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Buzzing Blueberry Smoothie (GF, Paleo, Dairy Free)

This smoothie may be low in sugar, but it’s high in nutrients and gets me buzzing with energy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic coconut milk (or any milk you like)
  • ½ cup frozen cauliflower florets
  • Handful of organic blueberries (berries are highly sprayed with pesticides so opt for organic if possible!)
  • 1 Tbsp. sunflower seed butter (or any nut butter you like)
  • 1 packet stevia

Directions:

  1. Blend coconut milk and frozen cauliflower
  2. Add in blueberries, sunflower seed butter and stevia and blend once more

 

 

fruit free green smoothie edited

Fruit-Free Green Smoothie (Low Sugar, Paleo, Whole 30, Gluten Free)

I’m not a huge fruit person. As a child all of my friends would reach into their lunch-boxes at snack time and pull out an apple or banana. Meanwhile my dad hooked me up with chocolate chip mini muffins and a fruit rollups. LIT.

But veggies were never a problem. Throw some ranch on the side and watch me go to town on a plate of raw carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. Now, as an adult I’ve developed allergies to a significant amount of fruits so just more of a reason to stay away. This smoothie is not too sweet but it is creamy, filling and gets you buzzing with energy. Since my stress levels have been through the roof I decided to add some Root and Bones Reishi powder. This powder is an adaptogenic herb so if you have a lot of stress and anxiety in your day to day life just a teaspoon each day goes a long way. These adaptogens keep your body at an even keel by supporting your adrenals and thus decreasing your stress response. If you can’t get to a yoga class and make time to distress yourself then you should look into these ancient medicinal plants. Click HERE to get your Reishi on!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nut milk (I used macadamia milk)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ jicama
  • ½ juiced lemon
  • 1 cup steamed kale (raw kale is no bueno for your thyroid and will have you sprinting to the bathroom all day)
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 tsp. Root and Bones Reishi (good for Stress relief)
  • 1 tsp. Maca powder (good for thyroid)
  • ¼ – ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 5-8 mint leaves

 

Directions:

  1. Blend together nut milk, water and jicama
  2. Add in the remainder of the ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy!

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21 Day Sugar Detox Round 2!

Last month I completed the 21 Day Sugar Detox by Dianne Sanfilippo. After a long holiday season of cookies, cakes and other treats I needed something to get me back on track, but this detox did more than just that. My sugar cravings diminished and even 3 weeks post detox I no longer feel overpowered by the need for sweets. I have become one of those people who can eat one Reeses cup and NOT THE OTHER! Like what?! A little nibble of chocolate doesnt turn into a full blown binge anymore.

I’m excited to announce that my friend Lea and I are doing a round 2 of the detox. I loved seeing the positive changes I made physically and mentally and am excited to embark on the journey once more. During my detox a lot of people contacted me looking for help getting started. Whether this is your first, second or third time around I welcome you in joining us on the detox February 15th- March 8th.

Feel free to follow our progress, tips, tricks and recipes here and on my Instagram @CrunchandLunch as well as Lea’s @Lea_fitlife .

If you are interested in seeing a recap of my first round on the Sugar Detox (level 3) click HERE

This will also be Lea’s second time doing the 21DSD (level 1) and here was her progress from the first round:

10-12lbs lost!

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Could Your Breakfast be Sabotaging Your Energy Levels and Fat Loss?

If you find yourself sluggish and/or hungry soon after breakfast it may be time to change things up!

A bowl of oatmeal topped with coconut sugar and fresh fruit is definitely a delicious way to start the day, but it’s all carbohydrates. It’s good to have carbs in your morning meal but too much (even the good kind) may lead to weight gain and sluggish energy.

What Happens When we Eat Carbohydrates?

  • Carbohydrates raise blood sugar signaling the release of a hormone produced in the pancreas called insulin. When blood sugar elevates insulin works to regulate these levels by taking up the sugar from your bloodstream and bringing it to your cells to use for energy. Insulin works to eliminate or store fat.
  • Too much insulin causes your body to stop burning fat and start storing it.

What Causes High Insulin Levels and Sugar Crash and How it Leads to Weight Gain 

  1. Refined carbs- When we eat low fiber refined carbohydrates (cakes, cookies, white bread, pasta, etc.) blood sugars rapidly increase (sugar rush). Insulin levels rise and quickly swoops in to take the sugar from your bloodstream (sugar crash).

2. Not including protein and fat in your meal– A breakfast consisting of sliced banana on 100%             whole wheat toast with a drizzle of honey has nutritional value, but its still all carbs. Although                 these complex carbs contain fiber which helps slow that rise and fall in blood sugar and insulin,             incorporating a protein and fat in the meal slows it down further. Remake your breakfast by                   adding greek yogurt or hard boiled egg for protein and nuts or nut butter for fat.

Do you find yourself needing to eat several times a day because of poor energy or hunger? Or do you think you’re hungry but you’re actually just tired? When we eat a meal that is high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat we risk taking a ride on the sugar rollercoaster. When blood sugars run high and then crash it leads us to reach for more food soon after the meal we just had. The unfortunate result of this scenario is we tend to choose foods with high sugar content for quick energy. When we do this, the cycle repeats.

On another note fiber keeps us full, and since refined carbs contain little to no fiber eating a bowl of lucky charms for breakfast will not fill you up and lead to eating more food.

Carbs Stimulate Hormones That May Lead to Overeating 

Eating lots of carbs in the morning causes an increase in the calming hormone, serotonin and a decrease in cortisol, the hormone that gets us up and moving. Starting your day with a carb filled meal may make you feel tired and reaching for more food for energy.

If you have a hard time getting going in the morning try swapping out your bagel and cream cheese for an omelet with veggies and a slice of ezekial bread.

Bottom Line:

  • Eating a breakfast high in carbs (especially refined) and not incorporating protein and fat can lead to a sugar crash and overeating soon after your meal to compensate for lack of energy.
  • To avoid this eat complex carbohydrates full of fiber like fruits, veggies and wholesome grains like brown rice,  quinoa, and Ezekiel bread (or another quality 100% whole wheat bread).
  • Incorporate proteins and fats into all your meals

Final 21DSD Banner

Final Review and Weeks 2 and 3 Recap of the 21 Day Sugar Detox

Technically the detox ends in 2 days, but I’m stretching it out to my birthday this Wednesday to get some added satisfaction when I take that first bite of cake.

Nothing major will change from now to then so I’m gonna go ahead and recap the past two weeks. I will share my overall thoughts of the diet and the progress my family and I have made. If you would like to read my previous posts regarding the 21 Day Sugar Detox click the links below:

Starting the 21 Day Sugar Detox

Week 1 Recap of the 21 Day Sugar Detox

I would be lying if I said I was perfect the entire 21 days. Week one I stayed very strict, but week two there was so much going on that I’m actually impressed with how well I did. It’s like I was being put to the test.

And if I was the teacher I’d give myself an A– !

Week one I was surrounded by people doing the same detox as me, there were no outings or events, and although my cravings were strong I was able to push past them.

By day 7 it was as if someone flipped the switch– my cravings diminished. During week two it felt like I was doing something that surrounded me with food and alcohol everyday, but I wasn’t phased one bit by the sight of cake, wine, etc.

On Wednesday my sister, Candyce and I headed into the Manhattan to see Billy Joel at MSG.

Prior to the show we went to out to dinner. While Candyce sipped on Merlot I chugged my ice water with lemon. I ordered grilled steak and a salad but barely ate because I was too excited for the concert.

The following day I drove to my boyfriends apartment for an extended weekend stay. Andrew has the bare essentials in his fridge so the only thing I really had to stay away from was his stash of double stuffed Oreos– easy peasy.

Friday night we to dinner at a restaurant called Char where I (again) did not get glass of wine. I normally don’t eat so much red meat in a week, but I ordered another juicy grilled steak and truffle fries. Fries were my very obvious cheat but I didn’t care. At the end of the meal Andrew pointed out the warm chocolate chip cookie sundae but it didn’t even appeal to me!?! My biggest weakness has always been chocolate chip cookies, but my palate has changed to the point where my mouth watered over something savory (like fries) rather than a sugary treat.

Progress

This past week marks the Verna family’s final days on the sugar detox.

  • For me, not much as changed. I still feel great, my clothes fit looser, energy levels are high and I’m not a slave to any sugar cravings. I do not weigh myself or take measurements but I can tell I look leaner.

  • My Mom lost 5lbs and my brother lost 8lbs. Considering a healthy weight loss rate is 1-2 pounds per week, this is a great accomplishment on their part! They lost this weight with only diet, no exercise (imagine if they threw a few workouts in?!)
  • My Dad lost 3lbs. I called him out for cheating on his detox haha

Bottom Line:

  • Week one kind of sucked but we got through it
  • Week two the skies cleared and I had zero cravings (well, maybe except for caving in to those truffle fries)
  • Week three I feel lighter, have tons of energy and am more satiated throughout the day

Healthy lunch Ideas

Healthy Habits Pt 2: Cleaning Up Lunch

Last week in THIS post we discussed how to tweak your breakfast in order to instill long lasting energy, satiate hunger and trim your waistline. Hopefully you were able to implement some of these ideas and are ready to hear all about healthifying lunch!

During the day you should be tapering your meals down.

Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dinner like a Pauper. We ate a larger amount of the days calories at breakfast so now it is time to lunch like a Prince…

Lunch is not necessarily going to be smaller, but should be lighter than breakfast in terms of calories and carbs. It is important to carryover the same breakfast principals such as incorporating quality protein, healthy fats, non-starchy veggies and good natural complex carbs. In order to decrease the amount of calories consumed at lunch while still staying full it is important to include lots of non-starchy vegetables.

I personally experience a energy slump between 11:00 and 2:00PM which is reversed with a nutrient dense midday meal.

Lets think about how to put together a healthy lunch…

Start with a protein:

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • ground beef
  • ground turkey
  • salmon
  • cod
  • shrimp
  • organic deli meats (like Applegate)
  • etc.

Add in fat(s):

  • grassfed butter
  • olives, olive oil
  • full fat cheese (if able to tolerate)
  • avocado, avocado oil
  • coconut oil
  • almonds, brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, etc.
  • pesto sauce
  • etc.

Go crazy with non starchy veggies:

  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • cucumber
  • eggplant
  • garlic
  • green beans
  • jicama
  • kale
  • mushrooms
  • onion
  • peppers
  • spinach, romaine, arugula and any other leafy green
  • etc.

Incorporate a small portion of complex carbs like good whole grains and starchy vegetables (sorry! no refined breads and pastas) :

  • beets
  • green peas
  • pumpkin
  • rice
  • squash
  • sweet potato
  • sprouted whole grain bread (Ezekial bread!)

Add a little dairy

  • If you are able to tolerate dairy I recommend opting for grassfed choices

Now that you’ve chosen from the list, just put it all together…

Sample lunch ideas:

  1. Spinach salad topped with nitrate-free organic deli turkey, chopped beets, jicama, cucumber, olive oil and a sprinkle of walnuts
  2. Romaine Lettuce Wraps filled with flank steak, peppers, onion, rice and salsa
  3. Sandwich using Ezekial bread, grilled chicken, a slice of organic nitrate-free bacon, a slice of grassfed cheese
  4. Spaghetti Squash with pesto, ground chicken meatballs and sautéed veggies

Bottom Line:

  • eat lunch like a Prince making it lighter than breakfast. The meals listed above may seem like a lot, but loading up on non-starchy veggies increases the volume of your meal while still remaining low in calories and carbs
  • incorporate protein, healthy fats, lots of non starchy veggies, and a bit of complex carbs
  • feel free to add in a little grassfed dairy if you can tolerate it

Stay tuned for my take on Dinner this time next week*

pumpkin protein pancakes final

Pumpkin Pie Protein Pancakes

This is definitely me… but for the 3 months before and after Halloween

I get so excited for fall and Christmas time that I’m always little ahead of everyone else with the seasons. Okay, lets be honest, A LOT ahead. Around the end of July I’m on Pinterest searching unique Halloween costumes, Googling the best fall festivals on Long Island and even checking out local turkey trots to burn off Thanksgiving dinner!

While everyone is holding onto summer sipping their iced coffees and fruit smoothies I’m counting down the days until Starbucks brings back the Pumpkin Spice Latte (AKA: PSL). But eventually the leaves change color and autumn finally comes and goes and as everyone transitions into the Christmas season, I have been there since Halloween while still holding on to all things pumpkin spice.

There are 7 days until Christmas, the trees are bare and there’s snow on the ground but you better believe I made these pumpkin spice pancakes this morning!

 

Ingredients:

 

-1 scoop vanilla chai Fitmiss protein powder

– dash of cinnamon

– 1 tsp. baking powder

– 1 packet stevia

– ½ Tbsp. all purpose flour (I used GF)

– 2 Tbsp. pumpkin spice Chobani (any greek yogurt will do)

– 1 Tbsp. pumpkin puree

– 1 egg (or 3 Tbsp. eggbeaters)

– ½ Tbsp. semi sweet chocolate chips

– cooking spray

 

Directions:

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients
  2. Mix in wet ingredients
  3. Coat skillet with cooking spray and on medium-high heat pour in batter. (I made 3 mini pancakes cooking on one side for 3 minutes, flipping, and cooking the other side for about 1 minute).
  4. Top with Greek yogurt, nuts, more chocolate chips, pumpkin froyo, maple syrup, whipped cream, peanut butter, or whatever else your heart desires.

 

Nutritional Facts made with egg (just pancakes, no toppings):

Serving size: 1

Calories: 243

Fat: 9g

Carbs: 17g

Fiber: 2g

Protein: 25g

Sodium: 767mg

Sugar: 9g

Nutritional Facts made with eggbeaters (just pancakes, no toppings):

Serving size: 1

Calories: 195

Fat: 4g

Carbs: 17g

Fiber: 2g

Protein: 24g

Sodium: 788mg

Sugar: 10g