Staying Alkaline… the Holy Grail for Health?

“Grail” is defined as a thing that is being earnestly pursued or sought after. I think all of us can relate when it comes to seeking out optimal health. As cliche (and ominous) as it may sound, “without your health you have nothing”.

“Grail” is defined as a thing that is being earnestly pursued or sought after. I think all of us can relate when it comes to seeking out optimal health. As cliche (and ominous) as it may sound, “without your health you have nothing”.

Now, I like to stay as optimistic as possible, and I believe that even if you are ill and lacking in health, you do have things to be grateful for. However, pursuing optimal health can improve your overall well-being and offer more consistency in your day-to-day happiness. So why not seek out the “holy grail” for health?

After years upon years of trying different approaches to diet, exercise & lifestyle habits, one theme has been popular time and time again. One key factor pops up every time and determines whether or not you can break through all barriers to achieve optimal health. That one key factor is inflammation.

What illnesses are linked to inflammation?

  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Chronic peptic ulcer
  • Stress
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Arthritis
  • Fatigue
  • Cancer

If you are experiencing inflammation anywhere in your body, it will be a barrier to unlocking your potential. What is the solution? The solution can be extensive and complex and also varies for every single individual. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a simple approach to it. Because if we don’t start somewhere, we will never start at all.

Think of this problem like an equation. Inflammation + X = Holy Grail to Health

  1. We need to cancel out Inflammation with something. In this equation, inflammation is a “negative”.
  2. In an equation, what cancels out something? The opposite does. A positive can cancel out a negative and vice versa. Let’s go through the process to find out what the opposite of inflammation is.
  3. First, what is inflammation? Inflammation (from Latin inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Since we’re focusing on diet/lifestyle, let’s focus on IRRITANTS.
  4. Let’s figure out what the “Irritants” are: Many experts deem an overly acidic diet to be a key cause of chronic inflammation (“irritation”). OVERLY ACIDIC DIET = IRRITANT.
  5. Let’s figure out our body’s natural state: In a healthy body, the natural biochemical balance is four parts alkaline to one part acid. To achieve this balance, a person needs to consume roughly 80 percent ALKALINE foods and 20 percent acidic foods. ALKALINE cancels out INFLAMMATION (irritants).
  6. In Summary: the goal is to keep your body’s PH balanced and keep your acid levels under control. How do we do this, by giving our bodies 4x more Alkaline for every 1x Acidic.
  7. Back to solving that equation: Inflammation (-) + Alkalinity (+) = Holy Grail to Health
    • Or: 1xACID(-) + 4xALKALINE(+) = PH Balance

Now that we have the equation completed, we need to figure out what can be plugged in as an “ACID” and what can be plugged into the equation as an “ALKALINE”.

Below is a list of acidic foods and foods that are on the alkaline side of the spectrum. Minimizing intake of the acidic foods and maximizing intake of the alkaline foods will help keep your body PH balanced. Remember the daily diet ratio to aim for is 1 part acidic to 4 parts alkaline.

Acid Alkaline Chart-B

Take the challenge and spend the next 30 days focusing on sticking to the 1 part acidic: 4 parts alkaline ratio for your daily diet as you work towards your goal of optimal health!

Any recommendations made by Natalie Krul, Warrior Girl Fitness, guest bloggers, or on our website www.WarriorGirlFitness.com about weight training, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle should be discussed between you and your doctor because working out involves risks. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website or from our products or services.  Never rely on information on our website, from our products or services, in place of seeking professional medical advice.

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Just One Final Week… to Live…

#FreedomFebruary is coming to a close, and for the last week of February I want you to live it like you only have this one last week to live.

One day, everyday and someday soon, I hope that you wake up and live as if you only had one week left to live. You’d pay more attention to people you came into contact with throughout the day as if it was the last communication you would have with that person, or maybe even any person. You’d be caring & kind to others…and at the same time you’d hold nothing back. You’d be free of any fear, inhibition, embarrassment, & procrastination. You wouldn’t even waste the time to contemplate if others were supposedly judging you, or that you weren’t thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough…you would have had enough of wasting your time trying to be enough for everyone else so instead you’d start spending your time being present, in the now.

You wouldn’t care what the weather forecast was and you wouldn’t let it rule your mood for the day, because it was one of seven days you had left remaining. If it was raining, you’d take a long walk in the rain, without an umbrella, without a rain jacket. You’d delight in the sense of rain drops rolling down your face and the dewy refreshing smell & steamy humidity that a rainy day brings. You’d wake up early just to see the sunrise with all its glory and you’d make sure you were there to capture the last rays of the sunset before it dropped below the horizon. You’d hold all your friends and family close to your heart and cherish the time spent with each and every one. Take these words and apply them to your week.

Apply this mentality to every decision you need to make, in this upcoming week and going forward, and a whole new life will be presented to you that you never knew was there.

You can apply it to any question, like, “What workout will I do today?” Well, ask yourself, what kind of activities would I plan during my final week of life?

Here are a few of mine:

  • Hike to the top of the closest mountain or trail to watch the sunset over the hills
  • Very early in the morning, I’d Stand-Up Paddleboard out past the waves to the calmer waters and watch the sun as it creeps up from below the ocean’s vista
  • I’d Fat Tire Bike the most beautiful, untouched beach until there was no one around except for nature, my dog, and my husband and I (and have an unforgettable picnic!)
  • I’d take my yoga practice to the sand dunes around the corner from my house, and start my yoga session so that it ends with the sunset

You see, once you apply this mentality, you will begin to build a life that is more connected to nature, connected to your loved ones, connected to any and all strangers, connected to the universe, connected to Divinity. A life in which you revel in everything that you have at your fingertips, everything standing right in front of you. Instead of facing life as if you don’t have enough of this or that, you begin to realize that you had everything all along, you just weren’t looking in the right place…

#DAILYMOTIVATION:

Some of us choose our path out of fear & disguise as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it….

Lesson learned, you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love….

When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and that you should live your life inside the world and try not to get into too much trouble, try to get an education, a job, a family… But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing, and that is that everything around us, that which we call life, was made up by people that are NO smarter than you….
Find out what it is that you want and go after it as if your life depends on it…WHY? BECAUSE IT DOES…. There is no guarantee in life, well…there’s only one guarantee… if you don’t take action there will be no outcome at all, the only outcome will be that you didn’t achieve anything, you didn’t achieve what you want… a lot of people think that failure is a step backward. It’s not a step backward! Failure is a step forward in the right direction. EVERY time you fail, you learn something from it, you gain something from it, that’s PROGRESS in every sense of the word….

— – The Greatness Within, Les Brown

#BEACHBUM BUNS WORKOUT

12 Genius Bike Accessories & Bonus Barbell Workout

For #FreedomFebruary, as you ponder how you’ll incorporate exercising daily, I want you to think outside of the box, get out of your comfort zone and for God’s sake…free yourself from the monotonous and mindless workout routines that just aren’t healthy mentally or physically.

You are worthy and capable of an enjoyable “workout”. Think back to your childhood. When you were a wee little one, you didn’t need to “workout” because you were already running around, playing outside, climbing trees, biking down the street to a friend’s house, playing tag or basketball…all activities you enjoyed doing. Why trade in fun activity for mindless exercise? For your next “workout”, why not play outside? Maybe you won’t be climbing trees exactly, but why not climb a mountain trail? Maybe you won’t be biking down the street to a friend’s house, but why not bike to a park to people watch or read a good book?

Speaking of biking, if you don’t have a bike, get one! Bicycling is very meditative and liberating. It’s low-impact and a highly effective form of exercise as it activates many of your body’s large muscle groups (hams, quads, glutes, core) while providing a wicked cardio burn too.

The average cyclist riding at a moderate pace will burn approximately 400-600 calories per hour

http://www.ilovebicycling.com

AND…if you absolutely can’t bicycle outdoors due to inclement weather, there is always the local spin class to attend (in which you can burn an average of 500-800 calories per hour class!).

The 12 Genius Must-Have Biking Accessories:

  1. This Mini Pocket Portable Bike Pump
  2. Night Gear: Running Shoe Lights w/LED Safety Lights
  3. Handlebar Bike Mount Phone Holder
  4. This Kryptonite Bike Lock
  5. Cycling Bike Lane Tail Light Projector
  6. Rydesafe Reflective Decal Stickers
  7. Multi Tool, Bike Repair Kit & Tire Levers
  8. This Bicycle Beverage Holder
  9. Mountable Water-Resistant Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
  10. This Gel Top Bike Seat Cushion Cover
  11. Bicycle Carryall Seat Strap-on Saddlebag
  12. And don’t forget your helmet, bike gloves, water bottle & sunglasses!

#DailyMotivation & Driveway Barbell Workout

I’m going to sign off this post with two favorite daily customs of mine. They just so happen to be the same habitual undertakings of some of the world’s most highly effective people.

#DailyMotivation & #DailyExercise

Everyday, I listen to at least one motivational speech that I find on Youtube or a podcast. And everyday I do some form of planned activity or exercise.

These wise words were inspired by some of the best motivational spiels out there:

You can either live your dreams…or live your fears…your time here is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life, don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people’s thinking, don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out the noise of your inner voice, and most important…have the courage to follow your heart & intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become, everything else is secondary…

You gotta stay focused on where you’re going. Some people would rather get even than get ahead. Stay focused on where you’re going when times get tough…remember this one question, “What are you going to do with your time here on earth, what drives you?” 

Greatness is a lot of little things done well, day after day… you will never be successful until you turn your pain into greatness, until you allow your pain to push you from where you are to where you want to be. Stop running from your pain, your pain is going to be a part of your prize, a part of your product, a part of your drive and your dreams.

You see…you have this opportunity of a lifetime, yet it means absolutely nothing if you don’t take advantage of it in this lifetime of opportunity. You’ve got to start saying YES to your life, YES to your dreams, YES to your unfolding future, YES to your potential, as opposed to saying no. Leave no dream and no opportunity left behind.

Align yourself with people that encourage you, people you can grow from, people that empower you… You see, we as humans have something that no other animal has, we have imagination, and what imagination means is that we can see it before it actually happens. Look into the future and imagine yourself as you want to be. You need to go into your future and see what you are going to be. You’ve got to take yourself beyond the pain, beyond the fear, your imagination needs to take you to where you want to be… and that will keep you from giving up. You need to keep seeing what you are going to be, don’t keep seeing what you are now, envision what you are going to be one day and embrace it with faith. Fail forward and get to a place in your life where there is no obstacle you can’t overcome.

Until you attempt to do something beyond that which you’ve already mastered, you will never grow…

— Les Brown

Driveway Barbell Workout

T-Grip Lite Bar

Invigorated by a radiant sun & warm weather and driven by a fierce desire to feel that PUMP that accompanies a barbell workout, the “Driveway Barbell Workout” was born. I wanted to workout outdoors…but I also had a strong craving for strength training. Luckily, I had my nifty portable T-Grip Lite Barbell Set on hand. So, I headed down to my driveway and knocked out the following workout:

Why We Love Hiking & The Top 10 Hiking Essentials

This month, for the #FreedomFebruary Challenge, take a hike! It’s a refreshing outdoor activity to add to your plan.

Not only is hiking a superb outdoor activity that almost any skill level can participate in due to the fact that it’s a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, but it’s also a highly effective stress-reliever. Opting outside, especially removing yourself from the pandemonium of urban or suburban living, and hiking along a trail for a few miles until you feel as though you are at one with your surroundings and all the beautiful sights and sounds that nature hiking provides…resets your body, mind & spirit…and changes your life.

Another empowering aspect to hiking is that you can make your trek as easy or as intense as you’d like on any given day. You can decide to spontaneously hike along a mountain, park or beach trail until you feel you’ve had your fill of nature and it’s time to turn around and call it a day. Or if you’re inspired to challenge yourself, you can plan out a more complex expedition. 

The Physical Effects That Hiking Has On Your Body:

  • Supercharges your energy levels: brings extra oxygen & fuel to your muscles & organs
  • Keeps your joints flexible/mobile: helps fight osteoporosis and arthritis
  • Increases your endurance & alertness
  • Burns calories: even at a slow pace of 2 miles/hour a 150 lb. person burns ~240 cals/hr
  • Strengthens & tones your entire body: especially your legs and core, which in turn helps prevent back injuries
  • Elevates Mood
  • Daily Dose of Vitamin D: the best source is the sun, and all you need is 15 minutes in direct sunlight to get your RDA of Vitamin D!

Whether your hiking solo or with a group of friends, please always follow safe hiking practices by packing sufficient gear and leaving little-to-no carbon footprint! And remember, make it engaging, be mindful, and maybe even bring a camera and take some scenic photos!

Top Ten Items To Bring On A Hike:

  1. Hydration Pack: like this Teton Hydration Backpack
  2. Electrolyte Tablets: I swear by these Nuun tablets, they taste great too!
  3. Lifestraw Personal Water Filter and/or Water Purification Tablets
  4. A really good hat for sun protection
  5. Warm weather gear/Cold weather gear (jacket, poncho, wool socks)
  6. Proper waterproof hiking shoes (high-rise for cold weather hiking, mid-rise for warmer weather hiking)
  7. Survival Outdoors Longer Kit: Includes a signal mirror, whistle, waterproof fire starter striker, survival warm blanket, compass & dry bag
  8. Snacks or Food to last you the entire trek, energy bars like Clif bars are great
  9. Navigation: bring a map of the trail and familiarize yourself with the trail and your route
  10. Shelter: Having a camping hammock, like this portable nylon parachute hammock, in case your day hike turns into an unexpected overnighter…will keep you off the ground and is a great item to add to your pack. If you’re planning an overnight hike, make sure you have a proper tent and you have practiced using it!

Freedom February Challenge

It’s “winter” here in the United States. Some of you live in the warmer climates and won’t be affected and therefore have no excuse NOT to get outside everyday! But for some of us, who live in the colder climates, areas hard hit by the recent Jonas blizzard, and regions that experience harsh winters…it can be easy to stay inside, by the warm pellet stove or fireplace.

January is almost over, and February is fast approaching. This February, I’d like to invite you to a challenge. The challenge is called Freedom February. And this is why…

Adventuring outside, exploring nature, exploring your town on foot, bicycling the beach, hiking the parks, beach yoga, park yoga, paddleboarding the nearby canals & marshes, hiking a scenic mountain trail, participating in your community’s 5k….that’s what freedom is all about!

A daily habit of exercising is healthy, but each workout should have meaning. Planned exercise should be meditative for mental health & clarity in addition to improving your physical fitness. The first Freedom February goal is to re-program your brain and the emotions that are attached to exercise. When you exercise, you should feel like you are exercising your freedom.

There is nothing wrong with monotonous treadmill running, mindless weight lifting, or torturous fitness classes…or wait, is there? Yes.

For example, when yoga (asana) practice is performed daily with the right intention, it is what I like to call, a form of “holistic fitness” that frees your mind & body.

But what is “right intention”? It’s when the focus is on the journey, when you are truly in the moment, in the NOW. “Wrong intention” is when the focus of your exercise practice is to achieve a posture, while “right intention” would focus on getting into a posture as a means to meditate and be at peace and feel that connection with divinity, that freedom from everything in life that pulls you down. For any type of planned exercise activity, your motivations should not involve the craving of ‘worldly things’; such as impressing others, getting 6 pack abs, competition with your fellow fitness partners, doing it just because its part of a training plan, or to be ‘skinny’… come on! That’s not living…that’s not freedom. You’re not alone, we’re all “guilty” of this. 

THE FIRST GOAL of the Freedom February challenge is to change this mentality. Here is a list of some “right intentions” or motivations to get you started (feel free to add your own!)

“My Planned Exercise Activity will”:

  • Help me feel good
  • Make me feel alive
  • Help me feel energized again
  • Help me feel healthy & rejuvenated
  • Make me feel like I’m a part of nature, the community, the universe
  • And above all, help me feel a connection with my higher power

Yoga, like many other fitness activities, strengthens & tones your muscles and improves your cardiovascular ability so that you can get outside and enjoy life to its fullest. It’s meditative so you can approach each day with clarity, eagerness and unconditional love for yourself & others. It’s an amazing stress reliever. And, if you’re practicing yoga with the right intentions, you will feel that connection with a higher power. During yoga practice there is a time for reflection; reflection of self, the world, and being at peace… oh, and FREEDOM too.

YOUR SECOND GOAL for Freedom February is to find yourself a planned exercise activity that you will practice with the “right intentions”. You can choose more than one activity. For example, I focus on yoga primarily, but each day my preference can vary slightly or drastically. Some days I have an overwhelming desire to breathe in the fresh ocean air so I take my yoga to the beach and other days I have this surge of energy where I just feel freedom sprinting along the beach (and I bring my dog too, she loves those days). Other days, taking  a long exhilarating bike ride or meditative stand-up paddleboard session are in the books for me or sometimes just having a fun jump roper session…again, all outdoor activities, all activities creating that sense of freedom within, and all activities that I’m doing with the “right intention”.

And finally, YOUR THIRD GOAL for Freedom February is to spend at least 15 minutes outside everyday doing a planned exercise activity (taking a walk, bike ride, or doing sun salutations on your porch for example). Free yourself from the confines of your home or office space and venture out into the unknown. Do something you never do, like play tennis or hoops at the school around the corner. Just do something that you REALLY enjoy doing outside. Go rollerblading, play fetch with your dog or build a snowman with your daughter.

To sum things up….. if your experience is similar to mine…your Pinterest feed is most likely full of pins about ‘how to’ get flat stomachs or a toned booty…all because Pinterest noticed that you showed an interest in health & fitness. Social media (or really any media) brainwashes us into thinking happiness lies just around the corner of getting six pack abs, the thigh gap (come on really?) and a toned butt. Consciously or subconsciously. Hence the reason your motivations to workout are focused around the physique…

I want to offer you freedom from this detrimental mentality. There is too much emphasis on the physical, don’t fall prey to the monotonous treadmill routine and weight lifting program in which your end goal intention is to be thinner, build bigger muscles, impress others, or to get a “bikini body”. Please, for your own sake, take a more spiritual approach to fitness and your eyes will be opened to a whole new world. You will look forward to exercise as a time to zone out and reflect on the day, your inner self, your thoughts, your morals & your higher power so that you can live a more present, valuable & inspirational life. Exercise should be calming not agitating. Exhilarating, not forced (consciously or subconsciously). When you’re exercising, ask yourself, “Do I feel alive?” “Am I just ‘getting through’ this workout so that I can get on with the rest of the errands and fun things I want to do today?”. You should be smiling while you’re exercising, laughing, & enjoying it… and hoping it won’t end anytime soon. I know that is hard to contemplate, but just work through the three goals of this challenge this month and you will get closer to “enlightened exercise”.

Remember, in the end it will not matter how you looked in that bikini, will it? Nope! What will matter is how you lived, with love for others and yourself. How you have left behind a dynamic legacy that will somehow help future generations in a positive way. THAT, my friends, is what will matter. So approach your physical fitness activities with love and you will see how truly uplifting & moving a workout can be!

If you want to join us in our challenge, you can follow us on Instagram @thebraveangels where we will be posting our daily outdoor activities as well as following our fellow Freedom February Challenge participants on their journey for a healthier & more joyful approach to exercise! You can also participate by posting a pic or video of your outdoor activities on Instagram and also tagging @thebraveangels in your post and adding hashtag #FreedomFebruary. At the end of the month we will choose (at random) a participant as a winner. The winner will get to choose one free tank top from our Brave Angel Shop OR a doggie tank top from our Redemption Dog Shop (winner’s choice)!

March 21 Day Fitness Challenge

Starting March 16th, I’m participating in a fitness challenge group and I wanted to share this opportunity to join our fitness challenge group with my readers!

The fitness challenge will be 21 days. One ~30 minute workout per day. We’re also going to follow a results-driven nutrition plan, because diet is 80% of the equation to achieving your weight loss goals!

You can do any 30 minute workout, or you can follow the 21 Day Fix Extreme workout program that I will be doing with my fitness challenge group (there is also a less “extreme” workout program that you can do with us, called 21 Day Fix). Since I live a Paleo & Bulletproof diet & lifestyle, I have tweaked the 21 Day Fix Nutrition plan for my specific diet preferences. I have put together a 7 Day Meal Planner for Week #1 just to give you an idea of what the Paleo or Bulletproof version would be like. Download the free PDF example >HERE<. And the free excel version (so that you can input your own calories and change the meals and macronutrient percentages) >HERE<.

If you aren’t eating a Paleo or Bulletproof diet, then you can just follow the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan as it is!

Here’s the game plan:

21 Workouts: Do either the 21 Day Fix Extreme or 21 Day Fix workout program {or choose any ~30 minute workout that really pushes your limits and gets you sweatin’}! You can find a plethora of at-home and/or gym workouts on my site.

Nutrition: EAT CLEAN. Abs are made in the kitchen, so this is a vital part of the 21 day challenge. No alcohol, it slows down your metabolism, adds calories to your daily caloric intake, and spikes your blood sugar levels which isn’t going to help you achieve your weight loss goals! Follow my meal planner or follow the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan that comes with the workout program. I would suggest the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, especially if you’re just starting out with a wholefoods, clean eating approach to nutrition. It will get you on the right path!

That’s it, keepin’ it simple because I know you’re busy! This fitness challenge is the perfect jump start to what I like to call “Spring Training”. What’s “Spring Training”? Winter is coming to an end, it’s been REALLY cold and dismal and has put a lot of people into “hermit crab – couch potato” mode…so when the sun and warmth come back into the picture this Spring, we’re going to kick into high gear with getting fit this year…THIS is “Spring Training”. Not only will Spring Training get you in bikini body shape, but it will also boost your serotonin and endorphin levels to improve that mood and get you out of the winter blues. Let’s just say, Spring Traning is SUPER ENERGIZING!

So this 21 Day Fitness Challenge is the perfect prelude to what’s to come, Spring Training! It will kick your butt into gear and smack a smile back on that winter blues face of yours! Not to mention tighten and tone up that bod for bikini season woot woot!

Okay, enough chitta chatta, comment below if you want to join the 21 Day Fitness Challenge group!

If you need some Workout Gear, don’t forget to pop on over to Brave Angel Shop for some Athleisure: Women’s Motivational Workout Apparel for Everyday Use!


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Any recommendations made by Natalie Krul, Brave Angel, guest bloggers, or on our website http://www.BraveAngel.com about weight training, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle should be discussed between you and your doctor because working out involves risks. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website or from our products or services.  Never rely on information on our website, from our products or services, in place of seeking professional medical advice.

Final Part of the “Real Life” Expert Roundup Series!

This is our final part of the “Experts Reveal: Three Great Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners for Weight Loss” series!


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Last week we spotlighted Certified Personal Trainer & Weight Loss Coach, Bianca Meehan. This week Marisa Watson, Certified Personal Trainer, Crossfit coach and certified yoga instructor is sharing her tips and recipes with us. It has been a pleasure working with these fitness fanatics, and we hope that you have learned some good tips and recipes too!

We asked Marisa, “What are your ‘Go-To’ Meals for Breakfast, for Lunch and for Dinner?”

So here are another nine more tasty yet healthful meal ideas. We’re giving you three recipes for each meal of the day; 3 for Breakfast, 3 for Lunch and 3 for Dinner. These meal ideas are Marisa’s “Go-To” meals that help her reach & maintain her health & fitness goals (and also can help you reach & maintain your weight loss goals!).

It’s hard to figure out what to eat…searching the internet = information overload!

So to help you out, we’re giving you some “Real Life” examples of the types of meals that work for our fitness experts. Everyone’s DNA is different, so remember that what works for someone else may not work for you. So you may have to tweak it to your liking and for your DNA…but, when it’s all said and done, if you’re looking to drop the LB’s, incorporating some of these meal ideas will really help you get there! Read on for the Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Fat Burning Meals that our health & fitness fanatics include in their daily diet!

CPT, Crossfit Coach, Yoga Instructor, Marisa Watson:

 Marisa Watson, Before (right) & After (left)
Marisa Watson, Before (right) & After (left)

Marisa is a Certified Personal Trainer at Gold’s Gym, CrossFit coach at Crossfit Pandora’s Box and a certified yoga instructor.  Having lived in Colorado Springs her whole life she has participated in an eclectic assortment of activities ranging from horseback riding (barrel racing and polocrosse) to crosscountry and running trail marathons, to yoga, hiking 14ers, shooting, crossfit, olympic weight lifting, and most recently bodybuilding and NPC bikini competitions under Adam Bonilla of Team Elite Physique. Between August and October of 2014 she has participated in 3 NPC shows, never placing lower than 2nd.  These included two novice overalls and two second place finishes in open tall class.

Fitness has become an integral part of her life.  At one point nearly 6 years ago, she had begun having issues with an eating disorder which nearly killed her leading to two separate inpatient hospitalizations at two different treatment centers.  Since then, the focus has been more-so on fitness and performance and finding ways to balance overall health with a certain look and physique required in bikini.  Meal prep and planning has been essential on the road to recovery.

Follow her road to nationals on Twitter and Instagram: @RiskyRawr

Marisa’s Philosophy:

 Marisa Competing
Marisa Competing

“I keep my meals fairly simple and adhere strictly to my meal plan whenever possible.  I find for me I am able to stay on track with my recovery if I track my food and prep ahead of time.  In the off season and while I am trying to build muscle I do allow myself some wiggle room so long as snacks or going out to eat still fits in my meal plan- otherwise I have known myself to restrict eating that day to compensate for other calories.  It is a fine line between becoming obsessive about my meal plan and being able to still reach my goals and stay in recovery.  For that reason, my meals are very plain and simple.

I also have a lot of dietary restrictions because of issues I’ve had with the eating disorder affecting my GI system.  I’ve been paleo for a number of years and other than adding in some beans and dairy occasionally I stay within the parameters of that diet.  This means eating a variety of lean meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils (avocado, coconut or olive), some starches (sweet potatoes mostly), and a little fruit.  No grains, no legumes,  no processed foods, and if I consume any dairy it is full fat versions.”

Marisa’s Top Three Go-To Breakfast Recipes:

Breakfast Recipe #1: Competition Prep Basic Breakfast

“My go to breakfast is very specific to my meal plan but sometimes when i’m in the off season i replace on egg with a piece of bacon.”

  • 2 egg whites and 2 whole eggs cooked with spinach
  • Gluten free hot cereal (Bob’s Red Mill has a lot of great options here!)
    • 1/4c Almond milk
    • 1 TBSP Honey
    • 1/2oz chopped almonds or 1 TBSP peanut butter
    • 1 T BSP apple butter (just for a little extra sweetness)

Breakfast Recipe #2: Sweet Potato and Bacon Hash

“When I was eating strictly paleo this was my favorite! IF you are watching your fats opt for turkey bacon instead.”

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Slices bacon or turkey bacon
  • 1TBSP chopped onion
  • 1/4c chopped bell peppers
  • 4oz sweet potato cut into thin slices
  • 2 eggs and 2 egg whites

Instructions:

  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet and put off to the side to drain keeping the remaining fat in the pan
  2. Add onions, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes and cook until veggies are soft and sweet potatoes start to crisp a bit.
  3. Chop bacon and add back to the mixtures. Add in eggs (either scrambled or I  like them whole for a runny yolk) and cover till eggs are cooked to your liking.

Breakfast Recipe #3: Paleo Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake

“This is a recipe I modified from PaleOMG.com to fit my macros and give me a complete breakfast.”

Ingredients:

 Paleo Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake
Paleo Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake

  • 1/2c Canned Pumpkin (NOT the pumpkin pie mix but plain pumpkin)
  • 1/8c Almond milk
  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites
  • 1 banana (chopped into dime-sized pieces)
  • 1-2 TBSP Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour (or almond or coconut flour)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1TBSP honey
  • 1/2oz chopped walnuts

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and mix well.
  2. Put in microwave for 2.5-3 minutes, sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

Marisa’s Lunch Tip:

“My lunch stays the same for the most part and I just alternate the veggies.  To make prep easier I often times cook my chicken in the crock pot.”

Marisa’s Top Three Go-To Lunch Recipes:

Lunch Recipe #1: Crockpot Chicken

 Crockpot Chicken
Crockpot Chicken

  1. All you do is take all your chicken breasts, put them in the crock pot with fresh rosemary, black pepper, garlic powder and a little salt and cover everything with water.
  2. Cook on low for 4-5 hours and you have chicken for a week! Always try and precook your chicken, sweet potatoes, and pre-chop your vegetables so all you have to do for prep is weigh and measure your portions.

Lunch Recipe #2: Ground Turkey Muffins

“Another way to make easy proteins is ground turkey muffins.”

  1. Mix your ground turkey with fresh herbs (Marisa’s Tip: Italian blend with black pepper and garlic is yum!)
  2. Add an optional egg white to hold everything together.
  3. Grease a muffin pan
  4. Roll the turkey into meat balls
  5. Cook for 20 min at 350 degrees.

Lunch Side, Recipe #3: Sweet Potatoes!

 Sweet Potato Mash
Sweet Potato Mash

“The majority of my carbs consist of sweet potatoes so often I will have to mix it up and often make savory versions of them.  I always boil them and mash them but love using fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, garlic, basil,) to make them savory.  I also found that they are amazing with thai green curry powder! I get a blend from a local spice shop and just mix it in.  For a more sweet, dessert style sweet potato with my evening meal I’ll mash them with almond milk, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.”

Marisa’s Typical Lunch:

  • 3 oz lean meat (chicken, turkey, white fish, bison)
  • 1cup leafy green vegetables (kale, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc)
  • 1cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1tbsp coconut oil (while trying to gain some muscle mass) 

Marisa’s Dinner Tips & Tricks:

“Dinner is the one meal I don’t usually prep ahead of time unless I will be at work or working out later in the evening.  I keep my carbs lighter here opting for baked winter squash or parsnips instead of sweet potatoes (it also adds a little variety!).

My protein is usually bison steak or just a top sirloin especially on days when I’m lifting larger muscle groups or doing more volume like back and legs.  I love using different flavors of balsamic vinegar and we have a few local shops that have great varieties!  My favorite for bison is an espresso balsamic and often for chicken or turkey I will use a pomegranate flavor.  It’s like a guilt-free steak sauce!” 

Marisa’s Top Three Go-To Dinner Recipes:

Dinner Recipe #1: Slow Cooker Dry Rub Pot Roast

“I will also do a pot roast in the slow cooker as well using a dry rub.”

  1. Line the bottom of the slow cooker with veggies (onion, carrots and celery)
  2. Coat the roast in a dry rub
  3. Sear on all sides in a pan before putting it in the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 4 hours (depending on the size of the roast). 
  5. Another way to season it is to cut a few holes in the roast before searing and filling them with a sliver of garlic and a sprig of fresh rosemary then sprinkling the whole thing with black pepper.

Dinner Side, Recipe #2: Sauteed Brussel Sprouts and Parsnips

“The main thing I switch up is my veggies.  This is my go to when I have parsnips at home.”

Ingredients:

 Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Roasted Brussel Sprouts

  • 1c Brussels sprouts, chopped in half
  • 1 and 1/2c parsnips, peeled and chopped into fries
  • 1TBSP onions
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 1tsp Cajun seasoning

Instructions:

  1. Sautee onions in olive oil until soft
  2. Then add parsnips and brussel sprouts and toss to coat everything
  3. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and cook covered till the veggies begin to brown just slightly.

Dinner Side, Recipe #3: Sauteed Spinach with Craisins

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 c spinach
  • 1 tbsp craisins
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp onions
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Sautee olive oil, garlic and onions in a pan until they’re soft.
  2. Add spinach and craisins and cook until spinach is slightly wilted.
  3. Add pepper to taste. 

Bonus Dinner Recipe Tip:

“I always like to keep baked winter squash prepped in my fridge!  All you do is cut the squash in half (spaghetti, kombucha, butternut, or acorn), scoop out the seeds with a spoon and place face down on a cooking sheet.  Bake for 45min-1hour at 350 degrees, scoop out the insides and enjoy!  The only difference is with butternut squash you will want to add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan because the skin is so thin (you can also peel the skin of butternut squash and chop it up before baking for 25-30min).”

I hope you enjoy Marisa’s great recipes and tips as much as we have! It’s been a pleasure having our fitness fanatics guest post on BraveAngel.com! Next week starts our “Real Life” series, but this time around (instead of recipes) we are bringing you workout routines!! 

Marisa has one last farewell note for you too!

“There you have it! I keep things very simple and regimented because I have found that is what works best for me.  I live alone so I don’t often have an excuse to cook anything much more elaborate than this but sometimes it’s fun to mix it up!  Find your happy medium between obsessive weighing and measuring in meal prep and being able to go out to eat on occasion and truly enjoy yourself.  Trust the process and find what works for you!”

Check out our Motivational Workout Wear over at www.BraveAngelShop.com and receive 10% off your order by using coupon code: 10OFFBRAVEANGEL

Part III: “The Experts Reveal: Three Great Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners for Weight Loss”

We’ve rounded up some of the best fitness and nutrition experts we know.

Last week we spotlighted Fitness & Lifestyle Coach, Cynthia Spenla. This week, Bianca Meehan, a Certified Personal Trainer & Weight Loss Coach is sharing her tips and recipes with us. For our final week, we will have Marisa Watson, a Certified Personal Trainer on! 

We asked them, “What are your ‘Go-To’ Meals for Breakfast, for Lunch and for Dinner?”

So here it is, Part III of the “Real Life” series and nine more tasty yet healthful meal ideas. We’re giving you three recipes for each meal of the day; 3 for Breakfast, 3 for Lunch and 3 for Dinner. These meal ideas are Bianca’s “Go-To” meals that help her reach & maintain her health & fitness goals (and also can help you reach & maintain your weight loss goals!). 

I know it’s hard to figure out what to eat and when to eat it. When you search the internet for a good diet plan, you fall prey to information overload. Also, you most likely have no idea what will work and what won’t work. After searching the web for a weight loss diet and workout program, you probably just give up!

So to help you out, we’re giving you some “Real Life” examples of the types of meals that work for our fitness experts. Everyone’s DNA is different, so remember that what works for someone else may not work for you. So you may have to tweak it to your liking and for your DNA…but, when it’s all said and done, if you’re looking to drop the LB’s, incorporating some of these meal ideas will really help you get there! Read on for the Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Fat Burning Meals that our health & fitness fanatics include in their daily diet! 

 Bianca Meehan, CPT
Bianca Meehan, CPT

Certified Personal Trainer, Bianca Meehan: 

Bianca has worked in the nutrition and fitness world for 11 years.  Her career started when she joined the Air Force and chose a job in dietetics.  She has a degree in Nutrition and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Coach.  Recently after leaving the Air Force, she started her own online coaching business.  She specializes in body transformation and wellness.  Also, she works in corporate wellness as an independent contractor. In her free time she is usually spending time with her kiddo, training for bikini competitions or studying. She also loves playing trivia with her friends and spends countless hours in her kitchen cooking, baking and making up recipes!

Bianca’s Top Three Go-To Breakfast Recipes:

Bianca’s Tip:

“My go-to breakfast is REALLY easy!  I make an egg white scramble with spinach, mushrooms and broccoli.  I eat this with a bowl of oatmeal or gluten free bread (usually millet and chia).”

Breakfast Recipe #1: Egg White Scramble

  • Handful of spinach
  • ½-1c sliced portabella mushrooms
  • Handful of chopped broccoli
  • 5 egg whites

Instructions:

  1. Lightly spray a pan with grape seed oil and all all of the veggies.  Sautee for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add egg whites stir.
  3. Cook until eggs are done.  I like mine browned.  Serve with salsa.

Bianca’s Tip:

“When I know I won’t have time to actually cook breakfast in the morning I like to make Overnight Protein Oats.”

Breakfast Recipe #2: Protein Overnight Oats

  • ½ cup old fashioned oats (not instant)
  • ½ -3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or water
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons vanilla protein powder
  • ½ Tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup berries, 2tbsp sliced almonds, or 1tbsp almond butter (for topping)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small container, seal with a lid and place in the fridge overnight.
  2. Bring out of the fridge in the morning and stir. You’ll notice that the protein powder, oats and chia seeds soak up a lot of the liquid so you may want to add a little more almond milk or water before serving.
  3. Top with toppings of your choice and enjoy. I love berries and sliced almonds or almond butter.

 Bianca Meehan, CPT
Bianca Meehan, CPT

Bianca’s Tip:

“When I want a fun breakfast or am craving a donut (c’mon, I’m human) my go-to “sweet” breakfast food is a pronut.”

Breakfast Recipe #3: Blueberry Pronuts

  • 1/3 cup oats ground into flour
  • 3 egg whites, whipped
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup blueberries (optional)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ½ tso vanilla extract
  • ½ scoop protein (I use dymatize XT blueberry muffin)
  • Sprinkle of stevia

Instructions:

  1. Mix everything except the berries until well blended.
  2. Fold in berries and pour into a sprayed donut pan.  Should make 4. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350* oven.  Enjoy!

Bianca’s Lunch Tip:

“Lunch is almost always prepped ahead of time for me.  I’m always on the go and prepping ahead of time is SO helpful and keeps me on track. One of my absolute favorite “salads” to make is cauliflower tabouleh. I mix it up and throw in some chicken for my lunch.  If I have carbs at the meal, I’ll add quinoa.” 

Bianca’s Top Three Go-To Lunch Recipes:

Lunch Recipe #1: Cauliflower Tabouleh

  • 1 head of cauliflower, “riced” (run it through a food processor)
  • 1/2c raw almonds (chopped)
  • 1 large bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 large bunch of fresh parsley
  • 2 green onions
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • the juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1tbsp sumac
  • 1tbsp za’atar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Chop mint, parsley, green onion and tomatoes very finely.  Add to riced cauliflower and toss to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, add garlic, lemon juice, sumac, za’atar, salt and pepper and whisk.  Pour over salad and toss gently to combine.

“As a busy mom, I need prep to be FAST.  Like, REALLY fast.  So, this is how I prep my chicken for my lunches”….

Lunch Recipe #2: Easy Prepped Chicken:

  • One family pack of chicken breasts with the remaining fat/skin trimmed off.
  • One packet of McCormick Seasoning (any)

Instructions:

  1. Put chicken in a crockpot.
  2. Sprinkle seasoning on top.
  3. Pour in ¼- ½ cup water
  4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours
  5. Remove chicken, drain juices and shred.

Bianca’s Faves:

“Another easy “salad” that I like to pack is Black Bean and Quinoa Salad.  I love the protein and fiber that is packed in beans and quinoa.  I usually have this on top of spinach and add chicken and sometimes salsa.”

Lunch Recipe #3: Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

  • 4c cooked quinoa
  • 2c black beans
  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4c balsamic vinegar OR 2tbsp lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and serve. EASY!

Bianca’s Top Three Go-To Dinner Recipes:

“Dinner is one of my favorite meals.  I love sitting with my family, talking about our days… but most of all I LOVE COOKING!  These are a few of my favorite recipes.  All are family friendly and super fast to prepare.”

Dinner Recipe #1: Turkey Lettuce Wraps

  • 1lb ground turkey, browned.
  • 2tbsp dry Asian seasoning
  • 1/4c raisins (optional)
  • 1/4c minced onion
  • 1-2 chopped fresh chilies

Instructions:

  1. Cook all ingredients with turkey.
  2. Wash 1 large head of lettuce and pull leaves apart.
  3. Serve turkey mixture in lettuce with peanut sauce (recipe below).

Peanut Sauce:

  1. Combine: ½ c peanut butter, 1 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider or white vinegar, 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  2. Adjust ingredients to achieve a pourable consistency, adding salt and red pepper flakes if desired.

Dinner Recipe #2: BBQ Rosemary Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 Medium sweet potatoes, washed and sliced (peel if desired)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika Ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Slice clean potatoes about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick at most. They cook better if they are cut thin.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large baggie and shake to coat potato slices in the oil and spices.
  3. Cook potatoes on the grill using a pan or aluminum foil. These take time to cook so if your meat cooks quickly, start these first. Once potatoes start to fall apart when stirred, they are done.
  4. Serve with your favorite grilled meat and veggies or salad.

Dinner Recipe #3: Whole Roasted Chicken with Veggies

  • 1 whole roasting chicken (about 6 lbs)
  • ¼ c olive oil (divided)
  • 1 c chopped carrots
  • 1 onion cut into large chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
  • ½ c chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Brush chicken with some of the olive oil, then coat with salt and pepper.
  3. Place chicken, breast up, into a roasting pan.
  4. Combine: Carrots, onions, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Add remaining olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir to coat all surfaces. Transfer vegetables to roasting pan with the chicken. Wrap in foil and cook for 1 hour. Remove foil, stir veggies, baste chicken then cover and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove foil, baste chick and continue to roast uncovered until chicken is completely cooked (about 90 minutes). 

“This recipe is great for family events, cold winter days and if you want/need leftovers.”

If you would like to learn more about Bianca, you can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for http://www.impactbodytransformation.com, coming this spring!

Any recommendations made by Natalie Krul, Brave Angel, guest bloggers, or on our website http://www.BraveAngel.com about weight training, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle should be discussed between you and your doctor because working out involves risks. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website or from our products or services.  Never rely on information on our website, from our products or services, in place of seeking professional medical advice.

Use this coupon code to get 10% off Brave Angel Shop:

10OFFBRAVEANGEL

Part II: “The Experts Reveal: Three Great Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners for Weight Loss”


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We rounded up some of the best fitness and nutrition experts we know. Last week we spotlighted Pro Bikini Model, Lisa Marie Vazquez. This week, Cynthia Spenla, a fabulous Fitness & Lifestyle Coach is sharing her tips and recipes with us. Next week, we will have our friend Bianca Meehan, a Certified Personal Trainer & Nutritionist.

We asked them, “What are your ‘Go-To’ Meals for Breakfast, for Lunch and for Dinner?”

So here it is, Part II of the “Real Life” series, and we’re bringing you 9 more tasty yet healthful meal ideas. Each fitness expert is sharing three recipes for each meal of the day; 3 for Breakfast, 3 for Lunch and 3 for Dinner. These meal ideas are their “Go-To” meals that can help you with your weight loss efforts (and also help you maintain your weight once you’ve reached your goal!).

I know it’s hard to figure out what to eat and when to eat it. When you search the internet for a good diet plan, you fall prey to information overload. Also, you most likely have no idea what will work and what won’t work. After searching the web for a weight loss diet and workout program, you probably just give up!

To help you out, we’re giving you some “Real Life” examples of the types of meals that work for our fitness experts. Everyone’s DNA is different, so remember that what works for someone else may not work for you. So you may have to tweak it to your liking and for your DNA…but, when it’s all said and done, if you’re looking to drop the LB’s, incorporating some of these meal ideas will really help you get there! Read on for the Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Fat Burning Meals that our health & fitness fanatics include in their daily diet! 

Fitness & Lifestyle Coach, Cynthia Spenla: 

 Cynthia Spenla, Fitness & Lifestyle Coach
Cynthia Spenla, Fitness & Lifestyle Coach

Cynthia Spenla has a passion for empowering women to be confident, beautiful, and fully alive through yoga and strength training. Spenla has education and experience in psychology, eating disorders, personal training, and teaching yoga. Cynthia provides an approach to fitness that extends beyond the physical and into the mental and emotional aspects of training for women. In addition to guiding women on a path of beauty through physical strength, Cynthia’s priority is to help women develop a healthy mindset, a healthy relationship with food, and a healthy self-love! Her take on nutrition is similar to the paleo diet, so all of you paleo enthusiasts out there will love her recipes!

Cynthia’s #1 Vital Tip:

“I choose what I eat based on what makes me feel good in my body. I avoid foods that tend to cause inflammation, digestive, and cognitive problems such as gluten, dairy, corn, & soy.
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 Cynthia Spenla
Cynthia Spenla

Cynthia’s Reality Check:

“Since these foods (gluten, dairy, corn & soy) make up the majority of the American diet, I have to get creative in the kitchen. I make staple meals using alternative ingredients. They are always yummy and delicious. I like to play around with my Vitamix and explore Pinterest for different ways to make my favorite meals.”

 

Cynthia’s Top Three Go-To Breakfast Recipes:

Breakfast Recipe #1: Green Smoothie

  • protein powder of choice: (Pure Paleo Protein Vanilla)
  •  1 cup kale or spinach
  • ½  cucumber,
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil
  • ½ apple or ½ cup pineapple
  • ¼ avocado
  • coconut water or unsweetened almond milk

Breakfast Recipe #2: Buckwheat and Sausage

  • ¼ cup dry cream of buckwheat (1 cup cooked)
  • 1 Serving Nitrate Free chicken or turkey sausage
  • Season with salt and pepper and Kerrygold butter

 Quinoa Oatmeal
Quinoa Oatmeal

Breakfast Recipe #3: Quinoa Oatmeal

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa,
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • fresh berries
  • raw nuts  (almonds, pecans, walnuts)
  • ½ serving meat of choice

 

Cynthia’s Top Three Go-To Lunch Recipes: 

Lunch Recipe #1: Quinoa Salad

  • Quinoa
  • 4 oz. Chicken/ salmon/ Ahi tuna
  • Chopped Kale
  • Blueberries
  • Walnuts or pepitas, 
  • Oil based dressing (mix Dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper)

Lunch Recipe #2: Bunless Burger

  • 4 oz Ground Turkey, Beef, or Buffalo
  • Homemade sweet potato fries (See Pinterest for Recipe)
  • Serving of Steamed Green Vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts)

 Chicken Collard Wrap
Chicken Collard Wrap

Lunch Recipe #3: Collard Wrap

  • Collard leaf
  • Chicken
  • Cucumber slices
  • ½ Avocado
  • Hummus

 

Cynthia’s Top Three Go-To Dinner Recipes: 

Dinner Recipe #1: Beet Avocado Citrus Salad

  • Steamed golden beets
  • Arugula
  • Grapefruit
  • Avocado
  • Mix and Serve with protein of choice

Dinner Recipe #2: Alternative Pasta

  • Spaghetti squash or Zucchini Noodles
  • Ground Turkey, Buffalo, Beef
  • organic tomato sauce
  • veggies of choice

Dinner Recipe #3: Cauliflower Mash

  • Steam a head of cauliflower
  • Mix in food processor with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper
  • Serve with any protein of choice
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Visit our shop over at www.BraveAngelShop.com for the latest and greatest line of women’s active wear and motivational workout clothing: tanks, tees & hoodies!


Any recommendations made by Natalie Krul, Brave Angel, guest bloggers, or on our website http://www.BraveAngel.com about weight training, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle should be discussed between you and your doctor because working out involves risks. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website or from our products or services.  Never rely on information on our website, from our products or services, in place of seeking professional medical advice.

The Experts Reveal: Three Great Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners for Weight Loss!

Well here you have it, three great meal ideas for each meal of the day (meals that are actually filling)! This is the first of many posts from our “Real Life” series. We’re bringing you reality, what actual fitness fanatics actually eat and do to stay fit, toned and healthy!

We rounded up some of the best fitness and nutrition experts we know, from Pro Bikini Model, Lisa Marie Vazquez to Certified Personal Trainer & Nutritionist, Bianca Meehan, to our fabulous Fitness & Lifestyle Coach, Cynthia Spenla.

We asked them, “What are your ‘Go-To’ Meals for Breakfast, for Lunch and for Dinner?”

We wanted to bring our readers some really great tried, tested and approved meal ideas. We asked each expert for three recipes for each meal of the day, 3 for Breakfast, 3 for Lunch and 3 for Dinner. These meal ideas are their “Go-To” meals that can help you with your weight loss efforts (and also help you maintain your weight once you’ve reached your goal!).

I know it’s hard to figure out what to eat and when to eat it. When you search the internet for a good diet plan…. You fall prey to information overload, and also, you most likely have no idea what will work and what won’t work. From the recommendations that Dr. Oz and the Biggest Loser throw at you, to the information about the types of workouts that will work, like Beachbody or Crossfit or Jillian Michael’s Shred workout programs…after searching the web for a weight loss diet and workout program, you probably just give up!

Below, are some “Real Life” examples of the types of meals that work for our fitness experts. Everyone’s DNA is different, so remember that what works for someone else may not work for you. So you may have to tweak it to your liking and for your DNA…but, when it’s all said and done, if you’re looking to drop the LB’s, incorporating some of these meal ideas will really help you get there! Read on for the Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Fat Burning Meals that our health & fitness fanatics include in their daily diet!

Today’s Fitness Expert, Lisa Vazquez: 

33-year-old mother of two beautiful children, military spouse, Teacher (holding two master’s degrees), small business owner, and a fitness fanatic! Lisa is a CrossFit competitor, recently placing 16th and 4th in two local CrossFit competitions. She is also a National Physique Committee competitor, competing in the bikini division, and recently placing 6th and 3rd.

 Lisa Vazquez
Lisa Vazquez

Lisa’s #1 Vital Tip:

“Devote yourself to your goal; whatever it may be – as simple as getting outside for a walk 3-5 times a week or as complex as I WANT ABS (those suckers ARE NOT easy to get!!!) and MAKE IT HAPPEN!  Struggle on it, overcome it. Get after it!  Your biggest challenge resides in your own head and hands.  You are in control of your destiny.  I’m not telling you it will be easy, but I am telling you it will be WORTH IT!”

Lisa’s Reality Check:

“MEAL PREP IS KEY for me to stay focused on my fitness goals.  Every Sunday my family preps our meals for the whole week.  We cook mass quantities of chicken, ground turkey, bacon, egg whites, sweet potatoes, boiled eggs, and steamed veggies (don’t let me fool you here, we buy the steamable bags of veggies). We portion out, into little snack baggies, other foods such as servings of berries, nuts, and veggies (like cut up celery sticks, cucumbers, etc.).  We even portion out our protein and add the extra BCAA’s into it using little sandwich baggies as well.  We take our meals to work and I take them with me to family/friend functions so I won’t be tempted to snack on the food that is at the function… I once traveled from Colorado to Virginia with my 6-Pack Meal Prep cooler on a plane for a friend’s wedding and brought my food to rehearsal dinner!”

Note: For flavoring purposes, follow the “Rule of 3”… if a dressing or sauce has 3 or UNDER grams of fats, sugars, and carbohydrates use the heck out of it!  If it has more than 3 grams of fats, sugar, or carbs than use with caution. During the work week it is hard to get everything done in the mornings; getting herself ready, getting her two young children ready, taking care of her dogs, etc. That’s why most of her “Go-To” breakfast meals are things that are quick and easy to either make or grab.

Lisa’s Top Three Go-To Breakfast Recipes:

Breakfast Recipe #1: Eggs & Bacon w/an English Muffin and Fruit

  • 6 egg whites (cook a whole carton of egg whites during meal prep time)
  • 1 portion of fruit (1 small apple OR 1 “Cutie” orange OR 1 banana OR 1 cup of berries – usually
  • strawberries)
  • 1 Whole Wheat English Muffin (w/sugar free jelly during her “on season training” OR crunchy nut butter during her “off/bulking season training”)
  • 1 protein shake (she’s a fan of Cellucor protein products, namely; S’Mores, Cake Batter, and Peanut Butter Marshmallow) *also add BCAA’s into all shakes*
  • 2 pieces of bacon (turkey bacon during her “in season training” OR real bacon during her “off/bulking season training”)

Breakfast Recipe #2: Southwestern Chicken Omelet

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup of Veggie Cheese
  • Shredded chicken (the amount is up to you)
  • 1 serving of Salsa (as long as it follows the “Rule of 3”)
  • 1 protein shake (she’s a fan of Cellucor protein products, namely; S’Mores, Cake Batter, and Peanut Butter Marshmallow) *also add BCAA’s into all shakes*
  • 1 portion of fruit (1 small apple OR 1 “Cutie” orange OR 1 banana OR 1 cup of berries – usually strawberries)

Pour the egg whites into a skillet pan on medium heat, add your chicken, veggie cheese, and salsa, close up the omelet, flip it over in the skillet, and ENJOY.

Breakfast Recipe #3: Breakfast Mash

  • 2 pieces of wheat bread (pull aparts into little dime-sized pieces)
  • 6-10 egg whites
  • 6 pieces of bacon (cooked and then cut up into small pieces – turkey bacon during her “in season
  • training” OR real bacon during her “off/bulking season training”)
  • 2/3rd cup of Veggie Cheese
  • 1 protein shake *also add BCAA’s into all shakes*

Scramble egg whites first, then pour into a baking dish along with the bread pieces, bacon pieces, and cheese.  Bake in the oven on 400 for 5-7 minutes just to melt the cheese into the mash.  Enjoy!

 Lisa Vazquez, NPC Bikini Model
Lisa Vazquez, NPC Bikini Model

Lisa’s Top Three Go-To Lunch Recipes:

Lisa’s Lunch & Dinner Advice:

“Lunch meals and dinner meals are pretty interchangeable to me because they mainly consist of protein, carbs, and greens.  I ALWAYS portion my meals based on my fitness goals.  During my “off season training”, when I am trying to gain healthy mass, my portions are bigger, 6oz of chicken for example.  During my “in season training” my portions are smaller, 4oz of chicken for example.  If I find that I am hungry at any time I up my vegetable and water intake to satisfy the hunger while still remaining lean with my foods.”

Lunch Recipe #1: Buffalo Ranch Chicken Salad w/ Kale Chips

For Buffalo Ranch Chicken Salad

  • 1lb chicken
  • Ranch powder (I use Hidden Valley’s Ranch dressing powder and I sprinkle to taste)
  • ½ cup of Buffalo Sauce (as long as it follows the “Rule of 3” you are set to use it following the serving suggestion)
  • Salad items (use the veggies you wish to create your salad… Lisa’s tip: choose spinach as a healthier alternative to lettuce and add egg whites, bacon bits, cucumbers, carrots, and broccoli to your salad)

Bake or boil chicken until it is thoroughly cooked.  Cut into small cubes.  Place chicken pieces into large bowl and pour/sprinkle buffalo sauce and ranch seasoning over the chicken.  Cover the bowl and shake contents around to get full flavor coverage on the chicken!  Dump chicken pieces over salad mix and ENJOY!

For Kale Chips

  • Fresh Kale (cut off its stalk and into leaf-sized pieces)
  • Coconut Oil
  • Salt

Set oven on to 400.  Place kale into large bowl with coconut oil, salt, and any other flavorings you wish to use (following the “Rule of 3”). After kale has been well mixed with flavorings, dump the kale onto a baking sheet, spread out, and place kale in the oven for 8-12 minutes depending on your oven’s cooking intensity.  You may want to flip the leaves about ½ way through cooking them.  Voila, kale chips!

Lisa’s Side Note:

“I always try to add flavor when I can, so I stumbled upon powdered popcorn seasonings such as Bacon Cheddar, Parmesan Garlic, and White Cheddar in the popcorn/chips isle of my local Wal-Mart Supercenter!!  So we often sprinkle the aforementioned flavorings onto our Kale chips as well!”

Lunch Recipe #2: Chicken Teriyaki w/ Brown Rice

  • 1lb chicken
  • 1Tbsp coconut oil (or sometimes I boil my chicken in low-sodium/reduced-fat chicken broth)
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • ½ cup celery
  • ¼ cup water chest nuts
  • 1 cup pineapple cubes
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • ½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ¼ cup Stevia in the raw- added slowly until desired sweetness achieved
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

In a large skillet, cook chicken using 1 tbsp coconut oil. Once chicken is cooked add in broccoli, sugar peas, carrots, celery, chest nuts, pineapple cubes, soy sauce, agave nectar, ginger, stevia (to taste), and garlic powder. Lisa’s Tip: use steamable veggie bags for the veggies listed when you can! They are so easy.

Lunch Recipe #3: Simple Balsamic Chicken Salad

  • 1lb chicken
  • Reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 serving Balsamic Vinegar dressing (use a Balsamic dressing that follows the “Rule of 3”)
  • Salad items (use the veggies you wish to create your salad… spinach is best and also add egg whites, bacon bits, cucumbers, carrots, and broccoli to your salad)

Cut uncooked chicken into slices or chunks. In a large pan, boil chicken using as much chicken broth as you need.  Mix all salad items together in a large bowl.  Add chicken and dressing and enjoy!

Lisa’s Top Three Go-To Dinner Recipes:

Dinner Recipe #1: Cold Chicken Noodle Peanut Salad

  • 1 package whole-wheat linguine or gluten free pasta
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce – you can use reduced sodium
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon Stevia
  • 2 cups cubed chicken breast
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 yellow pepper sliced
  • 6 scallions diced
  • 1 cup fresh pea pods

Prepare noodles and cook until tender.  In large skillet add sesame oil and cook chicken. In a separate bowl, mix soy sauce, vinegar, peanut butter and stevia. Then add the mixture to the chicken and oil. Then add veggies. Once fully cooked, let cool and store in air tight containers – keep refrigerated and serve cold.

Dinner Recipe #2: Sesame Chicken

  • 2lbs chicken, rolled in almond flour and egg white
  • 6 egg whites
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • ½ cup soy sauce (use reduced sodium)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • Sesame Seeds
  • 1 package whole wheat noodles

Trim chicken and chop into bite size portions, dip into whipped egg whites, than roll in almond flour to form breading. Place in hot pan with ¼ cup olive oil (add more as needed). Once chicken is cooked: add agave, soy sauce, ketchup, and garlic. Meanwhile boil noodles and once cooked add to chicken mixture. Top with sesame seeds and serve.

Dinner Recipe #3: Turkey Chili w/ Greek Yogurt Topping

For Chili

  • 1lb extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion chopped
  • 1/3 cup orange pepper chopped
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 large zucchini squash chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1Tbsp onion powder
  • ¼ Tbsp cumin

For Yogurt Topping

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp garlic salt

Brown turkey in 1 tbsp olive oil, then add beans, veggies, and spices. Simmer on low as long as desired (you can also make this in the crock pot). If you like your chili with a kick, add crushed red pepper! When you’re ready to serve, mix Greek Yogurt, with Parmesan cheese and garlic salt and use for topping on chili!

So there you have it, our first 9 recipes of the February “Real Life” series. Next week, we will be bringing you nine more recipes from our Fitness & Lifestyle Coach, Cynthia Spenla! Be sure you are following our blog so you can receive all of our exciting fitness tips and healthy recipes!

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