What’s your 2016 Resolution? Post-Baby Abs & Healthy Food Tips

 

 

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New years resolutions are always the same for most people every year: be healthier, more active, loose more weight. I’m personally motivated for 2016 because of the new little addition we just added to our family 8 weeks ago. Once I had my baby, I thought it might take a little longer than after my first to loose the baby weight and regain my muscle memory; however, I can already tell a difference in what pilates and these other tips have done for me post-baby! They have been so successful that I wanted to share them with you since it can be hard to find a flexible- and functional- way to get healthy without feeling like its hopeless. With these lifestyle changes, you too can get those abs back that you’ve been missing! Remember, good things come to those who wait (i.e. don’t give up!!!).

 

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Pilates before, during and after pregnancy really helps get your abs back the quickest. I even had a client tell me the doctor FELT her ab muscles while doing her c-section and asked her afterward if she did pilates! (Which is by far the best compliment I have ever heard.) Muscle memory is a powerful thing. If you feel like it’s too late to start including pilates in your exercise regime you couldn’t be more wrong! Pilates is amazing for your body at any age or stage in your life. If a private trainer is out of your budget, try looking up group classes at pilates studios or gyms in your neighborhood, or buy a DVD to practice at home (much more convenient if its too difficult to leave the house).

 

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Drink Tea with Lemon. Even I get bored of water. To switch it up and help my skin, I sip on decaf tea with lemon. The antioxidants in tea plus the detoxifying elements in lemon give my metabolism a boost without really doing anything.

 

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Choose your food wisely. I don’t have a magic formula for choosing the best foods to help you loose weight. I do however know what foods make me personally feel best and am pretty routine with my weekly meals. For example, breakfast is always whole grains (either homemade granola, oatmeal, or fiber-rich cereal) with almond milk, fresh berries and a cup of coffee.

 

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Lunch is usually a spinach salad with avocado, grilled chicken and an olive oil dressing. If I’m in a rush I will grab a peanut butter “Perfect Bar” (sold at Whole Foods) and an apple.

 

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Dinner we usually make something on the grill (either chicken, fish or turkey burgers) along with a salad or vegetable and whole grain rice or quinoa. Once we week we do grilled chicken or fish tacos on corn tortillas with guacamole and black beans. Oh, and I always have a glass of wine with dinner. It’s a must for me (especially with 2 kids).

Bunch of bananas isolated on white background

Mid-morning and post-lunch snacks are usually a banana, handful of almonds (those prepackaged ones from Trader Joe’s are great), hummus with carrots, or a little sliced cheese with whole grain crackers. My cookbook has all of these recipes and more if you don’t have it yet. ;)

 

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Trying to follow a healthy eating pattern (I hate the word “diet”) is an easy thing to do once you clear your pantry of all the processed foods you might sneak. Making conscious decisions at the market and planning meals ahead is the easiest way to start this pattern.

 

Silhouette of  young mother enjoying motherhood

Walk. Walk in the morning, on your lunch break, with your kids, after dinner, etc. Whatever excuse you can find to get outdoors- do it! I get trapped inside too, especially with a newborn, but I try to remember he needs fresh air too. So I put on my baby carrier or grab my stroller and just walk for at least 30-45 minutes around my neighborhood. It also helps you hit the “reset” button a little bit if you feel like you’re getting off track with your goals.

 

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That should wrap up my tips for helping you get on a healthier and happier routine for 2016. They may seem repetitive or useless to you- but I promise, once you make these small changes you are going to start noticing BIG differences in your body—hopefully in your abs specifically. ;)

 

VERY HEALTHY Gluten-Free Vegetable Muffins

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You might read the title of this and cringe…but I PROMISE– you taste no vegetables in these muffins! They are so so so healthy for you and take like delicious little puffs. These are great to make with your kids if they are old enough to help (they can peel, shred, or mix the vegetables) and are even better to feed them! You will not be hesitant to pop one – or 10- into your mouth either. They’re truly one of the best things I have ever created. My daughter, Emma, LOVES to eat one every morning with her milk. :) I made these gluten free and with other healthy substitutions, but feel free to use whatever flour, milk and oil you prefer.

 

Ingredients:

1 large or 2 small zucchini
2-3 medium carrots
2 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup organic white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup melted organic unsalted butter
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
1 cup pureed cooked sweet potato
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup unsweetend vanilla almond milk

*OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup organic raisins and/or 1/4 cup of organic chopped raw walnuts

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with paper liners.

2. Wash, peel and shred zucchini and carrots. Set aside.

3. Combine brown rice flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

4. In a bowl with an electric mixer or just with a whisk, combine melted butter, melted oil, pureed sweet potato, beaten egg and almond milk. Fold wet mixture into dry and stir until just combined.

5. Lastly, stir in shredded zucchini and carrots until mixed through. Add raisins and/or walnuts if desired. 

6. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. For smaller muffins (a 24-cup muffin pan), bake in over for 16-18 minutes. For larger muffins (a 12 or 6-cup muffin pan), bake for 20-25 minutes.

7. Let muffins rest on wire racks for 5-10 minutes before serving…try not to eat all of them in one sitting!

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The Best Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies…EVER!!!

These cookies are amazing and PACKED with oats! By far one of my favorite and most praised cookie recipes. Even chocolate chip lovers will fall in love with this chewy-centered, crispy-edged cookie…

oatmeal raisin cookies

 

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (may sub coconut or almond flour for GF)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick organic unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large organic egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup raisins

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and position 1-2 nonstick baking sheets in the oven to get warm (important step to ensure these cookies turn out right!). *Use 1 baking sheet if you want 12 large cookies, 2 baking sheets if you prefer 24 small/regular size.
  2. In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter with both sugars on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract.
  4. Turn mixer down to low speed and slowly add the flour mixture, a little at a time, until just incorporated (do not over mix otherwise cookies will turn out gummy). Turn mixer off and stir in oats and raisins.
  5. Remove pan(s) from the oven and set on wire racks. Remember these pans are hot so be careful when making the cookies (use a oven mitt to protect your hand).
  6. Form dough into rounds, making either 24 smaller cookies on 2 baking sheets or 12 larger ones on 1 baking sheet (I made the larger ones but it’s complete preference on what size cookies you want!).
  7. Using oven mitts, place cookie sheet(s) back into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes (I did 14 minutes for 12 large cookies and it was perfect).
  8. Let cookies rest for 5 minutes on wire racks before eating.

 

 

Enjoy by themselves or indulge with your favorite ice cream either topped or wedged in between! YUM!!

 

Below is a picture of my daughter Emma…my #1 fan :) 

emma liking cookies emma eating cookie

 

How to Get Your Abs Back After Having a Baby

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Muffin top. Love Handles. Jelly Belly. Bloated. Pudgy. Flabby.

 

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Once you hear one of these terms you know exactly what someone is referring to – their middle area. Abs…or zero abs. It’s one of the most frustrating things a person can try to get rid of and one of the many blessings of pregnancy: your stomach gets big! The first thing you want to loose is your flabby stretched out stomach as soon as that baby pops out (after  you cuddle and love on them first!). Of course as I remind all my clients who have had kids, it takes time and patience to get your abs back afterward, but after a while it’s like, “Okay, when is this stomach going to get the hell out of here!?!”

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Picture on left: day I went into labor. Picture on right: one year later.

It takes the longest to loose the weight if you’re not consistent or eating well, so let’s knock on those two crucial points right away. You can’t eat like crap and expect to loose weight. It’s impossible. Eat greens, lean protein, whole grains, raw nuts/seeds, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, whole fruit and vegetables. Most importantly: EAT REAL FOOD. For example, use raw agave or raw sugar to sweeten your coffee, tea or oatmeal. STOP USING FAKE SHIT – your body can’t process it and ends up holding onto it for a very, very long time. Stop taking shortcuts – they don’t work in the longterm and you end up putting on the weight as quickly as it came off. Which brings me to juice cleanses: they work as supplements to get your greens, not as meal replacements. You end up being hungrier and eating more because you feel like you’ve missed a meal.

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We were given teeth to chew…so do that.

 

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Another way to loose the weight in your middle is to drink a lot and lot and lot of water. Add a slice (and squeeze) of lemon which helps detoxify the body and cleanses the liver. You will need to pee more often, but you will have to get over that. You should be used to that anyway if you were pregnant. Keep a water bottle by your bed, on your desk, in your purse, in your baby bag…you will drink more water if it’s easily accessible.

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Lastly (and most important) DO PILATES. I am a HUGEEEEE believer in the workout and the results. No other exercise both extends and strengthens your muscles, creating that lean toned body everyone desires. It’s incredible to watch a client who struggles to straighten their leg to then gain the strength in their stomach to hold their leg up higher and straighter. Planks, arm exercises, leg movements, jumping off the reformer jumpboard, extensions – you name it, the movements all come from one place: YOUR CORE! Your abs are getting stronger and stronger from each movement you do, and those exercises- done correctly- will give you a lean slim sexy stomach. I promise. If you are not seeing those results you are either: not eating healthy, eating too much, not drinking enough water, not moving enough, and/or not doing pilates CORRECTLY. Having an intelligent instructor is like having a good insurance policy- without one, you’re FU%KED and wasting your money (not to mention precious time)! 

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Pilates is something I did throughout my entire pregnancy (even the day I went into labor) and continued shortly after giving birth. Pilates gave me my body back- no question- after having a baby. It’s hard to imagine when you’re pregnant that your stomach will ever look the same, but to tell you the truth, it just makes you that much prouder of what you can accomplish. Let’s be honest, being a mother is the hardest job in the world. Pilates? Please…that’s easy. You just need to have the motivation and create the time for yourself to do it. If you think you “hate” pilates because you feel like it’s too slow or you haven’t seen results, you haven’t seen the right instructor. Do some research and hire a professional who knows what they’re doing, is educated, and will push you to hit your goals. If you can’t hire a professional for private lessons, sign up for group classes at a gym or studio! Any questions on what you should be doing or eating please don’t hesitate to ask.

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To moms everywhere, GET YOUR HOT BOD BACK!!!

 

 

 

Cinnamon Apples & Bananas Breakfast Quinoa

This is DE-LICIOUS! I have always had quinoa as a side dish or in my salads (since I always make the recipe from my cookbook “Lemon Quinoa with Pine Nuts”), but this is perfect for a morning meal. It’s naturally sweetened by the organic fruits & cinnamon, and full of vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy carbohydrates from the quinoa (since it is actually a seed not a grain). Choosing to make this as your morning meal can only mean great things will come your way…aka health benefits, energy & very happy eaters! :)

 

Cinnamon Apples & Bananas Breakfast Quinoa:

 

ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup unsweetend applesauce
  • 1 cup unsweetend vanilla almond or soy milk, warmed
  • 1 organic apple, peeled and diced (I used a fuji apple – but you can use whatever you like)
  • 1/2 organic banana, sliced

 

directions:

  1. stir together quinoa, water, vanilla and cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover; let cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Transfer quinoa to 2-4 bowls (depending on how many you’re serving) and stir in applesauce and warmed milk. Top with diced apple, sliced bananas and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

 

*This recipe can be made for 2-4 people depending on the size/quantity per person you wish to serve. I used this recipe and it made enough for my husband, me and our 10-month old daughter, Emma (who LOVED it!) :)

 

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Gluten Free Holiday Molasses Cookies

These are the BEST COOKIES to bake for the holidays (or anytime) and are so delicious!!! They are soft, chewy and spicy – just what I personally love in any holiday cookie. I decided to make them Gluten Free since one of my best friends is gluten-intolerant and I always try to bake something she can enjoy too. Plus, it’s healthy. :)

Many have asked for the recipe so here it is…happy holidays everyone!

 

 

Gluten Free Holiday Molasses Cookies

 

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  • 1 cup white sugar, plus more for rolling & sprinkling :)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 4 cups brown rice flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixer fitted with an electric paddle, cream together butter with both sugars.
  3. Add molasses and eggs and mix until well combined.
  4. Add baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Combine well.
  5. Turn mixer to low, slowly add flour one cup at a time. Do not over-mix.
  6. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in white sugar.
  7. Place on non-stick baking sheet (or pan lined with wax paper or cooking spray) and bake for 10 minutes.
  8. Pull cookies from oven, sprinkle with a little more sugar & let rest for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
  9. Eat & enjoy at least one for yourself before sharing with others :)

 

Check out my cookbook available on Amazon.com for more yummy recipes!

 

 

 

My Vegan Cinnamon Almond & Vanilla Coconut Granola

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I LOVE GRANOLA. I can’t even explain the love I have for it. It’s just one of those things I can take anywhere, eat anytime, top on anything, and know its not horrible for me (if I make it that is). I have one of my favorite granola recipes in my cookbook, Cooking Healthy Together, which is packed with protein, nuts and dried fruit. For this granola I wanted to make it a little more indulgent since the holidays are right around the corner…and who doesn’t love receiving granola as a gift?!

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Keeping on with my healthy ways, I made this yummy indulgent granola super good for you by cutting down on the oil and salt and didn’t add any butter or artificial sweetener (because that always hurts my stomach anyway). The recipe includes ingredients such as organic oats, flaxseed and oat bran, and is sweetened with natural sugars from oranges, agave nectar, tons of cinnamon and delicious coconut.

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Vegan Cinnamon Almond & Vanilla Coconut Granola

Recipe yields 10 cups

*you may always cut the recipe in half if that’s too much, but I always like to make a bunch to give some away as gifts or to save in the freezer for later!

  • 1 cup organic orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup organic raw agave nectar, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
  • 6 cups old fashioned organic oats
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 8 oz sliced raw almonds
  • 2 cups organic unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 3-4 baking sheets with coconut oil spray (found at trader joe’s)
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together orange juice, vanilla extract, agave nectar, and coconut oil. Once mixture begins to slightly bubble, remove from heat to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, mix oats, flaxseed meal, oat bran, almonds, coconut (both flaked & shredded), sea salt and cinnamon.
  5. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture and combine well.
  6. Lay granola mixture out evenly on baking sheets. Sprinkle with cinnamon before placing in oven.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Granola should be browned on top once done.
  8. After granola is done baking, drizzle with agave nectar and sprinkle with more cinnamon for extra sweet goodness.
  9. Let granola cool for 15 minutes before removing with spatula from pan.
  10. Store in zip lock bags or tuberware at room temperature or in the freezer for extra crunchy/cold granola :)

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