5 ways to simplify smoothie making

5 ways to simplify smoothie making

Is lack of time really the reason you can’t turn new, healthy eating habits into permanent ones?

I call bull$#!%.

Making a smoothie is one of the fastest and easiest ways to fuel your body with nutrient-rich foods.

You literally throw all your ingredients in a blender, pour into a cup and voila!

There’s no cooking involved and you can even dodge the washing and chopping if you choose. Cleanup couldn’t be more easy with only a blender and cup to wash.

OK – I get it! As easy as making a smoothie might be, maybe your life and daily schedule are just jam-packed with things like family responsibilities, work, extra-curricular activities, social events, you time, etc.

My goal with this article is to help you simplify smoothie making even more.

I don’t want time to ever be a barrier for you when it comes to making healthy food choices, so check out my tips below.

5 ways to simplify smoothie making

1. CREATE A SMOOTHIE STATION

It can be a hassle to constantly reach under your kitchen cabinet to pull out and set up the blender. I suggest creating a smoothie station.

Keep your blender, smoothie tools and dry ingredients in a corner on the kitchen counter, so everything is ready to go when it’s smoothie making time.

2. PREP FRESH PRODUCE AHEAD OF TIME

On the weekend, decide what fruits and greens you plan to use in your smoothie for the upcoming week. Wash, chop, and separate equal portions into bags, containers or glass jars and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

This makes the ‘grab and throw’ method come to life. Just grab your portion and throw it in the blender along with your dry ingredients.

3. GO FROZEN

Using frozen fruits and greens is probably the BEST way to save you time. Taking trips to the grocery store every few days to get fresh produce can be time-consuming. Then, you still need to wash and chop your produce before it’s ready for blending.

I recommend buying frozen fruits and greens in bulk and stocking up your freezer with them. It’s a great way to ensure you always have ingredients on hand.

Also, you don’t have to worry about wasting money on produce that ends up going bad. I personally create all my smoothies using frozen produce and wouldn’t do it any other way.

4. MAKE YOUR SMOOTHIE HOURS BEFORE DRINKING IT

What if you could make your smoothie hours before consuming it? Might this make smoothies more suitable to your daily schedule?

The trick here is to make your smoothie the extra thick way–using avocado and only 1/2-3/4 cup water. This will help hold your smoothie together without it separating. Store in a mason jar or cup with lid and keep cold until you consume it. If refrigeration isn’t an option, use a small cooler bag with an ice pack.

If I have a busy day ahead and know there’s going to be no time for lunch or dinner prep, I double my morning smoothie and take the extra to go. This saves me from making poor choices later in the day when there’s limited time, healthy food options and willpower.

5. REPLACE FRESH OR FROZEN PRODUCE WITH A GREENS POWDER

I feel for you if you’re just super strapped for time and find what should be quick and easy, not quick and easy enough. So, in my mission to help busy people feel great through simple and natural approaches, I decided to provide a modified way of preparing your smoothie that is even more time-friendly than my original smoothie formula.

Greens Powder Smoothie

1 tbsp PaleoGreens powder
1 scoop PurePaleo Protein powder
1/2 avocado or 1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup water
A few ice cubes (optional)

Blend for 30-60 sec and enjoy!

Easy Green Smoothie with Protein

Now how’s that for simple?! Basically, you’ll be replacing fresh or frozen produce with 1 tbsp of PaleoGreens (or other greens powder of choice) that will provide you with a combination of powerful and antioxidant rich vegetables and fruits.

I know there are many greens powders on the market, so you can learn more about why I choose to use this particular one, here.

PaleoGreens Designs for Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you found these tips helpful. Reach out in the comments section below if you need additional guidance or support.

Join my free smoothie Challenge

Join the challenge for delicious smoothie recipes, a shopping list and all the support and info you need to blend smoothies that will set you on the right path for weight loss & better health!

Healthy Costco Food: Best healthy foods with BIG savings

Healthy Costco Food: Best healthy foods with BIG savings

In this post you’ll find a list of healthy Costco food at jaw dropping prices. The foods listed below are free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, GMO, industrial vegetable and seed oils, artificial sugar and sweeteners and other unhealthy ingredients. If you’re following a paleo, low-carb, keto, AIP, plant-based or organic diet, there’s lots of great options here for you.

OMG, I recently discovered a magical place called Costco!

I know I know, you’re probably thinking – “Has this chick been hiding under a rock her entire life?”

OK, so I knew Costco existed, but I never thought to venture into it to find healthy food options. Little did I know, Costco not only caters towards health conscious people like me (and you), but they also offer AMAZING prices that had me screaming “START THE CAR!!!”

The lists below are healthy Costco foods that I discovered at jaw-dropping prices!

Healthy Costco food with BIG SAVINGS …

💚 = Great for smoothies

FRESH

  • fresh organic spinach 312g ($4.59) 💚 TIP: purchase 2-3 containers, transfer spinach to freezer bags and freeze for later use 
  • organic kombucha
  • organic free-range eggs, 24 large ($10.49)
  • organic spring mix salad 312g ($4.59)
  • organic cooked + vacuum-packed beets 💚

Costco spinach

FROZEN

  • pesticide-free frozen blueberries 1.5kg ($10.99) 💚
  • organic frozen strawberries 2kg ($12.99) 💚
  • organic frozen raspberries 1.5kg ($14.99) 💚
  • other frozen organic fruit + berries 💚
  • frozen avocado chunks 3kg ($17.99) 💚
  • pesticide free frozen broccoli + other frozen veggies 💚
  • frozen organic riced cauliflower 3lb ($8.99)

Healthy Costco food_frozen

PANTRY

  • organic virgin coconut oil 2.3kg ($17.49) 💚
  • avocado oil 1lt ($13.99)
  • coconut oil/keto mayo 710ml ($10.99)
  • organic extra virgin olive oil
  • organic green olives 1L ($9.49)
  • organic apple cider vinegar 1.9lt ($8.69)
  • organic dates 794g ($7.99) 💚
  • almond flour 1.36kg ($15.99)
  • almond butter 765g 💚
  • organic cocoa powder 700g ($9.99) 💚
  • organic coffee + matcha green tea

Healthy Costco Food_pantry items

SNACKS & TREATS

  • SmartSweets, 5 packs ($11.99)
  • grain free granola bars, 16 bars ($19.99)
  • RX Bar, 14 bars ($20.99)
  • organic coconut chips 800g ($7.99)
  • organic dark chocolate, Keto Snaps 420g ($10.99)
  • organic & regular raw nuts and seeds (awesome variety) 💚

Healthy Costco Food_snacks

NOTE: Please keep in mind that prices may change. I will do my best to update the prices in this post regularly to reflect current store pricing. The prices above are in-store (not online). I shop at Costco in the GTA, Ontario. 

TAKEAWAY MESSAGE: If you’re looking for ways to make healthy eating more affordable and sustainable for you and your family then Costco is a GREAT solution.

Not only does this wholesale store carry a variety of organic products, but most of the brands are reputable companies that prioritize quality – and once again the prices are truly unbeatable!

Would love to hear about some of the great finds you’ve discovered at Costco along with pricing. Just leave a comment below.

Not near a Costco?

Many of these items can be found at costco.ca at a slightly higher price.

P.S. A special thanks to my BF for opening my eyes to a part of Costco I didn’t know about – and most importantly, dealing with my “kid in a candy store” behaviour as I lost my Costco virginity. You da best! xoxo

This post was updated on Oct 8, 2020.

Join my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge and learn how to create healthy + affordable smoothies that will help you lose weight and feel great!

4 ways to effortless weight loss & better health

4 ways to effortless weight loss & better health

There are many different approaches to weight loss, health and fitness – so many that it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to figure out which approach will work best for you.

Looking back, I spent most of my life struggling to maintain my weight through intense and excessive exercise and a “healthy” diet that probably ended up doing more harm than good. Learn more about my health journey HERE.

I did my fair share of experimenting with diets and exercise for weight loss and optimal health, so I’m aware of the frustrations and disappointments that can come about.

I can sympathize with those who feel like they’ve tried it all (and have genuinely put their full heart and energy into programs), but nothing seems to work for them – and if it does, the results are often short-lived.

When working with clients, my approach to sustainable weight loss and health is NOT one-size-fits-all. Each person and body is unique which means customized programs are often the best approach – and yield greater results.

Although the approach you take to health and fitness is important, it’s not the only part of the equation.

The one thing that most healthy and physically fit people have in common is consistent healthy habits.

They don’t dabble in a diet or exercise program for 1-month then stop without rhyme or reason and jump on board another trendy program the following year only to fall off the wagon again.

They’re more consistent than not when it comes to healthy eating, exercise and/or lifestyle practices – whatever their idea of “healthy” is at a given time.

I often get asked the question – “Jen, what’s your secret to always looking healthy and fit?”

Well, my secret in my early 20s is definitely different than my secret today. I’d argue that my current secret is much juicier given that I’m both fit and healthy today vs. just being fit (and not very healthy) years ago.

Without question, my approach to health and weight loss has evolved over the years given new research that has shaped my perspective and opinion.

My years of experimenting and gaining knowledge have led me to a formula of healthy habits that I can say with confidence have allowed me to not only lose extra weight I was holding onto, but also sustain a healthy weight effortlessly – all while gaining back my health.

Check out my top 4 healthy habits for effortless weight loss and better health …

4 ways to effortless weight loss & better health

#1: 7-9 HOURS OF QUALITY SLEEP

Research suggests that 7-9 hours of quality sleep is the ideal dose for feeling good and functioning optimally the next day (although we’re all wired different and some people do report feeling better with less sleep).

According to Chinese medicine, it’s not only how much sleep you get that matters, but also when you get it. The window from 11 PM – 3 AM (which correlates to the liver and gallbladder) is most important in terms of maintaining health, especially as we age. A bedtime of 10:30 PM is recommended so that you are asleep by 11 PM when the liver and gallbladder start to regulate qi (energy), process emotions, balance hormones and detoxify the body – all key players in weight loss.

If you’re a night owl, it may not be realistic to fall asleep by 11 PM in one or two attempts, but small steps can get you closer to this optimal window. Try heading to bed 30-minutes earlier and slowly build on that number over time.

In addition to the above, the quality of your sleep is equally important. 7-9 hours of interrupted sleep (e.g. waking up 5 times to pee then another 3 times because of your snoring partner) probably isn’t going to lead to that “well-rested” feeling the next day.

Sleep should be uninterrupted, deep and in ideal bedroom environment – no artificial lights, room temperature on the cool side, cell phone off or in airplane mode to avoid EMFs, etc.

#2: ONE NUTRIENT-RICH SMOOTHIE A DAY

Let’s face it, life is a chaotic mess most of the time and it’s not always realistic to get 3 healthy meals down the pipe.

Smoothies are a simple, affordable and realistic way to obtain the nutrients your body needs to function optimally, making weight loss and maintenance effortless. They have played a large role in my health journey which is why they made it to my top 4. Learn more about my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge.

I suggest replacing your weakest meal with an easy nutrient-rich smoothie. For most people, breakfast tends to be the weak link given the rush to get to work and/or get the kiddies ready for school.

Most convenient breakfast foods (ie. high-sugar cereals, yogurts, muffins, granola bars, bagels, etc.) don’t put your body into an optimal state to conquer the day.  These nutrient-void “foods” often leave you searching for the next convenient, high-sugar food in order to keep your sugar burning body from collapsing on the office floor.

Replacing one nutrient-void meal with a nutrient-dense smoothie that contains quality protein, healthy fats, and smart carbohydrates (in the right ratios) can make a world of a difference. It truly is a simple step towards weight loss and better health.

Join my free smoothie Challenge

I’ll teach you everything you need to know about making easy, nutrient-rich smoothies that are designed to help you lose weight and feel great. You’ll also recieve over 16 dessert-inspired smoothie recipes!

#3: INTERMITTENT FASTING

Have you ever tried a 12-16 hours fast? Most of us already practice 12-16 hour fasting without even realizing it.

These short and easier fasts are a great opportunity for your body to tap into existing fat stores and focus energy on clean-up and repair of cells (instead of digestion). So, not only is it helpful for weight loss, but also healing your body.

For some, this may sound like the impossible, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you think.

Here’s an easy way to implement a 12-hour fast:

1) Finish eating your last meal (dinner) between the hours of 6-8 PM (no snacks after dinner, just water or herbal teas if desired).

2) The next day, eat breakfast no sooner than 12 hours from your last meal (if you finished eating dinner at 7 PM, you would have your breakfast at 7 AM). If your dinner hour is earlier or later just adjust your breakfast to 12 hours from that time.

Once a 12-hour fast becomes easy, you can start bumping up the hours between dinner and breakfast until you reach 16 hours. Intermittent fasting can be done as often as you like (or your body allows). Start with 2-3 times per week.

Do you usually eat something soon after waking up? It may take some time and practice to recondition your body to not want/need food upon waking, especially if it’s been a long-standing habit. Try satisfying your hunger with a large glass of water, black coffee or green tea first. This can be an effective way to reduce hunger so you can extend your fasting time.

#4: 20-MINUTE MORNING WALK OR MOVEMENT ROUTINE

Did you know that your body is in fat-burning mode the minute you get out of bed? You can easily amplify the amount of fat stores you burn from your body by adding in a light walk or movement routine first thing in the morning.

Give this a try … Before eating breakfast, head outside for a light 20-minute walk. No jogging, speed walking or anything that jacks up the heart rate – just light movement.

If going outside isn’t an option because of cold weather conditions, I recommend the following:

• Use an indoor cardio machine (treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, rower), if you have one. Just remember to keep the intensity low for 20-minutes.

• Pull out a yoga mat and do some easy sun salutations and stretches for 20-minutes (check out an easy morning flow here).

Aim for 2-3 times per week to start. Once that becomes easy and habit-like, increase to 3-4 times per week and so on.

I usually do a light walk or movement routine in conjunction with my 12-16 hour fast – it’s a powerful fat burning combo!

Is your morning routine already packed with a long list of things-to-do, so even 20-minutes seems like the impossible? Before you write-off walking or movement completely, try fitting in your walk during lunch hour or after dinner. OR join a yoga class after work or dinner. Movement is medicine for the body (and calories burned) no matter what time of the day you decide to do it.

I hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to reach out to me in the comment section below.

Learn about 5 tools/markers for tracking healthy weight loss and positive changes in your health.

Join my free smoothie Challenge

Get started on your journey back to health by joining my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge. It’s a simple and natural approach to weight loss & better health. 

How to winterize your smoothie: From cold to room temperature

How to winterize your smoothie: From cold to room temperature

Do you find yourself drinking your smoothie with your shoulders up to your ears, teeth chattering, lips turning blue — all while you have a mini heater blasting at you and a blanket thrown over your shoulders?

I get it – a cold smoothie on a chilly fall or winter day can be uncomfortable to drink and may not be very appealing, unless your body runs hot all year round.

Well, my body tends to run more cold than hot, so I came up with some simple smoothie hacks that allow me to enjoy my daily smoothie during the cold months–without icicles forming from my nose!

Check them out below …

How to winterize your smoothie: From cold to room temperature

HACK #1

If you are using frozen veggies and/or fruit, add ½-1 cup hot or boiling water instead of room temperature or cold water.

This hot trick will help balance the temperature of your smoothie so it’s closer to room temperature. You may have to play around with the amount of hot water you add to get your desired temperature, but it’ll be smooth smoothieing (yep, I made up that word) once you figure it out.

HACK #2

Use fresh veggies and fruit instead of frozen.

This one isn’t rocket science. Frozen produce will make your smoothie cold, so you can always switch to fresh produce during the colder months to create a smoothie that is room temperature.

If you prefer the simplicity of using frozen produce or know that using fresh produce is not realistic given your busy schedule, then I highly recommend trying Hack #1.

Join my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge. I’ll teach you everything you need to know about blending the perfect smoothie for weight loss and better health. You’ll also receive 16 dessert-inspired smoothie recipes!

Lemon Garlic Rapini

Lemon Garlic Rapini

I’m pretty certain this bitter green vegetable was one of the first solid foods I ate back in my Baby Jen days.

Rapini (a.k.a. broccoli rabe) is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and cancer fighting properties, making it a super healthy veggie for consumption.

Rapini is an excellent complement to most meats and fishes and can be served on the side or as a base.

My family prepares this vegetable a little different than I do by boiling the rapini before sautéing. Boiling rapini helps to cut some of the bitterness and also makes the rapini more tender.

Feel free to boil your rapini (and strain well) before sautéing OR if you’re like me and enjoy some bitter and crunch to your veggies, then skip the boiling and jump straight to sautéing.

Another bonus to simply sautéing rapini without boiling first would be greater nutritional value since overcooking can rob your veggies of their nutrients.

Lemon Garlic Rapini

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)

1 bunch rapini

3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)

1/2 lemon (juice only)

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Chop ends off rapini and wash.

2. Using a deep pan, sauté garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil until garlic becomes fragrant.

3. Add rapini to pan and sauté over medium heat until rapini become tender (roughly 10 minutes). Add salt as rapini cook.

4. Once rapini are cooked, remove pan from burner then add lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Coat rapini in juice and oil.

4 practical tips to help you achieve your goals this year

4 practical tips to help you achieve your goals this year

In this short article you’ll discover four simple and practical tips to help you achieve your goals this new year, or for that matter, any time of the year.

Did you know, statistics show that ONLY 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals?

If that’s the case, are the rest of us just S.O.L. then?

Maybe not…

When looking at why some people succeed at goal setting and so many others fail miserably, there is simple science behind how we can keep our resolutions for the new year.

4 practical tips to help you achieve your goals this year

1. Keep it simple

I’m sure we’ve all heard that one before and probably because the saying couldn’t be more true.

Studies show that avoiding large, overwhelming goals and sticking to small, attainable ones yields higher success rates.

According to psychologist Lynn Bufka – “It is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”

So, instead of taking on an entire diet revamp this year, try implementing one small and meaningful diet change (like replacing one low-quality meal a day with a nutrient-rich smoothie).

2. Make it clear and real

It’s much easier to follow through with a plan that says – “replace your breakfast with one healthy smoothie a day for 14-days” – than a plan that says – “lose some weight this year”.

You need to be specific.

Another example: don’t just say – “I’m going to start exercising.”

Instead, a specific goal would be – “I’m going to attend yoga classes every Tuesday and/or Thursday.”

Vague goals lead to vague resolutions, so set goals you can measure and/or put a check mark beside.

yoga class

3. Share your goals

A while back I read a great book by Richard Wiseman titled ’59 seconds – change your life in under a minute’. 

He dives deep into the research on key techniques to achieving your goals. This technique stood out to me…

Although keeping your promises to yourself helps ease the fear of failure, it also makes it too easy to avoid changing your life and to stray back to old habits.

Solution: Make your goals known to as many people as possible.

The greater the public declaration of your goals, the more motivated you’ll be to achieve them.

In addition, telling friends and family about your aims is an effective approach to achievement since these people often provide needed support when $#!% hits the fan.

Use social media to your advantage and share your current or next goal (Facebook groups focused on support and community are great for this) – it may just be the motivation you need.

4. Remember your why

Studies show that those who end up making and maintaining permanent lifestyle changes frequently remind themselves of the benefits associated with achieving their goals.

All it takes is having a checklist of how life would be better once you achieve your goal.

When it comes to weight loss – focus on how good you will look and feel when you drop a pant size instead of putting attention on how not losing weight will mean continued unhappiness about your appearance.

Is weight loss and better health on your list of New Year’s resolutions?

If so, I encourage you to join my upcoming 7-day smoothie challenge to experience a simple and natural approach for weight loss and better health this new year. Learn more & join HERE!