Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice

pumpkin spice

I’m a couple days early posting this, but I know how some of you LOVE your pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING!! Nothing gets me in the mood for fall like the smell of pumpkin, cinnamon, and cloves baking in my kitchen. However, many recipes out there call for tons of added sugar and oil and are not very healthy at all. Who says your pumpkin recipes can’t be healthy AND taste good?! Some of the recipes I found aren’t just baked goods either. They’re things like hummus and salad dressing–I think it’s fun to branch out with flavors and see what new yummy favorites I can find.

Pumpkin recipes

Let’s start with an old favorite for many of you PUMPKIN COOKIES!

Pumpkin Cookiesrec30

Total Time: 20 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 15 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 2 cookies each

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup almond flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1¼ cups pumpkin puree
⅓ cup maple syrup
¼ cup chopped raw pecans (optional)
24 pecan halves

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven for 350° F.
2. Lightly coat two baking sheets with spray. Set aside.
3. Combine oats, almond flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
4. Combine egg, pumpkin, and maple syrup in a large bowl; mix well.
5. Add flour mixture and chopped pecans to pumpkin mixture; mix until blended.
6. Drop by rounded Tbsp. onto prepared baking sheet; flatten cookies with a spatula. Top each cookie with a pecan half.
7. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes or until firm.

Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing

Ingredients8022440732_f11d580af4_o
  • For the Pumpkin Goddess Dressing:
  • 1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ cup sour cream or plain Greek-style yogurt
  • ⅓ cup pure pumpkin puree (I used the canned version)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or about ¼ – ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the Salad:
  • 1 acorn squash, plus olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt for roasting*
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup toasted pecans
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 pkg. (5-6 ounces) mixed salad greens (you can use any blend that you prefer, but I like a mix that includes broccoli slaw, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and chicory)
Instructions
  1. For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and combine. Chill until ready to use.
  2. To roast the acorn squash: preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Slice squash lengthwise, remove seeds, and slice horizontally into ½-inch thick rounds. Place sliced squash in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon and salt, to taste. Toss squash to coat.
  4. Bake squash at 400 degree F for approximately 20 minutes (or until tender and caramelized), flipping halfway through.
  5. Once the squash has cooled, cut it into bite-sized pieces and place it in a large salad bowl with the remaining ingredients. Add Pumpkin Goddess dressing and toss gently. Serve immediately.

Notes*can substitute with diced roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash

Ingredients

pumpkin-blondies-image
Photo Via
  • 3/4 Cup Creamy almond butter
  • 3 Tbsp Pure maple syrup
  • 2/3 Cup Pure canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Coconut flour, sifted (31g) *
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 Tbsp Almonds, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line the bottom of an 8×8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and spray the sides generously with coconut oil spray. **
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl,*** melt the almond butter with the maple syrup in the microwave until the almond butter is creamy, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the pumpkin into the mixture and beat with an electric hand mixer until well combined, scraping the sides down as necessary.
  4. Beat the coconut sugar, vanilla and apple cider vinegar into the almond butter mixture until well combined.
  5. Add the sifted coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into the mixture and stir until smooth and well combined. Make sure you scrape all the flour off the sides of the bowl into the mixture.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes before baking, to allow the coconut flour to begin absorbing the moisture.
  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges are crisp, about 50-55 minutes. Let cool COMPLETELY before cutting into bars and DEVOURING. ****

Notes: Gluten free baking can be tricky, so I highly recommend measuring your flour to make sure you get perfect results.
*These bars are very moist and dense and you need to get them out of the pan carefully. If you want them to be super easy, you can leave an overhang of parchment paper, so you can lift them out of the pan to cut once they are cooled.
*** Don’t like microwaves? You can melt them together on the stove too!
**** Since these brownies and dense, you need to cook them low and slow. Resist the urge to check them before the time is up, or they will deflate. Also, make sure they are TOTALLY cooled before cutting. If you want them to be a little firmer, then let them completely cool in the refrigerator.
Store blondies in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Hummus

Ingredients:hummus-meal-chickpeas-paste-seeds-grains-6

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 & ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice {about 1 large lemon}
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 {15 oz.} can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • Handful of pepitas {optional}

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients, except pepitas, in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Top with pepitas
  3. Serve with pita chips or vegetables.

Flourless Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients5025148597_5efded775c_b

  • 2 and 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons almond butter*
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and then grease or line a muffin tin for 12 muffins.
  2. Place of all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a blender or a food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  3. Using a spoon, gently stir the chocolate chips into the batter. Pour the batter into the muffin tin, filling each about 3/4th of the way full. Bake in the oven for 22 minutes, until light golden brown.
  4. Allow to to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before stuffing in your face.

Notes *can also use 3T melted coconut oil *These muffins keep best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

For EVEN MORE healthy pumpkin recipes CLICK HERE for a MEGA recipe index!

 

 

Moms! Be Easy on Yourself, you are doing better than you think!

As women we let ourselves feel so much shame…

We feel shame if all of our friends are married but not us. We feel shame if we cant have children or miscarry.  We feel shame when we think that we don’t have as many talents as other women.

When becoming a mom…  we can easily let ourselves feel so much shame very day.  We become discouraged and feel like a failure when we can’t keep up with our home.  We feel shame when we yell at our children or are not as patient with them as we would like to be.  We feel like we don’t play with them enough. etc.


Watch this clip! —>  https://www.facebook.com/crystalallredfitness/videos/931277373648863/


Do you ever feel like you are completely failing as a mom?  Do you ever see how #supermom other moms are and compare yourself to them?  Do you see all of these wonderful things moms do on social media and think.. “man I am lucky just to feed, bath, change, and put to bed my kids each day!”.

You can easily become discouraged, feel unhappy with your life, feel trapped, or feel shame if you focus on those things each day that go wrong!

Moms— focus each day on what you DID RIGHT!!!  You are doing so many things for your family whether you see it or not! Don’t let yourself focus on your weaknesses or the things that you didn’t accomplish!

quote- good mom

A few things I recommend:

1- Write down the things that you did RIGHT today!  If you are struggling with feeling purpose and happiness in your day as a mom- write down at least one thing that brought you JOY that day or made you feel grateful.

2- Find joy in the little things!  As a mom of 2 children we adopted and not being able to have children for over 7 years… I learned to find so much peace, gratitude and joy in seeing messes everywhere!!  Seeing sweet little hand prints on all the glass. Seeing toys drug out out through the entire house.  Seeing lots of little clothes that need folded and put away.  Find joy in preparing fun snacks and meals for your children.  Find joy in being silly with them during bath time.  Find joy in getting on the floor with them and playing with them while your phone is turned off.

3- Read or Listen to personal development books that help you to feel like you are a better mom!  Read books about your child’s age and what is developmentally appropriate.  Read books that help you to no longer compare yourself to other moms.  Books that help you to no longer focus on your imperfections, etc.  As a mom– I don’t have TIME to read so I listen to them while cleaning.  I am always listening to something every day that helps me to be stronger as a mom and gain stronger relationships with my husband and children.  You are welcome to email me if you want some personal development recommendations crystalallredfitness@gmail.com

4- Take care of YOU!!  If you are not your best mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.  It is hard to feel like you are being the best mom you can be.  Be sure to take care of you so that you can better take care of the needs of your children.

5- Learn how to prioritize!  Most of us moms expect too much out of our day!  We have our to-do lists (in mind or on paper) of the things we have to get done that day. And we have way too many things on our list!  learn to let go! learn to just put the few most important things and forget about the rest! Then tackle the thing you dread the most FIRST THING so that you get the momentum and umph you need to accomplish the rest.

6- Be real, be raw, and know that you are not alone in the journey!  Moms- I guarantee you that you are not alone!!  Stop comparing yourself to other moms! These #supermoms that you think just have everything pulled together– really are a hot mess!!  We are all seriously just a hot mess!!  All of us moms are in this together and struggle!  Don’t ever let yourself think that you are the only one!  Be real, be raw, and share your experiences.  Encourage and uplift other moms that you see are struggling!  We are a team in the journey!

“Rest easy, real mothers. The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already are one!”

successful moms

Clean Eating 101

cleaneating101

The idea of clean eating can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t used to eating this way. Trust me, I can totally relate! I grew up eating processed foods out of cans and boxes. Then, as I learned more about fitness and nutrition, I realized that if I wanted results, I had to do more than just work out. The other very important half of the equation is eating correctly so your body has the fuel and nutrients it needs to transform after those workouts! At first, switching to a clean eating lifestyle was way out of my comfort zone. I was so overwhelmed and asked myself “What am I supposed to eat, then?!” I want to explain what exactly a clean eating approach to food is and also some tips to help you get started.

Basically, clean eating is food that is selected and consumed the closest way to possible to nature. Clean eating is a lifestyle, not a diet to abandon once you reach your goal. As you think about preparing and eating your food, think about how you’re working on improving your quality of life, one meal at a time.

eatclean

The DO’s of Clean Eating:

  • eat small meals 5 or 6 times (every 2-3 hours) a day that includes a mix of lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies, and a complex carbohydrate (see shopping list below). This keeps your blood sugar even, helps you keep your energy levels up, and keeps you burning calories efficiently all day. Some people who start clean eating will say “But I’m SO HUNGRY!” I will always ask them if they are following this rule of eating small meals frequently throughout the day, and they usually aren’t. This is a big change from how we usually eat, so scheduling your meals in your planner or phone is a MUST if it’s not already a  habit.
  • grill or bake your meat
  • steam, grill, bake, or eat raw your fruits and veggies
  • Drink your water! Drink water first thing in the morning, drink it with all of your meals, and if you think you’re hungry in between meals, drink! Most of the time you’re not hungry, just thirsty.
  • Read labels. Clean foods will have short ingredient lists with easily identifiable ingredients. If the ingredient list is long and contains things you can’t pronounce, it’s not a clean food.
  • PREP! Know ahead of time what you’ll have for your meals–this is especially important if you’re working or away from home and need to bring food with you.
  • Make a list of favorite meals your family likes and find ways to make them cleaner. You don’t have to give up the foods you love…just improve the recipes!

The DON’Ts of Clean Eating:

  • avoid trans fats, anything fried or anything with high sugar content, especially added/artificial sweeteners –this includes beverages like cola and juice.
  • avoid white flour (like in breads, pasta, rice), processed foods (like cheese slices and lunch meat)
  • Don’t stress! If your meal isn’t perfectly clean, it’s OK! You’re trying and that’s all that matters! It will get easier as you go.

So you’re ready to head to the store! Here’s what might be on your shopping list:

  • Fresh Fruits
  • Fresh Veggies
  • Lean Proteins like: chicken breasts, ground turkey, shrimp, salmon, white fish, canned tuna, tofu, tempeh, edamame
  • Dairy: nonfat milk, almond or coconut milk, nonfat Greek yogurt, nonfat cottage cheese, eggs, part skim mozzarella
  • Good Carbs: brown rice, quinoa, oats/oat flour, sweet potatoes, Ezekiel bread/tortillas (or whole wheat), wild rice/black rice/bismati rice
  • Healthy Fats: almonds, cashews, walnuts, all natural almond/peanut butter, extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, unsweetened shredded coconut, chia seeds, flax seeds
  • Seasonings & Condiments: honey, pure maple syrup, low sodium soy sauce, hummus, salsa, tahini, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, all natural mustard, dried thyme, dried rosemary, black pepper, cayenne, fresh ginger

Don’t forget to check out the recipe index on my site for recipes to help you get started on your clean eating journey!

And last but not least, indulge once in a while:

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Read more about this rule in my post about cleaning out the junk

Tasty Tuesday: DIY Energy Bites

Energy bites are so easy to make and are so good for you! They provide a pop of protein, fiber and healthy fats that help curb hunger pangs, especially when we’re craving junk food. They are quick and convenient and once you learn the basics to making these energy bites, the possibilities for flavor combinations is endless! Some of my favorite recipes linked below, but don’t be afraid to experiment with your own!

So first, the 5 Staples of an Energy Bite:

EnergyBites

  • The nut butter helps hold the energy bite together, plus gives you some protein & healthy fats. Use about 1/2 Cup
  • Your protein powder also provides protein, and if you’re using shakeology as your powder, you’ll also get all the other nutritional super-foods packed in there too. The powder also helps give you some flavor. Vanilla and Chocolate are common flavors used in energy bites, but don’t be afraid to use other flavors as well! Use about 2 scoops
  • Use one or more of the extras listed. Vanilla and Cinnamon are also great choices for some added flavor! Use 1/2 to 1 tsp for those, and with others, like the oats, try about 1 cup.
  • Adding seeds provides even more nutrition! Sprinkle these in to taste
  • Sweeten up your energy bite with any of the natural sweeteners on the list.Use about 1/4 cup, or to taste.

Most recipes have you mix ingredients, form into bite sized balls, and chill before eating. These can be kept in Tupperware for about a week in the fridge–which makes it super easy to grab and go when you need that pick me up. These are also a kid favorite as after school snacks or some added nutrition in the morning before heading out the door.

Try these Energy Bite Recipes–and if you don’t have some of the ingredients, try substituting some of the other ones mention above:

Recipe1.energyballs

Lemon & Coconut Bliss Ballslemon-and-coconut-bliss-balls

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded coconut + extra
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 2-3 tbsp honey or rice malt syrup (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Method:

  • Place all ingredients into the food processor and blend for 1 minute.
  • Roll into small balls
  • Roll in extra coconut.
  • Place on a lined tray and chill in the fridge until firm.

Makes approx 15 balls..

Ingredients:Carrot-Cake-Energy-Balls-2
1½ scoops Vanilla Shakeology
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
⅓ cup all-natural smooth almond butter
4 Medjool dates, coarsely chopped
¼ cup raw walnut pieces
¾ cup shredded carrots
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger

Preparation:
1. Combine Shakeology, oats, almond butter, and dates in food processor; pulse until dates are incorporated.
2. Add walnuts, carrots, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; pulse until just blended.
3. Roll into fifteen balls, about 1-inch in diameter each.

Total Time: 15 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 15 servings, 1 ball each

Ingredients:
1½ scoops Vanilla Shakeology
½ cup almond flour
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup all-natural almond butter
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup sliced raw almonds

Preparation (Click here for step-by-step photos!):
1. Combine Shakeology, almond flour, and oats in a medium bowl; mix well.
2. Add almond butter and almond milk; mix well with a spatula or clean hands until it forms a thick batter.
3. Roll mixture into fifteen balls, each about 1-inch in size.
4. Roll balls in almonds.

 

Our Journey with Infertility, Miscarriage, and Ectopic Pregnancy

For some reason I always had this feeling that it would be really hard for me to have children.  When we got married, we had every intention to wait at least a year before having children.   However, unexpectedly only 3 months later we had discovered that we were expecting our first baby. We were so excited!!  My husband LOVES children and is so good with them and was ready to be a daddy.  Children have always been my main focus and my life ever sense I was very young.  So even though it was not expected… we were so ready and so excited!!

levi and i

A couple weeks later we were out of town and we saw a yard sale with this PERFECT crib and changing table that was basically brand new and at a ridiculously low price.  So we set up our nursery!!  I sat in that room often- completely filled with joy!!

Soon….  that room changed from a room of joy and hope… to a room of sadness.   I went to work just like any other day.  But that day was different.  I left work, went to the hospital, and there found out that we were miscarrying.  I don’t even know how I drove home that 30 mile drive… I was a complete mess emotionally and in a lot of discomfort physically.

It was a really a hushed thing.  I didn’t want ANYONE to know!!  I hated that we had to tell our parents.  I hated that I had nobody who understood.  Miscarriage is so taboo…. nobody talks about it. Or if it is brought up– the subject is quickly changed.  I was so confused.  I didn’t understand how it could have happened.

I grew really close to my husband the next couple of months to follow.  But he didn’t struggle with it quite like I did… he just struggled with seeing me hurt.  But I knew how much he wanted to be a dad!

We wanted to try and have a baby as soon as we could.  But tried for months and never had any success…   After MANY doctor visits, and the doctors saying that “you are still young– you have plenty of time”  I became more and more frustrated because nothing was being done to make this happen.    Finally after a year we found out we were expecting again!!  I was so THRILLED and so ready to finally give my husband a baby.

However… something seemed “different” with this pregnancy.  I thought that maybe different was a good thing.  But then I started to have sharp pains on one side and started to spot.  I knew that this “different” couldn’t be a good thing.  I figured I was miscarrying again and had no desire to even go to the doctor.  But for some reason I had the feeling that I needed to go in.  I headed to the hospital where they then ran some tests.  The nurses said that the test was now negative and that I miscarried….   however the doctor came out and said “something is off, we need to get you in for another ultrasound”.   In I went…   usually only 1 person does my ultrasound.  This time there were 3.  Next, they had the person over the ultrasounds come in followed by my doctor.   There I lay wondering why there were 5 people discussing my ultrasound.  At that moment I had wished so much that my husband was there with me as I sat there in confusion.  They announced that it was ectopic and could become life threatening.   Back into the doctors office I went where they discussed what was going on and the action we would take.   He asked if I wanted to enjoy my thanksgiving (the following day) and I told him that nothing would change what was already going on…

So….  they started to give me a type of chemo shot (wish I remembered what it was called) to stop the cells from developing and bursting my Fallopian Tube.   I was very sick and tired for that thanksgiving.  But more than anything… I was embarrassed.  I hated that the family knew and there I was.  I felt like I was this pity bulls eye and nobody knew how to even talk to me or act around me.   I faked a smile every day.  I pretended like I was okay but emotionally I was not.  I couldn’t let myself cry.    Every other day I would go in to get more blood drawn for lab work.  Week after week I would go in for another chemo shot.  After about 5 weeks of this process, I went into the doctors office for more testing and another shot.  This time I said to my doctor “I just don’t know how much longer I can be positive through this”.  He told me I didn’t have to be…    For the first time I broke down and completely sobbed.  I released a full years worth of pain right there in the doctors office and on my drive home.

Time passed and we were ready to try having a baby again.  Month after month I had a negative test and would cry and wonder why it wasn’t happening for us.  After many doctor visits, getting on chlomid, and many more months of negative tests we finally conceived 2 more times… which again ended in miscarriage.

With each miscarriage, I began to hate my body more and more. I hated that it wouldn’t do what a women’s body should do.  I hated that I couldn’t give my husband any children and wished he would leave me to be with someone who could…   I started to hate if my husband touched me.  I hated if anyone talked to me.  I avoided people.  I often avoided my husband.  I hated who I was.  I didn’t care to exercise or eat healthy.  I figured my body was failing me anyway so why bother.  I felt unworthy of love and emotionally distanced myself from the person that loved me most.  I spent many days in that little baby nursery in our home wondering if and when I should just throw it all away.

Then… out of nowhere… we were asked if we wanted to take in a sweet little 5 month old.  We immediately said yes without hesitation.  For the first time, I became a mommy and my husband became a daddy!  Picking him up was one of the happiest days of my life!!  I had no idea that the 18 months to follow would be yet another emotional roller coaster.  We wanted his birth parents to make the changes necessary to bring him back home… but at the same time we wondered how on earth we would ever be able to give him back.  I spent many nights holding him wondering how I was going to do it.   We had so much love for that sweet little boy.  When his sister born, I was so ecstatic.  We went to the hospital to pick her up and bring her home.   We immediately fell in love with her too!

1 month later… we got positive test. I was SO HOPEFUL and just knew that it was finally time!  I knew that If did have children easily  we wouldn’t have been open to the opportunity of taking in two very small foster children and wouldn’t have been able to give all that love to our boy and girl!  So I knew that now that we had them– it was time to finally have a successful pregnancy.  Yet, we then again at 10 weeks miscarried.   I had a 2 month old little girl, and a 16 month old little boy that I had to be strong for!  I was so hopeful just to be disappointed again and it really, really, hurt this time more than ever before because I let myself hope.

After that point– I couldn’t let myself hope anymore.  I figured we would just have to give our kids back to their birth parents. I figured I would never be a permanent mommy to a child.  I figured I would never be able to allow my husband to be a daddy.  I was so sick of the scene and had no desire to ever try again.  So we stopped going to doctors, we stopped caring but didn’t take any action to prevent us from having children.

Six months later we were completely taken away when we went to court and found out that our little boy and out little girl were going to be forever ours!  We finally were going to be able to adopt our sweet little babies!  We didn’t have to worry about giving them back anymore… they were finally ours!

adoption day

I remember holding my sweet little girl and realizing that I needed to work on ME emotionally, mentally and physically.  I didn’t want her to learn from me how to hate her body… how to be a quitter… how to never hope for great things… and how to feel unlovable.  I had to change for her!!  I wanted her to feel beautiful! I wanted her to love herself!  I wanted her to reach for big dreams!

So I started on a journey.  I started working on my health and fitness instead of neglecting my body that I hated.  I started doing nutrition and fitness groups through Facebook with friends  (and some wonderful people I didn’t know but who are such great friends now) where we would help keep each other motivated and accountable every single day! You can do these free groups by applying here -> https://callred.wufoo.com/forms/r8o3oli1xcz244/
I also started to do daily personal development to work on myself mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Month after month, my life began to change!  My STORY CHANGED!  I went from “I am unlovable”, “I hate myself”, “I don’t deserve to be a mom”, “I am the worst wife ever”, to the following story–>  “I deserve to be a mom”, “I take care of my body and am happy about what it CAN DO”, “I am LOVABLE!”.   I felt confident for the first time sense 4th grade.  I felt happy instead of faking a smile.   And I  liked ME for the first time!
1 year transformation

Now, almost 2 years later and 7 1/2 years of struggling with infertility and failed pregnancies,   I am now 32 weeks pregnant.  I am overwhelmed with the blessings in my life.    We got on progesterone, lots of natural folate, and Enoxaparin Sodium shots.  I also have continued eating healthier, exercising every day, working on my mindset, and drinking Shakeology (over 70 superfoods to provide the best nutrition for me and baby possible).   Some days it seems so surreal that this is actually happening!!    Soon we will be a mommy and daddy to 3 beautiful children…  I went from believing I would never be a mom to soon being a mommy of 3 (ages birth to 3).   Every week goes by and more stress is relieved as I get closer to our due date and knowing that we are closer to our sweet little boy being in our arms!

32 weeks

It has been a hard 7 1/2 years… but I wouldn’t change it!!  I finally became stronger, healthier, more confident and the wife and mom I need to be.  All of the disappointment, all of the pain, all of the emotional roller coasters, helped me to take ACTION to finally invest in myself and change my life.  I finally made a COMMITMENT, and CHOICE to change!

If you are struggling with any of these things, don’t loose hope…   Find JOY in the JOURNEY!  While you are hoping for things… don’t forget to notice what is going WELL right now!  Find joy in something now.  Do something that gives you purpose.  For me– that was getting a degree.  That was finding joy in learning how to play the violin.  That was spending lots of quality time with my husband. That was becoming an online coach and helping other people emotionally, mentally, and with their health and fitness journey.  Find what gives you purpose.  Keep a gratitude journal that you write in each night so that you are focusing on the things that are good in your life instead of the heartache and the things you wish you had.  And lastly, take CARE OF YOU and know that you are never alone in the journey!

change

Back to School Organization

August

School’s in session! With changing routines and schedules coming up, here are a few tips for staying organized as you make the transition into a new school year.

1. Be well rested: Don’t wait for the night before school starts to get into your new bedtime routine. Spend at least a week (or more) getting used to new bedtimes and waking up earlier. Since school hasn’t officially started yet, use that extra time in the morning to go on a walk, hike, or family bike ride while the temperature is cooler.

2. Check Supplies: Not just pencils and paper…use this time to get water bottles and hand sanitizer for the kids and for yourself! Also, check to see if any of your athletic shoes are worn out and need to be replaced.

3. Pack your bag: Will you be working out after you drop off the kids in the morning? Are the kids headed to dance or football practice right after school? Avoid the stress of not being able to find what you need when it’s go-time by packing a gym bag the night before that has all of your equipment you’ll need (music, hand weights, water bottle for mom; uniform and gear for kids).

4. Meal Prep: After school nights get pretty crazy with activities and homework, now is a great time to organize your meals. Healthy crockpot recipes are great for dinner and it’s always a good idea to have quick and easy healthy “on the go” breakfasts and after school snacks. Check out my recipe index full of snack and meal ideas.

The back to school season is a great time to start new healthy habits or revive old ones that slipped away during the summer months. Use this season of change to try something NEW for you! I have a new 30 day challenge group starting on August 29!

countryheatgroup

A challenge group is a private virtual group, so you can literally live anywhere and participate! In this group I post a daily health challenge for you to complete, daily nutrition and fitness tips, meal prep ideas, recipes, and am here to be your personal fitness coach! Everyone in the group will post about their workouts, nutrition, struggles, and successes. We laugh together and we cry together! You will find that you become lifelong friends with the others in the group. This group gives you support and motivation while being held accountable. Why? You have to answer to everyone else in the group each and every day. We motivate each other daily to NEVER GIVE UP!

I’d love to have be a part of this group or give you more information about it. Send me a message with any questions you might have! Or to sign up, use THIS LINK

Tasty Tuesday: Overnight Oats

bakedoatmeal

Ever think you just don’t have time to fix yourself a healthy breakfast in the crazy morning rush? When we’re pressed for time and feeling frazzled, that’s usually when we turn to unhealthy choices or skimp on breakfast altogether. Starting off by making a healthy choice for breakfast makes it easier to choose other healthy options throughout the day.

Take the stress out of preparing a healthy breakfast by prepping it the night before. And with cooler mornings almost upon us, these will become some of your fall favorites.

*Tip for overnight oats: use old fashioned oats NOT quick oats, otherwise they will be too mushy*

Sticky Cinnamon Roll Battersticky-cinnamon-roll-batter-oatmeal-5

For the oatmeal
  1. 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  2. Pinch sea salt
  3. 2 T granulated sweetener of choice (I used both coconut palm sugar and a stevia blend)
  4. Cinnamon
  5. 1 cup dairy free milk of choice
  6. 1 large egg white (use 1 flax egg if vegan)
  7. 1 T coconut flour
  8. Extra cinnamon, for dusting
For the Cinnamon Roll Glaze
  1. 1 T coconut butter, melted
  2. 1 T vanilla protein powder
  3. Milk to thin out
  4. cinnamon for dusting
For the protein packed Cinnamon Roll Glaze
  1. 3 T vanilla protein powder
  2. Milk to thin out
  3. Cinnamon for dusting
For the oatmeal
  1. In a saucepan or microwave safe bowl, combine the rolled oats, sea salt, cinnamon, sweetener of choice and milk of choice and simmer on medium until most of the liquid is absorbed. Once thick, add the large egg white (or flax egg) and mix very well until fully mixed in. Add the coconut flour and continue stirring until a very thick batter is formed. Add extra dairy free milk to desired consistency.
  2. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Top with cinnamon roll glaze.
For the Glaze
  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and slowly add the dairy free milk until desired consistency is reached.
Notes
  1. If batter is too thick, add extra dairy free milk to desired consistency. I like it to be really batter like so tend to add around an extra 1/4 cup.
  2. This can be batch made the night before and eaten hot/cold.
  3. This can also be frozen- Simply thaw out and and reheat.
  4. For even more protein, add an extra scoop of protein powder but add extra dairy free milk to compensate.
By Arman @ thebigmansworld
strawberryovernightoats
Warm up oats before eating in the morning, if desired
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  2. 1 T chia seeds
  3. 1-2 T granulated sweetener of choice
  4. 1-2 T cocoa powder
  5. pinch sea salt
  6. 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder of choice (optional)*
  7. 2 T smooth nut butter of choice
  8. 1/3 cup dairy free milk of choice
  9. Handful of dairy free or sugar free chocolate chips
    Instructions
  1. The night before or at least an hour before consumption, place the oats, chia seeds, sweetener, cocoa powder, sea salt and protein powder and mix well.
  2. Stir through the nut butter of choice- the dry mixture should be very crumbly. Add your dairy free milk and several chocolate chips and refrigerate overnight/for an hour +.
  3. The next morning, top with extra chocolate chips and microwave for up to one minute.
Toaster oven/oven option
  1. Follow as above but bake on high broil for 7 minutes, or until chocolate chips have melted.
Notes
  1. * If you omit protein powder, reduce the dairy free milk by 1 tablespoon.
By Arman @ thebigmansworld