Category

Mothers

Chocolate Chia Seed Protein Power Balls

By | Health, Healthy Snacks, Moms, Mothers, Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized

Erica Jones is a health food enthusiast, natural beauty guru and contributor to Fit Moms for Life.

Every morning is a busy morning in my house—especially on days when I’m getting my son ready for school. When you’re health conscious, you want to make sure that you’re fueling yourself with nutrient dense foods throughout the day. Most mornings I make myself a protein packed smoothie because I can easily load in fresh, raw greens and lots of other healthy and delicious ingredients.

On days when I don’t have time to even throw some things in a blender for a smoothie, these Chocolate Protein Power Balls save the day. They can easily be made the night before. It probably takes 15 minutes (max) and then I can grab a few on the go either to get the day going or to enjoy as a healthy snack.

This recipe was given to me by my husband. He was out of town and being completely committed to fitness, he always makes sure to find a gym and work out. One of the trainers in the gym he was visiting gave him this recipe. I’ve modified it a little bit to suit my personal tastes.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s pretty flexible. If you don’t like chocolate (but who doesn’t like chocolate? :-)) you could easily substitute a different flavored protein powder and omit the cocoa powder and perhaps add a bit more almond flour and nut butter. Either way, it’s an easy go-to recipe for eating healthy on the go!

Balls

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup of almond flour
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder of your choice (Garden of Life and Vega are both great brands)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of nut butter (I used raw coconut butter; sunflower seed butter, almond butter, cashew butter and peanut butter are other options as well)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. chia seeds

Steps:

  1. Pulse all ingredients except the chia seeds in a food processor until smooth. It will probably be a bit crumbly. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
  2. Using clean hands, form the mixture into balls that are about 1-inch in diameter rolling the “dough” between your palms.
  3. Place the chia seeds in a small bowl and roll each ball into the chia seeds. You’ll have to press firmly to get them to stick. This recipe makes about 16, 1-inch diameter protein balls. Hope you love it!

To learn more about Erica and get more recipes and natural beautytips, visit www.truebeautyyou.com or follow her on Facebook at TrueBeautyYou.

WARNING: What You Are About To See Is Disturbing, Watch Only If You Are Ready For Change

By | Behavior Change, Body Assessment, Health, Killer Kurves, Mindset, Moms, Mothers, Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized

Every once in awhile a video or article comes out that gives me goosebumps and fires me up to fight the fight of helping families get in better shape.

The video you are about to watch has done that more then anything else I have ever seen. We can’t wait another day to take action and create change, we deserve better and your kids deserve better.

Depending on where you are at in your life, this movie will stir up different emotions. You might feel a sense of relief that your struggles with your health and weight were something that started when you were an innocent child and that is really wasn’t your fault. Others might feel very blessed that they came from a home where cooking healthy meals from scratch was an everyday occurrence (that is me). Maybe you have tears streaming down your face because you are that mom or dad right now, busy and stretched thin and consistently giving your kids the foods and drinks that will one day land them on the ER table. Possibly your kids are out of the home now and guilt of how you raised them is welling up in your heart and regret fills your body, you wish you would have known what you know do.

An emotion I have right now is anger towards the processed food industry and how they target kids so much early on in their most impressionable years. No matter your emotion, I want to turn this into a positive. The good news is that your future can be infinitely better then your past. You have access to knowledge and tools that can change your life, the lives of your kids, and grandkids. The only catch is that you have to invest the time into learning about the tools and then APPLYING those tools into your families life.

At Fit Moms For Life we are very proud of the programs and tools we have created over the past 10 years. We believe they are not only based off of science, but also made practical in the real world. In other words, doable for a crazy busy person like yourself.

For the past year and a half we launch a new Killer Kurve’s session each quarter. The stories of transformation through this specific program are too numerous to share, but this is one of the only programs I have ever seen that focuses solely on overweight and obese people who are looking for a radical change in their life, without having to go on a radical eating or exercise plan. In other words we help you make small manageable choices that create massive long term change. In fact this program is so unique and powerful we are in the running to receive national grant money from the NIH to study this specific program even deeper.

Why does it work so well? It was created by trainers who were formerly obese. It was created with the deep understandings of what someone 40-200 lbs overweight goes through on an everyday basis and what they are thinking. It wasn’t created by some fit trainer who has never has an ounce of body fat, or from a scientist behind a computer who is solely looking at all the research papers.

Our team of trainers who specializes in Killers Kurves has expanded. Besides Liz (the co-creator of the program who lost over 60 lbs), we have added Shelley and Monique who have both been through the program and are now paying it forward (Monique has lost 152 lbs so far).

We understand that change is really hard and that not everyday is going to be great. That is why we focus on community and accountability to celebrates the successes and encourage each other during the defeats.

 

 

[VIDEO] Awesome Chocolate-Almond Smoothie Recipe: Healthy Dessert!!

By | Health, Hydrolyzed Gelatin, Lifestyle, Moms, Mothers, Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized

I’ve been getting a lot of questions in my inbox since I announced our brand new FM4L hydrolyzed collagen on Friday. If you missed it, click here for more on our big news!

So, I wanted to draft up a quick FAQ email to answer some of the most common questions I’ve been getting. I also asked my staff to record a video showing you exactly how they use collagen and demonstrating a couple of recipes.  Click here to watch—and stick around until the end because they make a healthy chocolate almond smoothie that is dessert in a glass. Delicious!!

Post your questions and comments below the video and, in particular, let us know what other types of recipes or information would help you make the most of hydrolyzed collagen!

Now, on to your questions…

What else is in the hydrolyzed collagen—what are the other ingredients?

Nothing. That’s the beauty of this product. It is a very pure, healthy protein with no additives, preservatives, fillers, sweeteners, etc.

Where does collagen come from?

It comes from the same ingredients that your grandmother used to make bone broth. It comes from the bones, skin and white connective tissue of pastured cattle.

Is it safe? I’ve read about safety issues with a variety of protein powders on the market today.

Yes, it is safe because it is just one ingredient and it is very carefully sourced. I’ve met the owners of the company that manufactures the collagen and they are very particular about where they source their cattle. The cattle are pasture raised in Brazil, Argentina and Columbia and they produce and hydrolyze the collagen here in the U.S., at their facility in Louisiana. In fact, that is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about sharing this product with you through FM4L. I strongly believe that it is the safest and most beneficial form of protein powder on the market today. It is completely safe for adults, kids, and even pets and there is no maximum or “toxic” amount. You cannot “overdose” on hydrolyzed collagen.

What does hydrolyzed mean?

The collagen (which would naturally gel or thicken as it cools, just like bone broth) is exposed to an enzyme bath, in which protein-digesting enzymes partially break down the collagen protein. This converts the collagen protein into shorter protein chains that are more digestible and usable by our bodies. In addition, once hydrolyzed, the collagen will no longer thicken as it cools, meaning that it will dissolve in hot or cold liquids.

How do I use it?

You can mix it into almost anything, as it has no flavor and will dissolve easily. We recommend using it to add protein to a carb-heavy meal or snack, which will help balance your blood sugar. For example, you can add it to:

cook book

  • Fruit smoothies
  • Applesauce
  • Milk that you put on cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Soups
  • Casseroles
  • Coffee
  • Tea

Remember, when you order from us, we will send you a digital version of the FM4L Hydrolyzed Collagen cookbook. The only cookbook of its kind, it will show you exactly how to incorporate collagen into meals that you can make every day.

How often should I take it and how much should I use?

I recommend taking 1 scoop twice per day (morning and evening) for maximum joint care benefits. At a minimum, use it daily for two months and then stop using it for a week or so to see if you notice a difference. The vast majority of my clients definitely notice when they stop. That’s it for now, but keep your questions coming!

As a reminder, provided that Amazon has our inventory ready to go (fingers crossed!!!) we will open up our storefront tomorrow (Monday) morning at 10 AM Central. We will email you the Amazon link and a coupon code as soon as the collagen is available. You will need to act fast if you want to take advantage of this deal because Amazon will only have 240 cans available tomorrow. (Our small pre-release/test order of just 60 cans sold out in hours at the end of last week!)

So, watch for the link to come through tomorrow morning!

Check out today’s video for two really awesome smoothie recipes from my staff. Please leave a comment, especially if you try the chocolate-almond smoothie—it’s delicious!

Don’t wait to grab your container of FM4L hydrolyzed collagen and download your FM4L Hydrolyzed Collagen Cookbook! They will not last long.

 

What motivates you? (special offer inside)

By | Balance, Behavior Change, Challenge, Lifestyle, Mindset, Mothers, Six Week Challenge, Uncategorized

Dustin, I have lost the motivation.

I don’t have the drive I used to have.

I feel so tired and worn out all the time.

I want to be a healthier example for my kids.

I don’t want to die early like my parents.

I want to have a body that can keep up with me for an active retirement.

I want to be able to really play with my grandkids.

I don’t recognize myself in the mirror anymore.

I want to feel like I did before I had kids.

This is just a small sampling of what I hear when people come to the Transformation Centers in Madison and to our Fit Moms For Life on-line programs.

Unfortunately, many of the above feelings and circumstances are not compelling enough for most people to take action and change their lives. Often, people need to hit a rock bottom they didn’t think they were capable of before they are motivated to make real changes to their lifestyles. It is during those times of desperation and frustration that change can happen. But it doesn’t have to be that way…

You don’t need to have a crisis hit before you get serious about your health. You just need a little extra incentive! Back by popular demand, we are launching a new 6-week challenge we are calling our Pay to Lose Spring Break Edition.

>>> Click here for all the details and to sign up

For some, earning CASH is a great motivator, so I will pay you based on the amount of weight you lose. At first, I was very hesitant to run this program because I am really not about quick extreme weight loss that is often gained back immediately. I was concerned this challenge would promote that type of hype.

I was wrong…

Last year we ran two 6-week challenges like this one, and the people this challenge brought in were incredible, they just needed a little kick start. For some, the $ was a way to convince their spouse to support this program and for others it provided an extra boost of motivation to stick to the challenge. Not only did most participants lose quite a bit of weight (6-18 lbs), but 75% loved the atmosphere and results so much that they are continuing at our Transformation Center locations for another 6-12 more months.

This pay to lose program helped the challengers develop healthy habits and now they want to make these habits into a lifestyle and build upon the success and relationships and friendships they have made. Pay to Lose Spring Break Edition will start on February 10th, so if you haven’t been a client with us in the past 6 months or longer, you are eligible to join. The fee to join this challenge is only 3 small payments of $50, all of which you can earn back.

If you are a current client at the Transformation Center, you can fully participate too! For just $50 you can join the challenge and have the opportunity to earn $75-$150 back.  Just send a message to dustinmaherfitness@gmail.com. 

>>> Click here to join the Pay to Lose Spring Break Edition now! 

I have some more exciting news when it comes to helping you with motivation… I have partnered with DietBet to do a 28 day challenge with them. Click here to for all the details.

Why losing weight and keeping it off is SO hard (Hint: It’s in your genetics)

By | Fit Moms for Life Pledge, Fit Moms for Life Six Week Challenge, Health, Mindset, Mothers, Nutrition, Six Week Challenge, Uncategorized

Who is your most challenging client to get results for? This is a question I occasionally get asked, and for me, the answer is simple. It is the client with an unsupportive spouse (hardest) or unsupportive family, friends, or coworkers. Basically, the client with the most unhealthy social circle has the hardest time getting the results they want.

Why?

Because the moment you start losing weight, feeling better, becoming happier, is the same moment your social circle may become envious, jealous, and uncomfortable. Your success forces them to put a mirror up to their own faces and come to grips with the fact that they themselves might NOT be healthy, fit, and/or happy. In turn, they may start self-sabotaging you in the hopes that you will become the old you – the friend/co-worker/spouse that doesn’t bring them discomfort. OR, they may just start to not invite you to social gatherings as a way of punishing you for not fitting their mold anymore.

Fear of rejection from loved ones is one of the biggest fears we face and this fear is why we continually go back to our comfortable state with our same group of friends (and even why some people go back into an abusive relationship). This fear of rejection is actually a biological fear and was very important to our survival a long time ago.

Let me explain…

Way back when, in the cave man (and beyond) days, we had constant threats surrounding us- from predators, the weather, famine etc. Scientists believe that we became “social” because it was the only way for us to survive long term. 

The following excerpt is from the book Art of War, by Sun Tzu…

“Humans evolved over the last few million years in a world filled with risks like large predators and starvation… early humans were probably commonly hunted by a wealth of large predators. One common defense to predation displayed by primates and other animals is to live in groups. The advantages of living in a group probably are the reason why early humans and other large primates evolved to be social, and why we are still social today. Failure to be a part of the social group, getting kicked out, probably spelled doom for early humans.

Anything that threatens our status in our social group, like the threat of ostracism, feels like a very great risk to us. Ostracism appears to occur in all social animals that have been observed in nature,’ said Kip Williams, a professor of psychological sciences at Purdue who has studied ostracism. ‘To my knowledge, in the animal kingdom, ostracism is not only a form of social death, it also results in death. The animal is unable to protect itself against predators, cannot garner enough food, etc., and usually dies within a short period of time,’ said Williams.”

We fear failure because we fear being kicked out of our social group. So how do we overcome this deeply seeded biological fear? The key is to begin to surround yourself with a new group of people that are currently living out the habits that you want to adopt. In time, you will connect with these people and friendships will develop. This way, you don’t have to fully leave some of the other friends you have had for many decades. Although you may find yourself identifying less with these old friends as time goes on and consequently spending less time with them.

Without your new circle of friends, this would be devastating, but since you have this new group to connect with, it won’t feel like you are out on your own. I believe adopting a new supportive community is the best, and almost only way, to lose weight, become healthy, and maintain that health long term.

For 2015, my team at the Transformation Center came up with the slogan: “Drop your gym and join our community.” This is not to say that gyms are bad or completely ineffective, just that our team at the Transformation Center prides itself on doing a much better job at creating and supporting community building within our walls.

Only 20% of America has a gym membership, yet I would estimate at least 90% of the population need guidance and support in making regular exercise and nutrition part of their daily lives. If you live near Madison and aren’t part of our community yet, I would like to invite you to join us. For those of you who can’t be with us in person, we have taken the best of what we do in Madison and packaged it up into a life transforming 6-week program that includes online support. We have about 110 challenge groups around the country that meet in homes, schools and churches. You can join an existing group or start your own and get paid to be part of an incredibly supportive community.

->-> Click here to learn more <-<

I know how hard it can be to change the type of people you associate with. I have had to do this myself on a couple of occasions. It isn’t easy, but it is totally worth it. After looking at the thousands of clients I have personally trained, nearly 100% have at some level embraced our community and invested their time and energy into developing friendships. When your social circle is fit and healthy, the last thing you want to do is skip workouts or consistently eat unhealthy because this behavior may lead to being ostracized, and as far as our human evolution is concerned, that is dangerous to your well being.

Sautéed Kale Leaves + Balsamic Vinegar

By | Balance, Health, Kids nutrition, Moms, Mothers, Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized

Erica Jones is a health food enthusiast, natural beauty guru and contributor to Fit Moms for Life.

One of my favorite side dishes is garlic collard greens with bacon and vinegar. It’s a play on the collard greens that my grandmother makes and I tried a similar strategy with this kale recipe. And it turned out to be absolutely delicious. It’s such a savory, rich flavor that pairs well with nearly any protein.

A great benefit to eating kale is that kale is a superfood. It’s also a cruciferous vegetable—a food group that is widely recognized for helping to reduce the risk of cancer. It’s also rich in a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients, it’s anti-inflammatory and it contains anti-oxidant properties. All around, eating kale is a win.

I love kale—raw, juiced, sautéed, in my breakfast shake…I’ll eat it a variety of ways. This particular recipe is great for anyone that just can’t seem to appreciate the taste of kale in its raw form. Sauté it and cook it down and let the natural flavors and aromas lure you into loving this superfood side dish.

Also, please make sure that you get a good quality balsamic vinegar. It really makes a difference in the flavor and can take the taste to another level.

Kale with Balsamic Vinegar 2 copy

Ingredients: Serves 4 to 6

  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 cups of kale, roughly chopped (this is about 2 smaller bunches)
  • Sea Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup of beef or chicken broth
  • 2 Roma tomatoes or tomatoes on the vine, sliced into wedges (optional)

Steps:

  1.  Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot add the onion and sauté until soft, but not translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant.
  3. Add the kale and sauté with the garlic and onion, coating the leaves with oil as you stir. Feel free to add more oil if you need to prevent things from sticking. Season the kale with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to sauté, coating the leaves with the balsamic.
  5. Add the broth, cover and let simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until the leaves are very soft and wilted.
  6. Remove the pan from heat and drizzle the kale with more balsamic vinegar, tossing to cover the leaves.
  7. Serve with tomato wedges if you like.

To learn more about Erica and get more recipes and natural beautytips, visit www.truebeautyyou.com or follow her on Facebook at TrueBeautyYou.

You won’t believe what Liz accomplished… PLUS a free workout video!

By | Balance, Behavior Change, Challenge, Fit Moms for Life Six Week Challenge, Flexibly, Health, Mindset, Moms, Mothers, Uncategorized

LizzyToday I want to share with you the story of Liz—an amazing woman who joined my Fit Moms class years ago and is now one of my trainers and an incredible inspiration to all who know her.

When Liz first came to my class, she was very overweight, but she made the commitment to herself to keep showing up. Once she started moving, she got stronger and started to feel better, which kept her coming back.

Eventually, she lost over 80 pounds and is now in incredible shape. Click here to read more about her transformation.

Liz’s story highlights my third pillar of success—get moving! Once you start exercising effectively, you will feel better, sleep better and have more energy. The feeling you get from exercise can give you the motivation to make—and stick with—other changes in your life.

Try it out yourself—get moving today!

Click here for a quick 20 minute workout that you can do on your own.

Cranberry & Herb Sweet Potato Muffins

By | Balance, Behavior Change, Health, Kids nutrition, Lifestyle, Moms, Mothers, Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized

Erica Jones is a health food enthusiast, natural beauty guru and contributor to Fit Moms for Life.

I love a good muffin, but sometimes good grain free recipes are hard to find. This one came about on a fluke from playing around in the kitchen. Gluten free baking can be really tough, but I’m proud of these muffins. They go great with Creamy Cauliflower Soup or they can be enjoyed solo. They’re savory with a little bit of sweet and they’re the perfect side dish for many fall inspired recipes.

Rosemary and Sage Cranberry Muffins copy

Ingredients: Makes 8 Muffins

  • ¾ cup sweet potato puree

For the Sweet Potato Puree

Simply roast your potato at 350 F until soft (I ended up needing about half a potato). Once cool, scoop the flesh (no skin) into a food processor and process until smooth. Now you have your sweet potato puree!

  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¾ cup sweet potato puree
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup blanched almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup cooked and crumbled bacon (from 4 strips of uncured Turkey Bacon)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Steps

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 8 cups of a muffin pan with butter.

2. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the melted butter, sweet potato puree and olive oil.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the herbs, almond and coconut flours, baking powder and salt.

4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.

5. Gently fold in the bacon and cranberries.

6. Add a few heaping spoonfuls of batter to each muffin cup, dividing the batter evenly amongst all 8 cups.

7. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with butter.

To learn more about Erica and get more recipes and natural beautytips, visit www.truebeautyyou.com or follow her on Facebook at TrueBeautyYou.

 

Advice for beginners or those starting out

By | Behavior Change, Flexibly, Health, Lifestyle, Moms, Mothers, Six Week Challenge, Uncategorized

Yesterday, I did what is pretty much my absolutely favorite thing to do in my career… I met with 31 new clients who are starting a 6 week program we are offering called, Pay to Lose. I will incentivize them by paying them money, depending on how much they lose.

I explained to these new clients that I have resisted this pay to lose idea since I first considered it 6 months ago because I am so not about taking extreme measures to gain short term results. I really want my clients to make true LIFESTYLE changes that will enhance all areas of their lives. But, I decided to go ahead and offer this Pay to Lose challenge, because if I can use a “gimmick” to get new clients started down the road of transformation, I then have the opportunity to educate the participants on how to make a healthy lifestyle a reality.

1 Dustin

As the women came in, I could see fear and apprehension on many of their faces. The trainers greeted them with a smile and asked how they were feeling. “Nervous” and “scared” were two of the most common answers.

That is a totally normal reaction to joining a program like this; there is a lot to be nervous about. These people are to starting to make a lot of changes to their lives – they will change some of their eating habits, they will be getting up at 5 AM or earlier to workout, they will be meeting new people, and they will be moving their bodies in ways they haven’t moved in a long time.

I had one woman come up to me and share that this would be the first time she had ever formally exercised in her entire life. I let her know how honored I was that she chose our program to be her first experience with exercise.

I spoke to the Pay to Lose participants for about 20 minutes and wanted to share some of the highlights for anyone reading this who is just starting out with an exercise program and/or lifestyle change.

The hardest part is just starting. 90% of a rocket’s fuel is used up before it gets into orbit. Once you start the journey, it is much easier to continue. The inverse is also true. NEVER stop, because it is very hard to restart. Trust me, I see this all the time.

Don’t try to change everything at once. Find a couple key points/areas to start with and really go after those.

When you mess up, forgive yourself and get right back at it! If you skip a workout or eat something that isn’t getting you towards your goals, forgive yourself and get right back on the path of making smart, goal oriented choices. As long as one “bad” meal doesn’t turn into a day which turns into a week which continues on into a month, you will be just fine!

Lean on the support of your accountability group. At our Pay to Lose launch, each person was put into a group of about 4 other participants and asked to exchange contact info. The people in these groups will check up on each other throughout the program to hold each other accountable to their goals, offer support when challenges arise and celebrate each other successes. Having a couple supportive people you report to regularly is SO important!

1 Dustin 2

Ask the trainers for help. Many participants came in having previous back problems or other physical limitations. All of our trainers are highly skilled at progressing or regressing any exercise. Find a fitness professional that is on your side.

Evaluate your support system. Some of the people in your life right now aren’t supporting your new goals and dreams. You may need to slowly phase them out of your life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

Believe that you are worth it and have faith that this process of transformation is a fun, exciting and fulfilling journey!

This final picture captures the moment we brought it in to the center and shouted the word of the day – SUCCESS. Attending the Pay to Lose launch was their success because they showed up and started their lifestyle transformation ball rolling!

All of these ladies left with huge smiles and lots of laughing. They got a great workout in, have a specific plan for success, and met some really awesome peers who are ready to walk the journey with them.

1 Dustin 3

Are you ready?

The 6 week Pay To Lose challenge started today and we are completely SOLD OUT in McFarland but have two spots available in Oregon. We will get you all weighed in on Wed if you want to join. Click here to learn more.

I hope this inspires you to take action. Hopefully you already have a program or a plan that you know will work for you, but if you don’t, I invite you to participate in our online 6 week challenge. Our FM4L 6 week program provides an easy to follow weight loss and lifestyle plan that I know will work for you! ->-> Click here to learn more about this. <-<-

Sweet and Savory Fall Salad

By | Health, Kids nutrition, Moms, Mothers, Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized

Erica Jones is a health food enthusiast, natural beauty guru and contributor to Fit Moms for Life.

I was brainstorming this recipe I wanted something that was simple and I wanted it to remind me of fall. This recipe did it. It features fresh spinach greens, Bartlett pears (wrapped with bacon, no less), crisp cucumber, crunchy walnuts and pumpkin seeds and my favorite—dried Bing cherries. This fresh salad reminds me of a crisp, fall morning. It’s absolutely refreshing.

Sweet and Savory Fall Salad 1 copy

Ingredients:

  • Spinach greens or greens of choice
  • 1 recipe of Bacon Wrapped Bartlett Pears
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ English cucumber, chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Bing cherries (or dried cranberries), roughly chopped
  • 1 recipe of Garlicky Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the Bacon Wrapped Pears:

  • 2 ripe Bartlett pears, I used the yellow variety
  • 5 to 6 pieces of uncured beef bacon—you could also try uncured turkey bacon
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. Quarter the pears and remove the stem and seeds. Then cut each quarter in half. You should have 16 wedges total.

3. Using kitchen scissors, cut your bacon into thirds lengthwise. You should have long, thin strips.

4. Gently wrap each wedge of pear with one of the cut pieces of bacon, tucking the end underneath an area where the bacon has already been wrapped around the pear. Continue doing this for all 16 wedges.

5. Place the wedges in an oven safe baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.

6. Lightly dust the pears with sea salt and pepper to taste.

7. Roast the pears in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the bacon is cooked through and slightly crispy and the pears are lightly browned.

8. Serve as an appetizer or snack or as part of my Sweet and Savory Fall Salad.

Garlicky Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Dump all ingredients into a glass jar. Shake and serve.

To Assemble:

1. Place a handful of spinach greens in each bowl. Arrange 4 of the Bacon Wrapped Pears atop the greens.

2. Sprinkle the salad greens with the pumpkin seeds, cucumber, walnuts and cherries or cranberries.

3. Drizzle with Garlicky Balsamic Vinaigrette.

To learn more about Erica and get more recipes and natural beautytips, visit www.truebeautyyou.com or follow her on Facebook at TrueBeautyYou.

What is Your Normal?

By | Fit Moms for Life Six Week Challenge, Health, In-home workouts, Lifestyle, Moms, Mothers, Strength, Uncategorized

I recently climbed Longs Peak, a 14,250 plus mountain. If you know anything about Longs, you may know it kills more hikers then any other climb in Colorado. Tragically, an 18 year old kid fell off the same cliff I was on only 18 hours earlier. The 15 mile, 5,500 vertical feet climb is listed as a 12-14 hour round trip. I had just gotten off the plane and had not yet acclimated to the altitude, which made for an even more challenging hike.

I got up at 2 AM and started the journey with head lamps on. Past the 13,000 foot mark, the wind was blowing in excess of 30 mph and the 1-2 foot ledges with 700 foot sheer cliffs below became very scary. Thankfully, I made it up in 5 hours but was overcome with altitude sickness at the top and had to descend after spending only one minute at the top. Once I descended past the treacherous parts, I had a 5 mile run downhill. My total time was 8 hours. Not bad considering I don’t do tons of cardio nor do I have any altitude training.

Why do I share this story with you?

Depending on what your experience is, depending on your peer group, depending on your circle of influence, you might look at what I did and say one of three things.

1. You are crazy, I could never or would never want to do that.

2. That sounds cool, I would love to have the opportunity to do that!

3. No big deal! What you just did was easy stuff, but you are making a big deal about it.

I will make some generalizations here but this is what the thinking of these three types of people might look like…

The first group probably has never hiked, hasn’t exercised very intensely for many years, and has low confidence in their abilities to get in shape. They don’t know anyone personally who does activities like this and so they just don’t understand.

The second group is most likely quite active, they have achieved many of their fitness goals throughout the years, and have had experience pushing their bodies past levels of comfort. They have friends who go on active adventures and are looking for new ways to push themselves. I would put all of my clients who have been with my program for at least a year in this category.

The final group would be hikers and climbers who have access to mountains on a regular basis. They are part of hiking clubs or groups and they read and study about hiking. They are endurance athletes that surround themselves with friends who are also high level athletes. For them, my climb up Longs Peak was just child’s play. They have moved on to bigger and more challenging things.

I am just using hiking as an example here, but this type of thinking can play out in any area of your life, fitness or otherwise. What your peer group considers “norm” is generally what your norm will be, as well. This is what really scares me about our world today. Society’s “norm” is now to be 30 lbs overweight, to sit most of the day, to use food to celebrate almost everything, and to eat and drink to numb the pain and conflict life can bring. It is no wonder our world has so much sickness, disease and depression.

I want to leave you with one final story. I had just run/walked the final 5 miles of my Longs Peak journey. The feeling I had at the bottom was of pure exhaustion and joy. Right at the end, I finished with a guy who I saw on the way up. I started chatting with him. He was a physical specimen of peak fitness. I discovered he lives in Boulder, about 36 miles away. He left his house at 2 AM, BIKED 36 miles, ran/walked Long’s Peak in 5:15 (almost 3 hours faster then me), and was getting ready to bike back to Boulder. In shock, I told him he was crazy and that I was incredibly impressed and inspired. He smiled and said, “it’s not crazy when everyone else you know does it too.”

He was right, his peer group does things like that on a regular basis and what I would consider crazy, unbelievable, and incredible, is just an ordinary day to this guy and his peer group.

  • So the question is, what does your peer group look like?
  • What do they do on a regular basis?
  • Are they healthy?
  • Are they positive?
  • Are they happy?

If the answer to these questions is no, and you want to be active, healthy, positive, and happy, I would like to challenge you to start to shift your peer group. This doesn’t need to happen overnight, but a shift in peer groups will be necessary if you want to live the life of your dreams. Your peer group—the community that you surround yourself with—is my fourth pillar of success. It will make a huge difference in your ability to make and stick with changes in your life.

Throughout the years I have received hundreds of emails and messages from moms who feel alone and isolated. They don’t have the support they want and need to live the healthy, happy lives they deserve. They don’t have a peer group that is inspired to make each day as healthy, and positive as possible. That is why the Fit Moms for Life team works tirelessly to find creative ways to build communities that will make it easier to identify and find moms that are also interested in living healthy, happy lives.

That is at the core of the Fit Moms Total Transformation Program, which begins with a 6 Week Challenge, and progresses into a Monthly Program with fresh new content delivered each week. These programs are designed for small groups to keep each other accountable, motivated and inspired to live each person’s best life!

Click here if you want to learn more about the Fit Moms For Life 6 Week Challenge.

You have two choices, you can continue to do what you have been already doing and expect to get the same results, or you can take a leap of faith and try something new. That leap of faith might just change the trajectory of your life. It is your choice to make. Fit Moms For Life is committed to supporting you when you are ready to take that leap. If you are interested in facilitating a FM4L 6 week challenge group, helping people live their best lives and getting paid to do so, click here to learn more about this opportunity. Currently we have about 105 FM4L communities around the world.

10-Minute Pumpkin Spice Latte

By | Balance, Moms, Mothers, Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized

Erica Jones is a health food enthusiast, natural beauty guru and contributor to Fit Moms for Life

The fall season brings on the craze for pumpkin everything and so many people look forward to the Starbucks Fall Inspired Beverages. I used to work in Starbucks in college, so I know all too well how highly anticipated the new fall menus are!

Problem with the Starbucks coffees are that they tend to be very sugary and they’re not made from the best ingredients—none of this is very good for the skin. Here’s a link to a controversial article on one woman’s research into what’s really in a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (hint: it ain’t pumpkin!).

What’s Really in a Starbucks Latte?

With respect to that article, take it or leave it. But if you’re like me, you’d just rather make treats like this at home so you know what’s in it.

Since caffeine is dehydrating to the body and the skin, I prefer to use a coffee-like tea called Teecino that I LOVE! (You can easily make this with coffee, though and I’ll tell you how below).

The one that I chose was the Organic French Roast and it turned out beautifully! If you have a hard time going without your sugary coffee drinks in the morning, try this recipe and let me know how you like it. 🙂

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Ingredients: Makes 2 cups

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup freshly made Organic French Roast Teecino or 1/3 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • ¼ cup organic canned pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie mix
  • ½ tsp maple syrup or other sweetener to taste (try Stevia for 0g sugar)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ to ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 can coconut milk

Steps:

1. Place all ingredients (except coconut milk) into a Vitamix or high powered blender.

2. Blend on low at first, gradually turning up to high and mix thoroughly. In the Vitamix, you can use the “Soup” setting to heat the latte. For other blenders, if the mixture doesn’t get hot, you can reheat on stovetop to warm.

3. For the coconut cream, you have 2 options:

a. Chill the can of coconut milk for a few hours before using. The coconut fat will separate from the water. When you open the can, you’ll see the fat on top (thick and white). Scoop out a few spoonfuls into a bowl, add a touch of maple syrup to sweeten (if desired), whip with a fork and place a nice dollop on top of your latte.

b. Open the can of coconut milk, mix with a fork and drizzle it over your latte (that’s what I did in the photo).

4. Curl up with a good book and enjoy!

To learn more about Erica and get more recipes and natural beautytips, visit www.truebeautyyou.com or follow her on Facebook at TrueBeautyYou.