Yes, dudes need CK too.

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It is not surprising that we get majority of women who sign up for Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge. But we do have those few brave men who take action. And when they go all in the results are amazing! Check out the beginning story of Justin’s journey. We are so proud of the change and progress you have made, not only physically, but that whole mindset change too!

By Justin Esser

I played sports all through my childhood and into college, and I could generally eat whatever I wanted and still feel and look fit. I never really had a problem with weight, and because of that I guess I thought that I knew enough about what was good or bad for you. Fast-forward 15 years and my mindset about how my body processed food never changed. I mean home-made spaghetti, or pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy have to be better than McDonald’s, right? I didn’t need any help (I thought) – I wasn’t skinny, but I didn’t really think of myself as too fat…

A few years ago I started to notice that all I had the energy to do was go to work, play with the kids for a few minutes when I came home, and then go to bed. My family was getting the short end of the stick and I felt tired and slow all the time. I knew that I could probably do a better job eating a little healthier, but I really just felt like I needed to be more active. I would join a gym and be super dedicated to 2-day per week workouts for every bit of 2 weeks, and then something would derail me. Six months later I would do the same thing – gym, kill it for 2 weeks, and then fall off again.

In January of 2017 I was the heaviest I had ever been at 246 pounds. I was really starting to be embarrassed about how I looked and how clothes fit me, and could really tell that any physical exertion just about required an oxygen tank. I knew I had to make a serious change.

Before I joined Clean Kitchen, I honestly thought it was just a “girl” thing and not many dudes actually signed up for the program. But I wasn’t getting any younger and definitely wasn’t getting any thinner, so I thought I would kinda secretly join Clean Kitchen to lose a little weight and start to get back in shape. I quickly found out that CK was a legit nutritional/educational program created by people who really care about helping others lead a healthier lifestyle, and that literally anyone could benefit from it. CK showed me that I was using the wrong foods to fuel my body, and expecting those foods to do things for me that they just weren’t designed to do.

About the program:

The program is web-based which makes it real easy to follow. You receive daily emails with checklists and lessons full of information, assignments to help you practice the habits, and even though they came to me daily I never felt like there were too many. The coaches do an incredible job of educating you on the fundamentals of nutrition and build your knowledge at a very easy pace over the 12 week program. Coaches are easy to talk to and quick to answer any questions that you have (Kellar was clutch here!).

The best part of the program for me is that it prepares you for the rough days. When you’re busy, don’t feel great, or just want to eat whatever you want to eat – good habits start to kick in and you aren’t as vulnerable to making poor decisions.

I’m pretty analytical and don’t typically do something just because I’m told its good for me. But explain to me why its good, and I’ll do it forever! This program gives you the knowledge and confidence to continue a healthier lifestyle beyond the 12 weeks.

My progress:

I lost 29 pounds and a total of 29.4 inches.

Sloppy Joes

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Lower fat and lower sugar version of a kid classic! Most sloppy joe sauces are made with ketchup and brown sugar. We basically revamped this to be a tangier version with a little sweetness using stevia. To add to the sweetness, we piled our mix high on some roasted sweet potato slices!

Update: I have changed some ingredients around. I now use 1 can of crushed tomatoes instead of using tomato sauce, tomato paste, and no arrowroot flour. The crushed tomatoes make it thick enough without the need for arrowroot flour!

Ingredients

  • 1.25 lb ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 tbs tomato paste (optional just to help thicken more)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 tbs white distilled vinegar
  • 1 tbs mustard yellow
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Drops stevia to taste
  • 3 tsp arrowroot flour or corn starch

 

Directions

  1. Heat stove top pan with 1 tbs olive oil, brown meat and cook chopped onions.
  2. Drain meat juices, then add everything to the pan. Stir together and simmer until thickens to your likeness. If you want it to tighten up even more, add another teaspoon of arrowroot flour.

For sweet potato slices:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice sweet potatoes and season on pan with salt, garlic and onion, or any pieces you  would like. Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes.

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“Skinny” doesn’t mean “healthy”

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Kimberly has always been naturally thin and not what you might call an “overweight” person. You may look at her and think she doesn’t have any weight to lose. But she needed Clean Kitchen. Being “skinny” doesn’t mean “healthy.” Being healthy is so much more than counting calories for the rest of your life. It actually has nothing to do with counting calories. Being healthy has everything to do with what you habitually do everyday. That is where Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge can come in.

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Summer 2016 Progress Pictures!

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We had an amazing group of people in the Summer 2016 Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge. The progress picture vote was SO HARD with so many amazing pictures of progress. Featured below are our winners and a gallery full of of the amazing body transformations that happened in just 12 Weeks!

And the winners are…

First Place: Won $1000 cash!!Summer2016Winner

Second Place won a $600 Yeti Package from Parish Tractor!

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Third Place won $500 to spend in Ashley Furniture Homestore!

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This program is about teaching you the critical steps to get your results and keep making progress. It’s not a meal plan, it’s not a “diet” program, and it’s definitely not something that is meant to last only 12 weeks. Our clients realize we are preparing them for week 13 and beyond.

We understand how daunting “getting in shape” can seem. But you have to start. Start with one simple step, change one simple habit and watch each step build upon the next. This is how we work in the 12 Week Challenge. We teach you how to build a healthy life that can be simple, not complicated. Just take a look at these results. They speak for themselves. These are real people, who had real obsticles, and made small daily changes that added up to big results. Find out more about the next Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge here!

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The Journey Continues

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By Matt Lee

Journey is the word I like to use when it comes to attaining your fitness goals. It helps me not to get discouraged if I’m not where I want to be. It keeps me centered in the reality that my goals, while they are completely attainable, will require some patience, focus, and remembering that there is no quick fix that produces long term, maintainable fitness goals.

A little back story first.  For those of you that don’t know I am a coach at Versus. I also grew up the chubby kid in my friend group. My friends were my friends and we were tight, but I did get picked on from time to time for being the chubby guy in the group. It also didn’t help that I sweat all the time. And honestly over time, not that I blame them, it put little insecurities into my head about my appearance. I always the kid who always wore a shirt at the beach or at the pool, dreaded the ole “shirts versus skins”, it also made me a little shy.  Yep I was that guy.

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Protein Banana Bread

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Here is a recipe from our Fit Kids Kitchen (@fitkidskitchen on Instargram) dedicated to creating yummy meals and treats the kiddos will even enjoy. For the adults, this can be a great post workout carb treat to enjoy!

Prep time: 10 minutes

cook time: 35+ minutes

servings: 8 slices

Ingredients:

Fresh

  • 4 overly ripend bananas mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pantry

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 scoops Quest Vanilla Milkshake protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Couple of dashes of cinnamon
  • Couple of dashes of pumpkin spice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash bananas in food processor. Add egg, vanilla, honey and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients and seasonings. Lastly, fold walnuts in. Bake in prepared bread pan for 30-35 minutes until tooth pick comes out clean.

Quick Tip to keep bread from drying out! When it comes out of the oven, cover the bread in pan with tin foil. Let cool while covered.

Butternut Kale Bake

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Prep time: 10 minutes

cook time: 10 minutes

servings: 4-5

Ingredients:

Fresh

  • 2 bags of cubed butternut squash
  • 5 C kale, chopped (or half bag pre-chopped)
  • ½ C fresh Parmesan, grated

Pantry

  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (or garlic powder)
  • ½ tbs dried sage (optional)
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 C -1 C low sodium chicken broth

Directions:

Heat oil over medium heat and sauté butternut squash until edges begin to turn brown.  Add garlic, sage and salt.  Let squash cook for two- three minutes.  Add chicken broth and kale then cover and simmer for about seven minutes.

Once the kale is wilted, mix in a ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Keep in oven safe sauté pan or transfer to a baking dish.

Top with remaining 1/4 C Parmesan.  Broil on high until a crust forms on top, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve hot!

Those last 10 pounds…

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How you built an unhealthy relationship with food.

By Jamie Page

I will start this article by saying trying to lose weight sucks. Plain and simple, there is nothing peachy about it. It takes hard work and, above all, consistency. The more I learn about nutrition, the more “complicated” it can seem and I see how people can lose sight of what really matters. So I understand the more you read about opposing diets and supplements, the more confused you will be about which path to take. If you do not take anything else from this article let it be this: Eat more whole foods than you eat processed foods, drink more water than other beverages, and move more. This is the only path to real-feel-good-long-lasting-health. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is a liar.

As a coach, I meet a lot of people who have unhealthy relationships with food. They may not realize it, but this has been built over years of being told to “eat less and lose more”. There is a fear of “doing it wrong” or fear of not eating the “right” foods. You may have an unhealthy relationship with food if:

You think eating “too much fruit” is a bad thing. You might have some confusion on what eating healthy really is. (You may have said, “Aren’t bananas super high in sugar?”) 

You think taking a fat-burner or other supplement is more important than eating plants in every meal.

You think saving calories or macros for a later meal is more important than where those calories or macros are coming from.

This is called “mowing the lawn, while your house is on fire.”

Which means: Focusing on small details rather than the root problem.

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Fruits are plants. Plants are good for you. Eat the plant! The problem is not your fruit consumption, it’s all the other food you eat 365 days of the year. Once you get in the habit of choosing more plants, then you can get technical about having “too much fruit” or whether or not you should cut back on the fruit.

Supplements and juice cleanses are not the key to a healthy body. Supplements are suppose to be “supplemental” to an already healthy diet. Juice cleanses are not for losing weight. And if you are using it to “detox,” remember you were born with a liver that does that for you. You just need to change the quality of your food choices.

There is no need to worry about minor details (like macro/calorie counting) when you do not have the foundation of basic healthy habits down—more water than other beverages, more plants every time you eat, and use lean protein sources.  Get down the basics first before complicating things.

If there was a magical pill or supplement that allows me to eat pizza and ice cream every single day and still keep the health I have right now, please inform me ASAP.

There is no right or wrong way if you stick with the basics and real food.

But as far as media shows us, we are conditioned to think there is some secret or misery involved. Here at Clean Kitchen, we take the psycho out of it. We teach that simple steps can add up to huge and lasting results.

In the Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge, we will teach you how to perfect the basics.  We will help you break old school thinking and establish new habits. But first, let’s explain what may be sabotaging all your efforts currently.

Your body was designed to feel awesome.  But, you lose weight by making yourself miserable. Then you just put the weight back on twice as fast. It is a vicious cycle that creates a very unhealthy relationship with food.

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Hope

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Hope Gustafson’s story of a “brain-retrain.”

I titled this “Hope” because though this is her actual name, this is a story will give you hope for change. If you are looking at getting healthy and fit as “not possible” or “just not for me,” then this story will change your mind. This is a testimony of the transformation of her body, but more importantly her mindset. You really just have to get out of your own way and trust the process. Let time and consistency work it’s magic. Now anything is possible! This new life perspective was brought on by just taking a leap of faith, trusting her coaches, and following through with a process she didn’t trust 100% in the beginning. Slowly her body and mind changed. Without even realizing it, she molded a completely new person! We are SO PROUD of you Hope!!!!!!! Congrats on your new life you have created!!

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“This past month a picture popped through my TimeHop from right before I started Versus, out of sheer curiosity I did a side by side comparison of that picture and one I knew I had on my phone and there it was — right in front of my face. Proof of the work I’ve put in.”

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