Tag Archives | Raw

Swimsuit Season: How To Get Bikini Ready

Step one in the race for the beach is getting yourself healthy & in shape. And, of course, mentally preparing yourself… 🙂 So read on for what my Swimsuit Shape-Up plan is and some great tips & suggestions for getting yourself ready for your first beach, river, pool trip of the season!

Swimsuit Shape-Up:

My four-week plan to get bikini ready hinges on three important factors: (1) Spending some quality time at the gym, (2) Making healthy food choices, and (3) Staying motivated. For me the third is almost as important as the first two in terms of reaching my goals. We’ve all gone on a super healthy kick only to burn out a few days later and fall off the wagon!

SwimSuitShapeUp

Here’s my plan for the next four weeks:

  1. Eat Clean – No takeout, nothing processed, no packaged foods. Whole foods only. Smoothies, salads, stir fried or sautĂ©ed veggies & raw produce. Not sure what to snack on when you’re busy or traveling? Try baby carrots + hummus, Larabars, raw almonds, or a healthy sweet treat like mini gluten-free protein cakes or energy bites.
  2. 4-5 Weekly Workouts – Getting to the gym consistently is incredibly important so I’ll be aiming for 4-5 workouts a week including full-body circuits, core focused routines, and physical therapy. Plus daily walking.

Tips & Recommendations:

Sometimes, as hard as you work, the day you have to suit-up is thwarted by bloat or water weight. FitSugar is full of tips for getting back to your lean self – Flat Belly, Fast: 15 Ways to Debloat Today.

Don'tFreakOut

Your mentality when it comes to bikini time is important – Like with most of life’s obstacles, if you approach it with a negative mindset you won’t get the results you’re hoping for. Not sure how to improve your outlook? Read Garance Dore’s Don’t Freak Out.

Does the idea of adding weight training to your fitness routine intrigue you but you’re not sure what the first step should be or where to start? Check out Natalie Jill Fitness’s You HAVE to lift HEAVY if You Want to Lean Out and Change Your Body for some great insights!

Not sure what foods are best in the last few days before a trip? Try rehydrating and fiber-filled fruits and vegetables – MindBodyGreen has all the details in their 5 Best Foods For A Beach Body.

Something to keep in mind when you’re working hard to meet a fitness goal are the perils of over-training. If you don’t give yourself enough time for recovery and get enough sleep, you won’t see the results you’re hoping for. Check out this great piece on rolling our your muscles from Women’s Health – Soothe Muscle Soreness.

What are YOU doing to get yourself ready for swimsuit season?

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MCLV Mange: Coconut Cookie Cake

I made a new dessert this past Saturday and after putting up a picture on Instagram {you can follow me @moicontrelavie} it was clear that this recipe was going to need its own blog post. I based this on Purely Twins’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake, but as I didn’t have chocolate chips or cacao nibs so I decided to make it a coconut cookie cake instead.

Plated

{This version was made with applesauce & served with peanut butter soft serve}

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Flour {I mixed 1 cup of almond meal with 1/2 cup coconut flour & 1/2 cup flax-seed meal}
  • 1.5 Tbsp Baking Soda
  • 2 Flax Eggs {See the description here}
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Applesauce or Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Coconut

Cherry

{This version was made with pumpkin puree & served with cherry soft serve}

The original recipe called for applesauce or pumpkin puree and I was curious what the difference would be so I tried both. The batter was a bit runnier with the applesauce but otherwise I barely detected a difference in the finished product.

What’s your favorite healthy oil or butter substitute in recipes?

Stay tuned for the next MCLV Mange installment and check out the previous posts from this series to see what you’ve missed so far:

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MCLV Mange: Soft Serve Ice Cream

One of my favorite warm weather treats is banana soft serve. This raw, vegan, gluten-free treat is quick, easy, and guilt-free. And let’s be honest, is there anything more you need in a dessert?

BlueBerrySoftServeMCLV

{Blueberry: 1 Banana + 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries}

This recipe couldn’t be easier. In fact, I almost hesitate to call it anything as formal as a “recipe.” Whenever I have leftover bananas I cut them into thirds, seal them in ziplock baggies, and throw them in the freezer. Then when your sweet tooth hits throw as many chunks of banana into a blender or food processor as you want, blend, and add whatever flavors sound good.

It’s that easy! Just blend 1 banana + flavoring of choice + 1/2 cup water. Slurp!

PeanutButterIceCreamMCLV

{Peanut Butter: 1 Banana + 2 Tbsp Powdered Peanut Butter}

Some of my favorite ingredients are powdered peanut butter, coconut or peppermint extract, raw cacao, or frozen fruit. Whenever I have leftover fruit that I’m not going to get to before it goes bad I’ll chop it up & stick it in the freezer so I always have “fresh” fruit options.

The main danger with this treat is that it’s so easy you can make it all the time. Which I do.

Stay tuned for the next MCLV Mange installment and check out the previous posts from this series to see what you’ve missed so far:

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MCLV Mange: Hemp Salad

As I mentioned in my July Round-Up post my friend Arianna and I have gotten back into the habit of having a healthy dinner once a week. She walks over after work and we chat and catch up while I throw something together, usually based on what I was able to find at the Farmers Market the previous weekend.

For this dish I was initially inspired by the amazing OhSheGlow’s Speedy Summer Hemp Power Salad but my food processor was having none of it so I ended up just using the veggies that I had on hand and topping them with a handful of hemp seeds and my current obsession – Trader Joe’s Spicy Peanut Dressing.

And of course I had seconds…

And then there was dessert in the form of Purely Twins’s (formerly Pure 2 Raw) Hemp Protein Muffins made with Sun Warrior Protein Powder in chocolate flavor instead of hemp-based protein powder.

Super quick and easy, only a few ingredients, and the end result was, despite the less than flattering exterior, dense and chewy. You could tell that they were “healthy” and made with protein powder so I’m going to try to tweak the recipe in the future, but I enjoyed them.

And a second dessert of vegan chocolate ice cream made simply with blended frozen bananas, a splash of vanilla extract, and some raw cacao powder.

Delicious!

I have to admit, I think that both of these desserts probably deserve their own separate post… Oh well, I guess that means that I’ll have to make them again!

If you’re in the mood for a fabulous Summer salad like this one, here’s some inspiration: Eat, Live, Run’s Seven Summer Salads, OhSheGlow’s super creative 5 More Reader Favourite Salad Recipes, and Choosing Raw’s Salads Beyond Salads.

Stay tuned for the next MCLV Mange installment or check out previous posts from this series to see what you’ve missed so far:

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A Healthy Surprise

After my sad discovery about the closure of the healthy snack company Lollihop I was thrilled to find another snack delivery company out there called Healthy Surprise.

Not only was this little box was chock full of delicious goodies, Healthy Surprise really makes an effort to support organic, fair trade, green, and/or socially aware companies as well as expanding their reach each month to new brands and healthier, more diverse choices.

I was surprised by how small and sleek the box was, they do a great job with the package and there’s very little excess wrapping and packing materials, which is an eco-efficient approach that I especially like.

The contents were quite varied, the box included everything from bars and raw crackers to nuts and kale chips. I like trying new things and giving new flavors a go, which is one of the major reasons that I like these boxes (and CSAs) – They force you to get outside of your comfort zone and usual purchasing routines.

Apple Pecan Two Degrees Bar – The ingredient list for this bar are awesome. Vegan, gluten-free AND it containing quinoa, chia seeds, and millet. Oh, and it was absolutely scrumptious. Gooey, chewy, not too sweet, tangy, filling, and wholesome. Bonus? The company has a great program in place and for every Two Degrees bar you buy, they will donate a meal to a hungry child.

Seriously, does it get any better than this?

Apple Cinnamon Raw Revolution Bar – TASTY! I love Raw Revolution Bars, these organic live food bars have always been high on my list. The Chocolate Coconut flavor remains the reigning champion as far as I’m concerned, though the Apple Cinnamon was quite good. Side note – This bar was pretty small – it was gone in just a couple bites which is always sad.

That’s It Bar – “1 Apple + 10 Cherries in this fruit bar” is the tagline, which I think is great, more companies should approach their products this way. The ingredients are really just apples and cherries. Pure! 100 calories, 3 grams of protein and they’re gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and have zero fat. Quite the healthy little bar.

Livin’ Spoonful Coconut Curry Crackers – Gluten free, vegan, raw sprouted crackers. Don’t be intimidated by the name of this healthy snack, it’s DELICIOUS. Really light in flavor, with a great crunch and texture. Even the boyfriend happily enjoyed a few bites. To top it off, Livin’ Spoonful is a great little company focusing on healthy, gluten-free living and has the motto “a garden in every bite.”

Twin Cakes Cashew Coconut Biscotti – I mentioned my love of Twin Cakes (the North Carolina-based bakery run by the twins who write the Pure2Raw blog) when I discussed gluten-free products – Gluten: The Good, The Bad & The Itchy. I’ve ordered virtually everything that their site has to offer at one point or another and not a single product has disappointed. In the past I’ve especially loved their raw crackers and snack bites, however their biscotti is now my new favorite. So. Good. Very coconut-y and dense, but a little bit chewy. Delicious!

Alive & Radiant Foods Southwest Ranch Kale Krunch – Kale chips are a great snack, but an acquired taste for some. They’re baked greens so there’s not a ton of crunch, but they’re pretty satisfying nonetheless. I really enjoyed this flavor, I’ve only ever had a few vegan ranch flavored snacks that I’ve enjoyed, frequently they taste nothing like ranch and are a disappointment. Not these though!

Righteously Raw Chocolate Maca Bar – I wanted so badly to like this bar, the packaging is beautiful and the information on the bar is top-notch. Gluten-free, no refined sugar, soy & dairy free, contained over 55 phytonutrients, increases energy & vitality, and balances hormones & increases libido. It looks like a large Kit Kat bar but unfortunately I really didn’t enjoy the taste. I like maca and use it in smoothies regularly, but this bar was not to my liking.

Samba 99 Cupuacu – This “original antioxidant super fruit bar” contains organic cupuacu pulp, organic Brazil nuts, organic cane sugar, pectin, and citric acid. Not familiar with Cupuacu? This “super food” contains Omega 3 and 6, Vitamins B1, B2, & B3, essential fatty acids and amino acids.  It helps boost your immune system, and helps improve the health of your skin and hair. This chewy bar is a great pre-workout snack, a zing of sugar with a little protein, easy to digest and a great source of energy.

Hail Merry Orange-Rosemary Pecans – I don’t even like rosemary and I absolutely loved these nuts. Sweet and salty, and really satisfying. This snack is raw, vegan, and gluten-free and here’s what they have to say about their process: “Hail Merry first soaks her nuts to activate the living enzymes, which aid in proper digestion. We then dehydrate at very low temperatures to protect these enzymes as well as the delicate essential fatty acids.” Tasty and healthy, what more do you need in a snack?

I hope you find these reviews helpful, I really enjoyed my first box and I was thrilled with not on the variety of options Healthy Surprise provided, but also the types of companies they are choosing to support. Couldn’t have chosen better myself. So if you’re in the market for some healthy snacks, I highly recommend giving this company a chance!

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