Can you imagine eliminating your morning “pretty coffee” filled with sugar and creamed toppings? What about cheese, desserts or fried everything? So many times people tell me they can’t stop their favorite foods, so they don’t even think about committing to a newish lifestyle. I get it. That was me. I obsessed over cheese plates, craved creamy frostings and longed for bulky pastas. I had been drinking tons of diet soda for almost two decades, so only remembered life being bloated. But that all changed when I started eating clean. And trust me, you can take small steps and get there, too.
I’m a juice junkie and obsessed with green smoothies, but I wasn’t always this way. As a former work-aholic, I spent years consuming energy drinks, cups of caffeine and carb-loaded meals. I thought these would bring me energy. I was right, just the wrong kind. You can feel a BIG difference between an immediate energy spike from a sugar-laden coffee vs. the mind-clearing, sustainable energy that wholesome foods provide. One of the BEST choices I made when I changed my lifestyle was to eat and drink more plants. And when I speak or write about taking small steps toward better health, my recommendation for everyone is to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet, which is easy when you start incorporating homemade juices and smoothies.
When people say that chocolate is healthy, they unfortunately don’t mean the sugar-filled Belgium truffle or bakery fudge bite. The true gold mine of health in regards to chocolate is cacao. Cacao nibs are raw dark chocolate cocoa beans that were dehydrated and crushed without further processing. Filled with tons of antioxidants and magnesium, unsweetened cacao nibs are perfect to add to shakes, smoothie bowls and yogurt parfait. Even though my sweet tooth has lessened now that I eat clean, I still enjoy the sweet taste of cacao. In my quest to find healthy treats, this healthy fudge recipe has easily fooled my dessert-loving friends, and kids think it’s a decadent and sugary snack.
Have you ever come home from vacation nearly 10-pounds heavier than you were before you left? Did you give yourself the “I’m on Vacation” approval to eat anything at anytime? I’ve been there and done that. Ate gluttonously for weeks, then returned home with little motivation to eat better and exercise. Now my daily diet isn’t about losing weight and looking pretty, it’s about being well. Nearly four years ago, on my first real vacation after I started eating clean, I challenged myself to enjoy my vacation while maintaining my healthy lifestyle. I also gave some thought on how to help my family indulge, just not excessively.
I love smoothies. There are so many deliciously nutritious recipes that can fool a kid or even an adult into eating more veggies. Any mom, dad, kid or busy individual can make a smoothie filled with fruits and vegetables. It’s simple and not very time consuming. The fiber from the produce often satisfies cravings and fills you up. It just takes a little trial and error to find the right ingredients .
I used to be addicted to soda pop. As early as junior high, I saved my babysitting money to buy Diet Orange Sunkist. Fast-forward, this habit continued well into adulthood. At my former job, I ran into meetings double fisted with two Diet Dr. Peppers. I thought I needed the caffeine to replenish my energy and the sweet taste to satisfy my cravings. However, once I dived into researching all the detriments of a diet filled with chemicals in packaged foods and drinks, I quit soda immediately. I still missed the taste, though, so looked for alternatives. I tried to rationalize why buying fun, fizzy and hip drinks were right for me. Though when it came down to it, spring water provided the highest number of benefits including detoxification, hydration and skin beautification without any of the toxic “natural flavors.” So, to make it taste good, I started infusing different fruits and vegetables with my water. I love it so much that I recommended it as a substitute for sugary drinks when I appeared on The Dr. Oz Show.