Tag Archives: healthy living

My First Half Marathon

completing my first half marathon at the More Fitness Magazine Women's Half Marathon in Central Park, NYC

I am incredibly proud to say that I successfully completed my first half marathon this past weekend in Central Park at the More/Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon. 13.1 miles of pure blissful power and a major check off my bucket list (yes I know I’m getting started early, but why not!?) .

First, let me say I’m not a runner.

My friends find this hilarious because I do run from time to time but only for a race or a cause, usually both. What I mean is, I’m not that girl that loves waking up at the crack of dawn and pounding the pavement. I despise the treadmill even more than the streets and in total honesty, I find running extraordinarily boring at times.  I’m a yoga girl, I’ll get up early to get to class, love twisting my body in all sorts of fun postures and will happily do it several times a week. So running was all about going out of my comfort zone and challenging my endurance.

I trained for about a month and a half before the actual race and let me tell you IT WAS HARD, for me at least. I seriously give props to runners who do it day after day. It definitely taught me about commitment and pushing myself. Gosh, it was too easy to give up after 3 miles when it’s just me out there in the park and my foot starts hurting or I just get bored on the treadmill. Yet I’m so happy I didn’t, I pushed and pushed and broke past my comfort zone.

A couple weeks into training I gave up sugar, they’ll be a vlog on that coming soon, but suffice to say the first few days running on no sugar (aka no easy carbs) were extraordinarily challenging but it didn’t take too long to adjust. By the time race day came, I didn’t even eat anything in the morning and I was fine!

training for my first half marathon, the more fitness magazine women's half marathon in central park. Runners in NYC on race day.

The night before the race I did make some pretty kick ass healthy, sugar free “cookies” to carb load. That recipe will be in this week’s email blast so sign up below if you want it! They were delicious and did just the trick. I carried a few of them in my pocket for the actual race, just in case, but never ended up needing them.

Race day was actually leagues better than any of my practice runs. There’s so much energy in the air, so many people all around and I made a kick ass playlist with the help of some friends, so I was pumped. I ran the first 8 miles relatively seamlessly, although for anyone who knows Central Park, some of those hills are a killer! It wasn’t till mile 8 which was an typical practice run for me that I started feeling it, had to push through, pump up the tunes (we’re talking Britney Spear’s “Work B*tch”, American Authors “Best Day of My Life” and Sara Barielles “Brave”) to keep me going.

By mile 11, it was actually more painful to walk for the 30 seconds I was guzzling water at the hydration stations than it was to keep pace and run. I ended up running the entire thing other than those water breaks where I simply stopped so I didn’t choke on the H2O I was inhaling.

Once I saw that finish line in sight it was like an extra burst of energy and the high of knowing that I completed it (and it better time than I had imagined) was indescribable. I was walking on sunshine.

Training and completing my first half marathon at the More Fitness Magazine Women's Half Marathon in Central Park, NYC.

Will I do it again? Maybe. The Brooklyn half is in month. ;)

If anyone has any questions about the half marathon, training or is contemplating doing one yourself, feel free to comment below and I’ll answer any questions you may have!

My SUPER SIMPLE Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

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My SUPER simple Chia Seed Pudding recipe:
Just take 2 tbsp of chia seeds and one cup of almond milk (or coconut milk) and mix them together in cup (I love using little mason jars). I added 1/2 tsp of pumpkin spice (cinnamon,nutmeg,cloves) to this batch and it was delicious with out using any sugar! Store it in the fridge for at least 3-5 hours or overnight- I tend to stir it on and off in the first hour or so to prevent clumping of the chia seeds.

BAKED Zucchini Chips

delicious baked zucchini chips

               I was craving a healthy snack this afternoon and decided to try my hand at whipping up some baked zucchini chips! I have been thinking about different healthy snack ideas for my upcoming Sweet + Skinny Detox Meal Plan and these fit right in perfectly! They are super healthy, easy to make and really satisfy that crunchy potato chip craving.

Baked Zucchini Chips

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Slice a zucchini very thin, you can use a mandolin if you have one but cutting them as thin as you can with a good knife works just fine! Spray 2 baking sheets with olive oil cooking spray and spread out your zucchini slices evenly so they do not overlap. Sprinkle some garlic, oregano and a little salt and pepper to  your liking and bake them for 1 hour and a half to 2 hours, depending how thin you slice. You’ll know they’re done when they get a little brown and turn crunchy! 

What JUICER do I use?

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                One of the most frequent questions I get is,”what kind of juicer do you use?” or “What kind of juicer should I buy?” So I figured it was about time I write a blog dedicated to letting you know just that! My first response to most of these questions about finding the right juicer is that the right juicer is the one you will use!! There are so many different types of juicers and you can certainly argue for some over others but at the same time, a fancy juicer with all sorts of amazing features that you can’t afford right now and discourages you from buying a juicer all together helps no one. Get what you can with in your budget when you are just starting out, it’s more important to start getting into the habit of making delicious fruit and vegetable juices at home. Once you have a little more experience with juicing and get as addicted to that pure, clean, boost of energy that it provides as I am, then you will feel better about investing in a higher quality juicer.

               As for me, I use a Samson Multipurpose Juice Extractor and I absolutely love it! My Samson operates at a lower speed (80 rpm) which means that the original nutrients and flavor are preserved when I’m making my juices. Some juicers tend to operate at higher speeds (7000-10000 rpm) where a lot of the vitamins in the fresh juice start getting destroyed. This was extremely important to me when I was selecting a juicer because I want to get as much nutritional value from juices as possible especially for when I’m juice cleansing! My Samson Juice Extractor is also great at juicing those dark leafy greens I love so much. A lot of juicers can clog up if you’re as much of a kale monster as I am. My first juicer would waste so much kale and spinach, it would go straight to the waste bucket and I would get just a drip of juice from a massive handful. Once again, if you have to buy a more basic model when you are starting out, just take the leafy green waste and put it through the juicer a second or third time to get as much juice as possible but it is such a beautiful thing to not have to do that with this juicer. Lastly, I love my juicer because it does so much more than juice! When I first started juicing, I was completely unaware that you could find juicers that can also make nut butters, mince, make noodles, puree for salad dressings and sauces and even make nut milk. I use it for everything! It has become my best kitchen buddy. Can you tell I’m a little excited by my favorite kitchen toy? Don’t worry I’ll be posting even more about some of the other wildly handy things my juicer can do this month! Feel free to check out more information about the juicer I own here as well as all it’s brothers and sisters.

Vegan Pumpkin Balls

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These little oat filled treats are great to have around the house if you’re a snacker in need of a healthier option. They are also jam packed with fiber so just one (or two) will keep you feeling satisfied till your next meal. I have to be honest, they are definitely more along the lines of a granola bar kinda deal than they a cookie. You’ve been warned! That said, they are still very delicious. I love having them as a breakfast on the go, I can just throw 2 or 3 in a little zip lock and eat them on my way in the morning.

Vegan Pumpkin Balls
3 cups gluten free oats
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I use this liberally)
1 tbsp flax seed meal
1 cup of crushed cashews
1/2 cup vegan (or regular if you wish) dark chocolate chips

Mix it all together and then make baby balls and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put them in the oven at 350 for about 5 minutes. You just want them to set a little bit, you don’t need them to “bake”. Let them cool and enjoy! Super easy snack and you can sub out the chocolate chips for raisins or craisins or add in dried cherries and really have some fun with it!

Green Guru Smoothie

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Nothing is better than a GOOD green smoothie to start your week off in the right direction or get you back on track mid week! I love this particular one when I really want to feel nourished and full. It has lots of good for you fats so you won’t start getting the ‘hungries’ around 11am. It’s also fulling enough to drink post work out if you’ve had a really intense sweat session. Totally inspired by Kris Carr’s one in Crazy, Sexy, Diet, a book that I highly recommend to anyone wanting to be more mindful of what they put in their body and take better care of their ‘god-pod’ (body) as she would call it! I hope you give it a whirl for breakfast one day this week, I know it might sound a little funky for a smoothie but you’ll have to take my word, it’s pretty yummy and it will start your day off right and set the stage for making healthy choices all day long!

Green Guru

4 leaves of Romaine
1/2 avocado
1 cucumber
1 banana
whooping tbsp of almond butter
1 cup of coconut milk

Blend it all together and enjoy!

How to stay SKINNY while dating


It’s Valentine’s Day and what better day to address the issue of staying skinny (on track with your health and fitness goals) while in love! Dating or being in a relationship can make stay your slimmest pretty tough but with these FOUR tools you should be able to navigate the waters easily! Like, SHARE and please SUBSCRIBE for more recipes, tips and inspiration to live your healthiest, happiest life!

Vegan Chocolate “Caramel” Truffles

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and whether you are sharing it with your significant other or best friends, who doesn’t like to make a sweet little chocolately something?! These Vegan Chocolate “Caramel” Truffles will knock your socks off and more importantly, your guests socks off when they find out how healthy they actually are for them. Don’t be scared, they are super easy to make too!

Vegan Chocolate “Caramel” Truffles

13 oz container of dates (standard package)

1 bag of vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

2 tables spoons of almond butter

1 tbsp of coconut oil

Optional: unsweetened coconut flakes or crushed cashews for topping

In a food processor, combine all your dates with 2 tablespoons of almond butter. Pulse till the dates are becoming one with the almond butter and you see that caramel consistency. Take your faux caramel out of the processor, pack it in a nice little chunk and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes. I usually clean the food processor while it’s chilling and by the time I’m done, they’re ready! So go get them out, and start rolling little baby balls and placing them on a plate or baking sheet with parchment paper. Put them back in the freezer when you’re all done, so they will stay firm while we’re getting the chocolate ready!

For the chocolate, in a small saucepan add approx. half the bag and tbsp of coconut oil.  You can stir this constantly on a very low heat or I prefer to double boil it, which just means that I put a small soup pan of boiling water on the stove and THEN place my saucepan with chocolate on top of that. This helps the chocolate melt properly without burning as easily as it does on the stove. Either way, stir that chocolate till it’s almost completely melted and turn off the burner. Let the final little chunks melt themselves.

Now the fun part! Go get your frozen balls out of the freezer and stick toothpicks in them so that you can easily dip them in your chocolate. I used really pretty festive ones for V-Day, so I kept mine in but you can always toss these after the chocolate hardens so don’t be afraid to use a normal toothpick. Dip your faux caramels in the chocolate and if you’ve decided on a topping, nows the time to sprinkle it on or roll your chocolates in it after they’ve been dipped. This particular batch I used unsweetened coconut flakes but you can get as creative as you want with it!

Once they’re all dipped, place them back in the freezer for 10-20 minutes for the chocolate to harden and leave them either there or in the refrigerator till you’re ready to serve! These babies are best enjoyed firm and cold!

My Skinny Secret: Mindful Eating

Want to know the EASIEST way to start losing weight and keeping it off? Well it’s mindful eating! In this video I share with you my skinny secret for mindful eating and give you a couple different ways to start incorporating it in your life now!

If you want to really get into it and cause some serious changes in your health and happiness, join me in NYC (or order a recording if you can’t) this Sunday 2/16 for my HAPPIER, HEALTHIER LIFE NOW class where I will be teaching you 5 effective tools for eating more mindfully and 3 different meditations to keep your stress levels down and your energy up! tickets and details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/happier-healthier-life-now-with-cassandra-bodzak-from-abcs-the-taste-tickets-9999515821

Join me live or online for my ‘Happier, Healthier Life NOW’ event

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                Treat yourself to some self-care at the end of Valentine’s Day weekend and join us for an hour and half of meditation and mindful eating that will have refreshed, re-energized and ready to give your health and wellness resolutions a one-two punch! I’ll take you through three meditations, a basic ‘everyday’ meditation to keep you on track with your health and fitness goals, one you can use in case of everyday stress-mergencies and finish with a more advanced meditation that will break through any mental clutter and leave you feeling refreshed to start your week! We will also go over 5 important strategies for more mindful eating that will transform the way you look at what you put in your mouth, help you slim down, have more energy and start loving your body. Best yet, you’ll start transforming your body without feeling deprived or restricted in any way. I’m excited! Are you!?

                      The event will take place in Midtown Manhattan – Sunday 2/16 at 7pm- 8:30pm However, if you are not a NYC local OR just can’t make it that day, I’m very excited to announce that for the first time EVER, we will be selling recordings of the event which will be emailed to you with in 24 hours of the event so you can watch it from the comfort of your own home! 

Click here to sign up now! :)

Louise’s Green Machine Smoothie

For those of you who watched The Taste last night, my #teamludo not only won the group VEGGIE CHALLENGE, but my girl Louise (aka. Weezy) won 2 gold stars for her veggie dish! Woot! Woot! Combine that with my man Lee saying that his gold star was for me and it’s safe to say I felt very happy with my friends stepping up there game and making some killer vegetarian dishes!
Naturally, I wanted to represent my veggie rockstar team mate Louise and asked her for a yummy recipe to share with you and I think you guys are going to LOVE this one!! Louise was kind enough to share this fabulous video with us of her making her “Green Machine Breakfast Shake” Check it out for a delicious and nutritious  way to get your greens in the AM and start your day off right. For those of you who are vegan watching, Louise does add some greek yogurt for protein, feel free to substitute that with a little more almond milk and scoop of almond butter OR if you like the yogurt-like consistency, they make some delicious almond and coconut ‘yogurts’ out there. Enjoy! Go #teamludo!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Even vegetarians and vegans need to be a little naughty sometimes and I just couldn’t resist sharing this decadent southern classic that my friend (and fellow Taste gal), Rebekah Faulk whipped up for her wonderful blog Some Kinda Good. I think these would be a wonderful veggie friendly addition to your superbowl apps and because they’re a little naughty, you’ll still feel like you’re indulging with boys without having to chow down on buffalo wings or those baby hot dogs. Now, of course, if you want to make them even healthier, you can try baking them instead of frying them. Same prep just put them on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375 degrees and then once they’re cooked, maybe sautee them in a pan with a little bit of coconut oil to get the outside crispy! However, I wasn’t about to mess with greatness, so I left Rebekah’s recipe just the way it was for you here. Enjoy!

FriedGreenTomatoes

Some Kinda Good’s Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients
3 Large Green Tomatoes
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup self-rising flour
2 Teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Vegetable Oil for frying
Green Onion for garnish, optional

Directions:
Slice tomatoes about ¼ of an inch thick. Place them on a flat surface and season with salt. Transfer the tomatoes to a colander and allow them to drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a cast iron skillet or 10-inch frying pan with vegetable oil halfway full and set over medium heat. The oil will be ready for frying when sizzling occurs after gently sprinkled with water. In a small dish, use a fork to combine the cornmeal, flour, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Dredge the tomatoes in the flour mixture on each side. Roll the sides of the tomato in the flour mixture too, to ensure an even coating. Shake off any excess before dropping the tomato slices into the hot oil. Fry the tomato slices until golden brown, turning once during cooking.  Remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels. Garnish with green onion.  Serve warm with Ranch Dressing if desired.

Rebekah Faulk is a Georgia food writer and Statesboro-based TV Personality. A Season 2 contestant on ABC-TV’s The Taste, she blogs at SomeKindaGood.org, a Southern, coastal food blog highlighting East coast restaurant reviews and Lowcountry-inspired recipes. Follow her on Twitter @SKGFoodBlog or on find her on Facebook

 

I’m NOT perfect and that’s PERFECTLY okay with me!

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Yes, that’s a screenshot from my phone that I took this morning when I was awoken with lovely texts and emails from my girlfriends who had already seen my article on MindBodyGreen.com! Can I tell you, BEST WAY TO WAKE UP EVER! This article is super special to me because it was inspired by recent events in my life. After ABC’s The Taste started airing, I started getting some hateful tweets, facebook comments and emails. Most of the were from vegans or vegetarians who felt I was making a mockery of their beliefs by trying new things on TV. Although I personally never label myself, I do cook and bake almost 100% vegan and that was portrayed on the show. It absolutely broke my heart to have people from a community I have so loved and stood for over the years turn on me, it made me really sad but ultimately it didn’t make me feel like I had done anything wrong. Through their hate I realized just how okay I was not being perfect and how, in fact, I believe it is my imperfectness that helps me spread my message so widely. I am not an elitist, I do not believe you have to be at a certain level of eating to be truly healthy. I believe in real people making real changes and working towards their personal best health and happiness everyday and I will stand by that.

So I am proud to share this article with you because not only is it OKAY to not be PERFECT – it also goes to show you how the universe works in mysterious ways and can turn a hurricane of hate into a wave of love and acceptance. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12350/3-reasons-im-proud-to-be-imperfect.html

please SHARE the link on twitter and facebook and spread the love! <3

 

My Green Standard

It’s hard to imagine my life before green juice, in all seriousness, my body runs on this stuff! So naturally, my first book was called JUICESPIRATION : Recipes, inspiration and everything you need to have an amazing juice cleansing journey!an ode to my absolute devotion to the miraculous drink because I’m a total addict. Green juice is an amazing way to give yourself a healthy, nutrient boost anytime, especially once that 4pm slump comes around and it’s a little too late in the day for coffee! Personally, I also think it’s a great way to start your day. I always feel better and want to make healthier choices through out my day when it begins with a big glass of a green juice. For those of you that aren’t full card carrying green juices fans quite yet, I wanted to give you a little preview of one of the recipes in “Juicespiration” and my personal go-to green juice to get you going! Try making my green standard at home or order it at your local juice bar to get you going on your healthy journey and be sure to tag me on facebook/instagram/twitter with @cassandrabodzak #juicespiration with your green juice pics!!

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Asian inspired Romanesco

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This adorable vegetable is called Romanesco and looks like a baby green cauliflower and tastes like a mix between broccoli and cauliflower. I HIGHLY suggest you try it if you haven’t already! Pick it up at your local farmer’s market and make it for dinner this weekend! I whipped up this super easy and delicious Asian inspired version the other night and wanted to share it with you. If you’re unsure how to cook this, follow this recipe and feel free to substitute the sauce for anything you like or just leave it plain with a little salt and pepper.

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Asian inspired Romanesco

1 tbsp of coconut oil
2 tbsp of plum sauce
2 tbsp of ginger infused olive oil (or regular olive oil + chopped ginger)

Rinse and chop up your Romanesco (like you would a head of cauliflower or broccoli). Place a small frying pan on the stove with a tbsp of coconut oil in it and your Romanesco and sautee for a few minutes. While that’s cooking, mix your plum sauce and ginger olive oil together and then drizzle over the cooking Romanesco. It shouldn’t take more than five – ten minutes to cook since the Romanesco is so tiny but use your judgement on how crunchy you want the finished product. I love my veggies when they still have a bit of a crunch to them! ;)

Meet Audrey from The Taste!

Hey loves! Sorry about the quality of this video – we are on opposite coasts and had to livestream this interview! Audrey and I shared an amazing and yet challenging experience of being on #TheTaste as healthy cooks. In this video you’ll learn about how Audrey “lost weight by eating” and lots of fun gossip about #TheTaste! A lot of people were very quick to judge Audrey for plugging her blog but I hope you take a minute and meet the real lady because she is a sweetheart with a great attitude. If you give this interview I think you’ll find out some things you didn’t know about her, why she is so passionate about helping people get healthy and how hard it was being on The Taste and out of our element as healthy home cooks!

You can check out her blog at Loseweightbyeating.com and find her on twitter as @tonetiki! Show her some love – us healthy girls need to support each other!

Carrot Ginger Squash Soup

 

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It’s absolutely frigid in NYC right now and as much as I do absolutely love my juices and smoothies, sometimes in the winter it just gets too darn cold for them! When this kind of chill strikes, I always turn to soups to heat me up and nourish me. This carrot ginger squash soup is not only delicious, it’s super easy to make and packed full of nutrients to give you energy and keep you warm! (It’s also vegan! psssh don’t tell!)

Carrot Ginger Squash Soup

Sauté 1/2 cup chopped onions, 1 tbsp fresh ginger and 1 clove minced garlic in 1 tsp olive oil for 3 minutes in medium pot. Add 1 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth, 1 cup frozen butternut squash cubes and 1 cup of carrot slices. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. With a hand blender, puree until smooth; if desired add broth for thinner texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

2014 Jumpstart to a New You intensive

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              Are you READY to get out of your own way and                                                                           FINALLY start having the body and life you want?!

                         Do you want to start 2014 off right and make sure it’s                                                             your  HAPPIEST and HEALTHIEST year yet?!

Maybe you’ve tried countless diets, detoxes and cleanses and this year you’re ready to get REAL. You want to STOP stressing so much about food and weight and start loving your body! Okay, maybe that involves losing a few pounds as well, THAT’S OKAY! You can lose weight naturally by learning how to eat right for your body and finding out what foods work for YOU.

My mission with my ”2014 Jumpstart to a NEW YOU intensives” is to help support you in finding the actionable steps to make your healthy New Year’s resolutions STICK this year.

Whether that includes losing 10lbs, eating less processed foods, going vegan, learning to meditate or just trying a juice cleanse for the first time, it doesn’t matter! Decide what YOU want to shift this year! What are YOU committed to making happen? And then let me help you! Email me ASAP at Cassandra@GoSweetandSkinny.com to schedule a 2hr skype or in person meeting, if your in the NY/NJ area.

Here’s what you’ll get from our TWO – HOUR INTENSIVE SESSION: – specific ACTIONABLE goals for the next month – personalized recipes + guidance for YOUR goal – a sample week long meal plan (if appropriate to your goal) – personalized advice and tools on HOW to stick to your plan – 3 weeks of email support following our sessions – a summary of our session with key points – access to our PRIVATE 2014 Jumpstart facebook group – where you can support each other with your goals as well as get more personal insights from me!

Are you ready to invest in YOURSELF this year? Why not let 2014 be the year you FINALLY start looking and feeling AH-MAAZING!?!

It’s ONLY $200 and a great way to kick off your New Year right!
PLEASE, I urge you to book your session NOW, do not hesitate, these WILL book up and I do not want any of you to miss out!

Email me today! I can’t wait to help support you in making 2014 your sweet and skinniest year yet!

cassandra@gosweetandskinny.com

or go ahead and schedule one today at meetme.so/CassandraBodzak

And so it begins – The Taste

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Thank you so much to all of you who spent Thursday evening glued to your TVs watching “The Taste” on ABC, whether you were a friend or family member looking out for me or you met me for the first time on the show, I am SO GRATEFUL you tuned in! The outpouring of love and support, tweets, facebook msgs, etc, has just been out of this world and I sincerely thank you. Let’s go #teamludo !
It feels like just yesterday all thirty five of us auditioning for The Taste landed in Los Angeles. I was out of my mind excited for the opportunity to make my vegan cupcakes on TV for the infamous Anthony Bourdain and still terribly nervous about whether or not I would make a mentor’s team. I remember all of us standing at baggage claim together introducing ourselves like it was the first day of school. The air was electric and everyone seemed to have the mindset of “we made it this far, we’ve already won.” After all, we had all beat out thousands of other cooks for these 35 coveted spots and we were getting to do what we love on TV for some of the most respected celebrity chefs. This glass was definitely half full.
The couple days leading up to auditions were full of foodie talk, families visiting and maybe a couple moments of poolside lounging. So many of us had already developed friendships by the time we went up to the chopping block that it was no longer just ourselves we were sick-to-our-stomach nervous for, it was our friends! All of a sudden it wasn’t about me making it, it was about “we” making it.. Our particular group consisted of Jay Qualls, Jeff Kawakami, Greggy Soriano, Lee Knoeppel, Steve Ford and Reina Bazzi but we were all pretty friendly with eachother in general. I’ll never forget the knots in my stomach as I waited anxiously to hear who had made it before I went in to cook and how even in my complete euphoria after getting chosen by Ludo, I couldn’t really settle down till I found out that Jeff had also made it. It was the most intense and thrilling experience of my life and I couldn’t have found more amazing people to share it with.
As for the actual baking itself, well just imagine wearing heels and a dress, being in a kitchen you’ve never worked in before with equipment your not used to using and having only 60 minutes to make, cool and ice cupcakes. Not intense enough for you? Well add to that the fact that you KNOW you are making something that none of the people you are trying to impress typically like and it’s all being filmed for national TV. Yeah, I’d say it was pretty nerve racking. I’ve made vegan cupcakes countless times in the past few year but never had it been more absolutely essential for them to be perfect. I finished just in time and said a little prayer as they were taken away to the judges.
Standing on that stage in front of Ludo, Nigella, Marcus and Anthony was completely terrifying. I was doing my best to keep it together as Anthony, Marcus and even lovely Nigella tore my prized cupcakes a part and bracing myself to walk away when I heard something in Ludo’s voice. He was going to pick me, this passionate, insanely talented French chef was going to take a huge gamble and give a healthy home cook a shot! I was floating on air, literally doing everything to contain excitement and not run over and hug him! I walked off that stage with wobbly legs and a smile so big my face hurt. I had done the impossible. As my dad would say,” I brought a knife to a gun fight and I won!”. I was the only vegetarian to make the show, the only person to get picked for a vegan dish and the youngest contestant this season. I was in heaven. I still am. ☺

5 tips for slimming down for your holiday parties

I hope you had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving and that you enjoyed lots of delicious food and quality time with your family! I know I certainly did! I filled up on some delicious veggies like dijon brussel sprouts, gluten free stuffing and butternut squash with kale and apple. I even contributed some skinny sweets like vegan chocolate covered ‘caramels’ made from dates and almond butter as well as my vegan pumpkin oat balls! I ate reasonably but somehow still feel kinda yucky post-Thanksgiving and wanted to get myself back in line. I wanted to provide you guys with five easy tips to help you do the same because I know the holidays are a diet danger zone for most of us and it’s pretty impractical to do a full on detox or juice cleanse when you have holiday parties up the wazoo and family gatherings at every turn. So instead, just take these five, relatively simple steps seriously and put them into action. I guarantee you will start feeling better and looking better after just a few days!

FIVE TIPS FOR SLIMMING DOWN FOR YOUR HOLIDAY PARTIES

1. HYDRATE. I can’t stress how important drinking enough water is, especially this time of year! Drinking water is always crucial to helping you feel good, digest well and keeping your hunger at bay but with all the sugary concoctions tempting you at every corner this holiday season you need your H2O to stay strong. Drinking around 8 glasses a day will help your body de-bloat and flush out toxins, so not only will you look better, you’ll feel better! Who doesn’t want that?

2. ADD VEGGIES. Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t be eating, why not focus on what you SHOULD be eating at every meal, veggies!! Want to feel better, have more energy and slim down? Well, it’s time to fall in love with veggies! I love to challenge my clients with eating 3 vegetables a day to get them in the habit of incorporating them into their routine but if you really want to kick it up a notch, challenge yourself to make half your plate veggies at EVERY meal. You’ll start filling up on the good stuff and be less tempted to mindlessly eat those christmas cookies hanging around the office.

3. SIP SOME TEA. Tea is a wonderful, wonderful thing. In my opinion, it’s nature’s medicine, you name an ailment, there’s probably a tea for it! I love peppermint tea for settling my stomach, ginger tea for improving digestion and oolong tea for digesting fats. It’s cold outside and we all love a nice, steaming hot beverage to warm our hands and tummy with but start choosing teas this season instead of that eggnog latte. You will feel SO MUCH better and your waistline will thank you.

4. SKIP SWEETS, MOST OF THE TIME. Don’t hate me for this one. I don’t like excluding anything, that’s why I say “most of the time” but if you want to get down to business and see an improvement in a minimal amount of time, sometimes you got to be a little stricter than normal. Processed food in general will keep that nice insulated layer around your middle but sweets, I feel, are particularly tempting culprits during the holidays. There’s chocolate, cookies, gingerbread houses, cupcakes, etc, everywhere you turn, which is why I say CHOOSE WISELY. I love sweets, obviously, but I’m very careful to make sure I’m getting the best bang for my calorie buck. I think a good rule of thumb is to pick one day a week where you allow yourself to indulge in a special decadent treat. Save it for those amazing cupcakes your girl friend makes ( wink, wink) or your mother’s bread pudding, something special and delicious. Don’t waste it on some store bought cake or overdone cookies from someone at work. Be smart with your sweets!

5. GET MOVING. I will be the first one to tell you that losing weight is 70% diet and 30% exercise. So why does ‘get moving’ even make my top five you ask? It’s for your own sanity! The holidays can be an incredibly stressful time and it is SO important to release some of that stress and anxious energy in physical activity. Take care of yourself! Working out will help keep your stress levels down, burn some calories and keep you on track for your happiest, healthiest body. It’s so easy to forget about taking care of ourselves in the season that’s all about giving to others, let exercise be your me time! Just remember that you are the best version of yourself for your loved ones when you are taking care of YOU! So make yourself, job one and don’t skimp on your exercise and self care.

I hope you find these tips helpful! I promise if you really put them in to action they will absolutely help you get through the holiday season feeling great and looking slim. I do still have a couple coaching slots available, so if you’re serious about getting into gear and need a partner to help you achieve your happiest, healthiest body – take action! Reach out, email me at gosweetandskinny@gmail.com (or just reply to this email) and let’s schedule a 30 minutes skype breakthrough session to help us get to know each other and see what goals we can accomplish together.

Looking forward to hearing from you!