JMH Green Buddha Bowl

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With the change of seasons also comes the change of appetite and our craving for warmer food.

This green buddha bowl is a mix of summer (light, crunchy greens and sprouts) mixed with warm soft ingredients like baked sweet potatoes and tempeh. Make a big batch of this recipes to meal prep for the week to ensure you stay on track throughout the entire year, and into the new year. I personally love the mixture of texture and flavour in this recipe. Feel free to add your own healthy ingredients to personalize your bowl!

Ingredients: 

  1. 1 Organic Sweet Potato -- Baked at 375 degrees for 45 minutes
  2. 1 Block of Tempeh -- I used Henry's Organic Tempeh and marinated it in gluten-free Tamari and then coated in organic hemp hearts, which went in the oven with the sweet potatoes for approximately 30 minutes 
  3. 2 Cups of Mixed Organic Field Greens
  4. 1 Cup Sunflower Sprouts
  5. 1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast, for a cheesy and nutty flavour (which is also high in B12!)
  6. Sprinkled with additional organic Hemp Hearts
  7. Drizzled with organic avocado oil and pink sea-salt to taste

    Enjoy!

Healthified Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

I'm always on the hunt for healthy food that tastes incredible. Eating healthy isn't just about eating twigs and dirt (which many people assume). There are many ways to make delicious, nutritious food. 

That being said, on Saturday night I had a major sweet tooth and was feeling under the weather...so naturally I felt like baking something. I searched online for "healthy treat" recipes that I could make, but most of them included ingredients that I had sensitivities to, or were full of sugar. I gave up my quest to find a recipe, and headed to Loblaws grocery store to create my own!

After searching meticulously through the 'gluten-free' isle, I stumbled on this clean and healthified chocolate chip cookie mix:
 

After reading the ingredients and being surprisingly impressed, I decided to embark on my healthy baking adventure. The instructions recommended adding 1 egg and half a stick (1/2 c) of butter into the mixture before baking. Being very sensitive to eggs and dairy, I swapped it out for Earth Balance vegan 'butter' and replaced 1 egg with 3 tbsp of water mixed into 1 tbsp ground flaxseed. After mixing all the ingredients together and baking them, I was beyond satisfied. These cookies were so tender and chewy on the inside with a little crunch on the outside. 

If you're looking for a recipe that will satisfy that sweet tooth and won't leave your tummy upset, check out my recipe below:

You will need:
1 whole package Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
6 Tbsp water (3 to mix with flax, 3 to add to mix)
1/2 C Earth Balance Vegan Butter
*optional* 2-3 drops stevia (if you like your cookies extra sweet)

Directions: (Heat oven to BAKE @ 375)
1. Place chocolate chip cookie mix into large bowl
2. Mix 1 Tbsp Flax with 3 Tbsp water and mix until thick
3. Melt or soften 1/2 c vegan butter and add to flax mixture

4. Add flax mixture and vegan butter to the dry cookie mixture and begin to stir
5. Add 3 tbsp water to the bowl  and mix with hands until it forms a cookie dough

Add scoops of dough with a large spoon to a oven tray with non-stick baking sheet paper.

This will make 24 small cookies or 18 medium size cookies (depending on how you like them).

Bake for 10-13 minute, or until brown.

Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy these delicious cookies alongside your favorite glass of non-dairy milk alternative like almond/cashew or coconut milk! 


 

xoxo JMH

Is Your Food Making You Sick?

I have a special place in my heart for food sensitivities and allergies. Many years ago, I was on a date with a man who enjoyed fine wine and food. We had a great dinner and even finished off a bottle of wine together. Everything seemed to be going well until I woke up the next morning unable to open my eyes due to heavy, swollen eye lids and eczema on the sides of my mouth. I was completely shocked, embarrassed, worried and upset. What had I possibly done? 

As the days went by, I continued to eat healthy and drink plenty of water. My swollen eyes finally deflated after 4-5 days. Then, the following weekend, it was another date that surrounded amazing food and incredible wine. Once again, I woke up with swollen eyes. At this point, I knew it was the wine. What was so 'wrong' with wine? After PLENTY of research I had discovered that I was very sensitive to sulphites which is a preservative found mostly in wine, dried fruits and some packaged foods. After avoiding these foods and non-organic wine, I felt like a new woman! 

Skip to 2 years later, continually eating healthy, exercising and drinking water, I noticed that no matter what I did, I could not lose fat and could not clear an eczema rash I had on my face. I was reminded of my sulphite sensitivity and thought "maybe there are more things that my body is reacting to!?"

After receiving a life-changing food sensitivity test, I was told that I was severely sensitive to many common healthy foods: pineapple, banana, green beans, eggs (and the list goes on). 

Although I couldn't wrap my mind around the concept at the time, I quickly avoided these foods, and made sure that I rotated the foods that appeared "good/non-reactive" to prevent future sensitivities, as many people can become sensitive to foods that they eat too frequently. 

Once I avoided these foods, and focused on proper digestion and supplementation, I watched the fat/excess weight fall off. I was finally clear-headed, happy, and had great skin again! 

Many people have food sensitivities and don't even know it. If you relate with these symptoms, you may want to get yours tested:

  • Digestive disorders (gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, nausea)
  • Migraines
  • Weight gain
  • Mood/Attention disorder (anxiety, depression, irritability, hyperactivity, lack of concentration)
  • Joint pain/musclestiffness
  • Skin conditions (itching, redness, swelling, eczema, rashes)
  • Lung conditions (Asthma, Bronchitis)
  • Loss of memory
  • Fatigue
  • General malaise

    I am now offering food sensitivity tests that take approximately 7 days to receive. After taking the test, you will get a detailed list of 96 common food panels, and your personalized reaction to them (low, moderate, high). You will also get a 5 day rotation food plan with foods that are 'safe' to eat. 

    I am passionate about this health topic because I have personally experienced the frustration and know how difficult it is to live a healthy and happy lifestyle when food sensitivities are dragging you down. Knowledge is power. Help yourself out with this test, and zone-in on 'green light/GO' foods and avoid those that are not compatible with your immune system, for better health and overall happiness. 

    Contact me today to learn more about this new and exciting service!

    xoxo Jessica

My Healthy Take on: 'Chinese Fried Rice'

Picture this: it's Friday night and you're craving a salty and sweet mix of delightful Chinese food, but you don't want the added MSG, high sodium or calories. Well... this receipe is your dream come true! Packed with flavor and nutrients, this 'Chinese fried rice' inspired dish will keep you feeling satiated and pleased. The best part is: you most likely already have all the ingredients in your kitchen! 

You will need:

  • 1 can preservative-free carrots and peas
  • 1 can sweet corn (sodium free)
  • Organic quinoa
  • 2 bouillon cubes (I used beef but feel free to use veggie or chicken)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 organic eggs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Braggs soy seasoning (optional)
  • Pepper (to taste)

    Directions:
    Boil water with bouillon cubes and add desired amount of quinoa (it's usually a 2:1 water to quinoa ratio).
    On a separate pan, lightly fry scrambled eggs until almost-well done. After placing eggs in a small bowl, use that same pan (with olive oil added) and add diced onion. Cook onions until they are caramelized. 
    When the quinoa is finished cooking, let it rest for 10 minutes with the lid on. Once the 10 minutes has passed, stir quinoa until it is fluffy. Add cooked eggs, sauteed onion and drained carrots/peas/corn from the can.
    Stir all ingredients together. Add 1-2 tablespoons of Braggs Amino Seasoning along with a dash of pepper.

Eat, share and enjoy this delicious and easy-to-make recipe!

*To make this recipe vegan, omit the eggs for diced tempeh or tofu, and cook quinoa in a veggie-broth!*

xoxo JMH
 

Client of the Month: Brady Henderson

Meet Brady Henderson, after following a JMH nutrition and supplement protocol, combined with a daily workout routine, she was able to increase her energy levels and mood as well as lose 20 pounds and 35 inches in 3 months. I couldn't be more proud of Brady and her accomplishments and hope that she can inspire others to change their lifestyle for the better! 

Brady's testimonial: 

"If it wasn’t for Jessica Morris, I would have not been able to achieve my nutrition and fitness goals of 2015. Jessica helped me understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle and understanding what foods and supplements worked for me.

 Jessica supported me every second of my journey by responding to texts when I was travelling, giving me support and encouragement when I needed it the most and always being my cheerleader. Jessica’s constant check-ins and quick responses made this lifestyle change a much easier one then I had expected. 

Thank you Jessica for helping me lose over 20 pounds and 35 inches in 3 months and most importantly feeling strong and proud of my body. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store."

Please share Brady's success with anyone who needs a little extra motivation in their life, and if that person is you, please feel free to e-mail me at: info@jessicamorrishealth.com

xoxo JMH

Staying Fit on Vacation

While most people step up their training before vacation, I highly advise my clients to continue a variation of their program while on vacation. Training shouldn't be a short-term goal, it's a lifestyle! Taking an hour out of your 24-hour day to train (while on vacation or not) is crucial for both short and long term health and well-being. 

If you're planning on taking a trip this winter season, don't ditch your training program. Instead, alter your program and adapt to your environment. 

While I was on vacation in Barbados last February, I designed a program that I would embark on every morning. It looked something like this:

7am Wake-up, drink a glass of water and coffee
7:30 Prepare my BCAA drink and head out!

7:45-8:00 Run the stairs from the base of the beach (at the Crane Hotel) to the top of the stairs (60 steps total) x 10
8:15-9:00 Workout at the hotel gym (full-body weight training). This gym was quite small and had a lot of cardio equipment so I used my bodyweight to do lunges, squats and eccentric pull-ups, along with the dumbbells for upper body (bicep curls and tricep kick-backs).

After training on an empty stomach, I would walk back to my hotel to make a hearty yet fast breakfast (usually consisting of either gluten-free oats with protein powder, or eggs and avocado). 

By 9:30 I was finished with my training, felt amazing and was ready to take on my day of relaxing and soaking up the sun.

By 3pm I would swim laps in the pool for about 20-30 minutes after a late lunch, or walking on the beach.

Training shouldn't be a hassle while on vacation (or in day-to-day life). Remember: this is a lifestyle. Find an exercise program or sport that you enjoy and stick with it!

Remember to eat well in conjunction with your training program for optimal results! 

xoxo JMH

Low Carb Beef Stew

Making dinner at the end of a busy day should be effortless, yet tasty and nutritious. I created this low carb and paleo friendly lean beef stew/meat sauce for anyone on the go! All you need to do is chop, and let simmer. Enjoy this own it's own, or on top of zucchini noodles. Here is what you will need:

Ingredients:
1 pack Beretta Farms Lean Ground Beef
2 organic red peppers
2 handfuls of organic spinach
2 small green zucchini
Garlic
Dried spices: Parsley, italian seasoning, garlic salt, pepper, chili peppers
Braggs Liquid seasoning
Organic coconut oil (I used Nutiva)
Organic garlic tomato sauce (I used Presidents choice brand)

Directions:
Add 1 tbsp of coconut oil (you can use unflavoured if the taste bothers you) to the pan with 2 gloves of crushed garlic.
Chop all the veggies (except the spinach) and sautee for 4-6 minutes, until medium-soft. 
Begin to add the seasonings (Braggs, dried spices) and stir for 3-4 minutes.
Add the lean beef and break the meat apart in the pan.
Add the tomato sauce and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until cooked. Place 2 handfuls of spinach on top of your delicious dish approximately 5 minutes before you plan on turning the stove off. 

Share and enjoy!

Ps. this stew/sauce tastes even better the next day...save some for lunch!

xoxo

 

Modern Greek Salad

Greek salads are one of my favorite salads to make--but the traditional Greek salad lacks (in my opinion) a few crucial ingredients. Try this modern twist on a classic salad, and impress your friends and family with these mouth-watering ingredients that are not only delicious, but healthy too! 

Ingredients: 
Organic spinach
Organic mixed lettuce (romaine, radicchio)
Organic sprouts (I used the spicy and sweet mix)
Olives (mixed, from the olive bar)
Goats cheese (I used Presidents Choice Blue Menu)
Organic cucumber
Organic cherry tomatoes

Directions: 
Add all ingredients to bowl (in ratios that you desire) and add your favorite salad dressing (or try my JMH fat-burning dressing to burn fat and aid in digestion). 

Mix, share, eat and enjoy!

xoxo 

JMH Sugar-Free Blue Freezie BCAA/Glutamine Slush

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's) and Glutamine both aid in muscle repair and growth. This delicious slushy treat take seconds to make and can be consumed before, during or after your workout. Blend, sip and let the gains begin ;)

Glutamine is one of my favorite supplements due to its incredible qualities: 

  • "Glutamine has been linked to protein synthesis. It prevents your muscle from being catabolized (eaten up) in order to provide Glutamine for other cells in the body.

  • Glutamine helps maintain cell volume and hydration, speeding up wound and burn healing and recovery.

  • Glutamine benefits you by replenishing declining Glutamine levels during intense workouts.

  • Research has shown Glutamine can help you produce growth hormone levels. A study has shown 2 grams of L-Glutamine increased growth hormones by over 400%.

  • Glutamine may serve to boost your immune system. For bodybuilders, this is important since heavy workouts tend to greatly deplete Glutamine levels. (Glutamine is a primary energy source for your immune system.)

  • Glutamine is one of the most important nutrients for your intestines. It has the ability to 'repair a leaky gut' by maintaining the structural integrity of the bowels.

  • Bet you didn't know this: It can even cure ulcers! Studies have found that 1.6 grams of Glutamine a day had a 92% cure rate in 4 weeks." -Bodybuilding.com

    I recommend a minimum of 5g glutamine and 5g BCAA's before or after training to get the most out of your training and fat burning goals!

    Ingredients:
    1 scoop (5g) of Glutamine  (I used PVL Essentials)
    1 scoop of BCAA's (I used AMTRAP Blue Freeze)
    1 cup ice
    2 cups cold water

    Directions:
    Add all ingredients to a blender (I used Vitamix) and blend until you achieve a slushy consistency. Drink and enjoy! 

JMH Reese Peanut Butter Cup Protein Bites

If you're looking for the perfect healthy yet indulgent treat for holiday parties, snacks and pre/post workout gains, look no further. These delicious and nutritious no-bake bites contain all of your essential macronutrients (carbs/fats/protein) and best of all, are incredibly fast and easy to make!

Ingredients: 
1 cup wheat-free organic rolled oats
1.5 cups mini peanut butter chocolate cups
1/2 cup canadian maple syrup
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
3/4 cup natural organic peanut butter
pinch of sea salt to taste

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a large bowl and roll into bars or bites. Place in freezer for an hour to allow "dough" to harden. Eat, share and enjoy!
 

How Self Care Can Help Others

In a world where many of us take others' needs/wants ahead of our own, it is easy to forget about ourselves. I have learned over the years that no matter how much of the day I spend passionately helping others with their health goals, I must always make time to do a little something for myself, to remain balanced. I encourage everyone reading this to do the same.

Being 'selfish' in this sense, isn't negative. I tell my friends/family/clients that YOU are your #1 priority. If you aren't happy with yourself (mentally/physically/spiritually), it will be extremely challenging to make anyone around you happy, let alone help them.

Take time to meditate on the things that make YOU happy, and take care of yourself! Your wealth is your health.

The top 10 things I (shamelessly) enjoy doing for myself are:

1. Take time to train
2. Light candles in my apartment and lay on my couch and relax while listening to health audiobooks/podcasts
3. Read a good book in bed on in the park/at the cottage
4. Get a good, deep tissue massage
5. Treat myself to a healthy yet indulgent meal
6. Go for a long bike ride along the water
7. Develop healthy recipes
8. Foam roll/Epsom salt baths (winter)
9. Get my hair/nails done
10. Reward myself with new gym clothes when I feel that I earned it!

What do you do for yourself?

xo Jessica

Rainforest Coconut Protein Bites

Move over granola bars... these bites are made with the highest quality ingredients and are loaded with nutrition and impeccable taste! 

Ingredients: 
1 cup organic wheat-free rolled oats
3/4 cup rainforest nut butter with coconut (Nut to You Nut Butter Inc)
2/3 cup vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup organic canadian maple syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic shredded coconut
pinch of sea salt

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a bowl and mash with your hands, roll into bite-size balls and finish off by rolling the balls in a bowl of shredded coconut for a decorative and tasty finish! 

Morning Grind Power Coffee

Ingredients:
1.5 cups organic fair-trade coffee
1 tsp grass-fed butter
1 tsp mct oil
dash of stevia
dash of cinnamon

Instructions:
Brew or french-press coffee and add to blender with listed ingredients. Blend on medium for approximately 8-10 seconds, until a creamy caramel-colour consistency appears.

This recipe can be made as a pre-workout drink, or in place of your morning/afternoon coffee, to provide sustained energy and balanced blood sugar levels.

Pour, sip and enjoy! 

 

JMH Cookie Dough Protein Bites

Ingredients:
1 cup organic wheat-free rolled oats
2/3 cup vanilla protein powder
1/3 cup organic canadian maple syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds
3/4 cup organic peanut butter
1/2 cup Krisda sugar-free chocolate chips
1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract

Instructions:
Add all ingredients to bowl and mix with hands! Roll into bites, and store in the fridge or freezer. Finger-licking during clean-up is encouraged...enjoy! ;)

3 Ways to Get Energized for Your Morning Workout

We all lead busy lives and may understand the importance and benefits of exercise, but sometimes just getting our feet out the door feels like the biggest challenge of all, especially if it’s early in the morning. Here are my top 3 tips and strategies to wake up and thrive on your way to your morning workout.

1. Morning Music

Music is a huge motivator for me. The night before my workout I change my morning ringtone to one of my favorite songs of the moment. I choose something upbeat, that makes me feel good. This way, when it goes off in the morning, I can’t feel cranky or angry, instead, I feel excited to wake up and hear my favorite song and sometimes I may even dance my way out of bed. Once I make my way out of bed and take a few deep belly breaths and have a good stretch, I walk into my living room and open up my laptop…not to look at e-mails or work (yet), but to play some music. I created a playlist on iTunes for my workouts, with all my favorite pump up songs—ones that motivate me, push me, and encourage me. These are often songs that bring back memories of special times or people in my life.  While listening to my music, I then begin my morning routine.

2. Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer

While listening to my early morning jams, I head into the kitchen and begin my pre-workout routine. Luckily my gym is a 10-15 minute car ride from where I live, so while I get ready I mix up my healthy morning elixir. These days I love Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer. I don’t have a huge appetite in the morning so drinking my calories works well for me. I add in a tablespoon of MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil to my drink for extra energy and healthy functional fats. I love adding a big ice cube to my elixir and sipping on it while I decide which funky leggings and baseball hat to put on.

3. Positive Mindset

Throughout my morning routine, I always think about the why behind it all. What makes me wake up and do this every morning? What drives me? Isn’t it much easier to just lie in bed and sip on a cup of coffee? My motivation is maintaining my health, managing my diabetes and wanting to inspire others to be healthy. I believe in practicing what you preach, and for me, working in the health field allows me to connect and inspire others to be the best versions of themselves. Personally, I feel that I cannot help others if I haven’t helped myself first, so I make it a priority to maintain optimal health year-round. I encourage you to start thinking the same way: what or who inspires you? Is it family? Friends? Your own desire to feel amazing and look great too? Our mindset plays a big role in making decisions every day, if you can train your mind to think positively, you will feel more motivated to take care of yourself and make health your number one priority.

Originally posted on Myvega.com

Fueling Your Strength Training Workout

Not only is what you eat important, but when you eat it is crucial—especially as an athlete. Eating the correct foods at the appropriate time before, during and after a workout will not only properly nourish and fuel you—you may also see gains in your performance. Fueling for strength training is slightly different than fueling for cardio-based workouts. Here are a few tips to follow in order to get the most out of your workout.

1 to 2 Hours Pre-Workout

To keep you from feeling hungry before a workout, without stomach discomfort, choose a mini-meal or snack that combines healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and protein.  Depending on your personal goals and needs, the amount of food required is unique to you. An example of such meal could be an amaranth porridge sprinkled with almond milk, nuts and seeds.

30 Minutes Pre-Workout

Your focus should be on simple carbohydrates right before your workout. Select foods that provide quick energy and are easily digested. Fruit is a perfect example of this, as a light, easily digestible and quick on-the-go option to consume while on the way to the gym. For easy pre-workout fuel try filling a date with coconut oil for a delicious and efficient pre-workout snack! Or for an energy boost on the go, try Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer.

During Your Workout

During your strength-training routine, the essential components to focus on are quick energy and electrolytes. If you are training less than an hour, you can stick to electrolytes as your focus. If your workouts are longer than 45 minutes to an hour, you may want to consume easily digestible carbohydrates. Most athletes find it easier to drink than to eat during a workout, so seek out carbohydrates in a gel or drink format. You can blend up fruit and dates to make a gel, or make a fresh fruit juice for a steady burst of energy. Vega Sport Endurance Gel was created for this purpose.

No matter the length of your workout, electrolytes are essential. As you sweat you lose minerals sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride with water. When choosing an electrolyte replacement look for one without artificial colors, flavors or fillers, such as Electrolyte Hydrator.

Immediately Post-Workout

One of the biggest mistakes I see in action at the gym is people rushing to have their post-workout protein drink, thinking that it is the one-and-only essential macronutrient needed in order to build muscle. This is simply a myth.

Post-workout, your focus is to replenish lost glycogen stores in order for protein synthesis to occur. Simply put, you must consume simple carbohydrates first, then protein later, in order for muscle building and strengthening to occur.  Consuming a post-workout carbohydrate based drink is highly recommended due to the ease of digestibility and assimilation—less work on your body! To replenish your muscle glycogen fastest, consume a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Recovery Accelerator takes the guessing out of your post-workout meal, in a delicious drink that provides recovery support.

1 to 3 Hours Post-Workout 

A high protein meal is needed several hours post-workout—not directly after—as many assume. Some plant-based protein sources include clean plant-based protein power, such as quinoa, beans, lentils nuts and seeds. If you are having a post-workout meal, include dark leafy greens for added vitamin and antioxidant support. Fueling your body on a clean, plant-based diet is the key to forming strong muscles and supporting long-term health. Follow these essential tips while working out, to see and feel the difference in your workout—and in achieving results!

Originally posted on: www.myvega.com

Breakthrough Health and Fitness Plateaus

Have you been eating healthy and working out hard, yet find yourself stuck at a certain number on the scale or fitness level and cannot understand why? You may have hit a plateau. Here are a few effective things you can do to get out of it and reach that health and fitness goal you’re striving for!

Calories Count!

Don’t get me wrong, I am the last person to count calories, but they do come into handy when trying to break a plateau or lose the last 5 to 10 pounds. Even when eating a healthy, whole, plant-based diet, you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. Pay attention to the types of calories you are eating. Fats can be a calorie culprit. 138 calories for a tablespoon of oil can easily add up. While it’s not healthy to cut out all fats (fat is essential for brain development, healthy skin and reducing inflammation), keep your eye on exactly how much you are consuming on a daily basis. Try consuming more plant-based fats, like nuts, seeds and avocados, which are more filling than other oils, and focus on eating mindfully.

 

Exercise: 

You’re at the gym, day in and day out. Working harder than ever—yet you still can’t seem to lose weight. While there can be many factors at play, there are two main points to consider. First, are you taking breaks? If you’re over-training and not giving yourself active rests, your body may be producing too much cortisol (stress hormone) which will stop weight loss and strength gains in their tracks. Take breaks and switch up your routine. Try switching up your workout by trying new machines and repetitions, or attempt to do a functional workout like squats, push-ups and plank using your own body weight. If you need inspiration, find a good personal trainer to help you get more creative.

Sleep: 

Getting enough rest and time to recover is essential when losing weight and breaking plateaus. Not getting quality sleep may lead to an increase of the stress hormone cortisol, which can contribute to weight gain.

  1. Get into a healthy sleep routine. Using an eye mask or earplugs may come in handy if you live in a noisy area. 7 to 8 hours is an ideal range of sleep, depending on your own body chemistry.
  2. Hitting the sheets 10:30 p.m. or earlier, if possible, will allow your body to reach its natural delta-phase, which is deep, quality rest. You will feel more energetic and uplifted the following day—I promise!

Overall, it’s evident that breaking a plateau and reaching your goals takes planning and effort. Identifying which area of your routine may need a little more focus and planning is crucial. The combination of sleep, proper food intake and mixing up your exercise routine will allow you to bust through your plateau, reach your goal and thrive! Share your experiences below (before and after using these tips) and identify which element you found helped you best!

Originally posted on: www.myvega.com


References

  1. Kondracki NL. (2012). The Link Between Sleep and Weight Gain — Research Shows Poor Sleep Quality Raises Obesity and Chronic Disease RiskToday’s Dietitian 14 (6); 48.Accessed 8/20/13 fromhttp://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/060112p48.shtml
  2. National Sleep Foundation (2013). How much sleep do adults need? Accessed 8/20/13 fromhttp://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/white-papers/how-much-sleep-do-adults-need

5 Unhealthy "Health Foods"

Just because it’s found in the health food section, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy! With so many fancy words and phrases—such as “gluten-free,” “low calorie,” and “fat free”—it’s easy to assume that many of these so-called health foods are beneficial to your body. Here are the top 5 seemingly healthy foods that may be contrary to your best efforts to eat clean!

1. Rice Cakes: 

Although these “healthy” cakes are labelled as low calorie and low fat, they are your blood sugar’s worst enemy—especially if they are the caramel covered variety. With no fiber or fat, these cakes are digested by your body into glucose and cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, ultimately leading to a crash, which leaves you hungry soon after. The key to weight and energy management is sustaining a balanced blood sugar level. If enjoy rice cakes, it’s ok to have them  in moderation. Just be sure to add nut or seed butter to them to bring down the glycemic index of the food and balance your blood sugar.

2. Vegan Dessert: 

Just because these sweet treats are labeled vegan, doesn’t make it okay to consume them on a regular basis. They are almost always full of sugar and high in calories. I definitely abide to the 80/20 rule—consuming treats 20% of the time—but beware of labelling. Yes, most vegan foods are healthy, if they are whole and unprocessed! Try making your own dessert, something simple such as almond butter stuffed dates sprinkled with cinnamon!

3. Salad Dressing: 

While browsing the salad dressing aisle last night during a grocery haul, I noticed that almost all salad dressings on the shelf were full of preservatives, colors, sugar, artificial flavoring and even dye! Rule of thumb: if a dressing is “low fat”, it’s most likely full of sugar, to make up for the missing flavor or feeling of satiety (fullness) that would otherwise be contributed by the missing fat! I recommend making your own dressing with an Vega Antioxidant Omega Oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, spices, sea salt and lemon juice. Quick, easy and yummy! Ditch the bottled stuff!

4. Granola:

I must admit–I do love a bowl of granola from time to time, but it’s difficult to find a healthy one! Most granolas on the shelves of the grocery stores are jam-packed with sugars, sweeteners and dried fruit. When selecting granola, look for one lower in sugars (especially if you’re adding fruit to your granola), or better yet, make your own version. Granola is a healthy food that can be taken to the extreme in a not-so-healthy way. Look for simple, natural, low sugar (or naturally sweetened) versions.

5. Nut/Seed Butter:

I also love almost any type of nut butter. It is so versatile, delicious and can stabilize your blood sugar levels and ward off hunger. But choosing the right type of nut or seed butter is very important. Most generic nut butters are full of hydrogenated oils, sugar, color and preservatives. Yuck! I highly recommend looking for natural, organic nut/seed butters that have fewer than three ingredients. Making your own nut butter is simple and easy, but if you’re on the go or are looking for  a quick fix, choosing raw, non-hydrogenated nut/seed butters with no sugar added is the way to go!

Here’s to making smarter choices at the grocery store. What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

Written by: Jessica Morris

Originally posted on: www.myvega.com

4 Simple Swaps for a Healthier Life

Whether you’re dining out or eating in, making a healthy substitution to your meal or snack can make a huge difference in your health, in both the short and long-term. Knowing what common foods can be swapped with superfoods or nutrient dense options is key to making healthy substitutions.

Swap out: Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is known for being low in nutrients and high in cholesterol. Even if you are attempting to be healthy and go for a low fat version, you will see that it contains even more sugar added than the original! Steer clear from all that, and try using hummus for a boost of fiber, protein, healthy fat and carbs. Hummus is filling, plant-based and tastes delicious—try adding garlic or red pepper for a flavor kick. 

Swap out: Cooking oil

Instead of using tradition sunflower or olive oils for stir-fries, which are not stable in high heat, try using extra virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil is a multi-use oil that is stable in mid to high heat. It can even be used as eye makeup remover and body moisturizer! Coconut oil is made of medium chain triglycerides, which can be used as a fuel source, similar to carbohydrates. Try it instead of margarine on toast, or pre-workout, try it paired with dried or fresh fruit.

Swap out: Chips

Potato chips tend to be cooked in hydrogenated oils, and are usually packed with salt, unpronounceable ingredients, and calories. Try making your own kale chips in the oven by separating bite-size pieces of kale and seasoning them with sea salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast and slowly bake until crispy. Now that’s what I call a nutrient dense crispy chip!

Swap Out: Candy gummies

If you’re looking for a sweet and chewy sensation, try noshing on some dried fruit. Mango, pineapple, apple, figs and other dried fruits are sweeter than fresh, but still full of fiber and nutrients with no added sugars, colors or flavors. Dipping them in natural nut butter will give them a delicious, sweet-and-salty taste.

Eating healthy isn’t difficult if you have the tools and knowledge to do so. Making healthy swaps can not only save calories, but it can save your health—by avoiding artificial and processed ingredients that aren’t good for you. If you follow the 80/20 rule of eating wise 80 percent of the time and enjoying treats 20 percent of the time, you will not feel deprived. 

Written by: Jessica Morris

Originally posted on: www.myvega.com

Pre-workout Energy Bar Recipe

Need a quick bite before you run out the door? Make a batch of Pre-Workout Energy Bars to store in your freezer!

Ingredients

  • 10 dates
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger
  • Sea Salt, to taste

Preparation

  1. Place ingredients into food processor and process for 30-45 seconds.
  2. Shape into bars and place in shredded coconut and lightly dust with sea salt.
  3. Place into the freezer for a chewy and delicious bite anytime!

 

Written by: Jessica Morris

Originally posted on: www.myvega.com