W E L C O M E

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Hotties are made first in the kitchen, then at the gym!

Welcome! The goal of this blog is to share delicious, wholesome recipes and fitness tips with readers to help inspire them to lead healthy lifestyles! I am a 15 year old girl continuing to try and find a healthy balance between food and exercise that will make me the happiest. Restriction is harmful, unsustainable, and leads to nothing of value. Loving yourself and taking care of your body begins first with what you are consuming.

Please share this blog with anyone you think may benefit from it!

Self-acceptance breeds greater compassion and appreciation for those in your life 

Halo Top Ice Cream – My Take

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When living a healthy lifestyle, one commonly accepted fact is that ice cream ≠ health. Yes, we love to indulge in ice cream every once and a while, but it is pretty widely agreed upon that if one were to eat nothing but ice cream for days at a time, it would lead to nothing but weight gain and sugar highs.

So when I heard about the “halo top diet,” I of course was instantly intrigued! Eating protein packed ice cream that is low in sugar? Could someone actually do this to reach fitness goals?

For those unfamiliar with Halo Top, it is a brand of “healthy” ice cream found in most health grocery foods stores nowadays. I absolutely LOVE halo top. It is creamy, rich, and true to the taste of real ice cream, but without all of the sugar and calories. They boast their “250 calories per pint” slogan and it remains a mystery to me how they achieve such a delicious flavor with none of the regular gunk of normal ice cream.

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The flavors are boundless – oatmeal cookie, lemon cake, strawberry, mocha chip, vanilla bean, cookies and cream, etc. etc.

As I got my wisdom teeth out this Tuesday, I thought it might be fun to try a modified version of the “Halo Top Diet.” I was not hardcore enough to try and nothing but ice cream for several days, but I did replace two meals with a pint of Halo Top the first day after getting my wisdom teeth out. At first, it was amazing! Ice cream for lunch? Ice cream for dinner? Sign me up!!! The best part about Halo Top is that it is not overwhelmingly sweet, yet it still perfectly satisfies one’s ice cream cravings. I was in so much pain from my surgery, so ice cream was pretty much one of the only things that could make my mouth feel better, as the cold delicious sweetness would numb my mouth as I ate it.

The next morning, however, I was not feeling my best. Perhaps it was a mixture of only having consumed sugary foods the day before, or perhaps it was that the drugs were only just starting to wear off, but I was struck with horrible migraines throughout the entire day.

My body was craving chicken and meat and cheese and normal foods. As I continue with my recovery, my plan is to fuel myself with lots of green smoothies and eat as many vegetables as possible.

I have come to the conclusion that as far as ice creams go, Halo Top is healthy, but it should most definitely not be considered a main food group for anyone!

Motivation?

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People often ask me where I get my motivation to work out and to eat clean. In all honesty, that motivation for me is not always there! I love brownies, cookies, and ice cream just like everyone else! For me, working out is equally mental as it is physical. Once one starts working out on a regular basis, endorphins become something that the body craves – in a sense, getting “addicted” to working out is a bit inevitable! My main message to you is this: it DOES NOT always have to be intense! As long as I sweat once a day, I feel good. This does not have to mean going on a 6 mile run each day or going to some high intensity workout class! Sweating once a day can be as simple as hopping on the stationary bike for 30 minutes while indulging in your favorite TV show, or going to a quick hot yoga class, or even just doing a quick blast of push ups to get your blood flowing. If you can make time for a solid workout each day, then awesome! Good for you! But for me, I know that simply is not a realistic goal. I am a student, daughter, athlete, singer — there are many things going on in my life, and so sneaking in a super speedy workout has become an expert skill of mine. Drop down anywhere and do 20 pushups! While sitting on the ground for your next class to start, who says that you can’t do some Russian twists? Staying active is pretty simple so long as you make time for it; even just 10 minutes a day of doing something, (ANYTHING really!) can make all the difference for your mental and physical health! At the end of the day, sweat makes me happy. Find the type of exercise makes you happy and make sure to do that thing every single day, even if it is for a super short period of time! Anything is better than nothing! In my eyes, if you do one pushup, you are still going to be stronger than the person who did 0 pushups. The smallest of steps can lead to the largest of changes. Put aside all your other commitments for just a few minutes each day and do something that makes your endorphins smile 🙂

No change can come without small, simple steps

DISREGARD THE ADVERTISEMENTS!

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Hello! Please please ignore any ads that may pop up on this blog! I am not paying any money to maintain it, so random companies have been advertising their products here. I noticed that McDonald’s even made an appearance, so I wanted to just make it clear that they are a company I do NOT support!!!

PS. Everyone go check out Supersize Me on Netflix for more in the vein of the insidious nature of McDonald’s and how the company and countless other corporations are impacting the health of our country.

 

Date Energy Bites

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Hello! My friend recently introduced me to a new quick and delicious healthy snack – Date balls! They are sweet and delicious but also made with no artificial or added sugars.

I feel a bit strange calling them date balls, so I am renaming them to energy bites! Made with primarily dates and nuts, you pretty much add whatever seeds/powders (flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, protein powders, etc.) you like to them to switch up the flavoring, but the basic recipe calls for dates and almonds.

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You will need a food processor for this recipe, and a lot of patience. But no need to fear! Once you get going, they are surprisingly easy to make!

Ingredients:

-1 cup almonds

-6 pitted Organic Medjool Dates

-Vanilla Whey Protein Powder

-Almond Butter (optional: use as a binder for a stickier consistency)

-Chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.

 

Step 1: Grind the almonds in a food processor until they reach a dusty, flour-like texture.

Step 2: Pit the dates and chop them up into small chunks, then add them into the almond mix in the food processor and pulse for several more minutes.

(It should look something like this by now)

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Step 3: Add in 1 tbs of almond butter, coconut oil, or both to use as a binder. (You can sort of wing this depending on the current texture of your mixture. You are going for a sticky consistency so that you will be able to shape it into balls)

Step 4: Add protein powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, or whatever other fun additions you have up your sleeve! Simply pulse the food processor for a couple minutes to get it all mixed in there.

Step 5: Shape into energy bites and store in the fridge for up to two weeks! (Any longer than that, and they may start to taste sort of gummy)

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I absolutely LOVE energy bites because they give me a quick boost of protein whenever I feel like I need a pick me up! They make a perfect pre-or post workout snack or are a delicious addition to a breakfast yogurt bowl! I usually store them in the fridge throughout the week and grab one whenever I feel like I need a little burst of sugar.

Happy energy bite making!

xoxo

 

Sugarless January

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Hi everybody! As January comes to a close, and we enter February, I wanted to reflect on my experience giving up sugar this month! And…. it was surprisingly easy.

I still allowed myself to eat natural sugars; aka honey, apples, fruit, etc., but mainly just tried to avoid any processed or refined sugars, so there were no cookies/cakes/breads/candies/desserts/etc. consumed. I felt that my eating habits really weren’t changed much by this experiment, but I am definitely excited to have a yummy bowl of ice cream soon!

Sugar is the silent killer. But it also can bring us immense mental joy! That being said, moderation is absolutely key. Feel free to indulge in that ice cream, and just know that it will always be there tomorrow, so there should never be any necessity to binge.

 

Balance

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11/28/16

Hi everyone!

So tonight I felt like having some dessert after dinner. And I don’t  just mean a cute, dainty little frozen banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter and honey on the side – I mean a REAL, DAMN dessert. I went with pie, because why not.

And I ate a bite of this apple pie, and it just wasn’t that great, so I threw it away. But that pumpkin cheesecake that my sister made for Thanksgiving, WOW that really was delicious. And so I cut myself a good sized piece of it. And I have no regrets! My abs are still visible, my skin is still clear, and I do not weigh over 200 pounds despite the indulgence. I am learning more and more that a healthy diet has more to do with BALANCE than anything else. Restriction is complete BS. It does not work. I can eat the same exact diet as someone who is restricting him or herself a lot, but the difference is in the fact that I do not BELIEVE that I am restricting myself, therefore it is a healthy balance. I barely eat any carbs or sugar or gluten or anything like that usually, but the important thing is that I am not actively avoiding those food groups. I simply choose not to eat them. That, essentially, is the secret to a healthful life! Be healthy, but do it on your own terms! I eat healthy because it makes me feel strong and happy and beautiful. It makes me feel happy because I know that putting wholesome foods into my body will help me to ultimately live longer! And that is all that I need to say. That is all that matters. Don’t think about how one bite of a cookie will impact you. In the long run, exercise and healthful eating are the keys to longevity as well as sustainable sources of energy. But this is not to say that some indulgences are not okay. In fact, we absolutely must indulge every once and awhile, for that is the only way to stay sane! That is how we keep that balance! Hence my delicious date with pumpkin cheesecake this evening. I have no regrets, for I know that my healthy eating balances out my sweet cravings, and I enjoying that dessert tonight made me very happy, and in the end, isn’t that all we are striving for here as human beings? Happiness!

REST!

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Hello! Today I want to talk about something that often gets overlooked: rest!!!!

The past few days I have been doing very light workouts or none at all, and this is due to a nasty illness that I have been dealing with. Although it is really hard for me mentally to have several days in a row where I am not active at all and quite sedentary, I also realize that this is a crucial component of attaining peak physical health. If you don’t give your body a few days off once in a while, you will run it into the ground! I am definitely looking forward to when I feel a bit better in a few days so I can get back into the swing of things and resume my regular routine. So if you are feeling under the weather, or even just a bit worn-down, listen to your body and give it the rest that it needs! Who knows.. you might be able to indulge in some wonderful new movies that are out of even books! 🙂

My main New Year’s resolution is to get more sleep. Sleep is most definitely something I have been skimping out on lately, and this is the worst thing that I can be doing for my body! I am making it my goal to get at least 8 hours of sleep EVERY night!

 

How To Stay Fit During the Holidays

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Hello!!! I just returned from a four day family trip to LA. We had a terrific time, albeit your typical family disagreements that always happen around holiday time regarding trip itineraries/restaurant choices/rooming situations/etc. We returned this afternoon after a 6 hour drive. Now personally, I have never been one for long car rides. I get nauseous pretty easily, not to mention bored, and sitting in a hot stuffy car for half the day is obviously no one’s idea of a good time. That said, we were able to watch some great movies, so it wasn’t so bad. Upon arriving at our house, I was feeling quite sluggish to say the least. Not only had I been spending the entire day in a seated position, but I also had not a real workout in several days (besides a family hike one day), my eating habits were also not necessarily on point. This blog is all about accountability, so I am going to be completely real with you here. I overindulged quite a bit these past couple of days, and this is not something that I am proud of. The thing with me is that I when I overindulge, it’s not necessarily in unhealthy foods. I’m talkin’ almonds. Raw, roasted, salted, any way they can be made. In normal doses, they are tiny bursts of delicious protein packed nuttiness, but like anything, they should be eaten in moderation. I ate probably several cups of these delicious roasted almonds one night after dinner. Why? Boredom, most likely. I’m a creature of habit, and as much as I know that midnight snacking is the worst thing that you can do for your body/metabolism/wasitline/etc, I still do it regularly. It is something that I am most definitely working on. Eating past our hunger cues is never a necessary or good thing to do, and I know this. Still, I went ahead and devoured those almonds. There was also the ice cream, chocolate chips, and just general sugar that comes with being on vacation.

I knew, however, that the only thing one can do is get back on track. I yearned for the fresh and free feeling that I would have after finishing a nice workout, I knew how invigorated my body would be. I wanted to give myself that new burst of energy, that new life! So after we got home, I unpacked as quickly as I could, and hopped on the elliptical for an hour, followed by a quick weights and core workout. And now I feel so energized! Though it may seem to be a drag at first, sometimes you just need to suck it up and start your workout. I promise, that euphoric post-shower feeling that you know is awaiting is practically calling to you!

The reason that I am writing all of this is to address something that I certainly face and that I’m sure many other people struggle with: how can one stay active and fit around the holidays?????

What with all the decadent sweets and biting winter weather that beckon us ruthlessly to stay sedentary on the couch by the fireplace in front of the television all day munching on sugary goodies: there are a plethora of excuses that people give to let up on our routines as the holidays come around.

I am by no means able to transcend the calls of baked goods or delicious apple pie from time to time, but I have created a plan of attack for all of us to not give up on our goals or forget our mantras this season!

1. Don’t halt the workouts.

Just because family is in town and seems to be hanging over your shoulder every minute of every day, doesn’t mean that you have to put a pause on your routine! Make it a family event: take everyone out for a beautiful hike at your favorite spot, or maybe encourage a cousin or aunt to try out a spin class with you!

2. Take it outside!

In the winter months, I understand that it is often seems too cold to do anything. Believe me, I am the kind of person who strongly dislikes braving the outdoors whenever the temperature drops to the point where I am unable to go outside with just one layer on. I absolutely despise the frigid weather; this is mostly because I absolutely love being active outside, and I feel that horrid weather always takes the fun pastime of being out in the sunshine away from me! This being said, there are still tons of super fun ways to be active in snowy/colder weather! Build a snowman, go sledding, go cross country skiing, go snowshoeing – all of these activities will give you a MAJOR workout, and you won’t even realize it! Playing and frolicking = the new treadmill.

3. Eat normally (aka don’t skip meals!)

A lot of times, if people know that they will be attending a holiday party in the evening, they will starve themselves throughout the day as a way of “saving up” calories for indulgence later on that evening. This is a completely backwards mindset! Eat regular meals like you normally would: a breakfast and lunch rich in protein and healthy fats, and have an apple or banana before attending the party. This way, you will not feel the need to ravage the cheese and crackers platter out of crazed hunger. Eating regularly during the day will abate your hunger and thus lead to you NOT overeating in the nighttime.

4.  Remind yourself what the holidays are really about

Family! Friends! Conversation! Giving! Love! These are the cornerstone values of the holiday season – not the food! Make the people that you are with the main event, rather than the refreshments that come along with the experience. Not only will this cause you to eat smart, but it will also inspire more interactions between you and your family members. Appreciate one another and remember what you are grateful for.

5. Forgive yourself!

It’s ok to let go from time to time, but never forget why you started this healthy lifestyle in the first place! There are so many reasons that you embarked on this journey – don’t give up now.

6. And finally, DO allow yourself to indulge a little bit!

It wouldn’t be the holidays if you completely restricted yourself from delighting in anything! Have fun! Have the cup of hot cocoa; have the extra whipped cream. Just remember that you don’t have to overindulge each and every night – it’s all about balance. Keep up the workouts, and keep up the mindful eating habits, and all the temptations of the holidays will have nothin’ on your willpower.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of December and New Year!

Bella ❤