Friday, April 24, 2015

Planning Ahead for Success

Planning ahead and prepping are important habits for your success in maintaining good health. When you are prepared, healthy meals and snacks can be made quickly. Here are a few tips for easy meal prepping:

* Plan for the week ahead on the weekend, and shop from a list

* Wash produce in a 1:10 vinegar solution and dry thoroughly before storing. 
* Cook grains (brown rice, quinoa, etc), beans and lentils and store in the frig for your weekly recipes and sides. I use a pressure cooker to save even more time.
* Cook chicken breasts by grilling or baking and use for salads or main dishes throughout the week.
* While grains and/or meats are cooking, assemble salad ingredients (minus dressing) in serving sized baggies or containers if you pack lunches. You can also chop veggies for recipes to save time on busy weeknights.
* Make a batch of salad dressing to last the week. It takes 5 minutes, you'll save money and you won't be ingesting weird ingredients from bottled dressing. Here's an easy one: 3 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar, 2 Tbl fresh lemon juice, ½ tsp. Raw honey, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 3 Tbl extra virgin olive oil---whisk or whir in a blender and voila!

* When you make soups or crock pot meals, make enough to freeze half for another week when you may be too busy to cook or forgot to plan something.

* Buy seasonal fruit on sale, chop and freeze some for smoothies and Shakeology add-ins. I have frozen all kinds of berries, watermelon, pineapple and peaches. It's best to freeze on a sheet in a single layer, then transfer to a bag so the pieces don't stick to each other. 

* Along the same lines, when your bananas get too soft, just peel them and freeze them for your shakes. I even freeze my banana peels and when I get a bagful I blend them with water in and feed them to my roses. Recycling to the max!

My friend has a prolific lemon tree. Every few weeks she lets me pick a large sackful of lemons and I keep some in my fruit bowl and squeeze the rest with my Kitchenaid stand mixer juicing attachment. I fill several ice cube trays and store the cubes in a freezer bag. It only takes about 15 minutes. When I'm out of fresh lemons for my dressings, hummus, or lemon water, I just head to the freezer. One cube is about 2 Tbls of lemon juice. I use A LOT of lemons so this saves me money, too! 

I've also been known to freeze leftover coffee for iced coffee or an occasional mocha Shakeology. You can roughly chop spinach or kale in a blender with some water and freeze in ice cube trays for a green boost to your shakes and smoothies, too!

Invest in some good glass food storage containers and stock up your frig every weekend for almost grab-and-go simplicity. I use a lot of canning jars to store my nuts and seeds, nut butters, dressings, hummus, and leftovers. You can even get reusable plastic caps and dissolvable labels for them (check I also try to repurpose empty vinegar and oil bottles. 

If you have more meal prep tips, feel free to share them on my Facebook Page at

Summer is on the horizon! Are you ready for skimpier clothes and swimsuits? I've got a free 21 Day Fix coaching group starting on May 1st on Facebook. If you have the program and want in, just drop me a line saying you want to be added to the group. 

If you don't have the program, why not check it out here:

As always, I'm available to answer your questions about nutrition and all of the Beachbody fitness programs and Shakeology. Just drop me a line

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Skin You're In

You're making great improvements. You're exercising daily and paying attention to what goes in your body. Have you thought about what goes ON your body, too?

Chemical ingredients in cosmetics and toiletries may be harmful to your body. Ingredients like parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, SD alcohol, petroleum-derived ingredients, artificial colors and fragrances can all be found in many everyday products that we put on our skin. Many of these chemicals can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. As a matter of fact, about 60% of anything you put on your skin gets absorbed!

The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It has many functions:

It is the first line of defense against pathogens.
It facilitates sensation of temperature, pressure and touch via nerve endings
It provides thermoregulation utilizing sweat glands, blood vessel dilation and tiny erector pili muscles (goosebumps).
It acts as a storage center for lipids and water.
It provides a barrier to reduce fluid loss.
It absorbs oxygen and aids in the synthesis of Vitamin D from sunlight.

One of the first products I ditched when decided to ditch the chemicals was anti-perspirant. First of all, sweating is how the body thermoregulates when it gets too warm. Sweating also helps to eliminate toxins through the skin. Sweating is not something we should inhibit, especially when we are exercising. Odor is not caused by the sweat, per se. It is caused by the byproducts of bacteria which multiply in a warm and dark environment (a sweaty armpit) and to some extent, by certain foods or pharmaceuticals that were ingested. So, we can still let the body do it's detoxing and cooling things but manage the odor that might be less than pleasing. Here's a recipe for a simple and inexpensive alternative to deodorant that is free of chemicals that many people wish to avoid:

Mix together ¼ cup each melted coconut oil, baking soda and corn starch or arrowroot powder and 10 drops of essential oil of your choice. (a blend of tea tree and lavender works well). Pour into a glass jar and cover. It will solidify when it cools. Apply to your armpits with your fingers. The baking soda absorbs odor, the starch absorbs wetness and coconut oil is an anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and moisturizer. (Some people find the baking soda is a bit abrasive or irritating, so you can leave it out if you experience redness.)

Since coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, you may want a firmer deodorant that you can pour into a push -up tube (just clean out your old deodorant tube and reuse it!) Since I live in a warm climate, this is what I use:

  • 3 Tbls coconut oil
  • 2 Tbls beeswax
  • 2 Tbls baking soda
  • 2 Tbls arrowroot
  • 1/8 tsp tea tree essential oil
  • 1/8 tsp lavender

Just melt the oil and beeswax in a double boiler over low heat. Whisk in the powders, remove from heat, then add the oils. Pour into your empty deodorant container and let cool completely before capping.

Let me know if you make one of these deodorant recipes. I swear they work, and you won't have to worry about clogging up any sweat glands or absorbing any toxins.