Homemade Chocolate

It’s almost 8pm here in Cali… I have had a delicious dinner, Stuffed Vegetarian Cheesy Eggplant :)…but I am craving some chocolate.  During the week I try hard to stay away from sweets, keeping them a treat for the weekends only.  But sometimes I just need to cave and tonight is one of those nights!  But I don’t want to completely indulge and break all the rules I just want to TWEAK them :).  The answer? Vegan Chocolate 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil + 1 tsp for greasing
  • 2 tbsp raw cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • coconut flakes
  • raw almond flakes
  • goji berries

Directions:

  1. Warm coconut oil until liquid consistency.  If almond butter has been in fridge warm slightly to make mixing simpler.
  2. In a dish mix almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, and maple syrup.
  3. Slowly mix cocoa powder into liquid concoction.
  4. Grease ice cube tray; 12 slots.
  5. Slowly pour chocolate mixture into ice cube tray slots; 1/4-1/2″ in each slot. IMG_20131018_162503
  6. Add toppings (goji berries, coconut, almonds)… You can mix the toppings or keep them separate like I did :).IMG_20131018_163025
  7. Cover with foil or plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate until chocolate solidifies (4-5hrs) or if you are in “MUST HAVE CHOCOLATE” mode freeze (1-2hrs).
  9. Pop out chocolate and enjoy!October 022

*** Warning!! Chocolate does easily melt at room temperature so do not leave out too long if you do not want a melty mess :).

Advertisements

Plank Series Week 4!!

Congratulations you have make it to the fourth week of the plank challenge!!  Just 2 minutes of your day should be devoted to planking!!  Your arms should be getting stronger….your core should be getting slimmer… and your glutes should activate on command ;).

As you know it is time to add on….another 30 seconds this week!  You are officially ready for forward plank variations and our first one is knee drops!!

This exercise is going to throw your balance off just enough to cause your core to react….welcome to reactive training, a fabulous way to take your core work to the next level.

Postural Corrections to Focus on:

  • This is not about speed this is about form and strength
  • The leg that is straight should be completely activated- glutes and quads
  • As the other leg bends keep those lower abdominals and glutes tight
  • The shoulders stay down and back

Jessica Fitness (23)Plank Challenge Thus Far:

  • Standard Plank 30s
  • Side Plank 30s
  • Side Plank 30s
  • Reverse Plank 30s
  • Standard Plank with knee drops 30s

Until next week….

Ginger Walnut Apricot Oatmeal!

It’s Fall and the crisp mornings are here!  What better than a nice big comforting bowl of oatmeal to start your day?  Oatmeal is full of fiber that will keep you going all morning long and keep you away from that office doughnut or bagel!  Now, oatmeal can have a strange texture and be somewhat boring when left on it’s own…so that’s why we doctor it up!  Add a bunch of sugar and butter then right?  Nope!  Let’s add crunch and spice…ultimately let’s add more health with the right toppings!

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 c gluten free oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp white chia seeds
  • 1/3 c chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 c walnut bits/pieces
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 c filtered water
  • splash almond milk

20131022_170237

Directions:

  1. In a glass bowl mix oats, ginger, chia seeds, and water.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  2. Add walnuts and apricots, mix thoroughly and microwave another 30 seconds.
  3. Let sit for 1 minute in microwave.
  4. Add maple syrup and almond milk.  Mix thoroughly and enjoy!!

Plank Series Week 3!

Happy Monday!! It is week 3 of our plank challenge! How are you feeling?! Finding those abs??

Well today we add on! Another 30seconds… now 2 minutes of your day should be dedicated to planking ;)!

Today we add the reverse plank. This plank will help to strengthen the muscles of the back of your body.

Postural Corrections to Focus on-

  • Before going into the position pull your shoulders down and back, open through your chest, fingers should be pointing to the heels
  • Activate your glutes so that you are not hanging off your low back
  • Bring your leg together and flex your feet, tighten your quads

Jessica Fitness (8)Plank Challenge Thus Far:

  • Standard Plank 30sec
  • Side Plank 30sec
  • Side Plank 30sec
  • Reverse Plank 30sec

Until next week….

 

Mango Ginger Green Goddess Protein Shake

Eating green is the way to go!! It is simple and delicious! This fabulous smoothie satisfies the taste buds as well as boosts your energy!

Servings- 2

Ingredients-

  • 4 ice cubes
  • 3-4 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 heaping cup frozen mango
  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp white chia seeds
  • 1 scoop unsweetened PlantFusion protein powder
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 c natural orange juice
  • unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Directions- EASY AS 1-2

  1. Place all ingredients; except coconut flakes in a blender. Blend until smooth.20131016_154152
  2. Serve in a glass and top with coconut flakes.20131016_155050

Plank Series Week 2!!

It is week 2 of our Plank Series Challenge!! Everyone best be spending at least 30sec/day in a plank! It’s time to add more to the challenge!

Today we add an additional minute… a total of 1’30″/day dedicated to slimming and toning your core!

Today we add side planks, 30 seconds each side, totaling 1 minute!

Postural Corrections to Focus-

  • Keep your chest open by pulling your shoulders down and back and lengthening throughout your entire spine
  • Use your glutes and leg muscles…squeeze your glutes forward, do not just hand off that shoulder
  • Keep head and neck in neutral

Jessica Fitness (7) Jessica Fitness (5)

The Plank Challenge thus far:

  • Standard Plank 30sec
  • Side Plank 30sec
  • Side Plank 30sec

Until next week…..

Crunch Time… A simple snack to satisfy your crunch needs

Ever just feel like you need something crunchy?  Almost like entertainment for your mouth….the chips, pretzels, and candy start calling your name….eek.  This usually happens to me late afternoon… what do I do?  Fancify some trail mix!

Major crunch, a touch of sweet, and a hint of cacao….

  • Raw almonds
  • Raw cashews
  • Raw cacao nibs
  • Roasted & unsalted sunflower seeds
  • Dried goji berries
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes

20130925_152647

Make a glass jar full of this special mix and store it at your desk….enjoy 1/2 cup at a time.  This mix has the combo of fat, protein and carbs that will fill you up ’til dinner time :).

Drop it like a Plank :)…Plank series begins!

I have come to believe that a plank a day can actually keep the doctor (PT) a way! Ask any of my clients and they will tell you how much I love this exercise. Why?? A correct plank helps to tone the entire core unit!! Rather than performing zillions of crunches which more often than not place your neck and shoulders in that terrible forwarded rounded position (the exact position that we are in ALL DAY LONG!!)  as well as puts our hips in that tucked under position and before we know it our spine becomes shaped like a C and we start walking around like Hunch Back of Notre Dame…as much as Disney Movies are fab we do not want our posture to turn into that.

So the next couple months I will be releasing a different plank exercise each week! The goal is to perform each plank variation everyday…so that by the end of our two month series you all performing ALL variations! I know summer is over but it doesn’t mean we should throw away our work towards a flat tummy! And this series DOES NOT require a gym; in fact, it doesn’t even require any equipment!! So no excuses you can perform these literally anywhere (including business trips and vacations).

Let’s begin!! First week, first variation…the standard full plank… hold for 30 sec each day.

Postural Corrections to focus on-

  • Glutes and legs activated- all too often I see people “hanging” off their low back forgetting to use their lower body. Bring your feet and knees together and squeeze those glutes!
  • Keep your chest open- try not to round forward … think of pulling your shoulders down and back and having a long spine

 

Jessica Fitness (1)

Bulk up Your Bruschetta!!

It’s Friday!!  Are you having any parties over the weekend?  Having people over to watch the game?  Looking for an easy and healthy appetizer you can share with friends?

I love this because it is super cheap, easy, healthy and can be put together ahead of time making it great to take on a picnic!  All ingredients can be picked up at your local Trader Joe’s!  My good friend Heather Helfand first introduced me to this delicious recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar of Trader Joe’s Bruschetta IMG_20130928_170440_492
  • 1 box Trader Joe’s cooked lentils
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • **Optional 1/4 crumbled goat cheese or chopped vegan cheese
  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s Veggie ChipsIMG_20130928_170428_817

Directions: (why this is sooo amazing! Easy as 1-2-3)

  1. Open the lentils and place them into a large mixing bowl.  Break apart the lentil chunks.
  2. Mix seasonings, bruschetta, and cheese (if you would like).
  3. Enjoy!IMG_20130928_170256_909

So good my dad (Mr. I Must Have Meat in Every Dish) scarfed it down! I didn’t tell him the dish was vegan/vegetarian but he was enjoying it to much I couldn’t break it to him ;).

IMG_20130928_170308_097IMG_20130928_170313_466

The freshmen 15 has changed…

Those of us who attended college are all familiar with the dreaded “freshmen 15”.  Some of us know how to avoid it and some of us do not.  College often is a time where freshmen let loose in many ways, one of those being their diet.

Well I was shocked and saddened to learn that just as obesity is on the rise so has the standard “freshmen 15” … today while listening to the KTLA morning news I discovered that this “freshmen 15” is now becoming the freshmen 28/30 … doubling the original typical college weight gain!

Why? Students say that they tend to live on a diet consisting of frozen dinners, fast foods, delivery pizza, and the poor diet choices in the college food court.  Not to mention the increase in consumption in beer and alcohol.

Why are they eating this way? Students interviewed in the study said that they do not know how to cook or grocery shop.  This is true.  When I was in college I was amazed to see the amount of my friends that had no idea how to make even the simplest things…and a trip to the grocery store was almost like an undercover mission for them.

Why are the bulk of parents today not teaching their children how to cook and how to grocery shop?  Having the ability to create a nutritious meal for yourself should be required in adulthood!  Stop the laziness and get to the store…get online and research some recipes.

If parents are not teaching their children these fundamental useful lessons should it start being included in high school Health Classes or as a college prep class?  Could it just be that parents poor eating habits and lack of cooking is trickling down to their kids?  We focus so much on pushing these students mentally but really how are they going to focus on a diet this bad?

THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.