I signed up for the Winter 2017 Clean Kitchen challenge after my aunt invited me to a Clean Kitchen cooking demonstration. Honestly, I was not convinced that I could “do” Clean Kitchen with all the “it must taste good,” healthy alternatives and eat your “plants” 4-8 times per day talk from two extremely fit, beautiful women in pristine white shirts.
However, I had gotten to a point in my life where I felt like I had nothing to lose. I hated looking at myself, especially in pictures. I hated how hard it was for me to get around. I could barely walk up the small flight of stairs at work without getting winded. I constantly battled guilt for feeling sorry for myself and believing I should just be grateful. I have so many things to be grateful for – a loving husband, two beautiful girls, a supportive family, good friends and co-workers, a great job, health, home, etc. But, I wasn’t happy, and I found myself trying to minimize who I was in every way possible, and I hated that most of all.
I LOVE DISNEY! My family loves Disney World! Disney is a magical place where wonderful memories can be made with your family, but those memories shouldn’t be at the expense of your health. So of course, we’ve got you covered with our Eating Out in Disney Guide(PDF download below) and park tips and packing tips to always be prepared for any meals during your stay at Disney!
If you really think about it, Disney World—or any vacation for that matter, is just another week. Do you normally wake up on am Monday and say “I am going to gorge myself this week, stuff my face with every treat that comes my way, and not have a plan.”
In the Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge, we teach our clients to prepare for the expected and unexpected. Having prepped meals, snacks and a plan for eating out sets us up for success. A few treats or an off-meal will not stall progress towards your goals, but an entire vacation of bad choices can set you back not only physically, but mentally as well. It’s hard to reset after a complete fall off the wagon! Do yourself a favor and at least let the wagon drag you, ha!
I am a HUGE fan of Everything Bagels and cream cheese, it is just not a food inline with my goals. So, of course, I had to come up with a more nutritious alternative—Everything Quinoa Biscuit. No bagel is complete without cream cheese, Cucumber-Dill Cheese cheese to go with our plate. So while dreaming up this re-vamp I immediately thought of Lox and Bagels. Typically lox is smoked-cured salmon, but I didn’t have any. Instead I did a “Lox” Baked Salmon, seasoned it to mimic some “lox” flavor combinations, and DANG this was so yummy. To make this even more lox-a-licious, I threw in some quick sides with Quick Pickled Red Onion slices and Warm Spinach with Capers.
Below are the recipes that make up this entire plate. Make all or just a few, but I guarantee you will keep these in heavy rotation. In true CK fashion, these are simple and fast!
Naturally sweet butternut goes perfectly with sweet caramelized onions. This super simple side dish would pair well with any protein, even for breakfast with a fried egg. We flavored this dish using J. Olive Co. Tuscan Herb Olive Oil and J. Olive Co. Gravenstein Apple Balsamic, garlic and feta to give a savory but hint of sweet taste. The onions do take some time to cook but this is well worth the wait!
Tuscan Herb Butternut Noodles
1 pack of frozen Green Giant Spiralized butternut squash
This year, I turned 35 years old. I was at the lowest point I had been in my life in terms of my health. I knew something had to change, but I didn’t know what to do. In the depths of despair, I went to see a doctor for weight loss. Eat this, don’t eat that, take this pill, and come back in a month. I KNEW there had to be a better way.
I have struggled with weight most of my adult life. I have tried a little bit of everything in the past – calorie counting, counting points, fad “diets.” I would have some success with these methods, but it was nothing that I could stick with long term.
I have friends at work that have done the Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge and live the CK way of life. They encouraged me to sign up for Clean Kitchen and just do it. Without giving myself time to think too much about it or talk myself out of it, I enrolled for the Winter 2018 challenge.
The past 12 weeks have gone by so fast for me. This program is designed for anyone to be successful. I’m not sure how they’ve done it, but the daily lessons are timed perfectly. You get what you need when you need it. I also had a great coach who guided me, coached me, encouraged me, and helped me see the positive – even when I didn’t want to.
As a result of my CK experience, I lost a total of 18 pounds and 23.75 inches. It has been amazing to see the changes that happen simply from changing what goes in my body. I went from feeding my body garbage to feeding my body the things that it needs to function better. I have a whole new perspective on food. And the best part was that I didn’t go hungry at all. As a matter of fact, I have been eating more food than I used to. It’s just wholesome, healthy food. No gimmicks, no pills, no counting anything – just simple habits that are easy to integrate in to day to day life.
In addition to the physical changes on the outside, my blood pressure is lower, my lipid panel has improved greatly, and my glucose levels are better than what they were.
Although the 12 weeks are over, I’m already enrolled in the Clean Kitchen 2.0 program and I have signed up for a Versus boot camp. I lost a lot during the 12 week program, but gained so much more! I am excited to see where the next phase leads. I like to tell people that if I can do this, anyone can! It has been life changing.
AKA “The Jenny Bou Spoon” — dedicated to my dear friend, Jenny, who has the same love-obsession with peanut butter like I do. Now we have a spoon full we can eat multiple times and not feel one single ounce of guilt 😉
Because something this magnificent deserves to be served on a golden spoon. So simple, yet so satisfying for a sweet craving. MAKE THIS NOW.
This is a perfect post workout meal or breakfast! You may even just need this in your life for a sweet bite. It is THAT good and decadent! You can make a big batch and keep in the fridge as part of your meal prep for up to 3 days.
Servings: 1 marvelous bowl all to yourself
Combine in a food processor:
1/2 Small sweet potato (about 1/3 cup mashed)
1/2 scoop vanilla protein (We use Quest Vanilla Milkshake)
1-2 tbs unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup cottage cheese
Dashes of cinnamon
Blend until whipped and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Great for a large party side! But if you are just making it for your family, just half the recipe to make a smaller batch.
Tip: If you are preparing this for a meal prep or planning on keeping in the fridge a few days, wait to add the romaine. All other ingredients will hold up and soak up the yummy juices, but the romaine will get soggy!
Update: I recently tried this recipe substituting the romaine with chopped kale, and it held up wonderfully as leftovers.
*If making a half batch use 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4+ Apricot Balsamic, 1 tsp sesame seed oil, 2 tbs soy sauce. If you want more liquid, just eyeball it! Nothing wrong with a little more dressing 😉
Crunchy topping: Mix together and add to a pan.
1/2 c raw, pre-rinsed quinoa (you can find pre-rinsed or rinse yourself)
1/4 c sliced almonds
1/4 c chopped walnuts
Spray pan with cooking spray, over low-medium heat. Add nut mixture, drizzle with butter olive oil, pinch of salt. Watch closely and stir until nuts begin to brown lightly, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
1 head Chopped romaine or chopped kale
1/2 bag coleslaw mix
4 green onions chopped
2 crowns of broccoli chopped
Toss with crunchy topping, dressing, and serve immediately.
I was in a perpetual slump. I worked out at Versus Strength & Conditioning at least 3 times a week and I had heard about Clean Kitchen program, but lacked confidence in my ability to actually do it. I have done gym challenges where I would lose weight but then sadly, gained it back slowly. I did not realize that I was sabatoging my own progress by not really changing what counts…my habits.
My fast-food ritual of eating made me feel sane in this crazy world. I had become comfortable with my unhealthy eating habits. These eating habits had developed by convenience and stress, which in-turn, caused my excess body fat to go up and my self-confidence dropped. I would rationalize my reasons for overeating. Pigging-out was a way to self-medicate my tension. I felt like I needed these foods and that I deserved to eat these foods even though I knew they were doing to me.