Chocolate Monkey Muffins 

If you saw my Instagram I gave a sneak peak of myself making these yummy treats. I love muffins for a quick easy snack or breakfast so I hope you enjoy these!

Ingredients:

6 very rip bananas
3 tbsp of honey
1 cup egg whites
1 1/2 cups of quick oats
1/4 cup Pb2
3 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup preferred chopped nuts (walnut, almond, pecans, etc.)

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30minutes. Makes approx. 24 muffins

Enjoy!!

xoxo Rachelle

The Secret to Healthy Living 


On my Instagram and Facebook last Thursday I posted a saying that I really liked which was the inspiration for this blog post. It said “Healthy is not a weight. It’s not a diet. It’s not exercising 7 days a week and it’s not clean eating 7 days a week. And most of all its not the same for everyone”. To me being healthy starts with your mindset, the good old “if you can dream it you can achieve it”. I’ve often said to people choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle is just like people quitting smoking. If you don’t truly want to do it you won’t. If you aren’t in the right mindset to really stay on track of the end goal you will fail. Every. Single. Time. Healthy eating is not easy. Going to the gym and working out is not easy. There is no magical pill, there is no special diet. We are all given the same tools to succeed and how we choose to use them is the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. The fit people you may follow on Instagram have probably failed once or twice trying to achieve their goals but they didn’t see failure as an excuse to stop, they saw it as a bump in the road and continued on with their journey. Don’t be fooled when you hear that healthy living is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. It is 100% nutrition and 100% exercise because how can you achieve something with less than 100% of your effort?? So what is the secret to success in all this healthy lifestyle mumbo jumbo? To start by loving yourself. Reminding yourself that your journey will take time and you will make mistakes and fall off the bandwagon a few times. But! You will pick yourself up and you will continue on because you are worth it. You are worth succeeding and achieving the body of your dreams. I promise eventually you will learn to love it and it will become easier and maybe even become an inspiration to someone who may need it.

Love yourself!!

xoxo Rachelle

My Favorite Quick, Easy Meal

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I’m a day late posting this, it has been a crazy busy weekend! I spent a lot of this weekend cooking, baking, and studying. I have my second last final at the end of this month so it’s crunch time and the next few weeks my posts may be a bit short. As you can see even poor Josie feels a bit neglected as she falls asleep staring at me waiting for attention while I try to study! So today I’ll leave you guys with one of my go-to recipes. These “Protein Pancakes” I’ve been making for years. They are easy, cheap, healthy, and can work for any meal of the day.
Protein Pancakes:
½ cup quick oats
¾ cup egg whites
Place ingredients in a magic bullet or small blender and blend until smooth. Pour ¼ of mixture on to a heated pan. When pancakes start to bubble, flip. Easy peasy!
Makes 4 pancakes
*252 calories per serving!
You can of course add things to these!  Sometimes I’ll sprinkle in cinnamon, or a bit of vanilla into the batter before I blend it. I’ve sprinkled raisins or blueberries onto the pancake as it’s cooking before I flip it. If I make them plain I’ll use maple syrup (my favorite, especially a sugar-free one!), or I’ll put all-natural peanut butter and honey between 2 pancakes like a sandwich. The options are endless, just don’t forget the added ingredients add calories so watch your portions!
xoxo Rachelle

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!!
Some of you may have noticed I took a bit of time off from my blog through the Christmas season. As a full-time hairstylist December can be a bit insane trying to get all your clients in to get them beautiful and ready for seeing and spending time with their loved ones. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years and kept up on their health and fitness goals. I find the whole month of December extremely difficult to stay on track. There seems to always be someone bringing in Christmas goodies to snack on or the endless get togethers with yummy food and drinks. It’s hard to find time to get in your daily workouts due to these parties, or gift shopping, wrapping presents, etc. Trust me when I tell you I am THE WORST for bad eating habits through the holiday season. My addiction to sweets and love for party snacks makes it difficult to stay on track. It’s a running joke with my friends and family that if you can’t find me at a party I’m at the snack table, its sad but true. Over the years I’ve learned how to still indulge without completely ruining all my hard work in the gym. No matter how busy my life gets I always find time to get to the gym and a busy December is no excuse.
So how do I survive all the holiday eating?? Well first I’m not hard on myself for eating 5 cookies within 5 minutes. It happens. And tomorrow is another day to wake up and get back on track. I will allow myself 1 treat a day to keep myself from binge eating all the cookies, bars, whatever is in my sight. 1 day of bad eating won’t make you fat just like 1 day of healthy eating won’t make you skinny.
DON’T skip your workouts. For me it’s a helpful daily reminder to keep eating healthy to give my body the fuel it needs for my workouts. In saying this don’t think working out for an extra hour the day after binge eating treats will help burn off the extra calories. All you will do is start feeling guilty and drive yourself crazy and into unhealthy habits. Like I mentioned earlier, tomorrow is a new day with a fresh 24 hours to make better decisions don’t beat yourself up for what happened the day before.
With a new year comes a new set of goals. I don’t make new year’s resolutions I like to make goals for myself. I find making resolutions sets me up for disappointment if I don’t end up following through but with goals at least I’m working towards something. My goals for this year are:
1) Finishing and receiving my diploma in Sports and Fitness Nutrition. Something I started purely for interest and my love for learning about food and how it works for our bodies.
2) Better understanding money and finances. If you speak about money to me you might as well be speaking Chinese. That’s not a good quality, everyone should know the ins and outs of their finances and thank you to my CPA sister I have already started to better myself in this aspect.
3) Keeping up on my blog. I’ve enjoyed using this as a platform to voice what I know about food, creating healthy habits and sharing my favorite recipes. As long as people are following I will keep talking so thank you to my followers and there’s lots more to come!
4) Working more on my mindset. What I mean by this is more reading, less t.v. watching. I’m a big believer that if you put it out to the universe the universe will help you achieve it. Some people pray or believe in higher powers for these types of things, so you can go with whatever you believe and what works for you. When I set my mind to something I will project it out to the universe, I will write it in my journal every day to keep my mind focused on what I’m wanting to achieve. That helps change my mindset. I’ve only started recently doing this in the last few years by reading a lot of “self-help” type books or listening to podcasts instead of music at the gym. I read books that focus on bettering yourself. Mind, body and spirit. If you dream it you can achieve it, the mind is a powerful thing and when you start believing in yourself it’s a beautiful thing.
Let’s make 2018 great everyone and one step closer to a happier, healthier life!
Rachelle xo

Activated Charcoal

If you haven’t heard of activated charcoal, you must be living under a rock. All of a sudden it has become quite popular among people to use for brushing their teeth to make them whiter. As great as this is and yes it actually does work do you know there is also some health benefits if you take it orally?? It’s become my secret weapon against belly bloat and gas when I go out to eat a not so healthy meal with a few beers or other alcoholic beverages. Activated charcoal chemically binds toxins and chemicals to help the body get rid of unwanted substances. It is used in hospitals to help with drug and alcohol overdoses.
If you are wanting to try and take activated charcoal before indulging in bad food I recommend taking 2 capsules 30 minutes before eating with a big glass of water. This is important because activated charcoal can cause constipation, so I find staying well hydrated will help with this. And by well hydrated, water! Not wine, coffee, pop, or beer, stick with water to keep yourself hydrated. If drinks are on the menu as well then alternate a drink of water with your preferred beverage.
For teeth brushing you can use the capsules as well they are easy to break open, but I find this method very messy. All you have to do is dip your toothbrush into the powder and brush away! Be careful though as it gets everywhere as your brushing and can stain anything white such as towels or your shirt. I have a toothpaste that activated charcoal already in it, so I find that much easier. It’s called My Magic Mud and I highly recommend it as it’s 100% all natural so no GMOs or chemicals! You can find it at http://www.mymagicmud.com or look them up on Instagram or Facebook!

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Since it is a detoxifier you can also use it to make an at home face mask. You just add 1 tsp of activated charcoal powder to warm water until it makes a paste then add a bit of aloe gel and rinse after 5-10 minutes. If you have very sensitive or dry skin this is not recommended as activated charcoal is dehydrating. Also, if you are allergic to aloe you can swap for a bit of honey.
Now this isn’t some sort of magic diet pill it is to be taken with caution and please consult with your doctor before taking any sort of supplements. It’s not something I take every day or regularly just when needed and has become a great trick for controlling my Irritable Bowel Syndrome before indulging in a delicious “bad cheat” meal.

xo Rachelle

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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If I had to pick my favorite recipe this would defiantly be in my top 5.  I make this all through the fall and winter when squash is in season.  For someone who is not a fan of vegetables it’s better for me to hid them in things.  When I’ve made this for family and friends they are a bit skeptical because when you think Mac and Cheese you don’t really think healthy but if I’m doing the cooking you better believe it’s going to be healthy AND delicious! I got this from Tosca Reno she has some great healthy alternatives to your everyday cooking. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Ingredients:
1lb brown rice pasta
2 cups of pureed butternut squash or even pumpkin if you’re into the whole crazy pumpkin craze
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or beef)
6oz goat cheese (plain or sometimes I use herb and garlic)
1tsp sea salt
Parmesan cheese
Optional: cut up, cooked turkey bacon or greens such as peas
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 375degreees. Coat a 9×13 pan with olive oil cooking spray (my preferred cooking spray)
2) Boil 4-6 cups of water in a large pot. Add noodles and boil for 10-12 minutes until pasta is tender. Strain and set aside in baking pan.
3) If making your own butternut squash puree peel squash with a peeler to take the skin off. Cut squash in half and spoon out the seeds. Chop into small pieces and add to a pot of boiling water. Boil until soft. Strain and put back into the pot. Use a hand mixer or hand potato masher until there are no lumps. Add chicken (or beef) broth to the squash and let simmer for about 2 minutes.
4) Remove from heat and stir in goat cheese and sea salt until smooth and melted.
5) Add any optional ingredients if you want
6) Pour squash mixture over pasta noodles and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
7) Bake for 20 minutes then broil for an additional 3 minutes until the top is a bit crisp.

Makes 8 servings at only 310 calories per serving!! *excluding optional ingredients

 

I.B.S… Yes I’m Going There.

First off if you’re squeamish about poop or other bowel movements this is not the post for you. This one is for my fellow I.B.Sers that may be dealing with this shitty (ha!) syndrome. I was first diagnosed with this while in high school I’m guessing around 15 years old. I was under a lot of personal stress at the time with school, boyfriends, friends, just normal teenage girl stuff, as well as not eating properly or barely at all. I was an active teenager though spending most of my spare time after school at the dance studio. For me it started with stomach pains, sometimes so bad I couldn’t move let alone try to get up and go to school. Trying to eat or even take a sip of water was out of the question because the pain would be so bad it would cause me to feel nauseous. Doctor appointment after doctor appointment leading to test after test after test I was diagnosed with I.B.S. It’s common with the women in my family. My mother has it, my sister, my auntie, but we all have different triggers and different ways of dealing with it. I will share any information I know and my experiences with how I deal with it.
What is I.B.S?
I surprisingly get asked this a lot!! I.B.S stands for irritable bowel syndrome. It’s a disorder that effects the large intestine. Everyone that has I.B.S experiences different symptoms making it difficult to diagnose. Symptoms include gas or bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, or diarrhea and sometimes all of these can happen though the duration of a flair up.
Common Causes
*Dark green vegetables: I do not cut them out of my diet I just know I can only eat them a few times a week. They usually contain high amounts of fiber, which we need fiber but high amounts of it causes gas which is not good for people with I.B.S because it’s usually painful gas/bloating. I find steaming my vegetables helps instead of eating them raw.
*Fast food: Do I really need to explain??? Greasy, yucky fast food is not good for anyone but is even worse for people with I.B.S. Personally, it sends me to the bathroom with diarrhea almost instantly sometimes before I’ve even left the restaurant. I still eat out but I’m extremely conscious of what I’m eating because it’s so embarrassing to have this happen.
*Spicy foods: This is a trigger for me and I eat very blandly. There are many yummy spices out there that I don’t need to cover everything with hot sauce, spicy seasonings, etc. For me this will cause huge stomach pains almost instantly, so I just stay away from it all together. You don’t need spicy stuff in your diet it’s just for taste but like I’ve mentioned before everyone’s different. My sister loves hot sauce and I know other people with I.B.S that eat crazy spice on everything and have zero issues with it.
*Red meat: Same as dark green vegetables I do not believe in removing anything healthy and good for you from your diet unless of course there’s an allergy, or some other medical reason that it needs to be removed. Now vegetarians and vegans I respect your reasoning for it it’s just not for me. Red meat for me is hit and miss, sometimes it affects me and causes me to again instantly be running to a washroom but sometimes I’m totally fine. If purchased from a good supplier it can contain a ton of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are excellent for our bodies. It’s better to stick to lean meats such as chicken, fish or turkey but sometimes a good burger or steak is hard to pass up.
*Beans: “Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat them…” Ok, I’ll stop there, but if you can finish that song you know why I tend to stay away from beans. They are gas producing causing painful bloating in people with stomach sensitivities.
*Dairy: I LOVE cheese. I don’t care what kind I will eat them all. It can cause constipation for many people. Ice cream and milk have gas and bloating producing properties but everything in moderation as dairy is good for you to have daily.
*Beverages: Caffeine, carbonated drinks and alcohol. Caffeine can be problematic for some sufferers of I.B.S. Carbonation in anything can cause gas/bloating and a lot of alcoholic beverages also contain them so it’s something to look out for if you experience any sort of symptoms after drinking any of these beverages.
*Stress: Stress is extremely hard on your body. For myself when I’m going through a stressful time in my life my body will remind me I need to take a step back and calm down by giving my paralyzing stomach pains that get worse if I try to move. No, it’s not fun it totally sucks but it causes me to figure out what the stress is and remove it.

Solutions:
But Rachelle, how do I fix these problems once they occur or cure myself of this?? There is no cure for I.B.S but it can be managed in different ways which even these can differ from person to person. So, these are my tried and true remedies.
*Peppermint tea: It feels like a warm hug on my tummy when I’m having stomach pains. Peppermint has soothing qualities, mixed with the hot water it helps to relieve any pains or nausea
*Exercise: We know the benefits of exercise, for me it’s a stress and anxiety reliever. You don’t need to go to the gym 6 days a week, 2 hours a day, like myself but getting at least 30 minutes a day can be so beneficial to escape the hectic craziness of life to clear your mind and refocus.
*Trial and error: Finding your trigger foods and beverages is really a matter of trial and error unfortunately. You must be super conscious of what you eat and feel you feel afterwards. Some doctors recommend when you are first diagnosed keeping a food journal to track what you ate so if you have a flair up its easier to narrow down what might have caused it.
Sadly I have yet to figure out remedies for when you may get diarrhea after eating a trigger food or drink. If I’m with people who don’t know I have this, I’m at someone’s house, or attending an event I will stay away from the food I know will make me instantly be looking for a bathroom. Yes, it’s super embarrassing when it does happen but just remember everyone poops. It’s a fact of life. The best way to go about it is to just be honest, “sorry I can’t eat/drink that I have I.B.S and it will make me very sick if I do”. People tend to not ask questions afterwards especially if they’ve seen Along Came Polly with Jennifer Aniston and Ben Stiller!! Hopefully this will help anyone out who might have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or educate others who may know someone that does. Thanks for taking time to read my long post!
xo Rachelle

Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread

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No I am not a vegan. BUT! Sometimes I do like baking as healthy as possible and vegan options always intrigue me. This one popped up on my Facebook feed from livestrong.com’s page and I just had to try it. It tastes like chocolate cake and is 100% guilt free!
Ingredients:
¼ cup hot water
2 tbsps ground flax
1 cup flour (I make my own oat flour but you can use gluten-free, or whatever your dietary preference is)
½ cup quick oats
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
½ tsp cinnamon
3 ripe bananas
1 ripe avocado (great substitute for butter in baking)
1 cup coconut sugar (better alternative to brown sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips (vegan if you’re a vegan)

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350degrees and grease bread pan.
2) Mix the hot water and flax and let sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
3) Stir together dry ingredients, flour, oats, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
4) In a separate bowl mash together the bananas and avocado. Add to dry ingredients.
5) Stir in coconut sugar, vanilla extract, flax mixture and ½ cup of dark chocolate chips.
6) Pour into greased bread pan.
7) Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips onto the top of the loaf.
8) Bake for approximately 1 hour.
9) Let cool then dig in!

xo Rachelle

It’s Never a Good Time for a Cold…


It seems like somehow a cold has snuck up on me this weekend, so I thought what better topic to talk about. I can usually tell a few days before it hits that I’m starting to get sick. I get extremely exhausted and feel like a could sleep for days, I have sneeze attacks just randomly and the back of my nose/throat gets itchy and dry. As soon as this start happening I get all my cold products together and start taking them before it really hits me. As a busy hairstylist who works on commission there is no time for sick days. We don’t get paid if we aren’t at work and clients don’t really appreciate having to move an appointment they’ve been looking forward too. We all live busy lives and who has time to lay in bed for days to recover? Not me! I also don’t want to. What works for me may not work for everyone but here’s some things to try since we are entering cold/flu season. I don’t take cold or flu medication I try to use anything natural first.
-up your water intake. We want to flush out any yucky toxins that are in your body
-add lemon to your water to increase vitamin C intake. (read my blog post Lemon Water to find out more benefits)
-add moisture to the air with a humidifier. I need this when I sleep with a cold so I don’t wake up with a sore nose and throat, it will also help the dry cough at night.
-grandma always said to take Echinacea. Studies have mixed results on this, but I take it daily when I feel a cold coming on and it works great for me. It’s a herbal supplement and of course before taking any medication it is best to consult your doctor.
-lots and lots of rest. I’m not one to waste away a day sleeping but when your body is fighting anything rest is best. Your body is an amazing machine but if its fighting something and your running yourself down how is it supposed to get better? Depending on how sick I am I will still go to the gym every day I am sick if it’s just a small cold. It will be a much easier, low-key workout but it does feel nice to sweat some sickness out.
-if you own a diffuser there are some different cold mixtures you can find to use while you are sleeping. The essential oils I use at night for the duration of my cold or are equal parts (2-3 drops each) lemon, thieves, purification. Thieves and purification are cleansing oils which will help enhance immunity and the lemon is meant to get rid of flu/cold germs in your house/room.
-if you have body stiffness or I usually suffer from a sore lower back when I’m sick take a nice hot bath. I add a few drops of lavender essential oils to promote relaxation if it’s before bed and I add a cup of Epsom salts. The Epsom salts help to soothe body pain, and draws out toxins from the body.
Hopefully these will help keep you healthy and cold free through the winter!
xo Rachelle

Homemade Healthy Granola

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This is the granola I made today.  It always looks different because I switch up what I add to my basic recipe.  Why do I make my own instead of just buying premade ones from the grocery store?  Well most importantly I can control what’s in it.  No preservatives, no “healthy” ingredients, just ones I can actually pronounce and know what they are.  This is also why I home make almost everything I eat.  Nothing comes from a box, bag or whatever prepackaged food you can buy.  Its also a lot cheaper the only downfall is yes it takes up time but when it comes to your health it’s worth the extra time.  I’ve been asked a few times how to make it so here its it is.  Super easy and really tasty

Ingredients:

4 cups quick oats

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter

1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey if you have that)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

-Grease a pan that’s deep enough to hold all ingredients

-Microwave peanut butter just until it’s a bit melted and soft

-Add all ingredients into a large bowl and stir

-Pour into pan and bake 25-30 minutes until top is slightly brown.  If you touch it with a fork it should feel a bit flaky

-Set aside to fully cool.  Once cooled use a fork or knife to break apart the granola to whatever size pieces you’d like.

Yields approx. 12 servings

 

Some ideas for extra ingredients I’ve added to mine:

-2 tbsp. ground flax seed

-1 cup golden raisins

-3/4 slivered almonds

-2 tbsp. chia seeds

-1 cups craisins

-1 tsp nutmeg

-coconut flakes

The options are really endless so make it your own and put whatever you enjoy into it!

xo Rachelle