Friday, May 31, 2013

Tips for eating out

Its Friday and I'm sure your weekend is packed with picnics, graduation parties, birthday parties or dinner at a restaurant. As I'm writing this sentence my blood pressure is already starting to rise because I know that all of these things are filled with high fat, sugary, and hard to resist temptations. The last picnic I went to the menu consisted of pigs in a blanket, roast beef, stuffed chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, salad, and fruit salad. Oh, and need I forget the beer, liquor, pop, cookies and cake! So needless to say there was not much for me to choose from. I did my best to keep it clean. People kept giving me weird stares and offering me cake and cookies. I politely declined and drank my water and ate my fruit. When I got home I prepared myself a healthy snack.

To keep from having to stress every time you go out in public to a restaurant or an event here are some tips fromTosca Reno's Stripped book to keep your blood pressure in check!

Planning is best, when you are out you always need a game plan. You should avoid eating out as much as possible because once you enter a restaurant you surrender control over what is in your food.

1. Develop an "I don't have to eat it all!" Mindset. Make up your mind before you go that you don't have to get the most bang for your buck by cleaning your plate. KEEP YOUR GOAL IN MIND.

2. Satisfy hunger only-Don't Gorge. Eat for the purpose of satisfying your hunger, but no more.

3. Start small and green. Start your meal with a salad, without dressing. Use a spritz of lemon or some balsamic vinegar.

4. Broth is best. When there is no salad option have a broth based soup.

5. NO BREAD PLEASE! Remember this is not helping you achieve your 10 pound weight loss goal.

6. Clean Cooking techniques rock! Look for entree options featuring steamed or raw veggies and grilled, baked or roasted meats or fish. If they aren't listed, ask the server to prepare it that way. Oh and don't always trust the low fat or fat free symbols.

7. Portion control is in. Have a good look at your plate when it arrives. Ask for a doggie bag and split your meal in half.

8. Fletcherize. The practice of chewing each mouthful a min of 25 times. It gives your body a chance to recognize when you are becoming full. (This is very hard to do when you are with kids, because you never know when they have had enough and you will have to leave your meal behind to take the kids out).

9. Zero Tolerance. You want to avoid alcohol because sugar can derail you in the most powerful way. Have sparkling water with lemon or lime slices.

10. Stop before the end. Think of your plan to shed those pounds, if you can't resist something sweet ask for a dish of fresh fruit and leave it at that!

If you doubt your ability to resist restaurant offerings then pre-eat! Then when you go to a restaurant or social event you don't have to worry about what's on the menu and you can focus on socializing.

If you can't resist the dessert table then pack a few clean cookies in a Ziploc bag and pull them out with your coffee while everyone else is eating their sugar laden cookies and cake. If you have to go through a drive through, familiarize yourself with the menu. Never super size and make smart food choices by ordering grilled chicken and a side salad. Cut up the chicken and place on salad and go with olive and vinegar dressing or, low fat balsamic.

One of the most difficult things to manage while following a healthy lifestyle is your social life. So surround yourself with family and friends that support what you are doing and are not sabotaging your efforts. Instead of going out drinking or to a restaurant here are some alternatives.

Meet a friend at the gym

Have a game night at home with healthy clean snacks

Batters up- organize a kickball or softball game in your neighborhood or with the kids.

Volunteer together at a local charity

Meet at the park for a walk or bike ride

Take a zumba class with friends- I am doing this at Northway Church every Thursday night! AWESOME!

Eating clean and creating a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to mean that you are becoming a boring person. There is so much more to experience than food and drinks! Live outside the box and you will have people wondering what you are doing because your energy and personality are on fire!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Clean Eating Tips That Worked for ME

Clean Eating Tips That Worked for ME

This week I hosted a conference call for all of my challenge groups. It seems as though exercising is a fairly easy task to accomplish but eating the correct amount of foods and what exactly to eat are the most difficult things for people to master. So in an effort to ensure that everyone in my challenge groups have all the tools they need to succeed I decided to hold this free call to share my advice on what has worked for me.
For those that missed the call here is a re cap of the evenings discussion!
First and foremost, if you do not own a copt of "Eat Clean Recharged" by Tosca Reno go out and get your copy now. It not only tells you exactly how to get started eating clean but it really gives you the history behind why eating clean is the most beneficial for your body. There are so many areas that Tosca touches upon in the book that were like "ah ha" moments for me!
Portion sizes- Tosca's strategy does not count calories or points. Instead you are guided by simply following correct portion sizes and pairing the correct foods together. So it is very easy to stick to the correct plan because you don't need any fancy sliders to figure out your calories or scales to measure your food. A serving of protein is the palm of your hand. A serving of complex carbohydrates such as apples, oranges, veggies is 2 cupped handfuls and a serving of starchy carbs is the size of 1 cupped handful.
If you follow the correct portion sizes you will stay on track and are less likely to over indulge. I literally measure out my blueberries in the morning for my oatmeal by scooping out 2 hanfuls and tossing into the oatmeal.
Drink a large glass of warm lemon water when you first wake up before you eat breakfast. Lemon water is a natural detox and it also jump starts your metabolism in the am. I use a lemon squeezer and squeeze an entire lemon into my cup and fill to the top with warm tap water. Then, I do not allow myself to eat breakfast until the entire glass of water is gone.
Tip: Lemons tend to go bad quickly so to get the most out of your lemons, squeeze all of the juice into ice cube trays and then just pop them out and go each morning!
Get a lunch tote- 31 sells these great lunch totes that are perfect for packing healthy snacks and meals. On Sunday I always sit down and plan out my meals for the week. I make my grocery list and then I cut up fruits and veggies and portion into serving sizes for the week. I measure out hummus, all natural PB and nuts as my proteins to pair with my fruits and veggies. Then, if I am out doing errands I always pack a snack and even an extra one! I always throw in my shaker cup and shakeology because you can always find water somewhere! The, I am never stranded and starving! I will never let myself get to the ravenous stage where I eat everything in sight! This has been my saving grace when there were no healthy alternatives at a funtion as well.
Carry a refillable bottle with water everywhere you go. You can add lime, lemon, cucumber and strawberries to your water to give it flavor. NO SODA OR JUICE! I'm telling you that it's full of empty calories and you are not going to lose the weight if you drink soda or juice! Just WATER!

Drink green tea when you are hungry, I noticed that it helps with my cravings especially in the late afternoon or evening!

Are you the type of person that needs something sweet after dinner? I always grew up needing to have dessert following my meal. For dinner I will cut up a bowel of fruit and leave it on the table for something sweet after dinner for the rest of the family. I usually don’t eat it unless I can’t resist.
Buy in bulk, I go to McGinnis and sisters and buy their 10lb bag of chicken and cut it up into palm size pieces and freeze. It is better to buy fresh produce than frozen. Especially in chicken they infuse it with salt water as a preservative. So instead, buy the 10lbs bags when they are on sale and then portion out palm size pieces for your entire family freeze and voila you have no additives chicken for later!

Another thing that I do all the time is cook extra chicken for your lunches on Sunday or whatever day you are going to use as your prep day. That way you can slice it up and put it in a tupperware and pull out for salads or wraps for the rest of the week.

Also, cook extra for dinner and place in containers for lunches throughout the week.

You can replace any foods so long as you replace a complex carb with another complex carb ect. So if you don't like banana's replace them with an apple. If you don't like almonds replace with all natural pb!
80% nutrition + 10% exercise + 10% genetics = body beautiful/body health

1. Eat six small meals a day. Eat every two-and-a-half to three hours. I literally set the timer on my watch to remind me when to eat! Now that I have been doing it for so long my body just tells me that its time to eat! My husband always jokes that I eat non stop all day long! And I DO!!!
2. Eat breakfast everyday, within an hour of rising. So give or take when you exercise. I exercise first thing in the morning and I don't eat before hand. I workout, drink my results and recovery drink, grab a shower and then make breakfast. I always have a warm glass of lemon water each morning as my wake up and detox! I squeeze 1/2 or a whole lemon into a glass of warm water. I make it a rule that I cannot eat my breakfast until I drink the entire glass of water.
3. Eat a combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal. A lean protein would be your plain unsalted nuts, almond butter, all natural peanut butter, white meat such as chicken and fish. A complex carb is your fruits and veggies such as bananas, apples, oranges, cucumbers, carrots, tomoatoes just to name a few.
4. Eat sufficient (two or three servings) of healthy fats every day (evoo, avocado)
5. Drink two to three liters of water each day. I make this a MUST! If you want to lose weight then you must drink a lot of water each and everyday. If you do not drink enough water you body actually holds onto water weight. Drinking water speeds up your metabolism and helps you lose weight.
6. Carry a cooler packed with clean foods. I seriously cannot leave the house without my 31 cooler bag. Even if I am pretty certain that I am going to be home before my next snack or meal I still throw in an apple and a handful of unsalted almonds and a bottle of water. It is super easy to throw in a packet of shakeology and your shaker cup. Then you are never left scrounging for a meal or a drive through to go to. you always have a healthy snack or meal to hold you over!
7. Depend on fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes. Limit your starchy complex carbs to two to four servings each day. I suggest not relying to heavily on juices. I would aim to get your servings of fruits and veggies each day from actulaly eating them. This way you get the added fiber from the skins of the fruits! Juices more often than not have added sugars and additives that our bodies do not need.
8. Adhere to proper portion sizes.


Protein: palm of one hand
Starchy complex carbohydrates: What can fit into one cupped hand
Complex Carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables: What can fit into two cupped hands together
Healthy Fats: One scant handful of nuts, 1 to 2 tbsp of oil.

1. Sugar, white flour and over processed foods. Bread at the bread table when you are out to eat. Especially when I was trying to lose the weight I would avoid bread at all costs. I even avoided ezekiel bread or most starchy carbs.
2. Artificial sugars- NO STEVIA OR EQUAL OR SWEET N LOW ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOU! I reccomend Agave nectar and honey if you need to sweeten something. Even then I still think you should use it sparingly. Again, sugar is addictive and the more you have the more your body will crave it!
3. Sugar-loaded beverages such as soda and juice- NONE, ZILCH ZERO!!
4. Super sizing your meals or portions- If you are at a restaurant always ask for a box and take half of it home! Restaurants are known for their oversized portions. Even if it's a healthy meal that does not give you permission to throw your rules out the window! You can eat the right kinds of foods and have to much and still not see results.
5. Alcohol, try your best to limit. My rule of thumb is for every alcoholic drink that you consume you must have 1 full glass of water!
Alcohol is full of sugar and empty calories so you need to ask yourself, is this short term sacrifice of drinking worth the long term results of me feeling amazing in my body and having the confidence to put myself out there!
6. Chemically charged foods- So this mean smart ones, lean cuisines or any other processed meals. Take a look at the labels on your food. If there are more than 3 ingredients and you don't understand what they are then you probally shouldn't buy it!
7. Foods containing preservatives
8. Artificial foods such as processed cheese slices- I very rarely eat a piece of cheese. I tend to choose feta cheese if I go that route! Once again your body holds onto bad fats!
9. Saturated and trans fats
10. Anti foods, calorie dense foods with no nutritional value.
1. Pack a cooler everyday
2. Carry a water bottle everywhere
3. Make a shopping list and stick to it- I grocery shop for 2 weeks at a time. I sit down with my white board, grocery list and recipes and plan out my meals so that my entire family can follow the same eating schedule. It works and we are all happy!
4. Prepare planned leftovers
5. Keep your pantry stocked with staples. Staples in my pantry are plain unsalted rice cakes, all natural peanut butter, almonds, cashews, raisins, flaxseed, and olive oil! If I run out of fresh fruits and veggies I turn to rice cakes with peanut butter and raisins!

1. Set realistic goals for yourself-weekly, monthly and yearly.
2. Train all of your major muscle groups, arms shoulders, chest, back, legs and abs.
3. Challenge yourself-vary your routine every few weeks.
4. Keep cardio fun-try new activities
5. Stay focused-put your mind into your muscle.

Garden fresh salad with warm crispy chicken and balsamic vinaigrette and water.
McDonalds chicken fajita, apple slices without Carmel dipping sauce and water
Burger King flame broiled hamburger and BK side salad with no croutons or dressing and water.
Wendy’s home style chicken go wrap, plain baked potato and water
Subway 6 inch turkey breast or ham sub, apple slices and water. No dressing or cheese on sandwich!

If you would like more information on how you can transform your lifestyle with eating clean please message me at or go to and create a free account and together we can reach your health and fitness goals one day at a time!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Southwestern Veggie Taco

Southwestern Veggie Taco
  • ¼ medium avocado, mashed
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh salsa (pico de gallo)
  • 1¼ cup Black Beans and Rice (see recipe on pg. 75)
  • ¼ cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1 (6-inch) corn tortilla

  1. Combine mashed avocado and fresh salsa in small bowl; mix well, Set aside.
  2. Place Black Beans and Rice and corn on one half of tortilla; fold.
  3. Serve with avocado and salsa mixture.
(Makes 1 serving)

  • Calories: 466
  • Total Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 1,336 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 79 g
  • Fiber: 17 g
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Protein: 14 g

Chicken with Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce.

This meal is super easy and really fancy out of the crock pot !! No really I have served this to guests and they can't believe it !! YUMMY GOODNESS! I serve mine over brown rice :)

1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
... 1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
3 large skinless chicken Breast halves
6 to 8 oz each
3 Bone in skinless chicken thighs
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves,chopped
1/2 lb. baby Bella or white button mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup low sodium chicken Broth
2 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
2 Tbs. Greek Yogurt

Combine the flour, garlic,onion powder,salt,pepper,and paprika in a plastic storage bag. Add the chicken and shake well to coat. Heat the oil in a large fry pan sear the skinless chicken thighs first on both sides . Do the same with the chicken breasts until lightly brown. Place the thighs in the bottom of the slow cooker and the breast resting on top of the thighs. (this will help the breast meat stay moist when not touching the bottom or sides !!) Saute' the onions and garlic in the same fry pan until lightly browned. Add the wine and chicken broth; stir in the mustard and cook for 1 minute. Spoon the onion mixture over the chicken. Next, in the same fry pan, saute the mushrooms until softened, about 2 minutes. Pour mushrooms over chicken and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours (or 21/2-3 hours on high).
Remove the Chicken from the slow cooker and stir in the Greek yogurt.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Serve over Brown Rice or Quinoa'
This recipe serves 6

From the Kitchen of :Sara Stakeley

Cucumber "crackers" + tuna salad

I love using cucumber slices in place of crackers -- perfect for spreads! This is a great, easy snack; I enjoyed it today as the Mid-Afternoon Munch.


  • One cucumber, sliced thin
  • 2.5 oz. water-packed tuna
  • 1 tbls. Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbls. sugar-free Dijon mustard
  • 5 grape tomatoes, sliced


Drain tuna, if necessary. Blend tuna, Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard. Spread onto cucumber slices and top each with tomato slices.
Preparation Time: 5 min

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bronzing 101!!

Living here in Pittsburgh we don't get to see the sun every day... I know !! Good thing is we can fake a bronze look with these little tips !! My goal is to simplify it as much as we can but still help you see the impact. Our three golden rules for bronzing are:

  1. Pick a bronzer that isn’t orangey oompa loompa.
  2. Always tap away excess on the counter and swirl the brush on the back of your hand first. Hear my voice in your head: you can’t ever go directly from the compact to your face! It has to go through the back of your hand first to grant access to your face. This ensures it will never get muddy.
  3. And apply it where the sun would hit your face if you were lounging on a chaise in Tulum!
Here’s how:
  • Bronzing Powder — pick one that is shimmer free and is more brown than orange. I use Zuzu Luxe Mineral Bronzer in D32 for lighter skin tones and D28 for warmer skin tones because it’s a Vegan line that I love, but I also swear by Smashbox Bronze Lights in Sunkissed Matte for lighter skin tones and Suntan Matte for darker skin tones.
  • Bronzing Brush — there are many styles that you can choose from but my favorites are kabuki brushes because of the control the short handle gives and the Hourglass No. 2 Brush that I used for this shoot because of the denseness and softness of the bristles.
  1. Tilt your head up and imagine where the sun’s rays would hit your features.
  2. Dip your brush in the compact, tap off any excess on the counter, swirl the brush on the back of your hand to smooth it out, then start by sweeping the brush across the top of your hairline.
  3. Next fill in your forehead and temples. Go back to reload, tap away excess, swirl a little on the back of your hand, then sweep across your cheekbones and down the bridge of your nose and tap a little on your chin.
  4. Go back to reload, tap away excess, swirl a little on the back of your hand, then lift your chin. No, the sun wouldn’t reach your neck, but that’s why you have to go back and make sure to fill it in as well. Otherwise your chest and face will be a different color than your neck!

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Cilantro Lime Chicken Cacciatore

Looking for some new ways to spice up my chicken while I am on the Eat Clean Stripped meal plan. I came across this recipe and I am going to give it a try tonight for dinner !!


  • 2 lbs. chicken breast (slice into 1 oz cubes)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped Cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 medium Roma Tomatoes
  • sea salt to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper to taste


Heat saute pan to medium. Season chicken with cayenne peper and salt. Add olive oil, garlic, cilantro, tomatoes, and 1/4 cup of lime juice to the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes then add chicken and the rest of the lime juice. Cook on medium-high heat until chicken is cooked

Kale Pizza Crust !!

Looking for a new way to get your pizza fix?! Here is a yummy alternative to the cauliflower crust. Tastes like a kale chip but with pizza toppings! Also, this got so nice & crispy & held together so well I actually was able to pick it up & eat it like regular pizza :)


  • 6 cups kale (washed, dried, roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesean
  • 1/4 cup shredded low fat mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • Salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste
  • Drizzle of olive oil


Heat oven to 425. Put kale in food processor & pulse until it is a very fine, rice-like consistency (my food processor is small so I did it in batches). Transfer to a large mixing owl add cheese & egg. Give a sprinkle of the seasonings, then a light drizzle of olive oil. Mix well. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (DO NOT SKIP THIS! Or it ill stick & you'll have a big mess) Dump kale mixture onto pan spreading out with a spoon so it's even. Then use your hands to press it down thoroughly. Bake for 15-20 min until lightly brown & crispy. Remove from oven & reduce heat o 400. Top with desired toppings & bake for another 8-10 min.

Tips & Bonus Information

Found a recipe on Pinterest for a spinach crust & I immediately thought of how nice a crispy kale gets in the oven, so I used that instead.
Yield: 12 slices
Preparation Time: 20 min.
Cooking Time: 25 min

Sore Muscles-Rest Day or Workout? What to EAT??

So I have been working out intensely for the past year and I still experience muscle soreness!   I did some research about working out and muscle soreness since so many of my customers experience it when they start my challenge groups. I figured it would be well worth sharing with all of you as well! Who isn't sore from working out at one point or another! It's best to know how to handle this discomfort.

It's common for beginners to experience muscle soreness that lasts for a week or two, just as seasoned exercisers will be sore after a tough work out. Yes, you should keep working out even though you are sore, but there is more to it than that. The only way to avoid muscle soreness is to not workout at all! And that is certainly not going to get you that body you envision in your mind!

Muscle soreness has two primary causes. The first soreness you experience happens during your workout ("the burn") and should subside within a couple of hours. This is caused by lactic acid production. When you are training and your muscles are not getting enough oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis), lactic acid builds up. You can break down lactic acid by continuing to move and by doing light aerobic exercise (such as walking) after your workout. This is why cool-downs are so important, especially for beginners. The longer you cool down, the faster that lactic acid will leave the muscles (typically within an hour).

The type of muscle soreness you are experiencing, up to a day or two (and sometimes even three) after your workout is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). DOMS is caused by microscopic tears inside the muscles, resulting from weight-training or fully exhausting the muscles during cardio. This is normal. Again, beginners will be more sore and usually for longer, but if you really worked as hard as you should have during a weight-lifting session, you should be somewhat sore for the next day or two.

This is where rest comes in. You absolutely must rest the muscles you worked for 1-2 days after a workout. Take at least one day off between strength training sessions, and if you are still very sore, take 2 days off. (This means from lifting, not from all exercise such as cardio). If you don't let your muscles recover and repair, they will continue to break down and you will actually get weaker.

To help prevent soreness in the future, and alleviate some of it now, be sure to:
1. Always warm-up for 5-10 minutes and cool-down for at least 5 minutes.

2. Stretch after a warm-up, during your workout, and after you are done. Only stretch when your muscles are already warm from some kind of light activity.

3. Stay active. The more your muscles move, the faster they will recover from exercise and soreness. If you choose to rest completely instead of "actively recovering" with light exercise, you'll probably be sore longer.

One technique I've used with some success to reduce my own muscle soreness is to use a foam roller regularly as a part of my cool down. This has been particularly helpful for me after a long, high intensity bike ride or after I start a new type of exercise or a new weight training routine. Plus it just feels amazing to stretch out your muscles. The key is to find the sore spot and lay on it. So use the foam roller find the hot spot and just sink into it slowly moving back and forth almost giving yourself a massage! Feel the knots and tension melt away!

There are also some great post workout drinks and foods that you can consume to help reduce the post muscle soreness and help your body to recovery faster.

The most important meal you eat is the one that you have directly after your workout. for about an hour after your workout, there's a window of opportunity when your muscles are literally starving for nutrients. We call this the golden hour. And the meal you eat at this time is the most important for building muscle and replenishing energy sources.

The first thing your body needs is a nice fresh supply of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are used by your body for making muscles, hormones, neurotransmitters, bones and all sorts of other important things. Exercise depletes critical amino acids such as glutamine, valine, isoleucine and leucine–and the way you replenish your body's supply is with protein. That means meat, chicken, eggs, fish or whey protein powder.

The second thing you need is some carbohydrates. Exercise draws upon your body's stores of glycogen, which is the storage form of sugar. Glycogen waits in the liver and the muscles for a signal that sugar is needed: "Hey, she's exercising, let's give her some fuel!" Your body can hold about 1,800 calories of sugar as glycogen, which is plenty to fuel any workout short of a marathon, but athletes do best when their glycogen stores are full, so unless you are on a carb-restricted diet, some slow-burning carbs after working out is a good idea. (Hint: The best carbs are oatmeal, brown rice, grains like quinoa or amaranth, and all vegetables and fruits).

Your muscles need protein for repair and growth, and your body needs some carbs to replenish its glycogen stores. Truth be told, after a hard workout your body is like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors: It's crying "Feed me!" and it won't take no for an answer. Remember, right before exercise you have to consider the time it takes to digest food, so you need to go light. But post-workout is the ideal time to have a full meal. So what's the best meal, or combination of foods, to have post-workout?

Shakeology is a great post workout meal. It has a perfect combination of protein and carbs along with all the essential amino acids and nutrients your body needs to recovery from the workout you just did. At least you don't have to stand there in the kitchen wondering if what you are eating is the right option. Instead whip up a shake and go! It honestly is refreshing and delicious!

Results and Recovery Drink -
P90X® Results and Recovery Formula®tastes so great, you won't believe how good it is for you! When recovering from intense workouts, Results and Recovery Formula will provide you with the vital nutrients you need to bounce back from your workout. And the delicious, smooth orange flavor makes it the perfect post-workout reward.


  • Dextrose-based formula for optimum glycogen replenishment*
  • A high Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) blend to provide the critical building blocks for rapid muscle resynthesis*
  • Vitamins, including antioxidants, to help reduce muscle soreness and assist in repair and growth*

Chicken and Mixed Vegetables

Four ounces of skinless, boneless chicken breast contains almost 35 grams of high-quality protein as well as small amounts of calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron; 255 mg of phosphorus; 287 mg of heart-healthy potassium; and 75 percent of the recommended dietary intake for niacin, a B vitamin that's important in energy metabolism. One large (6-ounce) chicken breast is even more loaded: It contains more potassium than there is in a medium banana, plus a whopping 53 grams of protein.

The fat in boneless, skinless chicken is mostly monounsaturated. Only 1.1 grams of the 4 grams of fat in 4 ounces of chicken is saturated fat. The vegetables provide carbs and fiber. If you like, you can have half of a sweet potato with the meal and a spoonful of olive oil and/or almonds on the vegetables.

Breakfast Anytime: Egg Omelet with Avocado

Eggs are just about the best source of protein on the planet. Mix with as many vegetables as you like for a perfect meal. Hint: I also stir-fry a sliced apple into the mix. Serve with avocado for a nice dose of fiber and monounsaturated fat.

At the Gym: Whey Protein Shake

I consider whey protein powder the best protein powder available. You can mix whey powder with frozen berries (my favorite) and water, or with almost any combination of ingredients; I've thrown in a spoonful or two of peanut butter, oatmeal or sliced apple, or made it plain with water. All work. The whey provides the protein; the berries provide the carbs. (You can of course make the shake with milk or soymilk, but watch out for the calories. I don't recommend making shakes with juice.)

The Three S's: Salmon, Spinach and Sweet Potato

Here's the ideal balanced meal. Wild salmon for protein and omega-3s, spinach for the cornucopia of vitamins and minerals (including the superstar of eye nutrition, lutein), and a sweet potato for slow-burning carbohydrates. It's an almost perfect meal. You can add a little flax seed oil (or olive oil or butter) to the sweet potato or even sprinkle it with almonds, but watch your portion size: While these additions are all brimming with health, they're also high-calorie items.

Bodybuilder's Delight: Tuna, Brown Rice and Vegetables

You can't go to a "hard core" gym without seeing a bodybuilder eating this old classic from a Tupperware container. A single can of light tuna canned in water and drained provides an astonishing 42 grams of high-quality protein for under 200 calories. That same can has more than 100 percent of the daily value for niacin, 29 percent of the daily value for vitamin B6 and 82 percent of the daily value for vitamin B12. And tuna is a superb source of the vitally important cancer-protective trace mineral selenium. Add some brown rice for fiber and carbs, load up with the vegetables and you're good to go.

You can't go wrong with any of those five, or variations thereof. They'll load up your body with the energy needed to refuel and the protein needed to rebuild and repair muscle. Couple them with hard, intense and frequent workouts, and you'll be on the way to the body of your dreams.

Remember no pain no gain!!!!
:) Sara Stakeley

Monday, May 27, 2013

Kitchen Makeover

Today I want to share with you how to organize your kitchen, pantry and fridge so that success is not just simple and convenient but visually enticing!

The right tools in the right places!
Each tool that you use on a daily and even mealtime basis should be kept close to the area where you prep your food. I suggest having the following all in one drawer, plastic container, or cupboard for quick and easy access:
  • Paring knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Measuring cup
  • Food Scale
  • Snack size plastic bags
  • Plastic 1 cup size reusable containers
Warning: Open bags can lead to saddlebags. 
 You and I both know we are going to keep reaching into that bag of snacks or treats and eat well beyond an individual portion. Here's what I do: Repackage bulk snacks-say, raw almonds into baggies of 14 almonds. When you come home from food shopping take the time to divvy up food by serving sizes. Use plastic bags or storage containers to organize your food into the right portions. For example, a portion size of pretzel sticks is 10. Put 10 in a little bag and put them in the pantry at eye level. This makes it simple for grab and go snacking!!!

A recent Cornell University Study found that we consume 90 percent of our food mindlessly. We simply eat because it is placed in front of us or because we've placed it in front of ourselves. It's time to get conscious about what-and how much- we consume.

My suggestion is to open up your fridge and pantry. Then dump or donate anything that a well-tuned athlete wouldn't eat. If that box of lucky charms for your kids is constantly calling your name, ditch it. Stepping into your kitchen shouldn't be anxiety producing! Make it easier on yourself to make health choices by eliminating the temptation of poor choices.

Merchandise your food!
Food marketers play into our impulsive choices by paying millions of dollars every year to have name brand products placed on the right shelf at the right level. Why do you think all the sugary cereals are placed at your chest level on the shelves at the grocery store? It's because that happens to be the eye line of a child sitting in a shopping cart. Clever!!!

So now let's talk about placement!!! You can do this too with the same techniques in your pantry or fridge.
When we stand in front of the fridge, we tend to grab whatever food takes the least amount of time to prepare and that "looks good." The healthy stuff, like fresh produce, we hid in the drawer that's difficult to get to and even easier to forget! So when you get home I suggest that you unload your groceries, clean and display your fruit in clear plastic containers or bowls. Place berries and raw veggies at eye level. You can even buy pre cut veggies if you don't have time!!!
Arrange your greek yogurt near the berries and veggies. Store cottage cheese nearby as well. Place healthy whole foods at eye level near the front of the shelf.

When you are building muscle, hard-cooked egg whites are a great source of lean protein, and they're easy to prep so they're ready to go! Boil a dozen eggs on Sunday night, then peel and place them in a large storage bag. Now, all you have to do is remove the yolk, dice up your egg whites, dump some salsa in there and BAM! Or you can just eat your egg whites on the go whole!

Other fast protein sources to be stored at eye level include prepackaged tuna packets. Though they store well in the pantry, I keep them in the refrigerator. Who wants a warm tuna sandwich?

Now when you find yourself staring mindlessly into your fridge, you'll see the stuff you should be eating! It's washed, cut, enticing and ready to go!!

Replace this with that- Look in your refrigerator for regular staples. Now, do some soul searching and ask yourself if you're willing to try a healthier alternative. Do you make the kids PB&J every week? Would they notice if you picked up sugar free or low sugar jam or jelly? If you don't say anything...probably not! I love cheese but instead of buying a brick of it you can stock up on individually packaged string cheese! They are portion controlled and appropriately sized. I don't have the time to look at the packaging to figure out how many ounces is a single serving.

What about trying lower sugar or organic version of many of your regular condiments? Ketchup now comes in all natural with no high fructose corn syrup, dijon mustard you can buy with no added sugar. I substitute sour cream with greek yogurt quite often. I also never ever cook with butter! Instead I use cooking spray or olive oil in a spritzer bottle!

If you are not sure which brand or version is better choice wise then use an app like Fooducate which allows you to scan the bar codes of two products and do a side by side self comparison. Each item is given a grade based on its nutritional content, which makes it convenient for quick decisions.

Pantry Makeover
Most of the healthiest foods will be perishable and stored in the refrigerator. Once you have that in order, it's time to tackle your pantry!
First, let's decide what you would go to the pantry instead of your fridge for! Well, often we go for carbs, something fast, something crunchy, something sweet.
That's fine, but let's create healthier temptations!

Those foods that are lower on the good for you hierarchy can go in the hard to reach spaces!!! Way up high where you would need a step stool!
I use the eye and chest level shelves to place the healthiest nonperishable items. Nothing bought in bulk ever stays in its original container. I open, repackage, and display those items in inexpensive containers like wicker baskets or square plastic storage bins. It keeps everything organized and makes choosing healthy so dummy proof that the foods almost jump into my hand.
So here is what you can find on my shelves:
  • Brown Rice Unsalted rice cakes
  • Unsalted Raw Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts
  • Instant rolled Oats
  • Protein Powder
  • Shakeology
  • Canned Low Sodium black beans
  • Canned low sodium diced tomatos
  • Instant Brown Rice
  • Dried Fruit such as craisins, raisins, cherries
  • High quality protein bars
Will you be able to find cake mix and cookies in my house? Yes! But you probably will have to move a few things around to find it!! Outta sight-outta mind!!!

Lastly, put things where people know to look for them. I basically stock the same stuff all the time. I maintain a list and check off what i need. But there is no mystery. No one is opening the pantry and expecting a sudden influx of cookies or chips. Boring? YES!!!! Intentionally!!! You see, if you never knew what you might get when you opened the pantry, you'd go there first!!! I don't want my family to eat from the pantry. The pantry is where emergency foods live. Let's face it, with few exceptions, just about everything in your pantry is processed! The healthy stuff is in the fridge!!!

Good luck! Don't hesitate to message me for additional information or tips to help you get started with your own kitchen makeover!!!

Things to do right now to get started!!!
  1. Remove high fat, high sugar temptations from the kitchen.
  2. Survey the refrigerator for frequently consumed foods that can be swapped out by lower fat and reduced calorie alternatives.
  3. Stock up on small plastic food bags, snack containers, and clear plastic fruit bowls for display.
  4. Arrange prep tools in an easy to reach place. The fewer steps, the better!
  5. Spring clean your fridge, make room for the fresh stuff.
  6. Divide snacks into individual servings and arrange in the front and center of the pantry!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Find the Best Bathing Suit for Your Shape

Now that designers have finally wised up to the fact that we don’t all hail from Brazil, they’re offering suits that look good on real women with real issues. Real Simple consulted designers, boutique owners, competitive swimmers, and others to compile tips to help you find the best bathing suit for your body type.

Bathing Suits for Large Chests

What to look for: Underwire is key, but wide or adjustable straps, boning, seamed cups, and sturdy linings help lift the chest, too. Other ancillary support features, like high necklines, full coverage at the armholes, or halters with wide bands under the breasts, also help. And embrace the bikini: “In some cases, a two-piece is actually better, because you have a band of support all the way around the back,” says Linda Sassoon, president of Gottex USA.
What to avoid: Skimpy styles that gape open or lack structure, like triangle tops.

Bathing Suits for Full Hips and Thighs

What to look for: A suit with eye-catching details above the waist―a pop of color, a deep neckline, hardware―to lure attention to your upper half. Down below, opt for an arched leg line that hits about an inch south of the hip bone. A skirted bottom also hides hips, says Ilene Sofferman, manager of Canyon Beachwear, in New York City. An A-line cut, a slit, or ruched sides keep the look modern.
What to avoid: Boy shorts, one-pieces with side cutouts, and bottoms with embellishments, especially ring hardware (which can pinch the skin).

Bathing Suits for a Tummy

What to look for: Designs that skim over the middle (think A-line tankinis) or suits that have ruched or textured fabric or built-in control panels to suck in an ample midsection. And, no, you don’t have to shy away from all bikinis, says Kari Rubin, owner of the Sunsplash Swimwear boutique, in San Diego. “Choose styles with high waistbands that are shirred or folded to give you more coverage.”
What to avoid: Tight-fitting tankinis, belt detailing, and low-rise or string bottoms.

Bathing Suits for a Straight Figure

What to look for: Three-dimensional details―ruffles, rings, shirring, padding―and bold prints can make a straight body look more curvaceous, says Pamella Protzel Scott, creative director for the swimwear line Ella Moss Isla: “Bottoms with embellishments bring attention to the hips and create a waistline.”
What to avoid: Designs that reinforce straight lines with vertical stripes or harsh square necklines, or anything completely solid and free of texture or accents.


Swimsuit Myths and Shopping Tips

5 Things to Do Before You Hit the Stores

1. Apply self-tanner a day in advance to warm up winter skin. But don’t try this on the day you plan to shop. The tanner will rub off on the fabric.

2. Check your closet for clues as to what already works on you. Love how you look in V-necked tops? Try halter cuts. Not a solid in sight? Focus on prints.

3. Wear a seamless thong (which won’t show under swimsuits) and easy-to-remove clothing. A shift dress and slip-on flats allow for speedy changes.

4. Allot plenty of time to shop. You don’t want to settle just because you’re in a rush. Give yourself more than a lunch hour to browse and try on.

5. Drink a margarita (optional). :)  


6 Crucial Moves to Make When Trying on a Suit!!

  • Lift your arms over your head. Does the top rise up?
  • Bend over. Does your chest spill out the front?
  • Lower your arms so they’re at your sides. Are your breasts coming out of the sides of the suit?
  • Relax your shoulders. Do the straps fall off?
  • Sit cross-legged. Does the bottom pop open or creep down in the back?
  • Do a couple of lunges. Does the bottom ride up?  
Here's to a great summer !! XO Sara Stakeley

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Quinoa Taco Salad

Do you need a easy picnic friendly clean dish for the weekend?
For those of you that know me you know that one of my favorite foods is Mexican food! But we all know that Mexican food is high in sodium and those re fried beans and chips just are not going to help you lose weight! They may feel good while you are eating them but when you are done the guilt of the damage you just did to your calorie intake is going to send you to a low place! So instead of feeling like you are depriving yourself of all the foods you enjoy find a way to make them healthier! Oh and remember, you are NOT depriving yourself of life by eating healthy! You are respecting your body and giving it FUEL so that it can function and give you energy to do the things you need to do during the day! Food is not a source of comfort or a way to de stress after a long day! If you constantly view food that way, you will always struggle! Instead think of some positive ways to view food and your life and outlook will change forever!

So now for this Mexican Quinoa Taco Salad! Here is my dinner for tonight! I found it from a fellow blogger that does all vegan recipes!

1 cup quinoa cooked in two cups water.
Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork. Scoop into a bowl.

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Juice from 2 medium, juicy limes
Sea salt, to taste
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
1 half small red or purple onion, diced fine
1 small yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced fine
1 cup roasted corn kernels (I used frozen, roasted on a cookie sheet for 6-7 minutes, then cooled)
1 large head of crisp romaine lettuce, washed, dried, sliced crosswise
Gluten-free tortilla chips
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, diced
Black beans drained and rinsed
1 large tomato diced

Drizzle the cooked quinoa with extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Squeeze on fresh lime juice and toss again. Season with sea salt, to taste.
Add in the fresh chopped cilantro, diced red onion, diced yellow pepper,black beans, tomato and roasted corn kernels. Stir lightly to distribute. Taste test for seasoning adjustments.
Line four salad bowls or plates with the fresh romaine. Spoon the quinoa salad on the center of the lettuce. Add the diced avocado to each plate. Tuck in a few tortilla chips around the edges. My favorite chips are the "Food Should Taste Good" tortilla chips with flaxseed! You can get them at Costco and Giant Eagle! Def a better option.
Serve with an extra lime wedge.
Serves 4.

You can also add in some cheese for other members of your family if they need it!