~Things To Try Thursdays~ Hello Fresh

Eating clean and healthy aren’t something we’re accustomed to these days unless it’s made more appealing to us through convenience.

Making a trip to the grocery store, unpacking it all and then prepping the food seems like a full-time job in itself. Who has time for that?

It took me years to learn how to eat clean and prepare my own food due to the fact that I didn’t have the time or available resources to do so. (college)

Once I graduated from college, I had a little more of a steadier routine so I was able to balance nutrition and the rest of my life adequately enough.

Recently, I’ve had a schedule almost similar to the one I had in college (as I work three part-time jobs)…so this left zero room to plan and more room to fail.

If you fail to plan, plan to fail!

About a year ago, I was lucky enough to discover a company on groupon called Hello Fresh. It’s a meal delivery service. You have the option of having a few meals and all their ingredients boxed and sent to you and then all you do is the cooking! Easy peasy if you’re into cooking!

Hello Fresh offers a variety of box options to choose from, so if you follow a certain diet, like vegetarian/vegan, there’s no need to worry!

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With the groupon I had purchased, I was able to receive two weeks of meals for free…so for me that meant 3 meals per week, coming to a total of 6.

The price was only $59 for the entire groupon (2 weeks) and was well worth it for those weeks! Regular prices are $69 per week for the classic box option.

I usually spend between $75-125 per week on one week of lunches and dinners alone!

This took a lot of the guesswork out of what I would be meal prepping for the week.

I was able to come home from work (or in between my shifts) and prep and cook everything all in about 40 minutes.

Not to mention…the meals are creative, portioned and delicious!

Here’s a few snapshots of some of my faves…

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After the groupon expired, I became a Hello Fresh lover! I alternate it into my meal prep every other week and have never encountered a box of ingredients I didn’t like.

I highly encourage you jumping on board the Hello Fresh wagon! You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s my code to get $40 off your first box!

*DISCLAIMER: All statements in this post are my own thoughts and opinions. I was not compensated by Hello Fresh in any way.

Have you tried meal delivery services like this one?

What was your experience?

Peace, love, and Hello Fresh!

~C.C.D.

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Tips To Stay Warm & Healthy During the Winter

I’ll be honest…winter is my least favorite season. Growing up in a small town full of mountains really made me want to eradicate winter forever and skip straight to summer and summer only.

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It wasn’t just the cold, snow and seven layers that convinced me of this…it was the ongoing sickness.

As a child, I was sick at least twice a month with some form of respiratory illness or virus during the winter.

My parents would give me vitamins and I’d eat semi-healthy, but was just super prone to catching anything going around.

As I got older, and once I finally moved out, I was able to finally control the sickness during the colder months.

Here are my top tips for maintaining health during the winter:

1) Fluids

These aren’t your typical water and OJ…

-Green Tea, Honey & Lemon: The ingredients in green tea ward off lots of cold and flu symptoms…even before they start! If you add honey and lemon in you get even more benefit because they contain antibacterial agents which also help fight off viruses and bacteria!

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-Kombucha: A fermented tea! You can make your own or just run to your local health food store and grab a bottle (my preference)- Kombucha starts the healing/defending process from the gut outward by introducing probiotics into your system. This is said to be where viruses/bacteria may originate so it’s best to start with a healthy gut first!

2) Foods

-Greens: Any kinds of leafy greens contains tons of vitamins and minerals helpful in keeping your immune system in tip top shape! My favorites are spinach, kale and bok choy!

3) Spices

-Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon: By throwing a little one of each of these spices into a dish your again doing your body justice. I season lots of my sauteed or baked veggies with these and typically don’t need any other seasonings or condiments! These are wonderful detoxers for our bodies and also help greatly to clear up your sinuses when you’re congested!

4) Exercise

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-HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training– You’ve heard it before but I’ll say it again: exercise is so important! Especially during the winter months when we tend to hibernate and laze around. Try adding in some high intensity workouts into your life- it will also help increase the amount of antibodies to fight off germs and bacteria!

5) Supplements

-Vitamin D3: Beneficial for our bones, energy and immunity! Take a capsule of 1000-5000 iu per day

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-Fish Oil: Another great one for bone/joint health and immunity! Liquid forms are best!

If all else fails and you do fall ill, wait it out for a day or two if you can! If symptoms worsen, then definitely find a local doctor on Amino.com! It’s a convenient site that allows you to match your needs (location, insurance, symptoms) with the appropriate doctor.

My results from searching for "ear, nose, throat" doctors

My results from searching for “ear, nose, throat” doctors

What do you do to ensure your health during the colder months?

Peace, love and immunity!

~C.C.D.

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#30DaystoHealth Social Media Challenge!

Happy 2016! (by the time you all read this 😉 )

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As you may know, I am a holistic health coach on the side. I received all of my education from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

In short, this means I’m certified to coach/guide anyone who wishes to regain back their health but through mainly a holistic means.

I lead my consultations and general practices with an introduction to a concept called primary foods. This doesn’t just mean getting in your fruits and veggies.

Primary foods is a principle based off of these 4 areas: relationships, career, physical activity and spirituality

Many of us do not realize it but all of these areas directly and indirectly affect each other.

In order to make your 2016 a year of health, I will be offering a #30DaysToHealth challenge on social media. (Instagram and both of my facebook pages!)

Over the course of these 30 days in January, I will post a prompt every day for you to try and follow. This will be anything from replacing one snack food with a vegetable or fruit to having a spa day for yourself to hugging someone very important to you.

All I ask in return is that you use the #30DaystoHealth hashtag on your picture on which ever form of social media you are posting to!

It all starts tomorrow, 1.1.2016!

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Be sure to follow my Insta and Facebook Pages!

Peace, love and health!

~C.C.D.

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*REVIEW*- Everlast Nutrition Vegan Protein Powder

So, you know me when it comes to supplements and powders…if it’s done in moderation and you find it’s actually beneficial to you then I say go for it. If, however you are just taking something to follow the crowd, then it’s just in excess and for no clear benefit other than “fitting in.”

I was sent Everlast’s new vegan protein powder to try in light vanilla flavor a few days ago.

Currently, I use Cellucor in the strawberry milkshake flavor…but on occasion.

As soon as I opened the package from Everlast, I was met with a powdery nose and a wonderful vanilla aroma. The bag is resealable, however, I had trouble with that, so I chip clipped it instead.

The first concoction I decided to make were some protein balls!

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I love making a batch every now and then and popping them in my lunch bag or purse for conveniently healthy snacking.

I used:

-32 g peanut butter
-40 g organic clover honey
-32 g (or 1 scoop) Everlast light vanilla vegan protein powder
-cinnamon for dusting (optional)

All I did was mix first three ingredients listed in a small bowl and then formed into balls.

*NOTE* – you may need to add a spoonful of water or almond milk to make the consistency more doughy.

After the balls were formed and since it is fall, I rolled them in some warm cinnamon to finish them off.

A few facts which sets Everlast a part from “other” protein powders:

  • Plant-based
  • 110 calories
  • BCAA’s
  • 22 grams of protein
  • Soy & Gluten Free
  • GMO-Free

buyonevpgetfeulfree-sized for FacebookI highly recommend this protein powder as it blends easily not only for smoothie use but in baking as well. The taste is wonderful and light.

My only con is the amount of sodium per serving included. 540 mg. is A LOT of sodium, almost half of your required sodium intake for the day. Just in one scoop. I advise if you do use protein powders to use this one in moderation.

Everlast Nutrition Tip #29

Go to www.everlastvp.com and you can use my code CHOCOLATE17 to get 5% off! Definitely check out their other products!

What is your current supplement usage?

Peace, love and Everlast VP!

~C.C.D.

 

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Homemade Apple Chips

During this time of year and all the loveliness fall brings, I usually notice an oversaturation of pumpkin. Pumpkin Spice lattes, pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin mashed potatoes…you can go on until your “orange” in the face…

While I will admit I am a part of the pumpkin loving onslaught (I have a board on pinterest named “All Hail Pumpkin”), I do love apples as well.

Besides apple pies and apple picking, I hardly see anything apple advertised during this time of year. Is it because apples are year-round staples and pumpkins really are not?

Whatever the case may be, I gave apples some cred in my kitchen a few weeks ago.

I went apple picking (of course!) and since I’m not a pie gal, I decided to make apple chips instead.

Apple chips are super duper easy to make. These only took about 5 minutes to prep!

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All you need is:

-Macintosh apples
-Pumpkin Pie Spice
-Coconut Oil Spray (or other cooking spray)

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All I did was thinly slice the apples…yes I realize the mandoline slicer could have come to my rescue…and then spray with the coconut oil and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice over top.

I baked at 200 degrees for 2 hours…During 2nd hour…flip the chips over so both sides are equally cooked!

Mine came out almost chip-like…I don’t like mine too rock hard, so I took them out about a half hour before the 2nd hour was up.

These will store in an airtight container for up to three days.

So delish and super healthy!

What’s your favorite fall dish?

Peace, love and apples!

~C.C.D.

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A Few of My Favorite Pink Things…

It’s one of my favorite months of the year…no, not because pumpkin everything is available and consumed in excess, but because it’s acceptable to wear pink every single day and not being judged for it.

Now, most of you who know me are probably thinking, “but her favorite color is turquoise!” While this is true, my second favorite is pink…because…girl power and of course for breast cancer awareness month!

To celebrate, I have compiled a list of a few of my favorite pink things on my wishlist:

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All the fun aside, here are some important facts from a company called Bankers Healthcare Group, which provides financial solutions to health care professionals, regarding Breast Cancer Awareness:

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Peace, love & save the ta-tas! 😉

~C.C.D.

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Crazy For Cauliflower!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand a basic bitch kinda meal.

I’m all about variation, especially when it comes to my veggie sides!

I’ve had a bunch of recipes harbored on pinterest that I felt needed to be experimented with.

Since it was one of the first rainy days the northeast had seen in a while, it proved to be the perfect day for a day in the kitchen.

I started out with cauliflower.

It’s one of those vegetables that I had complete disdain for as a child but have grown to love as an adult. I don’t mind the taste, especially when it’s flavored with herbs and spices.

Following the recent trend of subbing out a starch and replacing with a veggie, I decided to try out cauliflower rice and cauliflower mash.

The hardest part in making both of these was that fact that I was missing a food processor… but thank god for Vitamixes! 🙂

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To make the rice, I chopped up a head of cauliflower, minus the stem and the innards and placed small chunks into my vitamix. I then added a teaspoon or two of water and blended at a low speed until desired consistency.

I then transferred the “rice” into a saucepan with some olive oil, salt and pepper and heated on low for about 15 minutes. (or until cauliflower becomes tender)

Voila!

For the mash…

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I did that same as I had for the rice but placed about a cup of water in before I began blending. I then drained all excess water in a strainer and added some basil pesto in for flavoring. Topped with lentils just because it’s fall and I made way too much. 🙂

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What have you experimented with in terms of subbing starches for veggies?

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Five Snacks That Put You On The Dietary Sideline

As much as we all can admit the holidays are when the most dietary temptations occur, the summer months of June & July are also a time of unbridled indulgence.

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With the onset of commencements, dance recitals, end of the year celebrations, and summer BBQ’s all of those days combined can turn into a big, fat muffin top…an unwanted accessory for summer. So bye, bye to bathingsuits!

I’ve personally had this experience- during my school aged days it seemed the entire month of June was one giant cheat meal. Of course when you’re young it doesn’t affect you as much. But by the time you graduate college (if you’re like me and gained 20+ pounds), you try to limit your food and beverage intake at social gatherings.

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Food is viewed as more of a social aspect than just for the sole purpose of survival or weight loss. We use food as solace from our every day world instead of treating it as a basic need…which in my opinion, is completely justified within moderation. I mean I don’t think I would’ve liked to live in a world way back when without Chipotle, would you?

The following foods/snacks are the ones I have found to be most detrimental to weight loss:

1. Fruit- While it’s all natural sugar…it’s still sugar. And anything in excess isn’t necessarily good for us. I always say stack your fruit first thing in the morning on an empty stomach…and MEASURE it out!

2. Processed Carbs- This is an obvious one. Anything like granola bars, English muffins, cereals, chips, etc. Replace one of these with a protein like a hard boiled egg with a small handful of nuts to keep you in check.

3. Sugary beverages. Anything like fruit juice, soda, sweetened coffee, or even cold-pressed juices. You may think because they are not foods they do not have as much of an affect on you. You can actually drink your sugar and carbs for the day in just one serving of any standard juice or soda. I suggest replacing with fruit-infused water, seltzer, or kombucha.

4. Nut Butters- I know, I know these are supposed to be super healthy for you. The problem is most people do not measure out their serving sizes, so they end up consuming more than they should. I recommend having half an avocado if you have a tendency to “go nuts” in this department.

5. Coffee. If you drink it black or with a zero-calorie sweetener like Stevia/Sweet N Low, you usually can get away with it. However, most people order full-fat lattes which have tons of sugar, cream and extra calories.

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What are your dietary weaknesses?

Peace, love and dietary moderation!

~C.C.D.

 

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Meal Prep 101

You may have been wondering where I have been while on a blogging hiatus for the past *gasp* nearly 3 months. Since embarking on a few new ventures, I have had to plan out every single meal of the day.

Before this past January, I was able to prepare my meals fresh at home every day, which actually led to a lot of dietary downfalls.

I have never been considered a snacker, but I found myself chowing down on tons of nut butters, greek yogurt and other general kinds of “healthy” snacks. This led to a lot of belly bulge, overworking myself in the gym and blaming my age for my weight.

Obviously this was all my fault and I had to stop living in denial.

Near the end of December I started to research ideas for preparing my meals ahead of time on pinterest, bodybuilding.com and youtube.

I was able to compile a lengthy list of recipes and tips to really get myself back on track.

The following has helped me tremendously:

1) Invest in a set of tupperware containers. I got mine from Bed, Bath & Beyond for $20 and it came with 20 pieces for food storage in a variety of sizes.

3 oz. of chicken, 40 g. brown rice pasta and unlimited mushrooms and spinach in each container with a sprinkle of parmesan

3 oz. of chicken, 40 g. brown rice pasta and unlimited mushrooms and spinach in each container with a sprinkle of parmesan

2) Measure out your portions. Regardless of how healthy you may think you’re eating, if you are eating over your portion sizes, you could be ruining all your hard work. I use a food scale so I have the exact number of ounces or grams per meal.

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3) Protein, protein, protein. In order to ensure you won’t be hungry until your next meal, protein is KEY. Make sure you are including an equal amount of healthy fats, carbs and protein. It also wouldn’t hurt to try and eat something with a little more fiber as well.

4) DO NOT SNACK. Like I have explained earlier, if you snack it will throw you off. Even the tiniest bit of snacking over just a couple of days can really set you back.

5) Drink your water. I know getting in an adequate amount of water is difficult but you will be surprised once you notice how energized and refreshed you feel. Increasing your water intake will also help you stave off cravings after a while. I use a 32 oz. bottle and refill about 2X throughout the course of my day. You can also add fruit or lemon/lime to spice things up as well.

6) Keep low or no-calorie satisfying noshables by your side throughout the day. I usually have a few lifesavers hanging around, but make sure you don’t OD. 4 mints equal 60 calories and 14 carbs, which can really add up if you’re popping them like candy. Another option is herbal tea. There are TONS of different herbal teas out there which are made with no harsh chemicals and taste delightful. My current favorites are: Harney & Sons (Green Tea & Coconut)

I know it’s a pain in the A but carrying around all my meals is absolutely vital to my success. When I was training for my photoshoot a few years ago, this is the ONLY way I was able to achieve the look and feel I desired.

A sample of some of my vegetarian meals in the past...

A sample of some of my vegetarian meals in the past…

Your results depend entirely on yourself. Now is not the time to be making excuses!

I’ll post a few samples of my simple meals for my prep next week. While I don’t blog as much as I used to anymore, I highly encourage you to follow me on instagram for daily meal inspiration and healthy living tips! (@cdean17)

Peace, love and meal prep: it’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

~C.C.D.

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My Adrenal Fatigue Story

I was once told that once you reach adulthood you will be incredibly fatigued from all the “responsibility” involved with growing into this stage of life.

The people who always preached about an endless amount of exhaustion were all adults, so of course, their living testaments were the highest form of credibility to a young and energetic seven year old at the time.

Once I hit college, I remember the dreaded waves of “adult” fatigue. At the time, I chalked it up to being overweight, partying too hard and not sleeping enough.

What I did not realize was that it was a part of a bigger problem…adrenal fatigue.

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Adrenal fatigue occurs when your adrenal glands do not produce enough/too much of certain hormones which regulate other systems like our reproductive organs, thyroid and digestion. This can lead to a complete overcompensation from other body systems which puts a tremendous amount of stress on you.

It may sound like a quick fix, but because adrenal fatigue’s symptoms mimic MANY other kinds of diseases and disorders, it’s often difficult to diagnose.

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For me, it took almost 5 years to figure out I had this.

After college, I entered the working world and my symptoms of fatigue worsened. I had always been a fitness fanatic, but was now sidelined due to severe muscle aches and exhaustion after my workouts.

While everyone else around me would often feel euphoric after working out, I would feel sluggish and literally need a nap.

I ignored these symptoms and kept working out harder and harder especially when I was training for my professional photo shoot last year.

I began to develop tons of injuries which would frustrate me to tears. I would take weeks off and let everything heal and get right back into the gym full force with my high intensity workouts.

What I didn’t realize was that my body was about to wage a complete war on itself.

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I became so fatigued last winter I oftentimes could NOT get out of bed. Yup, not even coffee could be my knight in shining armor.

On top of the fatigue, my appetite began to skyrocket and my periods became so unbearable it literally guaranteed a panic attack every month. My mood swings were also affected…my parents even asked if I was on steroids because I was so rageful.

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I finally knew I had a severe problem to take care of, but at the time had ZERO health insurance.

I stopped working out completely and shockingly my moods became a little bit more tolerable. My muscles were not sore so I was able to have more energy throughout my day.

It was until about two months ago that I saw a holistic naturopath who listened in awe as I described my horrific symptoms.

She was almost positive I had adrenal fatigue and that it was all most likely from overexercising.

I ended up taking a salivary test and they found out none of my hormones were up to the levels they should’ve been! My estrogen levels were literally below zero…

She gave me a few things to regulate my hormones: organic milled flax seed, chaste tree extract pills and a higher than normal dosage of a b complex

In addition to that, she told me to request a complete blood test from my doctor and wrote down some additional things to test for, including my thyroid levels. (Thyroid problems are another common diagnosis for adrenal fatigue!)

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The results have actually been pretty great so far. I am not 100% completely cured. It takes many, many months to fully recover (some people honestly don’t ever make a full recovery) so I’m not rushing it.

As for my workouts…right after my 10K in September, I stopped with the intense stuff. I have been doing barre workouts and hot yoga along with some abs and random youtube videos. I do NOT make working out my first priority at this point in time. I know it’s harming me more than helping me.

I feel like adrenal fatigue is something that is often overlooked by many mainstream physicians. Most will just blame the individual for the ways they are: “get more sleep”, “drink coffee or tea”, “take this antidepressant”, etc. etc.

If you feel like you have adrenal fatigue, I highly recommend scouting out a local naturopath who can help you decipher between that and another illness.

Most do NOT accept insurance but I can honestly say mine has been worth every penny so far!

Have you ever experienced adrenal fatigue?

Peace, love and go to the doc!

~C.C.D.

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