GF & DF Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of Hot Italian Sausage (I love Mulay’s Brand Sausage)
  • 1 large, long butternut squash
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves,
  • 5 large Basil leaves (or less, I love Basil)
  • 1 jar/can of no sugar added pizza or spaghetti sauce like Cucina Antica or Muir Glen
  • 1 to 2 cups of dairy free Mozzarella cheese (My fav is Follow Your Heart Brand)
  • Red Pepper Flakes if you want to add a little heat

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • Cook sausage with chopped onions and garlic
  • Meanwhile, multi-task by slicing the butternut squash. Cut the bulbous part off and save for another dish if you like. It’s just difficult to slice up. Use a mandolin or carefully slice the squash longways, about 4in long.
  • Coat an 8×10 baking dish with a cooking spray. Begin prepping the dish by adding the first layer of sauce then the squash then the sausage. Repeat, ending with squash then sauce then cheese.
  • Bake for 30min then top with cheese and bake for another 10 to 15min or until brown and bubbly. Allow it to sit and cool for about 30min before cutting into it. I like my cheese extra crisp so I’ll bake a while longer.

This makes about 8 servings.

Running Circuit 2019-1

One of my favorite workouts is hitting the pavement for a 3 mile run and a little circuit training. Here’s what I did:

My warm up is a total body roll with a foam roller for no more than about 5 minutes followed by a brisk walk for about a quarter of a mile.

Run 1 mile, stop and do 25 Squats, 25 Push Ups, 25 Bicycles & 25 Walking Lunges.

Run to mile 2 and repeat.

Run to mile 3 and repeat once more.

Cool down with another quarter mile walk and stretching for 5 to 10 minutes.

I LOVE this style of training and will post more with different exercises, so stay tuned for workout ideas! Have a great day!

3 Days of Meal Prep #102

Grocery list:

  • 3 Bok Choys
  • 2 large Sweet Potatoes
  • Cilantro
  • 1 Lime
  • 1c Jasmine Rice
  • 1 can of Rotel
  • 1 can of Black Beans
  • 1 packet of Spicy Chili Seasoning
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Garlic Granules
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional for sweet potatoes)
  • Black Pepper
  • Avocado Oil
  • Full Fat Grass Fed Butter
  • 1lb of Chicken Thighs or Breast
  • 16oz Grass Fed Ground Beef

Add yummy fats to these meals by adding some avocado slices, a drizzle of Primal Kitchen brand dressing or a sprinkle of your favorite seed like Ground Flaxseed, Pumpkin or Sunflower.

I personally enjoy pairing Chicken with Cilantro Lime Jasmine Rice and Lazy Beef Chili with Sweet Potatoes. Each meal will get an equal split of bok choy.  This will yield 6 meals in total which I will have for lunch and dinner.

How about some breakfast?! I’ve got another post about that right -> here!

More “3 days of Meals Prepped” to come weekly!

3 Days of Meal Prep #101

Grocery List

  • Bundle of asparagus
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 8oz White Button Mushrooms
  • Lemon
  • Fresh Rosemary Springs
  • Fresh Thyme Springs
  • Scallions (green onions)
  • Jalapenos (optional)
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Pack of Uncured and Sugar-Free Bacon or Turkey Bacon
  • 16oz Grass-Fed Ground Beef
  • 16oz Chicken Breast or Thighs
  • Grass-Fed Full Fat Butter
  • Avocado, Coconut or Olive Oil
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Granules
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • Grated Parmesean

Add yummy fats to these meals by adding some avocado slices, a drizzle of Primal Kitchen brand dressing or a sprinkle of your favorite seed like Ground Flaxseed, Pumpkin or Sunflower.

Lemon & Herb Chicken

Mushroom’d Ground Beef

Buttered Jasmine Rice

Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Oven Roasted Asparragus

Oven Baked Turkey Bacon

I personally enjoy pairing Herb Chicken with Jasmine Rice and Mushroom Ground Beef with Sweet Potatoes. Both get a serving of Asparagus and a slice of bacon. This will yield 6 meals in total!

How about some breakfast?! I’ve got another post about that right -> here!

More “3 days of Meal Prep” to come weekly!

3 Days of Meal Prep #100

Grocery List:

  • 1 1/2 lbs of Fingerling Mixed Potatoes
  • 1lb of Raw Baby Spinach
  • 8oz mushrooms
  • Green Onions (scallions)
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Lime
  • Lemon
  • Jasmine Rice
  • 1 1/2 lbs Chicken Breast or Thighs
  • 16oz 90/10 Grass-Fed Ground Beef
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Garlic Granules
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Avocado Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Full Fat Grass-Fed Butter

Add yummy fats to these meals by adding some avocado slices, a drizzle of Primal Kitchen brand dressing or a sprinkle of your favorite seed like Ground Flaxseed, Pumpkin or Sunflower.

Lemon Herb Chicken

Herb & Lime Ground Beef

Oven (Spicey) Roasted Fingerling Potatoes – Red Pepper Flakes may be omitted.

Buttered Jasmine Rice

Sauteed Spinach & Mushrooms

I personally enjoy pairing Herb Chicken with Jasmine Rice and Cilantro Lime Ground Beef with Fingerling Potatoes. Both get a serving of Spinach & Mushrooms. This will yield 6 meals in total!

How about some breakfast?! I’ve got another post about that right -> here!

More “3 days of Meal Prep” to come weekly!

Let your Breakfast say “Good Morning”!

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When it comes to fitness and/or physique goals, consistency in what you eat and daily caloric intake matters.

I have found that in any meal plan that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is most pleasurable to mix things up for lunch and dinner while eating pretty much the same breakfast everyday.

This is my everyday breakfast and has been since 2017.  I really enjoy this combination of foods and have not gotten tired of it.

So every morning my breakfast consists of:

  • 1 cup of Egg Whites
  • 1/2 an Avocado
  • 1/2 cup of Rolled Oats prepped in water with 3 tbsp of Peanut Butter Powder

What varies are the veggies I cook my eggs in and oat toppings.  I usually saute raw baby spinach but when I have extra veggies laying around (and the time to chop up) like mushrooms, onions, peppers and tomatoes, I’ll throw those into the mix.  I usually have some sort of kimchi or fermented beets & carrots in the fridge, so I’ll add 2 tbsp of that on the side for a little extra probiotics.

I love Raw Unfiltered Honey in my oats but will swap it for Stevia Cinnamon Vanilla if I’m planning on eating something higher in sugar later in the day.  I’ll also add some blueberries, bananas or apples when I have some available.

 

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So, how to build your breakfast?  To get the most variety of nutritional benefits, it should include:

  • 1 protein (Eggs, Egg Whites, Bacon, Sausage, Chicken or Red Meat or a combination)
  • 1 complex carbohydrate source like Rolled Oats, Whole Wheat Toast or English Muffin or Cereal.
  • 1 source of fibrous veggies like sauteed spinach, zucchini or sweet potato noodles, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and/or peppers.  Feel free to also throw in some berries or grapefruit.
  • and to make it a “balanced” meal, add healthy fats like avocado, cooked in coconut oil or butter or full fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

Find your favorite breakfast items so it’s a meal you really look forward to everyday!

Look at all this fermented food!

It is estimated that we have 100 trillion microorganisms that call our gut a cozy home.  Crazy, huh?!  Though they are not fully understood, they may have an impact on our immune system, brain health, hormone production, metabolism and much more!

When there is an abundance of “bad” bacteria, you may have experienced an interruption of the balance of your microbiota, known as Dysbiosis.  This may be due to so many reasons but here are a few:

  • a dietary change that increases your intake of protein, sugar, or food additives
  • accidental chemical consumption, such as lingering pesticides on unwashed fruit
  • an excess of alcoholic beverages
  • new medications, such as antibiotics, that affect your gut flora
  • poor dental hygiene, which allows bacteria to grow out of balance in your mouth
  • high levels of stress or anxiety, which can weaken your immune system
  • unprotected sex, which can expose you to harmful bacteria

Common symptoms include:

  • bad breath
  • upset stomach / nausea / constipation / diarrhea
  • bloating / gas
  • food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances
  • IBS (irritable bowl syndrome)
  • Candida
  • acne, roseacea, eczema
  • rash or redness
  • fatigue / having trouble thinking or concentrating
  • anxiety / depression
  • asthma, difficulty breathing
  • immune system disorders
  • compromised immune system, getting sick often

Essentially, your symptoms will depend on where the bacteria imbalance develops.  They may also vary based on the types of bacteria that are out of balance.  There is emerging evidence that what we eat, the microbes living in our gut, and our brains are interconnected. The nerves in our digestive tract, the enteric nervous system, communicate with the brain through neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Our gut microbes produce quite a lot of these neurotransmitters, which can affect our mood and may also play into food cravings and eating behaviors.  Studies are showing that what we eat affects the composition of our gut bacteria, and these bacteria can then communicate back to the brain.  Ever hear of the “gut-brain axis”? That is essentially it.  A huge factor on maintaining a happy gut home relies on what you put into your belly.  Feed it nutrient dense foods like all the veggies, fruits aaaaand something called fermented foods!

The word ferment means to incite or stir up.  So to ferment food is to create an exciting atmosphere to turn carbohydrates into alcohol or organic acids using yeast or bacteria.  Microbes are needed to turn food into it’s fermented version, which feeds on the sugar of the carbohydrate.  This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

I went to my neighborhood Natural Grocers and snapped pics of fermented items to show you guys how many different ways you can add a little extra probiotics into your dietary regimen.

Below are beverages that most people have heard of, Kombucha.  Look at the nutritional label and look for one with the lowest sugar content.  A lot of these can actually be really high in sugar.  These also contain small amounts of alcohol, due to the fermentation process, so this may also be of concern for some.20181205_103243

 

Did you know you can also make your own kombucha?!?! Read more about the Fermentation Creation Kit if you have interest in giving this a shot.20181205_103115

 

Stir things up in your kitchen with this Body Ecology Starter kits.20181205_103030

 

I love LOVE love Kala’s Kuisine products! Kala is based in Austin, TX. 20181205_102916

 

Sriracha, anyone?!? Get it ALIVE by Wildbrine!20181205_102906

 

Barrell Creek Provisions make a promise “Fermented & Never Cooked”.20181205_102853     20181205_101259

 

Re-established in the 80’s, “Anyone Can Make a Dill Pickle, but Not Like Bubbie” is the truth!
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Kraut, Kraut, Kraut by Pickled Planet, an Oregon based company that only uses organic produce.  I’ve yet to try this product since it’s fairly new to the store but I’m looking forward to their “Taqueria Mix” with carrots, onions & pickles.20181205_102809

 

YES! I love Farmhouse Culture kimchi and krauts! They also make SHOT! That are sooooo gooood!

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Now we’re getting into some yogurts!  This is from Kite Hill, I’m featuring their Almond Milk based yogurt, using non-GMO almonds. Their “Traditionally Cultured” means they add live active cultures.  Side note, they make an amazing dairy free cream cheese! Try the chive one! 20181205_102646

Culina, another “local-to-me” company!  Started in an Austin Tx home kitchen, now sold in many health food stores.  This thick, live cultures added, coconut cream based yogurt offers creative flavor pairings like Blueberry Lavender, Strawberry Rose and Bourbon Vanilla. YUM!20181205_102615

 

Ever hear of “Cashewgurt”?!? Forager nailed it with their Organic only cashew based yogurt!  20181205_102605

 

GT’s, the company known for their Kombucha’s expanded their line and now offer coconut based yogurts and keifer.  Cocoyo, I love this name, comes in Vanilla, Ginger Turmeric, Raspberry and Plain.  I’m really looking forward to my first serving, this 8oz jar of Vanilla only yields 2gs of Sugar. Amazing.20181205_102522

 

 

Now we’re talking Kefir, a kind of like a drinkable yogurt!

Maple Hill Creamery is 100% Grassfed and Organic.  They produce milk, delicious yogurt (which I’ve had) and kefir.  I’ve yet to try their kefir but they’re described as super creamy, mildly tart and refreshing. 20181205_102449

 

Inner-Eco belief is that “diversity brings stability to ecosystems”, further explaining that “Kefir cultures are one of the most diverse probiotic sources available thanks to its nearly 30 strains of friendly yeast and bacteria.”  They simply combine coconut water with kefir cultures to produce their fizzy waters. You have the option to buy a 15oz bottle for a 30 servings supply (1 Tbsp a day) or a 1oz shot bottle.20181205_101319

 

GoodBelly Probiotics is a “one serving dose” a day drink.  They say their drinks are just right for those who experience occasional digestive upsets and after a course of antibiotics.  GoodBelly shots come in many fruit flavors, as it is fruit juice based.  They’re packed with billions of probiotics in just one shot, as well as a whopping 9 grams of sugar.  So maby opt for the “no sugar added” option if that is discouraging.20181205_101254

 

While fermented foods may provide many beneficial health benefits, they don’t always settle well with some.  If you’re interested in a food or beverage,  try a taste or consume half (or less) a bottle of kombucha.  Save the rest for tomorrow.  See how your belly does.  Personally, my belly loves krauts and kimchis but I can only drink half a kombucha bottle when I decide on having some.

Cinnabomb Pizza

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My Saturday night indulgence was the bomb! I’m calling this gluten free dessert “Cinnabomb Pizza”!

We LOVE Against the Grain Gluten Free Pizza Crust and my husband has been begging for a dessert using this crust, so I finally did!

This is like a Cinnamon Roll with a nutty background flavor. This is a cheese based crust but you don’t even taste it! This crust bakes to a perfect crunchy & flakey crisp. I’m not a fan of floppy pizzas.

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So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Against the Grain Crust

The Spread:

  • 1c unsalted Kerrygold Irish Butter,  softened
  • 1c Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 1/2c Gluten Free Rolled Oats
  • 6 tbsp Cinnamon

The Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • 4tbsp unsalted Kerrygold Irish Butter, softened
  • 2oz Organic Valley Cream Cheese,  softened
  • 3/4c Powdered Sugar Substitute (3/4c of Xylitol OR Erythritol & 1tbsp of Arrowroot Powder, I used my Breville blender until powdery)
  • 1/2tsp of Vanilla Extract

Pre-heat oven to 375.

In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients of the spread then add the softened butter and mix thoroughly to make crumbles.

On a frozen crust, spread the mixture evenly. Keep the outer inch of the crust exposed. This allows room for the bubbly gooeyness to spread.

Bake for about 8 to 10min or until lightly brown.

Now make the glaze! Combine Xylitol and Arrowroot powder together.  In a separate bowl, beat the softened butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract. I used a handheld mixture to beat on high. Slowly add the powdered sugar into the mixture and continue to beat until it becomes a thick glaze. Drizzle over pizza and enjoy by itself or add a scoop of Halo Top Vanilla Ice Cream!

I cut it to yield 12 small slices so that I can have a yummy little taste.

Pre-Workout Nutrition

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Wanna be a beast in the gym?!

Heck yeah!

So fuel up right!

Have a heaping dose of carbs, moderate protein and some fats anywhere from 1 to 1 and half hours before you get started.  We need carbs to lift weights, for explosive power and to sustain our energy level throughout the length of our time in the gym.  Carbs give our amazing bodies ENERGY to do these things. The better we fuel our bodies the more awesome gym gains we’ll see.  On training days consume MOST of your carbs before and after your workouts.  For example, I’m currently consuming about 230g of carbs everyday. So, I’ll consume about 50-60% of that split between pre and post workout meals.  The remaining is spread out between my other meals, which will consist of a lot of veggies and fiber.

Consuming protein in your pre-workout meal will simply keep the body supplied with the aminos to keep the body from breaking down muscle and readily build up what we’re tearing apart during exercise.

Since fats take longer to digest, it’s smart to add a little fats to our pre-workout meal so that the carbs and protein we also eat aren’t burned up quickly, yielding a steady energy duration throughout our workout time.

So don’t be afraid of carbs! They can actually do us some good for our training sessions!

Need help finding macros? Message me, I’d be happy to help =)

Matcha Me Up

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I first learned about Matcha a few years ago while working at Natural Grocers but not until recently, have I incorporated it into my daily routine.

I decided to cut back on my daily caffeine intake and started by reducing my morning cup of coffee from 2 to 2 1/2 cups to just 1 cup.  I was finding that I was struggling a bit to get through the day.  So I added a serving of Matcha as a mid-day “pick-me-up”.  I worked through this regimen for about a week; 1c of coffee in the AM then 1tsp of Matcha in the afternoon.

I have now found a nice energy balance!  I get up pretty early 3 times a week which makes for long days.  On those days, I have one cup of coffee along with a Matcha beverage mid-day.  All other days, I enjoy a warm Matcha Latte in the morning and an iced Matcha Latte midday, if needed.

1 cup of coffee yields about 95mg of caffeine

1 tsp of Matcha Powder yields about 35mg of caffeine

So I’m happy to have reduced my total caffeine intake from about 177.5mg to only 70mg!

There are many benefits to consuming Matcha Powder; Brain health via energy + calm (w/L-Theanine), weight loss & skin health (via EGCG), healthy heart (lowering LDL), Chlorophyll (detox) and #1 in my opinion is it’s potent antioxidant power supply.

Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals.  Free radicals is what your body creates when processing food, environmental exposure, sunlight, chemical exposure, alcohol, etc.  Antioxidants may break down free radicals so that they are less harmful or keep them from even forming.

Oxidative stress is when there is an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals (too many).   Various studies and theories have connected oxidative stress due to free radicals to:

Studies suggest that antioxidants cannot “cure” the effects of free radicals, at least not when antioxidants come from artificial sources.  I absolutely have an interest in fighting free radicals so I avoid common sources of free radicals, such as fried food, tobacco smoke and pesticides, as well as keep alcohol minimum.  I also eat nutrient dense foods without worrying about supplementing with antioxidants.

An excellent source of Matcha comes from a company called Encha Matcha.  Please check out their site to learn more.  They provide you with so much information and teach you about various types of Matcha which will help you decided which Matcha is best for you.