health

28 Lessons from 28 years of life

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It’s pretty incredible to look back to see how far you’ve come.

This is my 2nd time doing this since I started the blog (check out last years roundup here) and every year I’m blown away by all the things I’ve taken away.

I spent so many years of my life on automatic pilot, going through the motions and not taking stock in my life. What I was learning, how I was growing. And doing this every year has been such an amazing way to look back and do just that — plus you guys know I LOVE sharing my shiz with you.

So here they are — the mess, the growth, the shifts. I hope they serve as a gorgeous reminder for your own life.


28 lessons from 28 years of life:

  1. Success isn’t about the shiny pennies. It’s about getting clear on what’s truly important to you and going after that feeling every day.

  2. Boundaries are beautiful. When you set them, you are finally able to say no to things you don’t want so you can say yes to the things you do.

  3. The thing that feels like the hardest thing on the planet to do/decide/shift? It’s not. It might suck, and be painful but you’ll get through it.

  4. Anxiety is your intuition giving you clues. This was a huge lesson this year (and therapy) has taught me and it’s allowed me to truly learn how to use it as my superpower instead of feeling overwhelmed by it. 

  5. Run towards the people and experiences that fill your cup.

  6. Trust the gut tugs. This was one of the lessons I didn’t expect to learn and one that has changed so much about the way I navigate life. 

  7. A woman’s body is SO complex and something to be celebrated — periods and all. (Read more about my switch from birth control pills to the copper IUD this year

  8. Vulnerability is strength. Embrace the mess and choose to grow from it.

  9. 20 minute workouts can be just as empowering and challenging as an hour boot camp class. Choosing my time wisely in this way has been such a huge part of my journey this year and my old limiting beliefs that left me in the gym for hours always feeling not enough has been BLASTED on a whole new level with the workout program I’m currently rocking. 

  10. Put yourself first and foremost. Over EVERYTHING. Because you cannot give to anyone or anything if your tank isn’t full first.

  11. That I am a manifesting generator in human design and a 7 on the enneagram (which gave me SOOO much understanding about myself and why I operate the way I do — check out episode 5 of the podcast for more info!)

  12. My boobs do not define me as a woman or a sexual being. Period.

  13. Belief is the root of every possibility we allow into our lives. 

  14. Money doesn’t have to be stressful. We don’t HAVE to live paycheck to paycheck and constantly perpetuate the “I’m broke” cycle and it STARTS with the words we say and the energy we put into the universe. 

  15. Allll about my innate privilege and how I can show up in the self development space AND be an advocate for social change.

  16. Expectations can’t get met if you don’t express them. Ask for what you want. Express what you need. 

  17. Surround yourself with people who have different perspectives and lives than yours. It is the most beautiful way to grow and learn. Don’t know where to start? Follow people online and diversify your feed.

  18. Sharing your story, even when you’re going through the damn thing, can be the most rewarding thing you ever do.

  19. If you don’t like it, change it. You have the power to shift your thoughts/decisions/the way you show up in the world. So do the damn thing and make the shift. Even if it’s hard. 

  20. Change isn’t such a bad thing. I used to be terrified of change but this year has taught me so much about the beauty of leaning into the shifts. Change may be uncomfortable but that discomfort? It’s where all the growth and magic takes place, if you let it.

  21. My heart craves adventure. I need it. I thrive off of it. And the more adventure I can have in my life, the more my soul feels filled the fuck up. So move towards what lights you up. 

  22. Just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. You already have the answers inside of you. Surround yourself with people who help you get clear on what you really want instead of those who prescribe what they do to you. 

  23. Starting your day off with gratitude will change the game. I’ve been doing this for the past 6 months and it truly puts my mindset in the best spot. 

  24. Peoples beliefs don’t pay the bills. Do what sets your soul on fire and do so apologetically. Not everyone will get it. But don’t let other peoples thoughts stop you from showing up for what YOU want on YOUR terms.

  25. Community is EVERYTHING. Women are hardwired for community and it MF SUCKS when we don’t feel like we have people in our lives who truly get us. Whether you foster and create your own soul sisterhood like I did or join one (you can sit with us!), seek out a group of women that will set your soul on fire and empower you to be better every single day.

  26. Be an advocate for your health. One of my biggest takeaways from my BRCA journey this year has been standing up for what I want with my doctors. Ask for what you want. Trust your intuition. And don’t just follow doctors orders because they tell you it’s what’s you have to do. Get second, third and fourth opinions. Do your research. Talk to people who’ve been in your shoes. And stand up for your health, it’s all you’ve got.

  27. “What do you need today love?” — a beautiful tool my dear friend Jen Wille shared on episode 21 of the podcast and one that has truly helped me get super acquainted with my innate desires.

  28. The key to living your fuck yes life? Getting rid of the “shoulds” and getting clear on what lights you up and moving ALLLLL THE WAY in that direction. Okay? Ok. 


Which ones are you committed to working on this year?

Xo Amanda

Why I don't believe in "falling off the wagon" and why health isn't all about getting banging ass results

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I failed.

Or at least by all standards of the fitness industry, I failed.

The past 7 weeks, I've been rocking my latest fitness adventure -- a strength training and HIIT program. I've been working out 4 days a week, rocking my rest days like nobody's business and continuing to adopt my food freedom program principles.

You'd THINK that I would have seen these INSANE results -- AB CHECK HERE, am I right? 

We're all programmed to believe that we will dive into a fitness program and that by the end of it, we're going to be RIPPED. That we're going to shed the weight, get that six pack we've always dreamed of and we'll finally be able to zip up those jeans from high school we've been holding in the back of our closet for 10 years...

I know I used to believe that with every fibre of my being. 

And when I didn't see results right away, I sabotaged myself and deep dove into my binge eating spiral and would put on 10-20 lbs in a month.

That cycle plagued me for YEARS, until I changed up my fitness regime. Started rocking programs that actually worked and gave me long lasting results.

And all of a sudden, I actually FELT HAPPY. Not just because I lost a few dress sizes, but because I FELT STRONG. I felt active and alive and energized in a way I hadn't in years.

And for the past 3 years, I've continued to feel that way. Trying out new programs, feeling like a MF athlete and badass...until this program.

'Cause you see...I've been rocking this strength training program and as I head into my final week of it, I've seen no weight loss or physical external shifts. In fact, the physical shifts I have seen have been me feeling fluffy and bloated.

And you know I'm always going to keep it REAL AF with you babes, and my truth right now is that I've spent the last couple of weeks feeling like a total and utter FAILURE. Because your girl is as health coach, right? So if I can't walk the walk, how am I supposed to inspire and empower my clients and future clients to do so as well...right?

WRONG.

While you may not see any badass results from this, what you also don't see is everything else I've been navigating this summer. 

The past couple of months, I’ve been dealing with some intense shifts hormonally that have caused my body to feel out of whack.

2 months ago, I transitioned off of birth control pills to the copper IUD. I originally did so in April but my body literally rejected the IUD and I had to get it removed and a new one inserted (which, let me tell ya, is NO FUN). Luckily, the IUD stuck this time around, but my body has responded SUPER differently to this one. The first time around in April, I had no bleeding and no seemingly different experiences beyond my shifts in mood depending on where I was at in my cycle.

But this time, my bleeding has been incredibly different — I bled right after the initial insertion more than I ever have in my entire life. And since early July, I’ve had continued intermittent spotting and periods every other week.  

And the past few weeks, my body has been intermittently bloated AF in ways I’ve never experienced before (for all you gals who have dealt with this for years I FINALLY UNDERSTAND) and it’s been super uncomfortable.

I look in the mirror and that voice in the back of my head that tells me I'm not good enough, and I should just eat an entire box of donuts has been getting louder and louder...all because my BODY doesn't look the way I EXPECTED it to or the way SOCIETY TELLS ME IT SHOULD after finishing a workout program? 

I call bullshit.

I mean, I am ALL about celebrating different shapes and sizes and finding STRENGTH from the inside out, not about looking a certain way — and this gal? THIS IS ME TODAY.

The bright, energetic, sensitive, silly, playful, dedicated, focused, harry potter obsessed dog mama multi-passionate entrepreneur goofball who also happens to be bloated right now.

And she is JUST as worthy bloated as she is when she’s not. 

She's just as worthy when she's kicking ass with her workout program or moving slower and working out less.

She's just as worthy when she's eating a delicious pot of zoodles than when she's eating a MF cookie.

Our health and fitness journeys ARE FAR FROM LINEAR. Nor should they be.

And to expect our lives to constantly be moving that direction is unrealistic. Shit happens. We travel. We go into a crazy busy period at work. A loved one dies. We plan weddings. We enter new relationships that turn our worlds upside down. 

We accept that these things are part of life and that it's OK, but we have such a tough time acknowledging that it's also okay to have a fluctuating body?

LET'S GIVE OURSELVES SOME MOTHER FUCKING GRACE ALREADY and RID OURSELVES OF THE "FALLING OFF THE WAGON" BS WE'VE BEEN SPEWING TO OURSELVES FOR YEARS.

You are worthy just as you are right now my love.

And no matter where that is, all you can do is show up with grace, kindness and do the shit that makes you FEEL ALIVE and ENERGIZED AF.

Xo Your no BS soul sistah,

Amanda 

Spiced Tuna Steaks

Oh baby, baby, how was I supposed to know, this TUNA WOULD BE FIYAHHH.

Ok, ok, all Britney sangin' aside, I've been experimenting a bunch in the kitchen lately because of this amazeballs new meal plan I've been rocking in my Live Your F*ck YES Life challenge!!!

YES, it's a meal plan, but I'm really calling it more of a "fuel plan". It's based on portions and macros and my body has been feeling IN-FUCKING-CREDIBLE. 

I'm allll about intuitive eating and listening to your body, but this type A recovering perfectionist is also ALL about some structure when it comes to my nutrition or else the binge monster comes out to play. So this has been HUGE. And the food is SO FREAKING DELICIOUS.

My mindless snacking is gone, bloating GONE, my skin has cleared up and I not once have felt like I was "on a diet" or "eating clean". You know how much I hate that shiz.

The key? FUEL YOUR BODY. 

Eat shiz that is GOOD for you, and lots of it. 

The weight loss, JOY in your heart and energy is just a rocking side effect ;)

And this bad boy is officially becoming a staple at the Loy household -- you KNOW I'm all about those omega 3s and it's hubby approved sooooo it's staying.

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SPICED TUNA STEAKS

Serves 4, Prep and Cook time: 25 minutes

 

INGREDIENTS

4 raw tuna steaks (approx. 1 inch in thickness)

4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

2 tsp. lemon zest

2 tbsp olive oil

2 fresh tarragon sprigs, chopped

Sea Salt and pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat broiler or grill on high

  2. Combine garlic, lemon, tarragon in a bowl and mix well.

  3. Season tuna with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil & rub spice mixture on the top of tuna steaks.

  4. Grill or broil tuna for 2-4 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness. (I personally like mine a bit more on the rare side so 2 mins per side was perfect!)

  5. Serve with your fave greens & some complex carbs for a full and delicious meal!

The One Decision That Changed My Life (New Orleans Recap!)

A couple of weeks ago, I spent the weekend in New Orleans for our annual coach summit with my amazeballs tribe, Inspire Joy. This was my second time coming to this event and this time around, I really felt like I was HOME. I laughed, I cried, I learned, I was inspired but most of all, I was re-ignited.

So first up -- WHAT THE HELL IS SUMMIT ANYWAYS?

For almost 2 years, I’ve been a health and fitness coach with Team Beachbody, the company that makes the amazing at home programs like 21 Day Fix, PiYo, and Insanity. I run virtual accountability groups for women who want to ditch the diet and find joy in fitness, and I also mentor a team of almost 100 women who have decided to pay their passion of health & fitness forward and earn extra income by becoming coaches themselves.

The reason why I LOVE Beachbody is that it’s mission is focused on transformation from the inside out in every aspect of your life -- your mental/emotional/physical health, your finances, self confidence, mindset and so much more! The more I coach, the more I fall in love with it and am endlessly proud to be a part of such a beautiful, values driven and integrity based company!

I am also obsessed with my team, Inspire Joy. We’re a group of goofy, creative go getters who freaking LOVE quality time together, and we spend sooo much of the year working together virtually that trips like this are seriously AMAZEBALLS.

 

NOLA ADVENTURES

My flight was delayed THREE HOURS flying out of Chicago because of a silly rain storm (CAMAAAN) but luckily some of my team was also delayed so we got to hang together :) Once we finally got to the city, we drove to our Airbnb and got ready for TEAM TACO NIGHT! 

On Thursday, I got up with my gals Jess & Laura and we got our sweat on to our latest program we’re rocking out together and had a relaxing morning hanging out before heading to our first personal development event -- the Power of I Am! This event was amaaazing -- learned so much from incredible leaders & got to hear from Cara Alwill Leyba, the author of The Champagne Diet and Girl Code.

Afterwards, we got beignets at Cafe du Monde ('cause DUH) and later that night, we had our huge opening ceremony at the Superdome! 

Imagine being in a stadium surrounded by 20,000 of the most ambitous, positive, driven, self aware people you know. I get giddy just thinking about it again! IT WAS SERIOUSLY SO EMPOWERING.

Friday, I got up SUPER early for a live workout with the infamous Shaun T (yes he is just attractive in real life and MOTIVATIONAL AF) and holy balls, it was tough. I had had a really emotional night the night before -- continue reading to learn why -- so I neeeeded this sweat sesh so bad. #therapy for real. And it was so empowering to sweat alongside of so many people I admire and look up to. 

Then it was a full day of workshops followed by a super wonderful dinner in the French quarter and a night on the town on Bourbon street ;) We kept it classy but we DEF had fun haha. 

Saturday was our last full day -- filled with more sessions and we closed out the trip  with our huge Celebration at the Superdome. It’s like a giant broadway show meets the Oscars meets Cirque du Soleil. And you get to be there up close and personal. Freaking EPIC.

WHAT I LEARNED:

 

+ IT’S TIME I FREAKING BELIEVE IN MYSELF

Last year, when I came to summit, I had a DREAM. A VISION. A life filled with freedom, travel, purpose, goofy-ness and LIGHT. But it was just that : A dream. Something that felt so freaking far away. 

I mean, I had just started coaching 8 months prior, and was still working 7 different part time jobs, and while I had started to become a more positive and healthy version of myself, I still had a shiz ton of work to do on my self esteem and belief. 

And last year, I came on this trip dreaming of FREEDOM. Of having a tribe of MY gals by my side.

And this year? That dream turned into my reality and it's all because of these incredible women.

Because these gals believed in my dream too. 

They saw what I was doing and said to themselves "I wanna do that too" and they ACTED on it. 

They stepped up to their life to pursue THEIR dreams. To change THEIR lives. And in turn, they've completely transformed mine.

And seeing them there, it hit me like a ton of bricks -- I did what I set out to do. I made my dreams freaking happen. 

It’s so easy in the day to day to get soo wrapped up in what’s not going right or what’s hard that you forget to take in and be grateful for what IS working and this trip put everything in perspective for me :) After all, this journey is FAR from a race -- it's a marathon, and one that I'm IN for the long haul.

 

+ MY TRIBE IS MY FAMILY

Truth? I didn’t have a lot of girlfriends growing up. 

I never did the whole sorority thing, or really got along in big groups of gals because I just couldn’t handle the gossip and I always felt like I just didn’t fit in. 

I became a coach because I wanted to turn my passion for health and fitness into a side hustle that would give me the FREEDOM to follow my dreams and build a life by design.

What I didn’t realize is that I would be getting a FAMILY. These women inspire me every single day to be a better coach, leader, friend and above all, a better version of me. And it’s been the biggest surprise and the greatest gift along this journey.

When we were in NOLA, I found out that my dog Toby had been rushed to the ER. It was our first night, we had just gotten to our opening night celebration and I was feeling SO full of light, gratitude and giddy-ness and in a single text, all of that felt so far away. I had the first anxiety attack and sob fest I’ve had in a long time sitting on the cement floor of the back of the stadium with one of my coaches and in that moment, I realized how LUCKY I was. To have women in my life (some of which I was just meeting in person for the first time) who I didn’t have to say anything to -- they knew EXACTLY what to do and were supportive in the most incredible ways. Every single one of them was THERE for me. 

I believe that community is everything. 

It was the missing link in my life that I never knew I needed. And now that I have it, I can’t ever imagine going a day in my life without it. 

Every day, I am surrounded by other women JUST LIKE ME. 

Women who are dreamers and want to do MORE with their life. To extend BEYOND the status quo. And through it all, I've been able to RISE UP into my full potential and LIVE A LIFE ON PURPOSE. All because of them. 

 

+ HOW MUCH MY LIFE HAS CHANGED IN SUCH A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME

As I sat in our sessions and speakers and team dinners and live workouts, I couldn’t help but think about how different things were for me just one year prior. In just 20 short months, my entire life has shifted.

Through coaching I have been able to:

  • break free of my binge eating disorder .
  • finally stay consistent with my own health and happiness a priority because it's MY JOB to be happy and healthy and fit
  • believe in my enoughness
  • pay off all my credit card debt and contribute to our finances aka PAY DEM BILLLSSSS! .
  •  inspire and empower other women to, bust through their emotional eating habits and rise up to the become the women they KNOW they were put on this earth to be
  • travel to new and amazing places
  • mentor other women just like me to be able to build a side hustle of their own too, and live life to the fullest.

Here is what I believe:

Community is everything. 

Your HEALTH is everything. 

 And if you aren’t waking up every day and saying FUCK YES my life feels AMAZEBALLS, then it’s time to shift course, girlfriend.

It's never too late to say YASSS to your dreams.

 

If there was one thing you could do right now to get a step closer to your dreams,

what would it be?

FOR ME?

IT'S RISE THE F*CK UP.

TIME TO STOP PLAYING SMALL AND START STEPPING INTO THE LEADER I KNOW I WAS PUT ON THIS EARTH TO BE.

Ready or not, world. Here I come.

Xo Amanda

p.s. If you want to learn more about joining our team, please reach out and send me a message. I'd love nothing more than to get to know you and tell you more about what we do! 

The Power of Superfoods

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Not gonna lie, I used to think the word superfood was a load of BS.

 

All those juices jam packed with “superfoods”? Really I was just drinking sugar 😂 and yeah, maybe blueberries were thrown in there (and yesss they're considered a superfood) but was that really a healthy choice? I thought so, but now I know better.

 

And girl, let me help you AVOID the mistakes I made that led me down an emotional/binge eating spiral of despair for sooo many freaking years.

Superfoods are AMAZING -- when it’s presented and ingested in the right ways -- and while it has been the “hot new word” for years now, I truly didn’t understand WHY and HOW until the past year.

 

So why are superfoods an important part of our diet?

They help our bodies THRIVE.

Unlike sooo many medicines these days that just put a bandaid over our symptoms, they actually heal our bodies from the inside out.

And they prevent chronic diseases.

 

SAY WHATTT? Yup, it’s real.

I don't know about you but as a gal who has a 50/50 chance of having the cancer gene, that was reason enough for me to get on board.

 

I’m not gonna bore you with all of the ins and outs of what each and every superfood can do for your health (and if you’re nerdy like me, I know you’re probably googling the benefits of ashwagandha as we speak) but I will share with you some of my personal favorites and their benefits -- ‘cause I know you’re a busy babe and are probably reading this on your lunch break to escape your 9-5 and just don’t have time to spend hours on google -- I GOTCHU!

Chaga (the hot new superfood!) -- it’s actually a mushroom believe it or not! And it helps stimulate and regulate the immune system, gives nutritional support in the fight against cancer, reduces inflammation in the body and has anti-aging properties.

Matcha -- rich in antioxidants, helps reduce blood pressure, boosts your metabolism and helps keep your body alert throughout the day.

Rose hips -- high in vitamin C, treats skin ailments, filled with antioxidants and helps support the immune system

Maca - I looove the benefits of this one -- helps those with chronic fatigue, and it also increases stamina, memory, and it promotes female hormone balance naturally! (Can I get a what whattt!)

 

This whole healing your body naturally is REAL you guys.

 

But when I decided I was IN and went to the grocery store to load up on matcha, rose hips, chaga, maca etc. I quickly realized I would end up spending upwards of $500 just for a few superfoods here and there, I knew there had to be a better and more affordable way. I’m ALL about investing in my health, and do so on the regular (because let’s be honest, it’s all we have!), but that just seemed craaaazy.

So, when I learned that this all natural chocolatey bad boy had not just those superfoods but 47 others, and that it was actually in my freaking budget, I was all in.

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I’ve been drinking it every day for a year and a half now, and I’ve noticed significant changes in my health. My anxiety and stress is wayyy lower and more manageable, my nails are strong and shiny for the first time in my life, TMI but my poops are on point and my IBS is gooooone, and despite working around kids, I’ve only gotten sick once since drinking it and it was a minor cold that I kicked in the butt in 2 days.

So, yeah, I believe in the power of superfoods.

And you should too.

Because all those protein shakes you see on the market that you think you’re being healthy by drinking (yeah, girl, I’m calling you out -- I was there too. I didn’t know any better!) Most of them are filled toxic fake shit and nooooone of them are doing anything to actually HEAL YOUR BODY.

 

So, how can you start using Superfoods to help your body THRIVE?

Here are some places to get started:

  • Start small! Pick a couple of superfoods that resonate with you and your symptoms and start adding them into your daily routine! You can throw them into your smoothie or overnight oats! (I used to do this with chia seeds, blueberries and acai berries back in the day!)

  • Wanting to look your best and brightest for wedding season? Add in some collagen to your daily routine ;) I recently tried Vital Proteins’ Collagen Peptides and love that it’s all natural and you can’t taste it! Add it to your coffee or smoothie in the morning and voila!

  • Go big or go home and get an entire superfood overhaul of your health and get 50 + superfoods in your body every single day -- if that isn’t a magical cup of goodness, I don’t know what is (and it tastes like brownie batter soooooo it’s kinda the f*cking best). Wanna check it out for 30 days? Message me now! I’ve got your back girl ;)

How To Overcome Emotional Eating

                                                                                                                                                    Photo by  Kara Evans Photography

                                                                                                                                                    Photo by Kara Evans Photography

Hey hey hey, ma lady!!

We're knee deep in our Live Your F*ck YES Life challenge in my corner of the universe and the energy is on FIRE. We're virtually sweating our booties off together every day, rocking out a killer meal plan and cheering each other on and I couldn't feel more PUMPED UP. If you’re one of the gals in our group -- know that I appreciate and freaking love you more than you know! (For more deets on what my monthly health & fitness groups are all about -- click here)

The last couple of weeks, we’ve been talking a lot about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart and I thought it was high time I shared this on the bloggity blog because I have a feeling it’s something you struggle with too.

 

What am I talking about? EMOTIONAL EATING and SABOTAGE.

 

You start a new program or nutrition plan super strong and motivated, and then by Day 3 you have a stressful day, come home, raid the pantry and eat everything in sight. And then you throw in the towel because “you may as well just start all over again”.

OR

when you've been eating healthy all day and then someone brings donuts to the office and you can't stop the sugar monster.

OR

you let work or family stresses get to you and you eat to numb out.

And then you feel disgusting. You stare at the mirror and you hate that you hate your own reflection, and you are so freaking tired of never been strong enough to really commit to something and rock out the healthy happy LIFESTYLE you want so badly.

Sound familiar?

Or maybe it's another version of the same story.

Just replace food with your job. A relationship. Any area in your life where you want to see a positive shift take place.

 

First of all, girlfriend, I want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

 

We all struggle with this. With the feeling of letting ourselves down. Of not feeling good enough

But can I tell you a secret? A shift in perspective that made all the difference for me on my journey?

Beating yourself up for failing at something is a sign that you CARE about yourself.

It means you WANT to succeed. That you care about yourself enough to actually want to make those positive changes in your life take hold. 

Which means, while you may not have been able to get there yet, you CAN. And you WILL.

It's just going to take some dedicated work, some accountability (‘cause shit, don’t we alll need that!) and a lot more time than your inner mean girl thinks it should. ‘Cause giiirl, I know you’ve been should-ing all over yourself.


So, how do you start to overcome this and take some positive steps forward?

Here are my top 3 tips to getting started:

  1. Get curious. Awareness is the first step towards positive change. So pay attention to yourself. What are your habits? What are you saying to yourself? When do you tend to emotionally eat?
  2. Show yourself LOVE. Getting aware is such an important step for being able to take action, but it can also be tough to admit these things to yourself. So be KIND to yourself. And remember, YOU have the power to change anything and everything in your life in an instant. And showing yourself grace while you slowly take positive steps forward is KEY to being able to achieve what you want. It’s not easy and there will be days when you catch your mean girl coming to play and THAT’S OKAY. That’s part of the process and something we all deal with ;)
  3. Speaking of that, whenever you catch your mean girl popping up, ask yourself “what would I say to my best friend if they were going through this situation?” Quit letting your inner mean girl take the reins and let your LIGHT shine through, not just to others in your life but to YOU TOO!

 

You are more powerful than you know. And if you do the work, I promise you, you will start to see the LIGHT inside of you shine in ways you never imagined possible.

I believe in you. 

It’s time to start believing in yourself too ;)

Xo Amanda

P.s. Interested in seeing more shizzz like this and jumpstarting your emotional eating healing process and finding FOOD FREEDOM? Click the button below to snag your FREE Busy Babes Guide To Healthy Living & get weekly love bombs to your inbox!

5 Ways to Make the Holidays Feel Special when you're Adult-ing.

I will be the first to admit...I LOVE CHRISTMAS.

It is far and above my favorite time of year. The twinkly lights. The hot chocolate. The giving spirit that is all around. The family time. And TRADITIONS.

I am a sucker for traditions. And growing up, we had soo many traditions. And each and every single one of them would fill my heart with so much joy. Going to pick out the tree with my Dad. Listening to the Ella Fitzgerald Christmas cd while we decorated the tree. Baking shortbread cookies with my mom. The new matching pjs on Christmas eve. Pancakes for breakfast Christmas morning. Dinner with the whole family on Christmas. Boxing Day shopping (yeahhhh Canada) ... it was the BEST.

And after graduating college, I found those traditions slowly slipping away. I'm from Toronto and while Chicago isn't a bajillion hours away, it's far enough away that going home for a weekend isn't super easy to do. A couple of years ago, I couldn't even make it home for Christmas because I was in a show that ran right through the holidays. And last year, I spent Christmas at my in-laws. So it's safe to say that the traditions I grew up knowing largely went out the window. 

At first, I was heartbroken. And honestly, it's only been the past year or so of my life (since I started regularly doing personal development) that I shifted my perspective and found JOY in the holiday again. Because, as I've learned, when you choose to place your energy and thoughts on the positive things of life -- when you CREATE the kind of experience you so crave -- you can have what you feel like you're missing on your own terms! :) 

So, here are my top 5 ways to make the Holidays feel special:

1. Make new traditions

When I wasn't able to make it home for Christmas a couple of years back, I moped around for weeks. I was sad. No cookie making, christmas tree decorating, pj opening christmas. 

SO instead, I decided to make the most of it and since it was the first Christmas that Kev and I were spending together as a family, we decided that a great way to make it exciting was to make NEW traditions! And that's when our ornament tradition began.

Every year, we find an ornament to add to our collection. The ornament we pick represents the year we had together -- last year, we got a "Our First Home" ornament since we had just bought our place! This year, I'm sure it will have to be a dog ornament of some kind ;) 

So find something new and exciting and build it into your Holiday traditions! :)

2. Have a Christmas Movie Marathon

This one is KEY for me to feel like it's Christmas. So grab a girlfriend or your hubby and park yourselves on the couch, turn the sparkly lights on, grab some homemade hot cocoa and have a snuggly night in.

My personal faves? The Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, White Christmas and Love Actually :)

3. Celebrate the Holiday Locally

There are TONS of festive celebrations that happen all over and I'm sure there are some super fun ones in your city/town! 

Chicago is filled with fun little things but our all time favorite thing to do is go to the Christkindlemarket -- there's a giant tree that's all lit up and booths with Christmas treats, ornaments, gifts and all the gluvine (aka mulled wine -- DELICIOUS) you could want! It's a really cute thing to do and we have so much fun going every year. 

4. Get your Bake on!

Something about baking really gets me in the Christmas mood :)

So blast that Christmas pandora station and bake some guilt free cookies -- recipe for the cookies pictured above HERE. Also loving these 21 Day Fix-Approved Holiday Treats

5. Surround yourself with people you LOVE

When it comes down to it, the holidays are really a time to spend with those you love most in the world. So make TIME for the people that matter to you. Because that's what the holidays are all about, right? 

So spend this month sharing the love.

Make girlfriend dates. Call your Mom. Send homemade cards to your faraway friends. 

If that doesn't put you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will ;) 

 

What are YOUR favorite traditions? I would love to hear! Share in the comments below!

Rosemary Dijon Pork Tenderloin

Soooooooo I've been slacking on the recipes -- I KNOW! And you guys have been asking for more and you know I gotchuu -- so I had a fun adventure at the grocery store and picked up some super simple and Summer friendly ingredients!

I am all about eating healthy on a budget -- and being able to make meals that can spread out throughout the week with leftovers and THIS does alllll of that. 

We got 4 meals worth for $6. YUP. Crazy sauce. It never ceases to amaze me how much money I save by eating well and planning out my meals. I used to think there was no way that I could eat healthy -- so many recipes would have all of these bizarre ingredients like himalayan salt, dates, coconut flour, you name it -- and I would buy something for a recipe and then never use it again. #wasteofmoney

So I am on a mission to create recipes that not only taste delicious but are also affordable. ENTER, Exibit A ;)

Ingredients

(Makes 4 Servings)

1 Pork Tenderloin

2 tbsp Dijon Mustard

1/2 tsp freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

2 tbsp Chopped Rosemary Leaves

1 Sweet potato

6 Collard Green leaves, chopped

2 cloves of Garlic, minced

Olive oil

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix Dijon mustard, Black Pepper, Sea Salt and Rosemary together. Spread mixture over top of pork evenly.

3. Place pork on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes.

4. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees F and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 145 degrees F (it took me approximately 35 minutes). Once it's done, let it sit for 10 minutes with an aluminum foil tent.

5. Meanwhile, boil water in a pot and wash, peel and chop the sweet potato. Once the water is boiling, place sweet potato in the water for approximately 20 minutes (or until you can put a fork through the potato chunks!). Once it's down, drain the water and mash away! Add some rosemary and sea salt if you're feeling frisky!

6. In a pan on medium heat, sautee garlic in olive oil. Toss in the collard greens after a couple of minutes. Once they're getting crispy, they're ready to go!

 

For my Fixers: 1 Red, 1 Yellow, 1 Green

Are you a fan of Collard Greens? I recently got into them and I'm IN LOVEEEEE!!

 

Because Burgers can be Healthy Too

With the warm weather starting to hit, I don't know about you but I really start getting the major urge to have a good, juicy burger. So when Kevan suggested that we make our own last week, I was DOWN for the task of finding a way to fit it into my healthy meal plan.

Don't get me wrong, I'm ALL about indulging in the occasional burger, because, let's be honest, Chicago is home to some of the BEST I've ever had, but I was excited to tickle my recipe brain again and see if I could whip up something delicious and that feels indulgent but is actually super healthy!

And I have to say, I'm pretty freaking proud of what I came up with. And it fit completely into my whole foods portion control meal plan that I've been following this month! 

BURGERS FOR THE WIN

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

100% Grass fed beef, 1 pound

Whole wheat burger buns (or you could use lettuce!)

2 small Zucchinis

1/2 Spanish Onion

Whole Wheat panko bread crumbs (normal bread crumbs work just fine too!)

Egg whites

1 tbsp Garlic Powder

Italian seasoning (optional)

Sea salt

Pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 F and get cover two cookie sheets with aluminum foil

2. Cut zucchini in "fry like" shape and chop onion in half and separate into rings.

3. In bowl, mix together the Bread crumbs, Garlic powder and Italian seasoning. In separate bowl, place 4 egg whites. 

4. Dip each zucchini fry and onion ring in the egg whites. Then, place in the bread crumb mixture, making sure to thoroughly coat before placing on the cookie sheets.

5. Once all of them are coated with bread crumbs, place in the oven for 20-25 minutes (or until browned and crunchy)

6. While the veggies are baking, mix the ground beef with salt and pepper, to taste, before forming them into patties. 

7. About 5 minutes before the fries are ready to come out, start cooking the patties on a heated and oiled cast iron skillet (about 30 seconds per side, if the heat is right) -- also DELICIOUS grilled!

8. Serve on a toasted whole wheat bun (or using a big lettuce leaf as the "bun" if you've had your daily carbohydrates earlier in the day) add mustard, veggies if you like, pickles if you're like me and you're good to go!!!!!!

For my Fixers (per serving): 2 Yellow (if you're using the bun), 1 Red, 1.5 Green

A delicious alternative to "fast food", am I right?

And the BEST PART? All of this cost $6!!!!!!!!!!!! For 4 WHOLE ENTIRE MEALS. Whoever said eating healthy (and deliciously) cost more money than eating out/fast food is a liar I tell you, a LIAR!!!! 

 

 

Glazed Asian Mahi Mahi

Les poissons....les poissons...hee-hee-hee hon-hon-hon

If you get that reference, you're officially my favorite. And if you don', that's okay, I still like you, I promise! So I know that I live in the Midwest and all that but here's the thing, this girl likes her Fish. I could probably eat seafood every single day but let's be honest, it's a bit pricey (and thus unrealistic) to be consuming it seven days a week, but I still try to get it in as often as I can. What I love about Mahi Mahi is that it can be prepared so many ways and is relatively inexpensive compared to most other fish, so when I saw it at the grocery store, I just HAD to snag it.

Okay guys. I gotta say, this one's a goodie. I just decided to have fun and test the waters and this really turned out AH-mazing. I mean, I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but it's delicious and it literally takes 30 minutes, start to finish. If that's not a dream, I don't know what is! Hopefully you guys enjoy it as much as I did! 

Drumroll.......... Duh duh duh duh! 

IMG_7016.jpg

GLAZED ASIAN MAHI MAHI

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

- 2 Mahi Mahi filets, of equal size

- 1 Tsp of Crushed fresh ginger

- 2 cloves of Garlic, minced

- 2 Tbsp Olive oil

- 3 Tbsp Honey

- 3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar

- 3 Tbsp Tamari (I use this instead of Soy sauce, but they taste similar)

- 1 Tsp Coconut Oil

- Salt and Pepper to taste

- Optional: 2 Baby bok choi

Directions

1. In a shallow bowl, mix together tamari, honey, balsamic vinegar, ginger, garlic and olive oil. Place fish in bowl & cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, wash and separate the leaves from the baby bok choi. Pat dry. [While you're cooking the fish, sautee the baby bok choi in a separate pan on medium heat in a little bit of oil. Cook until tender.}

3. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove fish, but hold onto the marinade (to be used later!). Place fish on skillet for approximately 5 minutes on each side, ensuring that you turn it only once. Once the fish flakes easily with a fork, remove from heat to a serving platter and keep warm.

4. Pour saved marinade into the skillet and heat on medium-heat until it turns into a glaze like consistency. Spoon glaze over fish and voila! 


My Venture into Natural Beauty Products

If you've been an avid blog reader of mine, you know how important my health is to me. I spent so many years of early adulthood not truly understanding what it meant to be healthy. What foods (and how much of those foods) I should be consuming. I seriously thought that carbs were evil. Not allowed. That cardio was the most effective form of exercise and that I should be doing it every single day. I didn't know. I read all of these articles from countless magazines searching for that "magic cure" to get my thighs not to touch, to get that six pack that I'd always thought was the definition of being "fit". You can read more about My Story but, ultimately, when it came down to it, it took me really listening to my body and trying out various programs before I really knew what my body needed. 

And because of programs like the 21 Day Fix, I now can truly say that for the first time in my adult life, my relationship to food is healthy. That I am properly fueling my body with the right kinds of foods. That my cravings have completely disappeared. That I don't feel the need to step on the scale every single day and see if it's moved. That I am never, ever hungry (which, for those of you who know me intimately know how much of a WIN that is for me). And I am the most fit I have ever been in my life, and hell noooo do I have a six pack. Can I do a shit ton of burpees and swing some heavy ass kettle bells? You bet your ass I can. So in terms of internal health, I am finally starting to figure this shit out. And I am happier and more full of energy than I have ever been.

But what I was realizing was that I wasn't giving the same amount of love to myself on the outside. What do I mean by that? I mean my skin. The skin is the body's largest organ and absorbs what you put into it. Why did I never realize how important it is to know what's inside the products I use? Being aware of what of what ingredients were in my creams, my shampoos, my deodorant, my face wash...everything! I had no stinking' clue. Nobody had ever said, 'hey, you probably don't want to be using that cream. It has a buuuunch of ingredients in there that are super toxic.' -- I'd been using Herbal Essences shampoos and dove deodorant my entire life and it didn't kill me, right? What's the big deal? 

Well, here's the thing. It is a big deal. And as it turns out, I have been putting awful toxins in my body without even being aware of it for my entire life.

I found out a few years back that I could have the cancer gene. The only reason I don't know the answer to that? Well, I'm scared shitless to find out. I mean, if you could take a blood test that would tell you if you had a 75% greater likelihood of developing cancer by the time you're 60, wouldn't you be terrified to find out? Because once you know, you know. And I imagine that it would start to feel like a ticking time bomb, slowly eating away at you...your thoughts just waiting for the cancer to show it's nasty face. Am I going to get tested? Yes. Hopefully, this year actually. (Stay tuned for that) The way I see it, I'd rather know so that I can do everything in my power to prevent it than be constantly sitting in the dark. But, in the meantime, I decided to start actively using skin and beauty products that are toxin free. I'm not 100% perfect about the -- I still am working to find a shampoo that I like that doesn't leave my hair feeling perpetually greasy. 

But these products are some of the BEST I've discovered and best of all? All natural, all safe ingredients. 

** I am in no way affiliated with LUSH, I just happen to LOOOVE their products**

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The Dream Cream from LUSH

This cream is seriously the best thing I have ever invested in. The entire pot is $27.95 and it usually lasts me anywhere from 4-6 months. I grew up with seriously awful eczema on my hands, and perpetually dry skin. I tried every cream you could possibly find at the drugstore, even prescription creams from my doctor and nothing worked. The Dream Cream made my skin completely clear, smooth and soft. And it has continued to do so for the past two years. Main ingredients are oat milk, lavender, chamomile and olive oil. 

Do yourself a favor and buy this. It's a lifesaver. 

Ultrabland from LUSH

I hate washing my face. I have really dry skin and I just have never been able to find a cleanser that makes my skin feel fresh & clean but also moisturized. Enter Ultrabland from LUSH. Now I will say that this is a more recent addition to my daily regiment, but holy wow do I love this stuff. It leaves my skin feeling refreshed and my dry spots are gone. Main ingredients are almond oil, rose water, honey and beeswax. 

All Natural Soap

So this should have been a no brainer for me but for some reason it really wasn't something I started doing until I came across this bar of soap in this little store in the middle of nowhere Michigan. I read the ingredients and I was like "ahhh I understand all of these!" And there are so many stores around nowadays that carry stuff like this. So find a scent you love and go to town!

Tom's Deodorant

Tom's is one of the few brands I've found that is all natural, aluminum free AND affordable. A stick is $4.99 and they now have a bunch of different scents -- my favorite is the lavender. It took a week or so for my body to adjust to not having all of the extra crap in my previous deodorant and I was a bit smellier for it, but after that, I apply it in the morning after my showers and I'm good to go.

Mask of Magnaminty from LUSH

I have lately been ALL about Face masks. Seriously, don't know how I lived without them. Never going back. And the Mask of Magnaminty is my all-time favourite. The small pot ($13.95) is really all you need if you're only doing it once a week or so. And it smells just like mint chocolate chip ice cream -- WIN. Just don't eat it. Trust me, I tried it. Not the best decision. Main ingredients: Kaolin, honey, peppermint.

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All of this is to say, do your research & know what you're putting on your body. Read the ingredients of the things you use every day and make sure that you're being safe! You'd be surprised. Click here for an excellent article on the ingredients you should avoid. Your body will thank you, I promise!

Our Adventure In Making LemonGrass & Basil Pork Tenderloin

My hubby and I are huge foodies (if you can't tell by all of the recipes I post!!), and for Christmas, he got me this amazing gift called Foodie Dice & we finally decided to put them to good use and holy wow was this meal amaze-balls!!!!

Basically, how it works, is that you get a variety of wooden dice, each belonging to a different category (protein, side dish, veggie, spice, extra ingredient etc.) And then you just ROLL the dice and it tells what ingredients to use for your next meal. Simple, fun, and it makes making dinner together an adventure! 

So we hopped in the car, went to the store to buy all the ingredients, and THIS is what we created :) Seriously, I've been eating leftovers from this meal for the past two days and it still hasn't gotten old. Definitely going to be a new staple in our house!

LEMONGRASS & BASIL PORK TENDERLOIN

Makes approx. 4 servings

Ingredients

- Pork tenderloin (we got a 2 lb one but really any size will work)

- 1 stalk Lemongrass, minced

- Garlic cloves, crushed (the more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned)

- A handful of basil leaves, minced

- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil

- Pinch of Sea Salt

Optional side ingredients:

- Large Sweet potato, peeled and sliced

- 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced

- 1 cup Quinoa

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In small bowl, combine olive oil, lemongrass, garlic, basil and sea salt. Once mixed thoroughly, place a thick coat on top of the pork. Let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the sweet potato and parsnips in a large bowl. Drizzle some olive oil and remaining garlic over top & then place the veggies onto a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil.

3. Place pork into casserole dish & cover it. Place pork and veggies into the oven until pork has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, and no longer has a pink centre. (About 30 minutes per pound) Make sure to keep an eye on the veggies -- we like them a bit crispy on the outside, so I tend to leave them in a bit longer!

4. About 15 minutes before the pork is ready to come out, start cooking your quinoa. Combine quinoa and 2 cups of water into a pot over high heat. Once it boils, reduce heat to low and place the lid on top of the pot, leaving it slightly ajar.

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Annnnd Presto! Your meal is complete and oh so delicious!

Would love to know how you liked it! Leave your comments below!

Shrimp Tacos

If you've been following my blog, you know that things have been a little stressful in the Loy household as of late. Hooray for water damage! (...Said nobody ever) So when I knew that my husband and I both had the night off, I decided to put my worries about all this into something productive -- cooking! I love coming up with new & healthy recipes and trying them on my husband. He is the most honest person I've ever known so I always know that when he says it's good, he means it! And this one got 5 gold stars. He even asked when we could have it again. If that's not a win, I don't know what is!

The best part? This took me a total of 30 minutes, prep and cook time together! Delicious, quick and fun to eat -- that can't be beat. (See what I did there? I'm a rhyming queen, guys.)

SHRIMP TACOS

Makes 2 Servings (4 tacos total)

Ingredients

- 10 Raw Shrimp

- 4 Corn Tortilla Shells

- 1/4 Small Spanish or White Onion, chopped

- 1/2 Avocado, sliced

- Sprinkle of Chopped Purple Cabbage

- 1/2 Lemon

- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

- 1 Tsp Cumin

- 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder

- Ground Pepper

- Sea Salt

Directions

Peel & devein raw shrimp. Rinse under cold water.

Combine oil, spices, and lemon juice from lemon in bowl and combine with shrimp. Make sure shrimp is coated with the spice mix.

Sautee onion in a little olive oil on medium-high heat. In separate pan on medium heat, place tortilla shell down for one minute and then flip. Repeat for all four tortilla shells. This heats them up nicely for you!

Once onions are translucent, add shrimp to pan. Cook about 2 minutes per side.

Add your shrimp and onion mix onto your taco shell, topping with avocado & purple cabbage for some extra crunch and voila, your taco is ready to be devoured!

 

 

 

The Cookie to win all Potlucks

Holy wow, how is Christmas next week? Is it just me or do you feel like it literally snuck up on us more than usual this year. Normally, I've got a countdown going starting in November, and I'm listening to Christmas songs wayyyy earlier than any normal human being should. For reals, guys, Christmas is my holiday. I get just giddy thinking about it.

But for some reason, this season thus far has felt really different. And I've been thinking a lot about why that's the case. For one, the weather has been so out of whack here in Chicago. It has snowed once and it was over a month ago, so I don't feel like that really counts. And it has been unusually warm. I seriously keep thinking it's November. Nope, definitely December, Amanda. Definitely December. Also, I feel like I normally have had holiday parties to attend and Christmas-y get togethers and so far this year, I haven't really had one. [No, this is not me throwing myself a pity party, it's just the cold hard facts. People are slacking on the Christmas parties up in my hood! What's a girl gotta do to have a reason to break out the tacky Christmas sweaters with the pompoms on them? *Le Sigh*]

So yeah, long story short, it has just not felt like Christmas. 

And I was getting really bummed out about it all. But here's the thing. Christmas/Channukah/Kwanza/whatever you may celebrate isn't about the parties you go to or the snowstorm that comes your way. It's about a feeling. A feeling that just doesn't seem to exist at any other time of the year. For me, it's this heart-fluttering-giant-smiles-giving-warm-fuzzy-joy-feeling inside my soul. And goddamnit I wanted that feeling!!

So, I blasted my Ella Fitzgerald Christmas cd, turned on the Christmas lights, got Christmas cookies baking in the oven and got all of my presents wrapped. And there was that feeling.

So, I guess all of this is to say that if your life isn't bringing you the holiday warm and fuzzies, make them appear. You know what makes you giddy, so do those things and give yourself some holiday lovin'. You deserve it.

OK, now for the Good Stuff.

THE ULTIMATE POTLUCK COOKIE

I love these cookies. They are so healthy and a constant hit at any and all potlucks I attend. People have no clue that they're eating a cookie that is good for them AND delicious! Bonus? They literally take 5 minutes to make, easy, peasy, cookie!

Ingredients

2 bananas

1 cup oats

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon & 1/4 tsp nutmeg)

Dark chocolate

Optional: walnuts 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In large bowl, mash bananas until consistency is smooth

3. Stir in oats until completely mixed together

4. Add pumpkin spice and vanilla and mix until it is evenly covered. Then add dark chocolate chunks/chips and optional walnuts and do the same.

5. Using a tablespoon, spoon cookie mix onto a cookie sheet

6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cookie is baked to your desire! 

 

Asian Inspired Veggie Medley

I have been on an Asian food kick lately -- well, really all my life I guess, but for the past few years, I didn't really think I could incorporate Asian food into my diet in a healthy way {other than stirfry, but let's be honest, a girl gets tired of stirfry after a while, am I right?}

When  I was a kid, we did take out once a week, every Friday night. It was our family night (something I plan on incorporating into my family when we have kids of our own) & I looked forward to it every week. We would order from this little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant and I would fill my tummy with plain lo mein noodles, beef & broccoli and chicken wings. All, of course, while playing a very intense round of Sorry, Clue or whichever board game we were obsessed with at the time.

And while I am all for takeout every once in a while {the past few years, I have become a huge Indian food fan. Holy wow their veggie entrees are amazeballs}, when I started becoming more conscious of my health, I was so taken back by the lack of nutritional value found in Chinese food. So, for a long time into my quest towards a healthier me, I stuck to very simple clean meals. Boiled or baked chicken, steamed vegetables, the occasional brown rice or quinoa. But guess what? Turns out eating like that gets old FAST, and I've learned that eating healthy doesn't mean eating boring foods. It has actually opened up a world of spice and unique blends of ingredients that have changed my world and my relationship to food.

For all of my Chinese foods lovers (and veggie/vegan heads), this might be the recipe for you.

Asian Inspired Veggie Medley

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

- 2/3 of Cooked quinoa 

- 4 big handfuls of brussel sprouts, ends cut off and chopped in half (in my opinion, you can never have enough)

- 1/2 head of a small red cabbage, sliced 

- 2 tbsp. Sesame oil

- 1 tbsp. Rice vinegar

- 1 tsp. Tamari (a lower sodium version of Soy Sauce)

- Optional: Any other veggies you love (ex. water chestnuts, shredded carrots), Extra firm Tofu, sesame seeds

Directions

Heat 1 tbsp of Sesame oil in a skillet on medium to medium high heat. {If using tofu, press the water out of it by using a paper towel and applying pressure. Then cut into cubes and sear in skillet until brown on both sides}. If you're not using tofu, toss the brussel sprouts into the skillet for 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, have your quinoa cooking in a separate pot. My personal preference for cooking it? Add uncooked quinoa and double the amount of water into a small pot. Turn on high heat until it reaches a boil & then put heat to low and cover until water is gone (usually about 7-10 minutes).

In a separate bowl, add remaining sesame oil, rice vinegar and tamari.

Once the brussel sprouts have started to brown, add the red cabbage (and any optional additional veggies). Let cook for 2 minutes before adding remainder of the sauce. Let simmer until vegetables are cooked to your liking. Personally, I like them not to lose all of their crunch so I let it go for 3-5 minutes more.  If you're feeling fun, sprinkle some sesame seeds overtop of the medley the last minute that they are cooking!

In a bowl, place 1/3 cup cooked quinoa and half of the veggies and VOILA, you've got a nutritious & delicious Asian inspired meal!

 

 

Five Simple Ways To Boost Your Health Everyday

1. Spend time in Nature - Are you ever having a bad day and then you walk outside and immediately, your heart feels just a little less heavy? I know that for me, being in nature gives me a sense of peace that I can't feel anywhere else. And bonus? You're usually getting your heart rate up from exploring or just walking to work! Plus, studies show that people who spend more time in nature are significantly less stressed & happier than the average person!

2. Laughter - I don't know about you but for me, laughter really is the best medicine. My entire soul is on FIRE when I'm getting a good laugh in and for me, that usually involves an unreasonably large smile, having a hard time breathing and some very strange sounds exiting my mouth. So watch a funny movie, spend time with friends that make you giggle, do something that makes you laugh so hard you can't control yourself. Not only will your brain get a shot of endorphins, but your abs will get a good workout too!

3. Do A Crossword Puzzle  - I am a total Crossword nerd. I love them. My Sunday morning ritual always involves attempting the NYT Crossword. Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment, but I just can't stop! And guess what? Doing a mentally challenging activity like that is good for you! In fact, studies have shown that people who do less of these activities tend to have earlier brain degeneration. So do a crossword, read a good book or get your Sudoku on!

4. Have Good Posture - This one is so simple to accomplish and yet so many people go through their days without good posture. I know I always have to remind myself to sit up straight! It's so so important to help promote the flow of energy in your body so try to stand a little bit taller. You'll be amazed at the difference you feel!

5. Eat A Healthy Breakfast - The best thing you can do to get your metabolism going for the day? Eat your breakfast! It always amazes me how many people I meet that don't eat breakfast on the daily. Eating breakfast is key to leading a healthy lifestyle. It sets you up for success each day (so you don't hit that 10:00 slump where you need to eat anything and everything you see) & it gives you a kick in the pants to start your day with! 

 

Start implementing these five simple things into your day to day life and you will find yourself leading a happier & healthier life in no time.

My Hubby's Chili

It is getting colder and the holidays are upon us! Maybe it's the Canadian in me, but I love this time of year. The first snowfall. Christmas lights. Hot chocolate. Big chunky wool scarves. It's all so magical. It's always around this time of year that I start craving comfort foods. And for me, one of my favorite comfort foods in the winter months has always been Chili. It's just leaves you feeling so warm & cozy.

I'm a lucky lady. My hubby is an amazing cook, and he has taught me a lot about being unafraid to spice things up in the kitchen. And holyballs his Chili is amazing. And best of all? It's HEALTHY! *cue the applause* I would be doing you all a huge disservice if I didn't share the amazingness of this recipe because man, oh man, you won't know what hit you. 

Chili of the Gods

Makes 4-6 Servings

Ingredients

- 16 oz of Ground Turkey /or/ Ground Grassfed beef 

- 2 cans of Crushed tomatoes

- 2 Serrano peppers

- 1 Jalapeno pepper

- 2 cans of Kidney beans, rinsed

- 1 large onion, diced

- 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced (We like lots of garlic, so feel free to put less if it's not your thing)

- Seasonings: Cayenne, Cumin, Chili powder, Oregano

- Optional: carrots, red peppers

Directions

Heat 2 tbsp of coconut/olive oil in a large pot on medium-medium high heat. Add onions and cook until it is soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the meat and break it up as it browns. Clear a space in the middle of the pot & add in garlic, hot peppers and other optional veggies. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about a minute, and then stir into the meat and onions. 

Add seasonings to your liking. We like things well spiced, so our measurements are usually 1 tbsp Cayenne, 2 tbsp chili powder and oregano and 3 tbsp of cumin. A pinch of sea salt for good measure is also 100% an option!

Add crushed tomatoes and kidney beans to the pot and stir until mixed together. 

Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for no less than 30 minutes. It's important to let it simmer so that all of the flavors mix together properly! Trust me, THAT'S the secret to a perfect chili.

 

Bonus? If you're cooking for two, you have leftovers for the week! Double bonus? Your belly is happy and you've made yourself a nutritious meal! What could be better?

 

Pork Tenderloin with Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts

Although fall seems to be fleeting and Chiberia seems to be starting to return in full flesh here in Chi-town, I refuse to let go of my favorite fall staples in the kitchen. Because, let's be honest, fall is the best season and I just want everything to taste like fall forever!

I've spent the past four days slaving away in the kitchen for Friendsgiving. In my house, American Thanksgiving is always spent with our friends that have turned into family. We always have our core group of friends, and we also open our house up to anybody we know who doesn't have anyone to spend the holidays with. Because, let's be honest, nobody should be sitting at home alone, watching Netflix and eating a Lean Cuisine turkey dinner for one on Thanksgiving. No, No, NO! It should be filled with Football, Foursquare (or at least, it is in my house), my homemade pumpkin pie and all the turkey ever -- followed of course by a couple of naps in between the inevitable board game playing. It's official, I'm an old lady.

After fully indulging through the holiday, I'm limiting my wine to Wednesdays and the weekend (balance!) and I'm doing my best to stay on top of my clean eating. Luckily, it is pretty easy to turn my comfort foods into healthy options! Here's one of my favorite recipes that I officially nailed this week in the kitchen. It feels like you're indulging because it tastes so goddamn good but it's healthy and super easy to do!

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples and Onions

Serves Four

Ingredients

- 1 large pork tenderloin (about 15 ounces)

- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard

- 2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)

- 1 large onion, sliced

- 2 medium Granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 1/4 inch thick)

- 1/2 cup of apple cider 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Season pork with a dash of sea salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and sear until all sides are brown (about 5 minutes). Transfer pork to plate and cool slightly, spreading combined mustard over top and sides of pork (optional: press fennel seeds into mustard). 

Add a tbsp of olive oil, onion and apples into pan and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Place pork on top of mixture and transfer skillet to oven until the centre of the pork registers 150 degrees F, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer pork to platter and make a foil tent to prevent moisture from escaping.

Meanwhile, pour apple cider over apple-onion mixture in skillet. Stir over high heat for about two minutes, until slightly reduced. 

Slice pork and spoon apple-onion mixture overtop of pork for a nice finish!

Butternut Squash & Brussel Sprout side dish

This can go in alongside your pork, so have all your veggies prepped and ready to go!

Ingredients

- Brussel sprouts, the more the merrier

- Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (You can buy pre-sliced ones at the store!)

- 1/4 cup Pecans

- 1/4 cup Dried cranberries

- 1 tbsp Maple syrup

- 1 tbsp Cinnamon

- Olive oil

Directions

Trim your ends to your brussel sprouts & then slice them in half. In medium bowl, combine sprouts, a little olive oil and toss to combine. Place onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and roast in oven for about 20-25 minutes. Make sure to check on them at about the 15 minute mark and shift them around a bit to even them out for browning.

In another bowl, combine cubed butternut quash, 1 tbsp of olive oil, maple syrup and cinnamon and toss to mix. Place squash on a lightly oiled foil-lined baking sheet. Baking for 20-25 minutes, turning once half-way through the baking process. [For fastest results, bake them side by side!]

Pour out your sprouts, your squash, your pecans and your dried cranberries into a bowl and mix it around. Serve warm!

Nutritious, delicious & husband approved! What could be better?

You up for the challenge? Make the recipe and comment below!