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MCLV Mange| Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

A holiday season classic with a healthy twist. And, of course, not too complicated. We here at MCLV HQ can’t stand a difficult recipe with hard-to-find ingredients.

{Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles – Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Peanut Butter Ball Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of peanut butter {I used Naked Nutrition Powdered Peanut Butter}
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup or brown rice syrup
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup almond flour or 5-6 Tbsp coconut flour

Chocolate Drizzle Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 4-8 squares of dark chocolate
  • 1/4 Tsp flaky sea salt

Directions:

  1. Mix together peanut butter, liquid sweetener of choice, coconut oil & vanilla. Add flour and stir thoroughly.
  2. Create small balls with the dough. Should create 10-12.
  3. Place on a sheet of parchment paper or silpat and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  4. While they’re chilling melt the coconut oil & dark chocolate.
  5. Once the balls have hardened, remove from the freezer and drizzle with the chocolate.
  6. Finally, sprinkle desired amount of sea salt on top.
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Project Comeback | Foods to AVOID + Foods to Add

Welcome to my Project Comeback series! Today we’re taking about foods to avoid and foods to add to your daily life while you’re trying to achieve your healthy living goals. If you’ve missed out, you can check out these previous posts: Project Comeback | A Week of Workouts, Project Comeback | What I Eat in a Day, and Project Comeback | Activewear Loves.聽

Since I started my healthy living journey nearly a decade ago, I’ve tried many different ways of eating. I’ve succumbed to trends. I’ve tried new foods. I’ve cut out other foods. But most of all, I’ve tried to keep an open mind. What works for one person may not work for another, and what works for you one year, may not work for you the next. Now after that little introduction, I wanted to give you a quick and dirty break down of foods to add to your diet, and foods to AVOID.

Project Comeback What To Eat What Foods to Avoid Venag Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food FItness Lifestyle Blogger

Foods to GIVE UP:

  • Fried foods – Fairly self-explanatory 馃檪聽
  • Heavily processed foods – Simply put… Does it come in a package? Try to cut it out. Long list of ingredients? Try to cut it out.
  • Foods/food-like substances聽with no nutritional value – Packaged sauces, dressings, and condiments, pre-made meals, snack foods, fruit juices etc.
  • High sugar foods – Cut out the candy, baked goods, and definitely cut out the sodas
  • Refined carbs – Pasta, white bread, packaged pastry products… You know they’re terrible for you, time to ditch them

Foods to Add:

  • Whole foods聽– ALL the fruits & veggies
  • Whole grains – Don’t worry, you can still have pasta. Just swap your refined white flour pasta for quinoa, chickpea, brown rice, or lentil.
  • Water – Start increasing your water intake each day
  • Spices – Worried that you won’t enjoy your food once you give up sugary, high-fat dressings and sauces? Try adding fresh herbs and dried spices
  • Healthy fats – Swap processed, pre-made foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, for healthy fats like avocado, eggs, nuts, seeds, and beans
  • Green tea – High in antioxidants and great for weight loss, including green tea in your day is a win-win

I’ll be back for another installation of Project Comeback so stay tuned!

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Surviving the Holidays | 10 Day Cleanse

While I love the holidays, and look forward to them, they can be fairly hard on your body. Between all of the聽late nights, indulgent treats, and cocktails, you start to feel pretty low energy by the time New Years rolls around. This 10 day cleanse is easy, quick, and you still get to EAT. Well… Maybe easy isn’t the best word. But it’s definitely worthwhile. It’s a great way to give your adrenals and gut a break, and you’ll be able to put your best food forward for all of your holiday engagements this year.

Cleanse Detox Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

Here are the do’s and don’t’s for the 10 day cleanse:

Don’t consume:

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar/Sweeteners (including natural added sugars like agave or honey, but excluding fruits and veggies containing sugar, those are fine)
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Peanuts

Do consume:

  • All the whole foods – Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. (Non-processed meat as well if you’re an omnivore)
  • LOTS of water
  • Pre/probiotics
  • Fermented foods without added sugar

Caffeine is one of the hardest things for most people to give up, but you can ease your way into it by starting to cut back a few days before officially starting the cleanse. That way there isn’t quite as much of a shock to the system. Below are my thoughts and experiences with some of these factors to give you an idea of what to expect and how you may feel.

Caffeine – I was worried about this one to be honest. I generally drink 3-4 cups of tea a day, but I rarely keep track and I’m sure that sometimes it’s higher. Turns out, not much to worry about. I was a little headachy the first day, but woke up bright as a button the second day. (Also – What in the world does that expression mean?)

Alcohol – Let’s be honest, we all feel better when we don’t drink. The end. 馃檪

Sugar/Sweeteners – This is the item that had the biggest impact on me. Start reading your labels and you’ll realize you’re consuming much more sugar than you expect. Dressings, marinades, sauces, protein powders, protein bars… Basically anything packaged. They’re all filled with sugar or sweeteners. Cutting out these items really forced me to look at my meals more critically and make more informed choices. It also meant planning ahead because I couldn’t reach for a quick bite like a protein bar.

Soy – I’ve gotten into the lazy habit of having store-bought veggie burgers and sausage patties when I’m too tired to cook. Yes, they’re great convenience items, but this was a good wake up call that I should make/keep whole food options around as well. This also meant that between no soy and no sugar (aka my protein powders聽and bars) my protein intake was much lower than normal. Once I got into the swing of it and actually did my meal prepping, I was fine.

Overall I thought this was a great cleanse. You still get to eat but you see and feel results. PLUS it’s a great reminder to pay attention to your food and to help get you out of bad habits. That was my biggest takeaway, that I get lazy and reach for foods that are more processed than what I should be eating on a regular basis.

Stay tuned for some fun recipes that I came up with during this cleanse!

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Tips and Tricks to Tackle a Vegetarian Diet

Heading into the end of the year is a time that people like to re-focus on their health. They start looking into plant-based diets (vegetarian or vegan), cleanses, or even consider tackling the Whole 30.

 

Shifting from a meat-based diet to a plant-based one is an admirable challenge, but it is a challenge none the less. Here are some tips and tricks that may help you in this undertaking.

 

The two main issues that I see almost every time a life-long meat eater attempts to go vegetarian are: (1) their mentality and (2) their approach to food.
First up – Don’t think of this as an exercise in deprivation. If you keep saying “I can’t live without bacon” or telling yourself/other people that you’re not going to be able to do it, you won’t be able to do it. It’s that simple. So really think about shifting your perspective. You’re not cutting yourself off, you’re opening yourself up to a whole new way of looking at food and nourishing yourself. You’ll find new foods, new recipes, and new meals that you never knew existed, and that’s a wonderful thing. Even if you’re counting down every day to returning to your previous habits, try to give a little attention to what you’re gaining. New knowledge, new foods, new perspective. That in itself is worth celebrating.
Vegetarian Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Plant-Based Diet San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness LIfestyle Blogger
Second – Don’t try to eat exactly the same way that you used to and聽just cut out the meat. I see that A LOT with people in fitness, they try to cut out meat but don’t actually聽add聽anything new to their meals. You’ll be bored and hungry in hours if you’re just eating vegetables and eggs.
The keys to a sustainable plant-based diet are feeling satiated and fully nourishing yourself. Some people eat soy with every meal, others supplement with powders and bars, and聽some eat entirely whole foods with no processed products. It’s up to you to decide which path to take, but I recommend being mindful and opening yourself up to trying new things, so you can discover what works best for your body.
Bulking up your meals is important. You will starve to death and hate every minute if you eat the same thing for every meal or try to sustain yourself with broccoli three times a day. So, for bulking, I recommend loading up on whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Don’t be boring and basic, ask yourself “what can I add to this?” at each meal. It’ll help keep you full and satisfied.
Not that my diet is perfect, but here’s examples of two days of eating for me. One is during the week when I’m in an office and need easy foods, and one is when I’m at home and can be more creative. Also, one thing to note, is that I workout twice a day, so I have high protein needs.
Week day:
– Lemon water聽+ tea
– Smoothie: mixed berries, spinach, protein powder, cinnamon, ginger, maca powder聽+ chia seeds (add chia at the end, don’t blend the seeds)
– Avocado toast: Udi’s GF bread, avocado, cayenne, sea salt, hemp聽+ sesame seeds
– Giant salad beast: mixed greens, radish, cucumber, kidney beans, cherry tomatoes, roasted beets, quinoa聽+ carrot ginger dressing
– Coconut yogurt聽+ almond butter with cinnamon
– Protein bar (I like lower sugar bars, minimally processed, and usually brown rice or pea protein vs soy protein isolate)
– Roasted sweet potatoes, stir fried zucchini聽+ Summer squash with shallots, garlic聽+ coconut aminos, and a veggie burger with salsa
Lots of big meals. Protein, healthy fat and carbs with every meal. And lots of variety – Raw聽+ cooked vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, seeds, nut butter…
Weekend:
– Scramble: Green onions, garlic聽+ shallots with peppers, zucchini聽+ cherry tomatoes and eggs. Topped with salsa and avocado, and served with fruit salad聽+ Greek yogurt
– Nourish bowl: Quinoa, roasted cauliflower, black beans, sauteed asparagus and greens topped with hummus, hemp seeds, and balsamic
– Snack: Celery, carrots, cucumber with babaganoosh
– Pasta: Zucchini聽+ sweet potato noodles sauteed with tomatoes, vegan sausage, carrots, peppers, onions, garlic, and spices.
Recipes and Links:
While I love recipes and food blogs, I tend to go off script. I use them as a starting point and then do whatever I feel like. I use whatever I have on hand and like to get creative, so most of my “recipes” are different every time I make them. My advice is to read some of these links and find out what appeals to you, then get creative. 馃檪
Additional links:
– Alllll the veggie posts
Fun facts:
Even if you eat a very healthy diet, going vegetarian means more fiber. You can get gassy or bloated or experience some GI distress when you’re getting started. Try easing into it slowly, and drink LOTS of water. I drink a full water bottle as soon as I get up, before I even leave my bedroom. I put it on my bedside table when I go to bed and drink it when I wake up. It’s a good way to start flushing your system.
Some other things that may help during your transition or if you’re having stomach issues are pre/probiotics and fermented foods/drinks. Kombucha, sauerkraut, gut shots, and kimchi are all great ways to promote a healthy, happy gut. I also turn to ginger lemon tea whenever I get an upset or angry tummy, calms it right down.
Good luck to those considering a transition towards a plant-based diet and let me know if you have any questions!
Any other tips from my plant-based friends out there?
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Project Comeback | What I Eat in a Day

Building off the first Project Comeback post, I’m back today to share a peek into my daily eating habits while I’m working on tightening things up pre-birthday. 馃檪 Welcome to the latest What I Eat in a Day post!

I’m usually happy eating the same thing every day. I like to do food prep on Sundays to get ready for the week, and have my meals planned out ahead of time. Here’s an example of a typical week for me when I’m trying to eat clean and stay on track.

Project Comeback What I Eat In A Day San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian

5am – Full water bottle

6am – Lemon water + Irish breakfast tea

7am – Collagen + iron supplement + detox shot or supplements (I alternate days on my morning detox shot and taking calcium + Vitamin B supplements)

9am – Breakfast! I’ve been LOVING baked oatmeal and have been playing around with recipes. Chia seeds, protein powder, ground hemp seeds… It’s a great way to introduce lots of nutrients first thing. On days when I’ll have a carb-heavy dinner I’ll have half a baked oatmeal serving plus a smoothie.

12pm – My go-to lunch lately has been a giant salad beast. I really enjoy loading up on hydrating veggies like cucumber, cabbage, and celery. My current salad dressing obsession is spicy carrot ginger, so stay tuned for a recipe!

2:30pm – An afternoon snack doubles as a pre-workout boost so I like to have a good combination of healthy fats and carbs. Coconut yogurt with almond butter or a smoothie are my favorite midday boosts.

5pm-6pm – When I’m walking home from my after work gym session I’ll usually munch on a bar. It’s an easy way to refuel on the move, just make sure that you find bars that aren’t super high in sugar. I have been obsessed with No Cow bars for YEARS and highly recommend them.

6:30pm – We like to eat on the early side which is great for me, since I don’t sleep well with a full stomach. Since I’ve been enjoying giant salads at lunchtime lately, I’ve steered clear of them for dinner. Roasted veggies or a stir fry with a plant-based burger is the usual right now.

What’s on YOUR plate right now?

Stay tuned for more Project Comeback posts on workouts, gym gear, and more!

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