Caprese Chicken

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Caprese Chicken

Course: Main Dish
Categories: Chicken
Source: Fixate Cookbook

Serving size: 4
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins


4 Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
house seasoning (black pepper, garlic powder, sea salt)
8 tsp pesto sauce
4 slices fresh tomato
4 slices fresh mozzarella
4-6 slices fresh basil leaves


Brush chicken with olive oil and sprinkle house seasoning on both sides

Grill chicken or cook on a grill pan 3-4 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked through

Place chicken on an oven proof pan and top each piece with 1 slice of tomato, 2 tsp pesto sauce, 1 slice fresh mozzarella. Place in oven or under broiler until cheese begins to melt and tomatoes are softened.

Remove from oven, garnish with fresh basil and serve

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Chipotle Chicken

Chipotle Chicken

Course: Main Dish
Categories: Chicken
Serving size: 4
Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins


4 Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
2 TB Chipotle Seasoning (recipe below)
2 TB Chopped Fresh Cilantro (optional)
4 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 2 fresh limes


Place chicken in a bowl or large zip lock back

Mix together chipotle seasoning, extra virgin olive oil, cilantro and lime juice and pour over chicken. Mix well so chicken is completely coated with marinade. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Heat grill to 450, cook chicken approximately 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

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Chipotle Seasoning


2 TB Chipotle pepper or Chili Powder
2 TB Ground Coriander
2 TB Garlic Powder
2 TB Onion Powder
1 TB Oregano
1 TB Black Pepper
1 TB Cumin
1 TB Paprika
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (or more for added heat)


Mix all ingredients together and store in a mason jar or shaker jar.
Use as a marinade with olive oil, fresh lime juice and cilantro or simply use to season beef, chicken, pork or seafood.

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Peach Almond Crisp (gluten free)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A delightful summer dessert that's quick and easy to prepare. It tastes great with fresh peaches but you could substitute other fruit like berries, apples, or pears.

Apple Almond Crisp version:
Use sliced apples tossed with cinnamon and 2 tb brown sugar in place of apples.


6 Ripe peaches sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 TB brown sugar
1 c Almond flour
1 c oats
1/2 c chopped almonds or other nuts
1/2 c honey
4 Tb coconut oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350. Toss sliced peaches, lemon juice and brown sugar together and set aside.

Mix almond flour, oats, almonds, honey, coconut oil and vanilla together until it becomes a sticky, thick batter like cookie dough.

Place peaches in the bottom of a greased baking dish and top with spoon fulls of batter.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and peaches are bubbling.

Serve warm with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

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What in the world is Shakeology & why would I ever drink it?

How We Find the Ingredients in Shakeology

by Darin Olien for Beachbody

OK, how did the more than 70 ingredients end up in Shakeology? I started with some questions. I asked myself, “What do most bodies require in this day and age?” “What is not being delivered in food today (and even good, organic food)?” “What are the gaps in nutrition that need to be filled for the majority of people?”

But the first question was, “Why do we even need a shake with that much nutrition anyway? What’s wrong with the food we eat anyway?”

The fact is, these days, our food is lacking nutrients. The nutrient density of our food has continued to plummet as the value of money has trumped the value of quality. It is insane, but true!

The facts are well documented. Pushing farm production has depleted soils. Crops of non-nutritive foods have replaced nutrition-dense foods. And pesticides and genetic modification are wreaking havoc with the chemical and genetic markers that have evolved over the centuries. That means we’re putting more food into the pipeline that has less of what we need and more of what we don’t need. On a biological level, our bodies hardly recognize the food we are swallowing.

Ask yourself . . . how do you expect your body to live tirelessly, vibrantly, with the power to defend itself from disease if what is being fed into it is like putting dirty gas in the tank of a Ferrari? What a waste of a beautiful sports car!

If we want our health to improve, we need to be aware so we can choose differently, and in this case, we chose to create something to fulfill the deep desire of everybody’s need to be fed more nutrition. So we started by filling in those gaps, giving the body what it really wants and requires!

The result is 70-plus ingredients, feeding the body the equivalent of a supercharged multivitamin and protein-rich health smoothie. As important as the ingredients are, what drove their inclusion was the body’s need for these vital ingredients, the cornerstones of Shakeology’s creation:

1. Whole foods.

So many supplements on the market are just fragmentations of the complete matrix of real food. Think of it like taking the most popular scene from a 2-hour movie and calling THAT the movie. It’s incomplete without the character development, plot, and nuance that make it a holistic experience. The same goes with food. On a biological level, your body needs the whole “movie” to get the complete benefit of the vitamin or mineral that is the star. You just cannot replace or re-engineer the incredible balance and creation of whole foods. So we selected high-quality, potent foods, herbs, grasses, and ingredients, and then processed them minimally to preserve the integrity, phytochemicals, natural vitamins, minerals, alkaloids, phytosterols, etc. This was a huge aspect of Shakeology getting the whole, deliverable nutrition in bioavailable ways.

2. Vitamins and minerals.

We included quality nutrition from potent and varying whole food sources (“nutrition, right off the vine” as I like to call it). And then we backed that up by adding in a well-balanced vitamin and mineral profile since whole foods fluctuate from crop to crop.

3. Enzymes

Enzymes are critical for optimal health. But since enzymes flood the food only in the last days of ripening before harvest, enzyme supplementation is critical for the majority of people. Even if you eat all raw foods, the enzymes are still low. And cooked food has zero active enzymes. Why enzymes? They have been called “The Fountain of Life!” They are behind every single process in the body! Yes, everything requires enzymes! The labor force of the body that digests, absorbs, allows for signals to be sent, creates new blood cells, etc., is all governed by enzymes. You would be shocked at how starved your body has been for enzyme support. That’s why the addition of these vital forces to Shakeology was so critical!

4. Prebiotics and Probiotics

We’ve all heard about foods with additive probiotics, like yogurts for instance. Did you know that your body can actually manifest its own probiotics if you feed it prebiotics? With the way people eat today they have created a thriving environment for unhealthy bacteria in the body. That has created all sorts of debilitating breakdowns of the body: candida, fibromyalgia, even the foundation for mental and emotional fatigue . . . and on and on. The prebiotics of the amazing yacon root (which I will get into in future posts) is food for the “healthy” bacteria, and in turn creates an environment for healthy probiotics to flourish. By getting our internal “ecosystem” in balance, you have the potential for a vibrant, thriving body and life! It’s complex, and even difficult to fathom an ecosystem inside your own body, but it cannot be underestimated. You need prebiotics to help you foster probiotics!

5. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)

MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, milk, fish, and grains. But within hours of harvest, MSM changes and is virtually gone. That’s why it is very difficult to get MSM naturally, because where ancient man ate what he picked almost instantly, today it is picked, processed, packaged, and palleted for months before it hits the table. MSM is long gone. But why is it important? MSM is critical to the connective tissue and the fluidity (or space) between cells! MSM gives them “room to breathe.” When the body becomes very rigid, tight, painful, and stiff, oftentimes MSM is at very low quantities in the body. Since we are not eating our own foods immediately after harvesting, we MUST supplement this vital component, or the body has a hard time staying healthy and flexible on a cellular level, which translates throughout the body on a
biomechanical level as well.

Ask me about our preferred customer discount where you can save 25% on Shakeology and other Beachbody products.


You don't have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great! ~ Les Brown

Sunday, August 16, 2015

This time last year I remember boarding the Auto Train on our way home from vacation. It was going to be a long journey, 18hrs from Orlando to Virginia, so it gave me lots of time to think and plan for the kids going back to school and the long list of projects I had been putting off. There was a long list of things to do around the house and lots of stuff that the kids and my husband needed, and training and projects to complete for work….and I was exhausted! Not just because we were returning from 9 days at Disney, but because I was just physically and mentally drained! Battling rheumatoid arthritis had taken a toll on me. Although I finally had the disease under control, it had left my body weak, aged, sore and terribly overweight - obese was the term my Dr. used!

As usual, I put myself last. That list was never ending and it was creating stress for me. I was just growing older, becoming more weak, suffering more pain and gaining more weight - and struggling harder and harder to get it all done. No matter how hard I tried, I would always be pecking away at that list, day after day, doing things for everybody except myself. I felt unimportant and miserable. I decided that to take better care of my family, I needed to first take care of myself. For the first time ever I made myself a priority. It was not selfish, it was a necessity. My desire to get healthy and fit became stronger than my excuses.

I put the to do list aside and really started to focus on becoming well. Not about losing weight - but about improving my health and getting fit - there's a difference. When the goal is to lose weight, we look for a diet. Diets have never worked for me. There's always a start and an end to a diet. And we all know what happens when you reach the end… those vicious pounds come back, and they bring friends! So my new "self" to do list looked more like this:

Until this point, I made some small steps in the right direction. I enjoyed walking and swimming. I started 21 Day Fix but never completed the program. I eliminated gluten from my diet because it was causing inflammation and triggering my RA. I knew I had to make changes but I just wasn't consistent and I certainly wasn't committed to my health. I didn't have the time, money or the energy for fitness.

I ordered that 21 Day Fix program a couple of months earlier form a girl in Pittsburgh named Melanie Mitro. As the train rolled on, I began reading more about the 21 Day Fix program. I turned to Melanie's blog "Committed to Getting Fit," and discovered that the 21 Day Fix program, like all Beachbody programs, followed a proven formula

Fitness + Nutrition + Support = Success. 

The more I learned about Beachbody, the more I became convinced that I needed to follow their proven system and stick to it. I filled out an application that night to join one of Melanie's challenge groups. I had no idea what it was but it was one of those things that can't hurt to try. Looking back, it was a good decision. Committing to that first Beachbody program and to that challenge group has led to so many good things in my life. I am mindful about the way I eat, fitness has become something that I enjoy, and I am grateful for the opportunity to pay it forward by helping other people.

Fast forward to today and I look and feel better than I have in a very long time. I mentioned in a Facebook post yesterday that I reached 2 important milestones last week.
#1 is that I am half way to my goal weight!  To me, that number isn't as important as how much better I feel. There's no end to this journey. Eating healthy foods and daily fitness are just part of my day and always at the top of my to do list. Being healthier, stronger and having more energy means I can get so much more accomplished. Beachbody fitness programs are not "one size fits all." The system that worked for me is not the answer for everyone, but having a coach and participating in challenge groups is key to finding your own fit formula. Why? Because everyone chooses the fitness program that they like best. Everyone works out at their own pace and in the comfort of their own home. Everyone is working towards an individual goal. The coaching and online group just offers a support system, accountability and motivation to make sure you finish the program victorious! A coach will help you select a program and fit it into your life the way it works best for you! What I love most about being involved with this company and about Beachbody coaching is the focus Beachbody gives on treating everyone as an individual. Everyone matters, every sweat matters. You are not just a coach or a customer, you are part of a team.

Are you ready to get started on our own health and fitness journey? Not sure where to begin? Join one of my online fitness and nutrition challenge groups. Fill out this application for more information:

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5 Ways Water Can Help You Get Your Dream Body

Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer is upon us, which means the mercury is rising, along with the need to drink more water. Besides the fact that water is necessary to keep you from dying from dehydration, water also does so many amazingly good things for your body.

5 Ways Water Can Help You Get Your Dream Bod

Five reasons why more H2O is the way to go!

1. Water curbs the munchies.

The brain is a fascinating thing. Many times when you think you’re hungry, you’re really just thirsty. So the next time you feel the munchies coming on, grab a glass of the clear stuff and see if that doesn’t derail your desire to dig in.

2. Water fuels your muscles.

If your body is dehydrated, you’ll experience muscle fatigue and cramps and won’t be able to get in a good workout, which makes it extra hard for your body to get defined. So if your goal is to get ripped and stay that way, pump up your water intake.

3. Water lubricates your joints.

Does your body snap, crackle, and pop a lot these days? Perhaps you need more water. Research shows that water is key to keeping your joints lubricated properly.

4. Water wakes you up.

The next time you’re jonesing for some shut-eye in the middle of the day (or when you’ve just woken up and should be full of energy), don’t reach for a caffeinated beverage. Instead, hydrate yourself with a few swigs of refreshing water. Since our bodies are comprised of approximately 75% water, when we’re dehydrated, our bodies go into conservation mode—and that’s why we feel tired. Think of how droopy a plant gets when it’s parched, and how quickly it perks up once it gets a splash of the good stuff.

5. Water flushes toxins out of your body.

We live in a toxic world and these toxins can easily build up in the body, hindering the function of your kidneys, liver, and bowels. But when you’re properly hydrated, it’s much easier for your kidneys to filter your blood, for your liver to metabolize fat, and for your intestines to move nutrients and waste through your intestinal tract.

So if you’re trying to get in shape, and stay in shape, drink more water.

How much water do you need to drink daily?

Depending on your level of physical activity and the temperature outside, the amount of water you need to consume daily may vary, but here’s an easy way to guesstimate how much of the clear stuff you may need.

Take your weight, and divide it by 2—and that’s around how many ounces your body needs daily.

But drinking water isn’t the only way to hydrate yourself. Eating water-rich foods gets it into your system as well.

Fruits and veggies with high water content:

• Watermelon • Grapefruit • Cantaloupe • Strawberries • Peaches • Oranges • Pineapple • Raspberries • Blueberries • Celery • Cucumbers • Broccoli • Zucchini • Tomatoes

Or, you could make a Shakeology® that includes some of these high water content fruits and veggies, and blend it with water and ice. Because at the end of the day, HOW you get your water doesn’t matter as much as simply making sure you DO get your water. Cheers to your health!

Shakeology recipes with high water content:

Strawberry Thunder

1 scoop Chocolate or Chocolate Vegan Shakeology
1 cup strawberries
½ cup blueberries
1 cup water

Minty Watermelon

1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
1 cup watermelon
6 fresh mint leaves

Aqua Fresca

1 scoop Strawberry or Tropical Strawberry Vegan Shakeology
¾ cup water
½ medium peeled cucumber
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 cup ice

Strawberry Peach Paradise

1 scoop Greenberry Shakeology
½ cup strawberries
½ cup peaches
1 cup water

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakeology Ice Cream

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Chocolate and peanut butter ice cream that’s good for you? Believe it. This is the ice cream you’ve been waiting for. It has only 4 ingredients, and takes less than 10 minutes to make, plus freezing time. Quick and easy, gluten free, paleo

Chocolate and peanut butter ice cream that’s good for you? Believe it. This is the ice cream you’ve been waiting for. It has only 4 ingredients, and takes less than 10 minutes to make, plus freezing time.

Total Time: 4 hrs. 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 2 servings


1 medium banana, cut into chunks
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology
2 Tbsp. all-natural smooth peanut butter


1. Place banana in plastic bag; freeze for 4 hours, or until completely frozen.
2. Place almond milk, bananas, Shakeology, and peanut butter in blender (or food processor); cover. Blend until smooth.
3. Serve immediately.

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Herb Chicken

Herb chicken made with made with parsley, rosemary, and lemon zest has tons of fresh flavor. Any fresh herbs can be used in this recipe.

Chicken breast doesn’t have to be boring. This version made with parsley, rosemary, and lemon zest has tons of fresh flavor. Any fresh herbs can be used in this recipe. Try substituting the rosemary with basil, tarragon, or oregano. Leftover portions taste excellent on top of a salad.

Total Time: 25 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min.
Yield: 4 servings


¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
3 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves removed and finely chopped, stem discarded
2–3 tsp. finely chopped lemon peel (about 1 lemon)
Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
4 (4-oz each) raw chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 Tbsp. olive oil


1. Preheat grill or broiler on high.
2. Combine parsley, rosemary, and lemon peel in a small bowl; mix well.
3. Add salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.
4. Brush chicken with oil; rub herb mix onto both sides of the chicken. Let sit for 5 minutes.
5. Grill or broil chicken for 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

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Superfoods for Gorgeous Skin

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

In search of the fountain of youth? You are not alone. People everywhere are using skin care products at an earlier age to try and fend off the effects of aging. Consumers will go to great lengths and will pay a small fortune in hopes of looking younger, eliminating wrinkles and reversing sun damage. Although there are some really effective skin care treatments on the market, there's truth to the old saying "beauty comes from within." Ultimately, your health and diet have a tremendous impact on your physical appearance.

It’s no secret a healthy diet and active lifestyle does wonders for your appearance. Not only does eating clean help you keep the weight off, but it also enriches your beauty. When you take care of yourself your health radiates from the inside out!

Good nutrition naturally nurtures healthy, glowing skin to help keep it free of acne. That’s why many skin-nurturing beauty products on the market have ingredients like citrus, acai berries, camu-camu and other potent superfoods in them; these ingredients are as good for you insides as they are for your exterior.

Good nutrition also can do wonders for strengthening your hair from heating products you may use every day and it also supports healthy growth and texture. Finally, when you’re eating right you may also notice your nails become stronger, grow faster and maybe don’t crack and break as often.

This is all thanks to good nutrition! So what should you be eating to enrich your hair, skin and nails? Here are a few ingredients that are great for all of the above. You can find these ingredients in many foods at your local grocery store and you can find all of them in Shakeology. So, whether you are using Shakeology in an effort to lose weight, or just improve your overall health, or to ensure that you get proper nutrition; just one serving of Shakeology each day can provide you with lasting benefits. Take a look at this list of super foods, vitamins and minerals found in this rich, nutritious shake:

Acerola cherry: stimulates the production of collagen to fight wrinkles AND helps build strong teeth
Bilberry: improves vision and fights glaucoma, along with other eye disorders sometimes associated with age
Biotin: Helps promote the health of hair, skin, and nails.
Chlorella: Phytonutrient that helps support healthy skin.
Citric Acid: Helps provide antioxidant protection for the skin.
Folic Acid: A deficiency may cause gray hair.
Cocoa: Antioxidant support for healthy skin.
Gingko: Antioxidant support for skin and promotes healthy circulation.
Goji Berry: High in antioxidants which help minimize damage from free radicals that injure cells and can damage DNA. Stimulates memory.
Grape Seed Extract: Stimulates the growth of collagen and elastin in skin (anti-aging) reducing wrinkles.
Green tea: Comes from the Camellia Sinensis tea plant, which is rich in polyphenols, antioxidants and that detoxify cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Improves overall skin and health.
Magnesium: Can help cells repair faster.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): Helps reduce signs of aging, skin disorders, and gray hair.
Pomegranate: improves bone mass, which often is a problem with advanced age
Riboflavin: includes anti-aging properties
Rose hips: nourishes skin and heals blemishes
Schisandra: Helps to prevent aging.
Vitamin A: Is often used to help skin conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis, cold sores, wounds, burns, and sunburn.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Used for treating acne, maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails. It also has anti-aging properties.
Vitamin B5: reduces the signs of aging and diminishes the production of gray hair
Vitamin B6: Beneficial for acne and various other skin conditions.
Vitamin C: Powerful antioxidant that can be used to help repair and firm the skin.
Vitamin E: Can help to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Collagen is a primary component of your skin and may help prevent scarring from wounds and acne.
Vitamin K: Helps promote healing and helpful for mild bruising and swelling.
Wheat grass: helps prevent gray hair

Ready to give Shakeology a try?
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#LaborDayFix Challenge: Big Results, Lots of Prizes!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Labor Day Fix Challenge: BIG Results, LOTS of Prizes!

Hey guys! Summer is winding down, but I think it’s time for us to wind up and dial in our fitness for the last 21 days leading right up to Labor Day! Here’s how it will work:

I want to help you get great results with 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme in August! So I'm teaming up with Autumn Calabrese to bring you a little extra motivation and fun!

Between Autumn, me, and this challenge group, you will have all the tools and support you need to get GREAT results. Plus, Autumn and I are going to be providing a little extra incentive to join my #LaborDayFix Challenge Group by offering some really COOL PRIZES.

If you're ready for a CHALLENGE and to join a great community, here's what you have to do:

  1. Request to join my group Labor Day Fix (#LaborDayFix) on Facebook. Find that group by clicking here. It’s a closed group so send a request and I’ll approve you.
  2. Starting on August 17th, we will be following an assigned workout. There will be two paths – one for 21 Day Fix and one for 21 Day Fix EXTREME. I’ll post each scheduled workout one day in advance and then we’ll crush that workout together the next day.

Share what you are doing and WIN some BIG PRIZES!

During the entire 21 days, if you share 1) a photo of where you’re working out AND/OR 2) a photo of what you’re eating that day, and use the hashtag #LaborDayFix – you will be eligible to win 1 of many prizes:

Autumn's Prizes

autographed copy of FIXATE
21 Day Fix Watch
a 1-year subscription to Beachbody on Demand ($155)

Brenda's Prizes

A copy of Fixate Cookbook
Women's workout tank
Shaker Bottle & Shakeology samples

Autumn and I will choose weekly winners. Winning photos will be chosen based on creativity (50%) and photo quality (50%). You can share as often as you want.
Speaking of Beachbody on Demand, one day per week I will throw a little variety into the mix, and we will do another workout from the Beachbody On Demand collection. If you’re already a #BOD member, awesome! If not, ask me about how you can sign up free for 30 days.

Finally, remember to take your before photos, progress photos, and after photos because at the end of the 21 days we will be voting on the most inspirational transformation. In order to be eligible for Autumn's grand prize you have to share your results and/or your journey during the 21 days and use the hashtag #LaborDayFix (you can also share in the group). She will then take her favorites, post them to her Facebook page and allow the community to decide the winner by voting via likes + comments. The photo with the most likes and comments will win.

Autumn's Grand Prize:

Autographed #FIXATE cookbook
21 Day Fix Watch
Yearly subscription to Beachbody on Demand.
Beachbody Performance Ultimate Stack (all 5 supplements)
Also, if you win the Grand Prize and your Coach is the one who got you into this Challenge Group, they win the grand prize, too!

Grab a friend, a relative, a co-worker, whoever, AND LET’S GET STARTED ON OUR #LaborDayFix !

Note: If you don’t have 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix EXTREME, ask me how you can get it and save 25% on all your Beachbody purchases

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That Viral Coke Infographic Is Wrong. Here’s What Really Happens.

Friday, August 7, 2015

by Hannah Rex, for Beachbody
Not-so-shocking newsflash: drinking soda isn’t very good for you. A viral infographic made its way onto the Internet last week, breaking down what happens to your body within an hour of drinking a can of Coke. While it makes some decent points about sugar and caffeine, its approach is very…dramatic. The infographic’s creator, The Renegade Pharmacist, used the information from an article originally published on Blisstree. It’s clear neither websites are fans of the fizzy beverage (full disclose: ours isn’t either), but the alarmist approach belies some interesting facts.
So I sat down with three of Beachbody’s nutrition experts to put it in perspective. Here’s the real science on “The Real Thing.”

What Really Happens When You Drink Soda?

In the first 10 minutes

Infographic claim: “10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor, allowing you to keep it down.”
What actually happens: You ingest 10 teaspoons (39 grams) of sugar, which undoubtedly is a lot. In fact, this is more than American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit, which is no more than nine teaspoons for men and six teaspoons for women. But a 12 fl. oz. Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino has 69 grams of sugar, the “light” version has 39 grams of sugar, and the drink doesn’t contain phosphoric acid. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t ever seen someone gag when drinking a Frappuccino.
Dr. Nima Alamdari, Beachbody Director of Scientific Affairs, says the infographic is mostly fluff. “The sugar level can be problematic, particularly in a sedentary lifestyle and when frequency of consumption is a factor, but the idea that this would typically induce a vomiting reflex is just fictional.”
“If your glycogen and blood glucose is depleted, sugar is actually good for you,” says Steve Edwards, VP of Fitness and Nutrition. “Coke works okay as a sports food. The problem is that most people use it far more for watching sports, not playing them, and then, that much sugar is definitely detrimental to you health.”
“When over-consumed, sugar can be pretty toxic, but claiming it will cause you to vomit is asinine,” states an irritated Denis Faye, Director of Nutrition. “There are plenty of ways to slam Coke without making things up!”
What about phosphoric acid? It cuts the sweetness in soda and provides colas their “tangy” flavor, but none of the three believe it has anything to do with keeping your from retching. “Think of all the sodas that don’t contain phosphoric acid,” adds Faye. “When’s the last time someone yakked after downing a can of Sprite? I mean, one not spiked with rum, of course.”
It does, however, have some other issues, which we’ll look at later.

Within 20 minutes

Infographic claim: “Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (And there’s plenty of that at this particular moment.)”
What actually happens: Your blood sugar does spike, causing a burst of insulin. That’s because insulin controls blood sugar levels, which is totally normal. When you bring sugar (or any food) into the body, you need insulin to regulate it.
What about the fat production? “It’s certainly not a blanket statement you can make,” says Edwards. “If your body is depleted, the sugar will go right to work helping your body recover. If you’re not, it can be stored in adipose (fat) tissue but it’s a stretch to say that will happen with the sugar in one Coke. Habitual drinking, yes, but that’s not what the infographic is claiming.”
This is why drinking 10 Cokes a day can quickly lead to weight gain. But is a single soda going to cause you to blow up like a balloon? No.

Within 40 minutes

Infographic claim: “Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate; your blood pressure rises; as a response, your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked, preventing drowsiness.”
What actually happens: Your body absorbs the caffeine, which may dilate your pupils and raise your blood pressure, but 12 fl. oz. of Coke has only about 29 mg of caffeine. I say “only” because 8 oz. of green tea has between 24 and 45 mg of caffeine, and a cup of coffee can have 260 mg.
“To make this claim over 29 grams of caffeine is preposterous!” exclaims Faye. “Sure, people sometimes drink more than one can in a sitting, but you can drink an entire Big Gulp and still take in less caffeine than an 8-ounce cup of coffee.”
“The description for the metabolism of a very low dose of caffeine is dramatized,” adds Dr. Alamdari. “From a physiological and health perspective, the level of caffeine is not problematic.”
Now, let’s tackle the second part of the claim. Adenosine is a neuromodulator in your central nervous system that facilitates sleep. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors, which prevents you from becoming drowsy. Yes, this part of the infographic is technically correct, but an intake of low-dose caffeine isn’t some big scary monster and this makes it sound like a set up for the next big horror movie.
“In my experience, most people drinking Coke want this effect, so the point is moot,” says Edwards. “Yet, they still managed to exaggerate it.”

Within 45 minutes

Infographic claim: “Your body ups your dopamine production, stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.”
What actually happens: Your body increases dopamine production because of both the sugar and caffeine in the soda. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that interacts in the pleasure centers of your brain. Yes, heroin increases dopamine levels. But so does eating bananas. And exercising. And watching the Three Stooges. It’s all a matter of perspective.
“I’m the first to admit Coke has an addictive quality, although I’d argue it’s more psychological, thanks to decades of marketing telling us how it’s the key to happiness and world peace,” says Faye. “But you have a Coke and a smile, not a Coke and a nod-off. Comparing it to heroin is every bit as propagandistic as those insipid Share-a-Coke ads.”

After 60 minutes (Part 1)

Infographic claim: “The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium, and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.”
What actually happens: “They had a chance to make a valid point here and they completely dropped the ball,” says Faye, referring to a 2006 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linking lower bone density and kidney disease with women who consumed cola daily (as opposed to other sodas). The problem is, if you read the study, you’ll see that the researchers don’t pin the issue on phosphoric acid. They suggest that it could be the caffeine, phosphoric acid, cola extract, or the carbonation, but then go on to cite several studies discounting all those theories.
“Those four things individually are generally okay, so it’s probably the alchemy of them all mixed together,” hypothesizes Faye. “Or it could be that people who drink cola tend to drink less healthier caffeinated beverages, like coffee and tea—which have actually been shown to be good for your bones.”
So long story short, yes something about cola may mess with your bones, but they’re not sure what, which doesn’t make for a good infographic.
And by the way, cola isn’t the only place you find phosphoric acid. It’s also in meat and dairy products. And while this infographic might exaggerate its effects, it still probably isn’t great to consume in large quantities. It does make a fantastic rust remover, though.

After 60 minutes (Part 2)

Infographic claim: “The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium, and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolytes, and water.”
What actually happens: Caffeine is a diuretic, and that does give you the urge to run to the bathroom. Yes, you will release some nutrients. But the amount is so minimal that it’s hardly even worth mentioning. Coffee makes you pee more often because of the diuretic properties of caffeine, but it’s unlikely you’re suffering from weakness after your mid-morning bathroom break. Studies have shown that caffeine is actually extremely beneficial to athletic performance, and the amount study participants consumed was way more than the 29 mg found in Coke.

After 60 minutes (Part 3)

Infographic claim: “As the rave inside you dies down, you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like hydrating your system, or building strong bones and teeth.”
What actually happens: First of all, if there’s a crazy dance party going on inside of you every time you drink a Coke, you might have some other issues that need to be looked into. In reality, it’s true that at this point you will start to feel the effects of your blood sugar levels crashing. This occurs because your body is adjusting from a high level of blood sugar to a lower level of blood sugar. You might start to feel irritable and/or sluggish. Just talk to any kid at the end of an ice cream-and-cake-filled birthday party.
“This statement is actually true for the most part,” says Edwards. “Unless you’re using it during and post activity, you will spike and fade to some degree. And this effect can be pronounced in some people.”
“I agree with Steve,” adds Faye. “Sugar crashes are a fact of life for junk food junkies.”
“I’m certainly not a soda fan,” says Edwards. “I don’t drink it and I wrote an article calling it the worst food on the planet, which I believe it is. But that piece cites logic, reason, and actual statics. It’s not just alarmist drivel.”
“I’m not a soda fan, full stop. Mainly because these high sugar drinks are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic we are experiencing” says Dr. Alamdari. “But, I’m also not a fan of hype articles with a clear lack of evidence-basis behind them. It feeds secondhand misinformation to readership that deserves better.”
“Soda has no redeeming qualities. Period,” states Faye. “But the same can be said for American Pie sequels and I like watching those every so often. It’s just a matter of knowing when to watch—or drink—something healthier.”
Drinking a can of cola every now and then might not wreak total havoc on your entire body like this infographic makes it seem, but if it helps you stop drinking soda, perhaps it’s a good thing, whether they’re making it up or not.


Grilled Pork Chops with Peach & Jalapeno Salsa

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pork chops taste delicious with all sorts of fruits. This flavorful peach and jalapeño salsa makes a superb summertime topping. It’s quick and easy to make, and is ready in minutes. All you have to do is grill the meat! Choose peaches that are just beginning to ripen so they retain their shape when chopped. If they’re too soft, your salsa might look more like puree, but it will still taste great! Try the salsa on chicken tacos, with grilled fish, or as a dip.


Pork chops taste delicious with all sorts of fruits2 medium ripe peaches, peeled, chopped
¼ medium red onion, chopped
1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeds and veins removed, chopped
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
½ tsp. hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
4 (4-oz.) center-cut pork chops, lean, boneless
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder


Try this salsa on pork, chicken tacos, with grilled fish, or as a dip.1. Combine peaches, onion, jalapeño, red pepper flakes, lime juice, hot pepper sauce, and cilantro; mix well. Set aside.
2. Preheat grill or broiler on high.
3. Season pork chops with salt and pepper.
4. Grill or broil  chops for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness.
5. Top pork chops evenly with salsa; serve immediately.

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5 Steps to the Best You Ever!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Did you flip the page on your calendar yet? Welcome back Monday and hello August! If you've been following me on social media and here on my blog, you know that I have a theme each month. August is all about making your health and happiness a priority. Sometimes we get so caught up in our manic lifestyles that we forget how important it is to take care of ourselves. Before you know it you start feeling like a hostage in your own body. Stress and fatigue take over and you're packing on the pounds! You catch every stinking cold and virus that comes along, you suffer from things like brain fog, chronic pain and inflammation, and you just feel out-of-control! Your declining health can be like a runaway train, and if you don't slow down and control it, you can find yourself facing a future filled with chronic health problems. Flipping that page today is the perfect excuse to get motivated and set some new goals to make your overall wellness a priority before you encounter a major health crisis.

1. Get motivated!

If someone said to you "I'll give you $1,000,000 if you lose 15 pounds in the next 30 days," would you do it? You bet you would! Is that what you're waiting for? Would that be enough to motivate you to get control of your health? What if someone said to you "If you lose 15 pounds you'll live 10 years longer and get to spend 10 more years with your kids. You'll look and feel younger. You'll be able tot live life to it's fullest at a very old age." Would you be as motivated? In your heart you know the answer should be yes, but when we're not emotionally charged, it's easy to take our health for granted. Don't wait for that crisis to happen to motivate you to change. Whether your goal is to lose weight, get fit, manage a health condition or recover from an addiction or personal struggle; the first few steps are never easy. That mental breakthrough - deciding you want to change more than you want to stay the same - is one big, fiery dragon to slay!

2. Find your reason why

Forget about the unnecessary clutter in your life and get to the real reason you want to change. Don't get caught up in the numbers on the scale or on your jeans size, get to something more powerful, more emotional. It's that deep, emotional need that will drive you to show up every day and not fail. Write it down or find some kind of visual to remind yourself why you want to change and put it where you will see it each and every day. If you do this, soon your thoughts will shape your behavior and you actions and you will be soaring towards success!

3. Set realistic goals

This is not a race. Sometimes it the small, seemingly insignificant victories that will have a huge impact on your success. For example, let's say that you drink one Coke each day. A 20 oz bottle of Coke contains 16 teaspoons of sugar. Replacing that one soda each day with water or unsweetened iced tea might not seem like it is making a difference at first, but it could cause you to lose up to 30 pounds in a year! Even without exercising one bit! So why not give it a try? What's your junk food addiction? Try replacing that 1 item with a healthier choice and watch how your body reacts. After 4 weeks you will no longer miss it. After 8 weeks you will notice a difference and after 12 weeks everyone around you will notice. So start with baby steps and build on that by forming a new healthy habit each week. Before you know it your changes will become a way of life and you will look and feel better than ever!

4. Focus on progress, not perfection

Find ways to measure your success other than the numbers on the scale or the miles you've run. Look for victories in how you feel. Do you have more energy? Are you sleeping better? Can you think more clearly? There are so many benefits to improving your health besides just losing weight or completing a marathon. When you commit to good nutrition and fitness it might take a while to see the physical transformation, but along the way you will you will have lots of small victories to build on. If you get off track a little once in a while, just begin again. Don't let a setback ruin what you've worked so hard to accomplish. A bad day doesn't equal a bad life.

5. Challenge yourself

You do not depreciate. You increase in value with age. Your body can accomplish anything your mind tells it to. So why not invest in yourself, challenge yourself and transform yourself into the best version of you possible. If you're ready to make a commitment to your health and happiness, but you're not sure where to start, an online fitness and nutrition accountability group might be the answer you are looking for. here's what's coming up in August:

  • No-fail, Health & Happiness Challenge Starting Monday, August 10
  • Clean Eating and Shakeology Challenge Group Starting Monday, August 17
  • 21 Day Fix/ Fix Extreme Challenge Group Starting Friday, August 21
  • Dance Your Booty Off with CIZE, the End to Exercise Challenge, Monday August 31

Do any of these interest you? Here's what you need to know:

  • We focus on nutrition, fitness & overall well being
  • Challenges last 21 - 30 days
  • You will have the chance to win prizes
  • We make it fun
  • It's all done in a virtual gym in a private Facebook group.
  • Work out in your home, and at your own pace.
  • 1:1 Free personal coaching from me. I'll answer questions and give support.
  • In order to see the best results, you are required to purchase a Beachbody challenge pack or complete one that you already have. Choose from over 30 programs including CIZE, 21 Day Fix, PiYo, P90X, T25, Insanity, and more!
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