Tropical Blend Smoothie & Solo Dance Parties

Take a minute to think about what makes you happy. It has a lot to do with how you feel doesn’t it? This may seem obvious but how often do you take time to make yourself FEEL great? I spend a lot of time finding reasons why I shouldn’t feel great – I need to lose weight, I’m job searching, the house is a mess. It’s easy to get into this cycle. But with that being said, what if the next time you were starting to get down on yourself, you instead, found a reason and a way to make yourself feel great!

This is what a lifestyle change is all about. You have a choice with every meal you make or eat, with every opportunity you have to workout or get some exercise in, with going to bed at a decent hour, etc. Each decision we make can make us feel better or worse. It’s why I try my best to make healthy choices; eat foods that make me FEEL GOOD and do things that make me feel STRONG, encouraged, determined, and legit awesome.

It’s also why more often than not, I’m blasting music and throwing solo dance parties. My husband hasn’t caught me yet, but when he does someday, I hope he joins me. Yesterday I blasted one of my favorite tracks and just went nuts. Jumping, moving, dancing however I felt and let me tell you, after just one song, I felt so amped up and excited about life! I was so inspired I decided to throw on my heart rate monitor to prove to you how a solo dance party can do as much for your body as it can your mind.

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In just seven minutes I burned 70 calories! Is 70 calories a lot? Not really but it’s something! It’s about being active when we can. A body in motion STAYS in motion. The more you decide to be active and alive, the more you’ll WANT to move!

Now onto those other choices that make us feel good.

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A smoothie a day is one of the easiest ways to boost your weight loss and feel amazing! Here’s one of my new favorite smoothie recipes:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 TSBP chia seeds
  • 1 TBSP ground flax meal
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup frozen mango

Directions: Blend the spinach, water, and seeds first to ensure you don’t have any leaf chunks. Then add in fruit. Blend until smooth and pour into your favorite glass or mug.

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Then get ready to rock your day!

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Let’s talk about MSG – Monosodium Glutamate

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I’ve talked about Monosodium Glutamate quite a bit but the battle never ends to avoid it. MSG is an excitotoxin which means that it stimulates brain cells into such a high state of euphoria that they physically explode. No wonder those sour cream and onion chips taste so good and no wonder Lays says “betcha can’t have just one!” Because you can’t! It’s a drug. MSG is also a flavor enhancer and can make any food and any flavor taste better, more powerful, and more savory.

Why is this bad? Besides having food give you a drug-like reaction, MSG also makes you want to eat MORE! Even after you’re full, even after you’re done eating that specific food. Remember the Dominos times? It makes your brain crave more. So while you may only be eating 1500 calories a day, if you’re consuming products with MSG (which hides under a dozen (more like 40 actually) another names as well) you’ll find yourself having a harder time sticking to your goals. More and more people are battling with good addictions and while it’s a real thing, MSG isn’t helping!

You can view a list of other names for MSG here.

 

Ultimate Banana Pancakes

Sometimes I want breakfast for dinner. More importantly, sometimes I want pancakes – ok I ALWAYS want pancakes. But what I don’t want is a bunch of syrup and butter and that horrible sick and shaky feeling I get after inhaling a stack of them.

So here comes lovely option B 🙂

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There’s tons of recipes out there for protein pancakes filled with tons of protein powders and what not, but I tell you something – that’s just not for me. You don’t need excess protein (especially from powders) to get enough in your diet. Plants have protein, too! And you don’t need as much as you think to build muscle. Plus so many of them have sucralose and other fake sugars and chemicals in them – yuck! But that’s a topic for another time.

Today I want to talk about pancakes and making them clean and healthy.

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What you’ll need (makes 3 medium sized pancakes – that are oh so filling):

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup whole grain oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 date, pitted

Optional toppings:

  • 1 TBSP peanut butter
  • 1 TBSP shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 TSBP sliced almonds
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

Directions:

Heat up your skillet over medium heat. Chop pitted date into tiny pieces. Mix/mash together banana, oats, eggs, and date. Pour into 3 medium sized pancakes in greased skillet. Top with lid. Don’t worry if you don’t get all of the banana completely mashed, it’s fun to bite into a glob of it in the middle of the pancake when they are done. Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.

Tops with peanut butter, coconut, almonds, raspberries or any of your favorite ingredients.

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These were super filling and amazing. The peanut butter melts into ooey gooey heaven. The mixture of everything together is the perfect amount of sweet and indulgent.

 

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The pancakes alone net around 345 calories, 5.6g of fiber and 16.9g of protein. Additional toppings add varying calories.

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Enjoy!

The I’m-Not-Sharing Smoothie!

Good glorious fruits of unicorn rainbows, is this smoothie ever delicious. I made this first thing this morning and took a giant gulp from my straw and said “MOTHER OF GOD.” It’s so tasty that I don’t think I’d ever share it. MAKE YOUR OWN! This is MINE! I will retreat back to being 5 years old and have no issues with that.

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So what’s in this glorious milkshake of mayhem? All things healthy! And with 13g of fiber and 11g of plant-based protein you’re going to feel full and satisfied for a WHILE! I drank mine around 9am this morning and wasn’t hungry until around 3pm.

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It’s like drinking a milkshake for breakfast without the guilt (or the awful tummy aches) of drinking a real milkshake.

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What you’ll need:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 TBSP peanut butter
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 TBSP ground flax meal (these are optional but are great superfoods that add fiber to your drink!)

Add spinach, water, chia seeds, and flax meal to your blender and blend first. Then add in bananas and peanut butter. This will ensure you don’t have any huge chunks of spinach that can be hard to get through a straw 😉

Enjoy! And feel free to brag about the fact that you’re drinking homemade milkshakes for breakfast every morning and still losing weight!

 

Zucchini Lasagna

I love lasagna and I love cheese. With that being said, I’m always looking for ways to make dishes a little healthier (even if they still have a lot of cheese). The other night I was craving lasagna like crazy but didn’t have any lasagna noodles. I’d heard about using squash before but was always a little hesitant.

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Luckily, I usually have fresh produce in my fridge and zucchini was the perfect experimental substitute for the job. The dish came out amazing and even my husband loved it. The first thing he said was “Wait! Where’s the pasta? There isn’t pasta in this?!” and then chowed down another bite.

I’m excited to try making this again soon and adding new things. The great thing about dishes like this is that there’s really no wrong way to make them and you can add as much (or as little) of anything in them as you want.

I forgot to take an after picture because we devoured it.

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh kale
  • Fresh spinach
  • 2-3 zucchini
  • 1 jar marinara/tomato sauce of choice
  • crumbled feta
  • mozzarella cheese
  • fresh Parmesan
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • oregano
  • onion or onion powder
  • salt/pepper

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. I then took about 4-5 cups of spinach and another 3 or so cups of kale and added them to a pan over low-medium heat with 2 TBSP of olive oil. Stir and add in seasonings to taste: garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, onion.

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Next, start laying and building your lasagna. Make sure your pan is lightly greased with olive oil. Then pour marinara for the base, add thin slices of zucchini, spinach/kale mixture, and cheese as you like.

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I just did two full layers and then topped it off with more marinara and mozzarella over the entire thing.

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Bake for about 30-35 minutes until cheese is fully melted. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes to let it solidify. You’ll need to use a spoon to dish it up and will want to eat it out of a bowl. It was heavenly. One thing I’d recommend trying is using a cheese grater to make long, thin slices of the zucchini. I just sliced them with a knife and didn’t get them as thin as I wanted and risked cutting my fingers about eight times.

It’s even amazing the next day heated up in the microwave.

Green Lime Smoothie

I recently liked the FoodBabe on Facebook and have loved getting all of her amazing, healthy, and toxic-free recipe in my news feed. The other day my husband told me about this smoothie using lime juice and cucumber – which I’ve never tried before. Let me put it this way – it’s outstanding and tasting how fresh it is and smelling all of the ingredients in the process instantly made my morning glow.

This recipe is from FoodBabe’s site under her Sunrise Green Smoothie. I altered it sightly by changing measurements and adding in chia seeds and ground flax meal.

I was worried that using cucumbers might make the smoothie consistency different – I’ll be honest, I’m worried anything will ruin my morning smoothie but it was quite the opposite. Using cucumber not only smells amazing and fresh but gave the smoothie a rounded taste that’s hard to describe.

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I was also very intrigued to use fresh lime juice. I was also amazed at how much smaller organic limes are – about half the size – makes you wonder about all of those GMOs. The lime juice gives this smoothie a tangy kick that’s unique to anything else I’ve made before.

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Strawberries are one of my most favorite things, ever. They are beautiful, they taste like angel berries, and I can eat them every day if I want. They also make me feel super patriotic on the 4th of July 😉 Just one cup of strawberries has only 50 calories, 1g of protein (plants have protein, too!), Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate, magnesium, and almost 4 grams of fiber!

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I’m big on making the every day things fun. It’s why I have cute ice cube trays like this one with stars. You can add a few ice cubes to this smoothie to add a little texture and to keep it cooler. Throw a few stars into your drink!

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And now for the recipe. I also added in 2 TBSP of chia seeds and 2 TBSP of ground flax meal for extra fiber.

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Tangy, sweet, refreshing, and vibrant – this smoothie will boost your day in more ways than one. Enjoy!

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Why You Should Call Yourself a Feminist and Stop Being Afraid of the Word

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Yesterday I heard a woman (who was giving a lecture at the time) say “Oh, I’m NOT a feminist!” Similar to how one might say “Oh, I do NOT eat fast food!” Here’s why this bothered me. Hang tight. This is important.

Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” 

It’s unfortunate that many people equate feminism and being a feminist with “man-hating, non-shaving, violent-protest-engaging, angry women” because let’s be honest, we’ve all heard one of those and at some point might have even thought that automatically when we heard the word.

Negatively associating feminism with those things is like associating all apples as being rotten because of that one time you bit into a bad one or knew someone who knew someone who did.

There will always be radical people, radical situations, illogical events, and so forth, but that does not mean that the definition of a word has changed. We have to continually circle back to the heart of a meaning. Redefine it for our generation and keep going strong.

Why am I so passionate about this? Because feminism IS IMPORTANT! It’s why women are where they are today and it’s what we need to keep moving forward. Name another word that defines the same values and pursuits.

Lastly, everyone should be a feminist. Especially men. Re-read the definition again and tell me where it says you have to have a vagina, you don’t. You just have to agree with the advocacy of women’s rights. And if you’re a really stand up person, you’ll do what you can in daily interactions and situations to show that.

Women need to stop putting down other women for the choices they make, whether it is to stay home with children, work, or both. Men need to do the same and encourage a work place that isn’t biased and chauvinistic, because holy hell, it still happens all the time.

So the next time someone says “I’m not a feminist” I dare you to say that you ARE and explain why. Be the change you wish to see in this world. It will improve your workplace, your life, the lives of those around you, and the world we live in.

Happy Wednesday.

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