Link to 20 Ways to Get Sugar Out of Your Life

I’ve been struggling hard with my nutrition after finishing 21 Day Fix Extreme last week and traveling over the weekend.  I have a really hard time finding the right balance between being strict with my food and allowing some indulgences.  It seems like any time I allow myself a cheat, I have such a hard time getting back on the consistency train.  Sugar just makes me crave more sugar!

I found this article this week when I was doing some reading on sugar, and I loved the different tips.  They are simple and straightforward, and anyone can take these tips and apply at least some of them to their eating habits!

Click here to get to the article.

Quick At-Home Workout–Spell Your Name

This is a really fun idea I found on Pinterest that is a great way to get a quick workout in at home–no equipment necessary!  I wish I could give credit to whoever came up with it, but when I clicked the pin, it just took me to a picture, no website or anything.

You can see that each letter of the alphabet is assigned a certain exercise–spell your name, do the moves, and repeat it twice!  You could do this anywhere, anytime, and spelling any word!  You could even use a word that motivates you, like “confidence” or “strong”.

It is really fun and really tough!  I loved it!  Let me know how you like it and what word you used!

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Eating Clean on the Go

We have had a really busy summer!  We have traveled a couple of different times, and we’ve just been busy all around the city.  Sometimes being busy or being on vacation seems to make it impossible to also stay committed to a clean eating plan, but it really doesn’t!  Yes, it makes it harder, but if you plan ahead, you can be successful and stick to your goals.

Here is a list of some of the foods I like to carry with me when I’m on the go.  Some of them are 100% clean, and some of them are just better options than fast food.

  • Individually packed trail mix
  • Raw cashews or almonds
  • Olives To-go (pre-packaged, individually)
  • Fruit–bananas, pears, apples, grapes, cherries
  • No-sugar-added jerky
  • Larabars
  • Kind Bars
  • unsweetened coconut shavings or chips
  • pre-sliced veggies (jicama, carrots, celery, bell peppers)
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Individual “snack pack” hummus
  • Whole grain crackers or chips
  • Individually-packaged raisins or dried cranberries

When fast food is all you can get, stick to grilled protein, no bread, and side salads or fruit as your meal.  Water or unsweet tea are your best drink options, too!

I’ve actually started a new Pinterest board for Eating Clean on the Go.  Feel free to check it out for more ideas!

My 21 Day Fix Extreme Experience

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know of my love for 21 Day Fix.  It was the first program I started with, it was what helped me lose my baby weight, and it basically started the process of me completely changing my life.

But after almost a year and a half of doing it almost exclusively, I was more than ready to change it up and do something different.  So I signed up for 21 Day Fix Extreme.  Honestly, I was kind of scared.  I knew the workouts were super intense, and I knew that the eating plan was stricter than what I was used to.  I wasn’t sure that I could do it!  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to feel like I was starting over with my fitness–going back to feeling totally out of shape and having to modify everything.

I also knew that those were fears that I NEEDED to face.  I was scared, but I needed to be scared.  I had grown complacent with my fitness and nutrition, and I stopped pushing for better results.  That led to a 10ish lb weight gain over the school year, and I needed to PUSH myself to start losing those lbs!

I started the day after we got home from vacation–so I was bloated and had spent most of the week eating junky.

I was NOT happy with these before pictures.  I felt so fluffy and gross.  It was definitely a great start because I was DETERMINED and motivated to be successful and have awesome after pictures!

The Extreme program is set up really similarly to the regular 21 Day Fix.  There are food lists of approved foods and the color coded portion control containers, but the Extreme food lists are a little shorter, and you don’t get the 3 “treats” (like wine and chocolate) in the Extreme program.  It’s 100% clean eating for 21 days.  There is also an optional Countdown to Competition plan you can follow for the 21 days, or just the last three days.  The C2C plan is basically carb cycling–1 day of the Extreme eating plan, 2 days of very low carb, very high protein eating plan.  I did the C2C plan the last 3 days and it did make a difference!  I don’t think I would do that plan the whole 21 days because super low carb makes me….really witchy.  My poor family can’t handle that, and neither can I!

The workouts are similar in that they are 30 minutes, and there is a different workout for each day of the week, but the intensity is definitely up a few notches from the regular 21DF program.  I was struggling through these workouts for the first week, and I was SO SORE the first week.  This is where mind over matter comes in–when you struggle through a workout, it hurts your ego and makes you feel like you’re not doing a good job and really just makes you want to quit.  That is when you have to remember WHY you’re doing the program in the first place and just keep going!  By week 3, the workouts were easier for me and I was modifying them way less.  I loved noticing that difference and knowing that I was getting stronger, and in such a short amount of time, too.

This program was great for me!  I was determined the whole time and followed the eating plan 100% for the first two weeks.  I had three cheat meals the last week–my wedding anniversary was that week and we went on two date dinners, and I decided to indulge with no guilt!  The third cheat was my first day trying the C2C eating plan–early in the week, it didn’t go well at all.  I was STARVING and irritable and ended up binging at the end of the day.  I did a couple more days of the regular Extreme eating plan, and then the last three days of the C2C plan 100%.  Even with those three cheat meals (and in the last week!), my results were great!

 In 21 days, I lost a total of 6.2 lbs and 5.25 inches.  I lost 1.75 inches in my waist, 1.5 inches in my hips, 1.5 inches in my thighs, and .5 inch in my arms.  You can see in the pictures the difference, too!  Everything is smaller.  I was really excited to see that!

I’m not ripped with a six pack or anything, but I know that if I really wanted to have a six pack, I could do it with this program.  It pushed me to be stronger, physically and mentally, and it helped me bust through a mental plateau I’ve been struggling with for months.  I’m really excited to continue with the program through the end of July!

It’s amazing what you can accomplish in three weeks when you have the right tools and the right support.  If you are ready for some 21-day results of your own, I can help you!

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

You guys.  These muffins are seriously good.  If you’re looking for a treat food that doesn’t have any weird ingredients but also isn’t terrible for you, this is a great option!  I made this last night for our church group and they are so good!  I had to share right away.  I didn’t even take a picture!

I kind of accidentally messed up the recipe, but it ended up being really great.  The original calls for plain Greek yogurt, but smart self got vanilla Greek yogurt, thinking the vanilla flavor would add some yumminess.  I didn’t even think about the fact that the vanilla flavor comes with a bunch of added sugar!  Oops.  To balance it out, I just didn’t add the brown sugar the recipe calls for.  To make this an even cleaner treat, you should use the plain yogurt and brown sugar–it’s less processed that way.  According to the mighty mind of Google, there are actually fewer grams of sugar in the vanilla yogurt I used, so if you would rather just have less sugar, that is an option.

At first I thought that half a cup of chocolate chips wouldn’t be enough for a whole batch, but they distributed pretty evenly throughout the muffins, and the melting chocolate chips makes me feel like it’s more chocolate than it actually is.  I used dark chocolate because I just prefer it (and it’s a little better for you!), but you could use any type of chocolate you wanted.

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins (slightly adapted from Running with Spoons)

2 medium bananas, ripe and mashed

2 cups oats (quick cook or old fashioned)

1 cup vanilla greek yogurt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 large eggs

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray with coconut oil spray to prevent sticking.

Add all ingredients except for chocolate chips in a blender or food processor.  Mix on high until the oats are chopped up and all ingredients are incorporated, making a smooth batter.  You may have to scrape the sides of the processor to make sure all the oats get broken down.

Remove the blade from the processor/blender and carefully stir in chocolate chips.

Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, evenly distribute batter in lined muffin tin, filling them up about 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and muffins are cooked through.  Turn muffin tins halfway through baking.

Yields about 15 muffins.

Cashew and Oat Pancakes

When I started 21 Day Fix Extreme, I was a little disturbed by the limited carb options on the meal plan.  I love carbs.  Sadly, processed carbs are a huge problem for my digestive system, they cause a lot of bloating for me, and they hinder a lot of progress in my health and fitness journey.  Any time I find a recipe that fits my meal plan and still tastes good, I’m all about it!

When I saw this recipe in the Extreme eating guide, I was really skeptical.  The recipe kind of seemed like they would end up really dense and chewy–aka gross.  I gave it a shot, though, and I was pretty pleasantly surprised.  These are denser than a regular pancake, but the flavor is really good and they are lighter than I expected.

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The original recipe calls for you to top these pancakes with mixed berries, but you could also top it with some nut butter and/or pure maple syrup.  The Extreme eating plan doesn’t allow for maple syrup, so I’ve been topping them with sliced banana or some sliced strawberries and blueberries.  I’ve also taken them with me to the zoo and the park and eaten them alone.  They definitely taste better with something sweet, and fruit is a more nutritious option.  If you are working to lose weight or avoiding traditional wheat flour, these are a great option to still feel like you’re indulging!

***You do need a food processor or large blender to grind up the oats and cashews!  I use my food processor all the time, so it would be a great investment if you don’t already have one in your kitchen.  These also keep well in the freezer–just pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute and enjoy!

21 Day Fix Extreme Cashew and Oat Pancakes 

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup raw cashews

Dash of Himalayan salt or sea salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 large egg

1.5 cup water

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Combine oats, cashews, salt, and cinnamon in a large food processor or blender.  Pulse until coursely ground.

Add the egg, water, vanilla, and coconut oil.  Blend until completely mixed.  The batter should be thick, but if it is paste-like, add one or two tablespoons of water until it thins out a bit.

Heat a small skillet or griddle and spray with coconut oil.  Scoop out 1/4 cup of batter and cook for 2-3 minutes, until bubbling around the edges.  Flip and cook for about 30 more seconds.  Set aside to cool and repeat with remaining batter.

Yields about 10 pancakes. 2 pancakes=1 serving and 1 yellow container.

Clean Coffee Sweeteners

I’m a recent coffee convert.  I’ve always randomly enjoyed coffee, but only when I have added a lot of cream, sugar, and flavor.  I’ve always been more of a tea girl, but I’m southern through and through, so I can’t do unsweet.  I’ve weaned myself off of completely sweet, but half and half sweet tea is my favorite.  I have gone months and months drinking half cut tea every single day.  Delicious, but not the best when you’re trying to tone up and lose a few pounds.

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When I started 21 Day Fix Extreme, I knew that I needed to just stay away from tea completely or I would end up having a ton of sugar that not only isn’t on my plan, but that could sabotage my results.  I opted to have some hot coffee in the mornings instead; I knew that I had one coffee sweetener that was clean, and it was really tasty!

Except that it includes maple syrup, which is NOT on the Extreme eating plan. #oops.  So I came up with another version of coffee sweetener that stays in line with the Extreme plan, still tastes good, and gets me some caffeine in the mornings.  I’m posting both versions–both are clean, one just has less natural sugar.

You’ll notice I’ve labeled the ingredients PURE vanilla and PURE maple syrup–this is a big deal, folks.  They are more expensive, yes, but they are also what makes this a CLEAN coffee sweetener.  The fake stuff is processed, FAKE, and it doesn’t taste as good.  I find the fake junk leaves a weird after taste, and it’s fake added sugar.  No thanks!

By the way–if you’re wondering why maple syrup is better than pure sugar, it has to do with how your body metabolizes it.  Maple syrup and honey are natural sugars that are easier for your body to digest and don’t spike your blood sugar as much. The more you know!

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Whitney’s Clean Coffee Sweetener

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond/coconut/cashew milk

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

 

Whitney’s EXTREME Clean Coffee Sweetener

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond/coconut/cashew milk

1 serving liquid stevia