Category: clean eating

The Whole30 Challenge – Guest Post!

Have you ever reached a point where you just wanted to push a reset button for your body? Maybe you ate too many sweets during the holidays, maybe you indulged in one too many glasses of wine, or maybe you don’t feel great from eating too much processed food. Whatever your reason, you know that what you put into your body directly affects how you feel. When we don’t eat the right foods, we get sluggish, our brains get foggy, and unfortunately sometimes our pants get a little too tight. By cleaning up the way we eat, we can reverse these effects and feel better from the inside out.

WHOLE30

If you’ve never heard of Whole30 before, it is a 30 day eating plan that helps to reset your body through nutrition. It is designed to help you overcome cravings, repair your digestion, and determine how certain foods affect your body. Sometimes we eat foods that throw our body out of balance, and we don’t even realize it! By eliminating these foods for 30 days, we become more in tune with our bodies. Then, we learn how certain foods really make us feel after we slowly add them back to our diets.

HOW IT WORKS

For 30 days, we will eat only real, clean, whole foods. Meats, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats…all of the GOOD stuff, and none of the junk. We will NOT eat added sugar or sweeteners, alcohol, grains (including oats and corn), legumes (including peanuts and soy products), dairy, white potatoes, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, or “Paleo junk” like grain-free brownies. We want to reset our bodies, not find ways to give in to cravings!

You can find more detailed info on the Whole 30 website. I also highly recommend the book It Starts With Food, to give you more insight into the program.

THE MEAL PLAN

I’ve eaten Paleo-style foods in the past, and I’ve even started the Whole 30 a couple of times before. I’ve found that is the biggest predictor of my success is how well I plan in advance. If I don’t have a meal plan in place, or don’t have my fridge stocked with “approved” foods, I will fail. If I have junk food easily accessible in my pantry, I will fail. So I know that I need to have a plan that keeps me 100% on track. Here is my meal plan for week 1:

I also will be prepping as many meals in advance as possible. Chopping veggies for snacks, making salad bowls for when I need to grab and go, and throwing crockpot meals into a freezer bag so I can prep dinner as quickly as possible during the week (super important when I have a 4 month old attached to my hip!).

In addition to hitting that reset button on my nutrition, why not also reset my body and mind at the same time — with 30 days of yoga? Check out Leigh’s post on yoga, the Whole30 and mindfulness in our daily life. She will post short yoga practice videos, varying in style, for you to try at home.

Want to join the group? Click here! We would love to have you join us for the next month.

Amanda Seghetti is a fitness professional, social media influencer and mom of 3 based in the Denver area. Go check out her blog, Phoenix Fitness and give her a follow on Instagram.

Finding Myself Again

Do you remember me?

Frankly, I barely remember who I was…what made me tick, what inspired me. The past 6 years have been consumed by pregnancy, toddlers, play groups, pick ups, drop offs, cutting over 11 million grapes and changing enough diapers to earn a Pampers reward to Cancun.


For a while now (and maybe still, to a degree, I mean, they give me a LOT of material), I let my kids identify me. And before them? Well, I really don’t even remember.

But this is me now:

* legitimately confident, not faking it till I make it

* a work in progress, not a final product that is outdated and unchanging

* healthy, energized and strong, not “skinny fat” or struggling with being comfortable in a post-partum body (x3) body

* being an example, not looking for one

* knowing what I’m meant to be doing and earning an income from what I love and working with a team of inspired and supportive partners, not filling in the gap for a paycheck earned by work I’m just *doing*.

I have a CLEAR as day view of ME now. It just took a while to get here.

Do you remember you? Who are you NOW? Do you need help getting there? Maybe I can help.

What is Clean Eating?

You might be sick of hearing the phrase “clean eating” by now!!  But, I’ve found along this fitness and wellness journey, is that the key to my successful weight loss (and keeping it off) was and is not exercising religiously – it is all what I eat! I’ve been following the principles of clean eating (I actually prefer to call it conscious eating and I’ll more into that later) for almost 4 years now.

clean_eating_basics

But, what is clean or conscious eating?

Clean/conscious eating is eating food in its simplest form. Veg, fruit, nuts, “good” fats. Minimal processing, minimal ingredients, not a lot of added sugar. Cooking, prepping and planning more and eating out less, making boxed meals less, etc. You’ll also find that in a lot of cases, you’ll actually save money on certain things by making them yourself!

This change in thinking doesn’t happen overnight and it is best done literally one ingredient, household staple or recipe.

I need to stress that it is not healthy to obsess over the ingredients.  When you can choose “clean” – do it.  But things like breads and tortillas are hard to find with minimal ingredients simply because they need to stay fresh.  Pick the whole grain option, the less sugar added option, etc.  We don’t want your mindset swinging the other way to obsession. This is why I prefer the term “conscious eating” over “clean eating”….make the best choices when available, within your budget and time constraints, and you will still improve your health.

Live by the 80/20 rule and you can’t go wrong!  80% of the time choose healthy and 20% indulgences will create a nice balance and a great habit without obsessing or negative relationships with food.

But, will I lose weight just by eating “clean”?

The short answer? Possibly.  You’ll like stay fuller longer from fiber-rich food and quality proteins but you’ll still need to be eating the right amount of calories to create the deficit needed for weight loss. The hotly debated “Calories in, calories out” vs “all calories are not created equal” is a topic for another blog post.  That said, hopping on My Fitness Pal or a similar app and tracking your food (either briefly for an idea, or longer term) is a great way to find out if you are eating too much for your goals.

Related: How Many Calories Should I Be Eating?

If you would like to join my free clean eating group on Facebook, please email me and I can add you!  We share lots of recipes, do mini-challenges and offer tips on meal prep and planning too!

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Chicken Sausage Quinoa & Spinach Skillet

This recipe was an accident! A yummy chicken sausage, quinoa and spinach skillet came from a happy accident that was a direct result of some simple meal prep.

I had cooked off some Trader Joe’s Sundried Tomato Basil chicken sausages the day before as well as a big batch of quinoa for my husband to bring to work with his fajita chicken lettuce wraps.

If you are planning lunches at work, you can easily prep and portion this out and reheat it. I think this would be amazing cold too but I’m also a cold pizza person!

In a moment of creativity, I now have a new weekday lunch staple.  

Chicken Sausage, Quinoa & Spinach Skillet
(serves one)

1 chicken sausage, cooked and chopped
2 cups raw spinach
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1. Heat oil in small pan.
2. Add spinach and sauté for about a minute over medium heat.
3. Add cooked sausage and quinoa and cook for 1-2 minutes until spinach is cooked through and all ingredients are warm.

Note: The sausage is not 21 Day Fix friendly however if you subbed in ground turkey, it would still be great!

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EASY Chicken Sausage, Quinoa & Spinach Skillet - great for leftover quinoa! #recipes #iifym Click To Tweet

Countdown to Competition Meal Plan


21 Day Fix Extreme was released last week and I got my copy on Saturday!!  I previewed one of the workouts, Cardio Extreme and it is just love.  Weighted cardio, Autumn, I love you.

But I’m not going to lie – the reason I am SUPER excited about 21 Day Fix Extreme is the Countdown to Competition plan.  For all of those “next level” fitness people, this is RIGHT up your alley.  While it is not a long term plan, it is something to do for a big event, right before a vacation or in my case, just to try and motivate myself through this last leg of winter!

I’m doing the eating plan while I finish the last three weeks of Insanity Max:30!

I spent more time meal planning this week than normal, due to the different container counts. Once I had the plan, I shopped and prepped!  

I typically only plan out Monday through Friday, with a lot of the same meals.  It is easier for me to eat the same things so by the time I get to the weekend, it is second nature and I don’t write it out.

Check out my final plan for the week!

If you have questions about 21 Day Fix Extreme or the Countdown to Competition meal plan, email me at leigh@thefiteffectnj.com. I’ll post back my results and reactions to this week on Monday, February 16!


Spicy Kale Chips – 21 Day Fix Friendly!

It took me a LONG time to get on the kale train.

I thought it was a hipster fad, a passing “superfood” craze.

And while I don’t run and sing its benefits from the hilltops or drink it in green smoothies, I do love making kale chips.


But literally only eat THIS version! If you like heat, this is the recipe for you!!  If you aren’t into spicy food, leave out the cayenne in this recipe.  Add more garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper for a non-spicy “everything” style kale chip.

Spicy Kale Chips
(makes one pan, enough for 1 person)

3-4 kale leaves 
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbs olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Tear kale leaves up, pulling off the larger stem towards the bottom, spreading in a single layer on the pan.  
3. Drizzle olive oil over the leaves.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the dry seasonings.
5. Spread over leaves and then use your hands to gently toss everything together, making sure the leaves are evenly coated.
6. Bake for 10 minutes and lightly flip them.  Bake another 5-8 minutes, depending on your oven. You want them baked and crispy (but not burnt). Undercooked kale chips will be chewy!

I make these so often that I usually just sprinkle the powders and eyeball the amounts; this is a very versatile recipe and you only need to be careful with the cayenne!

It is also 21 Day Fix friendly! Conversion is 1 green and 2 teaspoons (roughly).

Enjoy!

21 Day Fix Guilt Free Guacamole

I confess, guacamole is a comfort food for me!  I LOVE IT.

I also have a hard time keeping to a reasonable portion size because while it isn’t a “junk” food, it can pack some calorie damage if you aren’t careful!


This guy also loves his guacamole – including this 21 Day Fix friendly option!



This is one of my go-to recipes for an easy guacamole craving, inspired by the Good Foods or Trader Joe’s versions of Greek yogurt guacamoles.




21 Day Fix Guilt Free Guacamole

1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup avocado
1/4 cup pico de gallo

Mash the avocado, then mix in yogurt and pico de gallo.

This makes enough for a big snack!

21 Day Fix conversion: 1/2 red, 1 blue, 1/4 green

Note: If you use salsa with added sugar, it will be a purple instead of a green.

Enjoy!