman that I know. You sacrifice yourself EVERY single day so that you can do the extra for your family. Let me guess... you come last... a lot. You may not feel like admitting that but I can say that my world changed the day my sweet little love made his oh so fast entrance into this world. The house was no longer spotless, mom no longer looked "perfect" and well put together like I had before and everything got a lot crazier. In a good way, I wouldn't trade it for the world. But life changed for me. The cuddles, the giggles and the silliness is absolutely some of my most treasured parts of my life. That little boy has me wrapped around his finger and he completely has all of my heart. When he snuggles up to me and say's "mom your my best girl" I can't help but think I am the luckiest person in the whole world.  Because of him I am someone I had never been before.

"Sometimes the smallest things take up the biggest parts of your heart." 
I have to share a secret with you though. Over the last year, I learned how to be a better mom and wife. I thought I was a great mom because I never focused on myself. I came last. Like dead last. I was tired, overworked, ate like crap because it was easier than going thru the trouble of prepping and planning like I do now each week. My morning was rushed and always started with a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks. Not only was that morning ritual costing me about $30.00 + a week it was also making me unhealthy. I did not know how poorly I was treating my body until I decided it was time to change something.

On the night of my son's 2nd birthday I remember I laid in bed late that night and I decided two years was too long to still be carrying around the last few pounds from giving birth. I didn't have much to lose but I needed the confidence boost and wanted to feel comfortable again like I always had before. I saw that one of my friends from college was hosting a "challenge group" to help people get in shape in just 21 days. I wanted in. It enticed me and I decided to bite the bullet and buy it. My husband chuckled and said it wouldn't work and that I wasted our money. He was my naysayer for about two weeks until I was started to prove him wrong by getting my own results. What was happening over those 21 days was huge. I cut out my crappy Starbucks drinks and replaced them with Shakeology, I made time for 30 minutes of exercise every day, I felt more confident and positive and I lost the baby weight I wanted to rid myself of. I got the old me back. He loved it and so did I. It has been over a year now and I now try to lead by example for my son and my family. My son knows that mom exercises every day. He also joins me. He is one of the only little kids I know who has Beachbody workout moves memorized. We eat clean in our house. I try to no longer buy processed foods and prefer organic and non - GMO. I make a conscious effort to make smarter choices for my family because when you know better you do better.

At first it felt like this was selfish by asking for some me time but I later learned it was smart and the best thing I could have done for all of us. 30+ minutes a day of exercise, Shakeology daily and a focus on clean eating and this momma is a happy woman.

Our morning ritual now! I have my Shake and so does my son! Pediatrician approved too! 

This Mother's Day I encourage you to ask for something that you really want. Instead of flowers or another outfit you won't need. Tell your family you want a challenge pack. Tell them you want to be in an accountability group so that you can learn how to be a better mom. Invest in your own health this year. Everyone wins if you do!

If you would like a spot in my upcoming May 18th 30- day challenge group, please fill out the application below. I will be in touch shortly. The group will push you to a place where you have not yet been before. I will teach you everything you need to know about hot to be successful and cheer you on to the finish line!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

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