Ex-Squeeze Me: First, My Lemon Water

Good Morning Sunshines!

I like to start my mornings with some freshly squeezed lemon juice in my water! My best friend got me hooked on using an old-school lemon juicer! I find that this method adds WAY more flavor to my water compared to just adding lemon slices.

Benefits of drinking Lemon Juice in the AM:
✅ Aids in digestion for the rest of your day
✅ Lemons contain Vitamin C: not an astonishingly high amount, somewhere around 30-50 mg per lemon
(close to your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) which for VIT C is 60mg/day)
✅ Making the choice to drink lemon water in the AM lends itself to making healthier choices for the rest of your day!

For all my science-loving babes out there:
You may have heard that lemon juice helps balances pH Levels: There is a theory that certain foods can have an acid or alkaline affect on the body. It’s important to keep in mind that our diet only affects the pH of the urine and not the pH of the blood. So, regardless of what you eat or what your urine pH is, you can be pretty confident that your blood pH is hovering around a comfortable 7.4 (1,2).

lemon_juicer

 

Rae Dunn White Ceramic Citrus Juicer with Strainer - Squeeze

Rae Dunn White Ceramic Citrus Juicer with Strainer – Squeeze

 

  1. http://advan.physiology.org/content/33/4/275.full
  2. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?aid=9016507&fileId=S0007114513000962

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Best Tasting Protein Powders: Organic & Plant-Based

My client’s are always asking me what protein powders I recommend. Obviously protein powder qualifies as a supplement and eating whole food is certainly preferable. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to my post-lift shake & banana! It’s delicious and quickly replenishes my depleted glycogen stores!

banana_postworkout smoothie

My Post-Workout Shake:
‌• 100 grams 100% liquid egg whites (I use All Whites, and yes it’s safe to drink because it’s pasteurized)
‌• 8 ounces Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
‌• 2 scoops of Orgain Organic Vanilla Protein Powder

Nutrition Facts: 33g Protein | 16g Carb | 6g Fat | 236 kcal

I’ve personally tested a wide range of protein powders (including whey isolates, egg white based, and plant based…haven’t tried the cricket exoskeleton one yet, no I’m not joking – that’s a thing). But here are my top 4 all-time favorites:

All four of these protein powders are:
✔ Certified Organic
✔ Plant-based
✔ Non-GMO
✔ Dairy-free
✔ Gluten-free
✔ Vegan
✔ Soy-Free

obvious bonus: because thy are plant based they all mix easily & taste amazing! 🙂

 

orgain vanilla protein powder

Orgain Organic Protein Plant-Based Powder, Vanilla Bean, 2.03 Pound

 

love & peas protein powder_frontLove and Peas (675 g)

 

PFPvanilla1_largePerfect Fit Protein (25 Servings – Vanilla)

 

nautres harvest

Nature’s Harvest Meal Replacement

Spiced Apple Drink  with Apple Cider Vinegar

Autumn is officially here and I don’t know about you but pumpkin’s can’t have all the spot light! I have way been way too excited about seeing barrels full of my favorite apples: Honeycrisp! I feel like I could eat like 4 of these a day (what’s that they say “too much of a good thing”…?) No but really.

However I realize it’s prob not the best idea to actually eat that many apples in a day (hello fiber)! Also I don’t buy juice but I wanted an apple based drink…so I decided to infuse my water with some thin apple slices. But I didn’t stop there…

Mix your ingredients together in a large mason jar and allow it to infuse for a little while (no exact science here… 10 mins, 1 hour, overnight…it’s your call)! Drink and enjoy!

Just make sure you use Apple Cider Vinegar that is labeled :

 “With the Mother”
 Raw
 unfiltered

What is “with the mother” mean?
This is kind of like the live cultures found in yogurt. When  when you get apple cider vinegar “with the mother”,  you’re getting the whole food as opposed to a refined version of it. It’s unrefined therefore some of the live organisms remain in the vinegar, adding to it’s beneficial properties. When you buy raw, unfiltered,  apple cider vinegar “with the mother” it will sometimes look cloudy, not clear.

ACV drink 1

ACV drink 2

No-Bake Protein Truffle Bites!

No Bake Protein Truffle Bites

It’s not everyday but I usually want a little something sweet about an hour after dinner. So instead of over-eating on something I feel like is “healthy” (blue diamond dark chocolate roasted almonds) I thought I’d treat myself to something a little more satisfying! So I whipped up a batch of these and thought I’d share!

See what kind of protein powder’s I like here!

Protein Truffle Bites (makes approx 10)

🔹2 scoops protein powder (40 g)
🔹1/2 C rolled oats (I use bobs red mill gluten free rolled oats)
🔹 3 TBS dehydrated peanut butter powder (I use either PB2 or ‘Just Great Stuff’)
🔹1.5 TBS organic almond butter
🔹 splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I like the silk brand bc there is no carrageenan in it, use just enough to get the peanut butter powder to the consistency you want)
🔹 2 TBS chopped walnuts (or slivered almonds)
🔹 1-2 TBS cacao nibs

Thoroughly mix all your ingredients together! I typically use a spatula to kind of smoosh and smear all the ingredients together!

Roll your “dough” into golf-sized balls! If the consistency of the dough is too wet/sticky, I will roll each ball in unsweetened coconut flakes! Store in airtight container in the refrigerator! Consume within 5 -7 days!

Nutrition Info (per truffle)
kCal: 78.0
Protein: 5.4
Carb: 5.9
Fat: 4.2

 

How To: Weekly Meal Planning & Prep

meal prep 1

  1. The Menu & Grocery List:
    Plan and write down you meals & list: I don’t always do write out all my meals for the week anymore but if you are just starting out this will really help you stay on track! First I sit down and figure out what my 5 meals are (Meal 1: oatmeal, Meal 2: Apple etc…). Then based off this I write out a list of items I’ll need to make each of these meals for the week! If you’re visual like me, try mapping out your meals with my Blank Weekly Meal Planner! Then write out a list of all the items you will need at the store! Having a list will help you stick to your goals, just be sure to avoid going grocery shopping on an empty stomach (that never ends well).

    Here’s grocery list that I made for my Bootcampers back in January!

grocery list

  1. Grocery Shopping
    I recently chose to pop in headphones and listen to my own tunes while I was shopping. I was amazed at how tranquil and pleasant it made me feel. If you’re like me and you don’t have the luxury of shopping at Whole Foods every time your produce runs low, you may be doing your shopping in a less enjoyable atmosphere. I find that listening to my own music on spotify makes the experience much more enjoyable!

  1. Do Your Meal Prep Piecemeal:
    I find that it can be pretty overwhelming to go to the grocery store, come home, unpack everything, and then take on the task of prepping! To avoid this I like to split it up. We typically go grocery shopping on Saturday and then prep on Sunday afternoon!IMG_3238
  1. Wash Everything Together!
    I find its easier to wash all the produce I am going to be using to prep my meals in one foul swoop! I like to use Trader Joes Vegetable Wash to get my veggies squeaky clean – especially for those veggies on the ‘dirty dozen list’ (at the very least all my produce gets rinsed with water). I also like using a salad spinner for more than just my leafy greens; it works great for blueberries, chopped leeks, Brussels sprouts, etc.

    veggies _2

    fresh market food haul

  2. Pack it to GO!
    I use glass-lock containers that I purchased at Costco. They came in a variety pack with all different sizes! If you don’t have a membership to Costco I’ve seen similar ones at Bed Bath & Beyond and even Walmart. I also use my ikea plastic Tupperware set too – which I think is a steal at just under $5.

meal prep 3

IMG_3805

  1. Make The Time Fly!
    I like to pop in headphones and jam out to upbeat music (seriously who doesn’t dance in their kitchen?)… I’d recommend steering clear of anything too mellow, you want beats that will carry you through! Lately, I’ve been listening to podcasts or audiobooks while I prep! I love this because meal prep is pretty mindless so I feel like I am fully engaged in whatever I’m listening to (which is especially great if you are a multi-tasker like me)! I also like to use this time to practice my standing posture! I’m, a big believer of the “how you play at practice is how you will play in the game” philosophy! I’m trying to be aware of my stance/posture both in and out of the gym. Not only has developing this self-awareness improved my movement while I workout, it just looks better – win-win!👌

If you have any tips and tricks you use to prep your meals – I’d love to hear ’em!

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Why do I keep hearing…

My clients often ask me about trending nutrition info that they’ve heard about either from friends, coworkers, or even their facebook newsfeed. And as a personal trainer I feel it is my responsibility to provide them with unbiased and informed answers!

Recently I had a client of mine ask “Why do I keep hearing that peas are bad?”

The information we hear is usually a diluted version that trickles down from academic journals, which gets distorted by the mainstream media. You have to remember the main objective of media is to elicit views. Unfortunately this is the world we live in and the news often spreads faulty information with no actual scientific basis!

Think back over the years of all the nutrition fads you’ve heard about. Remember when pomegranates were all the rage? We can go way back to the ’90’s when fat was the enemy. Or when quinoa made its debut. Flax seeds. Don’t even get me started on artificial sweeteners, you can read more about what’s in these little sweet packets here!

IMG_3352

More recently its all things kale related. Coconut Oil. Chia Seeds. Gluten free. Egg yolks are good for you again. I mean the list goes on and on…

chia-seeds-crop2

So before you are quick to jump on board with the next thing someone tells you – however convincing they may be – remember my rule of thumb is to have your own 3 credible sources (think any .edu’s or pubmed – I’ve listed some additional resources below). Don’t be that guy that jumps on the bandwagon just because everyone else does.

People are always looking for the next “fad food” that’s either bad or good for you, like it will solve all your problems if you accept whatever it is as fact!

Having the capacity to listen to an idea
but not except it immediately
requires a more educated mindset!

1. If you want quality nutrition info that’s a little easier on the ears check out Superfoods

2. Feeling like you want to take it up a notch and get the break down from scientific journals? You can geek out to the latest nutrition-related research with my guy Dr. Greger! He breaks down the information to you in short, easy to understand video segments.

Bottom Line:
Don’t believe everything you hear! Make your own informed and educated decision’s before getting in line for the next fad food

Guy-Approved Protein Granola

I made this to bring on our little weekend beach trip to Charleston and I’m pretty proud to say that it is husband approved. He’s pretty skeptical sometimes of my “healthy” treats, so if you’re thinking of making this for your guy it should pass the test! Many of  the “healthy” granola’s on the shelves actually contain more sugar than a Krispie cream doughnut! That’s seriously ridiculous! They certainly don’t make it easy for health-conscious consumers to make decisions with their deceiving and unrealistically small serving sizes either (always check your labels).

Just another reason I was inspired to make my own! Hope you like it!

 

PROTEIN GRANOLA_livengproof

Ingredients:

2/3 C Gluten Free Rolled Oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
2/3 C Puffed Rice
3 Scoops Jarrows Brown Rice Protein 
2 TBS Ground Flaxseed
2 TBS Chia Seeds
2 TBS Craisans
2 TBS slivered almonds
1-2 TBS raw stevia (optional)
1 TBS organic raw cacoa nibs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBS organic raw honey
1/3 + 1 TBS Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 300°F
2. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Spray with coconut oil (or any non-stick oil spray of your choice), coat evenly and set aside.
3. In a large bowl mix the oats, puffed rice, protein powder, flaxseed, chia seeds, craisnas, slivered almonds, cacoa nibs, and cinnamon.
4. Stir in the honey. Then add the almond milk, Mixing thoroughly.
5. Spread mixture evenly out onto your wax paper baking sheet.
6. Here comes the high maintenance part: I stirred the mixture and moved all the little granola parts around on the sheet, about every 10 mins. You kind of have to babysit it if you don’t want it to burn! I like my granola more on the crunchy side so I baked it for about 35 mins (stirring about every 10 – 15 mins). Just keep an eye on it. Leave it in for longer if you like it crunchier 🙂

Protein Granola (per serving) Nutrition Facts:
231 Calories | 20g Carbohydrates | 13 g Fat | 11 g Protein
(recipe makes 6 servings)
protein granola nutrition facts
PROTEIN GRANOLA_2_livengproof

PROTEIN GRANOLA_3_livengproof

PROTEIN GRANOLA_4_livengproof

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