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RECIPE: Skinny Enchiladas {Butternut - Pork}

So I bought a big old bag of pre-peeled & cubed butternut squash at Costco last week (game changer for those of us wanting to cut out the squash prep process!) 

I started looking for butternut squash recipes and found a real gem from www.thewholesmiths.com  but of course I wanted to put my own little spin on them. If you want a vegetarian version, check hers out, they're amazing and she's a foodie genius!

I wanted a little more substance for feeding a group so I added the Shredded pork, and the combo was divine. I also changed up the seasonings a bit, flavors and amounts, and unfortunately didn't have goat cheese (which I love) so I did shredded pepper jack instead. 

This recipe is proof that enchiladas do not need to be full of creamy canned crap, and can be vegetarian, paleo, whatever, and still taste amazing! I also think black beans would be a great addition to these bad boys, maybe next time I'll give that a go! But for now, give these a shot. PS This recipe made about 12 small corn tortilla enchiladas.

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Why Meal Plans fail & how to transform your diet the sustainable way!

Today I want to target the frustration some of you may have experience with, and that is why meal plans don’t work (at least for most of us). If you’ve done one of my online training programs you’ve probably noticed that I give you the healthy basics, and tools to create your own meals, lots of healthy recipes & meal prep ideas, and guidance for building a balanced meal, but its not directly laid out for you as far as: eat this much of this food at this time. I call it a meal guide rather than a meal plan. The reason for this is I want to help you without crippling you. Similar to the concept of “teach a man to fish and he’ll never go hungry” or whatever that saying is. Well the idea is that if you’re given the tools and knowledge to make healthy choices and you know the reasoning behind it and the effects it has on your body, you’re more likely to make those good choices on your own, for the right reasons, resulting in long lasting results. My meal guides focus on realistic goals and healthy habits, relative to your unique starting point and circumstances.

Birthday Dessert!

Birthday Dessert!

Here’s the deal, meal plans or diet plans aren’t the best solution for a few reasons. Let me break it down for you. First of all, they’re hard to stick to. I mean life happens. There’s always a weekend out with friends, always a holiday, always a party, and if you have kids they’re always going to need food as well. A common statement I hear is, “this week is my childs birthday party, and its a really busy week, so I’ll start my diet on Monday” or “Well it’s halloween, then its thanksgiving, then its christmas, so I’ll start the program after new years.” Well I don’t expect you to give up every party or holiday in your life so that you can stick to a strict meal plan. This may lead us to rebelling and feeling guilty, resulting in quitting all together. 

Second of all, meal plans are typically meant for a short term effect, maybe it’s really low carb for example, and when followed for too long can result in issues with metabolism, & hormone levels. Or a quick juice cleanse detox, resulting in water weight loss, but no energy. In other words, the meal plan can be a little too perfect. We need to fuel our body depending on our activity level, and if we aren’t getting enough fats, or carbs, or proteins for a long period of time, certain systems in our bodies will not function properly. We may feel overly tired, overly hungry, and have a bad taste in our mouth for healthy eating. This shifts us into that mindset of resenting “health food” and craving more of our favorite comfort or junk food. Viewing salads & vegetables as “diet food” when in reality this is real food. 

overnight oats in a peanut butter jar

overnight oats in a peanut butter jar

Third of all, most meal plans focus on nutrients (Proteins, Carbs, Fats), calories, or measurements (ounces, grams, etc.) instead of actual food. This can be so confusing. When you’re at a restaurant you don’t see the grams of nutrients next to the item, or how many ounces of potatoes are in the dish. With all these numbers and measurements it can be confusing and overwhelming what to focus on and trying to remember all the different recommendations. Was it 50g of Protein, or 60? Am I supposed to have 300 calories for lunch or 400? The point is this can all be nonsense and distraction if you’re missing the whole point of making healthy choices for the right reasons.

When I work with clients working towards fitness goals, I start where they’re at. I have them keep a 2-3 day food journal so I can see what an average day in their stomach looks like. Based on where they’re at, we can set goals, 1 week at a time, to make changes that will stick. We talk about real food, in real life situation, so that we can get real results that will last. I educate on why you’re making the choices and the benefits that will come. If you’re used to hot pockets and dino nuggets, you shouldn’t just immediately jump on the Kale band wagon. Pace yourself and just think, “how can I make this meal just a little bit healthier & better for me?” Maybe its adding a side salad to your hot pocket meal. Then maybe you create a healthier homemade dressing for your salad. Then replacing the hot pocket with a homemade recipe, and it continues until you’re at a level of health where you can feel & perform your best. You will LOVE the process and the positive changes in your body rather than RESENTING your diet or meal plan. Instead of thinking of a list of rules you have to stick to, or what you can and can’t eat, think of food on a spectrum. One end of the spectrum is completely healthy, unprocessed, Organic, grown in your back yard, homemade meal, and the other end is a deep friend twinkie dipped in chocolate. Think of how you can make your meals a little closer to that healthy side of the spectrum. You may find yourself in a situation where the options aren’t perfect, but you can always find the healthier choice. You may also find that the occasional “unhealthy” choice is ok, because its your grandma’s cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, or your favorite flavor of ice cream for your birthday. Its recognizing the difference between splurges that are occasional and totally worth it, and mindlessly eating a box of cookies because they’re in front of you.

Part of my goal with each client is helping them figure out their relationship with food, their strengths, their struggles, and move forward with healthy goals at a healthy pace. Fitting HEALTHY into their lives, not trying to squeeze them into this unrealistic healthy box that we think is the only way to lose weight or get fit. 

So if you want help reaching your goals with weight loss & fitness, please send me an email or hit my up on instagram, I would love to get started! But if you’re looking for a calculated, strict, calorie counting meal plan you won’t find it here, sorry! Feel free to send this over to a friend you think would enjoy!

Happy Wednesday Wisdom ya’ll!

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EAT REAL FOOD: Nutrition Crash Course with Brit!

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EAT REAL FOOD: Nutrition Crash Course with Brit!

Being a trainer I've learned more and more the importance of fueling your body right. You can't heal your body without the nutrition side of the equation. I've put together this Video Blog post to explain my view on nutrition and give a quick crash course to what my approach is and what you can learn and practice with being a client of mine! I've also provided my written script for the video if you rather read that watch my face haha totally understandable! hope you enjoy :)

"I wanted to do a quick overview and crash course of my whole philosophy and guidance on nutrition. This will be an intro to the approach I take and what you’ll learn with me as your trainer. We are constantly bombarded with different eating rules and diets that it can be so hard to sort through all the information and figure out whats right, what we should be listening to, and whats going to work for us and our goals.

Well being in the fitness industry world for a few years now I’ve done a lot of reading and testing what works best for me and my clients. I’m going to simplify the whole thing for you. “EAT REAL FOOD” (write it on a paper sign). As simple as this sounds, it can be a little tricky still. Over time, we have lost touch with what real food is and our relationship with food has been distorted.

First off I want to clear up the word “Diet”. When we hear the word “Diet” most of us cringe thinking - restrictive, calorie counting, hunger, guilt, broccoli, I don’t know, just all these things that are often associated with the word diet. Well when I refer to “Diet” I simply mean how we eat, what we put into our bodies. Along with that, I want you to forget about ideas of calorie counting, “fat free” diets, “gluten free”, Paleo, Macro counting, food timing, weighing your food, any of that stuff, forget about it. I'm not saying all these things are horrible, I’m just removing the labels that your mind may be associating with “diet” and simplifying it with “EAT REAL FOOD”. This means knowing whats in our food, and avoiding chemicals & fake ingredients. Basically you should either have no food labels (because you don’t need it - fruits, vegetables) or you should be able to pronounce all the ingredients & know what it is on the label. 

Lets talk about macros. First of all, what are macros or macronutrients? These are Fats, Proteins, and Carbs. 

I want to talk about FATS first, there’s a lot of clearing up to do here. Fats have had a bad rap for a while, especially saturated fats. The food industry had mass amounts of industrial crops so they decided to turn it into oil. This was a BAD idea. Back 60-70 years ago, these fake oils replaced real oils (such as butter) in many situations and homes, and this has led to a lot of the health issues today. This oil became so cheap and available that they put it in EVERYTHING, and these food industries made a lot of money! On most labels of processed foods you’ll see these crop based oils such as Soybean, Canola, peanut, corn. These are chemical filled fake oils. Stay away! We want natural oils, which include, real grass fed butter (thats right, you don’t need to be afraid of butter anymore), coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil. Some other great sources of fats are nuts & seeds, salmon, avocado, eggs. And just a note on eggs, Dietary cholesterol (or cholesterol that is in the food we eat) has no correlation with the cholesterol levels in our blood. So egg yolks are totally great, and meat. All animal products contain cholesterol, but it won’t cause high cholesterol in our bodies, just want to clear that up.

Next up is Protein. Protein is so important. It's responsible for our bodies maintaining and repairing tissues, especially muscle tissue in our bodies. If you want to maintain or add lean muscle mass, protein is essential. We want to get protein from the most natural sources we can. So choosing free range chickens for meat and eggs, grass fed beef, as close to the source as we can get with dairy products. What our food sources eat goes into our bodies as well, so if our animals are eating all of those industrial crop products with chemicals, those chemicals are going in our bodies as well. We'll talk about the problem with this in a later session about omega 3's and omega 6 balance. And I know it gets expensive to do this, so all I suggest is do your best. Maybe this week you try free range eggs, and then next week you get grass fed beef. Just do what you can. and its a lot cheaper than all the drugs and pills that you may need down the road prescribed by doctors! just sayin :)  Women should be eating about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, and men could be consuming up to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Depending on goals this could be reduced a bit.

Third is Carbohydrates. There are a TON of misconceptions about carbohydrates. low-carb, high-carb, no-carb, sugar-free, what to do! So basically any carb source in its simplest form inside your body gets broken down into sugar, which are body uses for energy. Carbohydrates are an awesome source of energy and our bodies need carbs, but where we go wrong is with the amount. most of us do not need the amount of carbs we consume and it gets stored as fat in our bodies. Most of us aren’t running through the forest hunting dinner every night, or biking as our main source of transportation. We need to get back in tune with when our body needs the extra fuel from carbs, and when we don’t. Also get back in tune with cravings vs hunger. Sugar is addicting, and I claim that as a fact. So most of the time we want carbs or sugars, we're not really hungry, we're just listening to those addictive cravings. Carbs spike our blood sugar levels which effect our energy levels throughout the day. Thats why most of the people going to eat a sandwich & chips and a soda on their lunch break come back to work feeling that 2-3pm energy slump. Its an energy roller coaster when carbs are your main source. We can neutralize this with fats and proteins in our diet. By the way, Carbs come from lots of sources, most familiar is breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, sugar, but vegetables and fruits are carbs as well! And I don’t think we need to avoid grains and breads & sugar all together, but just be mindful of when your body needs it. So if we’re climbing a mountain tomorrow, ya I”m going to have a bowl of oats in the morning with some fruit, and I’m gonna stir some coconut oil in there as well for that fat source. I know i’m going to use that fuel on my hike. Or before a long run, I'll have a piece of toast with nut butter and banana for my fuel source. But avoid eating a big bowl of cereal or muffin before you go sit at your desk all day. So the idea is to shift our mindset and habits from this carb binge, fat fearing state of mind, to a balanced, real food, mindful eating approach, and fueling our body for what it needs. Using food as a fuel source rather than this horrible thing that makes us fat!

How do we make the shift? Our culture and mainstream grocery stores and food sources make carbs so prevalent and convenient and cheap!  Whats more convenient than a pack of easy cheese and pretzel sticks and a hot pocket? or a pop-tart? I mean seriously its like magic! Well in order to make this healthy eating a reality, we need to make the healthy options as convenient and second nature as we can. First of all, knowing in your mind what a healthy plate looks like is key. With this embedded into your brain you can build a healthy meal wherever you are! Sometimes you’ll have better options than other times, but just doing your best in whatever situation is key. So this is what the government food plate guideline is today (show picture). They have grains as big as vegetables, and then fruits and proteins a little smaller, and then dairy in your cup. Well one problem I see is that 3 out of the 4 sections are carbs, and 2nd problem is that their is no room for fats. So I’m gonna X this one and show you my plate guide. (show new picture) First off, you got your protein source here. Whether thats Turkey, Eggs, Tofu, a mix of Quinoa & meat, or cottage cheese. Then you have your Vegetables. Vegetables at every meal! yes even breakfast. There’s so many ways to sneak vegetables in. I always load my eggs with chopped veggies, you can buy a big bag of frozen veggies if thats more convenient for you (aim for organic if you’re doing frozen because they’re picked at the right time and no chemicals used), spinach or kale in your smoothies, there’s lots of options! But get veggies in every meal. and then you have your fat. This is key to help you feel full, to stabilize your blood sugar levels, curb your cravings, and perform your best. This is why so many diets fail and people get HANGRY because they aren’t eating enough fats. Fats are super important for our cognitive function as well, so we will be able to think and focus so much better. This fat on the plate can be avocado, Olive Oil with your veggies, butter on your sweet potato, Chopped nuts on your salad, there’s lots of options there too. And in the cup I just put water! So many of us aren’t drinking enough water. A lot of the times when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty, so I always tell my clients to carry a water bottle, and if they have a craving, take a drink first and see if the craving continues. 

So you can build this healthy plate in a lot of situations. At the salad bar, get your lettuce, topped with lots of veggies, a protein, and some nuts & dressing for your fat. A Burrito bowl with guacamole, etc. Along with knowing how to build your plate, meal prep is another key to success! You don't have to go crazy and measure out all your little tupperwares for the week, but just be smart and efficient with your time in the kitchen. ALWAYS make extra when your cooking and put it in a tupperware for tomorrows breakfast or lunch. Spend a couple hours one evening to do some crock pot meat, Chop up veggies for the week, and boil a bunch of eggs. You’ll be set. almost as convenient as a hot pocket ;)

My quick recap is remember to EAT REAL FOODS, • Fats are good (natural fats), • Avoid chemicals, if you can’t say it or know where it came from, you probably shouldn’t eat it, • and remember how to build your plate, Veggies, Protein, Fats, Water! 

So there you have it. Episode 1 of my Nutrition crash course. Next time I’ll be talking about Sugars & artificial sweeteners and supplements. :) and please comment with any questions you have at all. I’ll try to answer them best I can! and share this with any friends or family members you think may enjoy it! Thanks guys!

 

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Chocolate Chicken in Paris!

This past Saturday I was lucky enough to go to a cooking class in Paris. It was right at one of the booths at the street market. We learned how to make Chicken with a Spicy Chocolate sauce. I know, doesn't seem very french. It's actually a South American Dish, kind of ironic huh! haha but wherever it's from it is delicious! And healthy too! you get all the benefits of the dark cacao, with its antioxidents and nutrients, with the protein in the chicken, and pair it with some brown rice for a complete meal! Plus, who doesn't want more excuses to add chocolate to their life?

I put together the recipe here for you so you can try it on your own, let me know how it goes! I tried to do my best with the measurement conversions since they use grams here, so feel free to adjust it according to taste if its not quite right. Bon appétit!!

INGREDIENTS:

20g / 1.5 TBS ground almonds (almond flour)

20 g / 1.5 TBS toasted sesame seeds

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 cloves

¼ teaspoon of Espelette

¼ teaspoon paprika

120 g/ 1/2 C / 1 small white onion

1 garlic clove

50 g/2 long carrots 

8 fresh cilantro stems

5 grinds of 5 bay seasoning

50 cl chicken stock (or water + cube poultry)

salt

40 g/ 1/4 C dark chocolate 80%

40 g/ 1/4 C dark chocolate pastry

200 g/ 1 C brown rice

 

DIRECTIONS:

For sauce-

chop the white onion.

Peel, grate and then finely chop the carrots.

Heat a frying pan (deep enough) over medium heat, pour a trickle of oil. Saute the chopped white onion.

Add spices: cinnamon, cloves, paprika, Espelette pepper, 3 grinds of 5 bays.

Then add: chopped carrots, almonds, sesame seeds. Mix well. Add the chicken broth. Season with a little salt if necessary.

Simmer for approximately 15 minutes.

Mix everything in a blender or with a hand blender.

Return the sauce to the heat. Add the chocolate, stir to dissolve. Adjust seasoning.

 

For Chicken:

Season the chicken with salt and supreme few grinds of 5 bays, color them in a hot pan with a drizzle of oil. Transfer to a baking dish.

Fifteen minutes before serving, place your chicken supremes in preheated oven at 200 ° C (400 F) Cook for 10 minutes.

 

For Rice-

1. Rinse the rice. In a pan put 1 part rice to 2 parts cold water + a little salt. Bring to a boil (starting with cold water). Once the water is absorbed, reduce heat (thermostat 2) and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Chop coarsely coriander and mix the cooked rice.

To serve:

Arrange the chicken on top of 1/2 C rice and cover with chocolate sauce. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds & cilantro.

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