Whole 30 Daikon Noodle Soup 

Baking Bread at Home

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Servings

4

Ready In:

2hrs 45min

Good For:

Lunch

About this Recipe

 Daikon root is a mild-flavored winter radish popular in Japanese cuisine. It is also found in many other popular lifestyle diet recipes. Although it used to be difficult to find in some places, it is now carried by many regular grocery stores due to its growing popularity.

Here, Daikon root takes center stage because it is the perfect choice for spiral slicing into ramen-like noodles. What’s more, it pairs beautifully with the more robust flavors of caramelized onions and sautéed Portobello mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 4” Daikon radish root

  • 3 small white onions (or 2 medium)

  • 3 T. coconut oil

  • 3 T. vegetable stock

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 8 oz. baby Portobello mushrooms, cut into thin slices

  • 2 t. dried basil

  • 2 t. dried oregano

  • 1 t. garlic powder

  • 32 oz. vegetable stock

Garnish: (optional)

3 green onions, green parts only, finely sliced

Nutrition

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed orci risus, tempus eget odio vel, interdum rutrum augue. Fusce suscipit vulputate ipsum id pulvinar

  • Protien 35% 35%
  • Carbs 76% 76%
  • Calories 12% 12%

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Remove outer skin of the Daikon root with a potato peeler. Using the smallest blade on a spiral slicer, spiralize the root into long, thin, spaghetti-like strands. For best results, trim the strands with kitchen scissors once they reach about 10-12” long. Place trimmed strands on clean paper towels to absorb excess moisture and set aside.

Step 2

Slice off the ends of each onion and remove the papery outer layers. Cut onion in half lengthwise (from root to tip). Then cut each section across the middle to form four sections. Cut each section lengthwise into long strips.

Tip: Don’t cut the onions too thin, or they may burn while cooking.

Step 3

Over medium heat, melt coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet with high sides. (For best results, do not use a non-stick pan). Add onions and stir until coated.

Cook onions over medium heat for approximately 45 – 50 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to ensure they cook evenly and don’t stick to the pan. The exact cooking time will vary based on several factors, including the age of the onions and how many you cook at one time.

Step 4

Once the onions reach the desired depth of color, add 3 tablespoons vegetable stock to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add more if necessary to scrape up all the brown bits and then season the onions with salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 5

Next, add the sliced mushrooms, dried herbs, and garlic powder to the pan with the onions and sauté until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Add remaining vegetable stock to skillet and simmer over medium-low heat until heated through, about 10 – 15 minutes.

Step 6

Increase heat to medium and add Daikon “noodles.” Cook for another 5-6 minutes and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle soup into individual serving bowls and garnish with sliced green onion. Serve immediately.

People Who’ve Made This

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Get my Insta-worthy recipe book, full of delicious, whole-food recipes that are free of gluten and added sugar! 

About the author:

I'm an ACE-Certified personal trainer and women's health coach, specializing in food- and fitness-positive habit change for long-term results! 

I don't do diets and the goal is never weight loss.  I'll never ask you to drop and give me 20 or to give up your favorite foods.

My goal is to help you develop a lifestyle you love that brings you closer to your goal every day. 

Meal Planning as Self-Care

Self care is about taking good care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. Self-care is about making our own well-being a priority. 

So why do so many of us put our needs at the bottom of the list, allowing ourselves to be in a constant state of stress in order to get through an endless list of tasks. 

How can practicing some self-care help us protect our time, our energy and our health?

When we talk about self-care often we think of manicures, hot stone massages, and other luxuries. We don’t often think about planning, organizing, or scheduling as examples of self-care because they sound kinda like …well… work.
But here’s why we should consider these as self-care activities – they actually play a big role in protecting your health. Think about how you feel when you’re rushing around, running late, or looking for things that are never where you can find them.

 Stressed, right? 

And that’s a problem because if you spend enough time stressed out, your body will have a chronically elevated level of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can really be problematic for your health, in both the long and short term. 

Self-care is important because by doing things that protect our time and energy, we minimize the low grade chronic stress that we bring upon ourselves by not being proactive. 

Listen, if you’re about to say you’re too busy to sit down and take time to plan out meals for the week because it feels like one more chore to add to your already long list of things to do – trust me when I say taking time to plan for meals each week, and writing out a grocery list, ultimately benefits you in a lot of ways! 

It will save you money because dining out is so much more expensive than preparing meals at home. It also means less food waste because you’ve only bought the items you need to prepare your meals. 

It means you’ll eat healthier. Even when you make healthy menu choices, portions are generally twice what you’d normally eat, and restaurant food usually contains higher sodium levels than what we make at home. And it’s usually prepared using lower quality oils like soybean. With meals planned and prepped ahead of time, you’re less tempted to get greasy takeout or hit up the drive-thru. 

Choosing ingredients from the grocery store gives you more control over the quality of your food. When you select and prepare your own food knowing exactly what is included in the dishes you make, you’re able to better control the quality of your meals. 

And most of all, it means less STRESS. Planning meals reduces your stress level because you have a solid plan for your week and you won’t have to rack your brain at the last minute to figure out what’s for dinner, trying to pull something together with whatever you happen to have on hand. 

How to Create A Weekly Meal Plan: 

  • Print out the blank Weekly Meal Planner printable guide here.

  • Take a look at your schedule for the upcoming week and note what days of the week will you be home to cook and which nights will be a little more rushed. For those nights, schedule a crockpot meal or pre-cooked dinner the night before.

  • Schedule one day near the end of the week as Leftover Day, making sure not to let food and money go to waste

  • Decide what you’ll eat on each day. Need menu ideas? Sites like emeals.com, TheFresh20.com and TheSixOclockScramble.com include healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare along with the grocery shopping list for you. Pricing starts at around $5 per month.  

Create your Grocery List:

  • Compile the list of ingredients from all your recipes

  • Figure out what you have on hand and what you’ll need to pick up at the store

Prep Your Meals: 

  • Spend time on the weekend doing some batch prep for your meals:

    • Chop all of your vegetables together

    • Cook all grains and beans ahead of time

    • Make your needed sauces, dressings, and marinades

  • Pack your prepped food in clear containers and make them easily accessible in the fridge. 

Tips: 

  • Think ahead and cook up an extra batch. Plan to make double what you would normally make for dinner so you have leftovers for lunches or freeze it for another dinner.

  • Be sure to have food defrosted if you’re using any frozen items like meat, chicken, or fish. 

If you haven’t meal planned because it seems too time consuming, know that by creating a system, it will be so much faster and easier each time you do it. Once you start implementing a weekly meal plan, you’ll notice you feel less stressed over the dinner-time rush. 

You’ll feel so much less stressed when you know you’re ready for the week and you have what you need to make healthy meals for your family. Taking an hour to sit and plan your meals for the week will save you much more than that in time and energy in the long run.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

 

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Let's connect!

Hey there!

I'm Laurie Mallon, ACE-certified personal trainer and certified yoga instructor. I believe in giving women the tools they need to find their own path to wellness, and supporting and empowering them along the way!

 

I'm glad you're here!  

Tri-Color Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Baking Bread at Home

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Servings

4

Ready In:

2hrs 45min

Good For:

Dinner

About this Recipe

These colorful roasted potatoes pack a ton of flavor into every bite thanks to the winning combination of fresh rosemary paired with garlic and sautéed onions.

What’s more, they really dress up your dinner plate – and they’re super easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. tri-color Fingerling potatoes, washed and cut in half
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T. fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 2 large white onion, cut into thin strips

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed orci risus, tempus eget odio vel, interdum rutrum augue. Fusce suscipit vulputate ipsum id pulvinar. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed orci risus, tempus eget odio vel, interdum rutrum augue. Fusce suscipit vulputate ipsum id pulvinar.

Nutrition

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  • Protien 35% 35%
  • Carbs 76% 76%
  • Calories 12% 12%

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425°.

Step 2

Add potatoes to a large bowl, along with olive oil, rosemary leaves, and garlic. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 3

Spread potatoes onto a large, rimmed baking sheet and arrange in a single layer without overcrowding. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and turn potatoes so they brown evenly. Return to oven and roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender..

Step 4

While the potatoes are roasting, melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they turn deep brown, approximately 10-15 minutes.

Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 5

Remove potatoes from oven and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add onions and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

People Who’ve Made This

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“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed orci risus, tempus eget odio vel, interdum rutrum augue. Fusce suscipit vulputate ipsum id pulvinar. Nunc tristique sapien a mi sagittis facilisis. Vivamus vitae lobortis massa.”

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Want healthy eating to be easier?

Get my Insta-worthy recipe book, full of delicious, whole-food recipes that are free of gluten and added sugar! 

About the author:

I'm an ACE-Certified personal trainer and women's health coach, specializing in food- and fitness-positive habit change for long-term results! 

I don't do diets and the goal is never weight loss.  I'll never ask you to drop and give me 20 or to give up your favorite foods.

My goal is to help you develop a lifestyle you love that brings you closer to your goal every day. 

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges with Herbed Coconut Yogurt Dip

Baking Bread at Home

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Servings

4

Ready In:

40 min

Good For:

Snack

About this Recipe

Craving deep fried potatoes or other salty snacks?

You’ll love these delicious, crispy sweet potato wedges. The refreshing herbed coconut yogurt dip is the perfect complement to the spicy seasonings used in this recipe.

For even more flavor, mix up the herbed yogurt dip the night before to give the flavors more time to combine and develop.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 2 T. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. curry powder
  • 1 t. smoked paprika
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 c. coconut yogurt
  • 2 t. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 T. fresh dill, minced
  • 3 T. fresh parsley, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

     

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Nutrition

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed orci risus, tempus eget odio vel, interdum rutrum augue. Fusce suscipit vulputate ipsum id pulvinar

  • Protien 35% 35%
  • Carbs 76% 76%
  • Calories 12% 12%

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400°F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat® baking mat. Set aside.

Step 2

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the melted coconut oil and toss to coat.

Step 3

Arrange the sweet potato wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. For crispier wedges, do not overcrowd them.

 

Step 4

Place baking sheet in preheated oven and roast until the sweet potatoes are golden brown and crispy around the edges, around 30-35 minutes. Flip once hallway through the cooking process to brown both sides.

Step 5

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, mix the coconut yogurt with the lemon juice, dill, and parsley in a small bowl. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Once browned, remove the sweet potato wedges from the oven and sprinkle generously with salt. Let cool slightly before serving with the herbed coconut yogurt dip. Enjoy!

People Who’ve Made This

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“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed orci risus, tempus eget odio vel, interdum rutrum augue. Fusce suscipit vulputate ipsum id pulvinar. Nunc tristique sapien a mi sagittis facilisis. Vivamus vitae lobortis massa.”

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Baking Bread at Home Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed nec diam ultricies, scelerisque arcu quis, mattis purus. Morbi tellus nibh, sollicitudin a gravida quis, commodo eget eros. Servings  4 Ready In: 25min Calories: 610 Good For: Lunch...

Want healthy eating to be easier?

Get my Insta-worthy recipe book, full of delicious, whole-food recipes that are free of gluten and added sugar! 

About the author:

I'm an ACE-Certified personal trainer and women's health coach, specializing in food- and fitness-positive habit change for long-term results! 

I don't do diets and the goal is never weight loss.  I'll never ask you to drop and give me 20 or to give up your favorite foods.

My goal is to help you develop a lifestyle you love that brings you closer to your goal every day. 

My Top 10 Whole 30 Tips

1.   When pan roasting meat or vegetables with balsamic vinegar, be sure to line your baking sheets first. The balsamic vinegar burns easily and can be very difficult to remove. Lining the pan first makes cleaning up afterwards a breeze.

2.   Flank steak is a relatively tough, but incredibly flavorful cut of meat. For best results, be sure to marinate it in advance and cut it into thin slices against the grain prior to serving.

3.   Buy several rotisserie chickens when they are on sale. Then remove and shred the meat before freezing in individual packages for quick and easy weeknight meals, like our Buffalo Chicken lettuce wraps.

4.   Seafood can be a delicious and healthy addition to your diet. However, it is becoming more and more difficult to know what seafood is safe and sustainable these days. Check out seafoodwatch.org for the best options.

5.   Sugar and other sweeteners are not part of Whole30. However, roasting naturally sweet root vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, is a great way to add a touch of acceptable sweetness to your meals.

6.   Most packaged salad dressings are not Whole30 compliant because they contain added sugar and other banned ingredients. Fortunately, it’s really easy to make your own homemade versions. Add some fresh fruit to your vinaigrettes for a bit of natural sweetness.

7.   When possible, select a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables for your recipes. This will add additional textures and flavors to your menu, and a more diverse assortment of vitamins, minerals, and others nutrients to your diet.

8.   Choosing more colorful fruits and vegetables for your recipes also lends more visual appeal to your presentations. Why be bland and boring when you can easily add healthy splashes of color to your table?

9.   Preparing pork loin can be tricky because it is so easy to overcook. For this reason, choose timed oven-roasting over your much-loved slow cooker for consistently juicy results.

10. Fresh herbs are a low calorie way to add tons of flavor to your favorite recipes. You can add them to Whole30-compliant smoothies, salads, dressings, and marinades for a satisfying dose of extra flavor. To save money at the grocery store, grow an assortment at home on a sunny windowsill, deck, or patio, or in your garden. A nice mix of basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, cilantro, and oregano is ideal.

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Ready-to-Print Meal Plan and Prep Guides

  • 4-week Keto Meal Plan 
  • 4-week Plant-Based Meal Plan
  • 4-week Whole Foods Meal Plan

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100+ Ways to Manage Your Time and Money and Stress Less

You know the saying, ‘Time is Money’?

I know, I know – this is a health and fitness blog – why am I talking about money and time?

Because saving time and money means less stress for you.

Also, even though the two areas (money and/or time management and health) appear somewhat unrelated, they have a LOT in common. Mostly that you’ve developed habits around both and you have autopilot behaviors that may ..or may not …take you where you want to go with either.

However, what I’ve seen is that once you get a handle on one, it’s easier to apply the same principles to the other one.

For example, you probably manage your money and your time the same way you manage your health. You’re either Type A – have a good idea of what you have saved, how much you will earn this week/month/year, know what you’re spending it on, are pretty disciplined about spending, and you’re mindful with your purchasing habits. You’re proactive, putting money away for the future, knowing that sure it would be tons of fun to splurge more often, but you’re thinking long term and know you’ll want to have something to fall back on in the future.

Same with your health. You’re either super aware of what’s going on with your health, you’re pretty diligent about eating vegetables, not loading up on processed food or added sugar. You have the occasional treat but it’s done mindfully, not emotionally. OR you’re more of a ‘live for today’ type, enjoying every delicious opportunity that appears in front of you and giving in to every inclination to comfort eat that comes along.

Also, the fact that you might not be great with money or have a solid knowledge about what’s going on with yours might lead to some low grade, chronic stress, which isn’t great for your health. You might not have full on panic attacks but the constant worry going on in the back of your mind about it is going to have some eventual side effects on your health.

Take a look and see if there are a few things here that might help you save money and stress!

  • Prep and pack Mason jar lunches

  • Batch cook – double the recipe and cook extra to freeze for later

  • Use a Bullet Journal instead of a planner to get more done in less time

  • Organize your refrigerator to prevent spoiling food and wasted money

  • Use an Instant Pot to make your own yogurt

  • Make your own salad dressing instead of buying prepared

  • Use a Vitamix to make your own nut butter

  • Make your own flour

  • Make your own yogurt pouches

  • Use grocery rebate apps like Ibotta and Checkout51 to get cash back on groceries

  • Bulk shop for pantry staples

  • Make your own baking mix for pancakes or quick breads

  • Go Meatless on Mondays (go to www.meatlessmonday.com for ideas!)

  • Try the Grocery Budget Makeover and slash your grocery bill

  • Get a SodaStream and stop buying expensive soda or seltzer

  • Use an Instant Pot to maximize your time cooking dinner

  • Make your own water flavoring

  • Meal plan to save money on last-minute takeout meals

  • Get a filtration system, like a Brita and reusable water bottle and stop buying overpriced bottled water

  • Make your own bread

  • Learn to can vegetables

  • Shop your pantry. Use up the items that have been sitting in there that you may have forgotten about

  • Buy dried beans instead of canned

  • Make your own oatmeal packets

  • Stop paying late fees on credit cards (set a reminder on your phone or sign up for autopay!)

  • Cancel your gym membership and workout at home

  • Refinance your home if your mortgage interest rate is high

  • Use credit cards with membership rewards programs like American Express

  • Organize linen closet with bins for medicines, first aid, baby items, sheets, pillowcases

  • Use vertical storage to get clutter off the floor

  • Create appt reminders so you don’t forget appointments and incur no-show fees

  • Evaluate your car insurance to avoid overpaying

  • Stack your errands to save money on gas and wear and tear on your car

  • Set up a home organization station like this one (from atcharlotteshouse.com) to keep family members organized

  • Outsource time-consuming tasks like lawn care

  • Use a home cleaning schedule to keep your home neat and clean, stop wasting time cleaning rooms that are hardly used or seen

  • Pack your lunch night before and streamline your morning routine (Psst… lunch bags don’t have to be fug! THIS ONE is adorable!)

  • Set up Help Yourself snack bins for your kids

  • Get into the habit of going to bed earlier and get more sleep (want to know how your sleep impacts productivity?)

  • Maximize your gym time by doing more circuit or HIIT-style workouts

  • Use a purse insert to save time and stay organized

  • Pack emergency items, paper towels, trash bags, extra clothes, back up snacks, and water in a Car Box

  • Make your own ice packs (here are five different ways to do it)

  • Purchase refurbished electronics.  Amazon now offers certified refurb items on their Amazon Renewed site. You can get refurbished smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, home and kitchen appliances, game consoles, office products, and more!)

  • Make your own jewelry cleaner (Here’s how!)

  • Use washable microfiber cloths for cleaning

  • Wake up earlier and be more productive before the day starts (Click here for tips on better sleep)

  • Make your own 2nd day hair spray (xoJane.com has a great recipe here!) cut your shower time in half

  • Make your own disinfectant wipes

  • Shop with the season, buy things during the time of year they usually go on sale

  • Use Amazon Subscribe and Save to save you the time and hassle of shopping for items you use regularly

  • Use flickering LED lights instead of candles. Romance AND safety!

  • Make your own spice mixes instead of buying expensive premade ones (Wellnessmama.com has 14 recipes right here!)

  • Use Rent the Runway for formal dressing occasions – don’t buy outfits you’ll only wear once!

  • Create a capsule wardrobe and stop buying clothes you won’t wear (Don’t know what a capsule wardrobe is or how to create one? Click HERE)

  • Buy brand name preloved clothes on poshmark and thredup

  • Buy higher quality items in classic styles and wear them for several seasons instead of buying cheaper, trendier, disposable clothing every few months

  • Shop around for travel deals using websites like Expedia or Trivago

  • Use the Gas Buddy app to find the cheapest gas in your area

  • Order car parts online (Did you know you can buy replacement side mirrors on Amazon??)

  • Maintain your car to keep it running longer! Make sure to regularly check your air pressure, change your oil, and change your air filters! (Get your air filters on amazon and change them yourself instead of paying the dealership an arm and a leg to do it!)

  • Shop at stores (like Kroger and Costco) that offer points to use as discounts on gas

  • Subscribe to Kindle Unlimited or  Book Bub for deals on ebooks

  • Buy an Entertainment book and find coupons for local attractions

  • Find deals for local events on Groupon

  • Use Redbox to rent movies and video games

  • Cancel cable and stream your entertainment with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon using a Firestick, Apple TV, or a Playstation console

  • Get active and find a local ‘Get Started in Sports’ program near you

  • Use your local library to check out books instead of buying them at a bookstore or ordering from Amazon

  • While you’re at the library check out movies instead of seeing them in the theater

  • Host a Moms’ Night In instead of going out. Play Bunco, host a book club, or a craft night! Need more ideas? Check here.

  • Buy pre-owned games and game systems at GameStop

  • Take a Staycation – explore your own town or county and find some hidden gems

  • Use reusable snack bags Bumkins Reusable Snack Bag Small 2 Pack, Crocs & Turtle (B2)

  • Make your own play-doh

  • Organize a mom swap

  • Buy a Cricut or Silhouette cutter and make your own party decorations

  • Shop consignment sales for deals on gently used toys and clothes

  • Buy discounted gift cards on Raise.com ahead of time if you know you are shopping at certain stores

  • Buy themed items for next year the day after it happens this year – Halloween costumes, Valentine’s Day cards, Christmas decorations, Thanksgiving place settings

  • Use ebates.com or mrrebates.com and get money back on your online purchases

  • Stop spending too much! Use the Krazy Koupon Lady’s stock up price list!

  • Go on a cash diet – take your credit and debit cards out of your wallet and replace it with cash – you’ll be less tempted to spend money

  • Use Earny to get cash back (it scans your email to find receipts and gets your cash back if it finds a cheaper price elsewhere)

  • Use Snipsnap app to find coupons for in-store and online shopping

  • Look at Groupon Goods

  • Watch Amazon’s Lightning Deals feed to snap up big discounts that are only available for a limited time

  • Schedule “leftover night’ on your weekly meal plan to make sure you use up anything that didn’t get eaten during the week. (Want more help creating a family menu plan? Click here!)

    Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts? 

They’re all yours! Get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

4 Steps to Create a Life-Changing Meditation Practice

 

 PHOTO CREDIT:  ASHLEY MARKS PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTO CREDIT: ASHLEY MARKS PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Meditation can be a life-changing practice if you struggle with stress or anxiety. Meditation has been shown to rewire the brain to return to a calm state and teaches you how to manage your racing thoughts or excessive worries.

You may not know this but 20 years ago I struggled with crippling anxiety and panic attacks. I went to the dr for anti-anxiety pills but instead got a lesson in meditation. Learning how to quiet my mind has been an invaluable tool in managing my anxiety since then.

If you’re struggling with constant worry or a brain that doesn’t relax, you may want to create your own meditation practice. It doesn’t have to be complicated, you can start right now!

Here are 4 steps to getting started:

1. Create space

Literally and figuratively. Find a place where you’ll be able to sit in peace for a few minutes at a time (to start). Free of noise, distraction, traffic, or anything that will disrupt your meditation. Put a comfortable pillow, chair, blanket in the place where you’ll meditate to designate it your meditation space to help your mind and body transition into your practice.

If you can’t designated one space for meditation, don’t sweat it. The great thing about meditation is it literally can be done ANYWHERE, but most people find that having a designated spot for it helps get into the right mindset for the practice.

Also, carve out a time in the day when it will be convenient for you to meditate. Most people prefer to do it early in the day, that way it doesn’t get postponed or eventually left undone by a busy day or being too tired later on.

2. Pick a style

Figure out what kind of meditation you want to do. I’ve listed some beginner-friendly ones here:

  • Breathing meditation – focus only on the breath. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

  • Counting meditation – the same number sequence is repeated over and over.

  • Mantra meditation – focus on a word or phrase for the duration of the session.

  • Sensation awareness meditation – scan through your body one part at a time and just tune in to the sensations of your body at that time. No judgement, just awareness.

  • Walking meditation – Sitting meditation usually provides the greatest benefits, but you may need to start with small steps. Walking meditation is useful for beginners or as an alternative on days when a regular session isn’t feasible. Walk around your own living room or backyard. Walking automatically puts you in touch with your body. Observe your posture from foot to head.  Align your breath with your steps. Pause frequently to create a slow and restful state of mind. Take a moment to stand up straight. Lift each foot gently, and roll from heel to toe as you place it down in front of you.

    To start, just pick one type and see if it resonates with you. if not, you can move on to another type. Most beginners start with a guided mediation.

3. Start Small

For most people, one of the most difficult things about meditation can be finding the time to squeeze a session into your busy schedule. You can start by meditating for five minutes or less!

  • Stop on red. You may start looking forward to red lights if you use them for a refreshing break. Focus on your breath and appreciate the world around you.

  • Take advantage of routine tasks. Empty your mind and your dishwasher at the same time. As you remove forks and plates, clear out nagging resentments and doubts.

  • Ease stressful moments. Meditate on whatever disturbs you.Being annoyed with a salesclerk who rang up your purchase without putting down their phone could remind you to listen more attentively to family and friends. Let it be a teachable moment that creates more harmony.

  • Express gratitude. Happy events are also worth pondering. Stop to give thanks for hot chocolate or spring flowers

4. Join a Guided Meditation Group

Guided meditation sessions with a group leader take care of the agenda for you.

  • Find a community. Yoga studios, public libraries, and local hospitals may offer programs. Browse online or check bulletin boards in grocery stores and coffee shops. Start your own group through Meetup.

  • Locate a meditation instructor. Effective instructors come in many shapes and sizes. Ask about why they teach meditation and how they lead a session. As long as you feel comfortable with them it may be a good fit.

  • Work with distractions. Meditating in a crowded room may feel different than sitting down alone in your bedroom. If trying to screen out distractions makes it difficult to concentrate, try accepting them instead. Remain aware of your surroundings. If a door slams or a phone rings, gently bring your focus back when you’re ready to resume.

  • Go at your own pace. Meditation comes more easily for some practitioners, and your powers of concentration will probably rise and fall from day to day. Listen to the instructor when you need more guidance. If you already feel clear and connected, you may want to follow your own thoughts instead.

You can start a meditation practice today even if you’re short on time and juggling many responsibilities. Practical meditation techniques can put you on the path to managing stress and enjoying greater peace of mind.

Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts?

They’re all yours! Get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

 

 

The Best Cookbooks for the Way You Eat

When it comes to self-care, you know I consider planning and specifically meal planning to be a big part of how you take care of yourself. Create a strategy for the week of what healthy options will be on the menu BEFORE you get hungry, tired, or too busy to think of anything.

Sure you could go on Pinterest and pin a bunch of recipes but let’s be honest – there’s something so satisfying about pulling out an old-time physical book and flipping through the pages, poring over the pictures, and choosing the meals that sound best to you.

No matter what your style of eating or food preferences are, I’ve put together some suggestions for some cookbooks to keep handy so you’ll never run out of options!

Paleo Cookbooks

Want to learn more about eating paleo? Click here

Ketogenic Diet Cookbooks

Want to learn more about following the ketogenic diet? Click here.

Whole 30 Cookbooks

Whole 30 is a way of eating the encourages whole foods and no added sugars. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of reducing sugar in your diet, click here.

Vegetarian Cookbooks

If you are vegan, vegetarian, flexetarian, pescetarian, or just love Meatless Mondays, these cookbooks are for you!

Related: Learn about the benefits of adding more plant-based meals to your diet

Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts?

They’re all yours! Get access here:

How much sugar is too much?

We all know sugar is NOT a health food. It isn’t full of nutrition, and excess consumption is not associated with great health.

The problem is that sugar is everywhere. It’s naturally occurring. It’s also added to just about every processed food there is. Added sugar is a factor in many chronic diseases we see today. Sugar is inflammatory. Too much is associated with weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and cavities. Too much sugar is a huge health risk, no matter how you look at it.

So let’s talk about how much sugar is too much.

Added sugar vs. naturally occurring sugar.

What’s the official word?

Before we talk about the “official” numbers (and why I don’t agree with them), you need to know the difference between added sugar and naturally occurring sugar.

Fruit and other healthy whole foods contain sugar. They also contain water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals. They are good for you. Eating fruits and vegetables is a well-proven way to reduce your risks of many chronic diseases.

Added sugar, on the other hand, is concerning. In 2013, the American Heart Association calculated that about 25,000 deaths per year were due to sweetened beverages. Added sugar is also in baked goods, candies, soups, sauces and other processed foods. You can find sugar on the ingredient list as many names, often ending in “-ose.” These include glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc.

So, total sugars = naturally occurring sugar + added sugar.

The official change is the new Nutrition Facts tables. You may remember that in Canada and the USA, they declare the amount of sugar, but don’t give it a %DV (% daily value); this means, they’ve never had a benchmark maximum daily value to use. They haven’t declared how much is too much. Now, both countries are implementing a % DV for sugar.

In 2008, the average daily total sugar intake in the USA was 76.7 grams per day; this is less than these two benchmarks.

In the USA, the labels are changing too. They are not declaring total sugars but will differentiate between naturally occurring and added sugars. They have decided on a maximum of 50g of added sugars each day.

Unfortunately, this is still more than the American Heart Association’s recommended maximum of 24 g/day added sugar for women, and 36 g/day added sugar for men.

What is a better daily sugar goal?

While these official numbers are a step in the right direction, they’re not what I would follow.

For one thing, I’d ditch as many processed food as possible, regardless of their sugar content. There are a ton of studies that show that processed foods have long term negative impact on your health. Get your sugar from whole, unprocessed fruits first.

Second, you don’t even need to max out your daily sugar intake. Try to reduce your sugar intake below these official amounts for an even better goal.

Tips to reduce your sugar intake:

Here are some of my most popular recommendations to reduce your sugar intake, so you don’t get too much:

●     Reduce (or eliminate) sugar-sweetened beverages; this includes soda, sweetened coffee/tea, sports drinks, etc. Instead, have fruit-infused water. Or try drinking your coffee/tea black or with a touch of cinnamon or vanilla instead.

●     Be more mindful of your desserts and baked goods and bake your own instead of buying them. You can easily control the added the sugar in a recipe made at home.

●     Instead of a granola bar, or other sugary snack, try fruit, a handful of nuts, or veggies with hummus. These are easy grab-and-go snacks if you prepare them in a to-go container the night before.

References:

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-labelling-changes.html?_ga=2.256456139.1337838755.1500915116-364691916.1498677123

https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm#images

http://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/healthy-eating/reduce-sugar

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp#.WXYtbYjys2w

https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-sugar-per-day/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/truth-about-sugar

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-break-the-sugar-habit-and-help-your-health-in-the-process

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-spot-and-avoid-added-sugar

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021

Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts? 

They’re all yours! Get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

Recipe (healthy fat): Mayonnaise

Recipe (healthy fat): Mayonnaise

Makes about 1 ½ cups

1 large or extra large egg

2 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp salt

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic

1 cup olive or avocado oil

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients except oil to your food processor. Process until creamy (about 10 seconds).

  • With the food processor running, add a few drops of oil into the egg mixture. Every few seconds add a few more drops. Continue until the mixture starts to thicken.

  • Now you can do a slow drizzle. Stop pouring, every once in a while checking that the oil gets fully incorporated.

  • Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks.

Serve & enjoy!

 Tip: Use this in place of mayonnaise for egg, tuna, chicken salad

Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts? 

They’re all yours! Get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.