Archive

August 2011

Browsing

This recipe is: Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan.

I must admit, this combination, pineapple and avocado sounded a bit odd to me at first, but it is absolutely amazing! (Not to mention extremely easy to make).The best advice I can offer when it comes to this recipe, is do not cut corners. Use REAL pineapple and REAL lime juice. I mean, get a lime, and squeeze the juice out of it. Don’t use the juice out of that plastic green container thingy they sell at the grocery store. I cut corners the first time I attempted, and it didn’t turn out so well. Second time around…completely different story! What a difference REAL food makes! This is one of my favorite recipes. I actually ate this for dinner every single night for 3 weeks on the Clean Program, never got tired of it. I even had it for breakfast the other day! Recipe courtesy of CLEAN (4).

Notes

Recipe yields: 1 bowl or 2 small cups
Soak time: N/A
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: N/A
Equipment Needed: Blender

Ingredients

  • 2 c. pineapple, diced small
  • 1 avocado, diced small
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 – 1/3 c. water (optional, for thinner texture)
  • A couple pieces of diced pineapple for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except garnish in a bowl.
  2. Take half of that mixture, put it in a blender, and blend. Add water if thinner texture is desired.
  3. Pour blended mixture into the bowl and fold into diced avocado/pineapple mixture.
  4. Add optional garnish if desired, serve chilled and enjoy!

 

As a follow up to my last post, Doctors, Toxicity and Detoxification, I feel the need to point out an additional major concern with the amount of prescriptions being written by doctors these days. Having been on antibiotics for about a decade growing up, it has caused many other problems, none of which I saw coming.

I was a teenager with bad skin. Shocking, I know. So the dermatologist wrote me a script for antibiotics. I took that for months/years until it stopped working, then they switched me a different antibiotic. When that one would stop working, they would switch me to another. This cycle would continue until the doctors were out of options for me. Now, ten years later, I have developed allergies to almost every antibiotic on the market, and if I’m not allergic to it, I’m resistant to it, so it doesn’t even work for me. Now when I get sick, I have to get a steroid shot in my rear-end and I have to orally take a steroid pack as well, possibly two, depending on how bad it is. It’s terrible. I hate the steroids so much that I actually just stopped going to the doctor for illnesses altogether. Now I just “tough it out,” as I’m not really left with any other options. Luckily for the most part, lots of rest and fluids works just fine.

WebMD recently posted an article, Antibiotic Overuse May Be Bad for Body’s Good Bacteria. Well, duh. When you take antibiotics, it kills the bad bacteria in your system. What most people don’t realize, is that it kills the good bacteria as well. You need that good bacteria. The good bacteria are responsible for helping make vitamins, boosting immunity and keeping your digestive tract in order. There are now theories (and circumstantial evidence) that killing these good guys could be causing or contributing to obesity, allergies, asthma, cancer and children’s type 1 diabetes. Not to mention that with an overload of bad bacteria in your system, you feel like crap.

“Dr. Blaser points out that in a developed country like the U.S., the average child gets 10-20 courses of antibiotics by age 18. Blaser says there’s no question that antibiotics, when given appropriately, save lives. But they’re not always used appropriately. Studies have shown that doctors often prescribe antibiotics before they know whether an infection is viral or bacterial. If the problem is a virus, antibiotics don’t help.” (Source: WebMD: Antibiotic Overuse May Be Bad for Body’s Good Bacteria)

It actually didn’t dawn on me how much damage my body was still experiencing until about a year ago, when I was having a conversation with my Muscle Activation Therapist. We were talking about my diet, and I mentioned that I can’t eat sugar because I can’t just have “one cookie”, it has to be the entire box of cookies. That once I eat a little bit of sugar, I just can’t get enough, and that I am constantly craving it. I didn’t know back then that when your body is craving sugar, that is when it is most critical NOT to eat it. He asked if I had been on antibiotics for a long period of time in my life, of course the answer being yes. Well, that was the problem right there. My poor little good bacterias were trying to stay alive, but the bad bacterias had taken over. It’s like a little war going on inside my body. My poor body, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know the damage I was causing. Bad bacteria make you crave sugar. They feed off of it, and when you give into those cravings, they eat it, multiply, and then you want MORE sugar. So not only are you increasing your sugar cravings by eating sugar (seems backwards, I know), but you are also increasing the population of bad bacteria in your body. Bad bacteria, bad, bad. Go sit in the corner.

With an overuse of antibiotics, you develop a yeast overgrowth, also called a candida infection. This infection affects a large amount of the human population today, as it is also caused by the not-so-wonderful-after-all “Pill”, as well as the abundant amount of sugar in our diets, which promotes the growth of yeast. Instead of combatting this problem with more antibiotics, natural remedies like probiotics are a good solution.

Probiotics are friendly or “good” bacteria. Not only will taking probiotics help kill the bad bacteria, but they have other health benefits such as a greater immunity to infectious diseases, improved digestion and higher energy levels. I am not a doctor, but I recommend going to your local health food store and asking for some help selecting the best probiotic. You will find them in the refrigerated section within the vitamin/supplement section. You are probably saying, “Oh, I already take probiotics, they’re in my yogurt.” Just a quick note about probiotics in yogurt… Very often, commercial yogurts are pasteurized and the bacteria are dead. Even if they are alive, these yogurts generally contain high amounts of sugar, which we know encourages the growth of yeast. Lastly, milk and dairy products tend to worsen the symptoms of candida infection. So, your call, but I would check out the pill form of probiotics.

The world that we live in scares the crap out of me on a daily basis. I’m constantly second-guessing people like doctors, who we are supposed to trust, even seemingly common enough foods are made with ingredients you can’t pronounce, what is this world coming to? This isn’t by any means meant to be a negative post. Instead, the purpose of this blog is really to open your eyes. The more educated you can become, the better decisions you can make regarding your food, your medications (or lack thereof) and your body. It’s your body, and you only get one life to live in it. Let’s do everything we can to make it one amazing life, inside one, amazing body.

The more whole you live, the more free you become.

Doctors. They’re supposed to help us, right? We see them when we have issues we can’t solve on our own. We make an appointment, it takes weeks to see them, we wait through long delays in the waiting room, then when we see them, we put our trust in them that they will help get our bodies back to functioning normally. Not to mention that we also pay them pretty good money to do so. Unfortunately, after all that, it is a very difficult task these days to find a doctor that will take the time to listen to you, to help you find the right solution to your problems.

Think about the typical experience once the doctor actually gets around to seeing you. On average, they spent 5-7 minutes with you, if that, their prescription pad in their hand the entire time. You barely get done speaking, and they’ve already got 2 prescriptions written for you. Even worse, if you’ve seen this doctor, or any other doctor before, chances are good this is your fourth or fifth prescription. In my experience, every single medication you take treats one thing, but leaves you with several other unwanted side effects. So how to you put an end to those side effects? With more medication of course! Is anyone paying attention to all the medications we’re currently taking, and what their chemical interactions with each other are? It kills me. I suppose it’s literally killing me as well. Which is why I’ve decided to rid myself of all medication. It’s been a slow process, as it should be, but I know it will be worth it in the end.

Even when I was younger, I didn’t like changing doctors often, because I felt like it took so long for the current doctor to get to know me and my body, I didn’t want to have to start all over. How can someone help me if they don’t know the whole story? They can’t. I generally don’t feel like doctors do a very good job of fixing the problem, because they’re always treating the symptoms and not looking for the root cause. I don’t blame them entirely, I know that most of them are just doing what they have been trained to do in our Western world, regardless of their intentions. Dr. Junger (creator of the CLEAN Program) was able to travel to India to learn and practice medicine and healing there. He brought back to the United States his Eastern practices, which include using ancient herbs, chiropractic care, diet, massage, acupuncture and hands-on healing. He began getting to the root of his patients’ troubles, he didn’t just treat the symptoms. He refers to it as common sense. I love that.

In today’s society, we are sent to specialists for just about everything. According to Dr. Junger, many of the health problems that trouble so many modern humans and cost society so much money can be alleviated by taking a broader approach, focusing on reactivating the potential of the detoxification system.

“A focused period of detoxifying is a reset for the whole physical and mental body. It delivers an all-access pass to boundless reserves of energy you didn’t know you had. You find that every part of your body works better, imbalances are rectified, and irritating symptoms get a chance to melt away on their own—all by your simply “switching on” a system that you were born with and that has been patiently waiting to serve you.” (4)

Maybe you don’t have a serious health concern, but you feel “off.” There’s something to be said for that. Symptoms like bloating, fatigue, itchiness, moodiness, sneezing, constipation, mental fog, nightmares and swelling may indicate that you are just slightly off balance, or that some type of disorder is about to surface. It’s important to stay ahead of this game, so that you don’t have to worry about reversing diseases later in life.

Toxicity isn’t recognized as a condition in modern medicine. And sadly, if you ask some doctors about it, they will call it quackery.

According to Dr. Junger, “Doctors who are skeptical about the value of detox programs such as Clean will argue that there is nothing in “the literature” to support it. What they mean is that when you search the medical database, you find no scientific studies or published research on such detox programs. Databases only contain what the editors decide to include, making them biased toward Western medical studies with Western protocols. The research game is biased before it begins. The cost of large-scale double-controlled placebo studies makes pharmaceutical companies the only ones that can afford to fund them. It’s not good for business to prove that vegetables and fruits can be the most powerful medicine.” (4)

We live in a modern world, with modern inventions and technology, but our planet is becoming more and more toxic. From the air we breathe, to the foods we eat, the water we shower in and even the clothes we put on our body, we are overexposing ourselves to harmful chemicals. Our bodies aren’t able to handle this overload, and so we become toxic, damaged and out of balance. “Our thinking and habits need to evolve or our bodies will die of dust while we hold a state-of-the-art vacuum cleaner in our hands.” – Alejandro Junger, M.D.

It’s time to start taking our lives into our own hands.

Live Whole and Be Free,

Melissa

I’m on my 6th day of the CLEAN Program, and I’m so excited I can barely contain myself. The only reason I haven’t blogged about this sooner is because I am so overwhelmed by the mass amounts of unbelievable information that I’m not sure where to start! However, as with anything else, you must start somewhere.

 

What is the CLEAN program? Well, besides amazing, and in the words of Alejandro Junger, M.D., CLEAN is “the revolutionary program to restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself.” (4) Ummm, yes please, I’ll take two! I should also start by saying that I absolutely despise reading. It puts me to sleep in under two minutes. But I am so enthralled by this book, all I can think about is when my next chance to read more will be. (Who am I?! Don’t tell my Dad. Or do tell him, he’ll be so proud!)

 

Watch the video at the end of the post for a quick 3-min recap of how CLEAN came to be. You’ll appreciate it much more after knowing where it came from. This is one of those books I feel was written just for me. Except Dr. Junger went to med school, and I went to art school. Same thing.

 

I’m only 52 pages into the book right now, but I started the program on Monday. I’m basically following the program while I learn why I should do this. I was already sold within the first 5 pages, and with every page I read, I am further and further convinced that this is the right thing for me to do. I’m off almost all of my medications, and this definitely gives me the motivation to go all the way through until they’re ALL gone! I’m staying away from things that are toxic and have no desire to go back. It’s even possible that my days of eating red meat are behind me for good. I NEVER, ever, ever, ever thought that would be me. When any taste for red meat suddenly disappeared for me a few weeks ago, I figured it was a phase, but I maybe I was wrong! Who would’ve thought?

 

Dr. Junger teaches us through this book how and why the planet is toxic, how and why WE are toxic and what we can start doing now to reverse the crazy diseases and conditions we’ve caused ourselves. That’s right. We did it to ourselves. You think you have allergies? Depression? Even Diabetes? Think again. I know exactly what you’re thinking, because I was raised in the same world that you were… the doctor told you that you have allergies, it is quite clear from your side effects that you have allergies, so you MUST have allergies. Or not. These conditions are our bodies’ signals to us, letting us know that our toxicity level is too high. Our bodies are much smarter than we give them credit for.

 

Success stories from people who have completed the 3 week program call it revolutionary, and with good reason. They no longer need to wear their glasses or take diabetes medications, women unable to get pregnant are now giving birth to healthy babies, chronic coughs are disappearing, depression is lifting, varicose veins are reverting back to normal, auto-immune diseases and ulcers are vanishing, fatty livers are turning healthy, and many more. And the benefits don’t stop at the physical level. Minds get clearer, intentions strengthen, will is reborn and relationships deepen. (4) Think it’s quackery? I dare you to try it!

 UPDATE: This post has been updated on 4/17/12 by popular demand to include additional details. Your wish has been granted fellow readers! Read, cleanse and be free!

There is always a lot of talk about cleanses these days. People are always looking for the newest, quickest, easiest way to drop pounds fast. Let me preface this post by saying—if those are your intentions, please stop reading. I’m talking about cleansing for reasons that will leave your cells revitalized, give you more energy, clear mental fog, restore balance and release and eliminate toxins from the body. If you are looking for a magical/quick fix…I’ll be honest, not only is this not the right post for you—this is not the BLOG for you. 🙂 Although you will lose a few pounds doing this cleanse, it should be entered into for the right reasons—to help supplement a healthy lifestyle, not to correct years of binge eating junk foods.

When cleansing, it’s extremely important that you find a cleanse that not only releases toxins from cells, but will also eliminate them from your body. You also want to find a cleanse that provides the proper nutrition for your body, so that you are replenishing cells while you clean them out. Taking a probiotic while doing this cleanse will also be important.

The problem with a lot of the cleanses and fad diets out there, is that you end up starving your body of essential nutrients. Sure, you lose a lot of weight, but at what expense? Chances are if you lose a lot of weight very quickly, it will come back even quicker, and usually you will gain more weight back than you lost in the first place. If you are taking part in any diet, cleanse or weight loss journey, you need to remember that it is a process. Trust the process, stay committed and you will see the results. The goal here is to become a healthier version of the person you are today. You will probably lose some weight in the process which is an added bonus, but I highly recommend you do any cleanse/detox with the goal of giving your body what it needs, as opposed to starving it or depleting it of nutrients (ahem… “Master Cleanse”).

There are 3-Day and 11-Day options for the Amazing Meal Cleanse. Since I am in good overall health and just want to regain energy, clear mental fog and eliminate some bad habits I’ve picked up (eating just “because”), I usually opt for the three day option. I have done this cleanse three times now, doing the 3-Day version each time. Each time I’ve done it, I’ve experienced different feelings throughout the cleanse. This is normal, and it happens because every time I’ve done the cleanse, my body has been in a slightly different state. For example, things like stress levels, how “clean” you’ve been eating prior to the cleanse, how your immune system is functioning, etc., are all things that effect how you will feel during the cleanse itself. Regardless of how I feel during each of the three days… I always feel so much better afterwards! If I didn’t, I wouldn’t keep doing it!

In the past I’ve ended this post with a link to Amazing Grass’ web site for details on the Amazing Meal Cleanse. However, most people seem to prefer knowing exactly what I’ve done, which is why I’m posting this revision. Below is what I do when I participate in the cleanse. Please always remember to check with your doctor prior to initiating a cleanse. Cleanses aren’t safe for certain populations.

What You’ll Need:

  • Amazing Meal Powder: I would get the big container, it’s more cost-effective than the individual packets. You can find Amazing Meal at any health food specialty store (Whole Foods, Central Market, etc.) You can also purchase it online here. Cost is around $40-45 depending on where you buy it.
  • Lots of alkaline water: I prefer the brand Essentia (also available at WF and CM), it has the highest pH of all the bottled waters with a level of 9.5, helping to neutralize the acidity in your body.
  • Probiotics: Visit your local Whole Foods or natural health food store and ask the vitamin/supplement specialist for a good probiotic. They are located in a refrigerated section of the vitamins/supplements. These will assist with good “gut health”, or intestinal flora.
  • Kombucha: One of my favorite beverages! I make my own but if you want to buy it, I prefer the Synergy brand. Check the refrigerated section of your grocery store. (You might have to go to a specialty grocery like Whole Foods).
  • Superfood Powder: This is going to help keep you feeling full and keep your energy levels up. Mix it with water (preferred to reduce sugar content), coconut water or juice.
  • Frozen fruit, spinach/kale, ginger, avocado, and some unsweetened almond or coconut milk for smoothies (see smoothie recipe at the bottom of this post)
  • Optional: Some sort of general supplement, I take Intramax, which I absolutely love, and is prescribed to me by a Doctor. It is, however, available for purchase online, but please speak to your Doctor before adding new supplements to your diet and of course, before initiating any type of cleanse.
  • Optional: Apple Cider Vinegar: Yes, it’s terrible at first, but you’ll get used to it. It’s a great detox drink and it  helps clear up sinus issues! Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water, and consume all at once. If you’d rather sip on it, you can mix ⅛ – ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar in 16 oz. of water, and sip on it throughout the day.

Morning:

  • Upon waking: 1 shot of Intramax, followed by 8 oz. alkaline water. If you don’t have Intramax, I suggest drinking apple cider vinegar. If you visit Amazing Grass’ web site, they will tell you to drink young Thai coconut water in the morning. Either one is fine!
  • ~30 minutes later — Amazing Meal Smoothie*
  • Continue drinking alkaline water throughout the day (and your apple cider vinegar drink if you’d like).
Snack:
  • Alkaline water and ACV water
Lunch:
  • Amazing Meal Smoothie
  • Lots more water! On a normal day, you should consume half your body weight in ounces of water. So while cleansing—drink more than that!
Snack:
  • Kombucha! It is recommended to drink the bottle half at a time, so you really get two snacks in one… aren’t you lucky!
  • Keep drinking that alkaline water! Remember, you are detoxing, so you want to flush those toxins out of your system and stay hydrated! (Note: the water will help flush toxings, but you’ll also need the Amazing Meal for the protein and fiber… the toxins will bind to it and that’s how they will be eliminated from your body. And if you’re wondering… no, this is not a cleanse where you will need to stay home from work. You can live a normal life while on this cleanse).
  • Superfood/Coconut Water Beverage. I prefer to drink this prior to my workouts, to increase energy levels. Amazing Grass also has a Superfood Powder product that I love, berry-flavored superfood powder. If you don’t feel like an intense workout during the cleanse, I understand, but try to get moving somehow. Try a walk around the block or some yoga. Excercise will help your body do what it needs to do (layman’s terms). These superfood drinks will help keep your energy levels up and help keep you full throughout the day. Feel free to have a couple of them. I mix one scoop (or packet) of the superfood powder in one bottle of Zico pineapple or mango coconut water. It’s delicious! Well, to me it is. If you’ve never had it before, you might not be a fan! Try it in juice or alkaline water as well.
Dinner:
  • Amazing Meal Smoothie! I usually drink the Pomegranate Mango flavor, but if you’d like to switch it up and have something “special” for dinner, try another flavor… they sell individual packets as well as the big containers of the powdered mixes. With the dinner smoothie, mix in a tablespoon of flaxseed oil.
  • Probiotic
  • More water!
I usually try to get to sleep as early as I can on the cleanse, and wake up as late as possible. Getting enough rest is not only essential while your body is working hard to reenergize cells, it helps because if you’re asleep, you’re generally not thinking about how you can’t eat for three days. Another note… I usually make smoothies because they help keep me more full throughout the day. If you’d like, you can mix the amazing meal with fresh, organic juices, which will create a more intense cleaning experience. However, having to teach GroupX classes, I can’t typically get away with just juice for 3 days. 🙂

*Smoothie Recipe

  • ~ 6 frozen peach slices (can use a banana instead of peaches)
  • A handful of organic spinach leaves or kale
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries (0r strawberries, or fruit of your choice)
  • a few frozen blackberries
  • 1 pinch of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cup organic, unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup of organic apple or orange juice (optional)
  • 1 scoop of Amazing Meal powder
These are approximate amounts. Feel free to add more or less juice depending on the consistency you desire. Also, to reduce the sugar and calorie content of the smoothie, use alkaline water instead of apple juice and/or add cucumbers instead of blueberries and blackberries. 

Please visit Amazing Grass’ web site for in-depth details and instructions, What I’ve noted above is what I do when I partake in the cleanse, but again, this is obviously catered to me. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a comment below or shoot me an email. I know many of you have done this cleanse in the past two weeks and I want you to know I’m very proud of you!

Lastly, cleanses are meant to be done every once in a while. For me, I do them 2-3 times a year. Many people do them with the change of seasons, which is also reasonable. I would avoid doing them too often though… I feel that 4 times a year is plenty. In theory, you should be eating a healthy diet and shouldn’t need to participate in a cleanse more often than that. If your eating habits are poor, you should consider overhauling your diet, not cleansing more often.

Don’t forget to check with your doctor prior to initiating any sort of cleanse on your own, as I am not a doctor.

Good luck! And here’s to a happier, healthier you!

Challenge your body to change your body
Force Changes Within Your Body

What do you do when you workout? Do you jump on the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike? If you do, what else do you do? Read, check facebook, watch TV? If you are, you are focusing on other things besides your workout, which is fine if your main goal is to read, and you just happen to be mindlessly moving your legs while you do it. However, if your goal is to challenge your body, you’re going to need to focus on your workout. Some would even go as far as to suggest taking the earbuds out so that you can really listen to your body and focus on how you’re responding at different levels of intensity. The truth is, you must overload your body in order to create a change. It needs to endure more stress than you have put on it in the past if you want different results than what you have currently.

Let’s face it, you’re a busy person, so now that you actually made the time to get to the gym, you want to make it worth your while, right? You want to challenge yourself during a workout. Put the phone down, and get out of your comfort zone. Take a quick look at the people at the gym who are checking their email, reading a magazine, or watching TV. Chances are good that the majority of them probably do not appear to be working very hard. A good way to judge how hard you’re working (if you don’t have a heart rate monitor) is to use the talk test. How easily can you have a conversation? If you’re struggling to get words out and breathe at the same time, good, you’re working hard, keep it up. If you can easily carry a conversation, however, it’s time to kick it up a notch… or three.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. – Frank Devito
I suggest alternating between higher and lower levels of intensity. The shorter, but higher-insensity workouts will prove better in the end for various reasons. One of which, is that you will raise your resting metabolic rate, which means you will burn more calories at rest. You will have a greater EPOC, or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption level, which translates to your body is burning calories for a longer period after you complete your workout. Also known as the “afterburn.”
By working out at a higher intensity, you actually won’t have to spend as many hours in the gym. Workout harder, workout smarter. Check out some of my suggestions for interval training.
Peace, love and logic,
Melissa

I teach a seriously awesome full body functional training group fitness class at Equinox called ViPR. ViPR stands for Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning, and it’s amazing.

ViPR uses strength, resistance and endurance training to create a workout which simulates real life activities. With this class, you’ll regain the power to move more effectively with more energy. This class can be done by anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. All the exercises can be regressed or progressed based on speed, stability, load, simple or complex movements, lever length, repetition, range of motion, power, etc.

See for yourself what ViPR is all about, I teach it every Friday morning, 6am, at the Equinox at Preston Hollow. Here’s a little sneak peek below! See you Friday!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of these GroupX (Group Exercise/Group Fitness) classes, as they are all the rage! And there’s a reason for that. Maybe you’ve tried one of these classes before, maybe you’re a die-hard GroupX-er (yes, I made that word up), or maybe you’re too intimidated to try a class just yet. Don’t worry, I was too. I watched quite a few boxing boot camps through the windows while I did my time on the elliptical machine, because I was too intimidated to try the class all by myself. Yes, you heard that right. I was scared! But one day, I finally mustered up the courage to ask the instructor what everyone was wrapping their hands for, and what that class was all about. You can read more about that story here. But really, all it took was one 60 minute class, and the rest is history!

So why should you try a GroupX class? There are plenty of reasons. Maybe you need a change to your current workout regimen? Maybe you’ve plateaued, and can’t seem to get as much out of your workouts as you used to. Maybe you want to push yourself a little harder, and it’s hard to do on your own, or maybe you want to make some new friends. The energy in these classes is intoxicating and quite addicting, you will leave with a smile on your face and anxious to attend the next one!

It’s also important to note that GroupX classes can vary quite vastly. Each instructor will have his/her own style of teaching, and it does not mean that one instructor is better than another. In reality, it’s great to have some many wonderful instructor options for members to choose from. Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to working out, so it’s great to know that members have so many options to choose from. There is a perfect match out there for all members! I encourage you to try different classes and different instructors. And most importantly, definitely don’t judge an instructor or class after only one class. These classes, their formats, etc. are very organic in the sense that they are constantly evolving. Instructors will (and should) change up the exercises and possibly even the formats from time to time in order to keep it challenging for the participants, and to avoid any plateauing. I can say that even classes with the same format, taught by myself, can vary from location to location as well depending on the audience.

So in short, get out there and try some classes. You may find you love it, you may find you’re not sure about it, or it may not be for you. But regardless, give it a try, it’s a great way to shake up your routine! I’ve converted many “tough guys” into religious Group X members of mine, and I can’t help but think that you’ll most likely love it too! See you in class!

My current teaching schedule can be found on the About page, please scroll down.

This recipe is: Gluten-free, dairy-free*, soy-free and vegetarian*. *Contain eggs

This vegetarian recipe can easily be altered if you would prefer to eat chicken or shrimp pad thai! Feel free to experiment based on your dietary preferences.

Notes

Recipe yields: 4 servings
Soak time: 1 hour – overnight
Prep time: 30 minutes
Additional Equipment Needed: Large wok or skillet

Ingredients

  • One 14 oz. package rice noodles (ensure they are gluten-free)
  • 1/4 c. tamarind juice
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (can substitute stevia, use 1/2 tblsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil (try olive oil or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. bean sprouts
  • 1/4 c. unsalted peanuts, crushed
  • Sprigs of fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Lime, wedged, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, soak the rice noodles in cold water for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the tamarind juice, vinegar, sugar and paprika.
  3. In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and egg and cook, stirring until the egg is scrambled, about 1 – 2 minutes.
  4. Serve the noodles with bean sprouts on the side, peanuts sprinkled over the top and with the cilantro and lime-wedge garnishes.

This recipe is: Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan*. *This recipe can easily be altered to include meat, dairy, gluten, etc.

This is what I eat for lunch everyday, Monday through Friday, and I have done so for roughly the last 3 years. I know exactly what you’re thinking… “boring!” Ah, but it is not. I’ve been eating spinach everyday for so long, that now if I go without it, I just don’t feel right. I actually crave it, yes, it can happen. I also like that “what to have for lunch” is never a question in my mind, therefore giving me one less decision I have to make in my day. Phew! The trick to keep this interesting, is to switch up the ingredients, dressings, toppings, etc. I’ll list some optional ingredients here, but don’t limit yourself, branch out and make a salad that you’ll actually look forward to eating. The truth is, if you are forcing yourself to do it, and you don’t enjoy it, it won’t last long. 🙂

Notes

Prep time: 5 minutes, so you really don’t have any excuse not to pack your lunch!

Ingredients

  • Organic, baby spinach (as much as you’d like, I fill a medium-large tupperware container full of spinach)
  • Red and yellow peppers
  • Raw almonds (I prefer the sliced/shaved almonds)
  • Diced green apple
  • Unsweetened, dried cranberries (watch the calorie/sugar content, don’t go overboard with these)
  • Fresh, organic strawberries
  • Kalamata olives (pitted)
  • Carrot slices
  • Extra virgin olive oil and a squirt of agave nectar for dressing

Other Optional Ingredients

Please note that the inclusion of some of these ingredients will no longer make the salad raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegetarian and/or vegan.

  • Walnuts, pecans or other nuts
  • Blueberries, mandarin oranges, avocados or other fresh fruit
  • Zucchini, squash, beets, carrots, corn, peas, kidney beans and other vegetables
  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, other seeds
  • Croutons (Omit if going for a gluten-free dish)
  • Feta Cheese (Omit if you’re going dairy-free)
  • Quinoa (An amazing superfood which gives the salad more “bulk”, esp. if you are omitting meat)
  • Leftover meat from dinner the night before (Save some of your chicken, steak, fish, etc. from last night’s dinner and put it on your salad the next day. It’s delish! Obviously, omit if vegan/vegetarian)
  • Dressings: balsamic vinagrete, other things to mix with extra virgin olive oil. Be cautious of pre-packaged dressings. They likely contain lots of sodium, preservatives, sugars, allergens like soy, etc. If a dressing is “fat-free”, chances are they added lots of additives to make it taste good without the fat. Olive oil does contain fat, but it is good fat, just like the good fat in avocados. A little on your salad everyday is good for you!

Directions

Put all ingredients together in the tupperware, except the dressing. Use another, small tupperware for a single serving of dressing for your salad, or bring a bottle of extra virgin olive oil to the office with you, if you can. You want to avoid putting the dressing on your salad the night before because your leaves will be soggy by the time you go to eat it.

Also, I use baby spinach because it tastes the best and because it is the most nutrient-dense of all the lettuces. Stay away from iceberg lettuce because it has no nutritional value.

Lastly, when people in the office give you a hard time because all you eat is “rabbit food” for lunch… they’re just jealous, so don’t let it bother you. 🙂

**Update** Thank you Shellie Argeanton for submitting your photos of your version of the spinach salad! It looks delicious! 🙂