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As you all know, I recently started the Beachbody Ultimate Reset Program. Although all the food has been delish, I seriously cannot get over how AMAZING the creamy garlic salad dressing is. It's too good not to share with you! I served it over mixed greens, cucumbers, sprouts, tomatoes, onions, carrots and pumpkin seeds.

Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oilsalad-dressing

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3-5 cloves garlic, crushed,

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tsp Himalayan salt (use sea salt if you don't have the Himalayan salt.)

1/2 teasoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon unfiltered honey or raw agave nectar

Place all ingredients in a blender on medium for about 30 seconds or until mixed well. Store in airtight container in the fridge. If dressing solidifies when cold let sit at room temperature until liquid, then stir. Makes 8-10 servings.

Monday, 09 July 2012 17:53

Week One Of The Ultimate Reset

UltimateReset-Supplements2June was a whirlwind in every sense of the word for our family. Moving to another state with two kids, two dogs and a bird had me pleading for sanity at times. Kitchenless and living out of a suitcase, we were literally eating out for almost every meal. I felt like a gypsy and found myself craving the stability of a not only a place to call home, but healthy whole foods. (I actually started dreaming about green juice rivers and trees with leaves of kale. That must be what heaven looks like.) The bottom-line is that I felt unbalanced, ungrounded and unhealthy. In other words, I felt like shit.

A friend of mine had recently completed the Beachbody 21 Day Ultimate Reset. When I saw her after completion, she looked amazing. Her skin was glowing, her energy was amazing, and although she didn’t set out to lose weight, she found herself ten pounds lighter. Most importantly, she was able to take an in-depth look at her relationship with food and use this information to continue her journey towards optimum health. As I was reading the stories on Facebook, I couldn’t believe that one gentleman dropped 31 pounds and another woman lowered her cholesterol 75 points in only 21 days!! Insanity! Sign me up! Right!? 

Last Monday, although slightly intimidated, I began the reset. Being an avid juicer, and heavily relying on whole food shakes out of sheer convenience, the thought of preparing every single meal made me clench my jaw a little bit. Could I really commit to this?   Regardless of the occasional self-doubt, I set my intentions for renewed energy, improved mental clarity, improved moods and a deeper connection with my own food and weight issues.

Sunday I did all my shopping for the week. (Thank you Billings for opening a Natural Grocers in anticipation of my move back ;) I watched the DVDs and read through the booklet. I couldn’t help but think that this reset was basically a crash course in the six-month program I offer my own clients. So cool!  But enough with the logistics, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and I will share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Program

Basically I am eating three amazing meals each day. I also take supplements that oxygenize, alkalize, mineralize, detox, revitalize and optimize my body. Because this is an “inner workout”, the program encourages you to limit your working out to 20 minute walks and stretching.

Week 1 is about reclaiming your health. Basically, you’re accessing your body’s inner chemistry and preparing it for change. You’ll slowly remove meat and dairy, which are known to place stress on the digestive system, from your diet.

In the 2nd week, you release the toxic compounds that are stored within your tissues, clogging your cells and blocking proper nutrient absorption. This phase includes a gentle colon cleanse and eating a full vegetarian diet.

During week 3, you restore your metabolism to maximum efficiency, putting nutrients, enzymes, and pre-and probiotics back into your system. You'll cut back further on grains and will be eating mostly fruits and vegetables. The good news is that you can incorporate Shakeology into the mix! I love effortless so for me that's a biggie.

The Good

During week one, I haven’t felt hungry. At all. The meals were incredible. Oatmeal with flaxseeds and organic berries, salmon with asparagus, and quinoa salad were a few of my favorites. I felt quite accomplished and satisfied preparing my own meals while still managing to cook for my family. Usually, I’m the mom who is tasting the mac and cheese or eating the crust from the peanut butter and jelly even if I’m not really hungry. I will definitely be more mindful in the future.

Because I’ve never eaten red meat, cutting it out was obviously not a problem. I chose to replace meals that contained yogurt with an organic egg, because dairy and I don’t get along very well. For those of you who are meat eaters, the reset does a wonderful job of slowly phasing animal products out of your diet.

My energy right now is amazing. No coffee. No stimulants. My mental clarity is incredible and I find my patience for my children and life in general is at an all time high. I feel upbeat, grateful and optimistic. Although my intention for this reset was not to lose weight, I am down 7 pounds in one week! That’s insane, especially considering I was eating a lot and didn’t really work out. My exercise consisted of walking to the park and playing some Just Dance 3 with the girls.

The Bad And The Ugly

On day 2 I woke up feeling like I went on a drunken tequila bender the night before. I had a terrible headache and I felt nauseas, achey and weak. My skin broke out and I wanted to sell my children on Craigslist.  (Hey, I’m just being honest.) This only lasted one day and I was able to shift my mindset into viewing this experience as something positive.  My body was working properly and getting rid of toxins. I did have a cup of green tea to soften the withdrawal symptoms. It's crazy how a month of eating like crap can affect your body in such a negative way!

When I started on Monday, I didn’t take in to consideration I would be doing the reset during the 4th of July. We had my little brothers and their friends over and everyone was relaxing, eating and having some beers. For a minute, I wanted to join in the fun, but instead I took a moment and remembered my intention and why I was doing this reset. I’m so thankful I stuck with it!

I can honestly say with how I feel right now, the day of utter hell was totally worth it. My skin is almost cleared up and my energy is through the roof. I know it sounds corny, but I’m high on life!

Conclusion

I’m honestly looking forward to the rest of this experience. Like I said before, in the 2nd week, you release the toxic compounds that are stored within your tissues, clogging your cells and blocking proper nutrient absorption. This phase includes a gentle colon cleanse and eating a full vegetarian diet.

I have found the Beachbody Ultimate Reset to be extremely valuable so far; even for someone like me who knows a ton about health and wellness. I know the effort is worth the results and I’m taking this time to be gentle with myself and offer the same support to myself that I would to one of my clients. I look forward to sharing the rest of my experience with you all!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 21:55

Rainbow Soba Noodle Salad

soba-noodle-saladWe’re in the middle of moving back to Montana. Between packing, working, swim lessons, The Bachelorette (yep, I said it) and tying up all the loose ends in Boise, my time in the kitchen has been cut in half and I'm feeling it. Hey, health coaches are human too. All I have to say is thank God forShakeology!

I wanted to make something easy and nutritious that would last a few days so I decided to make this rainbow soba noodle salad with the ingredients I had in my fridge. (Basically, I took ingredients from four different recipes I found online and came up with this gorgeous nutritious masterpiece.) I was really happy about how it turned out though!

Have you ever tried soba noodles? They’re made with buckwheat but don’t be fooled by the name. They’re gluten-free! Buckwheat is actually related to rhubarb, not wheat, rye or barley! Buckwheat has a well-balanced assortment of essential and non-essential amino acids; the building blocks of protein. It is considered a superior source of protein when compared to wheat, rice and even millet!

Bottom line? Buckwheat rocks!

Ready for the recipe? Let’s go!

Salad Ingredients
1 package soba noodles**
1/2 head purple cabbage shredded 
1 bundle chives cut up
1 red pepper diced
1 orange bell pepper diced
1 yellow pepper diced
4 handfuls spinach
1 big bunch of cilantro cut up  (you can never have too much in my opinion)

Dressing
1 lime juiced
4-5 handfuls cilantro (remember you can never have too much)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup shoyu (or soy sauce)
1/4 cup brown sugar brown rice syrup. (This ingredient is optional but I'm not gonna lie. It makes the pasta salad so yummy)
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 garlic cloves minced
1 jalapeno (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped ginger (optional)

Instructions
Cook soba noodles as instructed. Drain and run under cold water. Mix with all the vegetables.

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and toss into the salad. The salad stays good for about 3-4 days :)

Enjoy!!



**Remember to read the label on your soba noodles. Many brands are imposters and use wheat flour with the buckwheat. Not cool but a fact none-the-less.

Sunday, 27 May 2012 18:57

My Newest Superfood Addiction

For over two years now, a close girlfriend of mine has been begging me to try Shakeology. Having done network marketing and having a horrible experience before, I refused.  I vowed to never sell anything again unless I believed in it 100%. Besides, I had my super food shakes that I loved. Sure, they’re pricey and a bit time consuming to make but I feel amazing and you can’t put a price on that.

shakeology

Finally, I caved. I read the label and was a bit shocked to see the Tropical Strawberry shakes were vegan with sprouted brown rice protein, sprouted flax, chlorella, acai, green tea, wheat grass, chia seeds, maca and goji berries among many other superstar ingredients that my shakes didn’t have. Yes, my heart skipped a beat, but I’m not gonna lie. I wanted to hate it. I really wanted to hate it and go back to my time-consuming superfood shakes with an ego-driven “I told you so.”  (Being stubborn and a creature-of-habit are traits I'm working on.) Needless to say, I threw the contents of the packet in the blender with some organic frozen berries, and some almond milk.

I took a sip.

It was divine.

I fell in love.

I offered to buy the rest of my friend's packets off her. I found my superfood crack AND my kids loved it. No better feeling in the world than to watch my kids drinking the superfoods their little bodies need more than ever.

At the same time, whole-food ingredients deliver the essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals your body needs to curb cravings, allowing your body to shed stored fat while the more than 20 different antioxidants, digestive enzymes, and phytonutrients help reduce free radical damage that can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other life-threatening issues. Amazing. I know.

Please keep in mind, I’m very careful about the shakes and proteins I feed my family. In case you didn’t know, most protein powders are toxic. The process of making protein powders often requires extremely high heat which completely manipulates the proteins, making them unrecognizable to our bodies. Yes, sprouted is the way to go, but nearly impossible to find.

Yes, I’ve replaced all these ingredients on the left with the little packet on the right. Although it’s hard for me to admit, Shakeology contains even more nutrients and super foods than I was using in my shakes AND it’s more affordable. See that little bottle of phytoplankton? $60. The Chlorella? $45. The sprouted protein mix? $39. Okay, I have to stop. I’m pissing myself off for being stubborn and not trying Shakeology sooner. It really is a pioneer for the nutritionally dense shakes we need to see on the market.

No, I’m not going to be an annoying sales person. No, I’m not going to be posting on FB every five minutes about how amazing these shakes are. Yes, I love them. I also decided to sell them on my site because I received a 20% discount once I signed up to be a distributor. I am really excited about this product and wanted to share it with you!

If you’re interested in trying them, they come with a 30-day money back guarantee. Even if your bag is completely empty! How cool is that? If you want to be a coach yourself, this is an amazing opportunity to help those your love get healthy. (Dad, I’m coming after you with these in hand.) For more information, check out the Shakeology website orcontact me directly here.

To Your Health,

Rachel

Thursday, 24 May 2012 16:09

Dark Chocolate Trail Mix Bark

chocoI’m kind of obsessed with desserts these days. I love creating healthier versions of my favorite treats. About a month ago, I was screwing around on Pinterest, and came across a recipe for candy bark. You know, melted milk chocolate, covered with candy corn, M & Ms, marshmallows and colored sprinkles. My oldest daughter saw it and said, 

“Mommy, let’s make these but put goji berries on them.” 

A lightbulb went on above my head and soon after we redesigned this sugar-laden concoction with great success.

I swapped the milk chocolate for 80% vegan dark chocolate. I also threw in some coconut oil and raw cacao. Instead of the usual processed garbage candy, I topped this bad boy with goji berries, raw almonds, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut and some organic dried cherries. If I would have been on top of my game that day, I would have thrown some chia seeds on there too.

I brought it up to Sun Valley for my friend Lanette's birthday bash. Everyone loved it and the response could be compared to that of a Herbal Essence commercial. (Yes, there may have been some moaning.) It was that good.

Ingredients

For the Bark

2 bags dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)
2 tablespoons raw cacao (optional)

Toppings (Pick And Choose)

Shredded coconut
Goji Berries
Raw nuts (I used almonds)
Sunflower seeds
Dried berries
Chia Seeds

Instructions

Place the chocolate (and coconut oil and cacao if you’re using it)  in a heat-proof glass bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. (Don’t let the bowl touch the water)  Stir often until the chocolate is completely melted.

Next, quickly scrape the chocolate into a tin-foil lined pan.  (I use a 9 x 13) Make sure the chocolate is spread evenly and then sprinkle with the toppings of your choice.

Let sit for about 10-15 minutes.

Lift bark from pan by pulling up on foil. Cut or break into pieces.

Enjoy!

Friday, 11 May 2012 16:22

Sesame Grilled Asparagus

One thing you may not know about me is the fact that I married an amazing cook! True story. (I just reminded myself that I need to let him cook more often.) Anyways, a few summers ago, he whipped up this super simple asparagus recipe on the grill for me and I fell in love with him all over again. Most girls need flowers and chocolate after arguement; just make me this asparagus and we're good.

asparagusWhile we used to use soy sauce for this recipe, I now use shoyu. What is shoyu you ask? Shoyu is basically a soy sauce. The difference is that true shoyu uses a centuries-old method of fermentation, which converts hard-to-digest soy proteins, starches and fats into easily absorbed amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids. You can get it at your local health food store or most Asian markets.

Fermented foods are amazing for your body, but since shoyu is high in sodium, remember to take it easy. With that being said, here is the recipe!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon shoyu
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

Preheat the grill to high
Mix the garlic, sesame oil and shoyu in a shallow dish
Roll the asparagus back and forth until fully coated
Grill for 3-4 minutes per side
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!

**Some people like to use skewers to grill the asparagus but since we're so hardcore we just throw them right on the grill.

Thursday, 03 May 2012 20:03

Raw Vegan Cookie Dough Bites

ballsDon’t you love how I go from posting about my insecurities to sharing my favorite raw cookie dough bites? Obviously I’m feeling better.

That’s the beauty of this blog. You never know what you’re going to get!  Anyways, I seriously love these and so does my husband. Guilt-free, raw and packed with protein and heart-healthy fats, these just might be the best treat ever. (Sorry Lemon Chia Seed Muffins. I do still love you though!)

Here’s the recipe. Looks super easy right? The beauty is that they’re vegan and free from all the butter, raw eggs and flour in regular cookie dough so you won’t get a tummy ache! Yay!

Ingredients
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raw oat flakes
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup raw agave nectar
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 tbsp cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips

Instructions

Process the almonds, walnuts, oats, cinnamon and salt to a fine meal.
Add the agave nectar and vanilla and process until blended.
Next, add the cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips) and pulse just to combine.
Roll the cookie dough into balls (1 tbsp) and place them on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper. Place the pan in the freezer for roughly an hour. Store in a container in the freezer.

P.S. You can use regular oats or gluten-free oats for this recipe but if you want this treat to really be raw, look for raw oat flakes, which haven't been steamed or toasted during processing.

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 16:35

Confessions of the "Recovered"

barbieIn 2005, I stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office.  201 pounds. 9 months pregnant. 82 pounds on my 5’4” frame in 9 short months. My pregnancy was the first time I had given up my eating disorder in years. No diet pills or purging left me with no control. My body rebelled from years of abuse by holding onto every calorie I put in my mouth. It didn’t trust me and the feeling was mutual. I vowed to get back to my original weight once the baby was born, in a healthy way of course. After all, I was going to be a mother. No more of this eating disorder BS.

Less than 2 years later I stepped off the scale and stared half-heartedly at my reflection in the full length mirror. Tilting my head to the right I began analyzing the many parts that made up my body. Hovering around 100 pounds, I ran my fingers gently over the bruises that were scattered across the sharp tips of my hip bones. With little-to-no-fat, even wearing a seat belt caused me to bruise. Heart racing, thighs no longer touching, collar bone and ribs protruding, I placed one hand on each side of my waist, squeezing my insides until my fingers and thumbs touched. Maybe, just maybe, I was thin enough.

Disconnected from anything real, I was days away from treatment; about to end the game, drop the crutches and size 0 jeans. I was going to give life a trial period. At my core, I knew I wouldn’t be sick, thin, and depressed forever. I knew my thinness, along with my all-or-nothing mindset, was not sustainable. Although slowly dying was the easy way out, and there were days I welcomed death, recovery beckoned me. The responsibility I felt towards life was reflected back to me daily in my one-year-old daughter’s eyes.

So, I fought like hell and I recovered. Or so I thought. I realized today that even 5 years into recovery, I still struggle with my body and the shape it manifests when I am “healthy.” This morning, halfway through hot yoga, I made my way into child’s pose, and I cried. While others wiped away sweat, I quietly wiped away tears. For the first time in a long time, I hated what I saw in the mirror. How could I, the girl who was supposed to be empowering women to love their bodies, be so vainly filled with disgust?   After yoga, I came home and cried some more. I told my husband maybe I did need a tummy tuck, and a boob job, and lipo, and yada yada yada. While my girls did not hear my thoughts, I know they could feel them.

In this moment, I’ve snapped back to my truth. Sure, I still want to look like the petite kidless nineteen-year-old who wears her bikini to hot yoga, but that comes at a price for me. I’m not naturally built like that, and forced acceptance trumps desire in the recovery process.  I know I cannot teach my daughters to embrace all aspects of who they are, while forcing my body to look a way it’s not meant to. I want them to realize that beauty, power and fierceness is not determined by a pant or bra size. I must first consistently believe that myself and this is not an easy task in our society.

You see, until you really pay attention, you don’t realize how women use food and weight to connect with one another; how they speak to one another as if food is the enemy and our bodies are the battleground. This is a bit discouraging for me. On one level or another, all women play this weight game, not just women with eating disorders.

Although right now I feel inklings of despair, I must choose to be different.  I will get to the bottom of why my body was the enemy this morning, and I will deal with it differently; head up and heart open. I do realize that for me health does not look like six-pack abs and size 0 jeans. These days, it’s a solid size 6, imperfect breasts and the acceptance of stretch marks gracing my thighs. Health is having womanly hips, and thighs, and a butt, because that is how I am built. No matter how healthy I eat, or how much yoga I do, I will have cellulite and stretch marks and imperfections. I must accept that my body is okay despite what the mass pictures of photoshopped bodies on Pinterest may tell me.

After I wrote this, I realized it had been 5 years EXACTLY since I entered treatment. Significant or not, it was a rude wake-up call that my work on this earth, and with my body is never done. While my moments of weakness are far and few between, they do exist, and they suck. They always carry blessings though. Today I realized my job is not to empower women by being a perfect example, but to be brutally honest with my own struggles. Oddly enough, I can do that, despite the occasional shame and fear of being judged.

My wish is for all women everywhere to embrace their own body’s version of health and beauty; not society’s, or Pinterest’s, or the childless girls in hot yoga who wear their bikinis to class. Our bodies are our physical connection to the greater source of knowing. We’ve lost this truth. Although it’s a person-by-person project, collectively we can change. We can be honest and forgiving and accepting of our imperfections and the imperfections of others. We can stop the negative body talk. We can appreciate another woman’s beauty. We can change our experience and most importantly, we can change the experience our children will have in their bodies.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012 22:34

Green Monster Dip

Tgreen_monster_diphis dip was inspired by two people; Jessica Mishra and my dad. Jessica was my roommate in Costa Rica and she pretty much introduced me to tahini. I swear the girl ate it on everything. It's so yummy! In case you didn't know, tahini is a ground sesame seed paste, similar to peanut butter. It is a creamy, oily, and smooth nut butter rich in calcium. It goes beautifully in this dish!
 

My dad really only inspired the name. (Hey, it’s officially baseball season and watching the Red Sox play from the Green Monster is one of my favorite things to do with him.)

This dip is basically hummus with a twist. (Exciting I know!) The spinach and cilantro are great ways to get some extra greens in your diet!

Green Monster Hummus Dip

1 15 ounce can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Add everything but the spinach and cilantro to the food processor or vitamix

Puree until smooth.

Add the spinach one cup at a time and puree until smooth.

Add the cilantro and blend again.

 

Serve with asparagus, baby carrots, cucumbers or pita bread!

strawberry-avocado-saladEaster Sunday was GORGEOUS here in Boise. Sunny, seventy-five degrees and no wind, the kids were outside all day while I soaked up some much needed vitamin D. I'm praying this weather sticks.

My husband’s family is in town so I wanted to make them my favorite salad with homemade dressing. Everyone loved it, (duh?!) so I wanted to share it with you! My husband’s grandma loved it so much she is going to make it for her Bunco ladies.

My husband grilled some organic chicken breasts and diced them up over his salad. I'm thinking of doing the same with some salmon tonight! Get creative and feel free to modify ingredients to suit your taste buds.

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

5-6 cups baby spinach
1/2 red onion diced
1/2 container strawberries diced
1/4 cup feta
1 avocado diced
1/4 cup candied walnuts (recipe below)
strawberry balsamic dressing (recipe below)

Candied Walnuts

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

strawberry-balsamic-dressingAdd all liquid ingredients to a frying pan
Add nuts and stir; sprinkle spices and toss to coat evenly.
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour onto a sheet of aluminum foil. Separate candied nuts before or after they harden.

Lemon Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup raw honey
2-3 cloves garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup frozen berries (I use a blend of raspberry, strawberry and cherry)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a vitamix or blender.  Spoon over salad. Keep refrigerated.
**Take out of fridge about 1/2 hour before serving. The olive oil causes the dressing to harden